First Time Pace Bunny – Toronto Waterfront 10k

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The inaugural Toronto #Waterfront10 was so much fun! The energy was live and it was great to see all my fellow Toronto runners.

I was honoured to be a pace bunny for this race for the 70 min continuous group. I have paced friends in races before but never an official bunny. I did feel pressure knowing I had a group of runners relying on me to complete the 10k in 70 mins. I’m so proud of everyone that ran the race. It was HOT that day! I had a runner who ran with me all the way and it was his first time running 10k continuously. It felt great to have so many runners come up to you after the race to thank you for pacing them. I love seeing people accomplish something,¬†whether it was their first 10k or if they beat their previous, it feels amazing to have been a part of their journey to success. Official time for this pace bunny was 1:09:50! ūüėÄ

Here’s my race recap.

Race Registration:

Registration was pretty reasonable for this race and there were early bird specials as well. As with other 10k’s, it was fair betwen the $40 – $60 (depending when you register) price range.

Race Expo:

The race kit pick up was at the St. Lawrence market in Toronto. The fun thing about the race expo was that there was free yoga offered by Tribe Fitness. Two 45 minute yoga sessions were offered on both kit pick-up days. It was a good way to stretch out before the race. We were even given free Powerbars after the yoga too! There was also a Canadian flag that we had the chance to sign to write our wishes to our Canadian marathoners heading to the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics: Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene. IMG_20160623_202658

Race Kit:

We were¬†given a bib with timing chip and a race specific¬†short sleeve t-shirt. Along with some magazines, there was an Oasis juicebox along with some Neutrogena women’s sunscreen and wrinkle cream (which I need!) lol :p

Transportation:

The good thing about early morning Saturday races in Toronto is that the subway is running! Sunday races are always a must-drive or carpool situation. I was able to drive my car to the subway station and take the subway down for the race. I probably looked weird carrying my pacer sign on the subway. ūüôā There were quite a few people commuting by subway as well and the stop was right at the start line of the race so that was great.

Pre-Race:

It was well organized with visible signs for on site race kit pick-up, bag check and your coloured corrals. The line up for the porta potty was super long! I was waiting in line to use it before heading to my corral and this made me late for my team pacer photo. ūüė• I’m sad I missed the photo but I had to go and I needed to be in my spot in the corral so that runners were able to see my sign.

Race Course:

The course went south on University and then along the Lakeshore. It was a nice scenic course and reminded me of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. It was fun to see the runners coming back to the finish and giving high fives along the way.IMG_20160625_230711

Water/Aid Stations:

There were water/Gatorade stations at around 3k, 5k and 9k. It was good to have the three stations (5k and 9k were the same stations out and back). It was super hot and there were two areas with cooling fans as well. Those were definitely needed. Tribe Fitness also hosted a cheer station that sprayed water guns as well so it was fun to get soaked in the heat.

Volunteers:

There were a lot of volunteers at the water stations along the course, at the beginning and at the party site. They were all very friendly and was cheering everyone on.

Spectators:

There were a lot of spectators and Toronto run crews out for this inaugural 10k race. The energy was great and it was really nice to run and see familiar faces cheering you on. Tribe Fitness and Pace and Mind hosted two cheer stations along the route filled with music and Tribe even had a kiddie pool and spectators shooting water at you from their water guns. Since this was a race in the summer, the water gun cheer station was an amazing idea! I loved it and it felt so refreshing on a hot day. 20160625_090100

Post-Race:

The post race party was so fun! There were three photographers after you finish the race to take professional finisher photos for you. There were bananas, muffins from Panera Bread (cinnamon and cheese), cookies and Oasis juices and protein shakes. One unique and fun thing about this post race party is that it was also a Carnival “Rio Send-Off” for Reid Coolsaet, Eric Gillis and Krista DuChene as they head to Rio for the 2016 Summer Olympics. There were Brazilian drummers and samba dancers. The carnival concluded with the three Rio-qualified athletes being presented with a Canadian flag that we had the chance to sign during the packet pick-up. The athletes were also available post-race for photos and autographs at the Canadian Olympic Foundation booth.

