Seaton Soaker 50k

Well it’s been over a week now since I ran Seaton Soaker 50k. I’ve been putting this off, I kind of just want to move on from the race. It started off really well and I had a great first half of the race. And then it fell a part, and I let it happen, and it just got worse and worse and worse. My second lap took over 45 minutes longer than my first lap.

If that’s not a disastrous second half I don’t know what is.

The irony of this post is all my photos I’m super happy and exited. All the photos shown in this recap are from the first half of the race. There were no photographers out my second lap, I doubt I would have been able to even fake it for the camera by that point even if there were. So while I had a really awesome first half and everything was going great I was feeling optimistic and positive. I had a plan for the second lap that I could only walk the hills that I walked in the first half and I was going to stick to that.

I can’t even pin point what went wrong I left for my second lap in good spirits. I knew I had a 1km section of road ahead of me but was fine with that. The sun had come out which I wasn’t happy about but I was still thinking it’d be fine once I got onto the trail. But the trail wasn’t very shady for the first few kilometres and I started to worry I’d get a sun burn.

My legs were a bit tired but nothing hurt. I just wanted to be done. Onwards I went.

Got to the first aid station filled up my water, off again. Feeling even lower. Just focused on getting to the next one. The next one was about halfway through the out and I asked if they happened to have any sunscreen. One of the volunteers found some in his car and another helped me put it on the back of my shoulders (this aid station in general was amazing such amazing people all of them, there was also a Burly at this station). I also ate some fruit and finally felt ready to run again. Of course there’s a big hill soon after this. I came across a friend at this point he was coming down the hill on his way back, he asked how I was I said I was feeling better and he gave some encouraging words.

By the time the trail had levelled out again any of the positive vibes I’d gained at the aid station had fizzled away. I focused on just getting to the next aid station which was the turn around telling myself I’d feel better then because then it was really almost over.

I’m at the back of the pack so runners are really spread out so there wasn’t much activity at the turn around point. I was relieved to be there had some fruit and chips and headed back.

But things didn’t get any better and my mood dropped fast. I thought I’d feel better and I don’t so I’m starting to feel really upset and sad. I think I spent about half that trip back on the brink of tears. I wanted cookies and ice cream to drown my sorrows. Back at the mid-way aid station they had brownies, those would do. I ate a couple and some fruit then took off walking up the road hill (which I’d run most of on the first lap) eating brownies.

I know at this point there’s about 7.5k left hoping this would motivate me, it doesn’t. I continue on the run some walk some trot of sadness I’d been doing for most of the second half. I just wanted to be done and I have no reason for why. Something in me just gave up and didn’t want to do it anymore.

At the last aid station I can see the water crossing crew walking by all packed up with their gear. This just brings me more sadness as this is taking me so long even the crews are leaving. So I make the water crossing with no rope to hold on to upset and annoyed and feeling very very alone. I have less than 3k to go at this point but I’m still struggling with getting myself to run continuously. I’m at the point where I can accurately figure out how much longer this will be, telling myself times I can make if I just get running continuously. But it doesn’t help, I’m already too upset with myself for how much longer this took than it should of and how I had no excuse. I didn’t think there was any chance this would take over 7 hours yet here I was, well over that.

Eventually I cross the finish line and have 2 friends there waiting for me to cheer me in. I was just so relieved that its over. They don’t even know what I was feeling but both say exactly what I needed to hear to help some of the disappointment wash away.

It wasn’t all bad, like I said the first half was great, and it really was. I had a great time and had fun seeing all the other runners out, seeing friends along the course, meeting and chatting with a lady from instagram I’ve been following for years, I felt great and happy. I don’t know how it all fell a part so badly, nothing hurt, physically I was fine – or fine enough, but I just couldn’t get past my head. At least I didn’t give up, at least I finished.

It’s been over a week, I’ve started to move on from the disappointment and started to focus more on what I accomplished and on the positives of the race and my experience. The awesome free photos I got help!

I am relieve to say though that my next race is a 25k (Chase the Cayote in September), maybe I’ll seek a 50k redemption but for now I’m really happy to get back to a mid-distance race and focus more on getting some speed back and feeling really comfortable with 20-25k runs. I’m done with running over 30k for awhile!

Gear: Burly Singlet, Asics capris & hat, Wrightsocks, New Balance Minimus 10v4, Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta

Fuel: Nuun Plus x2, 1 Honey Stinger Waffle & oranges, watermelon, chips, veggie straws, brownies from aid stations.

6h BadAss Fat Ass Trail Race Report

On Sunday November 13 I participated in my first proper trail race, the 6 hour BadAss run part of the Fat Ass Trail Race in Batawa, ON. This is a 6.5km course you run as many times as you can in 6 hours.

(I’m sorry this report is long I tried to trim it but failed, I like details okay!)

I first heard about the race from a Twitter friend ()when I was tweeting about wanting to find a 25k trail race to run in prep for a 50k next Spring. It wasn’t one I had heard of as it’s a small race located in a small town. I was instantly intrigued as it was the only local(ish) trail race that had a date that worked well for me. Also, since it was still a ways out in terms of training, the 6hour was looking mighty tempting.

I put out the word on the Burly Facebook group about this race to see if anyone was interested, quickly had a few people commit so I knew I’d run this, it was just a matter of picking between 25k and 6 hours. 25k seemed like a smarter choice but 6hours was real tempting. What finally pushed my decision was when the race organizers announced the first 30 to sign up for the 6hour would get a free hat. I needed the hat.

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Flash forward to Saturday, myself and the 4 other Burlies who were registered to run carpooled out for the 2 hour drive to Quite West. Our first stop was Tri & Run Sports in Trenton where we picked up our race kits. Myself and two other Burlies would be running the 6hour run the next day. Our kit was a black BadAss scarf, a Fat Ass soup mug, a GU gel, travel Dove body wash, a piece of halloween chocolate and of course, the BadAss hat!

The two other Burlies who would be participating in the distance races had registered with the no-swag option (only 20 bucks!), otherwise they would have received the same soup mug we got.

Done at Tri & Run (after lingering to look at everything, and pet their dog!) we decided to make a stop at the ski hill before heading to our AirBnB. Two reasons, so we could check out the hill, and so we’d know our route the next morning.

We got to the ski hill and after consulting the Strava of runner from last year were relived to learn we would NOT be running up the actual ski portion of the hill. That thing was STEEP. We found the trail path up to the side of the ski runs which looked much less like we would die. Relief.

We then drove over to the AirBnB, checked the place out (bedrooms and bathrooms galour!), got our stuff inside and chatted for a bit before heading back to Trenton to get dinner. We had a reservation at Tomasos where we would be meeting up with Erin from Twitter along with his wife, and 2 neighbours one of whom would also be running the race the next day.

