I've always wanted to run down Yonge St, the equivalent of Champs Elysees in Toronto, so I jumped at this opportunity when I was presented with the super early bird price last year. It's just that I hadn't planned to run a marathon a week earlier, that would have been quite a silly move. Well, there I was though, ready to rock and roll. On Saturday I had to go to the French Consulate to vote in the presidential election anyway, so I took a stroll after the vote down Yonge St to pick up the race kit. That was quickly done then I returned home where I rested my bones and kept making plans about driving to the race the next day.
I ended up driving to the start rather than the arrival because I preferred to rely on public transportation without the pressure of time. I parked in one of the best hidden parking lots that I knew which was a few hundred meters from the start and spent about 30 min in a Starbucks sipping a mocha. It was cold, brrrr, just 4 Celsius. I still had one hour to waste, so I went back to the car, dropped my second pair of pants that I was wearing on top of the running tights, then walked my way to the corrals. I was in the green corral, but waited until 15 min before the start to move into my spot as I was trying to time the emptying of my bladder just right.
Operation portapotty successful, then I moved to the front of my corral as I was expecting to be a tad faster than I had planned at the end of the previous year. My corral started running 6 minutes after the gun time at 9:06am and from then on, it was all schuss. Compared to the previous race, this one went by like a blink of an eye. My Runkeeper was telling me that I was running some incredible 5-and-something pace, so I didn't pay too much attention, I thought it was all GPS bounce, after all, it was clearly ahead of the official km markers. I paced myself after another girl in short shorts a few leg lengths ahead of me and took in the energy of the race as much as I could without stressing about my finish time. I was pretty sure I'd finish under 1h and that was all that mattered. I passed the girl around km 7 when she stopped for a drink and I didn't see her again after, I imagined that I had become her pacer for a change.
I tried to speed up and race my lungs out in the last 2k, but I definitely did not want to go all out. I could see the finish line way ahead and that motivated me to stay strong and do my best time ever, 53:49 for an average pace of 5:15min/km. NO idea where that came from, but I take it. :-) I blame it all on the incline, that, and my shin splints the 4 days that followed. I don't even know what to do with this time, it still sounds surreal. I'll definitely keep it in mind for future downhill races. For now, I pat myself on the back for not snapping a tendon, twisting an ankle or popping out a knee.
And that's about it... After crossing the finish line I drank a few cups of water, had my official picture taken, then walked back to the streetcar that took me to the subway, that took me to my car, that took me back to my home and to my couch. I didn't see the party nor the food. I was in my own la-la land, bathing in another bucket of endorphins. Maybe I should stop racing for a while, I think I am becoming a junkie. Well, one more push, the Mississauga Marathon on May 6, that is now 8 days away, YIKES!!