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Would I Run It Again:

Absolutely! I would love to pace the #Waterfront10 again if I was presented with the opportunity next year. It was a fun race and a great day. I’m proud of all the runners in my 70 min group and everyone that finished.¬†There will be other races that I would like to challenge myself in, ie. longer distances etc. but I always love to help others to achieve their own personal goals. I’m just happy to see how far others have come because I know that I too was once like them. Thank you to the Toronto running community and the social media community for inspiring and motivating me to become a better runner. Now it’s my turn to give back and do the same. Congratulations to everyone that ran #Waterfront10 and see you next year! ‚̧

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Join Me at the New Toronto #Waterfront10 Race

Toronto Waterfront 10k ‚ÄĒ Toronto, Canada

I am excited to announce I will be a pacer for this new 10k race happening in Toronto on Saturday, June 25th, 2016!

I have ran and paced with my friends before, but I have never been an official “pacer/pace bunny”. I’m super thrilled to be given the opportunity and also a little bit nervous because now I will have other runners who I don’t know following me in my pace group and depending on me to take them across the finish line in 65 minutes. I can’t screw up or disappoint them. The pressure is real here. :/ I know it’s just a 10k race and I normally finish in average of 55 minutes but it’s something else when you have runners, some probably new runners, depending on you.

So if you’re in Toronto on June 25th, sign up for¬†the #Waterfront10¬†and join me and my pace team¬†at this exciting new race. I¬†promise this will be fun and we will take you across the finish line with a smile and maybe a few laughs too. ūüėČ

2015 Medal Collection

That’s a wrap 2015! ūüĎäūüí• I finished 2015 with a total of 25 races [12 road, 3 trail, 10 obstacle course races], some multiple lap races and 1¬†CN Tower Stair Climb.

Looking back, 2015 was a memorable year. I became a ‘Marathoner’ in one of my favourite cities and I had a wonderful, amazing time on¬†my RACEcation in Europe. I planned my Europe trip around my Paris Marathon and was able to run two Spartan Races in two different countries. The stars aligned for me during my trip. I could not have asked for a better vacation and RACEcation.

Some notable accomplishments:

  • I completed my first marathon [Paris Marathon]
  • I completed my first trail race [Sulphur Springs 25k]
  • I completed my first winter obstacle race [Polar Rush 5k]
  • I ran both races of the Harry Rosen Spring Run-Off 8k and 5k
  • I completed two laps of the Spartan Super in Toronto [I did multiple laps of short distances and sprint but it was my first double long distance lap 12k x2]
  • First RACEcation in Europe [Paris – Paris Marathon, Munich – Spartan Sprint, Rome – Spartan Super]

Hopefully, through my active lifestyle, I have inspired at least one person to start running or to start living a healthy and active lifestyle. My medals are not for bragging rights, but to show that IT IS POSSIBLE. Thank you all for sharing in my journey to live the best version of myself. I look forward to new races and new adventures in 2016! ūüôā

2015 – Thank you for the wonderful memories!¬†‚̧ L.N


See my Race Calendar for a list of my 2015 races and results.

2015 Total Kilometers & #2015bestnine

My total kilometers for 2015 was 1,053!

I didn’t run as many kilometers as in 2014, but it’s still pretty good considering I didn’t run much at all from July to December. I had a hamstring injury which prevented me from running my last Spartan Race of 2016 at the Spartan Ultra Beast in Ottawa. I wasn’t too upset; I was probably not meant to run the race anyway. Hearing from some friends after the race; it sounded pretty tough and I’m kinda glad I didn’t run it as I was not ready for it.

I am not going to be setting a distance goal for 2016. I find that whenever I set a distance goal, I never meet it. I would get injured during my training and have to sit out a few months. Injury is a big sign of over training so I definitely do not want to over train anymore. I would rather just run for the love of running and to support and motivate others.

