mickey mouse

mickey mouse

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

RBC Run for the Kids

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. 

Sep 20, 2014

13.21 km



Pace (min/km)

23 m

Elev Gain

 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.

We met up after the race for a photo, what a great bunch of people.  

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.

No race is complete without an Andrew Chak approved #runfie, so here it is.

And of course, it's not real 'till it's in print in the National Post.

For a race that's only it it's second year they are doing pretty well.  I only had a few suggestions for tweaking it for next year:

  1. Make the race kit pick up near the start (perhaps up by the bag check) so it's faster for day-of kit grabbers from out of town.  Then they can pick up, check bag, pin bib and run.
  2. Put up signage for the types of food offered so people know what tent is doing what (on the tent top, rather than just at the entrance on a ground sign).
  3. Consider checking for a bib for serving food, so that the runners get first priority.
  4. Maybe a slight course change so we aren't going down the middle of traffic on a super busy street.
  5. No water stations that involve crossing live traffic.
  6. Near the end when the three races merge, have volunteers encouraging the slower runners to stay to the right so the 25 and 15k people can pass without running across the pylons into traffic. 
  7. Maybe add ambassadors for each race length, so they all feel included in the day.
Things that were great:

  1. The volunteers were amazing, friendly and happy
  2. The Toronto Police were helpful, considerate of the drivers AND the runners
  3. The food was amazing, way above any race I've ever done.
  4. Running through G. Ross Lord park was a welcome respite from the city.
  5. The band near the end of the course.
  6. How fun being an Ambassador was.
  7. Claire, who kept our band of merry people together and motivated.

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