Sunday, May 31, 2009

Guest Post: Mom's 5K Race Report

Marlene asked me to write a paragraph for her blog about my very first run/walk today at the Toronto Womens Half Marathon/5K.

Marlene has been a huge inspiration to me. I decided to try this out for myself back in September, which is when I signed up for the Womens 5K. I started training with the Couch to 5K program on my iPod and was doing pretty well until my/our life was turned upside down earlier this year.

(Side note from Marlene – I mentioned a couple months ago that I was going through a rough time. It has been a difficult year for my family and Mom has taken the brunt of it.)

I lost interest in the training and wasn’t even sure I was going to do the walk/run.

With urging from my daughters, I decided to go ahead and try. I reached my goal today and was very pleased with the way I felt during and after. I listened to music and I did have some emotional feelings during the walk. I did it and in pretty good time, less than an hour.*

I have already signed up for the Toronto Waterfront 5K in September, along with my youngest daughter.

Thanks Marlene for being an amazing daughter and sister. You are an inspiration to all of us!!

*Mom is being modest here; her time was 46:11!

Don't mind my goofy expression...


I'm SO proud of her and thrilled that she has already signed up for her next event, along with my little sister.

I'll be back with my HM report tomorrow!

Friday, May 29, 2009


This afternoon I picked up my race kit for the Toronto Women's Half taking place this Sunday.

The top is nice and we got some great goodies.

I also picked up my 'costume' - a group of us will be dressed in these funky skirts with matching hair-ties.

Hopefully it won't drive me crazy!

I'm really looking forward to the event. It should be a great environment with all the ladies, some special treats along the way (firefighters! chocolate!) and my Mom is run/walking her first 5K!

Good luck to all the racers this weekend, especially Chic Runner who will be running her first marathon in San Diego!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Valiant Effort

I can handle the rain, but this... a little too difficult to navigate.

I must be crazy, because I still gave it a shot. I ran a warm-up lap and slogged straight through the puddle lake on the track, thinking maybe it wasn't too deep. WRONG! It was pouring rain as I splashed my way through the ankle-deep water, and all I could do was laugh. It was actually kind of fun, but would have been more fun in rubber boots. Two minutes into my workout and my feet and shoes were 100% water-logged, but I wasn't ready to give up just yet. I tried a few modified laps where I ran back and forth, turning around when I reached the flooding, but the sharp stops/turns were killing me. It was also impossible to keep track of my distance - isn't the whole purpose of track running to have a set 400m lap?

Anyway, after a few sloppy non-laps I decided to throw in the towel and went for a wet run through the neighbourhood instead. Here I am after 10K in the rain.

I'm disappointed that my first track workout didn't go as planned, but as they say... try try again!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Track Virgin

That's right, I have never trained on a track (at least, not since elementary school). The handful of times I have completed intervals, it has been on quiet residential streets or the treadmill. Even running Yasso's with my clinic, we were running an 800m loop comprised of two residential blocks.

I've discovered that I can't seem to push myself hard enough to complete my intervals at goal pace when running by myself out on the streets, and I refuse to run on the treadmill in the spring/summer/fall. It's time to hit the track, starting tonight!

Hubby and I scoped out a local high school track last night that looks pretty decent. Unfortunately it's been raining all day long and it looks like it will continue through the evening, but that's not going to stop me. The track is gravel, so it shouldn't be too messy - right?!

Why the sudden interest in track workouts? I have a local 5K coming up in July, the same event where I placed first in my age group last year. This year, I intend to break 23:00.

Tonight's workout:

1.5mi warm-up
3 x 1600m at ~7:14/mi (~1:48/400m) (=4:30/km)
1.5mi cool-down

I completed a similar workout on the treadmill back in April so here's hoping I can make it happen on the track.

Any last minute advice? I don't even know how close to the inside I should be running for a 400m lap, but I guess I can figure that out on the warm-up. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Marathon Redemption

I've registered for marathon #2!

