Monday, June 01, 2009

Toronto Women's Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday was the inaugural Toronto Women's Half Marathon. With promises of firefighters and chocolate, the event sold out at 1000 all the way back in November. Fortunately, I (and many of my friends) signed up as soon as we found out about it. Something tells me I'm going to have to be quick when registration opens for 2010.

I went downtown with a couple friends on Friday after work to pick up my race kit. No race expo, but we did get some goodies and a nice shirt.

Being my 4th half marathon in 5 weeks, I didn't have any specific goals or expectations for this race. I wanted to have fun, enjoy the firefighters and chocolate and see what I could do.

The alarm went off at 5AM and I was excited. We were out the door (hubby being chauffeur) at 5:45 to pick-up my Mom and the rest of our cheer squad (little sister and her boyfriend). We arrived at Sunnybrook Park around 6:30 with plenty of time to spare before the 8AM start.

After the heat in Ottawa last weekend, I welcomed the sunny but cool morning (about 6C/43F at the start). Thanks to my support crew, I was able to keep my 'warm-ups' on until the last minute.

The starting area was well-organized, with the exception of not enough toilets. I know there never seem to be enough toilets, but there were only 8. I mean, come on!

There were no other issues and we just hung around for a bit before I met up with my friends who were all wearing matching costumes. Here we are when we finally got brave enough to shed our warm layers.



Those of us in the first wave lined up to start just before 8AM. Here we are shivering as we waited for the gun to go off.



Those are my fast friends, Natasha and Paricia, who easily run 1:45 halfs. I had decided to start the race with them, even though I knew I wouldn't be able to keep up. I was hoping we could get a picture together on the course, which I think we did.

I held on for a few kilometres before backing off when I remembered that I didn't want to die during the second half.

(Patricia went on to run a PR of 1:42, placed 2nd in her age group and 22nd overall!)

The course followed paved park trails and consisted of more than one out-and-back. It was fun because I got to see familiar faces along the course, which proved to be a great distraction from feeling tired. I even got to see Marci a couple times (and tried, but failed, at a high five... more than once).



The path was somewhat narrow but didn't pose much of a problem, except for a few sections when it was pretty crowded. There were several sharp turns, bridges and short but steep hills throughout the course, which made it a bit of a challenge but kept things interesting - just how I like it.

The best part was the 10K aid station (which we passed again around 16 or 17K) - shirtless firefighters handing out gatorade and water. It was so much fun!



Quick note on fueling: I followed my usual HM system of 2 gels, one at 7K and one at 14K. I took a few sips of water at each aid station and gatorade a few times. No dumping cups of water on my head this time. I didn't have to walk once, which was a big improvement over last weekend. I think I'm getting better at drinking from the cups while running, too.

I felt okay, but my average pace gradually slowed as the kilometres ticked by. Around the half way point, I knew I couldn't PR (<1:52:29), but I also knew I could easily finish under 2:00, which was a great feeling.

Between seeing friends along the way and receiving tons of compliments on the outfit from spectators, volunteers and fellow runners, the time was flying by. Surprisingly, the skirt didn't bother me at all. Actually, I can't wait to wear it again!

Before long, I approached the 19K chocolate station. "Dark chocolate on the left, milk chocolate on the right!" I took a piece of milk chocolate, but it was way too dry and I had to throw it away after a small bite. I also grabbed a wrapped Cadbury Thins bar, which I held onto for the remainder of the race.

Before long, I could see the finish line. I picked it up throughout the last kilometre and gunned it when I saw the clock ticking toward 1:55.





Chip time 1:54:59
F25-29 10/62
Overall 101/923




It was my second-fastest half marathon and I'm definitely pleased with the result. After number 7, I've really grown to love the half marathon distance, but I have a few fun races coming up and then it's time to officially begin training for redemption.



Thanks for reading and for all of your comments on Mom's race report yesterday.

35 comments:

lindsay said...

top 10 ag what what! :) congrats on a great half! those skirt-thingys are awesome. can't believe you only grabbed one piece of chocolate. i think my finish line would have been there ;)

Melanie Tait (Mel Tries to Run) said...

Marlene - well done! You're such a trooper! That time is fantastic!

Mel-2nd Chances said...

yummy firemen and chocolate! :D love the medal too! Wish i was there,, hopefully next year. Well done!!

runsarah said...

