Saturday afternoon, I headed off to the big city of Toronto. 2 of my sisters and another friend came along with me, which I was so grateful for the entire time. We landed at the expo around 3pm. There were a good number of booths set up but I wasn’t really interested in looking around too much. I just went straight to packet pick up. They were pretty tricky in how this was set up. You had to weave through the entire booth set up to get all that was needed for race day. One spot to get your bib, another spot to get your t-shirt and then another spot to activate your bib. Regardless, I was all set!
We left the expo and went to check into our hotel. I had opted to book a hotel that was recommended from the race website as this meant I could take a shuttle in the morning and not have to worry about where I was going. This also meant that check-in was chaos! I think everybody was checking in all at once! After we checked in, we went on a hunt to find a pasta joint. After 2 failed attempts, we came across a lovely place called Scaddabush Italian Kitchen. I ordered the ush!
The others wanted to enjoy a few bevvies and some dessert after so we hung out there for a couple hours. It was nice to just sit and relax.
We then headed back to the hotel and got settled for the night. We were all in bed with the tv on just chatting away and my sisters pipe up, hey you didn’t do your pre-race outfit pic. I didn’t want to disappoint, so I got out of bed and laid out all my race day necessities and click!
I did not sleep well at all that night. I think I finally fell asleep around 2:30, my wake-up call was at 5:30. Oh well, to be expected right?!
I got up and ready. It was a chilly morning and there would be some waiting outside, so thankfully I remembered to pack a throw away sweatshirt. I tried to be quiet getting ready but the others woke up and Beth caught a pic before I left.
The shuttle (big yellow school bus) was on-time and took us down to Mel Lastman Square for the race start. The building was open and we were allowed to stay in there before the race started which was amazing! I chatted with a few people then bee-lined it for the bathroom lineup, which was super long. I just finished in the bathroom 10 minutes before the start. I made my way to my corral for the last 10 minutes and listened to the pre-race chatter. I also took the time to make sure my watch would link a couple times, which it did.
7:30 rolled around and it was go time. I hit my watch to go…except…it wouldn’t. It would then take the next 1.3 km to link. I kept telling myself I didn’t care but I really did. Finally getting it to link, I felt like I was in race mode. I had heard so much about this race and how it was a flat course, even a downhill course…. I wasn’t really feeling like it was for the first little while, then just before going into km 5, I see this great big hill ahead of me. Up until this point I had been right beside the 3:45 pace bunny. I am not sure how long this hill was but I do know that by the time I reached the top the 3:45 pace bunny was way ahead of me. In fact, that would be the last I saw of her… Oh well, knowing now, that my BQ time was almost out of reach I decided to just enjoy the race. I actually had a thought something like this…”I don’t want to BQ because that would mean I would have to run another marathon ugh”…
The first half of the race had quite a few hills, some gradual, some not so much… I just kept taking 1 km at a time and not worrying about how many I had left. I was keeping my eyes open for my cheering squad. They had discussed trying to find me around the half way point so this is where I really started looking for them. After I passed by km 22 I was starting to think that they couldn’t find me, when out of the corner of my eye, I see this sign and the word “cheap” jumped out at me. I look again and there they were!
It was just the boost I needed. I ran by them, high fived them and carried on my way.
So, running through a city, where the roads are closed and there are cops at every corner, directing traffic and pedestrians, I was quite used to seeing them step out and hold there hands up, signaling for people to stop. I was approaching an intersection and I saw this happen again, but just kept on going, until the cop yelled at me, in my face, to stop. I was confused but stopped, and so did everyone behind me. We were held there for about a minute as 4 or 5 limos passed through the intersection with police escort. I guess it was someone important. The runners around me where not happy. There were a few choice words for that moment. Oh well, not much we could do.
This was just passed the 23 km mark. I was still feeling pretty good, I knew I was slowing down but I didn’t stress about it because I just kept thinking about the fact that I needed to finish still running. Mentally, I was doing pretty good. The longest I had ever run was 30 km, even for training. As approached this distance, I was telling myself, just another 12 km and started counting down to the finish at that point. The night before as we had been out walking it was pretty windy and we were joking about maybe I would have a tail wind the whole way and how great that would be. Well, there was no tail wind, in fact, it felt like a head wind the whole way. I think it especially picked up in the last 12 km. We were in pretty open territory at this point so the wind just whipped through. My visor kept blowing off and I had to hold it in place several times.
As I was approaching the 40 km mark, I was starting to feel emotional. I was looking at my pace at this point and was realizing that I was going to meet my compromised goal of 4 hours and was so excited. I tried to pick up the pace but didn’t have much left. I knew I was slow but also knew I was still going to get it. I came into the last 300 metre section, saw my gang, wanted to hug them all right there, but kept going. As I rounded the corner, which was maybe 100 m from the finish I saw the clock and started crying. I ran through the finish feeling happy that I did it!! But upset that I missed the mark by a minute!! The clock said 4:01… I then remembered that my watch had been off and I forgot to factor that into my pace… Such a rollercoaster of emotions at this point. I found my gang and we all hugged it out! I was sooo happy to see them all there at the finish!
They were such great cheerleaders and such an encouragement to me all weekend!
There, now it was done! I felt such a sense of relief. I was so happy that I did it! I would deal with my finish time later… For now, I would enjoy the sense of accomplishment. I know I went into this race undertrained so I am thankful for what I did do.
After the race my stomach was not good. We stopped at an outlet mall just outside of the city for a couple hours. I didn’t do much shopping, just kept finding a bench to sit on. After the shopping we went for some food. I was hungry now but my stomach was still so wound up. I decided on my usual post race food and bevvy.
The food wasn’t going down so good….but the bevvy sure was…
You see that Pandora bracelet on my wrist?? Yes, that was a 1st marathon gift from my sisters that they gave to me at lunch… So thoughtful of them. They put 2 charms on there, one for my birthstone (emerald), and one meaning inner strength.
Well, that is a long winded post so I will stop it right here. There are still so many thoughts and emotions going around in my head about the whole experience. Thank you all for your support and encouragement along the way!!
How is your week going?
Tell me one interesting thing about your week?