Before the Race
Friday I went to the expo to pick up my race kit. STWM has a virtual goodie bag so the physical bad itself did not contain a lot – mainly the race shirt, bib, and these Sweet Thins cookie things (that are starting to grow on me!). Pick up was pretty easy, I went around 6:00pm and there was no line – plus they organized it very well so that there would be plenty of room if there was a line to avoid bottleneck.
First you get your bib then your shirt with the bag before getting you chip tested. Look, there’s my number!
The expo had a lot to offer (compared to the Goodlife expo) in terms of booths. To list a few, there was a Running Room boot, Garmin booth, Saucony booth, Polar booth, Mizuno booth, and of course a Black Toe Running booth, and more! You could say that my credit card was starting to get nervous! But unfortunately for me (and lucky for my credit card) I did not have enough time to hit up all the booth (Sorry Krysten! I was so looking forward to meeting you at the Polar booth!) however I did have time to finally meet Michelle! She was working the Mizuno both and of course I ended up with a new winter top (because breathe thermo is kind of really cool! Can I get more?!)
I also swung by the Black Toe Running booth and got an awesome shirt. Say hi to Mike guys!
And of course… the Brooks x Running Free booth got a lot of loving. I totally regret not getting these super adorable ear warmer ): I also saw Kate Van Buskirk and squealed a wee bit right before paying haha. I also saw Sarah who helped me pick out a race souvenir shirt!
All in all, I quite enjoyed the expo despite not being able to check everything out! Here’s what I ended up leaving the expo with.
Day of the Race
My obligatory pre-race picture of my outfit! A Black Toe Running singlet, Nike sports bra and arm warmers, New Balance shorts, Brooks Running socks, Sunskis sunglasses, and ClifBar ShotBlocks!
So you know how they say “don’t do anything new on race day?” Well my roommates ordered pizza and woke me up at 1 am for a slice. Yes, we live like teenage boys without parental supervision. And since that’s just how things worked around her, I of course couldn’t just have one slice… so after two slices, I went back to sleep. Yes, you read that right. Sleep -> pizza -> sleep -> race! Crazy? Maybe. Normal? Yep!
I ended up waking up around 6am, wandered the house a bit, ate some almonds and bread, then got dressed and left. Parking wasn’t bad as we went with underground parking and we slowly made out way over to the start line.
We met up with some Black Toe teammates and went to the port-a-potties before anxiously making our way over to our corrals. These two pictures were taken by Jess of our teammate Cynthia who was freaking amazing and cheered us on/raced despite smashing Chicago right beforehand!
And there’s me in the corrals repping Black Toe!
and lucky for me, my friend Sherman (who guest blogged here) decided to pace me because I was terrified of attempting a 1:59.
Okay, prepare for my unfiltered thoughts throughout my splits
Feeling good! Look it’s me! Can you spot me?!
Okay, I’m good. I’ve got this. Feeling pretty good!
LOL SHERMAN IS TEXTING. TEXTING AND STILL ON PACE. WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?
LOOK it’s KATE! And Seq (Her gorgeous bernese mountain dog)
OMG who called my name? OMG it’s babe! HI BABE. I love you! He usually never shows up during a race minus the start and finish line haha so this was a HUGE surprise! (he ends up rotating the phone after a bit. I’m around the end! Tell me if you spot me!)
So man, there’s so many people! Overwhelmed!
OH HEY IT’S CAPTAIN KERRY. Hi!
Omg Black Toe! I love you guys so much. One of my teammates (Mridu) highfived me which led to a chain of highfives and omg I’ve never been happier! I was honestly about to cry afterwards – the love and support Black Toe gave was just so loving! I can’t even describe it. They were so loud and supportive, I love them! <3
YES DOWNHILL – kind of.
HEATHER! HI! Tribe Fitness you are amazing! I always love seeing you guys at races! Lots of cheering and photos!
Man my hips are tight.
Why are my hips not loosening. Ugh my core is cold, why isn’t it warming up?
Oh look at the elites go! We are so Canadian haha. All of us are cheering for them! Go elites go!
OH IT’S BLACK TOE RUNNERS! HI! GO AVERY GO. KYLEEEEE GO KYLE. (how I had so much energy to cheer them on I do not know but I was just so happy seeing them) Oh hey maybe I can see Mike. Matt just ran by and he’s gunning for 1:30 so Mike has to be near by. Whoa is that Ryan? HEY INSTAGRAM BUDDY
Argh I’m hurting. This all hurts. My hips!
My stomach is cold ): Sherman is leaving me to go pee. Okay we will meet back up at the 13k mark. That’s right, Sherman’s actual pace is fast enough that he can go to the bathroom after leaving me, pee, and catch up without it being difficult for him. Damnit Sherman!
