Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

Third time’s the charm!

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After 2 Did Not Starts due to runner’s knee earlier this year I finally, Finally, FINALLY ran my first half marathon.

Going into Sunday I knew that I was under trained.  I had “missed” (um skipped?) some long runs, oh and some shorter runs, and there may have been a few weeks in there where I didn’t run at all. Also started training for this race without a running base (oops) so I am clearly not the person you should be reading if you want to train for a half marathon properly. 

Sunday started out dark, rainy and cold.  Shawn and I were already soaked by the time we made it to my start corral and met up with my friend Amanda and her husband.  We huddled under a building’s overhang to stay as much out of the rain as we could before the 8:30 start of the race.

I only had one goal for this race (ok, maybe 2) – to finish, and to hopefully finish under 2:30. Oh and a 3rd – to have fun.

The race started right on time, but we didn’t cross the start line until about 8:45. Thankfully by the point the rain had stopped, too.

The first few kilometres flew by – running through my favourite city was kind of mind blowing, and the cheering sections and spectators were pretty amazing. 

At about the 10km mark I lost Amanda – she stopped to walk and I was so much in a zone that I didn’t notice.  This is also where the race started to drag a little – the out and back along Lakeshore was long, and watching everyone faster than me already on their way back was a bit disheartening.  But I kept trudging along.  My legs felt pretty good, and my bad knee was holding up really well.

We turned around at about the 12km mark and started heading back towards the downtown core.  As the 16km marker came into view my left knee (also previously known as my GOOD knee) started to hurt just on the outside of my knee cap.   So that was nice. It hurt off and on for the last 5km, so I took it even easier as I didn’t want to blow some tendon or permanently wreck my knee. 

The last 1.1km was up hill (oh c’mon now, who does that??) but the streets were PACKED with spectators.  I have to give thanks to 2 girls who called out my name and told me to keep going just as I turned north onto Bay Street.  They put a smile on my face and helped me to keep pushing.

The last 300m I must have looked like an absolute idiot, I was grinning like a fool as I crossed the finish line.  I never really, truly knew the meaning of runner’s high until then, and I’m still coasting a little on that feeling 2 days later.

I have to say that the race was really well organized. Start corrals were well marked;  it started on time (very important); the water stations were well stocked with drinks and volunteers – and the volunteers were amazing! After the finish line we were funnelled through the medals area (separate sections for the 5km, half and full marathon medals), then the post race food, and finally back to Nathan Phillips Square where we could meet back up with friends and family.  It made figuring out where to go very easy for a directionless person such as myself.

I can’t imagine having a better time than I did on Sunday – well that’s a lie, if my knee didn’t hurt it would have been even better.  I managed to meet all 3 of my non-goals: I finished, under 2:30 (2:28:48 chip time) and I had fun.

Thanks to the Canada Running Series for making my first half marathon so memorable!

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My #FindYourStrong Song

 

Have you heard about Saucony’s #FindYourStrong project?

It’s a pretty neat concept – each week there is a different theme or challenge – complete the challenge by sharing a video, a photo, a word, and be entered to win some pretty cool prizes! The current theme is “What is your #FindYourStrong song?”.  And since I rarely (if EVER) run without music, I had to figure out my strong song!

But really, how do you narrow down a collection of thousands of songs down to just one? Well I started with my race playlist (my most recently collection of running music):

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(Yes I realize it’s fairly random)

They’re all fairly “peppy” songs – upbeat and catchy and really motivate me to keep going.  But I gotta say that of that list, there is really only one song that I need to hear at the finish line, that pushes me to go faster, to #findmystrong – and it’s definitely “Till I Collapse” by Eminem. 

The lyrics make me move, push me harder, make me dig deep so I can finish strong. It’s on every running and CrossFit playlist I make, and while this isn’t normally the kind of music I listen to, it’s definitely the song that gets me going.

“’Cause sometimes you just feel tired,
Feel weak, and when you feel weak, you feel like you wanna just give up.
But you gotta search within you, you gotta find that inner strength
And just pull that s*** out of you and get that motivation to not give up
And not be a quitter, no matter how bad you wanna just fall flat on your face and collapse.”

I imagine that, when I cross the finish line at the Scotiabank Waterfront half marathon in October, that I’ll be listening to this song. I can’t wait!

Interested in the #FindYourStrong project? Check out http://community.saucony.com/findyourstrongproject/ !

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So tell me, what song helps you #FindYourStrong?