Toronto Women’s Half Marathon

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No matter how little sleep I got or how many doubts floated through my mind this morning, I said what will be shall be and I forged on ahead!

This was another one of life’s great experiences and I was going to embrace it with open arms! You only live once (YOLO!).

Oddly enough, I ended up raising almost the same amount of money for the Canadian Cancer Society as I did last year, so I wore the same tank top that I made last year for my 1st race ever (a 10k). Every time I felt like giving up, I thought about all of the money that we raised for such a great cause. I knew I couldn’t quit!

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Eric and I headed out just before 6am this morning. We had just under 1 hour’s drive to the race site. We got to the race super early (over 1 hour early!) so we had lots of time to kill. It was actually kind of nice to be early for once, because for my 1st two half marathons we were caught in bad traffic and almost late. It was nice to be relaxed. The race experience is also much better for the spectator when they don’t have to listen to you panic! :biggrin:

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I don’t know what I would do without Eric’s support at my races! He always calms my nerves. [Side note– I can’t believe we are doing the try-a-tri next weekend. GAH.]

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Then I met the lovely Sarah, who traveled all the way from New York, and we chatted away until just before the start.

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It was the perfect temperature outside- around 17C/63F, however the sun was quite hot and it heated up fast. Luckily this half marathon was run on a trail in Sunnybrook Park and had lots of shade.

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I also met some other ladies, but we didn’t get pictures together! Nothing like meeting blog readers in the porta potty line! :biggrin: I was hoping an all women’s race would mean better smelling porta potties, but no such luck! :sick:

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Sarah and I were in the 1st corral, which was an expected finishing time of under 2 hours. It was Sarah’s 1st half marathon and I was really excited for her!!

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Sarah and I said our final goodbyes!

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It’s all fun and games until mile 2!!! :lol:

We were off!

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I think I saw more Lululemon clothing items in one place than I ever have in my life!

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Eric said, ‘Come back in one piece, OK?’

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The course:

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The course consisted of 3 loops. Because of the loops I got to see my friends during the race which was really fun! I saw Sarah, Hilary, and Vanessa along the way! It is always nice seeing a familiar face when you are needing a lift.

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Mile 1: was awesome like it always is! Mile 1 is always the easiest. I have loads of energy and it is pure excitement for the race ahead. Sarah and I chatted during this mile and then we lost each other and I was running solo. The start was very quick since we were near the front and there wasn’t much of a lag at all. It only took me about 6 seconds to cross the start line.

Mile 1 time = 8:24

Hill climb = 66 feet

Mile 2: I don’t know what happened, but I was fighting back tears during mile 2. I was feeling very overwhelmed about how many miles I had ahead of me. I also felt under-trained and my groin started to twinge and feel really tight. My head was not in the game and I was a bit scared.

Mile 2 time = 8:00

Hill Climb = 104 feet

Mile 3: Mile 3 dragged on and on. I couldn’t believe that I had to do 3 more ‘3 mile runs’ – plus a mile! I thought back to my previous half marathons and I think I found that the first several miles were among the most difficult. I have a tendency to defeat myself in my mind before I even get there. I start thinking, ‘Oh my gosh it is only mile 3 and I have 10 miles to run, how will I ever do it?’.

Mile 3 time = 8:18

Hill climb = 121 feet

Mile 4: Mile 4 was pretty uneventful except for the fact that I had some strange man approach me on a bike taking a picture, what looked like, to be of me. I thought to myself, ‘Oh he must be just taking a picture of a lady behind me.’ and I didn’t think much of it. I had other things on my mind!

Mile 4 time = 8:22

Hill climb = 88 feet

Mile 5: This was the mile when I knew without a doubt that it was the right choice to bring my Camelbak. The water stations weren’t very frequent (well, to me anyways!) and I definitely needed the extra water. It was so nice to be able to take a sip whenever I wanted to. I still stopped at every water station and fueled up on Gatorade. I looooooove Gatorade during a race! It makes my heart go pitter-patter when I taste it. :heart:

Mile 5 time = 8:31

Hill climb = 146 feet

Mile 6: My 10k time was (unofficially): 51 minutes. I was very happy with this time, but not happy about the fact that I had to run more than twice the distance before I was done! Mile 6 also began a series of short hills over the next few miles. I knew that my pace was slowly starting to get slower over the past few miles and I wondered if I would be able to keep my pace or not.

Mile 6 time = 8:38

Hill climb = 192 feet

Mile 7: I saw the SAME creepy guy on his bike near me taking another picture!!! I started to freak out a bit, but I convinced myself that he was taking a picture of someone else behind me. While I loved this course in Sunnybrook Park, I did not like the fact that it was open to the public. There were a few questionable men watching this all women’s race from park benches.

Mile 7 time = 8:51

Hill climb = 174

Mile 8: You are stronger than you think, you are stronger than you know. Over and over and over. I wanted to cry. I have such a love/hate relationship with half marathons. One mile I love it and the next mile I hate it. I pushed myself with every ounce of strength I had in me, but I knew I still had 5 miles to go.

Mile 8 time = 8:53

Hill climb = 167 feet

Mile 9: This mile was the toughest in terms of the mini hill climbs. I was cursing under my breath every time I saw a hill approaching. The course was coined a ‘FLAT course’ and while it was an easier course than my two half marathons last fall, it still had some challenging hills in it. Luckily I had a lot of training on hills so my pace didn’t slow down much.

Mile 9 time = 9:04

Hill climb = 209 feet

Mile 10: I could not believe this but the guy on the bike RETURNED somehow and he was right beside me taking a picture of me with his cell phone! So creeped out at this point. He was literally 3 feet beside me on his bike holding up his camera on his cell phone. This time there was no doubt in my mind that he was taking a picture of me. I was super creeped out and I made a beeline to the closest man who was working for the race and I told him about the man on the bike. He seemed quite concerned as was I. Hopefully they kicked him off the course! It really upset me and it kind of threw me off my game for a while. 