What an awesome marathon...firement? chocolate? can it get any better? Love your guys costumes too. Top 10 in AG? too awesome!!

J said...

Seriously I wish I lived closer and could run that race! Chocolate, firemen and running sounds like a good time!! Great job on the race!!

Mama said...

Sounds like a great race! (And thanks for the lovely fireman picture LOL)

MCM Mama

jawsome said...

Awesome outfit and awesome time! I wish we had more halves around here for me to run! Can't wait to move and have more options to run!

Marci said...

It was nice "running" into you! I thought it was such a fun event, I'm glad I ran it, great job!

Runner Leana said...

Congratulations on your race! Sounds like an amazing event for sure. I also thank you whole heartedly for the picture of the shirtless firefighter.

Erik said...

Congrats!

I LOVE that medal!!

E

Denise said...

Um...shirtless firefighters handing out gatorade? I LOVE it!!! I would have just hung out at that water station for the race.

D10 said...

Cut outfit! I like how you say you have a few fun races coming up. All your races seem fun and you don't ever stop racing!

Love the medal. Again, great job.

joyRuN said...

Oh man! I thought the race was already awesome from the firefighter & chocolate aid stations, then I saw that MEDAL!! Love the medal!!!

Great great job, Marlene :)

Mark said...

Marlene, you are really running great! Congrats on a race well run!

Toni said...

Firefighters and chocolate? Sounds like a great race! Great job!

Lily on the Road said...

Looks like fun, maybe next year!! The route is where I use to run when I lived in T.O. I lived on Wynford....too cool

Jess said...

Congrats on such an awesome job! Love those shirtless firefighters!

JenZen said...

What a great race report and I LOVE me some of them nekid firemen!! YUMMY!! :D That would've motivated me to run like crazy.

I'm so jealous that you have all these halfs to run. After April they pretty much die here - too hot. :( Way to rock another great race!

Marcy said...

Very nice job chica! Still a very impressive time ;D Whoot!

Oooooo la la firemen LOL

X-Country2 said...

Great race! Love the skirt, love the medal, and LOVE the hottie firemen. Yum.

Marky Mark said...

Glad you enjoyed it! Looking forward to hearing about the plan for redemption (even it means your crushing my time from last year).

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

I admit... I looked at the shirtless FF three times. YUM!

You rocked chic!!!!! love the report and pixs. Nicely done!!!

Heather said...

Another great half for you! Way to go.

I could have used a close up of those half-naked firefighters. Yum. :)

chris mcpeake said...

Sounds like a lot of fun. You are racing up a storm thats for sure. As for building up mileage its slow but steady.. not that hard but the trick is to hopefully not get injured (fingers crossed).

trialsoftraining said...

This makes me want to go run another half!!! You totally rocked it - sad about the dry chocolate - but haha umm, shirtless Firefighters probably made up for it. ;)

congrats on a great race!!! Love it love it, keep 'em comin! :)

Jamie said...

Seriously yummy firefighters! Congrats on the race!!! Great job! And awesome pics!

Cindy said...

great job!! hot damn, those firefighters sure are buff. i seriously need to enter a race with some shirtless men handing out stuff!

Cindy said...

great job!! hot damn, those firefighters sure are buff. i seriously need to enter a race with some shirtless men handing out stuff!

RunMom said...

Hey stumbled across your blog today and am now following along (that'd be me, the headless picture of me and my daughter that I can NOT seem to figure out how to change)

And I was supposed to give out some blog awards today(long story) and if you had done nothing more than post for us all that delicious picture of the firemen I think I would have given it to you. But you also made me laugh so that just sealed the deal. You can view your award here Secrets of A Running Mom

EndorphinBuzz said...

Congrats, this is a pretty decent time!!! I like the medal too.

I wonder if I could lie on my application and run this, it looks like such a fun race.

IMama said...

You did great!! and it was soooo much fun :) I put the skirt on a safe place ready for next year :)

Jenn said...

That's amazing! I am so in for next year!

eatingfree said...

Wow, I am totally inspired by your time!! Great job!

Fair Weather Runner said...

1. you rock

2. your costume rocks

3. you are a HM machine, i wanna be like marlene! :)

you are inspiring me to work on my half times along with my 10K times.

aron said...

seriously you are a racing machine!!! soooo awesome! congrats on another great half! halves are my favorite distance, but we have none going on right now! boooo. you are lucky to have all these fun races!