Tomasos is an Italian restaurant which worked perfectly for me as it meant I got to have my now traditional pre-race chicken parm. I then decided I also need apple crisp for dessert, yum.

After dinner we headed back to our AirBnB and got ready for the next morning before heading to bed.

I was a little worried heading into this race as I didn’t feel as rested as I should have on Saturday morning. I think it was lingering result of maybe pushing it a bit too hard up some hills on my run the Sunday before. I headed to the pool Saturday to see if I could shake that out, after 500m I felt like I needed to stop and headed into the hot tub to try to relax and stretch out the stiffness. It did the trick and I felt fine afterwards!

So Sunday I woke up just before 6 after a decent sleep, got ready, had my two slices of toast with peanut butter which I’d been eating through this cycle and then had a banana just before leaving.

We got to the ski hill just before 7 and headed inside to stay warm and listen to the pre-race announcements on how the day would go.

A few minutes before race start we headed outside to the ‘start line’ which was a tent where the aid station was set up. The morning actually felt surprisingly nice, temperature was only at 4C I believe but it didn’t feel cold at all. I had my thin wind breaker on but decided I didn’t even need to bother starting with it which I was glad to do since it meant 1 less thing to worry about after a lap or two. I did decide to keep my gloves on though but those are easier to take off than a jacket under a pack.

At 7:30 we were off making our way across the base of the ski hill, almost immediately I noticed no other women were in front of me and only a few men. Well this is different, I’ll be getting passed a lot now. We quickly made it to the base of the hill, I started walking immediately, I had zero plans to run this hill (or any hill) at all. A few of the men made an attempt to run up some of it but soon everyone was hiking up the hill. We rounded the bend in the hill, yeah it kept going. Aand continued to go up a little bit as we rounded the next bend onto the single track.

And we’re off!

Finally at the top, things got interesting. We had a pretty late fall here so the trees have only just lost their leaves (and some are still hanging on) this meant a lot of fresh leaves on the trail. A lot of fresh leaves on some technical trail. They were doing a fabulous job of covering all the rocks on the trail. Oh boy this isn’t going to be fun later. This section was a slow gentle downhill until we got to the major downhill. A treacherous path made all the more treacherous by knee deep leaves. Stumbling our way down that I was so shocked I didn’t completely eat it on the root ‘steps’. We’re then into an opened gravel/grass trail before heading back into the woods. Much less rocks through this section, yay! There was a slight incline through here but nothing much, I would later take that incline as a walk opportunity but didn’t really notice it the first go. We were then back out in the grass/gravel. sliiight incline I’m pretty sure I didn’t notice at all the first time or two (definitely did by lap 5 though!) then we round a bend and head down (yay!). Can see the aid station from this point, once down the little hill we round another bend and head straight towards it. I ignored this aid station until lap 5 when I decided I’d try some Coke and see what happens (nothing did so I kept at it!) but the volunteers were amazing and quickly learned who we all were, fun!

Past the aid station we head back into the woods, hill here, I walked this one from the start, then it immediately goes back down. On either lap 2 or 3 I almost had an epic fall. The down had some roots and my foot got caught on one and then my other food got caught on that foot. Panic. Race. Falling. Downhill. Luckily a foot got free and caught me before I face planted and rolled downhill. And even more luckily it was a safe catch and not one that resulted in more pain than a fall would have caused.

Top of the second hill

Down the hill out of the forest we hit some ATV trail which were dry but made from some careful footing as the ridges were deep. Ran along here for a little ways then hit some flat rocks which signalled that my favourite stretch was coming up (NOT). After rounding a bend you hit a long, straight gravel stretch of boring.  Single row of small evergreens on each side line the trail. There was also these little tiny rolling waves for part of it I knew right form the start they would be damn annoying later (and also had me thinking they would be run to bike through). On and on and on it went and I can see the end of this stretch pretty much the whole time, NOT GETTING ANY CLOSER.

Finally out, round a bend and then we’re going up a little hill which I ran up the first loop and decided that was stupid and I was never running up it again. At this point we see the same aid station again and they direct us to a trail on the right instead of going straight which would be back the way we came from. This little trail leads back into the forest, yay! and back to more hidden rocks and roots, boo!

Coming through the start of a new loop

Here we hit one hill, then a section of very large roots that are VERY easy to trip over. Then it’s time to climb back up the other side of the ski hill. Oh boy. First time up this was actually the worst of them all. Everything hurt trying to hike it, even my back. And there was rocks under the leaves my feet would slip on. It’s long, its steep, it gets steeper, it flattens out and then nope it’s steep again. At the top there’s the chair lifts, run by them and then start heading down the hill. Woo downhill! Decent downhill here, a little steep and its got some small loose stones but I don’t feel like I might face-plant like on the other side. Once we’re down the hill we cross in front of the ski hill by the start line aid station and do it all again!

Something to be said for the small loops. It didn’t get boring, it was actually really nice. While the first lap felt terrifying through the rocky sections, after a couple laps you know where everything is and don’t really even think about it anymore. Oh yup stick to this side of the trail there’s no rocks and less leaves. Stick to the far left on that treacherous downhill you avoid most of the trouble there. Oh there’s the fallen over tree hole. Nope I’m good for water, thanks though! There’s a root here that’s what caught my foot that time. This is the straight flat part this still sucks, just keep running. Hill here remember we’re walking this from now on. Hi bearded man, nope still good on water-did you say chips? Up this hill okay now careful watch out for the roots. Okay up the ski hill, lets try the left side, yes the left side is way easier to get up. Yay top! Downhill and another lap done!

I was also really happy when I determined on my 3rd lap I would be into my 4th lap before the distance races started. This meant when they reached me they’d already be spread out. I did not enjoy the 4th lap though. Well I did the first 1/3 because I chatted with another runner a bit through here (found out he’s race buddies with a woman from the Monday MEC runs, guess this is a small community!). But once past the aid station for the first time I started to feel tired. And then all the passers. Also stressful because I knew no BadAss woman had gotten in front of me yet by this point and was pretty sure none had been ahead of me at the start (though I would doubt this through the whole race). So every time I hear someone behind me I worried it was another BadAss runner. So I was real happy to start lap 5 and have that be done with. Of course lap 5 was my worst lap time-wise as the fatigue set in good through here. This is when the desperate ‘sure I’ll have some coke’ came in. The chips I brought for this race weren’t very salty so my nutrition was a bit off as I was craving salt more than usual, luckily I had Nuun on me. I had to keep reminding myself to eat too. I think because I wanted salt I didn’t really care to eat my sweet waffle cookies.

