Wednesday, January 16, 2013

2012 Recap (2/3): A year in races

This should be quick as I am not a serial racer, for a few reasons, first being that I cannot afford spending so much in race fees, and second, because I am trying hard not to injure myself, even though there have been some exceptions to this rule as you will see below (generally I try not to run more than a race a month).

The season started with Around the Bay 15k relay with hubbs, which was also his first race as an adult runner (those high-school meets don't count, sorry dud). The previous year I had run it with my friend Carol, but because of an Achilles injury she had to bail out and hubbs volunteered to be the second "Geeky Chick" this time around. It was also a great way for me to discover the second part of the course, a lot hillier, but scenic route, complete with Heartbreak Hill, a gospel choir and grim reapers.

We finished the race happy to have found a common hobby that takes us outside of the house and keeps us in shape (geocaching is a close second), a lifestyle that we can strive to instill into our children.
A new partnership
A few weeks later, while I was preparing for my first marathon, I found myself travelling for business to Europe and just like that, decided to take a chance and run the Paris Marathon with only 23km under the belt as the longest run of the season. It was the best decision that I could have made. I had a blast and set a PR that still stands as of today, despite two more marathons run afterwards. I am extremely happy to have been able to share this experience with my mom and my best friend Frederique. I was able to complete this marathon without stopping, not longer than the time of a big squeeshy hug anyway. It was also the best organized (despite the complete lack of portapotties), most crowded (35k marathon runners, oy!), with best/most real food (bananas, raisins, oranges, sugar cubes) instead of gels/sport drinks and overall incredible energy throughout. Not a single quiet spot along the road, I wish all races were like this.

Jetlagged much?
A week later, I was due to run the Toronto Yonge St. 10k, which surprisingly enough, gave me another PR. I will just blame the negative incline on this one, or the endorphins from the week before which may have been lingering in my legs... we'll never know.
New race, new bling
Two more weeks went by and the Mississauga Marathon, for which I was training for in first place, knocked on my door. I was feeling great, so I decided to run it, even though I had already met my season goal of conquering the 42.2k distance. A risky move, and a test for my legs. Running this marathon ended being a test for the mind instead, as I battled with the decision to start walking around km 25 when the crowds, participants and food almost disappeared. In my stubborn mind, walking equaled "failure" to remain constant in my effort and you know, HTFU and all that jazz. Eventually, I believe that making this decision was a small victory in itself. I accepted the fact that no two races are the same and while there are days with, there are most certainly days without.
Flying to the finish line
I chose to enjoy the day instead of trying to convince myself that I was unbreakable. I am only human afterall. Besides, I felt like I had nothing else to prove to this distance after running the Paris Marathon three weeks prior. If the photo above doesn't say it all, then I don't know...

After this race, I switched gears, so to speak, and started thinking triathlon. I decided to participate in the Ride for Heart 50k Road Race which was going to be a rehearsal for the upcoming 45k bike segment of the Olympic triathlon one month later. After buying my first tri bike via a Kijiji ad, I took Neo, my new two-wheeled boyfriend on the Toronto highways and enjoyed the company of 20,000 other cyclists in this celebration of health and beating heart disease. Needless to say, I had a blast.
Cyclists take over the city highways
Then on July 22, I became a triathlete at the Toronto Triathlon Festival. The morning of the race I was sick with the flu and a total nervous wreck, but motivated to finish the race no matter what. I had spent countless hours in the pool, on the bike and on the road not to line up for the start of this inaugural race and again, the beginning of new adventures and fitness challenges. The day went by in a blur, with my cough and heart rate unable to settle down, but in the end I crossed the finish line with a huge smile, even though the last km was a complete torture.
I am a triathlete!
I continued the season training for the last marathon of the year, Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which I had set to do as redemption from the year before when everything went down to hell in the month preceding the race, my dad's passing from cancer, my gallbladder surgery and a pulled calf all at once. I did all my runs with hubbs, hoping that he would join me in this journey. I surprised him with a race entry, knowing that secretly he was eager to celebrate his hard work and putting up with my whining and murderous mood during our long runs.
Toronto marathoners
Hubbs ended up having the perfect race, while I hurt my insides with too much drinking at the aid stations and had to take walking breaks once again for the worst performance of the year. However I managed a strong finish accompanied by a great feeling of relief. For weeks afterwards I was glowing with pride for hubbs' achievement, which got to be the perfect ending to a season that started modestly, but confirmed our new partnership in distance running and triathloning.

I am now looking forward to another year of races, fun filled workouts and limits pushed. We are both signed up for Ironman Muskoka 70.3, our 2013 A-race, which I had the chance to experience last year as "catcher". Let the sufferfest begin! :-)


  1. What a year!
    I want to do the Yonge St. 10k this year!

    That finish line pic for the marathon is amaaazing!!

    1. Holy wow you were quick! I was still editing my post when you left your comment. Yonge St. is a lot of fun, I loved being in that race, plus it went by in a blink of an eye. You are not the first person to like that photo, that's why I chose it for the recap. It's not my favorite, but it makes an impact apparently ;-)

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy New Year!