This weekend flew by so fast, and I feel like I need at least 2 more days to recover! Sunday’s race went really well, but because I had so much fun with my FitFluential Ambassador friends on Saturday, I’m going to start this recap from the very beginning. Before I get started, I should tell you that I opted to leave my SLR at home, so all photos below are a mix of iPhone-captured and Instagrammed ones. I apologize for extreme graininess caused by poor restaurant lighting in advance! With that, let’s start.

On Saturday afternoon, a big group of us met up at the race expo in Toronto. On my way I made a little mandatory stop, one that is becoming my favourite pre-race tradition…

1 pre-race lululemon trip

(Highly successful stop, in case you wondered. Almost too successful.) At the expo we picked up our bibs, race shirts, walked around the booths, and posed for a great big group pic. Most of the group were from the Toronto area, but myself and Danielle came from Waterloo and Brian won the award for the furthest traveled, all the way from California!!

fitfluential ambassadors at expo

Then it was off to the Old Spaghetti Factory for a pre-race dinner. We had a pretty huge group and Krysten (whom you may have already met in this post) was kind enough to bring us goodie bags full of bars, gels, and chews from Clif Bar! Here’s a few snaps from our evening:

dinner at old spaghetti factory 1

Danielle, Jess and Robyn

Danielle, Jess and Robyn

6 dinner at old spaghetti factory

Myself, Sarah, Allison and Janice

7 dinner at old spaghetti factory

Brian and his lovely wife, who was the talented photographer of our group pic!

Morgan and Krysten

Morgan and Krysten

Brian showing us how he fuels up for big races! (I guess they do it differently south of the border?) ;)

Brian showing us how he fuels up for big races! (I guess they do it differently in Cali?!)

Jess and Robyn, REALLY excited to have their steak!

Jess and Robyn, REALLY excited to have their steak!

Danielle, Krysten and Robyn

Danielle, Krysten and Robyn

Christina and I

Christina and I

I stayed with my blog buddy Morgan, whom although running the 5K at noon the next day was willing to get up with me at 5:45am and chit chat while I got ready for the half marathon. Now that is a true friend! I set all my race gear out the night before because I wanted to make sure I didn’t forget anything.

race outfit

My standard race morning breakfast!

My standard race morning breakfast!

The half marathon started at 8:30, so I left Morgan’s with plenty of time to get to the starting area, park my car (always a heroic effort in Toronto, but this time it actually wasn’t too bad!) and walk to the bag check. I was a bit nervous because I went to bed with a lingering headache and still had it when I woke up, despite having taken some Advil Cold & Sinus before packing it in on Saturday night. My sinuses have not been happy these days! Rather than dwell on it, I just tried to forget about the pain and stay focused. Words can not describe how thankful I was that the weather was gorgeous and that there wasn’t a single cloud in the sky!

pre-race posing in my lulu and asics gear

At that point my phone went away and the next thing I knew….

finish line

Ok, there was a little more to it than that. πŸ˜‰

I won’t give you the mile-by-mile breakdown, but here are the highlights:

  • There were 1694 marathoners, 4476 half marathoners, and 1404 5K participants.
  • The half marathon course was net downhill, starting from Mel Lastman Square and going down to Toronto’s waterfront.
  • Even though it was net downhill, the route starts with a BIG, GINORMOUS slope around the 3 mile mark. This was very, VERY clearly reflected in my 3rd mile split!
    mile splits

    Mile splits, with #14 being the final 0.1 mile.

    My paces and the course elevation map

    My paces and the course elevation map

  • That hill made me want to die a little inside. I chugged up it along with everyone else, and tried to just keep focusing a couple of feet ahead of me and repeating “you’re stronger than you think” in my head. For about 75% of that time I’m not sure I believed it, but my legs were very happy to finally get to the top!
  • There were some sweet, sweet downhills that I thoroughly enjoyed sailing down along Yonge Street
  • It was sunny. Like, really sunny. I think I need to start training with my Oakley sport sunglasses on because I nearly twisted my ankle in a big pothole around the 8 mile mark which scared the living daylights out of me. (I’ve had quite enough of ankle injuries.)
  • There were some bits in the first half, and once or twice near the end when I felt like I was really losing steam. (See my splits for mile 11 above – they’re even slower than that horrible hill, and if I remember correctly, the road was pretty flat!)
  • I saw the 1:30 pace bunny a couple of times in the race, but stopped paying attention after a while. I thought I’d notice if he passed me and ran far ahead, but I obviously didn’t. (He must have been a very sneaky rabbit!) I was coming around the last corner of the race with about 200m left to go, and I saw the 1:35 pace bunny sprint past me. I saw the 1:35 on his ears, and gunned it with absolutely every ounce of energy I had left to the finish line. I finished just after him, with a time of 1:35:26.
garmin time

My Garmin was a little optimistic – final time was 1:35:26

When I saw that I’d finished in just over 1:35, I was a tiny bit disappointed. Of course I was thrilled that it was over, but deep down I expected a little more. I grabbed some water then walked around until my heart rate came back down. As I was walking over to pick up my checked bag, I gave myself a little “get real” pep talk, which mainly involved reminding myself that this was my SECOND outdoor run (not race, I mean my second run that did not take place on a treadmill) this YEAR. Within a few minutes, I was in a pretty happy space again. (That may have also had to do with the fact that I’d eaten a Simply Whey Bar, an apple and was lying on a yoga mat ready to do some stretching!)

refueling tent

post-race posing

It wasn’t until I got home about 3 hours later and checked out SportStats.ca that I got really, really happy.

Final time: 1:35.26.3
24 and under women’s category: 2/412
Women: 24/2427
Overall: 186/4476

I’ll take 2nd in my category, considering it’s the last time I get to run this race as a 24-or-under female! But I wasn’t the only one that had something to talk about afterwards. Brian PR’d his marathon by a whopping 6 minutes, Danielle finished her first ever marathon (in Vibrams, I might add – she’s the barefoot running queen!), Krysten ran her first half marathon of the season only 12 weeks post-surgery, Morgan set a new 5 PR, and from what I’ve heard, it was an injury-free race for all!

stretching

With one down and SeaWheeze ahead in August, I know exactly what I have to do to break my 1:30 goal: Run outside and attack some HILLS! With that, I’m off for a date with my foam roller. πŸ˜‰