Boston Strong

The Boston Marathon is upon us once again. It seems like just yesterday that the terrible tragedy of the Boston bombing occurred. I have seen some beautiful photos from Dear World sharing the stories of the survivors and at this time we remember those that were injured and those that passed, Martin Richard, Krystle Campbell, Lingzi Lu and Sean Collier.  These people lost their lives way too soon and for what?  My heart goes out to all those that were impacted by this terrible tragedy as we approach the one year anniversary.  I also want to wish luck to all those returning to Boston to participate in the race again, a feeling that must be bittersweet.

Around the Bay 30K Race report

Bib #6132

Chip time – 3:09:11

Pace – 6:19

Category place – 269/491

Gender place - 1725/3307

Overall place – 4254/6646

I DID IT!  The ever so challenging Around the Bay 30km road race.  It is no joke when I tell you that this is a tough course.  This is, in fact, the toughest course I have ever run.  If you asked anyone what the Around the Bay road race was known for, anyone who knows this race would tell you it is the hills.  Maybe even THE hill.  The last hill of this course is killer, worse than the heartbreak hill in Boston, but more on that later.

I decided to do this race last year when I finished the 5K race they offer along with the 30.  I was reading all the posts on their Facebook page and I felt so inspired. I signed up as soon as the race opened.  At that time I was in the 10K clinic at the Running Room but figured I would have enough time to build up to the 30K distance.  I also knew that I was planning to do the Chilly Half Marathon 3 weeks prior to this race so planned to just run it with my husband, no racing.

About a week before the race, a mom friend of mine who happens to work for the Hamilton Spectator messaged me and asked if I would mind being interviewed for an article they were writing.  They were looking for a newbie to the race and she said she thought of me.  Of course I said yes.   I was pretty excited to see my little story in print.

We went to the race expo to pick up our race kits the day before the race.  I do enjoy this expo.  It is a good size with some great vendors.  This year we received a purple New Balance long sleeve tech top and a black hat.  Both are quite nice.  The shirt is so soft and the hat, well I had been keeping my eye open for a black hat and this one is quite nice.

This race started at 9:30 which was a great start time.  The weather for the day ended up being perfect but not before so many were fooled by the weather network.  That morning the forecast said temperatures would be in the minus with it being windy.  I was bummed that I would have to wear a jacket.  As we got into town though, the temperature was reading 4 degrees so I left the coat behind and went with my original plan of tights, a thin long sleeve with a tech tee over top and arm warmers for the start (to throw away).  It was a beautiful day!

The route itself changed this year. Last year there was an incident of a train passing and people getting (understandably) upset for getting stuck at the train.  This year they changed the route to bypass any train tracks.  The result of this was an extra set of hills (boo) to an already hilly course.  Previously the course was flat up until about 21K where the hills along North Shore begin.  This new course starts off flat but quickly comes to a bunch of hills as we run over the overpasses along Burlington St. It was probably a good 10km of rolling hills with stretches of flat road between.  That was not too bad.  We passed the first relay hand off point and the new runners all jumped on course.  The next 10K was relatively flat.  My husband and I were running easy and keeping a 6:00 pace up until about 21K.  I knew when we got to the rolling hills the pace would slow down.  I hadn’t done any hill training for this race but I did run the route a few weeks prior to this race so I knew what to expect.  The rolling hills sucked!  Haha, I am not a fan of hills.  I did manage to run them all though, not that fast but I ran.  There was a good amount of spectators along North Shore in Burlington so that was nice to keep you going.  On the last rolling hill I felt like I was starting to fade.  My husband actually held my hand to help pull me up the hill.  I was tired.  We carried on some flat road a bit before coming to our own “Heartbreak Hill”, steeper than Boston’s.  I knew before even starting this race that I would walk this hill and walk this hill I did.  When you get to the top and head back toward Copps Coliseum, which is about 3km more from that point – the longest 3km ever, you pass a cemetery on the right.  There is a man dressed as the Grim Reaper standing there, fittingly as I felt like I could just lay down and die after those hills.  My husband took my hand and helped me to continue running for the next 2K.  Honestly if it wasn’t for him I would have walked for sure.  At this point you can see the finish and my usual mantra began “no stopping at the end, you don’t walk to the finish”.  We came into the chute which was lined with spectators and into what I think is the best finish line ever – running into Copps Coliseum.  Feeling like a rock star!