September 27, 2009

I had originally planned to run the Toronto Marathon in October this year, but most of the group that I will be training with all summer will be working towards this event, so I've decided to go with the flow. A number of factors influenced my decision, but the primary reason is for the support I will have on race day. It's an incredible group with an amazing coach and I want to train with them from start to finish.

Plus, this gives me the opportunity to seek redemption at the course that chewed me up and spit me out last year. Look out, STWM, I'm coming back for more!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Ottawa Half Marathon Race Report

We enjoyed a mellow day at the cottage on Saturday in preparation for the Ottawa Marathon on Sunday. We got to bed pretty early, knowing that we had to hit the road by 4:30AM.

My alarm was set for 4, but I got up at 3:30 when I heard some hustle and bustle in the kitchen. My friends were all running the marathon (3 of them first-timers) and the nerves and excitement in the air were contagious. The half was not starting until 9 but the marathon started at 7, so I packed breakfast to eat after seeing everyone off. We were on the road right on schedule at 5:00 and arrived at the starting area by 6:30. We met up with one of our friends from the clinic who had picked up our race kits, got ourselves organized and pretty soon it was time for everyone to line up for the start. We also met up with our coach and some others from our clinic for a group photo (not on my camera).

It was already about 15C (59F) at 7 and the sun was feeling hotter and hotter as it rose, so I was a little nervous about how warm it might get later on in the morning.

I was able to meet up with my friend Sarah (who was there to see her hubby run his first marathon - congrats Colin!) and had my breakfast before using the washroom, checking my bag and getting ready to start.

I headed to the corrals 15 minutes before the start and everyone was already crammed between the barriers like sardines. It seemed like there was no opening so I, along with many others, ended up climbing over the barricades. Once I got in, I was literally smushed between people, getting shoved and stepped on for 15 minutes. I have never been more relieved to hear the gun go off.

I had decided to treat the race as a fun run, taking in the sights of city I had never seen and hoping to feel great at the finish. I started a little less conservatively than I had planned and felt the heat almost immediately. It was around 20C (58F) but felt much warmer in the sun (there was almost no shade throughout the entire course).

I had decided not to carry my own water, which was a mistake. The water stations were usually 3K apart, and I constantly felt thirsty. I took a full cup of gatorade and water at each stop, and dumped a cup or two on my head. Yes, I felt that hot.

The course was moderate in difficulty, with a few big hills and several smaller ones.

Within the first 5K we crossed a bridge over the Ottawa River into Gatineau, Quebec. This is the only part of the course that I didn't enjoy. It was bleak and industrial, with minimal crowd support. The sun was killing me and I remember feeling grateful not to be running a full marathon that day.

Just before 10K we crossed another bridge back into Ottawa. I was feeling really tired and felt myself slowing with each kilometre. The 2:00 pace group passed me around this point and I started feeling defeated, but knew that I just had to make it to the finish.

Despite being hot and tired, I enjoyed the second half much more than the first. The crowd support was amazing and the route was beautiful. We ran mostly along the Rideau Canal, which offered a refreshing breeze and great scenery.

There was a sponge station at some point, which was just about the BEST THING EVER. I took two sponges sopping with cold water and squeezed them all over myself.

I continued taking as much fluid as I could and also took two gels on my usual half marathon schedule of 7K and 14K.

During the last 5K, I really felt that I was in survival mode. I couldn't find any relief from the sun and it was sucking the life out of me. It was extremely tempting to stop and walk, but I continually reminded myself that it would only prolong the suffering.

I managed to pick up my pace a little for the last two kilometres. The crowds were thick and cheering like crazy, which offered a much-needed boost. One awesome spectator was spraying us with a hose from the side of the road, which was even better than the sponges.

Finally, I saw the signs. 750m to go. 500m. 400m. 300m... I could see the finish line and brought it home.

Official time: 2:06:28
Chip time: 2:04:09
Overall place: 3563/9107
Gender place: 1282/5192
F25-29 place: 259/842

My half marathon PR streak has come to an end. It was somewhat of a humbling experience, since I thought for sure I could run 2:00 no problem. This was actually my second slowest HM out of 6, but still a positive experience overall. Ottawa was beautiful and I'm planning to make it a tradition - we're already planning Ottawa Cottage Weekend 2010!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

This is the life

We had a smooth drive to Sharbot Lake (outside Ottawa) this morning. The cottage is beautiful with the best of both worlds - a secluded property on a tiny lake, but having all the comforts of home (including wireless internet).

