With our car packed to the brim with 3 other runners and all of our gear, we left around 5:30 to head downtown and parked near the finish. We easily caught a cab to drop us all off up at the start line with more than an hour to go before the race. (Shuttles were offered for a fee, but we decided it would be more cost-effective to share a cab since there were 5 of us.) We wandered through the corrals to the spot where we had agreed to meet some of our other friends, and kept each other company before it was time to make one last pit stop and head out for a warm-up.
It was comfortably cool (about 8C/46F) but pretty windy - luckily the wind would be mostly from the side (east) as we made our way south to the finish line. Hubs was still rocking his child-sized warm-up duds:
I managed to spot fellow Nolan's Dream Chaser lilmeg while waiting for the start - we were both easy to recognize in our matching fluorescent orange team shirts and cheetah running skirts. [complete outfit pictured at bottom]
It was quickly starting to get crowded so we headed back toward the front corrals and started a little warm-up run as a group. We ran into these guys - best costumes for sure!
|Who came first?? [It was a tie!] |
Our group had mostly separated by now, except for Nikki, Kevin and myself who had agreed to start together. We wormed our way through the crowds to our corral in the first wave, getting as close to the front as we could. We peeled of our warm-ups and I sucked back a gel just before the gun went off.
Unfortunately I don't have splits. From past experience at this race, the Garmin signal goes totally wonky with all the high rises downtown. For that reason, I decided to turn off AutoLap and hit the lap button myself at the kilometre markers. Well that was a giant fail on my part. I caught the first two, but then I kept missing them and totally gave up on it.
Anyway, on to the race! The 3 of us set off at a 4:30 pace (=45 min. 10K) and kept each other in check to start. We chatted a bit, took in the sights and sounds around us (including a man in a trench coat being dragged off in handcuffs by two police officers!) and settled in.
The first few KM were ticking by quickly and Nikki and I started getting faster. We were cruising at around a 4:20 pace at this point. Kevin hung back as the two of us continued making our way down Yonge Street side by side.
We were working hard but still chatting occasionally, and Nikki kept a close eye on our time, letting me know how we were doing as we hit each marker. We were gradually gaining time and were comfortably ahead of our target pace.
It's a significantly downhill course, but has its fair share of small inclines as well - which felt more like mountains at this pace! We continued flying on the downhills, hanging on for dear life on the uphills and cruising on the flats.
I took note of our 5K split: 21:38. Realizing that this was only 4 seconds slower than my 5K PR made me slightly nervous, but I felt great and knew I had plenty in the tank for the second half.
By 6K, we were more than a minute ahead and checked in with each other to make sure we were both doing okay. We repeatedly encouraged one another to run ahead if we felt like it, but I think we were both working just about as hard as we wanted to. We pretty much stopped looking at the pace at this point, and just pushed. We worked very well off of one another, pulling each other along as we got into that last few kilometres and it started getting really tough.
There were bands approximately every mile and plenty of support out on the course, but I wasn't paying much attention; I was in the zone.
At 7K we made the first turn of the entire course and I knew we were headed (somewhat) toward the finish. 3K still seemed like a long way, but there was no slowing down now.
After a couple more turns we could see the bridge that would take us to Fort York for the finish. People seemed to be slowing down (or we were speeding up) and we had to do a bit of weaving. Somehow, Nikki and I remained stride for stride. Soon the finish line was in sight and we turned it on for that final stretch. I would love to know our last kilometre split.
We crossed the line and looked at each other in disbelief. We had killed it! I was shocked at the time. I was hoping for sub-45 and thought that low 44's might be feasible on a great day.
Chip time: 43:07.5*
Average pace: 4:18/KM (6:56/mi)
After collecting our shirts, medals and some fluids/grub, we rounded up all of our friends and were pumped to learn that every single one of us (13 in total) ran a PR that day, many by a minute or more. What a great morning for the Newmarket Marathon Clinic!
We all headed out for a decadent brunch at The Hot House to celebrate.
|good food + good friends|