Another from the start of the race

Lap 6 and 7 were better as adrenaline started to kick in, being pretty sure I was in first kept me going and got me from walking too much. I think I probably should have walked a bit more in the first couple of laps. Minus the ski hills the rest of the course was a lot flatter than I’m use to training on and generally in training I only walked when there was a hill or I was eating (even then I tried to plan eating for the uphill walks). So less hills meant I ran the majority of the loops taking less walk breaks than normal, which is why in later laps I took the opportunity to walk even the smallest of inclines.

At the second pass of the aid station on lap 6, I’m not entirely sure how much is left of the course, 2k? (It’s less) and we’re closing in on 5 hours which means I’m telling myself I’m going to have the haul ass to get in lap 7 in time. My goal for the race was 7-8 laps so I’m of course laughing at myself during this moment because I must have been crazy to think 8 was an achievable goal (not really, would have depended on the course but, race brain). I cross by the start again with I think 57 minutes to go. I’d remembered checking my watch partway up the skill hill and having 4:11 at lap 6. This meant I’d done it in about 55 minutes (did it in 53 per race results). This had me stressed, so of course lap 7 went pretty well. Freaking out that I’d miss the 6 hour cut off, freaking out another woman would come up and pass me, take first place AND I’d miss the cut off. Freaking out because I’m a terrible judge on distance and didn’t make mental marks on anything throughout the course. How much is left from here, 5k? OMG I ONLY HAVE 30 MINUTES TO RUN 5K!? Wait no, that can’t be right… And then also excitement of, this is the last time I climb my way down this, THIS IS THE LAST TIME I HAVE TO RUN THIS STRAIGHT FLAT PART, KEEP RUNNING! This is the last time I’ll see bearded man, awww! Last hill climb! Last hill climb!

Another from the top of the second ski climb

I’ve done it! I’ve done it! I’ve run over a marathon! I just have to run down and then I get to turn to the finish! And I’m under time!

I was a bit choked up coming down the hill for the last time – closest I’ve ever come to crying during a race. But all the Burlies are done their races by this time so they’re there cheering for me so I cross the finish with a jump! I’m all happy I just finished my longest run ever and have friends there cheering for me and then the RD comes over and hands me my plaque!

I had done it! Top Female BadAss!

I don’t think I’ll ever cherish a race item more. This one means a lot to me. First real trail race, first time over the marathon distance, first time winning overall. The thought of that plaque kept me going through the end. Leading up to the race Burly mates kept saying I’d take it and I was convinced they were dead wrong, I was convinced they were dead wrong even while in first throughout the race. I thought there was no way there had to be someone in front I’d missed and there would definitely be someone behind me who was much better as pacing themselves and would come up and pass me. I’m shocked and amazed I won it. I don’t care how small the race was, it’s still something I achieved. The second place woman came in 5 minutes behind me, she could have easily taken it if I hadn’t kept pushing in the last couple laps. While running the race I didn’t feel like I deserved a top overall at this point in my running career, but I was going to fight for it. You can’t spend an entire race holding first and then not fight to hold on to it until the end no matter what you feel. So I guess I did deserve it!

Now the race is done and I can confirm the trail marathon does hurt far less than a road marathon. I’m still stiff and feeling like I went up and down a ski hill 14 times but I can walk around and go up and down stairs almost as well as a normal person. I was both sad and relieved during the race that I wouldn’t have a chance of hitting 8 laps for 52km. I’m really proud of what I accomplished. My first trail race on unfamiliar trails I knew ahead of time 8 laps would be a stretch goal and after running the course once I knew there’d be no chance, not with those 2 giant climbs, hadn’t done quite enough hill hiking for that.

I’m looking forward to my winter training cycle and researching 50ks I can run in the Feb-April time frame, looking at USA races right now. There’s A LOT, it’ll probably take me awhile to pick one but that’s fine, plenty of time. I’m going to do some recovery this week and next then just maintain what I’ve built/do whatever I feel like for a little bit.

Final Standings:

  • 7×6.5km – 45.5kms in 05:52:15
  • 1/14 women, 7/27 overall
  • Laps:
    • Lap 1: 00:45:53
    • Lap 2: 00:48:32
    • Lap 3: 00:48:16
    • Lap 4: 00:50:56
    • Lap 5: 00:55:10
    • Lap 6: 00:53:04
    • Lap 7: 00:50:24

Gear:

  • Shoes: Merrell All Out Crush
  • Clothing: UA Heat Gear long sleeve, Burly Sugoi singlet, Old Navy capris, WrightSock Double Layer Coolmesh II, Chaos Tubular Headwear, Lululemon run gloves (for 2 laps)
  • Pack: Ultimate Direction Adventure Vest

Consumed:

  • ~750ml Nuun Lemon Lime
  • ~1.75L of water
  • 2.5 Honey Stinger Gingersnap Waffles
  • 2 Apple Cinnamon Carbo Boom Gels
  • 1/2 snack bag of kettle chips + few BBQ flavour
  • 2 red Jube Jubes
  • 4 Dixie cups of coke

Thanks to the race directors for putting on such a great race! And special shout-out to the aid-station volunteers I’m sorry I over-packed my pack and didn’t interact with you all more! And big thanks for the post-race massage!

Oakville Half Marathon Race Report

Race weekend started the day before on Saturday at kit pick-up. Kit pick up was in the same park where we’d be starting and ending the race the next day. It was my first look of the area, I work in Oakville but I tend to stick North of the highway and in the trail system so I’d never been down by the lake. I don’t know why, it’s quite pretty!

It’s a lovely park and was a beautiful day, the kits we all set-up outside in the field. There wasn’t any lines when I went so I quickly got my bib by telling them my bib number which had been emailed to us the day before. Then got my shirt, the women’s is a nice navy and I like the leaves, logo is kind of huge. The men received the same shirt in burgundy. There was a few venders there but nothing fancy, it is a small race but does well to put in elements of the big-ticket races. I got a free headband from Tatika and chatted with the Nuun (which would be on course!) rep for a couple minutes who I know from working the MEC races.

The race kit in all included the shirt, reusable bag (love when races do this!), usual fliers for other races, Oasis juice box, some other fruit energy drink, snack size Cliff Breaker bar which I ate immediately, those wipes and icey ointment you always get. And some sport tape, hey this one is cool!

Race morning started at 5:30am for me. I got up, put on the outfit I’d laid out the night before and then quickly changed my mind and put on the capris I’d been debating. The weather was calling for a crisp 11 degrees at race start but would quickly climb over the course of the race to about 16. Shorts would have been fine probably but I don’t typically wear shorts for long runs and felt like I’d rather be dressed a little warmer and I knew I’d be totally fine with the capris once temperatures were at their peak and then I could skip the body glide.

