The Toronto Waterfront 10K returned last weekend for the second edition and while the first edition of this race was really fun, this year was expected to be even better with Lululemon as the title sponsor. Just prior to registration opening on April 11th, the hype had been building for weeks and with only 7000 spots available and a price of $50, I knew this would sell out fast and didn’t waste any time registering on April 11th.
I was coming off two weeks of full rest (no running) and one week of light running which included three days off after having oral surgery a week before the race. I hadn’t done any speed work since the beginning of May and if the easy runs leading up to the race were any indication of what to expect, I should be taking it easy on race day.
I got up at 5:20am (apparently 25 minutes earlier than last year for some reason!), walked my dog, ate some yogurt, and got ready to head out. Like last year, the race fell on a Saturday which meant I could walk to the Eglinton subway station near my home and head down to the start of the race. I arrived at the start around 6:40 which gave me 50 minutes before the start of the race. Unlike last year, I packed a bag and dropped it off at the bag drop which was located a few streets North of the start on University Avenue. One of the first people I ran into was Petja. When Petja isn’t being an awesome person on Instagram, he occasionally dresses up as Thor and runs with the Justice League runners.
There are quite a few incredible running crews in Toronto and Saturday’s race brought out the best of them. It was really cool seeing Tribe FitnessTribe Fitness, Parkdale Road Runners, Blacktoe Running, NTRC, and of course my crew, High Park Rogue Runners before heading over to the starting corral. When I registered for the race, I registered under HPRR. There is a category called mixed teams (men and women) on the Canada Running Series website. The top teams don’t receive anything other than bragging rights, which is still fun!
Heading into the race, I spoke with my buddy Daniel about a race strategy. I really wanted to take it easy and Daniel mentioned a few of the Rogue Runners were running together at a pace (4:30/km) that would be manageable for me and still make me work a bit. We were all grouped together in the corral and I was feeling pretty good about our positioning just next to the 45 minute pacer.
It was much warmer than I would have liked, but it was partially cloudy so hopefully it wouldn’t warm up too much in the next 45 minutes or so! After a few minutes in the corral, we were off!
First 5K splits: 3:57, 4:04, 4:14, 4:08, 4:03
I didn’t look at my watch at all during the start, but I did notice right away I couldn’t find any of my crew mates. I kept turning around as we headed South on University Avenue, but there were so many people surrounding me, there was no use. I decided I would just run and at some point I would see them. I didn’t feel like I was running too hard and my running effort was not too difficult so I kept on going. Around the 2km mark I decided to peek at my watch and I was a bit surprised at my pace! I was running quicker than half marathon pace and at least 20 seconds faster than my target race pace.
It was around this time when I switched the app on my Garmin watch to “race predictor” so I can keep an eye on where I was expecting to finish. I did this because I also made the decision to maintain a goal time (41-42 minutes) I now realized in hindsight I probably shouldn’t have attempted!
By the 5km mark, my heart rate was in the area I expected it to be considering how hard I was running and I was feeling pretty good.
My projected finish at the 5km mark was 42:18. 1 minute off my course and 10K PR.
6km – 10.2KM: 4:10, 4:14, 4:12, 4:38, 4:24, 5:35
By the 6km mark, the heat and humidity started to wear me down. My heart rate was spiking to the mid-190s (my heart rate never exceeded the mid 180s when I ran the Chilly Half earlier in the year and I was running around the same pace!) and I was starting to lose steam. Part of the issue could have been the lack of running I did in the weeks leading up to the race, but I believe it was mostly due to the heat!
As soon as we made the turnaround at the 8km mark, the wheels started falling off. By now there was no reprieve from the sun and we were running East on Lakeshore. I started noticing my heart rate bouncing from 195-198 for the first time since I started running and for a moment I truly wondered if my heart was going to pound out of my chest. In a panic, I pulled over to the side of the course and walked a bit to try to catch my breath and reduce my heart rate. It helped for a brief moment.
At the 9km mark, runners approach the Jameson Street exit which is a small hill that turns to the left. My heart rate spiked again and again I started to walk. Right around this time, my friend Ben pulled up next to me and pleaded with me to keep running. I mustered up as much strength as I could for the final 800m push and crossed the finish line thankful for the race to be over.
Official Time: 42:50
I found out later the High Park Rogue Runners finished 3rd in mixed teams (men and women) and while only the times of those people who register as a team are counted towards the team totals, it was really cool to see my name on the Canada Running Series website! Congrats crew!
I had no business racing as hard as I did and I honestly don’t regret trying. Considering I was not in race shape and didn’t run a clean race, I did pretty well! Am I crazy to think that?!?!
The good news about not requiring medial assistance is I got to experience the awesome Lululemon post race event. Before we get to that, I do need to thank Ben for dragging me across the finish line! I probably would still be out there walking around in circle if it weren’t for him!
After a few congratulatory hugs, I started to make my way towards a few people I knew. The first person was Allison who I never met in person before, but we are friends on Instagram and she informed me she was handing out medals at the finish, so I headed over to get my medal from her!
After getting my medal, I started to see a few friends crossing the finish line and head over to what was one of the most beautiful post race sights I ever saw in my life. On both sides of the finishing chute, there was a wall of donuts! I immediately woofed down a donut and thankfully my friend Carolina was there to offer me some of her beer to wash it down! I snapped a few photos with friends who finished around the same time and after chatting for a bit, I met up with Daniel and Dom and headed over to the post race party.
I should have taken more photos of the post race party site at Exhibition Place because the scene was unreal. If it weren’t for the sweaty runners and medals hanging around everyone’s neck, you would have thought you were attending a massive outdoor concert. There was so much to see and do and the vibe was amazing! I quickly made my way over to the Saucony Canada tent to say hello to some of my friends who were working the tent.
I bumped into another friend of mine, Heather, at the Saucony Canada tent and we snapped a few photos in the selfie booth! I snapped a few more with Daniel, then it was time to go. We were pretty hungry and needed to find a place to eat in the area.
Daniel and I met up with Rose, Sammy and Sue at Aroma in Liberty Village for a post race breakfast. I ordered an egg and cheese on a croissant and an ice aroma coffee. I then proceeded to drop the tray on on the ground breaking the plate and getting ice coffee everywhere bringing an interesting race experience to a fitting end.
Thank you Canada Running Series, Lululemon, and Saucony Canada for putting on such an amazing race and thanks for the free race photos!