This was a tough one for sure.  I quickly headed upstairs to a much deserved massage being offered for free from the students at Everest College.  It was just what my tired legs needed.  My husband and I then headed over to meet up with our friends from our running group the Brampton Benders where we indulged in some well earned burgers and fries.

I was quite happy with our time in this race.  We went out looking to run this race for fun and that is what we did.  It was a great experience and I would definitely do this race again.  It is a popular race and sells out so if you want to do it, I recommend signing up as soon as it opens.  Why wait? You will save your money by getting the best price anyway.

Race day photos all courtesy Marathon Foto. We purchased all of our photos. I thought it would be easier to just add a gallery of photos at the end rather than inserting them through out the post.

Chilly Half Marathon

Bib # 1740
Chip time1:59:07
Category place59
Overall place1,012/2,199

My second half marathon and I shaved 9:25 off of my time.  A new personal best.  It was a good day!

Saturday was somewhat mild but when we woke up Sunday morning we had been hit with another polar vortex which brought with it more snow (like we need MORE snow!)  My first thought was my race just got turned in to a fun run.  Not going to lie, I was a little disappointed.


We had anticipated the weather and had our gear all set out.  I got dressed and it was the right amount of layers.  I was unsure of the shoes I would wear though, given the fresh snow.  I planned to wear my Nike Pegasus but with the snow I was considering going back to my Nike Free Run (they have the shield and keep my feet warm and dry).  I put on the Pegasus and brought the Free Run with me.
We dropped the kids off with my in-laws and headed to Burlington where the race is held.  We scored some free under ground parking so that was nice but it was a bit of a walk to the start line.  It would have been ideal to use that distance to run but the sidewalks were a mess and crowded and we had bags to check anyway.  We got to the bag check and warmed up inside before making our way to the start to do some warm up runs.

Me pre race

Me pre race

Hubby pre race

Hubby pre race

Warming up

Warming up

Pre race photo op

Pre race photo op

We found our place behind the start and amongst all the people there we were able to find some of our local running friends.  We joined them and waited for the start.  Just as the gun went off and we started moving is when I realized that I did not tie my shoes properly (remember I said I was unsure which shoes I was going to wear?  I threw the Pegasus on and decided to wear them, just didn’t do them up properly).  Oh well I guess we will see how far I can get before I need to retie my shoes.

This race heads down Brant toward the lake and turns right for a quick out and back along the lakeshore before coming back and heading east on Lakeshore.  I headed out at pretty much my anticipated race pace.  When I first saw the schedule I would be following through Runners World Smart Coach training plan and saw my anticipated race pace of 5:36 I thought ya right, hold that for 21.1km??  5, 10 km and I was feeling pretty good at this pace.

Splits – 5:38, 5:34, 5:28, 5:30, 5:39, 5:31, 5:34, 5:29, 5:35, 5:41

Staying somewhat steady and coming up on km 11 it happened.  My shoe got too loose and I had to stop to tie them up.  I did that and took the opportunity to pop some Clif Shot Bloks (my fuel of choice), drink some water and off I went.  I had 2 people that I was keeping pace with so I felt pretty good keeping with them.  The turn around was at 13km.  It was nice approaching the turn around and seeing everyone coming back (including my hubby).  Ahhh more than half way done.  Heading back toward Brant I am happy that I am having no aches and pains and I am thankful that my bum toe is not giving me any trouble (I had taped it up for the race). 15km approaching, this is where it starts to get a little tough.

Splits – 5:38, 5:33, 5:42, 5:40, 5:37

15km I start to tell myself how close I am based on time.  A little math and I am telling myself just over 30 minutes to go.  Somewhere along this stretch there is a man (a priest I think) and some kids giving out bananas and oranges.  I thankfully grab a banana and try to eat it while still running.  17, 18km I think I should start trying to “catch” people.  This is the part where I should be able to pick it up a bit and catch up with people.  Try as I might though I just couldn’t go any faster.  I felt like I was giving my all but standing still at the same time (obviously not but you get what I mean).  I wasn’t really looking at my watch, nothing beyond pace and heart rate but I thought I might be able to make it under 2 hours.  I stayed pretty steady right to the end, 21.1km and I crossed the finish line.  It took a while for the results to be posted but my time ended up being 1:59:07.  I am so happy to have broke 2 hours on my second half marathon.