Here’s a look back on my 2015 with the Instagram #2015bestnineūüĆü. I did not create this nor do I know where people are getting it from but I have been seeing it everywhere on Instagram. Luckily, I have an awesome sister who sent me my bestnine collage and all I have to do is post it! Isn’t she the best!?! ‚̧

Looking back, 2015 was a memorable year. I became a ‘Marathoner’ in one of my favourite cities and I had a wonderful, amazing time on¬†my RACEcation in Europe. I planned my Europe trip around my Paris Marathon and was able to get in two races in two different countries. I completed a marathon and I ran in two Spartan Races. The stars aligned for me during my trip. I could not have asked for a better vacation and RACEcation.

2015 – It was a slice. You will always be remembered. ‚̧ L.N

 

Happy Anniversary To My Tribe

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My first run coming back from a shoulder injury and without a sling, happened to fall on the Tribe Fitness 1 year anniversary run. I plan to take the rest of the year off to recover and start running and training again in January but for my Tribe, I made an exception. ūüôā

I’ve been running with Tribe for almost a year now. It is the first running group that I joined; other than the paid half marathon clinic program that I did with the Running Room. From¬†my first run with Tribe to 1 year later; I have grown both as a runner and a person. I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to meet some amazing runners and athletes from beginners to elites and of all different backgrounds. I have formed close friendships with some of the Tribe and am grateful they are now my #TribeBrothers and #TribeSisters; my #TribeFamily. I’ve learned a lot from the Tribe members and continually do so. The biggest thing I learned was how to run in polar vortex conditions. This was my first year running throughout the winter and I enjoyed it. I hate to admit it, but I am kinda looking forward to running in the winter again.

I trained for my longest race to date: Around The Bay 30k this past¬†March. I am thankful to have found a group of dedicated runners who were also training for ATB and thus helped pushed me to finish that race. It was hard getting up early on a Saturday in the winter when it was still dark out and taking the subway downtown to the Tribe meet up spot. Some days there were only a handful of us, or the weather would be brutally cold; but we showed up and knocked those kilometer’s out. Every Saturday,¬†I knew there would be a group of runners waiting to do a long run, whether I showed up or not. But I knew that¬†to be a better runner, you just have to run more. I am so thankful I did.¬†To that group of runners that motivated me to get out of bed on Saturday mornings, I sincerely thank you!

Thanks to my Tribe, I have grown¬†to become a better and more dedicated runner. I discovered that I’m a winter warrior and really enjoy winter running, I actually prefer it over humid summers any day. I’ve also grown as a person and discovered a new found passion, [although some of my friends might call it obsession ūüėČ ] with running. This year I also participated in the most road races ever. Good thing I had my Tribe along for all of those races, both running or cheering me on.

I am proud to be a member of Tribe Fitness, but I am more proud of the Tribe’s accomplishment. I’ve witnessed new runners completing their longest distance races ever to runners transitioning to and completing Triathlons and Ironmans. Not only am I proud of my¬†Tribe’s¬†accomplishments, but also motivated and inspired to grow and seek new challenges for myself. Who knows, maybe I will want to be an ultra runner or Traithlete as well. Over the year, I’ve learned that whatever goals or challenges I set for myself,¬†I will always¬†have a fabulous group of athletes there to support me, challenge me, motivate me and encourage me. To my Tribe and of course, our fearless leader Heather, I thank you! You will always have a special place in my heart. ‚̧

TribeClanPlenty of¬†run memories were created this year! Let’s take a¬†trip down memory lane with some of my favourite moments with the Tribe. It’s hard to believe it’s only been a year. There are so many photos, you can check out Tribe Fitness on Facebook for more.

My first run with Tribe

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What polar vortex..!? We even train hills in the winter and the last picture in this group is quite possibly the coldest day of the year in 2014!

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Tribe Ugly Sweater Run

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Around the Bay simulation run and shake out / race kit pick up run

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Jenna and I had a goal for 2014, but due to our injuries, is pushed to 2015. We will crush it!

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Spot the Olympian! ūüėČ

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Warmer weather is among us

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The time we crashed Twitter with our famous ‘Ellen’ selfie

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My birthday run! ‚̧

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The time a running magazine featured our picture from the Mississauga Marathon

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The time we decided to wear our new compression socks during a Saturday long run

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The time we decided to dress all in white and get colour bombs thrown at us

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Tribe Does Trail

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Tribe Scavenger Run

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The time we volunteered as pace monsters for the Ivivva kids 3k Monster Mash Dash

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What better way to celebrate 1 year of sweating for social good, than to have a run party and run around downtown Toronto to various checkpoints answering Tribe related trivia

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Can you see our Tribe shirts?

