The first time I ran the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon was back in 2012, I remember it being a BIG step up from the 10km races I'd being doing up to that point. Badass nurse and fellow long run buddy, Caroline Crawford wanted to give it a go and had convinced me to run it with her. We trained together and ran the raced together. Slugging it out for 21.1km in 2:07:22. Fast forward two years, 1 marathon and countless trail races - I was back in the starting corral of the STWM for another go at the half marathon on October 19th, 2014.
I hadn't planned on running the half, as my scheduled running season had come to a close with Chase the Coyote a month earlier. Best bud Caroline had registered for the full marathon, but found herself otherwise occupied in Los Angeles that weekend. In the days leading up to a big Toronto race, I always get a bit race crazy and want to join in on the fun. So with two days left before race day, Caroline donated her registration to me and with a quick downgrade and name swap on the bib - I was in for another go at the half.
Fast forward (again) to race morning, the temp had dropped to a chilly 2 degrees Celsius. From wake up to waiting in a corral is always a blur, before anytime at all we were off and running. Forcing myself to take it slow and just enjoy the run, I was running at whatever pace was allowing my breathing to stay consistent. At the 3km mark I looked at my watch, I was running 5:30/km. That was a bit fast for me for a half marathon, but I felt good. Checked again at 6km, I was now at an average of 5:25/km. I was picking up my pace, maybe that was unwise, but I still felt really good. Must have been the cold.
At 10km, I'm well under an hour. Good stuff. At 16km, I'm starting to tire but I get a short of adrenaline that even if I slow down for the last 5km, it's a sure thing that I'll cross the finish in under 2 hours. After that realization, I got a quick shot of adrenaline and I pushed it - I ran with everything I had and felt fantastic.
I crossed the finish line in 1:55:39.
A year of hitting the trails and not caring about finish times, allowed me to hit a goal that I hadn't really planned on going after. The hard work I put in had paid off, I had shaved 12 minutes and have a new personal best for the half marathon. 1:55:39 is going to be a hard number to trump, but I'm looking forward to the challenge.