On Sunday morning, I got up early and met Jill at the Toronto Island ferry dock. It was race day!! It was mine and Jill’s second time running the Island Girl Half Marathon Relay. Last year, we ran it in 1:54:55 and came 13th. We had an eye on a top 10 finish this year, but since we’re deep in training, didn’t want to race all-out. Who knew what the day had in store?
It was very, very cold, that’s for sure. Jill ran the first leg and I froze waiting for her. The sun was out for a bit, but once we swapped and I was running, it alternated between being misty and threatening rain and it being sunny and freezing. But you can’t control the weather.
Once we slapped hands, I took off. My first kilometre was fast (4:57), but I knew I couldn’t hold it. I tried to keep my pace between 5:15 and 5:30. After the second kilometre (5:16), my quads felt dead. I’m not sure why, it was an easy week for me, training-wise. Maybe the speed work on Wednesday took more out of me than I thought. At the 20:00 mark, I decided to do 10 and 1s and keep my running pace as close to 5:15 as possible. I felt the breaks would be the only way I could sustain such a quick pace. (Kilometres 3-5: 5:28, 5:44, 5:16).
At the halfway point, I felt exhausted. The race is a loop around the island and at 5k intervals you pass through the crowd. It’s a smart race design if you like cheers, but I can only imagine how boring the complete half must be. I high-fived Jill, powered through the water station and took a quick walking break before hitting the boardwalk. I lost a lot of time n the boardwalk (or so I tell myself). The mist made the wood slippery, so I didn’t want to run all out. Once you’re off the boardwalk, you’re through a few cottages (props to the cottagers who sat in their yard and cheered runners on) and loop back to the finish. (Kilometres 6 & 7: 5:38, 5:17). I felt really good kilometres 8 and 9 (5:51, 5:38) (this makes me think I really am a distance runner if it takes 8k to find my groove) and powered home.
I hit 10k in 54:54, (5:43) a time I’m pleased with, but it meant sub 55:00 for my entire 10.5 was out of reach. Oh well. I ran my part of the race in 1:01:41 last year. 56:32 certainly tops that!
And we came in 10th place! Hurrah for that!