Posted by: Kennedy | August 15, 2011

Race recap: Acura 10 miler

It’s that time again…. Yep, time for another race recap!

Yesterday I ran the Acura Toronto 10-miler. That’s 16.1 km for my fellow metric-system users.

It was a day of firsts… 

The first time I ran this distance in a race (the perfect tune-up for my next half in October)…

The first time I ran a summer-time race…

And the first time I had a major issue en route. But more on that later.

I wouldn’t say I was the most diligent in my pre-race preparations

My training schedule was slightly off since I’m in the middle of half-marathon training and the long runs aren’t long enough at this point. I was also a little distracted from training over the past few weeks by cottages, beaches, and family festivities:

I did squeeze in a 15k run prior to the race… four days prior to be exact. Yeah, I didn’t exactly follow taper week this time around, which meant my legs weren’t feeling as “fresh” yesterday morning as they normally would have.

I also didn’t stick to my usual routine for the night before the night before the race. Normally, I would eat a carby dinner, drink lots of water, and go to bed early. This time, I went out to celebrate a fabulous friend’s birthday:

On Saturday, I did my best to make up for my misbehaviour – relaxing, eating a healthy dinner and getting to bed at a decent hour.

Pre-race dinner: Rice, beans, veggies & bread = carb-mania

And come Sunday morning, I felt ready:

I had my standard pre-race breakfast: banana, homemade muesli and water.

All week, the weather forecast for Sunday was pretty nasty – lots of rain and possible thunderstorms. But the race gods were smiling down on us yesterday. Partly sunny, mostly cloudy; perfect racing conditions, if you don’t count the 90 per cent humidity.

Just before the race started, I met up with one of my favourite running buddies, Lynne.

We headed to the corrals, snapped a few photos, and before we knew it, we were on our way.

I should mention that about 10 minutes before start time, I felt like I had to pee. This is fairly normal for me before a race – it’s usually nerves and the urge goes away once I get going – so I ignored it. The lines for the bathroom were insane. Anyway…

Lynne and I ran together for the first 3k or so, catching up on each other’s lives and pacing ourselves. It was a lovely day for a run, and the route through the Distillery District and along the Leslie Spit was beautiful – albeit a bit stinky at times.

I can imagine that running this route alone early on a weekend morning would be very peaceful and zen-like. Check out this photo of the city skyline I took on a walk break. A little hazy, but still pretty:

I felt good through the first 7k or so, at which point I started to fade a bit. I started drinking my electrolytes and ate a gel around the 9k point, which seemed to pump my energy levels back up. I was dying for shade – the entire race is uncovered – but took solace in the fact that the sun was often hidden in the clouds.

At 12k, I could no longer ignore the signals from my bladder. It wanted me to find a port-a-potty, like, immediately. I kept my eyes peeled, but at the same time wondered if I would even let myself stop if I saw one. I’ve never stopped to go to the bathroom during a race – I’ve always felt bad for the people who have to. If that were the reason I missed a time goal, I would be kicking myself for days.

This inner dilemma ended up being in vain because I never spotted a bathroom. After checking afterwards, I realized they had been available at every water station I passed. But because I tend to put blinders on, avoid the crowds and power through the water stations as fast as I can, I missed each one.

By 14k, I was in serious trouble. I became completely distracted by my need to pee and started entering panic mode. All I could think about was what would happen at the finish line once I stopped running – would I be able to make it to a bathroom?

At this point, I was so desperate I would have run into the bushes – except there were none. No, I was back on the road with no privacy-offering nature in sight.

I was on the verge of tears. I knew I couldn’t make it.

At 15k, 6 minutes from the finish line, it happened. I peed myself.

It was terrible. Humiliating, revolting, and terrible. And that’s all I’ll say on that subject.

As bad as this experience was, I did learn a very important lesson that I will never, ever forget – and fellow runners, please learn from my mistake. ALWAYS use the bathroom before a race. Always. Always. Always.

Needless to say, by this point all I wanted was to be done. When I finally turned the last corner and saw the finish, I sprinted like I’ve never sprinted before. A huge wave of relief washed over me as I went through the finisher’s chute.

Official chip time: 1:36:23. Missed my goal of 1:35, but beat my second goal of 1:40.

Fun fact: my second five mile split was over 3 minutes faster than my first. It’s always my goal to start out a little easier and end strong, but it doesn’t always happen that way. I think my bathroom issue had a lot to do with my speed toward the end…

I got my medal and some Gatorade, then headed back to the chute to find Lynne. We were two sweaty, happy messes:

After a stretching session and a slo-o-ow walk through the “mist shower” (brilliant idea – they had a few set up throughout the route as well), we headed to the food tent for bananas and bagels.

Then, once changed and cleaned up, we walked to the Flat Iron pub for a brunch of champions – eggs Benny, Caesars and mimosas.

I went for the turkey-avocado eggs Benny – packed with protein, healthy (and some not-so-healthy) fats and carbs to boost recovery. Deeee-lish.

Lynne, posing with the dollar store ponchos she bought for us in case we ran into inclement weather. You can never be too prepared!

After going home and having the best shower of my life, I checked out the race swag I scored (so excited to use the arm band – just hope I can make my iPhone fit in there):

And then, I met up with my friends Steph and Greg for a treat at Summer’s Ice Cream, followed by a little patio action at Hemingway’s. Post-race bliss.

No, Acura was not my best race ever. One could argue it was one of my worst to date. But I still had an awesome time.

No regrets, just lessons learned. 



  1. Great Race Report! That would be an awful feeling, but no need to be ashamed its more common than you would think.

    Congrats on achieving one of your goals!!

    • You’re sweet – thanks! I’ve heard that from other runners, which is somewhat comforting. The more I think about it, the more hilarious it is… running makes you a bit of a crazy person!

  2. you poor kid!! That must have been soooo terrible!!
    And i can relate as a middle aged woman……….when ya gotta go, ya gotta go!
    Well, life goes on…….and you finished the race… that makes you a champion!!

  3. Great race Kennedy!! Enjoyed reading your humorous and humbling race report. Sorry you couldn’t find a ‘bush’. We agree with your mom – you are a champion!

  4. Okay we should have ran together, I was having tummy issues for the whole 10 miles. Luckily I was able to finish and I quickly ran to the porta potties but its such a terrible feeling to have for so long as you are running!
    Congrats on a great race though!

    • Sorry to hear that, but congrats to you as well for powering through!

  5. I heard marathon runners do ‘that’ all the time…there is no way they would stop – so just pretend you did it on purpose. Own it – you’re a real runner now! Proud of you!


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