Posted by: Kennedy | May 18, 2011

Race Recap: Living the “Goodlife”

Friends, another race has come and gone. I completed my second half marathon this past Sunday – the Goodlife Toronto Half. And it was fan-freaking-tastic!

My pre-race prep ritual began on Friday – lots of carbs, water and sleep. On Saturday morning I made my way down to the race expo, where I picked up our kits, sampled some protein bites, scored a 40% off voucher at the Running Room and got a free six-pack of Molson ’67.’ Yep – running has its perks!

Later, I met Cathy and her boyfriend James for dinner at Terroni – the perfect place to carb-load.

We split a grilled calamari appetizer…

 

Then I had a lovely butternut squash ravioli with gorgonzola-almond cream sauce.

 

Cath and I went through two big bottles of water as we watched James sip a German pint followed by a full-bodied red – he’s pure evil!

When I got home, I set out everything I needed for the morning. I like to not have anything to do but eat and get dressed when I wake up on race day… My nerves tend to make me forgetful.

Knowing the forecast was calling for cold temperatures, I struggled to decide what to wear. I hate shivering at the start line, but I also warm up very quickly and sweat way more than the average woman. I knew if I wore a sweater or a jacket, I’d want to ditch it 15 minutes in. So I decided to fashion a pair of ‘arm-warmers.’ I took a pair of old fuzzy socks and cut out the toes.

 

Turns out, the weatherman was right – after a week full of sunshine and warm breezes, I awoke at 5:45 on Sunday morning to the sound of cars driving on wet pavement. It was dreary and cold. The dark clouds threatened rain at any moment.

I tried not to think of this as I ate my usual pre-race breakfast of homemade muesli in almond milk with a banana and water.

 

As I got dressed, I felt surprisingly calm – not nearly as nervous as I was for my first half.

Ready to run:

Cathy and James picked me up bright and early. As we made our way up to Mel Lastman Square, we realized we were driving up the race route – traffic cones and all. We tried not to think about how we were about to run the entire distance we had just driven, plus another 10k or so. Talk about a psych-out…

As we arrived at the start line, it began to rain. Perrrfect. And, oh yeah, I forgot to pack a Ziploc bag to keep my iPhone in – the one thing I hadn’t set out the night before but had thought of as I woke up. Pre-race short-term memory loss… trust me, it’s a thing.

Luckily, James spotted a food vendor as we made our way to the corrals – and it just so happened she had a whole bunch of clear plastic baggies on her. She gave me one, and she didn’t even charge me five cents! My luck was turning around…

We found a spot behind the start line and huddled under James’ massive umbrella to keep dry. I was patting myself on the back for my arm-warmer idea – they definitely did the trick!

 

Soon enough, the announcer was saying something inaudible and the crowd of runners began to move. We were off!

I ran with Cathy and a few Running Room friends for the first kilometre – we were all adjusting to the rain and trying to navigate the crowd without losing each other. When they had set their pace, I told Cath I was going ahead. We wished each other good luck – I hated leaving her, but I knew she was in good hands with her running buddies.

The next few km’s were fairly uneventful. I turned my race playlist on and tried to get into the zone – tough in the beginning when the crowd hasn’t thinned out.

I  noticed my pace was a bit quicker than expected – I don’t normally start out running under a 6 minute km. But we were going downhill, so I went with it.

Just before the 4k mark, I was warm enough to ditch my arm-warmers. I cast them to the side of the road, wondering if Cathy might spot them as she ran by and have a little chuckle (but… she didn’t).

4k was also the site of Hoggs Hollow – the heartbreak hill of the Goodlife route. I could see it coming for quite a while, but I was determined not to let it psych me out. I trusted in my hill training and I was feeling strong, but I also didn’t want to burn out early. I took my time, slapping a few spectators’ outstretched palms as I ran by. I didn’t stop – even though I was due for a walk-break. Mentally, I knew I would be in a better place if I just. Kept. Going.

And I did. And it felt pretty awesome!

The rain had let up at this point and I barely noticed it anymore. I was really just having a good time. There were a few more short hills, but they were always followed by a forgiving decline.

I started to feel the effects of the hilly terrain around the 8k point – my quads started feeling a little heavy. I tried to focus on running tall and stepping lightly, which seemed to work. Not long afterwards, my bum started to feel the burn. If it had been any other day, this would have really screwed me up mentally. Gotta love that race-day adrenaline!

As I ran through my neighbourhood of Yonge & St. Clair, I spotted Michelle on the sidelines. I was so excited to see someone I knew – I called out to her with a big smile and she said “You’re amazing!” I said “See you at the finish!” and was on my way, still wearing a goofy grin. Spectators really do make my life during races.

The next few km’s are kind of a blur – I must have really gotten into the zone because I barely remember them. There weren’t a lot of spectators at that point and I was really just focused on staying with this runner in a choral tank top – we seemed to be following each other and I made it my goal to keep up. Kind of a weird way to motivate myself, but hey, whatever works!

As we passed the Commerce Court Running Room water station, I spotted our coach, Lisa, passing out cups of Gatorade. I yelled out to her and waved. It was a good time to have some encouragement too, because I was about to enter the homestretch – the last 3 km, uphill, on University Ave.

Not only were those last 3 km uphill, they were also directly into the wind. Awesome.

Though the last stretch was difficult – I was tired, my muscles were sore, and I was starting to feel a bit of nausea – I wasn’t nearly as burnt out as I was in the Scotiabank half. In fact, this time I finished the race feeling strong.

I didn’t hear or even see the crowd as I ran as fast as I could down the chute to the finish – until I heard someone yell “Kennedy!” – it was James, standing off to the side, holding a camera. I turned, smiled and waved, turned back, smiled and waved for the finish line photos (or at least attempted), and then just like that, I was done.

YAY!!!

Official chip time: 2:05:01. Six minutes and 10 seconds faster than my time at Scotiabank. More YAY!!!

I grabbed a chocolate milk, banana and bagel, then immediately found a spot to stretch – my muscles were seizing up like crazy. It didn’t help that it was freezing and now that I wasn’t running, I could feel the rain again. I eventually got a foil blanket, but there weren’t nearly enough volunteers giving them out.

The medals were SWEET:

 

Soon I found Chelle and Mark – whom I saw around the 20k point, cheering from the sidelines. I can’t explain how much it means to have your own personal supporters out there in the crowd – you guys rock!

I missed Cathy cross the finish line, but found her in the runners’ area afterwards – along with another running friend Lynne, who had completed the 5k with her friends that morning. Runners reuniting on an endorphin-high = awesomeness.

After a bunch of hugs and story-swapping, it was time to get to a hot shower. We went our separate ways to get cleaned up, then all met up for brunch at Fran’s.

At long last, it was time for eggs and mimosas!

 

Okay, so I may have had two mimosas. And maybe a glass of wine at an Irish pub afterwards…

But we had lots to celebrate!

Congrats Cathy on your first half marathon!! Here’s to many more 🙂

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Responses

  1. That’s so awesome! Love the arm warmers. A big congratulations to you and Miss Cathy!

  2. You are AMAZING!!! What an accomplishment!!

  3. Congrats on a wonder second half marathon!
    i have ran Goodlife and really liked the half. and they also have really cool medals.

    the weather was shitty but you still did so well. congrats again!

  4. Kennedy you rock!! Congrats on the Goodlife half…and for your blog, I love reading it!!


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