So the buzzer is set to go off on my alarm clock for 4:43am this morning to get ready to meet the gals, Sandra Lalonde & Regina Pehr at the spirit catcher before heading off to Sunnybrook Park in TO for the Toronto Women's Only half marathon.
I woke up before the alarm. Meh.
The ladies were punctual and off we went to the Micky D's on the 400 to pick up Deb Watson. We were off as per my schedule by 6am.
We arrived at the Sony building across from the park with oodles of time - so we warmed up a bit, changed choose, grabbed water bottles & debated clothing. I had my BRR short sleeve shirt on & debated adding my jacket. Thank goodness I didn't. It was going to be a sweltering day by the end of the run.
Now the TO Women's Only isn't my favourite race only due to the course. I'm not a big fan of open courses & even less of a fan of running through parks. Especially through TO, damn they are deceptively hilly. I'm not good with hills right now. Not enough training, however; I digress.
Sandra had managed to snaffle a spot the day before as Karen had to back out. So it was this morning that I learned Sandra was going to run with me, I thought she was joking, but nope very serious. Her goal was to run about 6min pace. Which is okay...I suppose, if you are off the DL which I am not to date. I can run that for about 15 k but that's been my longest run & we walked the big hills.
So I was a bit worried - so I made it clear that Sandra could go her own way when required. I wouldn't hold her back.
I didn't have my Garmin on purpose, I just wanted to enjoy the run. I'd use the KM markers to take my brakes.
Sandra & I were in the 3rd & final wave of the race - at the very front, it was like we were elites!! LOL. Check out the website there should be some good piccies of us posing.
We had a great pace going, it didn't feel bad at all. I used my breathing as a measurement tool & it was all good. We were ahead of pace according to Sandra, but I have no clue.
The first 6k went really well. We didn't have a walk break til 6.5 ish. Then up hill. Blech. Not a fan.
Then by 10k it was getting stinking humid and my breathing was getting laboured. I'm not sure if I get anxious and cause the issues or the breathing difficulty causes the anxiety which increases the heaviness in my chest. But we had a quick walk break at the 10k mark. I was trying my utmost to relax myself, but I started piling on the pressure to keep up with Sandra. She runs 1:47 1/2 marathons. I do not. So I kept going to my dark place & that just did me in.
By the 14k mark I waved Sandra on as we rounded the next turn. I kept her in sight for another kilometer and then I needed a walk break and lost her.
The route was filled with puddles and ladies that felt the need to pussy foot through them, REALLY.. I just barrelled though the middle of them and through the water, enough of that silliness.
Over the bridge and up more hills & by 17k I had another walk break. And my ITB was singing a very unhappy tune. So I made the decision to walk when it started to twing. I did not want an all out pain to happen. So I did a lot of walking between the running from 18 - 20 k.
I ran through the firemen for the third time which, in my opinion is rather a non-event, but the other ladies seem to enjoy it. Almost as much as the firemen.
Then through the chocolate station at 19k - now this is more for me! But I only took one Cadbury's thin. Just the one. I was running with some walking. Then past the 20k mark & I was going to run - I could run 1 k.
Then as I got to the parking lot a woman was yelling " ONLY ONE MORE KILOMETER - THIS IS THE LAST KM..." My brain just shut down. I was ticking off the meters and the thought of having to run one more k - well, it just pissed me off. So either they have the mileage markers wrong or the lady is on crack... so I ended up walking across the parking lot & started running after I hit the trail again. I knew she was off her rocker - the finish line was just around the bend and through the over pass. Geezzz I wish people would just shut up if they don't know distance.
There was one little girl at the 9 k mark saying " Great work, you're almost there" ARE YOU EFFING JOKING ME??!!! We aren't even half way yet. *shakes head*
Here's your sign.
There are way too many turn arounds and loop backs and clover leafs on this course. I don't enjoy it really. The organization is tremendous & I wonder if they might thing about finding a different venue, however; with Rob Ford's current stance on races in Toronto, I can't see it happening. I don't mind it in parks, but close it the public for a few hours & is there anyway for there to be less turn arounds & doubling backs?