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Thanks to Vega Toronto and Oakley Canada for supporting Tribe at the RUNiversary and year roundtribeanniversary

Last but not least, check out the amazing statistics Tribe racked up in just 1 year! Thank You Tribe Fitness! We love you and proud to watch you continuously grow.

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Setbacks Are An Opportunity For A Killer Comeback

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Two weeks ago, I ran my umpteenth obstacle course race this season. I’ve completed about 12 Spartan Races and a Tough Mudder this summer, and those were considered to be the ‘harder’ obstacle races.

It was raining the day of the Badassh Dash in Kitchener and I was running in the Elite heat. The Elite heat was a bit longer than the regular scheduled 7km course and had different options (which are harder) at the obstacles for the Elites. It was raining that morning so it made everything slippery and some obstacles harder than they actually were. As I was climbing up the slippery wall using the rope, I let go of my left hand to grab the top of the wall and then my right hand grabbed the top. As I tried to hoist myself up and over the wall, my foot slipped and I jerked back while still holding on the the top with both hands. At this point I heard a popping sound in my right and knew then and there, that my shoulder had popped. I’ve never dislocated a shoulder before but the popping sound and minor pain made me very aware that it was dislocated. I hung there for a bit not knowing if I should go back down or climb over the wall to the other side and use the rope to get down. I ended up pushing myself over the wall and once I grabbed the rope on the other side, I asked a Medic if he could help ¬†me down because I popped my shoulder. As he put his hands on the base of my feet and lowered me down, I was still holding on to the rope. My arms were extended and I heard another popping sound. This time, it felt like my shoulder popped back in. As I stood on the ground, the Medic asked if my breathing and heart rate was okay. Then he made me raise my hands over my head and squeeze his hand to make sure I was fine. I felt fine and he said it was my decision if I wanted to continue or not. So of course, I decided to continue the race.

I was cautious and was running with my left hand holding onto my shoulder. About 20 minutes after, I got to another climbing obstacle and I ¬†slowly started climbing over the wooden bars and heard another popping sound. I knew this time I had to stop. I tried to climb over the wall and the pain was getting stronger as I was making my way down. I was weak in my right hand and could barely grip the bars anymore that I had to jump down. The volunteer asked if I needed a Medic and I said yes. When the Medic got there, I was hoping they would be able to pop it back in and that I could finish the race. Not the case. ūüė¶ He said he had to take me back down to the Medic tent and get it looked at there. I asked how far I was in the race and the volunteer said more than half way. I asked if I was able to run it and the Medic said no and that it may get worse. Being an athlete and having participated in numerous obstacle course races for the past two years, my pain threshold was pretty high. I’m used to pushing through the pain, the unpredictable weather, the difficulty of obstacles; but having an injury was too serious and as much as I wanted to finish the race and earn that medal, I knew I had to be smart and called it quits. It was my FIRST DNF ever.

As I was being taken down on the ATV, all I could think about was that I didn’t finish the race. I was sad and disappointed in myself. When I found out that I had to immobilize my right shoulder for four weeks, I was totally bummed. I was sad I would no longer be able to compete in the Spartan Race World Championships in Killington, Vermont the week after with athletes from all over the world. That was the race I had been training for. To compete in the hardest obstacle race terrain of all obstacle races. It was the ultimate challenge and I thought I was ready to tackle it. I had also been training for my first marathon and felt good that my training was on track. Now not being able to run for four weeks and my next check up at the hospital being four days before the marathon, I was at a loss of what to do.

Everything happens for a reason. At least I hope they do. Perhaps I was not ready for the World Championships and that I would have gotten injured in Vermont. It’s probably better to get injured on home soil with health care then in another country. At least that’s what I keep telling myself. There is a reason I needed this four week break. I am not able to drive, go to work (I’m right hand dominant), and can not run or even walk with some pain in my shoulder. There is a reason for all of this. I just don’t know what it is yet.