Splits – 5:34, 5:43, 5:35, 5:40, 5:44, 5:35

Me and hubby with our medals

Me and hubby with our medals

Cool medal

Cool medal

Funny story, my watch said I finished at 1:58:33 so I thought my chip time would be a little less so I was a bit perplexed when I saw my time was actually more.  It took a while but my husband actually figured out the mystery.  I had my watch set to auto pause when I stopped and forgetting that I stopped to tie my shoes it explains the time difference.  Lesson learned here, make sure to turn auto pause off for races.

I enjoyed this race.  The course was relatively flat.  The jacket provided (seen in my race day post) is really nice.  There were free massages (which we took advantage of) and of course chili and beer.  We met up with friends afterwards before heading back to pick up our kids.  I will definitely do this race again.

Now that I write this out I can also tell you that my legs (quads) were quite sore for a good 3 days after the race.  I should be running tonight but I decided to do this instead and will get back at it tomorrow.  Next up is Around the Bay.  I did sign up for another half though because after my time mix up I feel I need to do another race where I don’t have to stop and tie my shoes so I am aiming for a slightly faster time at the MEC Race Series race 2 in May.

For all my American friends :)

For all my American friends :)


Some of the photos are from the race photographers Marathon-Photos. At the time of writing this I had not decided on which pictures to purchase (I have several good ones) so I am thinking of just purchasing them all – it seems to be the best deal (I will switch out the photos).

Tomorrow is race day

Tomorrow is the Chilly Half Marathon that I have been spending the winter training for.  Most of this has been on my treadmill as we have had an unusually frigidly cold and very long and snowy winter. snow

My goal was just to beat my time from the Scotia Half Marathon and it still is but as my luck would have it I got injured 2 weeks ago.  Just as I did 3 weeks prior to Scotia.  This is different though as it is not my IT band but my second toe.  Who knew a little toe could give you so much grief.  After seeing the doctor and having x rays we ruled out a fracture and went with injury to the tendon.  I have some tape to buddy it up to my third toe and I don’t anticipate any problems running the race tomorrow but I did have to take a lot of extra rest these past 2 weeks to allow the swelling to come down.  Hopefully that extra rest didn’t hurt my training in any way.  My husband is also doing this race as well and yesterday we went to pick up our race kits.  This race kit included a pretty nice spring jacket in it.  Great swag :) After the race we get a free beer and chili.  I am looking forward to this race as it is apparently flat and fast.  Let’s just hope Mother Nature cooperates as we do have to run along the lakeshore and could really do without the wind.  Fingers crossed.  I can’t wait to come back with my race report.


Coming Along

I am currently training for the Chilly Half Marathon.  I am following a training plan using the smart coach plan from Runner’s World which has based all the paces of my runs on my 10K race.  For about 6 weeks toward the end of the plan it has my long runs scheduled at 21km.  Each week.  There are a few fall back weeks in there too.  So I am going with it.  I love to see each long run faster than the last.  My last 21K was 2:08:31 and today was 2:07:06.

IMG_1634This makes me pretty confident that I will get a new personal best since my first half was 2:08:32.  I am counting my blessings so far as my IT band has been cooperating.  I just have to remember to keep up with my phsyio exercises.  Oh and foam roll and ice!!!  Every runners fave combination :)

2013 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog and I am sharing it with all of you.  It is so fun to see a break down of what happens.  Thanks to all my readers for your positive comments, much appreciated.  Looking forward to a great year ahead. :)

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2013. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Say goodbye to 2013

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas.  If you are in the GTA I hope the crazy ice storm didn’t put too much of a wrench in your holiday plans.  I know for us we had no luck finding any salt since before Christmas and have ice everywhere.  Everywhere we went (daily) was sold out.  We were finally able to stock up when we went out of town for Christmas at my mom’s (they didn’t get hit like we did).

December is such a busy month and I see I haven’t made a post since the end of November.  I also haven’t run in 10 days and have indulged in a little too much of all the food and sweets Christmas time brings. I know it is a common thing we seem to do but I am back on track.  Got out for a 12km run today and am back to healthy decisions.

So as if I don’t have enough going on to keep me busy I have decided to pick up a new hobby.  This one is rather addicting and it is crochet and knitting.  Right now I lean more to crochet because I find it faster.  I had been working on a scarf I was knitting but it was seeming to take me forever so I gave up on it.  I picked up crochet and was able to make a scarf in a day.  A nice scarf.  So I started making more.  I made scarves and gave them as gifts.  To my mom, my aunt, my inlaws (I really liked the scarf I made for my father in law. I will be making one for my husband as well), my daycare provider, my niece.  This list could be endless. You would have seen all the scarves if you follow my Facebook page but here are a few pics to share in case you don’t.  You can see more photos in the finished projects tab.

