Toronto Women’s Half Marathon – Race Recap

Training

Sunday’s Half Marathon was my first race since running the Scotiabank Marathon in 2007. After having my second baby in January, I decided I needed a little motivation to get back in shape and though it would be fun? to get back into running. So, I texted my sister and asked her if she wanted to do a half marathon with me. She said yes! That day, we signed up for the Toronto Women’s Half Marathon.

And, on March 5th, I went for my first run in a VERY long time. It felt great, I was so excited to be running again, and was super pumped to have a race planned. Thirteen weeks of training all worked out…3 runs a week, one long, one interval, and one plain ole run. Throw in a few BodyAttack classes each week as cross training and I was all set to go!

Well, after signing up to take my BodyAttack Instructor Course and making that a priority, I soon was down to running only once or twice a week. I also ended up missing a few of the long runs towards the end my my training. Both of which are not so great when your race goal is sub 2 hours.

So, about 3 weeks away from the race, knowing there wasn’t much of a chance of me finishing the half in under 2 hours, I decided I would run this race with my sister Cathy and try to help her reach her goal of a sub 2:30 half. I was super excited to be running with my sister, because, although we have ran many races together, we’ve never actually ran together in a race.

Race Day Preparation

Because it had been forever since I’d last ran a race, my Garmin was dead, super dead, like not even chargeable dead! I had done most of my training runs just using the fitness app on my iPod, but I wanted more info about my running on race day, and figured if I was going to get back into it, I needed a watch. Hehehe! So, after humming and hawing, I decided I would treat myself to a new Garmin.

Four days before the race I picked up a Garmin 410 from Costco. After charging it up, I went for a run and played around with it a little in hopes of figuring it out before race day.

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It took my a while, but I finally figured it out and was totally shocked at all the info it gathered during my run! I LOVE my GARMIN 410!

In the spirit of Carb Loading we had my sister and her family over for a pasta dinner the night before the race. I made a delicious recipe – Eat Clean Sausage and Pepper Penne from Clean Eating Classic Comfort Foods 2012.

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It was awesome! The recipe made enough to feed 7 of us, and the guys even had seconds. It took a lot of time to make, but was definitely worth it! So good!

After shooing everyone out around 9pm, I was time to get my stuff together for the morning.

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Race Day

I set my alarm for 6:00 am since my sister, brother-in-law (Rory) and nephew (Jack) were coming to pick me up at 6:45. I grabbed a quick shower, got dressed, made a yummo oatmeal pancake, and it was time to go! Despite having a great sleep, my brother-in-laws first comment upon seeing me was “wow, she looks tired!” Yikes!

The boys dropped us off at Sunnybrook Park so Cathy and I had a bit of time to visit with some friends, pee, and stretch before the race. An hour and a bit later, and I’m still looking pretty tired!!

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There were over 1150 women running this years race. We were divided into three groups according to finishing time. Cathy and I started in coral 2.

The gun went off to start the race at exactly 8:00, and the first group of runner (the fast ones) we’re off!

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3 minutes later, our gun sounded and we were off! Our plan was to run a mile then take a one minute rest break for water and eventually cliff energy gels.

I was surprised at how jam packed the first bit of the course was. Off and on for the first kilometer or so we were running on a narrow path, shoulder to shoulder about 8 wide. It was awful! Cathy and I struggled to find our pace and get in our groove, but eventually we started running for the gaps and things got better. It wasn’t until the 3K point where the group started to spread out a bit and we were able to run our pace and not feel like we were going to get trampled on!

The next 5K went pretty well and things looked good for a 2:30 finish!

Rory and Jack were waiting to cheer us on at about the 9km mark, it was great to see them and even better that they snapped a picture of us in action!

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Up to this point we had been sticking to the mile and one plan, but the clouds started to disperse and it got hot! From about the 2 hour mark on, ended up walking more often, which resulted in our muscles having a chance to tighten up, which caused more walking, and it sort of became a viscous cycle!

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We didn’t really got back into a groove again, but managed to pull it out for the final 400m and run in strong to the finish line!

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Woohoo! 21.1km DONE!

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And don’t you just LOVE the bling! Yep, that necklace was the finishing ‘medal’! Cool, eh!

We finished in 2:40, which was a bit longer than we had hoped, but all things considered, not a bad run! We’re already trying to decide what our fall half marathon will be!

Here is the breakdown of our run, straight from my Garmin!

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I love that thing! Can you believe the detail?

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