We relaxed by the lake, did a little kayaking, had a big pasta dinner and played some cards. The only thing missing was a cold BEvERage, but we have to save that for the post-race celebration.

There are seven adults staying here and I still managed to score my own private sleeping quarters. Not bad for $0 a night.

I even found a little goodie basket in my room with treats and inspirational quotes.

My official goal for tomorrow is to enjoy the course (I've never even been to Ottawa), have fun and feel good finishing. I'm thinking something around 2:00 (a feat that wiped me out just six months ago).

But for now, it's time to tuck myself into bed - we have a 4:00AM wake-up call!

(Make sure you check out the power bar recipe [below] if you haven't already - I'm telling you, they're the best!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Power Bars

As promised, the recipe:

1 cup peanut butter (or any nut butter)
1/2 cup honey
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
2/3 cup dried cranberries (or any dried fruit)
3 tbsp sesame seeds
1/3 cup chocolate chips (optional)
2 cups puffed brown rice cereal

1. Grease an 8×8 pan with cooking spray.
2. In a large bowl, mix together peanut butter, honey and vanilla extract until well-combined.
3. Add sunflower seeds, dried fruit, sesame seeds and chocolate chips and combine thoroughly with the peanut butter mixture.
4. Gradually add the puffed brown rice cereal.
5. Firmly press the mixture into the prepared 8×8 pan; you may need to use your hands and get messy (wet hands slightly).
6. Cover and refrigerate for a couple of hours then cut into squares.


Happy Foto Friday - here's a peak at the yummy goodness.


Thursday, May 21, 2009


• Slept in, late for work

• Lunch with good friends, including Mel who is hanging in there and remarkably positive with her mysterious injury

• More stupid traffic on the way home, +15 minutes on the commute

• Clinic night – discussed food for our end of session get-together next week (yum)

• Everyone asking what my goal is for the half - I have no idea

• Another hot run – slow 6K (It’s killing me)

• Grocery shopping with the gang for our cottage weekend in Ottawa

• Late dinner

• So You Think You Can Dance (no abs or arms tonight, too sore!)

• Homemade power bars (recipe + pics to follow soon)

• And now... bed time

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

A better day

Today was definitely better than yesterday. Thanks for making me feel better about taking an extra rest day... you're right, sometimes we just need it!

I headed to the Running Room this evening to meet up with some people from my group for a 10K. It was an absolutely beautiful day (where was this weather on the weekend?) and it was still 28C (82F) and sunny when we headed out this evening. Needless to say, I was HOT. I definitely need to get acclimatized to summer running. It always seems that spring is too short and we go from freezing cold to boiling hot. What's up with that?

Anyway, not much to report on the run except the heat. I was struggling and took a short cut with a few others cutting about a kilometre off the run. Tomorrow is our usual clinic night and we'll probably be going over last minute details for everyone heading to Ottawa this weekend - especially those running their first marathon.

But right now, I'm going to hit the floor for some ab and arm work while watching American Idol. I haven't watched all season but there are actually some really decent performers tonight for the finale. Don't ask me who I think is going to win because I don't even know who these guys are!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I should be running right now

But I don't feel like it! It's just been one of those days. We had a few too many beverages little too much fun at our BBQ yesterday (which was re-located to my father-in-law's place at the last minute due to excessive construction activity next door... argh!) and I wasn't feeling too hot this morning. It was a long day at work, a long commute with more traffic than usual, an hour-long wait in the walk-in clinic for test results (everything is okay), a trip to the grocery store, and now I just want to sit my butt on the couch and do nothing! I should probably eat some dinner, too...

I'm technically in recovery mode before kicking off 5 in 5 (or maybe 6 in 5?) with the half marathon this Sunday so an extra rest day isn't going to kill me.

