Getting ready to run my third Toronto Waterfront Marathon was very different than the two previous years. Perhaps it’s because I still had the Ottawa Mec Race to come, and that is the race that I’m
nervous excited about. It also may have had to do with the fact that I trained differently this time around. September was a busy month for me and I was travelling and racing more. I managed to get three 32km training runs in but they were a tad earlier than I would have liked. I had also started training in Gatineau Park for my long runs, running on rolling hills for 22+ km’s.
After returning from Halifax, mid-September, I kind of lost my drive to run. I was getting in the minimum but it was a struggle getting out the door some days.
The week leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling very confident in my training, I knew I would complete it but wasn’t satisfied with the last 6 weeks. I also knew that if I reviewed my training I would be surprised and reassured that I didn’t do all that bad. However, at this point it would be what would be and I needed to get my head in the game. So, I refocused, did a head check and made the decision to do my best, regardless of how I felt.
I enjoyed girl time with a friend as we drove up to Toronto the night before the race. We started discussing racing options for next fall. Neither of us were convinced we would return to Toronto again the following year. It’s an amazing race and if it was my home city I’d do it every year but there are so many races/cities that we want to experience. We settled on a tentative game plan. 🙂
We hit the expo immediately when we arrived and I was able to pick up some Run Happy arm warmers! (I actually got a different pair as well because they are so soft and I love sleeves!)
I wanted to have them as a friend of mine, Jean-Paul Bedard, was running the marathon 3x to raise awareness and support for sexual abuse.
photo credit: Edison Yao
He is sponsored by Brooks and had shared a post wearing the sleeves. I figured it was a fun way to run happy and think of him during my race. I would highly recommend that you follow Jean-Paul as he will continue to be an outstanding influencer.
You can read about his adventure running 126.2km’s on his recap of the race.
Okay, so the start line. After going back and forth as to whether we should wear shorts or pants, we settled on pants. It was a very cold start to the morning but it looked like it might get up to 5°C. 😉
I had been approached by MEC to do an honest review of their brand of clothing. I had been given a few items to test out during my training runs. I seriously loved every piece and have since only purchased MEC running clothes as I am that impressed with them.
I wore the MEC Agility Tights. Here’s what I loved about them. The tights do not skimp on length and I suspect even if you are taller (which I am not) you would be pleased with the length. They are incredibly comfortable, providing complete freedom of movement without feeling restricted anywhere. The flexibility, breathability and moisture wicking features allowed me to almost forget I was wearing them. They have a mesh backing behind the knees that allow for venting. This feature was helpful in my decision to wear them instead of shorts. There is a rear zippered pocket and a front smaller pocket that provided extra storage for gels, etc. On top of this, they are a fantastic price. I purchased the Agility Capris after trying out the tights and I highly recommend them.
I also wore the MEC Vitality Short-Sleeved Tee. This shirt is fantastic! I was given the tank to try in the summer and it became my favourite tank to run in. After testing the tank out I purchased a few more, including the t-shirt. I love the length of the shirt. Often I find I’m having to pull down t-shirts when I run and I do not at all with this one. The shirt is highly breathable and light-weight. It is made with flat seams to help prevent chaffing, and the colours are fun! It also features some reflective elements to help you be seen when running in the dark.
Alright, back to the race. My girlfriend and I started out together but got separated when I ran into Jean-Paul around 10-12km’s in. I walked and listened to how he was doing at that point. He would have been approaching 96km’s or so (having already ran 2 loops of the marathon route). I could tell he was exhausted, you could see it in his eyes. After a quick hug I was back running. In hindsight, I kinda wish I had stayed with him for the duration.
I felt pretty good until about 25km’s where my right arch was giving me some pain. By 27km’s my right outside knee and right hip were also giving me grief. I continued to run with the right side of my leg causing pain for the remainder of the race. I’m not sure what was going on as I had not had any pain going into the marathon. At around 26km’s I made myself sit down and loosen my laces as I felt like they were tight and cutting off circulation. Either that or my feet were swelling and they became too tight? Not really sure. It seemed to help, but by the time I adjusted the laces, I think the damage was done. Around 32Km’s, I began having a serious discussing with myself about NOT running the MEC Marathon but instead running the half. I told myself, to remember this moment and be smart moving forward. I wanted to start 2016 healthy and ready for a great winter/spring training season.
The spectators were great! I enjoyed the cheer stations along the route. They helped keep me going when I felt like I wanted to just walk. I felt like I was pushing myself to keep a decent pace, like I couldn’t possibly be holding the pace I needed. Then I’d look at my watch and be like, okay I’m doing good, this is okay. My legs felt tired early on but somehow I just kept running. I know we all earn the reward of every race, but I felt like I had to dig deep for this one. It felt physically harder, both in the pain I was feeling but also in the effort I had to put out (or felt like). Of course this plays with your head and you end up battling through your thoughts!! I did terrible again at tangents and ended up running 44.2 km’s. In the end, I’m happy with my results. Another successful marathon in the books.
We did it!
We drove home after a quick shower. A little stiff on the ride home and the next day but by Tuesday I was feeling great again. Of course by Monday I was already debating whether I should just go for it and run the marathon 🙂 I was out for a little jog on Tuesday and felt good, more reason to run, yes? I decided to leave it up to my coach. He agreed and we decided to stick with the half. I was able to get out for a trail run on Saturday.
Next up is the Ottawa MEC Race and the week after the Cookie Run with an awesome fun medal!
Do you have a race coming up? What about a favourite fall clothing pieces you love?