With 19 days left until the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, it’s panic mode. I have not been running or doing¬†anything active in the last two weeks. Even if I was not able to run the marathon, I still wanted to be able to walk it. I decided I needed to start taking action and do what I can with what I have. I decided to make the best out of my situation. I did my first workout in two weeks!

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I have not decided if I will still run the full marathon or walk it. If I will downgrade to a half marathon instead of the full. So many decisions to make and so little time remaining. I know this race will no longer be a goal time race for me. It will just be a goal of completion.

I cannot wait until my sling comes off and I can get back to running and training again. Being off for two weeks now, I was able to set some new goals and plan some of my races for 2015. I know I will be back better, faster, and stronger than I was before my injury. There is always room for improvement and I have lots to improve on. I will turn my setback into a killer comeback! ūüôā

My First Blog, My First Post and My Disappointing First Half Marathon

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I completed my first half marathon on October 20th, 2013 at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon #STWM. What started off as a great run ended in a series of cramps and injuries that led to my first ever disappointing race. Although the last 3k of the race was a struggle for me and I rather not reflect on my poor performance; I would like to share my experience, my thoughts, my feedback and my love and gratitude for the running community.   

Three days before the race, I pulled my right hamstring. I think it happened during my last training run on Wednesday night. I’ve never pulled a hamstring before. I posted to Twitter and immediately had some Twitter Followers (I like to call them Friends), give me great advice and provide reassurance that I would be still be able to run on Sunday. ¬†¬†


The weather was a bit chilly the morning of the run, but it was expected for October and especially in Toronto. I thought it was the perfect running weather. There was no rain predicted and although it was cool; once you start running, you warm up quickly. I had packed some warm clothes and a jacket for after the race. I packed my Vega Recovery Accelerator mix. I filled my water belt with water and some Vega Electrolyte Hydrators. I had my Honey Stinger Waffle and Chews and a Powerbar Gel as well. I was ready to give it my all. This was the fuel I used during the 25k RBC Run for the Kids race that I ran a month earlier. It worked really well and I felt great after the race and even the next day. I decided to stick to what worked well for me in the 25k race and was hoping for the same results for the half. 


Before the hamstring injury, my goal was to complete the half marathon in 2 hrs and 15 mins. The competitive side of me actually wanted to complete it in 2 hrs or less. ūüôā After the injury, my goal changed to 2:15-2:30. I started off strong and running a pace of about 6:05/km. Once the initial traffic of runners dispersed a bit, I started running faster at a pace of 5:53/km. I passed the 10k mark in under 1 hr and figured I could run a negative split and accomplish my competitive goal before the hamstring injury. My right hamstring was starting to hurt a bit but I compensated it by running lighter on it and a bit more heavily on my left foot. My left knee then started hurting but I had such a runner’s high and was ecstatic I could finish in sub 2 hrs, that I ignored the pain.¬†


At the 18k mark was when I started feeling a cramping in my left calf. I had taken my gel and I also took the Gatorade at the water station. I started to drink all my Electrolytes hoping the cramping would go away. I had to slow down and could even feel my left toes starting to curl under. I knew I had to pull over to the side to stretch it out. I had never experienced that cramping before nor have I ever stopped running during a race! I ran the 25k RBC race and the 25k Spartan Beast Race and didn’t stop once during either of those races. It took so much effort and pushing aside my pride to stop because I really wanted to continue despite the cramping. I also knew that once I stopped, the pain would worsen. However, since I’ve never experienced it before, I didn’t want to experience something horrid at the finish line or worse, not even able to finish. I was so close; the thought of not finishing the race scared me. I’ve never DNF before. ¬†


I stopped a little after 18k and found a wall to stretch out my calf. Once I stopped, I began to wobble and could feel the pain immediately; my right calf was starting to hurt as well. I remember looking at my Garmin and saw the time of 1:50. I knew there was no way I could finish in sub 2 hrs now and tears started forming in my eyes when I saw the hundreds of runners pass me as I stood there stretching. This was not a sight I was used to seeing, being on the sidelines watching others run pass me; I felt defeated. My ego was bruised. I felt like I let myself down, I let my Charity down and worst of all, I let my family, friends and colleagues who have sponsored me, down as well. This was not my proudest moment. 

