What a beautiful day to pretend to run 15k.
I was chosen to be an Ambassador for the RBC Run for the Kids, which was an amazing opportunity to combine raising awareness of youth mental health issues with my love of running.
I have not been running much this year, as a matter of fact I'm basically just running the races I've registered for and nothing else. No training, no LSD on a weekend, no fun runs with friends. I feel like the idea of running is great, but in theory I just can't get there. I miss my run buddies, my treadmill and the streets are just too lonely. I need to get my mojo back.
For this race I was looking forward to a few things.....
Wearing my spiffy new Sparkle Skirt
Running in Toronto (again)
Being part of a cause I feel very close to
What I wasn't looking forward to.....
Driving to Toronto at 5am
Being awake at dark o'clock
Driving back from Toronto
all alone :-(
I managed to get up about 45 minutes before I was supposed to, which apparently was the Running God's way to tell me that this trip was going to be a slow one. Because I was running that meant I got to buy McDonalds for breakfast, but I figured I'd grab it, drive to TO and eat after I grabbed my kit, since I'd have TONS of time. So I got food, stuck in on the passenger seat, and hit the road.
Got stuck in the 'express lanes closed, move. Most of the collectors closed, move. Oh, lookie, let's go nowhere fast.' Yep, there went the 'extra' time I had budgeted. Add that I had to park, walk, wait in (long) line to grab kit, walk back to car, drop stuff, take a bathroom break, and I was literally IN a port-a-potty on the side of the course when the announcer started counting down to the race start.
(oh, and my bib wasn't there, so after some unsuccessful searching they gave me a generic bib with no timing chip on it). Good thing I'm wearing my Garmin (so I thought), because without it I've got no proof I ran.
Exit port-a-potty, jump into the race as they pass me, carrying (I might add) a bag of McDonalds breakfast food. Trying to set my Garmin, hold my food, and keep out of the way of OTHER people who'd still been in the kit line (or the port-a-potty) when the gun went off.
Run, click, run, click. Finally get Garmin going, try to eat McMuffin. Almost aspirate on cold food and realize that dying at 1.5km of a 15k race because I choked on McDonalds would NOT look good.
At the first water station (3K) I give up on breakfast and figure I'll live on water and GU and whatever fuel drink they serve. We turn and I discover that we are running DOWN THE MIDDLE OF FINCH AVENUE. Like in the center traffic turning lane, with only cones separating us from the East-and Westbound traffic flying by.
The drivers, who can't turn in the proper lane are less than trilled, some of them cutting across the runners with disregard, to get to their destination. Thank Goodness for the Toronto Police who are keeping order at the lights and other intersections, and are being so efficient and friendly that I feel safer just knowing they've got our backs.
5K in there's another water station, on the side of the road. That would be ok we didn't have to cross two active lanes of traffic to get to it (and back). It's like trying to get to a lemonade stand on the side of the Gardiner. Nope, I'm not THAT thirsty.
A few K further I realize there is a police car BEHIND me (like right on my left calf) in the turning lane. He nicely asks me to move into the curb lane (where the cars have yet to realize that we are going to be). He then cut off traffic to let us move into that lane. WOW, you sure don't want to be the last person running on this course.
One of the nicest parts was running in G. Ross Lord Park. I've never been in the park before, and it's pretty and calm and (phew) traffic free. I never felt lost, there were a ton of pylons and volunteers and police officers guiding folks.
I was about 13k in when my Garmin started beeping the 'low battery' warning. Not a good thing. Figure 'okay, maybe it's gonna make it' and realize it's died at about 14k.
Not only does my bib not have a timing chip, my source of personal tracking has gone 'blue screen of death'. So now I get to watch the signs on the road. We hit 14k and join the 25k and 5k runners coming into the finish. It's a massive crowd of kids and dogs and chatting people in huge groups wandering down the road. Wow, very hard to manage, I bet the 25k people were very unhappy to have to play Frogger at that point in the race.
Turns out the last K was more like 2, which I thought was just me until I compared notes with my fellow Ambassadors who DID have access to timing.
I have to say that the post-race food blew me out of the water. Grilled cheese (WAY better than cold McDonalds), burritos and pizza, plus rice krispie squares, juice and coffee. I wish they'd done a better job of marking the tents (from a distance maybe) so you knew what you were lining up for. (and perhaps keeping people from feeding their non-running friends before the runners ate). Sadly they did run out of chocolate milk, but wow, did I mention how great the rice krispie squares were?
While looking for more rice I found Sponge Bob and had to stop for a photo with him. Notice I'm holding my coveted dessert in a death grip.