Breakfast was 2 slices of toast with light spread of peanut butter and then I was off to the race! Fortunately my parents took me so I was able to relax a bit on the way over, I had a bottle of water I was sipping and a Honey Stinger Waffle I had planned to eat at some point since breakfast was so early, but race nerves had me not wanting it on route.

We headed over to Bronte Go which was the official parking location for the race. We got there at about 6:30 and got in line for the shuttle. There was a big crowd that all showed up at this point so the first bus filled up and we got on the second which came right after. The bus dropped us off at the corner of Lakeshore and Third Line which I was not expecting so we walked over to the park from there.

Then it was just waiting around for the start, I made my bathroom visits with no problem, they had a good amount there so I never waited for one. I did see a line had formed closer to race start so I’m not sure how long they had to wait. This is why I get to races early!

At some point I did feel ready to eat the waffle and did eat it and about 10 minutes to race start I had my first gel.

Into the coral, I decided to place myself behind the 2:05 pacer, I had no idea what to expect of myself for this race but my hope was to come in under 2:05 so I wanted him ahead of me for that. In the coral I ended up beside Katie, one of the runners in the MEC group so that was really great to chat with someone for a minute while we waited for the gun. Race started and I lost track of Katie but was ready to run my race.

I started really well, I was focused on making sure I wasn’t going too fast and keeping a steady pace. I didn’t really have any kind of strategy for this race, I’d decided I was just going to see how it all went. I kept the 2:05 pacers in my sights, it was a run/walk pacer so I passed on their walk and then they got ahead but I’d closed the gap already and was feeling pretty good about that. I knew my pace felt good and if I kept this up I’d quickly loose the 2:05 pacer since I was keeping up with their run pace.

And I quickly did loose them, I passed them again on their second walk break and never saw them again!

I ran this without any water on me so knew I needed to plan my gels ahead of time. With aid stations ever 3k I’d decided my best strategy was to take one at 6k and one at 15k. So just before 6k at aid station 2 I took a gel and had some water.

The course ran along Lakeshore for 6km, right through downtown, and then we turned up heading away from the lake. I’d never run the area before but knew ahead of time there would be some elevation gain here as it is all around Lake Ontario. There was a family out spectating here and the guy said ‘just 100m until the top of the hill!’ I just kind of laughed. It’s not a hill, you’ll feel it but it’s not enough to do much damage to your pace. At around 8k we turn left and start making our way back. Toughest part of the race is done and I’m feeling good. Hit another aid station here and I have my first cup of Nuun. Man was I excited about the Nuun being on course. They were handing out Lemon-Lime flavour as is standard at races.

In the last mile of the race. Photo by Katie’s husband.

We make a left turn and head down and then shortly make a right to continue on. This is all through residential streets and is really a lovely route. Very shaded so it helped keep the nice cool temperatures we were graced with feeling even fresher. Just before 10k we make a left and start heading back down to Lakeshore. This was so nice. While the up wasn’t really much to notice, the down was great, I was able to pick up some speed here and bank some time which came in handy later on.

This spits us out back downtown, we’re running the same spot we ran already. I do wonder how this was managed as I suspect the lead back would have run in to the back pack here. But when I went through the back pack had already cleared out. I gather the usual route does not have this doubled up section but there were some route changes due to construction. We pass another aid station and I have some water and Nuun again. I’m not drinking very much but I am doing real well in throwing water all over me.

Right after the aid station at around 12.5km we make a right, mini little hill and then a left as we head onto Rebecca. This would be the part where if anyone isn’t feeling their best is going to get slammed. All roads we ran on were opened but given that they were residential, weren’t very busy, and downtown just happened to be pretty quite as well. Rebecca was a lot busier, and it’s close to 9am now so the sun is up diminishing a lot of shade from the first half of the course. Fortunately I was able to keep myself focused. I hadn’t studied the map much but figured we’d be on this stretch for about 5k. Sight lines were poor in this section so it worked out fine that it was a long stretch since you couldn’t tell by looking.

Along here I found Katie again, I came up behind her so at some point she’d passed me but I’m not sure when. I said hi and we chatted for a minute. We were coming up on the next aid station so I took out my gel. This is the first station I stopped at, by this point I knew I needed some more water so I slowed down and took a proper drink and then continued on. I got ahead of Katie here but knew she was just behind me. We continued on this road for awhile before hitting the last aid station just before 18k. More Nuun and water here, again I slowed so I could get some last bit of energy in me. By this point I knew I was on pace for a 2:02 finish but took that extra second to fuel up properly so I could stay on track.

Then we’re making a left turn and making our way back to Lakeshore through a small detour, yay! Katie catches up beside me through here. We’re both getting ready for our final push to the finish. We stay close together as we run by the lake. She shouts off some words of encouragement to me as we’re about to turn on to Old Lakeshore. I’ve got my last bit of energy I’m ready to burn off, she’s just behind me and we end up seeing her husband about 1.5km away from the finish. He joins up with her and I continue to try to pick it up.

The last stretch, I’m gaining on some people through here, as Old Lakeshore hits up with Lakeshore I pass a guy I remember being passed by at the halfway point. I can see the turn into the finish shoot and start heading in to a final sprint. As I turn into the park I see the clock ticking passed 2:02, I throw more into that stretch then I knew I had in me, I don’t know how far behind the gun time my start time was so I’m full out sprinting ugly face and all across the finish to try to nab a sub 2:02.

Official Chip Time: 2:01:58.6

What an amazing race! I’m so proud of how well I ran this. I stayed steady and strong the whole run. My splits were the most even I’ve ever done, for the 19km there’s exactly 2 outliers. 1 was for the ‘uphill,’ I was slightly slower here, the other was for the downhill which I did slightly faster. Every other kilometre was solidly in the 5:40’s. Never ever been this consistent. And the last 2k show my final kick so they were faster.

Post race, got my medal, got my photo. Nuun was the first table we hit. Wohoo! My Nuun rep friend was there with his contgrats. I took a couple of cups. I met up with Katie and her husband here, she’d come in just behind me and we exchanged contrags. My parents found me here as well.

Then went to the next tables. Those stupid gross bread round things of course. I don’t know why I grabed that. Blueberry scones, yes please! Banana, bottle of water and Cliff had samples out.

I then did a bit of stretching, my hip had tightened up around half way, that worried me as it was the same hip that was so bad during my full last year. But I didn’t end up feeling it for the rest of the race. Now that I was done though I could feel it tightening up again.

All stretched out made my way over to the SportStats tent to check my time. I was dying to know if I’d squeezed in under 2:02. Bib scanned, huge grin, I see the 2:01:58. I had done it, my mega sprint was worth it.

After that made our way over to third line where the buses were waiting to take us back to Bronte Go.

