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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: The round-up

Well, its safe to say that 2014 did not go as planned.

At all.

The big plan was to qualify to run the 2015 edition of the Boston Marathon. I got a big, fat fail on that one.

However, there were highlights for sure! Let's take a look, shall we?


I started week six of marathon training and enjoyed a long run of 20.14 with the #burlingtonskirtbrigade and then some. One thing that I really relished in this year was the continuation of the friendships I've developed from DailyMile and Blogging. 

Group selfie!
We also left on our second Disney Cruise aboard the Fantasy. This time, we'd be joined my my BFF from highschool and her family. 

Waiting to board 
Disney owns a private island in the Bahamas (obvs) and while at port there, they hold a 5k race. A free race on a private island in the Bahamas? Yes please!

Skirt to represent, yo!
We are hoping to get to another Disney cruise in late 2015 or early 2016, but it will really depend on other travel plans for the first half of 2016 (BOSTON, PLEASE!!!)

I ended the month setting a 5 second PB at Robbie Burns in the freezing -24c temps. I didn't really try to PB this race and it wasn't until the very end that I realized that if I pushed, I'd have it and so I did. Sadly, Robbie Burns is not in the cards for 2015, but I have a feeling I'll be back in the next few years to really lay out what I can do on that course.

My custom race shirt makes its first appearance. 


Well, February brought a huge, huge month. 267k run in total. But it also brought the return of stupid-crazy Polar Vortex weather and stupid-stupid Plantar Fasciitis. But hey, Canada won a crapload of medals at the Olympics including the coveted hockey gold for both the men and women. I watched a lot of the Olympics in the early mornings while running on the treadmill at the gym. I ran a lot of treadmill miles this month.

There was one day that I got to run in the sun, but the run sucked. Thank you, PV and PF.

Well, March brought the return of my two favorite winter races. The Chilly Half Marathon and the Around the Bay road race. 

Chilly was not going to be a PB effort for me, rather it would be a test to see if I could maintain BQ pace over a half marathon. Ideally, I would have gone out and run 5:06/km consistently, but my Evil PF was saying, "NO!" In the end, I decided that I'd run with Emma in an attempt to get her a PB of sub 1:51:24. With tough conditions (snow, slush, -20c), we pulled out a nice 5 second PB for her that day.

If I'm pacing you, you're always finishing first
So next up, after a few more weeks of peak training, PF treatment and not really hitting tempo paces was Around the Bay. I had decided to race it for the first time ever. The route had changed this year and it added in rollers in the first 10k which were difficult to say the least. And I was over dressed (as always!). However, somehow I pulled out a 10 minute 51 second PB. So, that was good. HA.

I"ll be back, ATB!

Last month to give'r. Except, man. I was not feeling it. Ongoing PF and a 23 week plan just drained everything out of me. I put on a brave face and tried my best to conjure up a positive attitude, but in all honesty, it was all a big, fat lie. I was NOT feeling it at all. There were highlights, of course.

I was able to hit my fundraising goal for Wishes for Olivia and Make-A-Wish Canada. In total, I raised $3,705 for the fabulous cause. Now, don't worry if you missed contributing last year, you can surely contribute  again this year! (Get it in now for a final 2014 tax benefit!)

And Alasdair ran his first race at the 1k Good Friday Kids race. I also ran the 5k in perfect marathon pace (and my second of 3 runs for the day). Obviously we HAD to wear the custom race shirts.

Booking it


Marathon Day. Preceded by First Communion Day. I'm going to suggest right now, that there should be no hosting of a major life event the day before a major goal race. None. Even if it involves good food and company and dressing up. Nothing I could have done about the dates though. Instead, I enjoyed and the family looked good.

Marathon day brought stupid winds, breakdowns and no PBs or BQs. Instead, it involved character building, wind, great friends, a cute skirt and wind. To be honest, I'm not sure I would have finished if it hadn't have been for Peter. 

