October 24, 2015
Last weekend I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon, again. This was a lovely, enjoyable race. 21 half-marathons down. And with a flourish of irony, my very first half-marathon was also the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon in 2010.
As I mentioned in my previous post about my race goals, I wanted to beat my 2010 time of 2:35:20. I did it handily and it was a great confidence booster.
|Date||Event||Goal Time||Chip Time||Gun Time|
|2015/10/18||Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon||<2:35:20||2:22:17.3||2:43:48|
I went to the expo on the Friday before the race. I was a little disappointed by the expo. It had a lot of vendors, but the layout felt a little odd. You picked up your bib on one side of the hall, then had to go to the other side of the hall for your shirt. I almost felt bad for the vendors across from bag pickup; they would have had lots of traffic but the attention would be away from them.
I only bought one thing at the expo but it seems to be a pretty neat product. Many have suggested that I write my name on my shirt for the TCS New York City Marathon so that spectators can cheer you on. When I ran the Chicago Marathon in 2012, I used print-at-home iron-on to put my name on my shirt and hearing random stranger spectators cheering me on was really awesome. I was agonizing about how to do it this time until I saw the Sport-Glo Apparel booth. They print custom iron-ons of 3M’s reflective “Scotchlite” material. I ordered one with my name and another one that said “Canada.” I’ll share how they look in a separate post.
I agonized over what to wear to this race. There were quite a few times where it was 30ºC or more this summer. So it seems almost cruel that this race would start just above the freezing point. I was honestly perplexed about what to wear during this race. When I ran 2 days before it was a balmy (by comparison) 7ºC which didn’t give me a good reference. I eventually settled on a single layer with a long sleeve shirt (from the 2012 Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon) and long pants.
I actually didn’t get a good night’s sleep prior to the race. I was replacing the kitchen faucet at home and it took a lot longer than I expected.
Getting to the Start
Actually getting to the race was a bit of a challenge in itself. I’ve driven down to the start of this race 5 times before, so I wasn’t worried about the route. I picked up Amar and we carpooled down together. I planned on parking under City Hall but Queen Street was closed at University Avenue earlier than I expected. I later noticed that the access from Chestnut Street was still available and will use that next time.
It was chilly before the start so I work my jacket until bag check then wore a throwaway poncho. I ran into quite a few Square One Running Room runners before the race, but dashed off to find a washroom before taking any photos.
I really liked the way the corrals were organized this year. In previous years it was very, very difficult to walk down the sidewalk on the east side of University Avenue. This year entry to the corrals was via the WEST side of University Avenue. The road was closed anyways so it made for a comfortable place to have porta-potties and warm up.
I had been seeded in the Blue Corral which meant I was expecting a finishing time of 2:00-2:09. The time was possible for me, but as I said in my goals post, I didn’t want to overdo it at this race and jeopardize the New York City Marathon. I made my way to the last corral and stationed myself beside the 2:30 run/walk pacer. Conveniently, his name was also Paul.
In the same corral I met up with Anita who I often train with at the Square One Running Room. This was going to be her 3rd half-marathon and she wanted to get over the “hump” she found around 17km of her previous two races. She was aiming for about 2:20 and that sounded lovely to me. I decided I would keep her company for the whole race.
Once the race started we lost the pacer quickly. I figured as long as I finished before him I would meet my goal.
Anita said she didn’t want to do walk breaks. This was new for me because I always do 10-and-1’s, but I thought I’d give it a try. It turned out really well and I found it quite comfortable to stay at this aerobic speed without stopping.
The temperatures were almost perfect with my one layer. A few times I rolled up my sleeves but them rolled them back down when we hit some wind.
Anita and I had a lovely fun race. Her race pace was prettymuch where I wanted my “training pace” to be. I was kind of being Anita’s mobile cheerleader encouraging her and suggesting improvements to her form. We made a lot of jokes about how the last corral is the most fun corral and such.
We crossed the 10k mat with a chip time of 1:07:58 for a pace of about 6:47 min/km. Beautiful!
I was pleasantly surprised when we hit the turnaround at Windemere. It felt like I had just started.
Shortly after the turn we ran into our friend Athena. She’s a pretty fast runner so I was surprised she was back with us mere mortals. It turns out she was pacing Jean-Paul Bedard, the gentleman who was running the full marathon course THREE TIMES to raise awareness of campaigns to combat sexual assault. I was slightly starstruck when I talked to him because he was at around 90km of a very long day. There was a lot of buzz about him before and after the race so it was a nice moment to meet the man in person during the race (or his 3rd of the day!!).
Anita started to fade around the 14km mark, especially on the little hill around Jamieson, so my mobile cheerleader mode went into full blast. I hope I wasn’t annoying her.
I thought the temperature was just right. Wearing all black I was starting to bake in the sun, but it got overcast around 12km and there was a refreshing breeze.
Anita said she usually fell apart around the 17km mark of each race. When we reached the 17km sign I encouraged her to hit it. She said she didn’t want to waste the energy so in true Anita fashion she gave the sign the finger.
After the course split shortly after 19km, there was a great cheering group. I think it was the Parkdale Road Runners and their cheering was really awesome!
Anita was fading fast in the last kilometer so we drifted apart a bit. My jog up Bay Street was all gravy because I felt really fresh. I just soaked in the crowd and experience.
I finished the last 11.1km with an average pace of 6:41 min/km. Anita finished only about 20 seconds after me so I could have slowed down and stayed with her over the last stretch.
I felt fantastic finishing the race. I was primed to do it all over again! It’s a very nice feeling to finish a race and not be completely spent. It’s also rather reassuring considering I will be running DOUBLE this distance in just over a week.
The finish chute area was great as usual: Get your medal, get a foil, then head out into Nathan Philips Square. The foil was very necessary because I got cold really fast. The food was in a separate area and you needed a chit from your bib to claim a food bag. I think this is a really good idea because some races run out of food before the last runners finish because early runners hog the food.
I had a lovely time and would do it again!
Special thanks again to the thousands of volunteers that made this possible, and the whole team at the Canadian Running Series who always seem to do a great job!