Not much else to report. I hope your Tuesday was better than mine, and if not, I hope you're vegging on the couch! At least we're one day closer to another weekend.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Freedom Weekend

As much as I love races, I've enjoyed having some freedom this weekend - in particular, sleeping in! (Since when is 8am sleeping in?)

On Saturday morning someone from my marathon group needed company for 16K (10 miles), so I joined him for a rainy run. He was struggling and we took a lot of walk breaks, but it was still nice to have the company. For the rest of the day, hubby and I cleaned the house, did some shopping and just hung out. It was kind of nice going to bed knowing that we didn't have to get up at 5am on Sunday.

Yesterday morning I headed out for a speedier 5K. It was sunny and looked beautiful out, but I got a shock when I stopped outside to discover that it was only 7C (44F) and extremely windy. In the afternoon we headed to my aunt and uncle's place in the country for a BBQ and bonfire and spend most of the afternoon outside despite the cold and wind.

Today we're doing some gardening (after scoring a ton of plants from my aunt yesterday!) before having my in-laws over for a BBQ of our own this afternoon. It should be a nice way to wrap up the long weekend.

I hope everyone else had a good one! I'll be catching up soon.

Friday, May 15, 2009

TGIF! "5 in 5" + Foto Friday

On Tuesday I casually mentioned my "5 in 5" series starting up soon and it seems to have caught your interest.

Here are the details:

May 24: Ottawa Half Marathon

It's our National Capital Marathon and it's a massive event in a beautiful city. A group of my friends are running their first marathon and invited me to shack up with them at a cottage for the weekend. So I figured... I might as well run!

May 31: Toronto Women's Half

In its inaugural year with promises of a chocolate aid station, fire fighter's water station and a unique necklace for all finishers, this event sold out months ago. Girls rule. :)

June 7: Mud Run

They don't call it Canada's Dirtiest 10K for nothing. (See below.)

June 14: Niagara Wine Country Run (10K)

"Runners are invited to explore the stunning vineyards and sample premium wine at the expo, along the picturesque course and at the finish line."

We've booked a hotel for the night with a group of friends and it's going to be wine-tacular. Something tells me I won't be setting a PR...

June 20: Toronto City Chase

"The City Chase is a unique urban adventure that requires participants to exhibit teamwork, resourcefulness, determination and the ability to make decisions on the fly as they search for ChasePoints scattered in unknown locations throughout the city. ChasePoints are designed to test teams with a variety of physical, mental, and otherwise adventurous challenges."

The "Blister Sisters" tore up Toronto last year and we can't wait to do it again.

Clearly, the "5 in 5" are not typical road races and I'm planning to run every single one for fun. I can't wait to get started! But for now, it's a long weekend here in Canada and I don't have a race on the schedule for the first time in 4 weeks. What am I going to do with myself? (For starters... I'm sleeping in!)


It's Foto Friday c/o Adventure Seeker so here's a sneak peak at what I'm getting myself into.

MudRun 2008


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


I'm working on some layout changes, so things may look a little funky...

Please bear with me!


Update: Changes complete. I think...?

Thanks to RunningLaur for the help.


Suggestions welcome!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Race pics!

Some official photos courtesy of Zoom Photo from the Mississauga Half.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

4 medals

Thank you so much for all of your support on my last two posts. Seriously, you guys make it even more worthwhile to bust my a$$ for a PR. :)

4 weeks, 4 races, 4 medals. And still smiling!

Stay tuned because "5 in 5" starts on the 24th.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mississauga Half Marathon Race Report

Yesterday marked the grand finale of my 4 (races) in 4 (weeks) series: the Mississauga Half Marathon.

After pouring rain and thunderstorms all day Saturday, we awoke to a cool, cloudy and windy (but dry!) morning on Sunday. The temperature was only about 3C (37F) when we left the house, but it was closer 7C (44F) by the time the race started. Still, it was brisk. I was second-guessing my wardrobe choice of capri pants and a short-sleeve top, but decided to stick with the plan and brought an old sweater to toss once we got moving.

We arrived extra early with more than an hour to spare and found a great parking spot just steps from the start line (this worked out great for ditching our sweats at the last minute).

