Only a couple weeks prior to race day, I had been wearing shorts and tanks on my runs. It was chilly on race day, so decided on running tights, a tank and a running jacket. Newbie lesson learned: Dress for success. Layers that can be removed are definitely a good idea.
Taking this quick photo at home before a race would become a tradition started on this day! Newbie lesson learned: Take photos! You will want to remember these moments!
When the coral was released, I took a deep breath and moved along with the crowd to the start. As I passed over the start mat, I fumbled to press the button on my iPhone's earphones to start my running app. With all the noise I didn't hear the start announcement, but I wasn't about to double check by pulling the phone out of my running belt.
As I made my way through the start area, I was faced with walls of runners, some going a lot slower and many in big groups running together. I started darting left and right to get around them. Dart left. Run. Another wall. Dart right. Run. Repeat. Newbie lesson learned: Do not waste energy running around other runners. Looking back, I would have been better suited signing up for a faster corral so the runners were closer to the pace I was going.
Since I had worn my running belt with a small bottle of water in it, I cruised through the water stations and used them as a reminder to have a couple sips of my water. When I saw the first kilometer marking, I realized my running app wasn't working, so had no clue as to how fast or slow my pace was. I just kept going. I recall saying in my mind, 'Just keep running...' like Dory from Finding Nemo would say if she was a runner and not a fish.
I was pushing hard, harder than I felt I ever had. The little uphill section of Lakeshore Boulevard near Spadina slowed me down drastically. I could only imagine what my heart rate was at the moment! I slowed to a fast walk using the opportunity to pull off my jacket and tie it around my waist. The little break allowed me to catch my breath, plus cool down. Whew, okay, better.
I saw signs for the half marathon and marathon split, and then it was time to turn up Bay Street. Thinking I was closer to the finish than I was, I picked up the pace for about 300 meters and before seeing the next distance sign. Eek! I think I just used up my last energy burst! The number of cheering spectators along the side of the street started became a good distraction, and I started scanning the crowds my hubby and dog. Suddenly, there he was! I somehow managed to yell his name, wave and smile. Seeing his proud smile back and hearing his cheers gave renewed that little burst of adrenalin and carried me the last meters to the finish.