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I found crochet very easy to learn.  I pretty much picked it up in a day.  I have a lady at work that was showing me some stitches and of course, You Tube.

In fact, the infinity scarves I made were all from a You Tube tutorial.

I also used a you Tube tutorial for the ribbed scarf.

It is truly amazing the things you can learn on You Tube.  I have also found out that both my mother in law and sister in law knit and crochet.  We had a bit of a knitting party at Christmas as they were helping me to master the knit and purl stitch.  My next project is to crochet an ear warmer headband and a hat and to actually knit something, that along with learning how to read patterns.

There is so much out there where you can find free videos to teach yourself how to do so many different stitches – knitting and crochet.  A favorite of mine that I find very useful is New Stitch a Day. There are all kinds of very helpful videos and instruction on that site.  Another site which I have only briefly explored is Ravelry.  It seems to be a nice little community of knitters and crocheters and a quick browse through has shown me there are a lot of free patterns there.  Of course, another favorite is always Pinterest.  I am pinning all sorts of things these days.

I hope if you have been inspired to give knitting or crochet a try (if you don’t know how already) that you find the links I posted useful.  I know I would not have been able to teach myself to do this without such great resources.  If you end up making anything please share to my Facebook page.  I would love to see what you make.  If you have any tips you would like to share, please do so.  I am always ready to learn more.

Lastly, I would like to wish you all a very happy and safe New Year!  Time flies, enjoy every minute of it!

2 Days of Productivity!

I have taken advantage of the past 2 days off to bake, prepare some freezer meals and portion and freeze the rest of the meat that I had bought, all on sale I might add.

My haul:

2 club packs of sausage, 12 per pack.  On sale at No Frills for $2/lb.  Cost $5.48 per package.

1.1 kg of extra lean ground beef.  On sale at Fortino’s for $2.49/lb.  Original price $11.  Price matched at No Frills.  Cost $5 and change.

2 packs of 1.7kg lean ground beef.  On sale for $1.98/lb at Superstore.  Original price $15 each.  Price matched at Walmart for $7.43 each.

Monday -first up I baked 2 dozen banana muffins. Not taking too much credit on this one as they were baked from a mix.  I usually do make my own from scratch but this time took the short cut.  Next, my plan was to start out by baking 2 batches of cookies.  I am going to a Christmas party that includes a cookie exchange and was unsure of what type of cookie to bake.  I came across some recipes and narrowed it down to 2.  Snickerdoodles and iced pumpkin cookies.  Snickerdoodles were up first. I have never made these before and I can’t recall ever having eaten them before.  The recipe I used (found here.) made 48 at at time.  I did the first batch, tasted them then decided to not even bother with the pumpkin cookies.  These cookies were fabulous!!!!  I made another batch, ate too many and threw them in the freezer for the exchange.IMG_1286 copy  SO GOOD!

After the cookies were all done and cooling I decided to make a new recipe for dinner.  I get the email notices from Kraft Canada and this week they had a recipe for a Make-Ahead Chili & Cheese Lasagne that looked delicious.  I got all the ingredients to make 2 trays with plans to freeze one for later.  I don’t think I have ever made a lasagne from scratch, sad yes.  This was a nice twist though.  Take chilli, take lasagne and mix them together.  It was pretty tasty and bonus, my 2 little toddlers loved it black beans and all!  I had a really hard time finding suitable containers for freezing.  From talking to friends I was looking for the tin containers with the cardboard lids but I could not find them anywhere. I went to Walmart, Dollarama and my husband checked No Frills and Superstore.  All we could find were these tin bottoms with plastic lids. Not ideal but I will make it work.

This will have to do.

This will have to do.

Ready for the freezer

Ready for the freezer









Tuesday – the plan for today was to make a couple trays of cabbage roll casseroles for the freezer and portion up the rest of the meat to vacuum seal and freeze.  The cabbage roll casserole is a staple in this house.  It is so quick and easy to make and super delicious.  I make this cabbage roll casserole even lazier by using bagged coleslaw as I hate to cut cabbage and therefore don’t :)

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I used the 1.7kg package of beef and made 2 trays and cooked up the remainder of the meat already seasoned to freeze.  The only thing left to do now was vacuum seal the remainder of the meat.  Folks, if you don’t have a vacuum sealer, you need to get one.  This is easily one of the best things I own. My mom bought it for us for Christmas one year and we use it all the time.  Keeps your food frozen with no freezer burn, no ice forming inside.

