Monday, June 15, 2015

Nike Toronto 15K Recap

Nike held one of their legendary races in Toronto and my entire experience was absolutely incredible. Seriously, after my experience I would 100% recommend a Nike event to anyone who asked. It was a 15K run so I was really curious to see how I would like the distance.

Let me throw this out there: the race was $120. I have never spent this much on a race but it was definitely worth it. They had paid staff working the event (there may have been volunteers but one person I spoke to specifically mentioned it was hard not to spend the money she was making this weekend on all the gear they had at the event), the atmosphere was so upbeat and everything you would expect from Nike, they held free events over the weekend (Lakey Peterson was even there leading a fitness class!), the race medal is actually a Tiffany’s necklace, and because Toronto’s race was actually held on Toronto Island it covered the cost of your ferry both ways.

Race Kit/Expo:
I picked mine up at the expo but they actually held pick-up opportunities at various locations around Toronto for those that couldn’t make it downtown on the weekend. I think that having that option is a great idea. In your kit you received your race shirt, ferry ticket, a wristband with your wave on it, and a course map.

The expo was incredible. They brought so many products with them and I somehow narrowed it down to a singlet, a pair of capris, and a tank top when I had so much more great stuff in my arms. They also had running analyses happening, so many picture opportunities with tons of great motivational sayings.

They were also renting out shoes! One of the staff members convinced me to trade in my flip-flops and ID and walk around in a pair of their shoes for a couple of hours. I just walked for a little bit but tons of people were literally running around trying them out. I tried the Fly Knit Zooms and fell in love so hard that I went back inside and bought a pair.

Race Day:
My mom and I took the GO train into Toronto to catch the ferry. Ferries were leaving starting around 6AM but our Ferry ticket was for 8AM and the earliest train got us there just in time. Everything about the ferry process was flawless and we had no problems getting onto the island. On our way to the baggage check-in they had so many things to look at. They had a variety of food trucks that were already selling food around 9AM and more opportunities for pictures. They even had staff station to take your photo on your own phone for you. Since my mom and I were in a later wave I took advantage of that.

The rain was starting to spit as we checked in our bags so the staff at the baggage tent starting handing out clear disposable rain ponchos. I had brought a garbage bag just in case but this was so much better. It even had a hood! Thanks, Nike!

The rain cleared up before our wave left but it started again around kilometer 10. I almost wished it had rained the whole time because the humidity was really hard on me. Before the race I hadn’t run or exercised in any way since before I was sick… almost three weeks ago! I knew it was going to be difficult but I didn’t realize how much of my endurance I had lost. My legs felt like they could go forever but my chest was where the struggle was happening.

Otherwise the course was amazing. The was the first time I’ve run a race on Toronto Island and it was incredible. Some parts of the course were a little tight but not unbearable if you weren’t looking to PR. It was also cool to get to run on the tarmac at Billy Bishop Airport, then through some foliage, then past some really cute houses on the island, and then along the boardwalk just before the finish line.

I started doing 10:1 and it took me 1:52:02 to run the 15K race. I was so tired and I had painful chafing happening under my arm but when I saw that little blue box all of my struggles melted away. I would run 15K in the pouring rain any day for Tiffany’s.

Overall, 15K was really fun to run. I didn’t feel completely drained like I do after a half, but being longer than a 10K was a fun challenger to try to pace myself to. I’d be interested in trying different race lengths besides the traditional 5, 10, 21.1, or 42.2.

My mom had to catch a VIA train from Oshawa at 4PM or else we would have liked to stay and keep checking everything out even in the rain. Despite a huge line we only had to wait for one ferry to leave us before we were able to board. If you didn’t mind paying the water taxis were also running.

If Nike decides to come back to Toronto I will definitely run it again. I’m also interested in seeing where they hold their 2016 races because I loved it so much I would be willing to travel to take place in one of their events again.

Have you ever participated in a Nike run? What has been your favourite race to date?

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