Sherman I’m so tired. Sherman don’t leave me. Oh my god this is a hill.
I HATE HILLS. And as I was whining about the hill internally, Jess came up behind me…and past me! She is on point with hitting her marathon goal.
My hipssssssssssss. Why am I hurting so much. My legs do not want to keep moving
I’m dying. dying. dying.
Who called my name? CLARE. HI. OMG. I’m so happy to see you! Since I’m practically dying, seeing Clare made me so happy! I have someone cheering for me! Woo <3 Thanks for the awesome pic!
I’m going to cry a little now. I’m so tired!
I hear my name! Oh my goodness. Wing! Wing you got this! She looks so strong and I cannot believe this is only the half way mark for her! She’s got this in the bag
I think I’m going to cry. Oh my goodness, I’m I want die! But hey, it feels shorter than last year! Sherman’s chatting really helped. I needed this
I’m so close! SO CLOSE! THERE’S THE 500m MARK! YES YES YES OMG POTHOLE. Crap. Of course I stepped into a pothole with my bad side. Everything hurts twice as much now. Oh my god. SHERMAN HELP ME. Sherman’s response? You see that girl there? CHASE HER. I of course could barely chase her now with a bad hip but damn I am going to try. I could literally SEE the finish line. Then Carla, who paces with me during interval training was there! Cheering! Of course walking was out of the question. So I got my ass in gear, and went for it. Praying that I wouldn’t die. There may be some sad whimpering noises coming out of me for 500m but there’s the finish line.
0:35 – 234m
I’M DONE. I’M DONE. I’M DONE.
Whew! That was one hard hard. At the beginning I was in the mindset of “this is just a long run. Don’t worry. Breathe.” I knew that if my groin strain was to act up, I’d drop to 6:00 min/k and treat it as a long run. However, in the back of my mind, I was dying to run a sub 2. I’ve honestly never wanted anything so badly before. Sub 2. Sub 2. Sub 2!
Sherman, my pace bunny, was amazing. He talked me through the whole way which made the race seem so much shorter than last year (and there seemed to be more spectators too which really helped!). He kept me calm and led me to a speedy start to help make up for the hills and head wind that he knew would be ahead of us.
I was so happy seeing so many familiar faces on the course and it really made my day and the cheering from the crowd was crazy! And I totally fan girled when I saw Lanni Marchant and Mindy Flemming run by because hello? speedy Canadians ladies?
Throughout most of the race, my hips were being freakishly tight and my core was strangely cold, nothing I’ve ever experienced but I kept pushing through hoping that it’d go away (shocker: it didn’t). It was a painful race for me and unluckily for me, I went into a pothole in the last 500m mark which tweaked my right hip some more so sprinting the end was completely off the table. I ended up PR-ing with 2:00:58 which was 6:02 faster than I did last year so despite not hitting my goal, I’m pretty happy with what I ran.
After the Race
When I was done, I could barely move. I was walking as slow as a snail and I use the word walking loosely. I was dragging my right leg behind me and I just wanted to sit down. The bottle neck after the finish line was once again present but it was not as bad as last year so I’m pretty happy with that. I saw my running buddy of 4-5 years at the finish area as he was a volunteer and I was over the moon! He hugged me and I cried and kept going “I did it! I finished!” I was about to be an emotional mess.
I was holding back from whimpers and as I made my way though the crowd slowly towards Nathan Phillip Square, I saw my boyfriend right before the turn for the food station and I literally went over to collapse on him and cry some more. He asked me if I wanted to go to the food station and I said no. The guy beside him jokingly said that I had to as part of the race experience and at this point I was delirious and crying so of course I went “I don’t want their stupid food! :'( I don’t want it!!” insert an ugly cry snort/hiccup “I don’t want a bagel!!!!!” Sorry sir, I don’t mean it to be rude but at this point I was so physically done at this point, I just didn’t want to line up for a bagel and banana. As you can see, I was probably crazy at this point and my boyfriend had to carry me over to a wall so I could try and stretch out my hips. I, of course, cried some more at the wall about how I was so happy I finished and that I Pr-ed and that “I DID IT!” I have never cried so much in my life at a race so I have no idea what in the world came over me.
Then… in my most unladylike/runner-like moment, I flattly stated to him “I think I have to poop.” He laughed and that’s when he took me home (via dragging me to the car since I couldn’t work my leg).
So there you have it! I ended up taking a hot Epsom bath and took a long nap and woke up at 7 pm then proceeded to eat EVERYTHING in sight. So will I do it again? Yes. I ran 2:00:58 and would love to try to do a sub 2 on this course again next year. Whew that was a LONG post. Thank you SO much for reading all of this! and THANK YOU to all the volunteers and the Canadian Running Series who made this all possible!