After the marathon, I took a week off. My PF flared big time. HUGE. I was a mess. However, more treatment, time on my mum-bike and a easy return to running and I was ready to conquer my first trail race - the 25k at Sulphur Springs.

Emma, me, Sam and Bridgett. Stock photo, right?

In June, I started the month by returning to pacing. I ran the amazing Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon, leading the 2:05 group and coming in at 2:04:54. I loved this race. LOVED. I've been in contact with the race director who read my blog post and will be back to pace in 2015 for SURE. LOVE!!!

OMG, I lurve this race!
Then the very next weekend (my third in a row for racing), I ran the Bread & Honey 5k. This is another traditional race for me and originally I had thought I'd attempt a PB and podium finish. However my stomach acted up so I paced my friend Kerry through her first post-baby race. 

Applauding Kerry's finish from behind.
Finally, I set the fall plan in place. The plan was supposed to set me up for my first ever Gran Fondo (80k) and a PB attempt at the Oakville Half Marathon in September. On yer (mum) bike!


Holy crap did I ever fall in love with cycling. Despite the fact that my mum-bike was the shittiest in our peloton while I was on group rides, it didn't matter. I got faster, I got better, it didn't hurt my Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF and man, there are planned stops for coffee and donuts. Cycling is a total win. WIN!

Kimberley, me, Emma, Sam
Sam, me, Irina, Emma

Photo Credit: Irina (mad cycling selfie skillz)
Running was running. 3 times a week. No speedwork. Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF and all that Jazz. But the CYCLING!!!!


I think by now, I knew that there would be no Fall PBs to be had. Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF wouldn't really go away and I was focusing on the bike and pace work to get ready to pace the 3hr gang at A Midsummer Night's Run. I had a fantastic time at that race and finished in 2:59:24! A huge redemption from 2013 where I was over time and I still managed the #runnerd photo at the end (obvs)


Things hit the fan in September. My husband has surgery on September 5th to remove a rather large Dermatofibrosarcoma Protuberans from behind his knee. On the 7th, I took part in the Epic Tour as planned and it went well. It was hilly. Lots of hills. Holy crap, I thought Halton was flat. Its not. FYI. I'll be back for 110k in 2015 with a road bike.

Right after that, the focus switched to running. I had Oakville, Niagara Falls Half (pacer) and potentially Hamilton half to run along with the 25k at the Run for the Toad. My foot was feeling good! YA!

On September 17th, my husband drove himself to the hospital with a heavy chest and the taste of blood in his mouth when he coughed. He was still on Oxy and got shit for driving, but kudos for paying attention to his body. In the morning, he was still waiting to get confirmation of what was wrong, so he told me to go to work. Around 1030, I got a text that he had a blood clot in his lung. Guess what guys? That shit can be fatal. 

Alls well that ends well anyway. Because he listened to the "not right" feeling he was having, Ken got to the hospital in time and a few nights there allowed them to treat the worst of it. He's been on blood thinners ever since, but he takes his last ones in January. He's already planning his first drink. 

The highlight of September was being in Windsor with my son for his first rep hockey tournament. It meant I had to miss Oakville and had my first DNS, but you've just gotta roll with life sometimes.

They won the whole damn thing

Things settled down. Ken started to recover (at this point though, his life involved getting his leg dressing changed daily). We settled into school, work, hockey. Rinse and repeat. Don't hurry to grow up folks, its pretty much the same damn thing every day. 

Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF continued to stay away and I got in 163k with two quality and fun races: Run for the Toad 25k and the Niagara Falls International Half Marathon, where I was the 1:55 pacer. Both races were treats to run:

Getting ready to toss my long sleeved top, its that warm (TOAD)
This is what happens when you fall on the trail
Niagara could not have gone any better

I still continued to LOVE the bike and in fact, planed my first metric century ride with Emma and Sam for the Friday before Thanksgiving. What a beauty that was. 


I started this month with the very last race of the year. The Hamilton Half Marathon. The plan was to pace Emma to a sub 1:50 and end the 2014 season in glory. 