We wandered around a bit and made a few trips to the port-o-potties while we waited. I also got to catch up with several people from my marathon clinic, including our coach. I told him that I thought I had another PR in me.

Hubby took a quick pic of me in my starting corral, hopeful for a sub-1:55 finish. (I would later remember this photo during the race and will myself to keep moving so I would actually be able to post it!)

Before long, it was time to ditch the warm-ups, wish each other good luck and line up with thousands of other runners in our respective corrals. I felt just a slight chill huddled in the crowd and knew I would warm up quickly once we got going. I was feeling good and ready to go!

In the days leading up to the race, I was torn between an aggressive goal/strategy (~1:50) and conservative goal/strategy (~1:55). In the end, I took Yumke's advice and wore both a 1:50 and 1:55 pace band - unfortunately, I didn't tape it well enough and managed to snag it on something, tearing it off before the race even started. Still, I had a good idea of the target paces and resolved to try to keep it somewhere in the middle for the first half and see how I felt in the later in the race.

It took me almost 2:30 to cross the start line and I had numbers reeling through my head the entire time. When we eventually got moving, I relaxed a little and tried to find my 'comfortably hard' pace. It was pretty crowded for a while, but I didn't find myself jockeying too much.

Unfortunately, I don't have splits. I had decided to use the lap button on my Garmin at each kilometre marker, but forgot to turn off auto-lap. Oops. I couldn't be bothered to mess with the buttons once the race had started, so my laps are all over the place and I ended up with 29 laps for 21 kilometres. Oh well - I'll figure this out eventually!

As a result, I relied on a combination of average pace (taking in to account my watch being slightly ahead of the kilometre markers) and checking my time at each marker. I was doing a lot of math in my head, which turned out to be a pretty good distraction.


We headed west (straight into the wind) on a slight incline for the first few kilometres before enjoying a sharp decline to about the 5K mark. The wind didn't feel too good, but I knew it would be short-lived and didn't let it bother me. I kept my pace right around 5:15/km and felt good.


At 5K we turned south for some relief from the wind. I took in the scenery as we followed a quiet winding road lined with lush forests. I found myself immersed in green and felt elated as the kilometres ticked by. I took my first gel (Gu Tri-Berry) around 7K. As usual, I did not carry my own water, but took advantage of the water stations every ~2KM alternating Gatorade and water. (Side note: I'm getting pretty good at taking water without walking. I can slow to a quick jog for a few paces and I'm good to go.)

We ran a loop within the University of Toronto Mississauga Campus and faced our first real incline at this point. It felt harder than I thought it should, but I hung on and recovered on the subsequent downhill.


At 10K we faced the "real" hill. It was a steep climb and it was painful, but I knew there was plenty of downhill to come. Still, it wiped me out quite a bit and I struggled over the next couple kilometres. The usual thoughts started running through my head: "I started too fast," I'm fading," "I have to keep this up for HOW much longer?!" My pace was right on target and I remembered my photo under the 1:45-1:54 sign. There was no turning back now and I was not going to sell myself short because I felt a little tired.

We were running through some really nice neighbourhoods with great crowd support (especially at the intersections) and I took an orange wedge from one generous spectator (yum!). I took my second gel at the same time (Gu Chocolate) as we approached the 14K aid station.

Just before 15K, the marathoners veered to the right as we continued straight. I remember thinking to myself that I was glad not to be running 42.2 kilometres that day. :) (Marathoners rock!) Suddenly, the 6K to the finish didn't seem like much.


I was tired, but I was on pace and knew I had to hold on. Around 16K we reached the waterfront (paved) trail, which would take us on a winding but relatively flat route (gentle rollers) all the way to the end. I was doing everything in my power to distract myself and keep my legs moving. I slowed slightly, despite wanting more than anything to speed up. I was counting steps, counting people, counting down the kilometres.

Blue = HM

With 2K to go, I glanced at my time and knew that I could come in under 1:55 even if I slowed to 6:00/km (not happening!). I managed to pick it up slightly, but even as I passed the 20K marker, the finish line seemed miles away.