Love this.

Love this.

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Stocking up the freezer.









So after a 2 day cooking and baking frenzy I had

2 dozen muffins

8 dozen Snickerdoodle cookies

2 trays of chili and cheese lasagne

2 trays of cabbage roll casseroles

2 packages of sausage to freeze

3 packages of protioned lean ground beef to freeze

1 package of precooked beef to freeze

A pretty productive couple of days.

NFIM 10K Race Report

Bib # 7519
Chip time55:01.3
Category place13/86
Gender place – 40/506
Overall place111/743

I am late to post my race report for the Niagara Falls International Marathon 10K but as they say, better late than never.  This race was on October 27, 2013 in Niagara Falls.  It was one week following the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, my first half marathon.  You can read all about it here.

This race was two fold for my husband and I.  We used it as a weekend get away, a sort of anniversary get away (our anniversary is actually today) and then also for the race itself.  It was our first get away with out the kids since they were born.  We were lucky enough to get a hotel booking at the Ramada – 2 nights for a total of $99!  Not $99 per night, $99 total!  Score!

Friday we arrived and relaxed.  Saturday we went out for a quick shake out run, about 3km. It was super windy and I found the run a bit hard. I did after all just run a half marathon.  At the end of this run we grabbed a coffee and headed to the expo.  I enjoyed the expo.  Right away I bought 2 bras by Moving Comfort.  They were on sale for $30 each, regular $60.  I got the Juno and the Jubralee.  I have since run with both bras and really like them both.  I highly recommend theses bras for the well endowed woman. I have 4 total (including the Rebound Racer and Fiona) and all 4 are great.  We got our bibs and race shirts and were surprised that all distances were getting the long sleeve tech shirts.  These ones were from Brooks. They were red for the women and black for the men.  Very nice.  We even met John Stanton.  He was a very nice man and very humble.  He signed our race bibs.  We then headed back to the hotel to get ready for our shopping trip across the border.


Brooks race shirt


The mens shirt.


All my stuff ready to go.










The race started at 9am.  Our hotel was fairly close to the start but we still wanted to be there at least 30 minute early.  My husband had already decided he was not going to race this race and instead would pace me.  My PB for 10K was 56:22 that I got just a month earlier at the MEC race (report here.)  My husband thought we would aim for 54:xx and I thought that was ambitious.  Remember I just ran a half marathon the week before :)  Honestly I would be very pleased if I could beat my last 10km especially since I am still dealing with IT band issues.  We got to the start and it was cold!  The weather this time of year is always so tricky to dress for as the temperatures just jump all over the place.


My hubby at the start of the race.


Me at the start.










The race got on it’s way and I knew at the very least I did not want to go slower than a 5:30 pace to get a time of 55:00.  We actually stayed around 5:14 for the first half and then I just had to slow down.  I was so tired for this race.  The course was a nice course.  Nice and flat. It ended with about a whole kilometer downhill to the finish.  I tried to pick up the pace but I just kept saying to my husband that I could not go any faster.  My intentions were not to race this race but just run it since I did the half.  Turns out I ended up racing it and it was just hard.  Exhausting. But I did it.  I was able to shave a whole 1:21 off my previous 10km and got a new PB of 55:01.  I am not going to lie though, I was a little disappointed that it was not 54:xx – so close but I was also very happy to even get that time.

After crossing the finish we got pictures done (lot of photographers on this course – they used Marathonfoto) and grabbed our food (good variety).  We then went and enjoyed a free massage. It was cold though and now that we were cooling down and right by the falls we decided to head back to the hotel and have some breakfast.  We made the mistake of going to iHop for breakfast.  The food was ok and the prices were outrageous. The cost of our breakfast was half the cost of our hotel stay.  Robbery!!


Pockets full of freebies


How can bacon and eggs cost so much?









