Hello, Toronto! I am officially back and ready to rekindle my fitness regime after a much needed break (from both the city and from running). Everyone needs a break once in awhile, it’s important to refuel the mind and body, and that is exactly what I did on my west coast vacation. But now, as a promise to Erin, I must make up for a lot of loss time.
Oh my goodness California is amazing! This may also be a slight bias opinion due to the fact my race went really, really well. But seriously, California is amazing.
I am super excited to talk about my adventures and my first half marathon! Not to sound full of myself, but I rocked that race. Even though I was not as fast as I wanted to be (I was shooting for a sub 2 hour time) I ran the race in 2:09. However, after looking back I have a lot to be thankful for. I felt super strong, hard core and pumped the whole way through. There was a leg of the race around the 11 mile mark when I felt really slow. I wasn’t fatigued or tired. I was just slow. But after a boost of Beyonce’s Run The World (Girls) anthem — the music during the race was too perfect — I was able to pick it right up and push to the finish, despite almost running straight into a wedding proposal happening at the finish line! I sprinted through that finish line (as Erin said you should always do), didn’t stop once, I didn’t walk, and I ran up each and every hill.
Ladies, this truly an invigorating race and one I would do again in a heartbeat. That Tiffany necklace and attractive firemen do make the whole thing worth it in the end. It also helps San Francisco is a very cool city, and that Nike does an amazing job hyping up the spectators before and during the race. Nothing is better than an excited crowd! Another benefit is the scenery – running a race in a city you’ve never been to, or only visited briefly once or twice (or maybe a million times) regardless it makes for a completely different race experience on its own. It makes for excellent distractions. Seeing the Golden Gate Bridge in the background, running along Fisherman’s Wharf, spotting Alcatraz from a distance. We even saw bison along the way! This all made the hills not so bad. Surprisingly, mine and Cecilley’s hill training was actually enough. Although I was very doubtful of this the morning of our race. Seeing the vertical streets downtown as we waited corralled around Union Square – this would put doubts in anyone’s mind. I felt sick to my stomach at the thought that we haven’t prepare nearly enough for what was about to happen.
Cecilley was another reason I survived this whole thing. We started the race together, but she gave me the confidence to break away from the crowd and go after my goal time. So I ran ahead, into the sea of purple shirts. Cecilley’s carefree attitude and positivity was just what I needed around me. She was the best friend to have along for this crazy ride and the best running buddy I could have asked for. Good thing, this whole TNT/running a half marathon was her idea after all! And not only did Cecilley take care of me the night before the race and the morning of: she made sure I ate good running food and made sure I was hydrated: she also acted as my Erin substitute when I felt the need to sing a song about our race. Only Matt truly understands the Erin and Jill pre-race rituals. Cecilley, thank you! You may have been my saving grace. And I’m so proud of you! You ran so fast!!
I still find it hard to believe we actually did it. After all the months of fundraising, training, more fundraising, climbing hills, and more running our race came to an (unexpectedly pleasant) end on Sunday, October 14th. But, now I have no idea what to do with myself! This is something our coaches and mentors didn’t prepare us for, the post race blues. I want to start running again, but for now I’m going to bask in the glory of successfully completing the Nike Women’s Marathon and not dying! That’s until Erin and I start training for the Blue Nose Full Marathon of course!
The route for the Nike Women’s Marathon was great and the support throughout the race was incredible. Team In Training had a huge presence at NWM – makes sense being the official race to benefit blood cancers. But Cecilley and I were a part of something much bigger than the race itself. Women and men (yes men are allowed to run this race too) from all over Canada and the US did exactly what we did, we trained hard and raised a tone of money to be there. We earned the right to run and that felt really good. Each time I heard someone yell “Go Team!” or yelled to me specifically “Go Canada!” or “Right on, Ontario!” I felt even better. But the stories I heard and the coaching moments I saw during, after, and before the race truly brought everything together for me. The energy I had from the moment I woke that morning to the last person I watched cross the finish line, that feeling stuck with me. Cecilley, myself and the 25,000 other Team In Training participants all did an amazing thing that day. We all ran a race! And we helped change lives. These are two of my new favourite things to do. What’s up next? I need to plane my own race where I can make this happen.