Friday, 1 November 2013

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - Race Recap

My Garmin was charged, my playlist was set, the outfit had been picked out, hydration and fueling needs were packed and I was ready to go. 

I had spent the last five and a half months training for this day. My first marathon was only a few hours away. The alarm went off at 5 am which would give me plenty of time to pack up, do my 'business' and eat before I headed over to my friends place to head down for an 8:45am start. 

I was going to be meeting my coach and fellow iRun 42.3 runners at 8 am for a photo and then head on out to our corrals. There were many volunteers placed throughout the race area. There were approximately 25,000 people running that day between the 5K, half marathon, and full marathon distances. It was very busy with people when we arrived and thank goodness for the volunteers, we were able to drop our bags and make our way to the LONG potty lines. By the time I got into a potty, the first coral had already gone. I quickly dragged my run buddy and ran towards the start line. With the starting area and finish line in the heart of Toronto, a lot of the roads were barricaded. We had to squeeze our way to the starting area and wiggle out way through the crowds to get to our corrals. We eventually made it to the 4:20 pace bunny when the gun went off and so were we. 

At the start line

I had hoped for a 4:15 finish, but decided to slap a 4:05 pace band on my wrist just to push me a little and give me some leeway in case I had to make any pit stops. I took a quick photo with my running buddy and off we went. I was going to use the first 5 km to warm up the body as it was freezing and kept a 5:45-6:00 pace. I eventually caught up to the 4:10 pace bunny and stuck with his group for the next few kilometres. The sun eventually came up and I started to feel my fingers again. The course started in the heart of Toronto and took you north of the downtown core for a quick loop before we headed back towards to the waterfront. There were a number of spectators out cheering. I peaked down at my pace band every so often and realized that I was on pace with my 4:05 band. I was thrilled but I was only a third into the race.

When we made it down to the waterfront, I saw the elites coming towards me. It was amazing to see the first winner fly right by me. I was also able to see the two top female Canadian runners run right by. It is truly incredible to see how fast they are going. I took my first gel around 10km and happily trudged on. 

I have run the half marathon of this race before, so I was familiar with the first half which seemed to have gone by pretty quickly.

Then the split came, I knew there was no turning back. Most runners went left towards the half and a few of us went right towards the next 22 km's ahead. I hit the 21 km pad at 2:02 which meant I was 5:51 pace. There were a lot less runners at this point which meant there was more space for me run, but being a rookie marathoner, I wasn't quite sure if I was to push or save my legs for the later parts of the race. I decided to keep on with the pace that was comfortable. There were fewer people cheering until I entered the Beaches area where the crowds were awesome. There were people standing outside their homes and shops handing out water and fruit. I was so happy to get a banana from a little boy who was handing them out. This gave me an extra boost, but at this point I also realized I was in need of a potty right after I ran past one at 26km. I will in all future races take notes of where the toilets will be placed. I spent the next 4 kilometres looking for one and ended up using the one I had seen at kilometre 26 when I was looping around. I had not trained with a pit stop in mind, so this threw me for a bit of a loop.  I had been on pace with my 4:05 finish, but after the pit stop at 30km, I couldn't' seem to catch up. 

Around 39 km

I finally saw a friend cheering us on at at 36 km as I was entering a twisty, in and out, loop that looked like squiggly lines on the course map. It took us up and over the Don River and by the Don Valley off ramp where cars were backed up but cheerfully honking us runners. I saw my friend again around the 39 km mark where she was able to snap the picture. At this last loop where, we got to leave that crazy maze of running, I saw my run buddy. I had been looking for her throughout the course and was finally able to give her a high five and run on. I got to 40km at 3:57, I knew I wasn't going to get my 4:05 finish, but knew that my hubby and DD were going to be waiting near the finish line. I dug deep and pushed on.

My baby waiting
Seeing my family

Finish line

I finally saw my husband and daughter 400m from the finish. As you can see from the photo my husband took, I was SO relieved to see them there as well as see the finish line right ahead of me. I stopped for a quick kiss and hug and pushed as hard as I could for a strong finish. I crossed the finish line at 4:10:29. I was thrilled to see a good friend who had come down to see me finish just as I crossed the finish line. She snapped the photo below.

My "gold" medal

I had done it, I had just finished my first marathon. I was over the moon excited. We were give heat sheets and our medals, then entered a large exit area where we were given water, bagels, and yogurt. It was a bit difficult to get out of the finishing chute as you and to follow the crowd that filtered in Nathan's Phillips Square, where they had a large meeting area, bands and a few vendors. I quickly went to retrieve my bags and find my family. It was an amazing experience. I had a blast running this distance. This was a wonderful race and the course was beautiful. I highly recommend this race to anyone who is looking for a fun and flat course through Toronto.  

Celebrating with my family

Have you run a marathon ?

What gets you through the entire distance?

What are you post race rituals?

1 comment:

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