Sunday, May 4, 2014

Goodlife Toronto (Half) Marathon

Today I ran the Goodlife Toronto Marathon -- the half race.

It was an absolutely gorgeous day. It reached 14 degrees at one point and the sun was shining the entire time. The only downfall was the ridiculously strong wind that picked up and that I struggled against for my last five kilometers, but I'll take the wind over the rainy week we had.

Overall I really enjoyed this race. It's only my second half-marathon but I had definitely improved since my first one in October, even if my results didn't match these feelings (but more about that later!).

On Saturday my mom and I went down to the expo to pick up my race "kit." I was a little disappointed because for $85 all I got was my personalized bib and a free t-shirt. I understand that races aren't about free stuff but after getting some awesome goodies at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and many of my 5Ks it made me feel a little sad. Oh well! I made up for that by buying some new running gear at the expo.
I picked up a Bondi Band for my hair, some Jelly Belly Sports Beans and Stinger Chews, Sunski glasses, HoneyMaxx drink mix,, and two pairs of New Balance shorts. 

On Sunday my cheering squad (my mom and grandma) and I drove to Mel Lastman Square to start the race. The half-marathon began on time at 8:30 am. One thing that I didn't like was the way the runners were corralled because it wasn't clear where the corrals were. However, it really wasn't a big deal since the crowd wasn't very big and it didn't seem like slower runners (like me!) got in the way of the faster runners.
I'm decked out in the pink

The course was more challenging than I expected. The Goodlife Toronto Marathon is boasted as a "downhill" marathon but there were definitely some uphills that I was forced to overcome. Downhills are also not something I had practiced much and it took me the first 5K to figure out my posture and stride. As I mentioned before, the wind was also the strongest I had ever run against and slowed my time.

I also felt like the course was longer than 21.1 kilometers. As I crossed the finished line I noticed my Garmin read that I had run 21.6 kilometers. Personally I think that a half kilometer is a huge deal when you're aiming for a PB/PR time. Now, I completely acknowledge that Garmins are not completely accurate. Noted, I swear. However, the first half of the race my Garmin was reading 200 meters shorter than what the course markers were. Then, in the second half of the race I felt like one of the kilometers was taking longer than it should have according to my pace. The next time I compared my watch with the course markers I was half a kilometer ahead on my watch (a 700 meter difference!). After that my watch consistently read 500 extra meters. I also read online that runners from last year had noticed that the race was about 400 meters longer than 21.1. This makes me feel that it was not just my device. So when I mentioned before that my time didn't match the improvements that I felt while running, this is where I think the problem was. If my device was correct, I bested my previous time by about  five minutes. 

Since I'm not a competitive runner I would likely run this race again. Overall I enjoyed the course and had a great vibe from the organizers and volunteers. The medals look amazing and I loved how fast you could go from crossing the finish line to grabbing your medal, food, and water. 

Thank you, Goodlife, for being a part of my running journey.

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