Mile 10 time = 8:44

Hill climb = 136 feet

Mile 11: This was a great mile. I felt my strength return and I was sooooo happy I only had 2 miles and a bit to go! Rest was near! The volunteers, while all amazing, were especially amazing near the end. They kept saying encouraging things like, ‘WOW you are doing so great only a few k’s to go!’. I thanked each and every one of them.

Mile 11 time = 8:36

Hill climb = 158 feet

Mile 12: Just like in my previous two half marathons, mile 12 (and 13) were the HARDEST of the entire race. Running is such a mental sport and I find that I kind of lose my marbles during the last mile. It seems to drag on and on and I stopped frequently to walk. I kept telling myself over and over, ‘Just keep going you can walk when you are crossed the finish line!’ and it helped a bit, but I still struggled quite a bit. I knew I was so close to setting a new PR and pushing just a bit harder could be the deciding factor.

Mile 12 time = 9:11

Hill climb = 166 feet

Mile 13: Was this really my LAST mile?! I saw the chocolate station and I almost hurled. I seriously could not fathom the thought of eating a chocolate bar at that time! No one was taking the chocolate at all. There is something wrong about that picture too- women in a women’s race refusing chocolate! It’s a crime, I know. I think that just goes to show how determined we were to finish!

I repeated my mantra ‘You are so much stronger than you think. You are so much stronger than you know.’ I had to stop and walk quite a bit during this last mile and I thought it would never end…

Mile 13 time = 9:01

Hill Climb = 130 feet

Mile 13-13.1(13.3?): My Garmin told me that the course was actually 0.2 miles over because my watch read 13.3 miles when I crossed the finish line, and not 13.1 miles. I thought I only had 0.1 miles to go and it turned out to be 0.3 miles which is a big difference when you are pushing your max 110%.  I must not have been running a ‘straight’ path.

Regardless, I rounded the turn and I saw all of the people lined up and I said, ‘THIS IS IT ANGE, RUN LIKE HELL!’

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The crowd was awesome and gave me all the motivation I needed to run as fast as I possibly could! I started to sprint fast and the crowd cheered loudly. My speed got around a 6 minute mile. There were no other women around me so I felt like this was my moment.

It was probably my strongest finishes of all 3 of my half marathons. In my last half marathon, I struggled BIG time in the last 500 metres, but for this race I crossed the finish line flying at top speed! There is no better feeling.

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I thought to myself, ‘Oh you are going to feel this tomorrow!’

Race stats:

  • Distance: 13.1 miles (Garmin read 13.3 miles)
  • Chip time: 1 hour 55 mins. 10 secs. (New PR)
  • Placed 16th out of 105 women in my age group
  • Placed 111 overall out of 1129 women in the race
  • Avg heart rate: 173 bpm
  • Max heart rate: 182 bpm (in the last few hundred metres)

 

Shortly after crossing the finish line…

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I saw Eric and he came running over! He was so excited and he kept saying YOU DID IT! Nothing is better than when you think someone truly *gets* how hard it was and how much you pushed yourself to your limits.

Previous half marathon times:

  • 1st half marathon– Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon (Sept. 27, 2009): 1:57:45
  • 2nd half marathon-Goodlife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon (October 18, 2009): 1:56:33
  • 3rd half marathon– Toronto Women’s Half Marathon (May 30, 2010): 1:55:10

 

How awesome are these girly medals on a sports chain? I love that it is a piece of jewelry!

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I want to thank all of you guys for your support through my training and charity efforts! :heart:

The drive home was enjoyed with an ice bag and a High-protein Renew Glo Bar! I don’t think I have ever eaten a Glo Bar so fast.

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Icing on the drive home = amazing idea.

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This medal is dedicated to all of YOU! I can’t wait to wear it on my training runs. :cool:

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When we got home, I had an ice bath, a 45 minute nap (Eric and Sketchie had a 4 hour nap, LOL), and of course lots of yummy food.

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

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Nicole April 14, 2016

I know im years late to this post, but I’m considering running this race this year. From your recap of the hills, it looks like it’s STRAIGHT up the whole way. Is that right?

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Angela Liddon April 15, 2016

Hey Nicole, I’m so sorry, but I don’t remember as the race was about 6 years ago. My memory must have blocked it out…haha! I would check the race’s website as they usually provide course info. Good luck!

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krissy November 4, 2010

I was a bit annoyed because I thought I only had 0.1 miles to go and it turned out to be 0.3 miles which is a big difference when you are pushing your max 110%.

this is so true! i am super inspired at your amazingness!!!

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Rebecca @ How the Cookies Crumble June 2, 2010

Congratulations on your half and your new PR!!!

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Corinne (breathe and savor) June 1, 2010

Angela!! You are amaziiiiiing. Running IS such a mental battle and you totally pushed through! Nothing, nothing, nothing is harder than getting over those neg. mental thoughts, but you did it AND you raced to a PR! I absolutely admire your strength! Sorry about the creepy guy, I wonder if he was harassing any other ladies :(

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Tamara June 1, 2010

Yay Angela! Congratulations!!!!

I’m glad you were able to email the race coordinator about the creepy guy. You can never be to careful.

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Erin June 1, 2010

CONGRATS on such a great race!!! You really give me a lot of motivation in your posts. Great work :)

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Andrew Lowry May 31, 2010

Well done! A new PR and you are in the top decile for the race and your age group. That is impressive.

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Kris May 31, 2010

WAY TO GO!!! Super proud of you! You should have told that creep to step off unless he wants your crazy family after him! lol xo

Reply

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