It didn't quite work out that way as I just didn't have the fitness to keep the pace after 12k and had to wish Emma well on her own. Instead, Sam and I finished together for the first time ever in an epic battle of best tights of the year (obvs, mine are)

Enhanced only by my sweat stains
In November, I decided to get a Coach for the 2015 season and put my hand out again to support Wishes for Olivia (donate by clicking the link). 

The month ended with Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF deciding to show up again and I took the reality seriously. Back to PT, back to massage, more rolling, more heat pads, more stretching. Despite this, paces continued to drop. I can now run a 5:30/km pace easy for at least 12k.

Emma and I also snuck in one last outdoor ride on the 8th, going for a short but lovely 36k around Milton and Burlington.


I averaged 60-65 hours per week at work in this month, including one epic 17 hour day. I ran, I saw PT twice a week. I let my Evil-Stupid-Stupid-PF heal (heel? HAHA!). I caught a lung infection and took a 10 day hiatus from all activity. I got fat (whoops). Two weeks ago, I started running with more regularity and things have been okay.

I've found a new morning run partner in fellow hockey parent, Lindsay.

In the middle of all of that, we've had hockey



Family time
My sister, mum and me
And an 8th birthday

I will finish the year with 1,150k on the bike in 53h41m39s and about 2,130k running in about 205h58m27s (I still have to get 10.57k in to hit that total). 

I raised $3,705 for Make-A-Wish Canada. 

I made new friends and was able to extend other friendships. 

We end the year with everyone healthy and happy. There is nothing more to ask for. 

Onward to 2015!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Wishes for Olivia part two: The 2015 Plan

The 2015 training season is almost here! And I've got the same two goals that I had last year

However, as Einstein has said:

So, this year, I'm going to work with a coach. Not any coach, but the one and only, Phaedra! I'm really excited to begin training (even though the real work won't begin until January). Along the lines of the quote above, my fourth marathon won't be another return to Mississauga. Instead, together with Sam, I will toe the line at the 41st Ottawa Marathon! I'm excited to put in the miles and my biggest wish will be to cross the finish line in under 3 hours and 39 minutes, thus qualifying to enter to run the Boston Marathon in 2016!

On the topic of wishes, one thing I will do over again in 2015 is continue to raise money for Wishes for Olivia and Make-A-Wish Canada.

Olivia Grace White, daughter of my friend, Jennifer White, went to sleep on Christmas Day 2012 and never woke up. She was 5 and a half. It was, of course, the most devastating thing that could happen to a family. To lose a child so suddenly, such a bright, shining light in their lives, has fundamentally changed who they are. 

Olivia was an amazing little girl. Anyone who knew her would tell you how very special she was. Not only was she beautiful and smart, but so very kind to everyone. She adored school and her friends, loved dressing up in skirts and dresses (pink and purple if possible), she loved her little sister Aurelia, but above all, she loved Disney. 

She really, really loved Disney. 


The White's were very lucky that they were able to take Olivia to Walt Disney World to visit her dear friends; the Princesses. She would have long conversations with Cinderella and Belle, hug Ariel, and curtsy with Merida. Disney was a dream come true for Olivia, and she talked about it endlessly. She would always say "Mumma? Do you remember when we went to Disney?" followed by her favourite memory; the fireworks, going to the Bibbiddi Bobbiddi Boutique, or throwing a coin into Cinderella's wishing well. She would make a wish and hope it would come true. 

Olivia would have wanted other children to visit Disney. She would have wanted them to make their wish and have it come true. So, in her name, Wishes for Olivia was created. 

Wishes for Olivia is a group dedicated to raising money for Make-A-Wish Foundation of Canada. As part of the legacy of Olivia Grace White, we strive to make wishes come true for children across Canada through fundraising, and attending and supporting group events. 

