Posted by: Kennedy | September 17, 2011

Race recap: Toronto ‘Birthday’ 5k

Today, I kicked off race season 2011 with the Toronto 5k, a brand-new race in support of the SickKids Foundation. And I had a blast!

It’s been well over a year since my last 5k race, and I forgot how much fun the shorter distance can be. No need to prepare for months on end. No need to wear a fuel belt or bring gels. And it’s the perfect way to get some race-pace practice in for my upcoming half-marathon, which is now just four short weeks away.

I decided to sign up a few weeks ago when my friend and running buddy Lynne invited me to run it with her as part of her birthday celebrations.

Lovely Lynne, celebrating with a Caesar after our 10-miler in August

This year, instead of gifts, dinners or drinks out, she is participating in back-to-back 5ks and asked her friends to run with her, cheer her on as a spectator, or make a donation to the race charities.

I think this is such a fabulous idea and I’m so happy I was able to help her celebrate. I wish I could steal this idea for my own birthday (anyone know of any races in the GTA on the first weekend of June??).

Full disclosure: a ‘bonus’ reason to sign up was the proximity of the race to my apartment building – the start line was literally a 7-minute walk away. That meant more sleeping and less stressing this morning as I got ready. And that extra sleep was much needed. Last night I tossed and turned for what felt like hours…

I awoke feeling pretty groggy. Had my usual pre-race breakfast of rolled oats in almond milk and a glass of water.

Then I made another pair of arm sleeves out of an old, hole-y pair of stockings to keep me warm on my walk over, since it was a chilly 8C.

They worked like a charm! I ended up wearing them for the whole race so I may even re-use them.

Before I left, I made sure to go to the bathroom. Three times. Yes, I’ve learned my lesson.

I met up with Lynne and some of her friends, including Joey and Cat who ran Harry’s Spring Run-Off with us in April. I love when races turn into mini-reunions!

Soon enough, we were off…

The course was quite nice – it followed a few residential streets with gorgeous homes and great big trees. There was a mix of flat ground and hills – including a fairly intense incline that started just after the 3k marker. The last few hundred metres were also on an uphill slope – but who doesn’t love sprinting uphill to the finish?

Despite the hills, I managed to keep a decent pace throughout and only stopped once for about 15 seconds at the water station to gulp down a cup. I felt like I was losing steam toward the end, but I pushed myself hard and ended up with a time of 26:30 – a new PR! Yay!

Before today, I’d never run an inaugural race – but I’d heard nightmares from other runners about chaos ensuing as race organizers tried to work out the kinks. I’m pleased to report that this race was practically kink-free. Aside from an issue with the chip timing that meant we had gun times only despite wearing Velcro anklets, everything went smoothly. We started on time, there were plenty of port-a-potties, and the volunteers – mostly high school students I think – were cheerful and enthusiastic.

We snacked on apples and bagels afterward while taking celebratory group photos:

And get this: they were giving out ENTIRE BOXES of President’s Choice Decadent chocolate chip cookies. Clearly it pays to enter small races!

But was that enough food for us? No. We ventured over to Scallywag’s for breakfast, after calling to check if they were even open yet (it was only 9 a.m.). Lucky for us, they had opened at 7:30 for the Rugby World Cup. However, they still weren’t serving mimosas…

I actually wasn’t very hungry. I’m used to devouring about 800 calories within a few hours of finishing a race, but I suppose my body didn’t really need to ‘re-fuel’ after a workout under 30 minutes…

I ate about two-thirds of this veggie omelette, half a piece of toast and exactly three home fries. I was not feeling it.

Hours later, my appetite returned and I made this for a late lunch:

Kale pesto, tomato and goat cheese pizza. Mmmm heaven.

Off to rest up and prepare for a long, slooow 18k tomorrow. Cheers to the freakin’ weekend, friends… and Happy Birthday Lynne!!



  1. Kennedy!!!! 26:30 is AMAZING!!!! Huge Congrats on your PB! Glad you had fun and next up…PB on the 1/2! 🙂 well done.

    • Aw, thanks friend! I’m quite happy with it. p.s. Dinner Club post is written, so stay tuned – will post today or tomorrow!

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