Overall we really enjoyed this race.  The whole weekend.  We also had a friend doing the half and another doing the full (which starts in the US and you run across the border into Canada) who both really enjoyed the race as well. It was well organized, good food at the finish, great aid stations and cheering squads, nice shirt and a nice course and free massages.  We will definitely be coming back to do this race again in the future.  We have even talked about making it a yearly thing.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

Bib # 12299
Chip time2:08:32
Category place370/778
Gender place – 2,495/5,376
Overall place5,872/10,074

I decided to run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon just short of 2 months before race day.  I had been following the half marathon training program found in John Stanton’s book.  Things were going really well. I was getting faster and feeling stronger and I adjusted my goals accordingly.  When I decided to run the half my first goal was to complete it in 2:30.  That quickly changed to 2:15.  I got to even thinking that I could finish in close to 2 hours.  Then at the end of September I had an off tempo run and the next day I started to experience pain in my knee when I went down stairs.  I thought I had twisted my knee.  The pain never went away and after talking to people and reading and a visit to my chiropractor I found out the pain was actually caused by my IT band.  It was really really tight.  It really threw a wrench in my training. It stopped me from doing runs including a long run and speed work and I was feeling really upset that after all the work I put in I might not be able to run the race.  I spent the next month getting A.R.T., acupuncture and physiotherapy.  Along with this I tried to do my training runs and foam rolled, stretched and iced often.  I did everything I could and did everything right so I just prayed that I could make it through the race.

Race kits were not available for pick up on race day, you had to get your kit at the Runner’s Expo held at the Direct Energy Centre.  Pick up was pretty smooth and I was also picking up my friends kit which I did without issues.  After picking up the kits I spent some time looking through the expo.  Things were mostly regular prices, not too many deals to be had.  I was able to pick up a sports bra for almost half price.  I also grabbed some KT Tape because if you bought the tape then they would tape you up at the booth (with their tape, not yours) and I really wanted to get my IT band taped.  When I left the expo I was taped up, bought a few things and got a bunch of free samples of various protein bars.  At home I was sure to get everything ready the night before.  I got everything for the race together. My fuel belt, bottles filled with water, gels, gloves, headband, arm warmers. I got my clothes out and ready to go.  I did not want to risk forgetting anything.


Capri tights and a t-shirt to wear.

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Gear and bib ready to go.

I was running this race with my friend and training partner and she was feeling under the weather.  She was just getting over a sickness but still felt like she couldn’t push herself too hard.  We left with our supporters – my husband and 2 kids, her husband and another friend of ours (good thing we drive a van).  We had wanted to take the subway but found out the first train didn’t run until almost 9am so had to drive instead.  That was a big disappointment.  Driving in Toronto without all the road closures is bad enough, now we have to drive in to where all the roads are closed. The exit ramps were backed up for miles and miles.  We finally get off the highway and park.  We make a stop at the washrooms and start heading to the start line.  We see all the other runners heading there too.  The excitement is building.  This is a big race!  25,000 people.  We soon realize that we need to get our layers off and run to our corrals so we could get ourselves warmed up and make it before the race started.  I grabbed some leg warmers from the dollar store for us (after a fellow runner mentioned she got them) to use as arm warmers as I decided to go with capri tights and a t-shirt for the race.  I also had a headband and gloves that I could throw away when it got warmer.  It was a chilly morning so I was glad with my choice in wardrobe and felt pretty comfortable.

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Everyone except my hubby.

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Ready for our first half marathon.

We got to our corral just as the gun went off.  There were multiple corrals though so ours was not leaving yet.  We were able to weave up toward the front as we were trying to find the 2:15 pace bunny. Our plan was to stick with the 2:15 pace bunny for 16km and then run ahead.  At the expo I heard John Stanton talking and he had actually said look at the half marathon as a 16km training run and a 5km race. So perfect, that was our plan already.  The gun went off and away we went. Like I said, this race was huge and you could see the people ahead filling the streets, it was amazing.  We knew we wanted to stick to an average pace of about 6:20 for the first 16km.  That was an easy pace to keep.  We past the first water station where they were handing out water and Gatorade.  We ran on with tons of people on the streets cheering for everyone. It was nice reading everyone’s signs.  I started to take off my gloves around the 5km mark and slowly started to lose my headband and arm warmers too. The sun was shining and I was feeling strong.  I grabbed some Gatorade at one of the water stations but kept running.  We were doing this race continuous.  We decided to stop and take gels around the 9km mark ( I also took a couple before the race). I was using the Clif Shot Blocks.  I really like these ones but I have to slow down and walk to eat them as I have a hard time to chew them while running. I  quickly chew them up and we start running again.  We started to see all the super fast runners heading back (I think the elites were already gone by this point).  I was enjoying all the entertainment along the course. There were bands, dancers, cheer sections. It was truly really nice.  We crossed the timing mats at the 10km mark at 1:03:50.