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The Oakville Half Marathon

I’d signed up for this because I’d heard so many good things about it and knew it was the same group that does the Mississauga Half which is my favourite. I was not disappointed. It’s a small race, the half marathon had under 550 participants, there was also a 5k and 10k option which started at 7am for the 5k and 7:30am for the 10k, the half was 7:45 so we were actually able to see the 5k come in which was cool. Its size and the route make this feel like a small town race, it essentially is. But they definitely put the quality you’d expect from a larger race in to it. Aid stations were will run, there were loads of volunteers and there was cops at all intersections keeping traffic in line for us to cross. It really is a scaled down version of the Mississauga Marathon.

It is a small race so there’s not a ton of crowd support but there were people out with their signs and due to the loop course they were able to move around to various locations and were all amazing. Also since there were so many volunteers they were spread out along the course cheering as well.

I think my only real wish is that there was split maps set-up, but I know this is more expensive and I’m mostly interested because I ran such a solid race I’d like to compare my rankings throughout the course haha.

Also if the official photos were a little more reasonable that’d be great! $50 for 13 photos, I’ll be passing on that.

I would definitely recommend this race, the course is great, aid stations were stocked up with Nuun, water and cliff chews and it was pretty well organized.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon: How to Have the Time of Your Life When Running A Marathon

It has been over a week since I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as my first ever marathon. It has taken me this long because how do you even start to put down thoughts to something so epic?

Crossing that finishes line was quiet possibly happiest moment of my life. I had a big stupid grin on my face that lasted for days.

The run however, went the complete opposite of how I’d planned. In my mind I broke the race in to 14k thirds. The first third I was going to keep it cool with a steady-easy pace, the second third either hold that or pick it up slightly. The last third, just do everything I could to hold on to my pace. The first third went really well. I kept my pace under control and was enjoying the massive crowds STWM brings both on the course and on the sidelines. This portion was all done with the Half Marathon group as we traveled out to the Lakeshore and then back.

I was still feeling just fine at the beginning of the second third, I had kind of forgotten about my thirds strategy and was just keeping on with how I was doing. But not long later at around 16k everything came crashing around me. My body started to tire bringing my mind with it. I couldn’t push passed it so I ended up pulling my ipod out to turn on some music. A massively upbeat song comes on and I carry on. Tired, but okay.

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This is actually near the end but I have no photos from the first half of the race

As we approach Bay Street on Lakeshore they start dividing the crowd. The half to the left, marathon to the right. Knowing that alot of people were almost done and I wasn’t even at halfway yet didn’t bother me, but seeing the few people running the marathon did worry me. I’d explicitly picked this race for the number of runners and it was looking like I’d be running with very few for the rest of it. But once we passed Bay and things opened up I saw it was false alarm and though significantly less, there were still plenty of runners on course. I’m hurting quite a bit by this point but knowing the halfway point is approaching and that I’d be seeing my parents soon helped a lot. And at 20k I see my parents standing waiting for me, arms out stretched to give me high fives which was a huge boost and I also begin to see the halfway arch ahead of me.

When things really start to test me is when we get to the Don Valley section. Something about seeing all the runners come back from it and the bit of a ‘hill’ involved going to it and coming back just hit me hard. I was miserable that entire trip up and back. It was in here I first started to succumb to the pain I was in as in and took a walk break,  probably around 25k. Everything was tired and my hip was incredibly tight.

But happy Jessica returned once I was out of there. There was a photographer and I smiled and waved and all was good mentally.

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This is it now, the last out and back section. To get me through I counted down how many kilometres it would be until the turn around, I’d looked ahead of time and knew it was around the 33km mark. This stretch towards the Beaches was a bit quiet but being out and back there were plenty of people around as many were making their return to the finish as well. And even here there were still spectators scattered about, more about these amazing people later.

There were also still some cheer sites along here, some so loud I couldn’t even hear my music anymore. Not a problem with me! Loved the amount of noise they amazing people were making. These sections helped keep that smile on my face even through all the pain I was in.

In to the Beaches section brought tones of spectators and cheers and finally that final turn around well positioned as it meant only a straight back 8.5k to go. Also a man giving out pieces of banana, awesome man if I was more with it I probably would have hugged him.

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I’m in terrible pain this whole time, taking walk breaks frequently and doing everything I can to try to keep going. My nutrition was good, I didn’t feel drained in that way but I started occasionally grabbing Gatorade (yes a complete no-no as I never drink it but I was desperate for something to help!) to see if that would help. But by this point I’m not finding sugar of any use. And I find Gatorade a poor sports drink because it is so sweet. Nuun probably would have helped me a lot more at this point. My muscles just don’t want to move me forward but I persist.

Going in to this race I’d wondered if the CN Tower would become a Beacon of torture. But I actually found it pretty comforting on the way back because I knew I got to turn before it. It was like, look where that is, it’s not as far as I have to go. Also seriously well placed turn with having 8k left to go. After 33km you know you’ve got this thing done.

Obviously the pain and tiredness I’m feeling is only escalating but my mind is happy. I’m having a lot of fun even though I just can’t wait for it to be over and I’m thinking a lot about how I didn’t know it was going to be this hard and hurt this much, especially so early. I did not expect the pain to start setting in at 16k. I didn’t expect it until the mid-late 20s so I’ve pushed through much more than I thought I’d have to.

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I kind of love this picture because I’m unaware of the camera and I just looked focused. Not exhausted or with my head in an unflattering angle like most are.

Coming back into the city at 39k we face our last ‘hill’ a road overpass we’d already come over once just after the Don Valley. Something on a normal day you wouldn’t even think about, it’s not even a bad one. But let me tell you, and excuse the language but at 39k you don’t care, that felt like one big giant fuck you. I even took out my headphones to tell a girl walking (yes of course I walked it, I made it 1/3 up and only because I forced myself to run until the 39k sign) beside me that. At least we got to go down it though. But trying to get my legs to run again took a great deal of work.

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I love this one so much because it so accurately depicts my thoughts. Who the HELL thought a camera at 40k was a good idea? I’m in terrible shape right now and just want this to be over. But fine, I’ll smile with what little I have left. ps behind me is the last little hill we’d just gone over, it is a BIT worse the other side but still, nothing.

I’m listening to one last song and then we’re back into the downtown and I take my headphones out to enjoy the last 1km. The spectator crowds have filled right up and people are cheering all over the place. As I head to make my way onto Bay Street. Run Dem Crew/Parkdale Roadrunners is there welcoming one of their own home and they’re going crazy and since I’m right behind them I get a piece of their insanity too. They formed a tunnel for us to run through and it was one of the highlights of the race for me. Cheers on both sides of me and high fives all around. Then I turn the corner and see the distance countdown. 500m to go. It’s uphill and it’s a struggle but I’m doing the best I can at a sprint. And then my friend are there on the sidelines going absolutely crazy.

