I am thrilled to write this recap and it isn't even about a fastest run time at all!
It is about a girl who planned the last several months around training for the Chicago Marathon that she has run every year since 2015 only to come up to race week with bronchitis and BAM, Chicago is a no go.
I don't like to dwell on negatives but that was my reality. I would get winded just going up my stairs, I had no voice and no appetite. Oh, and did I mention my breathing completely sucked?! I had to take time off work so I knew running a marathon in less than 7 days was not likely.
Soooo, as a last minute trip Matt and I booked Toronto the following weekend and decided we would run there! I would run a shorter distance or cheer if I was still not in physical shape to run.
I missed 8 days of running when I got sick so my tapered legs and body were REALLY fresh, borderline losing fitness. I managed three super short runs in the week leading up to Toronto and they did not feel easy at all so I was a bit discouraged but was planning on making the most out of the Toronto trip and have fun!
|I had never been beyond the airport in Toronto so I was really looking forward to seeing the city. Fun Fact: I have Gatorade, chips and candy in my bag, lol.|
Upon arrival we searched for food! Siri helped us find Blaze Pizza - a traditional stop for us in Chicago so we were pumped to at least enjoy that!
Like really pumped...
We made a brief visit to the expo and headed back to the hotel.
I laid out all the gear and then enjoyed much rest and relaxation on the bed watching TV. My kind of day.
|Fun Fact: Once I was all dressed for the race I didn't like the black socks with the mint shoes so I made a last minute fashion detail change!|
Toronto really is pretty!
An evening stroll in search of breakfast food and more pizza. :)
It was pretty crisp and chilly on race morning. Our hotel lobby was super packed with runners! We literally just had to walk out of our hotel and we were on the street of the start!
Matt and I headed to our corral bundled in our throwaways. We saw Richard and then I ran into Julia. She was aiming for a sub 1:40 so I told her jokingly that if she saw me on course to yell at me to slow down! Lol. Fun fact: she did her goal!
At the start it was so crowded and the atmosphere was buzzing! "Stop the Rock," was playing as we hit the streets and it was really motivating even though I hadn't heard this song in forever.
Immediately after starting my head was yelling, "What are you doing?! What were you thinking running the full today?! You were just sick! With bronchitis!" Yikes, that's not exactly how I approach all marathons but the sickness and all the downtime really let some negative thoughts enter my mind.
Christy and Janet entered my mind:
Christy: "We are fortunate to be able to run today. What a great day to run!" She's such a positive friend and I'm really happy to have her to draw on especially when I need a good talking to.
Janet: "You're ready! Our training cycles build on each other. Look how rested you'll be!" Janet was running her fastest marathon to date at the same time I was running Toronto. She was in PEI and I have been blessed to know her as a running friend.
My legs were feeling GREAT! My breathing wasn't horrible either, just a sporadic cough here and there. I am going to enjoy this day and finish this run. Don't worry about time! "BEEP: 4:23 first KM!!!!!!!! What'?!?!!?!? Immediately after that it went from 6:05 down to 3:50 something so I knew the buildings and my old GPS were not getting along. I was having those GPS glitches I had heard about but forgotten about...lol.
So then I just tried to settle but each km was faster than Lee prescribed. It was just impossible to settle in! The course was flat and filled with people not to mention the weather was spectacular! I ended up ditching my gloves at 2k.
I loved this marathon. At 6k there were drummers and I really hoped I'd hear them again late in the race. There were many spectators at the early parts. They all looked so happy to be out cheering the runners on this gorgeous day!
The course is super cool! We headed around downtown and along Lake Shore Blvd. which is gorgeous!!!
At 10k I got to see all the crazy fast elites coming back ... they were approximately at 14-15k by then and their legs looked surreal! Shortly after I saw Gavin from the Road Hammers and I yelled out to him! I think he thought I was nuts but I was just so happy to see a familiar face. :D It was his debut marathon and he completely crushed it with a sub 2:30!
Matt and Richard were running together I saw after that! They looked like it was easy!!!! They both had a similar goal so I was glad they got to run together.
I kept telling myself to settle and stay smooth but I was like a kid bouncing off the walls during an indoor recess at school after just eating candy. Yes, I'd pay for these speedy splits later. ;)
By 17 or so K I spotted a white singlet and super long brown ponytail....uh oh, it's Julia! HEATHER SLOW THE HECK DOWN!!! Yes I dialed it back lol. I ran behind her from 17-nearly 20k where we divided up between the half and full marathoners. This separation came under a bridge/overpass with two separate red arches. The half marathon arch was bumping with loud music and the majority of runners going there. I'd be lying if I said I didn't consider following them and just calling it a day but I wouldn't let the negative self doubt win. #nottoday ...that's for you Sarah. ;)
And as I expected the division from the half runners was a lonely road for a bit. The race immediately got quiet and I realized that settling in would be much easier now...but I feared that it would be a little too easy.
I hit the half at 1:41 and laughed because I knew I wouldn't be doing a 3:22 today!
I really had to pee. Like really bad. On Lee's suggestion I hydrated very well...especially since I was sick and dehydrated. I took gels and salt tabs every 6k and it was really a great mental trick to just run to the next 6k when I began to get tired. I may have fueled a little too well because I tried to hold it but I remembered back to Chicago where I held it for 26k and then got a bladder infection. Yeah, that was not cool. So, I promised myself a port a pottie break when I saw the next aid station.
Before my bathroom break I saw Matt and Richard again looking super fresh. I love seeing people along the way! I also so Rob shortly after that!
Okay here it is...25.5 km I stop and walk across the grass to the bathroom for a much needed pee break. TMI? Then when I was done I stopped and drank two cups of nuun and hit the road again. I didn't lose an astronomical amount of time there but I would have scurried a little harder if I knew I'd be seconds off of a sub 3:30 finish LOL! Bathroom stop km - 6:04.
Okay, so from 30-35k the race got real tough for me. :( I hit some sort of wall where I highly doubted being able to finish, I was getting warm and my quads HATED me! I could not get back into my rhythm. Just keep moving forward. That's always my motto late in a marathon.
|I am wondering what I'm looking at here????|
I felt better from 35-38k! The wave of despair had passed and now it was just pain to the finish! That I could do, lol.
If I may caption the below photo:
Okay, I got this! Less than 7k to....7k is like nothing! I can do this. Normal people would actually say 7k is pretty far, especially with these screeching quads. Maybe 7k is pretty far?! 7k, so like that's from my house to the dentist and back? Late marathon thoughts continue aaaaaaannd, "BEEP" Oh look, only 6k to go! LOL.
Sy had warned me of an incline at 39k where many were walking. I refused to walk there so I just headed up it at turtle pace trudging through peanut butter. Yes, I slowed like crazy but I didn't care. I just high fived and smiled. I complimented a few runners and yelled at a couple of others who were stopping to come with me! They weren't that interested, lol.
I thought of my father in law because he said when you see the CN Tower don't be fooled! You still have a ways to go. I have deciphered that the CN Tower is the Citgo Sign of Toronto.
|Ahh, the finish! So glorious, so exhilarating, so classy? (check me out gagging and ready to puke on the far left).|
This medal is so beautiful!
One of us managed a PB that day...but it wasn't me, lol.
|3:30 for me and a 2:56 for Matt!|
I HIGHLY recommend this race! We will very likely head back next year. :D I can't believe this was my first time running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Flat, fast and beautiful!
Thanks so much to all my friends who supported me during the transition from doing Chicago, not doing Chicago, doing Toronto...LOL. You guys rock! And thanks to all the readers who read this crazy long post!