Run as fast as you can: Ekiden recap

On the longest day of the year, Toronto runners meet up on Leslie Spit for a relay race.

A very, very, very fast relay race.

Last year, when I agreed to do it, I had no idea what I was getting into. “Those running the 10k need to be fast,” I was told. But fast is relative. In my run crew, I am not fast, but not slow. So I said I’d do it.

Then a teammate looked up last year’s times.

Oh shit.

When we showed up, it was a who’s who of the fastest runners in the city. There was an Olympian. But we did our best, didn’t come last and team #notlast was born.

I said yes this year, hoping for an easier assignment. Then they changed the format.

Teams of 6 running mile repeats, 4 times over. So I’d  have to run like hell. Repeat. Run like hell. Repeat.

I was nervous. I had just raced the Waterfront 10k. I did my second-ever post-injury speedwork on Tuesday. I didn’t tell my coach about this. I didn’t know how my body would react.

But I got out there and ran like hell.  I felt OK. I was tired and got lapped by almost everyone. But I didn’t come last. My body held up. It was hard, I was tired. I got slower with every repeat. But I did it.

I need to work on getting out of my head. Laying it on the line, and seeing what happens.

What’s the worst that could happen? I slow down? I come last? I DNF? It’s happened before. It’s not the end of the world.

This is supposed to be fun. I’m the one making it work.

And, despite how intimidating and hard Ekiden was, I had fun. So let’s keep having fun.

A very good place to start: Toronto Waterfront 10K recap

Photo credit: Tribe Fitness

I had no idea what to expect heading into this race. My coach told me to run it hard so we had a base for training paces. But after doing no speedwork in like 8 months and only running regularly the past few, what is hard? What was I capable of? I mentioned sub 55:00 on the phone to my coach and she was coy, in a way that made me think I could definitely go faster. But was sub 50 possible? It didn’t seem so.

I decided to go for the impossible. The guy who ran my last marathon training clinic once said— after I said there was no way I could run a 1:45 half-marathon — “What’s the worst that could happen? You DON’T run 1:45? Who cares?” I try to remember that every time I set a scary goal. Running, as important as it is to me, is meaningless. I am the only person who is going to care what those numbers are.

A couple other runners also wanted to go sub 50, so my plan was to stick with them until I blew up. I was nervous, but also in the back of my mind started to believe sub 50 was doable.

We all went out too fast.

Race excitement, a downhill start, a crowd surge — it pushed us all forward.

I immediately fell behind my friends, but had them within sight.


No need to catch up.


Whoa, consistent splits?

I CAN do this.


Still on pace for sub 50.


Slowing down is bad.

Then it got hot. And I got hungry.



I need water. I walk through the water station.


Damn it, pick it up.


Ugh, not enough.

I’m still hungry.

Oh more water, thank god.


Two km left, get up this hill.


If you run like hell… maybe? Probably not, but 50:XX would be great.

So I ran like hell.



I could have pushed harder. I could have been smarter. I could have stayed more positive. But 51:06 after almost 8 months of being on the injury/comeback train is a good place to start.