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Welcome back full smiles!

I’m rounding the last little bend before I see the finish arches and Taylor Swift starts playing. Could this moment be any better? No it cannot. My name is called and I cross that finish line happier than I’ve ever been.

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Best. Moment. Ever.

Immediately upon finishing I can barely walk my hip is such a mess. But I’m still so amazingly happy. And I felt that high for days. And over a week later I’m still so happy and emotional reflecting back on this experience

The Event

The race was everything. Going in to this you hear everyone talking about how great it’s, best race ever. Participating in it you see why.

Starting right with the expo, super well organized and a ton of vendors. And I mean actual vendors selling things, not just booths and booths of other races. Though they were there, they took up an insignificant amount of the booths.

Race kit was okay, nothing significant but the shirt is Asics, mesh and the women’s has a bit of a v-neck so should be more comfortable but truthfully I haven’t even tried it on yet.

Race morning was smooth I got there early enough that I had no issues getting a Porta Potty though the line did pile up quite a bit. I saw after they did have another row set up on the street by the corrals but many probably didn’t know about them. But, more Porta potties could definitely have been added (and a replacement of toilet paper at the end I went in to a couple that were out). I dropped a bag so my parents wouldn’t have to carry it around the bag drop was also well done, split up by distance and then by bib number with large labeled signage so you knew which booth was yours.

I got in to my corral around 8:30 as you needed to be in before the 8:45 start. The time flew by even though my corral didn’t head off until 9:00 with the constant heading up after each wave it felt quick.

Now the big event, why everyone loves this race so much. The spectators and volunteers. These people were phenomenal and I cannot thank them enough. They were the most encouraging people I’ve ever experience on a race. Calling you out by name and looking directly at you as they give you their little pep talk. I was fully grateful for each and everyone of them and know I probably would have laid down to cry at some point if they were not there. To give up hours of your Sunday to cheer on a bunch of strangers who lost their mind, and to do it with such passion. You’re all heroes.

I’m so glad I picked the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon as my first marathon. The amount of runners, the spectators and volunteers really help keep you going when you’re slammed hard in the face with just how much a marathon will take. You know it’s going to be hard, but you really don’t know what to expect, so do yourself a favour when you finally take that plunge for a full and go for the big one. And if you’ve already run a full go for this one too because the experience is insane and you should live it.

I would absolutely consider running in this event again, though probably just the half next time. I liked that I didn’t study the course map too well going in to my first full so I’d like to repeat that ignorance and not know what’s coming for me when I decide to do another full.

My one thing was with 2 water stations. One of them in the first half was a bit spread out for me. I’d wanted to take a gel at 7k but then had to wait until 9k to take it. Not huge and if I’d paid attention to the map better I could have planned for this, but 6-8k is a common area for people to take a gel I believe so seemed odd, they were giving them out a 9k though so maybe I’m wrong? Anyways all others were well placed. I didn’t have any water with me (and I usually do) and never found any too far expect that one and only because of my gel not because I wanted water. And then I found it weird they had the last water station within the last kilometer. Seemed a bit unnecessary and should have been placed a bit farther from the finish. At that point there’s so much adrenaline no one cares about water (though for some reason I stopped anyways), and we’re about to be handed a full bottle anyways.

Other than that, perfection.

My finish time was much slower than I expected it to be, but I didn’t even care, I was having too much fun enjoying the whole experience and crows to be concerned that I’d missed every single one of my time goals. And now, I am official, a marathoner. That is an identity I can take with me for life.

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Beamsville Bench 5k

I don’t like 5ks, I don’t like 5k training runs, I don’t like 5k races.

So obviously I signed up for a 5k race.

In July.

With a 10:30am start time.

Clearly this was going to go well.

The Beamsville Bench 5k is part of the Niagara Running Series, and the only reason I signed up. However after doing 3 10k races this season I had a new appreciation for 5ks. I am a distance runner and this has been confirmed by the fact that I do not do as well in 10ks as I should be, based on my half times. I just don’t like the whole laboured breathing aspect of the 5 and 10k. I realise the irony in this as a swimmer but let’s move on. Having done all these 10ks, the 5k was sounding more appealing, the torture of laboured breathing would be over much shorter. So I was feeling a bit better about facing this 5k. In the days before I was mentally preparing myself for torture, telling myself just to completely suffer the entire time. I was keen to find out what my 5k time could be if I just went for it. A few weeks previously I’d run a 27:34 5k during a training run. I wanted to beat this.

I was worried about the heat, and the website describe this as a ‘tough course’ but provided no map or elevation graph so I didn’t know what to expect.

The race took place at a winery and like the rest of the series kit pick up took place right before the race. So at 9am me and a couple friends I dragged along to join me headed out for the short drive in to Beamsville. We parked within the vineyard in a very organised system, they had marshals directing cars on exactly where to park in order to maximise parking. It took some time but was worth it as it was very easy to get out. After we were parked we made the short walk over to the start and I got my kit. Nothing eventful, aside from a different coloured shirt (burgundy this time) it was identical to the one from the Peach Bud.

With time to kill we wandered around the little shop from the winery and looked out at the view of the vineyard it over looked.

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With 15 minutes to race time I left my friends and headed over to the start line for a warm up jog.

The start line was on a steady steep hill. A hill we were going to have to go up. Twice. Due to the double loop course. The sun was already blazing hot. I was in trouble.

Despite this I tried to keep my optimism, less than 30 minutes of suffering. That was all I had to do. The race started and I was actually doing well with this. I ended up running my fastest mile ever according to my garmin. But then things went downhill… as I went uphill. Leading up to the hill was a stretch of direct sunlight. I’ve mentioned before I’m sensitive to the sun, I had a hat and sunglasses on but they only do me so well. So I’m feeling bad from the sun, and then I get to the uphill. I’m trying really hard to get myself to keep running, even if it’s slow. But I had to stop and walk or I would have been sick. I walk the uphill then start running again as I cross the start line where the cheer section is. I pass my smiling waving friends and I try to smile back but I’m miserable and feel awful.

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I end up walking a lot of the second lap, I’m pulling out as many positive thoughts as I can but it’s not doing me much good. There’s a downhill shaded section of the course that feels amazing, and just after there’s the water station. But after that it’s all sun until the hill for the last km. I’m prepping myself to just power through 5-6 minutes and I’ll be done.A man who lives on the street has set up a sprinkler to spray us and has water out. This man is the greatest man. But the hilly course and the sun are doing quite the number on me, I’m less than 500m from the end and I’m walking. I feel better about this though because everyone around me is walking too.  Misery loves company so this gives me just enough strength to finally power up and finish as strong as a possibly could in that moment. Crossing the finish line after just a minute of running I was seriously ready to be sick or pass out. I wasn’t sure which so I just headed for shade immediately and then went in to the building and headed for the bathroom to splash some water on my face. Not even caring about my friends, figuring I’d find them later.