After about 5 minutes of stretching, I started to walk and decided to run lightly. I had this vision of me sprinting the last 3k to the finish and my time would be just over my goal of 2:05. In reality, my legs could barely run. I stopped about 3 other times to stretch. A little past the 19k mark, I walked past a lady that was limping; she looked like she was in so much pain. I asked her if she was okay, she said yes and that she might have pulled something. She stopped on the side and I kept walking. I then had to stop to stretch and I saw her approaching, she saw me and it was her turn to ask if I was okay. I told her my calves were cramping up. She continued on past me as I continued stretching against the fence. Close to the 20k mark, I caught up to her again and she was still limping. There were more spectators along the side now and they were shouting her name, (Joyce), to keep pushing. I was behind her and it felt great to have random strangers shouting out your name and telling you to keep going. I caught up to her, tapped her on the shoulder and told her we were almost there and to hang in there. I saw her struggling and told her I would walk the rest of the way with her. She told me to keep on walking. I remember looking at my watch and noticed it was past 2:10. This would not be one of my best races and I no longer had a goal time. It was no longer about my time. I wanted to motivate Joyce to the finish line. We lightly ran a bit until Joyce said she couldn’t and had to stop. I stopped with her and told her that she could finish and that I was going to cross the line with her. She asked me if this was my first half marathon and when I told her it was, she said I was doing really well and looked great. This wasn’t her first. We started walking and limping again and the cheers, support and motivation from the crowd was phenomenal. It definitely pushed us along to the finish line. As we neared the finish, Joyce had both her hands up and told me to put my hands up as well. I did and she held my hand. It was such an emotional moment. Here was this stranger and I holding hands as we crossed the finish line of what turned out to be my most difficult race ever. I could barely walk and stopped right after the finish, leaning forward to stretch my calves. Joyce turned to me and said “I just wanted to thank you so much. You are so strong and definitely pushed and motivated me to the finish. I couldn’t have done it without you.” This brought tears to my eyes. I thanked her and told her she did really well. Joyce told me to keep walking to get our medals. I had totally forgotten about that finisher’s medal at the end and I also forgot to stop my watch to track my time. This was the point that I realized, it was no longer about my race, but Joyce’s race. I was so happy to have been a part of her accomplishment and special day. I did stop my watch and saw a time of over 2:18. The tears started flowing again. Not because of the pain I was in but because I was still a bit disappointed with myself. Disappointed that I could have ran a better race and beaten my goal of sub 2 hrs for my first half marathon. It was a bittersweet moment; disappointed in my race but glad to have motivated Joyce on hers. ¬†¬†

When we got to the volunteers with the medals, Joyce was in front of me. She stepped aside and told the volunteer to put the medal on me first – that I deserved it more. I was so touched by this. The volunteer saw my tears and asked if I was in pain, I said I was just happy to have finished. Joyce thanked me again and we parted ways after we received our medals; she had to go look for her husband. I took a few cups of Gatorade and stood by the fence to stretch out my calves and drink my water. A former colleague of mine, who also ran the half marathon, saw me and approached me. She asked how I did and then asked if I need a paramedic; I guess you could tell I was in a lot of pain. She had to look for her friend who also ran and told me not to move, that she would be back to check on me.
As I stood there stretching, a volunteer in a Medic bib approached me and asked if I was okay. She gave me water and told me to keep stretching. Then another volunteer Medic saw me and he gave me two bananas. He said he was going to call for someone. At this point, my calves really started cramping up more. Two more Medics came and they said they were going to lay me down on the ground while they stretched me out. One was holding my head up while the other stretched out my calves. I started shivering and my quads and hamstrings started seizing up as well. The Medic girl said I was too cold and I needed to go to the Medic tent to warm up because I was seizing up all over. Some volunteers brought a wheelchair and they lifted me on it while the girl wrapped the heat sheet around my legs.
I spent 45 mins in the Medic tent as a nice gentleman worked on my legs, trying to massage out all the tight spots. I was in so much pain because once my calves were better, my hamstrings would tighten up, then my quads and then my calves would tighten up again; it was an endless circle of cramps. My Medic personnel did an amazing job and was able to put up with my screaming and squirming. He massaged all my cramped parts until I felt better and had no more cramps. Thankfully I ran with my phone and had my phone on me to call my friend who was also running the half marathon. Before the race started, we agreed on a meet-up spot at the Friends and Family Zone once we were finished. He was waiting for me and when I called to tell him I was in the Medic tent, he went to get my bag from bag check to bring it to me. He arrived just as my cramps finally started to all go away and I was lying there covered in blankets. My Medic personnel stayed with me until my friend arrived and to make sure I was okay to get up and walk. Once I had my bag, I immediately put on my extra pants, sweater and jacket. It was a good thing I brought warm clothes to put over, I definitely needed them. I thanked my Medic Savior and we left the tent to walk to the finish area and took our professional post race photos. I normally take a few post race photos; but for some reason I didn’t bother to take any that day. I was sore, exhausted and hungry. Perhaps I also did not want many photos and memories from a race that I felt was my worst race ever. ¬†¬†