In the final few hundred metres, we followed the path around a bend along the water to the home stretch. It was NEVER-ENDING and I couldn't even see the finish line until it was practically right in front of me.

But sure enough, there it was. The official clock showed 1:54XX and I raised my arms in the air as I crossed the line, knowing I had done it. One more PR in the books!

Gun time 1:54:50
Chip time 1:52:29
Overall 1191/4409
Gender 355/2509
F25-29 62/340

(Hubby also PR'd with 1:31:50.)

We stuck around after the race and grabbed a bench along the waterfront trail to cheer on the marathoners (and remaining half'ers - including Emily and her "army"). I unfortunately missed Yumke finishing a strong #6 in 3:25, but got a hug from Marci as she approached the finish of her 12th marathon - and she was looking fabulous! Melanie's day didn't exactly go as planned, but she was a real trooper and has a lot to be proud of. Upon reading her story, I was reminded of John Bingham's famous quote:

"The miracle isn't that I finished. The miracle is that I had the courage to start."

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Results are in


Race report tomorrow!

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mississauga Half Marathon Goals

We visited the expo and picked up our kits yesterday and had a close call when I realized in the parking lot that I no longer had the envelope containing my bib and chip. PANIC! I had set it down at a vendor booth and fortunately it was still there when I went back for it. Phew!

I'm feeling good about the race tomorrow. Hubby drove the route on Friday and reported some pleasant scenery and a slightly downhill course. There are only a few climbs - nothing like the monsters we faced two weeks ago. The weather looks great - about 8C (46F and mainly sunny.

I know I can run 2:00:00.

I think
I can run 1:55:00.

I hope
I can run something close to 1:50:00.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.

Good luck to my fellow runners. If you're going to be there, watch for me in my super bright yellow Sporting Life top.

Friday, May 08, 2009

T.G.I.Foto Friday - Half Marathons

It's Foto Friday and with my fifth half marathon coming up this Sunday, I decided to pay a small tribute to my previous four.

September '07: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon
(first race ever, finishing hand-in-hand with hubby)

March '08: Chilly Half Marathon

November '08: Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

April '09: Hartwell Half Marathon

So far, each race has been a PR. The question is, will the trend continue this weekend?

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

TIART: Salute to Running Moms

With Mother's Day coming up on Sunday, this week's theme for Take it and Run Thursday at the Runners' Lounge is:

Salute to Running Moms. With Mother's Day around the corner, we thought it would be great to have you talk about a running mom who inspires you, makes you laugh, kicks you in the butt when you need it, coaches you, runs with you, brings you water, or just simply runs.

There are some seriously awesome running-blogging-Moms out there who seem to be able to do it all. You never cease to amaze and inspire me! Here are just a few who deserve some extra kudos this Mother's Day. I salute you!

and an honourable mention to my BFF Sarah who keeps starting to run and then getting pregnant. :) She'll be back on the road after Baby Number 3's arrival this summer.

I'm sorry if I missed anyone.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Some business

Big B On The Road is hosting a great contest before he leaves for Shanghai. Drop by to share your ultimate running song for a chance to win a unique prize all the way from China, and don't forget to wish him good luck at the Great Wall Marathon! Contest ends today, so hurry!


I received two pairs of WrightSocks in the mail this week that I won through a recent Runners' Lounge giveaway. The very first pair of running socks I ever purchased were WrightSocks and I've been a big fan ever since. I find them light and comfy and the best part is, NO BLISTERS!


Went for a little 5K recovery run (~30 minutes) last night. Legs were a little tired, but no soreness after Sunday's race.


My marathon clinic instructor returned from Big Sur this week and sent me an email asking about how it's been going these last couple weeks. I excitedly reported my recent PRs, to which he replied "You still need a PR in a full marathon!" I guess I won't be retiring just yet.


My 4th race in 4 weeks is coming up this weekend: the Mississauga (Half) Marathon. Melanie will be there running her first marathon, so drop by to give her some love! See you at the finish line, Mel! I hope to see fellow bloggers Yumke and Marci out there too, also running the full.

Did I miss anyone?


