Race Report: Goodlife Toronto Marathon

What a scorcher! May 5th marked my first marathon of the season and boy was it a hot one! My goal this year is to race two marathons (up from my 1 a year habit for the past 3 years) so I’m half way there!goodlife_tm_logo

My training for this race actually started in January with my Around the Bay the training. So it was a race 5 months in the making.

The expo for this race was well organized but rather small. They didn’t provide plastic or reusable bags which is great for the environment, but not for the arm fulls of gear people were carrying around – although that being said maybe it worked better for the exhibitors as everyone I was with bought something in order to get a bag for the walk home.

TM4The race started up at Mel Lastman Square. When registering you had the option of buying ($5) a shuttle ticket to be taken up to the start line from Ontario Place (where the race finished). We didn’t do this and bright and early at 6:15am Mark drove us up to the top of the city. We hung out at a mall across the street which wasn’t officially open, but the staff had propped open one of the doors, so we along with a couple other runners, entered taking advantage of the empty bathroom.

My goal for this race was to get my pacing under control as well as my mind games – my plan was to choose to accept how I was feel and be happy with that. For my past two races I felt that I started way to hard, and knowing that this was the long haul I really wanted to manage my pace (I did a better job, but still have room to improve).

I found my spot between the 3:50 and 4hrs pace bunnies and once the race started was happy with my pace as i took on the first 5km. I was using my nike+ watch for my overall time and a Running Room wrist band to watch my pace. At 5km this giant hill I had been anticipating, but had no clue how hard it would actually be (think an even steeper Valley Inn) came and I tried to keep my pace and simply pushed way to hard. My glutes were on fire as I kept on pushing and when I got to the top was just zonked. My pace dropped as I tried to connect back to my body and it certainly took me a while to recoup.

TM5After that hill I remember people holding signs and shouting that it was all down hill from there – it wasn’t – there were a dozen rolling hills which always seemed to come out of nowhere.

By 13km I dropped behind my peeps but did not let it get to me. I was glad to run my own race and to listen to my body. For the next 10km, I slowly moved away from my A+ goal and towards my A goal. I would have moments of “I’m so slow” but would quickly catch myself and realize I was still on track for a PB and my A goal, so snapped out of it and kept running.

By 23km the race was hot. I saw 3 people pass out and the sounds of emergency vehicles were happening more often then I had heard in any other race.

As I started to feel the heat and fatigue taking over I really tuned into my body, I knew I was loosing my A goal and then slowly my PB but I didn’t mind.  I chose to be where I was and just enjoy the race – I loved racing in NYC because there was no pressure, I was running for fun – so at this point I decided to let go of any pressure – listen to my body, enjoy the gorgeous day and run for fun.

TM1I began stopping at ever other fuel station, I was dumping water into my hat to keep me cool, refilling my belt bottles, and in not that long found myself running down towards Ontario Place.

The route is a bit of a tease as you run behind the finish area and still have another 15km out and back to go. I wasn’t totally sure where the turn around was but knew I’d be heading over the Humber bridge. While running along the waterfront I was happy to run into my friend Vince who had been out on a long ride, while he was taking pics (this pic) I shouted for him to pace me and after a few minutes on my own there he was. He definitely pushed my pace being on his bike but gave me some great company for about 4km (can’t wait to see our race photos!). I then took on the remaining 7km alone.

I was still feeling the heat but after the turn felt energized that the end was near. At this point I wasn’t even looking at my watch – I knew where I was headed and couldn’t wait to get there. It wasn’t until I hit up one of the final water stations (about 5km from finish) and they had run out of cups, that I even realized how far off my goal I might be. The high school volunteers were standing there with the hose apologizing profusely that they had no cups. I didn’t mind, I just grabbed the hose they were holding, sprayed myself down and kept running.

TM6Around 3km one of our family favourite songs came on and I was driven to the finish. I was totally energized, felt great about where I was and picked up the pace. The heat only continued to get worse, so the drenched tank top came off and I laughed at myself remembering how my run peeps had joked about the awkwardness of run belts with only a sports bra on – and I was doing it.

With about 2km to the finish the crowd support was HUGE. The route was lined both sides with TONS of people and it was amazing and energizing, and again I picked up the pace – according to my GPS this pace was as strong as my start.

I saw my family, my friends from lululemon, then heard the cheers of my newest run community The Runways (this was very special as I had only run with this crew for not even a month – so to hear and feel their support certainly meant a lot). Runway run coach Darren even joined me for the 200m run towards the shoot.

ITM2 turned the corner and there was the big finish, I took my soaked tank off from where I had been carrying it looped on my arm and swung it around my head as I crossed the finish line. The crowd got was cheering and I finished feeling amazing.

I didn’t meet my goal time – this was my second fastest marathon to date – but I listened to my body and didn’t let my emotions get the best of me and that made this race a success.

toronto marathon.