Splits (overall time is a bit off from chip time as it started a bit early)

6:00 6’00″/km
11:54 - 0:06 (1%) 5’53″/km
18:10 + 0:22 (-7%) 6’16″/km
24:18 - 0:08 (2%) 6’07″/km
30:28 + 0:02 (-1%) 6’10″/km
36:35 - 0:03 (1%) 6’06″/km
42:24 - 0:17 (4%) 5’49″/km
48:29 + 0:15 (-5%) 6’04″/km
54:43 + 0:09 (-3%) 6’14″/km
1:01:24 + 0:26 (-8%) 6’40″/km

Borrowed race photo

Around the 12km mark my friend had to stop and walk. I was going to slow down with her but she insisted I go ahead.  My leg and knee were feeling good, no pain (besides being taped I also had my IT Band Strap on and I had taken an advil before the race) so I picked up the pace a bit (or so I thought) and carried on.

1:07:26 - 0:38 (9%) 6’02″/km
1:13:37 + 0:09 (-3%) 6’11″/km
1:19:17 - 0:31 (8%) 5’40″/km
1:24:49 - 0:08 (2%) 5’31″/km
1:30:41 + 0:19 (-6%) 5’51″/km
1:36:47 + 0:15 (-5%) 6’06″/km

Crossing the finish.

When I saw the 16km marker I knew the end was near and I said to myself just a 5km race now.  I started to pick it up a bit more.  I came up to 18km and remember thinking 18km, only 3km left to go.  I followed that thought with oh man 3km is so far!  On top of that it was up a hill.  The hill seemed to be huge although I am sure it wasn’t really as big as I thought it was.  I had to walk up half of it. I started to feel tired.  I started running again and passed the 19km marker.  I saw the split where the marathoners went to continue on and the half marathoners headed into the chute.  20km.  Only 1.1km more to go. The last km is always the longest.  I heard a lady on the sides yelling only 500m to go.  Meanwhile I could see the 500m sign a ways ahead so, not quite. I actually stopped and walked for a quick water break then told myself, you can not stop and walk at the end. Out of nowhere I picked up the pace and finished strong.

1:42:00 - 0:53 (14%) 5’12″/km
1:47:37 + 0:24 (-8%) 5’37″/km
1:53:07 - 0:07 (2%) 5’30″/km
1:58:55 + 0:17 (-6%) 5’47″/km
2:03:34 - 1:08 (19%) 4’38″/km

I did it!!! I ran a half marathon and it wasn’t that bad.  I knew my time was under 2:10. I grabbed my phone and quickly looked up my chip time.  2:03:32.  You have to love our technology. I am so happy with this result.  I went in to this race with a plan and I stuck to it.  After going through the food lines I was able to meet up with my family and friends.  My husband was so proud and so was I.

medal copy

Nice medal

scotia copy

Post race.

My overall impression of this race is broken down like this.  The race kit pick up and the expo was good.  They had a lot of great vendors at the expo and pick up was quick and smooth.  The course was great. It was a flat course (except the hill at 18km) with plenty of water and Gatorade stations.  They also had gels to give out around the 10km mark.  There was great entertainment along the course, bands, dancers… and there were spectators everywhere.  I don’t remember any part of the race where there were no spectators. and the chute to the finish was great too.  There were so many spectators at the end cheering, it was very motivating.  The food after the race was not too impressive.  A banana, a bagel and a yogurt.   They did have massages but you had to pay for them and you had to prepay for them during registration so you couldn’t go and get one if you didn’t sign up ahead of time. I have been to other races where they had massages and they were free.  The shirt in the race kit is nice.  A Brooks tech tee.  Besides the shirt though there was nothing in the race kit except a juice box.  Disappointing because this is an expensive race.  Overall I really enjoyed this race and it was a great choice for my first half but I don’t think I would do it again.


Course map.








Next up is the Niagara Falls International Marathon 10km this weekend.  After that the Resolution Run on New Years Eve -we will be doing this race with the whole family.  I will also begin training for Around the Bay and possibly the Chilly Half Marathon as well.








If you made it all the way through, thank you so much for reading.  Happy running!

Mission to a(nother) Marathon

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