Friday, November 4, 2011

Toronto Women's Run

On Saturday, Michelle and I participated in the 8 km/5 mile Toronto Women's Run in Sunnybrook Park and it was AWESOME!! It was the first running race for both of us.

I would say I'm generally an athletic-ish person, but a runner I am not. My cardiovascular fitness level has been shot to $hit once I started this desk job a few years ago. I've been saying for the last 10 years that I would love to participate in a race, so I finally signed up for one in August. I asked Michelle if she would want to do it with know, sister bonding time and all that... and she agreed :-) Yay!

I ran about 2x/week in August, then 3x/week in September once I moved back to Richmond Hill. Running outdoors after work is hard. I've always been a morning person - I voluntarily start work at 7am! - so trying to run at 4pm literally takes everything I have. It's so tempting to just get home and be lazy.

I started off with 2min walking, 1 minute running, then gradually decreased the walking time and increased the running time. And most of my runs were 5km/3miles with the occasional longer run thrown in.

I talked with 2 of my coworkers who have done half marathons/marathons and they gave me some great advice:
  • Running is a mind game - you have to be mentally prepared (for me, this meant running with my focus only about 5 feet in front of me so I couldn't see how much further I had to go lol)
  • Run on the outside of the pack
  • Don't run too fast at the start of the race
  • Always save a bit of energy for the end so you can sprint to the finish line
  • Bring a complete change of clothes
Race day came up fast. I was excited, but felt prepared. Michelle and I got to the park an hour early to secure close-ish parking and to pick-up our race kits.

Kevin was nice enough to hold our change of clothes for after the race. Deric, Michelle's boyfriend, held our jackets for us once Michelle and I got in the Start corral.


We didn't plan on running the race together so we each got into the corral at our respective anticipated finish times - me and 40-50min, Michelle at 60min. There were runners with some pretty awesome costumes! My favourite was the chef (no pics, sorry!)- she had a chef jacket, apron and hat, and completed the run with a frying pan in her hand!

The route was down and up the same path so after we took off, I knew I'd see Michelle again once I passed the halfway mark. That was one of my favourite parts of the run :-) When I saw her I yelled out "Wooohooo!!! GO Michelle!" Then we high-fived lol All the women running around us laughed but, I was very proud that she was still running because she twisted her ankle a few weeks back and I knew it was probably uncomfortable.

There were photographers scattered throughout the course. Every time I saw one I picked up speed and smiled lol..regardless of how tired I was. I would just think, "Smile and look fresh!" And apparently I like giving the thumbs up?... I did it in both of my photos
There was a really sharp turn at the 7km mark and I couldn't see past it. All I could hear was clapping and cheering, so I started sprinting thinking it was the end. You know what it was, a group of about 10 people cheering on the runners, which was nice, but such a let down! I completely tired myself out and walked for about 100 metres, then kept on trekking knowing the end was coming soon.

I looked up at one point and saw that there were 200ish metres of the run left and I JUST. TOOK. OFF! I full-on sprinted with everything I had in me and it was amazing. About 50 metres from the end Kevin yelled out my name. I was so excited to see him in the crowd and waved. You can see me waving to him behind the lady in pink

I heard a couple of people yell things like, "Strong finish!" "You go, girl!" and it was so motivating. I ran straight through the finish line, picked up my metal...

..then walked straight to the water station. Kevin came around and gave me a huge hug then we went back to finish line to watch Michelle run through the finish line. She finished strong as well!

After the run, we each took a food bag. I stuffed down a banana then changed. Having dry clothes to change into was a good idea (thanks Shannon!). And I would like to extend a HUGE thank you to the volunteers. They were absolutely amazing. There were volunteers each few hundred metres to cheer us on and they were at the water stations. It was so uplifting to have people cheer me on while running! 

I definitely ended the race feeling great, which was my goal. Here's a picture of us from Deric's phone straight after Michelle completed the course:

Once we got back home, I was very stiff around my hips, but it was nothing a little stretching couldn't cure. I'm now on the hunt for my next race! Michelle ended the run feeling okay, but was very very sore over the next couple of days. She's doing better now :-)

She actually went out with Deric that night for a Halloween party. His costume is pure awesomeness and he made it himself - Michelangelo from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles:

For those who are interested, here are my stats from the run:

Female Finishers: 507  
Average Time: 50:51.20 

Place: 164
Time: 47:250
Chip:  47:14.1 
Pace: 5:55
Category: Women 25-29
Category Place: 31/84
Gender Place: 164/507 

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