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The Beamsville Bench 5k is awful. There’s only a very small section of flat (where the sun is shining bright) the rest is all rolling hills plus the climb up to the finish. The late start time at the end of July just makes this even worse. It is the perfect setting if you want to torture yourself to the point of near puking and/or passing out.

The redeeming quality? The post race festivities. What’s a race at a winery without a free glass of wine? Bonus, my friends who came with me also got a free glass of wine and did not have to pay the $5 admission for this wine and – wait for it – food truck fest! The age group winners also received a bottle of wine (I so did not win my age group, I came 6) There was also free food for the runners, the standard Niagara running series food, pizza from Boston Pizza, some granola bars and a banana. We sat in some shade in the grass while I ate and we waited for the food truck fest to open.

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About quarter to 12 they announced the fest opened. We were given our free souvenir plastic wine glass, our fest bracelet and then got in line for our wine (I got red). We then explored the food truck offerings. They had quite a few trucks there, I can’t remember exactly how many but probably around 10. As I had already eaten I only had 1 truck in my sights. Ice cream. While I was feeling much better and pretty well recovered from the race, I was definitely feeling ice cream. It was create your own ice cream sandwich and it alone was worth the horrible 30 minutes and 47 seconds it took my to run (and walk) 5k. This is actually technically a PR for me as it is my fastest timed 5k as it’s been nearly a year since I did one and my last was part of a 13k event (and I also felt awful during that one). But 3 minutes off what I had completed and where I was expecting the race to go.

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We all got our desired food and then sat under a large tent they’d set up with chairs for people to sit and escape the sun. They also had water cooler out for everyone to get some water which was possibly the nicest touch for the whole event. When do you ever go to an event that has free water for people?

Other good things? They had timers at all the km markers on the route with the race time, it was nice having that without have to check your watch. And the course was actually really great, if it wasn’t so hot I would have enjoyed it as I do love my hilly road runs.

The Peach Bud has a start mat for chip time so i was sad to see they did not have one for this race so results are based on gun time which is unfortunate because people were every slow to get moving so it took some time to get to start line even though I was pretty close to the front.

I would not recommend this race, unless you super love torturous 5ks. The late start time in late July heat just make this race too awful to consider. If it had a more appropriate start time I’d reconsider, but 10:30 is just ridiculous and I do not understand why they didn’t start it early. Anything later than 9 for a summer race is not worth it. Skip the race and just save your money for the wine and food truck admission and awesome food there.

But hey, least I got some extra points for my series championship total and had a great time hanging with some friends at the festival after.

Peach Bud 10k

Last race of the season complete!

A big motivation for me signing up for this was when I couldn’t perform as well as I’d hoped at the MEC Race 2 10k back in May. I needed a do over.

This local race is part of the Niagara Running Series, I ran one other of the races this year, the Grimsby 10k where due to the small number of participants (it was February and -30C that day) I was able to easily place in my age group. This race I knew would be harder to place but I’ve improved so much in the last month I was up for the challenge.

This race was held on Tuesday night (night before Canada Day) with the 10k starting at 7:30. Worked well for me as it gave me plenty of time to get there after work. What did not give me plenty of time was same-day race kit pick up, you had from 5pm-7pm to get your kit. I left work at 6pm which is about 30 minutes away without traffic. Schools out now so traffic wasn’t bad. But every time is slowed I started freaking out. I ended getting there at 6:35 so I really didn’t need to worry, but still it was a stressful situation. I big improvement for this race would be to offer kit pick-up somewhere the day before.

By the time I had arrived the kids 1k was underway so access to the parking lot was blocked and I had to park on a nearby side street, not too far away. I jogged over to the arena the kit pick-up was in because I was still in high anxiety mode. Got my bib, my t-shirt and my kit. Which was actually just a bag of fliers…

Quick stopped at the bathroom (yay short line!) and I went back to my car to drop the bag off and get my ipod since I forgot it on the way in.

And then it was waiting game. I mostly just wandered around inside and outside. The 5k started at 7:00 so we started seeing them come in before the 10k which was nice. 10 minutes to start and I did a light warm-up jog again to get warm since it was a bit cool out, perfect temperature for a race though! This is when I know I might have a problem, my legs were feeling heavy and not up for speed. I didn’t let that bother me then and just shook them out trying to get loose.

At 7:30 we’re off. There was a last minute change to the course and instead of the usual loop we were to do 2 loops of the 5k course. I was worried about this, I didn’t know how the loop would affect my head, it didn’t bother me during MEC Race 3 so I was hopeful but still concerned.

The race actually went really really well for me. My legs stuck in their stubborn way to not move as fast as they could, so my speed wasn’t where it could have been. But I pushed myself the entire time, I remained positive, any doubts in myself I was able to quickly brush away. I hadn’t had a race go so well mentally all season. And I finally ran a race where every single split was below 6:00 min/km! My slowest km was at 8k with a pace of 5:58 but that was during a hilly section and Strava actually put my GAP at 5:41 for that and aside from it every other km was actually below 5:48!

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I’m really proud of that last km, my lungs were not having a good time by this point as I’d been solidly pushing myself though 9km which included 2, 2k sections of rolling hills. I didn’t even slow down for the water stations aside from the amount necessary to get water into my mouth, and I still just mostly got the water all over me. I really tried to put everything I had into that last 1-2km and I think I succeeded pretty well, my final sprint was far slower than it has been in recent races (peaked at 4:35, about 30s slower than other sprints) which means I didn’t have too much left in the tank by the end, and my lungs were definitely feeling the burn.

Official chip time: 56:59

Squeezing in to nab that sub 57! So glad I picked it up even more when I saw the gun time clock cross 57 minutes. I was pretty close to the start line at gun time so I thought I’d missed the sub 57 so I was pleasantly surprised when I checked my time to see 56.

On another day my time would have been a lot faster (figured I’d be able to do a sub 56 and possibly push for a sub 55), but my legs were just not up for speed that day. I still pushed them through to a PB by over a minute and a half so I think that says a lot more than if I my legs were feeling fast. I couldn’t get them to move as fast as they’re capable of, but I didn’t let that stop me and still managed a significant PR. If I can manage a performance like this on a sluggish day, imagine what I can do when the cards line up perfectly on race day?

Post race was alright. Nuun was there! Loved that! Food was pizza from Boston Pizza, banana and a granola bar, not the best but hey, pizza!

