On Sunday, May 3rd I ran my third Half Marathon at the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon. I was very excited before this race because I had a goal of achieving my first sub-2 hour 21.1K race. But, in my last post I mentioned how I had to adjust this goal because of the foot injury I sustained while running Around the Bay. This didn’t mean I was any less excited, it just meant that I had to adjust my expectations so that I wouldn’t feel disappointed. I still trained the best I could after Around the Bay and I went into the morning of the race with a good mindset. I wasn’t worried about covering the distance, I just knew my time goal might not be the most ideal for me at this time.
The morning of the race I did my usual ritual of getting up early to enjoy a fruit/protein smoothie while I got ready. I already laid my gear out the night before, which really helped me not to panic at such an early time in the morning. I also made sure to check Twitter and Instagram to send off last minute motivational messages to others who were running GoodLife as well.
One thing I really like about this race is that the start line is relatively close to where I live in north Toronto. So, my awesome bf gave me a drive so that I didn’t have to feel rushed with taking transit (especially since the subway doesn’t open till 9am on Sundays in this crazy city!). I was able to find the start line near Mel Lastman Square easily, but before taking off I did spend about a half an hour waiting inside the North York Centre for the washroom. The timing actually worked out really well for me, but I couldn’t believe how crazy the lines for the washrooms were. Spent a good amount of time getting pumped up and chatting with other runners who were a little nervous about the race. Maybe it’s because I was about to run my third Half, but I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be. Take out all the expectations on yourself and you tend to lighten up a little I guess. I was just really excited to be there that morning and even happier about the good weather were having.
Taking off at the start was really easy and relaxed and I even ran into some runner friends, which was just the extra push I needed before the race. I always start races alone, so it was nice to see some familiar faces (and take a selfie) while waiting to take off. I wasn’t too far back, so I was off and running pretty quickly!
Overall, I love the course for this race. I was ecstatic about running down Yonge Street and even kicked butt running up the hill right after York Mills Road (Hoggs Hollow Hill). I managed to tag along behind a 2:00 hour pace bunny group because I was starting out the race optimistic and feeling good. I was able to stay with this group for pretty much the whole race until I took off from them around 19K. At that point I was feeling tired, but I felt good and knew I could get to the finish line under 2 hours. With that last push to the finish line I finished in 1:59:28 and I couldn’t be happier! I actually surprised myself and felt really good about this accomplishment. I was even more pleased with the fact that my foot/ankle didn’t bother me the whole race. The whole race!
The Half course did have a good amount of entertainment & cheer squads to motivate us along the way. The Briar Hill Lululemon crowd was especially entertaining – thank you for being out there! I also found that there was an adequate amount of water, which was good considering how this race was a little warm (and I don’t carry any water on me). I was a little disappointed that at the end there weren’t any bottles of water (unless I couldn’t find them) and there were only tiny cups of Brita filtered water available. Walking back to downtown Toronto to find water got a little rough there. Run 21K and you get pretty thirsty! I did like how there was a gluten free bun (Udi’s) option available though! That’s definitely a nice addition to the post-race food for those of us who can’t have gluten but still want ALL THE CARBS. 🙂
As you can probably guess, I really liked this race. I had a fun morning (yes, fun!) running the Half Marathon with all those other “crazy” people and earning my shiny, cool medal. The 2:00 hour run/walk pace bunny was very nice and encouraging and I’d like to thank him for doing such a great job. I’m not sure I could have kept up the pace without his encouragement and conversation. I had a fun time at the 5K last year, a great time running the Half this year, and who knows what distance I’ll do next year! 😉 Maybe it’ll be time to early that Marathon medal that is the size of a plate!
Huge thanks go out to:
GoodLife Fitness for this great race!
Toronto Police and Paramedics for monitoring the runners and roads,
And, all the hard working staff and volunteers. You did a great job!