Post coming soon with goals for the race.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Sporting Life 10K Race Report

First and foremost, a special thank you to those of you who were able to support my fundraising endeavor with the Sporting Life 10K for Kids With Cancer. With your help, I raised $645 and our team raised almost $18,000. This year's event raised more than $800,000 for Camp Oochigeas.

I had dinner on Saturday evening with my friend Erin and little Nolan as well as some other team members. We had a great time chatting about the race and I picked up my honorary Nolan's Dream Chasers team shirt (see below). I laid out my gear, attached the new single-use chip to my laces and turned in early for a 5:00AM wake-up call.

After our little fiasco with the car keys I was feeling more than a little frazzled when it was time to line up. Fortunately, I was able to push it out of my mind for the duration of the race.

I was seeded in the red corral, 40 to 48 minutes. My official goal was anything sub- 49:10 (last year's time and PR), but had an unofficial goal of 48:00 in my head.

The race was very crowded (10,000+ finishers) but I seemed to have positioned myself correctly and didn’t have to do a lot of weaving (nor did I get passed constantly). I got into a comfortable rhythm and pace quickly.

It was a mild, sunny morning (about 10C/50F to start) and I immediately felt warm in my 3/4 pants and short sleeve top. Shade from the tall buildings lining Yonge Street offered welcome relief in some areas.

It became apparent early on that the GPS signal on my Garmin was poor, likely due to said tall buildings. My watch was ahead by about 20 metres at the first kilometre marker, a couple hundred metres by the half way point and more than one kilometre by the end of the race. Just take a look at this map that it plotted:

I knew I couldn't rely on the Garmin to hold my pace, so I started using it simply to check the time at each kilometre marker. I didn't think to use the lap button until well into the race, so unfortunately I don't have splits. However, I do remember that my 5K time was right around 24 minutes. I thought to myself, just hold on to it.

And I did!

I still felt pretty good through most of the second half, but struggled a bit through the 6th and 7th kilometres (probably because there were no markers [or I missed them] and I had no idea how much farther I had to go). My mouth felt really dry but I skipped all water stations except the last one (km 7-ish?) where I grabbed a cup and took a quick swig.

When I finally saw the 8K flags and glanced at my time, I knew I had a good shot at reaching my goal and held on tight. Soon enough we rounded the bend into Fort York and I gave it all I had, passing several people and gunning it right through the finish line.

Gun time: 48:48
Watch time: 48:03
Chip time: 47:59.6 (made it by a hair!)
4:48/km (7:43/mi)
F25-29: 74/1175 (93.7%)
Gender: 374/5886 (93.6%)
Overall: 1864/10744 (82.7%)

The National Post has video footage of all finishers, but I couldn't spot myself in the sea of people. That might be a good thing; I'm sure it wasn't pretty.

(My speedy hubby finished in 41:27.)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Long day & SL10K Result

• 5:00: wake up, quick breakfast

• 5:30: hit the road, quick stop for water & Gatorade

• 6:15: arrive downtown, park near finish line, cab to the start with other runners

• 7:00: arrive at starting area

• 7:15: realize we left the car keys in the cab (!!!); PANIC!; called cab company (no help)

• 7:30: realize we are going to miss bag check if we don’t hurry

• 7:45: check bag, line up for washrooms

• 7:55: climb through crowds of people to our corral

• 8:00: ran Sporting Life 10K! *

• 9:00: meet up with friends, eat, discuss the car dilemma

• 10:00: ride with friends to pick up spare house key at Mom’s

• 11:00: retrieve spare car keys from home (meanwhile, get a phone call that the cabbie has our keys!)

• 12:00: drive back downtown in other car, call cabbie to arrange key pick-up

• 2:00: finally meet cabbie after a loooong wait

• 2:30: pick up car, drive both cars home

OY VEY! Our day definitely didn’t go exactly as planned. Thankfully, the race did!

*Here’s what you want to know:

Sporting Life 10K
47:59 (PR)
F25-29: 74/1175
Gender: 374/5886

(Hubby ran an incredible 41:27!)

Race report to follow.