This week’s race started with a gruelling 4:20 am alarm! But the sky was starting to lighten already and we slipped into our race gear, grabbed our pre-made banana-peanutbutter-walnut-chocolate-chip muffins, and headed out the door by 4:45.
We stopped to pick up our friend Sarah – gamely joining us as an ‘angel’ today, along with another friend, Mindy, who we hadn’t seen for about 15 years! I love how running brings us into closer community!
We headed down the 400 and into Toronto. Thunderstorms had been called for today, but we looked in the clear for the time being, and the hope was that they would hold off.
We met up with the myTeamTriumph Canada crew at a parkette near the race start on University Avenue, met up with the rest of the teams and did our pre-race pictures. I recognized one of the other Captain’s from the previous race, and he was pretty excited to be participating again – I couldn’t blame it! What a wonderful day for a race!
When we got ourselves together and headed over to the start line we discovered we were in time to watch the hand-cycle racers get started – wow, are they ever fast – followed closely by the Elite athletes and the top age-groupers. Then we tucked in around the back to find our starting corral.
Something that they’re still working on here in Canada is convincing the race organizers to let us self-seed or even start at the front. It means we start with the ‘walkers’ at the back of the pack, which would be fine … if we walked. But none of us do! This means that we spend the first half of the race slowly working our way through the crowds until we find those who are actually running at our pace. Last time we did a big race, this was quite a pain, because a lot of people seem to wear their headphones during races, and don’t seem to pay a lot of attention to their surroundings. However, this time we brought a cow bell – which seemed to work quite well! People assumed I was ringing it to cheer them on (which is true), but it also helped them become more aware that we were behind them, which really helped!
We went out at a 6:00/km pace, but then found our rhythm at about a 6:30/km. It was the perfect pace for such a hot, humid day!
I loved that the race course was lined with all sorts of fantastic cheering squads – people with signs, groups that drummed, did cheerleading and waved pompoms all added to the energy of the race!
Down University to York, to Bremnar to Lakeshore, and then on, under the Gardner, past the CNE, to Parkside and then double-back to the CNE.
The race was very well organized, and they really looked after us at the finish line – water, medals, bananas, donuts (for those who could stomach them), and a wet washcloth to wipe yourself down with were all welcome comforts. In the finish shoot we met up with one of the other Captains, a boy with two prosthetic above-knee boomerang legs, who had apparently run some of the race himself! I was super-impressed!
We finally settled down with the rest of the myTeamTriumph crowd near the bandstand, and watched them hand out the medals to the top Elite and Masters winners, followed by two yoga classes. Lots of free samples kept the rest of us happy.
One of the folks from myTeamTriumph had driven our car to the finish line for us, so it was a short walk back and a pretty straightforward drive home. Got in about an hour before the thunderstorm hit, so I’m going to call that perfect timing! 🙂