Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Recap 

Going into this race I was confident that I was going to do well. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was hesitant that it could all go wrong.

For 7 months I pushed my training to the limits. I was incorporating strong interval training, picking up the pace on shorter runs and feeling my best after long runs. I was confident that I would break 2 hours in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. My ultimate goal was to finish in 1:50.

3 weeks before race day, I came down with a cold that lasted 2 weeks. I didn’t run. I listened to my body and knew it was time to shut down until I felt back to my strong self. I did one easy run during those two weeks. Then it was taper week. I did a yoga session on the Thursday, an easy 5K on the Saturday and Sunday was race day.

I got to the starting line wearing layer after layer to stay warm. I love having my cheer squad with me because not only do they help me cross the finish line but they hold all of my clothing that I take off at the start and they hand it back to me at the finish. So greatful.

I started strong. I was feeling great and a part of me thought, this will be my best race and the other part thought it could be my worst with a 3 week taper.

I started at the finish line with my sister. We took our usual pre-race selfie and we were off. It’s crazy to think that this was only my 3rd half marathon when I ran my first half in 2010 at the inaugural Disney Wine and Dine Half. Also, with my sister. I would have continued to run half marathons more frequently but with a competitive cheerleading schedule, going back to school and that whole life balance thing, priorities shifted. So, we were off and I was flying. I didn’t want to go out too strong but I didn’t want to go out too weak either. I had to break 2 hours that plan b so I ran under 9:00/mile to make sure I reached that goal. I was feeling great and didn’t want stop. When I got to water stations, I got something everything single time. I wanted to something to just swish in my mouth. I didn’t stop. It was a quick grab and go. I’m a rebel and I took Gatorade at the occasional stops even though I’ve never done that at a race. I’ve had NUUN on runs but not Gatorade. Again, it was a quick sip and go so I knew I would be fine. Once I reached 5.5 miles, I needed electrolytes. I was hungry and felt like I was fading. I took half a razzberry CLIF shot followed by some water at the water station and then it was money. I felt my energy perk up and I was ready to take on the rest of the race as strong as I took the first half.

When I got to the turn around I felt like I was on cruise control and I wasn’t slowing down. There were a few hills but I just kept giving them the same amount of energy up the hills as I did down. When I hit the 15K mark, I felt a PR coming on. This was my strongest race yet. With a smile on my face and my legs feeling strong, I knew I was going to be happy with my results.

I could see the tunnel to the end of the finish line and I could see friends and pacers who I have been training with for the last 7 months cheering me to the end. This was it. I was going to be really happy crossing the finish line. My official time was 1:52:34.

It wasn’t a 1:50 or in the 1:40’s but it felt like it.

IMG_9687For the first time, I felt strong after the race. I didn’t feel sick, weak or nauseous. The best feeling at the end of the season is reaching your goals that you’ve been putting in the work to achieve.

Marathon Monday: Week 1

With a new year brings new goals. Saying, “this year I am going to run a marathon” has always been a statement that I have been scared to commit to. You really have to know that you are ready to run 26.2 miles. I promised myself that I would only start training for a full marathon once I have successfully finished a half marathon and felt strong at the end. I knew if I was completely gassed at the finish line, there was no way that I would want to do add on 13.1 more miles. The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon was my turn around point. I felt strong the entire way through the race and ran my fastest half yet. 

What has also held me back from running a full marathon was my kidneys. In simplest terms, my kidneys aren’t 100% and together they pretty much make one functioning kidney. After an 8 hour surgery in grade 2 and constantly going to the hospital for monthly check ups for years, I was scared that a full marathon would be too hard on my body. Loosing all the sodium while running and adding extra proteins can be hard on the kidneys. I went to a kidney specialist and after drawing 6 viles of blood and some testing, I was cleared to run as long as I was following a gradual running plan, only taking protein drinks after long runs and properly fuelling my body. 

Im feeling the strongest I ever have and 2016 is the year that I’m going to run my first full marathon. I haven’t decided which race will be my first but it will be in the fall. I’m giving myself a good amount of time to train with longer races throughout the year. 

