You know you did something significant on the weekend, when your whole body still hurts on Tuesday. That significant thing was the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
On Sunday, I ran my second half marathon. I set a somewhat lofty goal for myself: finish the race in less than two hours. I say lofty because my time in last year’s half marathon was 2:13:41. To shave more than 13 minutes off my time seemed ambitious, but after running consistently for more than a year, I am faster, stronger and a much more confident runner than last year.
I won’t hold you in suspense to the end of this post. The result? 1:59:32!
I’m not going to lie though, when we arrived at the race in the darkness and pouring rain, my expectation for a great run was pretty low. I kept asking myself, “Why are we doing this again?” But I faked enthusiasm anyway. We grabbed a few garbage bags from a local business, made ourselves some awesome rain suits and sucked it up. It will all be over in two hours I thought.
Luckily, the rain stopped about 1km into the run. I was thrilled – even though my feet were already completely soaked. Despite the rough start, I had a really good, consistent run. I felt smooth and fast and I smirked every time I glanced over my shoulder and couldn’t see the 2 hour pace bunny. I must be WAY ahead of him I thought. I started fantasizing about even faster finishing times. I’ve totally got this.
At 16km, I was happily running along rocking out to my new tunes when I saw him. The 2 hour pacer! He was right beside me. How the heck did that happen? I didn’t feel like I had slowed down! I sped up to get away from him. I’d come that far and by then, I was feeling fiercely competitive about meeting my sub two hour goal.
At 18km, I was slowing down a bit. I kept telling myself that I’d rather slow down a little and feel good the last couple of kilometres, than push myself and flop across the finish line like I was on death’s doorstep. Despite my little mantra to slow down and have a good run, I kept pushing myself right through those last couple of kilometres – and good thing, because I only had 30 seconds to spare!
The last 800 metres was the toughest. Who keeps ending these races on an uphill?! It’s just cruel. Luckily though, just as I was at my absolute lowest point, I saw my two wonderful friends – Tina and Bergen – cheering from the sidelines. That put a big smile on my face and gave me that last little bit of motivation I needed to cross the finish line in record time.
14 seconds later, my fiancé Graham finished his race. This was his first half marathon and for someone who claims he’s not a runner, I’d say that was a pretty spectacular finish. My future mother and father-in-law also ran the half marathon and finished with respectable times. It was a fun experience to run this year’s race with people I know, rather than just having these people cheer from the sidelines. High fives for everyone. I’m proud of us.
I’m glad to know I used every possible muscle in my lower body to complete that race. There isn’t one single part of my legs that doesn’t have some stiffness in it, even today. But it feels good because it reminds me of an awesome accomplishment.
With two half marathons under my belt, I’m now looking for the next challenge. A full marathon – while on the bucket list – is a little too intimidating. When I got to the split in Sunday’s race where the half marathon runners head one way to finish the race, and the full marathon runners go another way to continue running, I was SO thankful that I was almost done my run. I can’t even imagine being at that point and thinking, “Oh, I’m just about half way!” Ah!
I’m thinking a more realistic next step is the Around the Bay 30km road race in Hamilton, although I hear this is a pretty tough race. Has anyone ever done this one before? If so, what was your experience?
A huge congrats to everyone who ran on Sunday! Whether you did the 5km, half marathon or full marathon, you should all be proud. We are all insane, but there’s no denying: runners are awesome.