I didn’t stay for the award ceremony since it didn’t start until 9 and I’d already confirmed I had not placed. So I made an uncomfortable walk back to my car as I’d apparently developed a blister on my foot (stupid shoes!!!). And then grabbed my phone so I could show off my adorable medal!

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Peach Bud Review

Overall the race experience was well put together, great aid stations, there was 5 for the 10k, 1 with Gatorade, as well as a fire hose to run through and a sponge station. It was a cool night so these weren’t necessary (though I did run through the hose on my second lap just for kicks), but could have been a life savour on another night. T-shirt is pretty nice, by the same company that made the Mississauga shirts actually, but this is a much smoother fabric and I may actually wear this one. The women’s shirt is blue with nice capped sleeves and features my favourite little peach buddy!

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The series could do with some better communication with the runners, they don’t send out any emails before the race and the website is not well maintained, they had the old 10k course map up until just a few days before so I’m sure most people did not know of the course change until they got there. But once you’re there everything is well done and they added chip time results which is great! The last race I did with them was gun time only so having the start line mat was great since it was a much bigger crowd at this race.

MEC Burlington Race 3 Recap & Review

Flashback to one year ago, Race 3, my first race ever when I did the 5k. I said then I’d be back next year to do the 15. And so I stuck to that promise.

Now that I’ve completed each of the MEC Burlington Race courses I can honestly say the course for Race 3 is my favourite of the series and one of my favourite course all round. Using LaSalle Park in Burlington as the start and end point, this course hits all the Northshore hills, and if you’re doing the 15, hits the big ones twice.

I had a less than ideal race morning. I’d forgotten to reset my alarm and slept in. Luckily a well timed notification set my phone off and woke me up within time. Still a bit stressed and rushing to leave I headed for the race and made a pit stop at a Tim Hortons near the park to use the bathroom. Opting to stop there instead of getting in line at the LaSalle Park bathrooms. As I’m ready to turn on to Northshore I see a line of cars waiting to get in to the park, the parking lot looks pretty filled up and I quickly learn one of the staff members is directly cars to turn around and park at a nearby school or marina. Luckily I knew this area well by now after Around the Bay training and knew where to find the school he mentioned, not too far from the park at all, probably under 800m, so not bad.

I was bummed though I wouldn’t have my car near the start, as that’s a handy thing but knew it was my fault for not getting there earlier.

I completely forgot to pick up my race Bib the night before so after parking my car and jogging back to the start I got my Bib and lined up for my chip timer. I made good timing there, soon after the line for the chips exploded. Soon Ryan is announcing that due to the unexpected amount of runners (100 more or so than any race they’ve held before) things were taking longer and they were going to delay the start 15 minutes to make sure everyone was ready.

I thought this was super nice but I was getting worried, it was getting warm and only going to get warmer. And the sun was already beating down on us and I remembered during my rush to get there I forgot my sunscreen. Also I was getting a bit thirsty.

Just after 9 the 15k runners are called to line up on the road at the start line(the 10k and 5k started 15 minutes after us). There Ryan gives us the route instructions and wants to make them very clear so we stay on route as there were some mishaps at race 1 and 2. For the 15k we run the 5k loop, then keep going to complete the 10k loop. This process required us to make a turn on the first go, and to keep going on the second.

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I’m right in front of the stop sign, white hat, red shirt, purple shorts!

9:15 and we’re off. We head south/west down Northshore which means we’re doing the bowl first. For a beginner runner who doesn’t know the course, this will kill you, trust me I know it was me last year. I’d never even run downhill at that point. It was strange and then going uphill immediately after, my poor past self didn’t know what was happening. This year I knew it was coming, I was prepared and have run these hills countless times. I was good. 1k in we hit the first water station. This course is filled with water stations and it turned out to be the greatest thing ever… But we’ll get to that. 1k may seem like odd placement for a water station but remember the 15k passes by this twice so it’s also the 6k water station and very necessary. I grabbed a cup here to take a sip since I was already thirsty and kept going. The next few km I’m doing good, there’s another hill around 2k, all good. At 3k another water station, take a little sip. Still good. As were heading downhill back to Northshore things begin their turn for the worse for me.

I start wishing I’d taken more than a sip at that last station. Also while a pretty shady course, and I have a hat, the sun is starting to get to me. I kept telling myself just make it through the LaSalle hills then the water station is right there.

Well I made it up those 2 hills, but I was really feeling it then. I could feel a headache starting to come on. This is not what you want 5k in to a 15k. I knew I needed to stop or I would develop a migraine. I tried to make it until I had the water station in my sights but I didn’t. I started walking, I walked for awhile. Saw the water station then jogged to it then hung there drinking water for a moment. Back to the race. I start to jog, but I’m not feeling good, the migraine is still threatening to come in and I seriously contemplate turning around and calling it quits. So I start walking again. And I don’t start running again until I feel a bit better and have decided I’m crossing that finish line even if I’m delirious.

The next 9k I spent taking it easy to avoid a headache and counted down how much longer until the next water station. Thankfully there were 6 total on course, every 2-3km. Best ever. If it weren’t for the amount of water and the fairly shaded route this race would have definitely gone even worse for me. One of my friends was also volunteering at the race so it was great seeing her on the course since the rest of our friends couldn’t make it out for this one.

Finally back on Northshore and the final water station, the man at this one was my favourite as he started walking towards me with water stretched out and told me to feel free to have another as I slowed to a walk. This was my plan anyways but it was just such a pleasant moment during an awful race. Sweetest man.

Last station meant 2k left of solid hills. Don’t mind the hill’s though! The course ends with the slow climb back to LaSalle which I’ve now fully learned is a very hard thing to try to sprint up even when you’re ready to just gun it to the finish to get this misery over with.

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On the left there, climb climb climbing. This is the first climb up the hill to LaSalle park when I’m still all nice and optimistic about this race.

This race they added an extra mat near the finish and were announcing the runners as they came through which was a great addition to see added. I got a little extra shout out from Ryan as I came through being a regular of the MEC meet ups and my twitter habits promoting them, made me smile.

While an almost complete disaster for me I still love the race it’s really an amazing course loaded with water stations!

And as always for this year we got not only a banana but also Nuun and Cliff Bars. ‘There’s Nuun at the finish’ was a mantra for me during the race.

In the end I finished just under 1:35, on a better day I wouldn’t have had a problem coming in under 1:30 but that was not the case, and my time is still pretty damn decent considering the amount I walked and how slow I took the last 10k.

Overall the race was the smoothest of the 3 this year, just the minor hiccup with the chip pick up due to the massive influx in runners. The water stations were fabulous they also had buckets with sponges for people to cool off to help eliminate the cup waste. Great idea! And I loved that they added the extra mat to announce runners as they came though. Given the small size of the race and that it attracts so many speedsters, the announcing really help keep things going for the back of the packers.