 

I took pretty much the entire month of December off of training to properly recover and recharge my body. I’m taking my training back to the the beginning and slowly build myself back up to long distance running. I’m incorporating speed runs, easy runs, tempo runs, hill training and weight training into my regime. If I’m doing this, I’m doing it right and injury free. I have to eat more and drink more water, which can actually be a struggle for me. 

Week one of my training was short since I’m beginning from day one of January and Sunday was my rest day. 

Week 1:

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 3.2 miles at 9:13/mile pace on the treadmill 

Sunday: Rest Day 

Total Miles: 3.2

2015: A Year in Review

2015 was a great year for me. I landed my dream job, got to meet the most inspiring people, ran my fastest mile, 8K and half marathon to date and I did it smiling the entire way.

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In March, I started working at High Road where I do what I love. I wrote a post about it on the High Road blog here.  In 2015, I pushed myself in my career, outside of my comfort zone and in my running. I promised myself it would be the year of my PR’s and it was. I ran the Harry Rosen 8K in 40:37 and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:52:34 and my fastest mile in 6:43. I became both physically and mentally stronger in 2015.

In April, I ran one of my most emotional races yet. I got a new PR and placed 11th in my age category at the Harry Rosen 8K. I dedicated this race to my friend Fields who unfortunately passed away in October 2014. I could hear his mantras in my head during the race. “Keep going! You’re almost there! Stay strong!” I haven’t PR’d this race in 4 years and it felt so good to kill the hill with my friend on my mind.

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In June, I met Sarah Reinertsen – hands down, one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I was lucky enough to sit down and have brunch with Sarah and learn about how she made sports history in one of the toughest endurance events in the world — the Hawaii Ironman. Sarah is the first woman to finish an Ironman on a prosthetic leg. A year later, she raced around the world on “The Amazing Race,” the Emmy-award-winning CBS reality TV series. She is incredible, motivating and I feel so lucky to have spent time getting to know her.

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In October, I ran my strongest race to date. 1:52:34 is my new half marathon PR and I did it at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I have never felt like I was seriously crushing 13.1 miles before. I placed 217 out of 1,208 in my age category and 2,663 out of 10,121 overall. This little 4’9″ runner killed it.

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In November, I ran The Holly Jolly Fun Run and actually ran for fun. For the first time ever, I ran a race without my Garmin or any other tracking device (except of course the chipped bib). It was so much fun to throw on a costume and run the Santa Clause parade route right before the parade kicked off.

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In December, I rested, recovered and enjoyed family and friends. As important as it is to workout, it’s just as important to recharge for the upcoming training year. It’s what I like to call my bulking season and it’s filled with candy, treats, drinks and friends.

September Miles and October Goals

It’s the first day of October and it feels like it. It’s feeling cold and I’m ready to break out my fall clothing. 

September running felt strong and I ran a total of 41.1 miles. I think my motto of run less, run faster works for me. In September, I listened to my body. I missed a long run because I knew I was run down and I had to stop a run 1/3 of the way in because I knew my body was drained. Last night, I skipped my run for 10 hours of sleep because I’m sick. The old me would have pushed through and made sure I ran my hardest and completed these runs. My new way of thinking told me, if I give it everything I’ve got, my body probably won’t heal the way I want it to and for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (half) Marathon in 18 days. Training smarter. I woke up feeling so much better. Still sick but not as bad as I was. I also drank a lot of DavidsTea Organic Cold 911. Fuelling my body in the right way to get it where I want it to be. 

  
I’ve been hitting my target paces throughout September. Running hard and the hardest part- taking my easy runs really easy. I’m happy to say my easiest run was an average of 10:13/mile. I have my new running friend to thank for that. Running with new friends and helping them throughout a run is not only what my training needs but it’s rewarding to help others reach their potential. My new running buddy finished her first 5K and I was so proud to give her a high five at the end of the run. 

September has been a month of noticing what my body needs and how I can build it to be my strongest on race day. October is going to be where I put myself to the test. In 8 days, I taper. For my half, I’m giving myself the 10 day taper, which gives me one last long run to keep my confidence up for race day. I’m excited about it. I’m feeling strong and ready. My main goal for October: run my strongest race yet.