You should also know that I had signed up to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 2012 as well. Two weeks before the race, I fractured my right ankle and had to miss out on it. I showed up to cheer on my friends and watched them finish. Being a part of the crowd was an amazing experience and I knew I wanted to sign up for it again; not just for redemption but also for being a part of a dynamic event filled with so much love and support from people you don’t even know or will ever know. It brought communities together and runners from all over the world.

This motivated me even more to sign up to run the half marathon in 2013. I was able to see how organized the race was from start to finish, from¬†a runners perspective. The race expo was excellent. There were guest speakers and Elite Athletes, plenty of vendors to shop and sample from and there was barely a wait to pick up your race kit. Our race kit included your typical bib number and chip timing, a technical race souvenir shirt, some goodies to sample and other race promotional material, all packaged into a convenient reusable drawstring bag. I love the bag because it was functional to wear instead of holding a plastic bag, which allowed¬†both hands to freely¬†browse and try on merchandise. ūüôā¬†The course¬†was a fairly flat and scenic route equipped with adequate water stations, bands along the way and spectators cheering everywhere, I don’t think there was any point in the race where there were no spectators or that I felt alone. There were spectators with signs and some even dressed in costumes to cheer us on. The route ran through some of Toronto’s diverse and multicultural neighborhoods and along the Lakeshore, which made for some lovely views and photo ops. The volunteers were awesome and provided water, gels and words of encouragement and cheers. I was also impressed at how organized the finish line was. There were spectators lined on both sides of the road towards the last 500 metres of the race. I am so grateful for them. They shouted our names and screamed words of encouragement to myself and Joyce as we wobbled slowly on the¬†left side towards the finish line. Words such as “Keep going Linda, you can do it!” “You’re almost there, give¬†it all you’ve got” “Finish strong” “Congratulations,¬†we’re proud of you and we don’t even know you” Those words will¬†forever be etched in my heart and I would like to thank these spectators, whoever they are. You helped me stay standing and crossed that¬†finish line.

This is one of my favourite races and CRS always does an amazing job making sure logistics are met and that every runner has a safe and fun run. The Medic tent was right at the finish and there were tons of Medics and volunteers on hand to watch out for people like myself. I spent most of my time after the race in the tent so I didn’t get to eat any of the post race food, other than my banana from previous and did score a yogurt on the way back to the car. CRS never fails to deliver, going¬†above and beyond expectations. I have only the deepest gratitude to the race organizers and the Medic staff¬†who were on hand to¬†assist me (and every¬†injured runner) immediately after the race. Thank you! ¬† ¬† ¬†

Race Recap

Pros: 

  • Excellent race expo and race kit.
  • Beautiful scenic¬†flat route.
  • Amazing volunteers and bands along the course.
  • Lots of spectators out for support.
  • Adequate water and gel stations.
  • Medics readily available after the race.
  • Adequate post race food.¬†

Cons: None that I can think of 

Would I run it again: Definitely! In fact, I plan to come back and run my first FULL marathon at STWM! ūüôā

My Charity: Right To Play Canada

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