Up until Saturday night, I hadn’t really thought too much about the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. This was my fourth time running in this race and my third time running the half marathon distance. I wasn’t out to prove anything and a PB was certainly out of the question. In fact, based on my long runs leading up to Sunday’s race, I was on track to run my slowest half marathon ever. The bar was set nice and low.
I’m pleased to report that it was not in fact my worst time. I did exactly what I set out to do: I ran perfect 6 minute kilometres and finished the run in 2:06:51.
I didn’t check my pace or total time through the whole race. I just ran at a pace that felt good and maintained it throughout. I bopped along to some new music and watched the herd of 25,000 runners jog along. I saw the same people over and over. One girl in grey who’s watch must have been perfectly synced with mine because we stopped at the exact same time every ten minutes for our walk breaks.
Around 8K, I found myself next to the 2 hour pace bunny. I was thrilled! I actually had a moment where I thought I might be able to break my personal best of 1:59. It’s funny how the adrenaline of race day can make you semi-delusional. It was not to be. I kept pace with them till 15K, but fell back. It was too hard and like I said, I wasn’t out to prove anything. Why kill myself to shave off a few minutes? I decided I would just enjoy the run.
My husband Graham crossed the finish line about 5 minutes ahead of me, just missing his personal best by about 60 seconds. Originally we planned to run together but parted ways right before the start. He was going to try for a PB. I was not feeling as ambitious.
Afterward, we chatted about our race strategy. He told me he needs the pace bunny, and followed diligently behind the 2 hour pacer for the majority of the race. He focuses totally and completely on running as hard as he can, pushing himself the entire way. I employ the total opposite strategy. I try hard to focus on anything but running. I focus on my music. I read the race signs and high five volunteers. I scan the crowd in search of a race outfit I like. I find a runner who looks like they’re struggling and offer some words of encouragement.
As I jogged along, I also thought about running that same race three years ago. It was my first half marathon. In fact, I realized at the start line that I was wearing the same tights and long sleeve shirt that I wore in that race! (Kudos to Nike for making running gear that lasts!)
I also thought a lot about last year when I ran the full marathon distance in that race. At the point where the marathon runners go right and the half marathon runners go left, I was pretty happy to be almost done instead of halfway there!
My parents were our only in-person supporters and they took several pictures of my ugly race face as I crossed the finish line. It’s always nice to have some cheerleaders in the crowd.
Overall, it was another fine race. Shout-out to Canada Running Series for a fabulous event. I’ll be back again next year.