On Sunday May 24th, 2015 I will toe the line at the Ottawa Marathon, hoping to cross the finish in a time of 3 hours, 40 minutes or less. I will run that day and all training days before that for Olivia. If you can, I hope you support me. I hope you remember Olivia. And I hope we make some wishes come true. To donate, please click HERE. I promise, I will run a little harder to justify every dollar donated.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The Off Season!

Oh hey!

It's the off season!

Yep. I'm done for 2014.

My next race isn't until March 2015!!!

I can hardly believe it myself. I won't be in formal training for anything until January when my cycle kicks up again. This doesn't mean that I'm going to take any time off, but I am going to to ease myself along without worrying too much about hitting ALL. THE. WORKOUTS.

Off season? New SHOES!

Let's be honest. I was burned out last year when I started my plan at the end of November. I was eager to start and hit workouts but by March I was DONE with training.

And of course, let us not forget the Plantar Fasciitis which was the biggest KILL-JOY of the entire season.

Speaking of which, this past Sunday, I felt the foot flare up again. Nothing too bad, but something to get checked out. I spent last night with my heating pad and I'm going to try to get into physio this week for sure.

I took the entire week off after Hamilton and hit last week eager and ready to train again. And I was super surprised with how it all turned out:

Monday: 7k in 38:57. Okay, a lovely little pace. Must be the early morning or the week off or the cold or something. Core work in the evening.

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 5k at Goodlife after a day long off-site meeting and before a Leafs game in a corporate box with my client. I kept increasing the pace ever km and ended up with my final KM at sub-BQ pace. 27:11

Thursday: Rest

Friday: NO MEETINGS!!! The return of the lunch run. I hit the gym again. Ladder up: 8k with each mile faster: 6.4, 6.6, 6.8. 7.0, 7.2. Things felt great. Right where off season should be.
I need to cut my bangs or grown them or just rock this awesome ponytail forever

Saturday: CRAZY day, hockey, hockey pictures, hockey game, surprise 40th party for a friend. I fit in 5.15k around the block after watching KONA and I almost managed a progression: 5:35-5:24-5:20-5:06-5:08. Total: 27:19. Feeling so good!

Sunday: MORE HOCKEY PHOTOS. Then my mum fed me breakfast. Then, fueled on bacon and eggs and pancakes and memories of KONA, I went out for my long run of 11k. I realized around 9.5k that if I pushed, I'd finish in an hour. I pushed harder, ran a 4:59 final KM split and finished 59:33. Then I went to our town Santa Parade and then grocery shopping. Its all so EXHAUSTING

Off season week one: 36.16k in 3:18:18 and one session of core. I hope to get in more this week. In fact, the rest of off season looks like this:

Click for larger
Oh, you probably want to know about my 2015 plans too, eh? Well, come back again sometime and I'll tell you. Likely within the next week. Let's just say that this Saturday's workout will set up a lot of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Road 2 Hope Hamilton Half Marathon Race Report

OH! The Road 2 Hope half marathon! The traditional season ender for me for lo, these past three years! Why not make it a fourth and complete almost a week's worth of ugly race shirts and medals?!?! Truth be told, I've always had a great race at this half marathon and it was no sacrifice to me to run it for a fourth time.

The fall season was really, really strange. I didn't train for any PBs for myself. Once it was confirmed that I'd gotten the pacing gig for the Niagara Falls Half Marathon, I concentrated on that and continued to enjoy the bike. Rather early on, I mentioned to Emma that if she wanted to go for a Sub-1:50 PB here (if Oakville didn't work out), that I'd be game to pace her (figuring that I could hold the pace... )

So race morning came and that was the plan.

The hallway we had planned to meet up in was blocked off, so we removed ourselves to the gym, but the cell service was spotty. We finally met up with everyone we were supposed to and made our way outside.

Best race memory #1: Squatting on the edge of a forest with nothing but a foil blanket for privacy with about 15 friends and strangers, all in the name of avoiding a port a potty line. That was a first.

The first half: KM 1-10

So, we made our way to the embankment/start area/clusterfuck that is one of the hallmarks of this race and tossed our pre-race warm stuff and waited for the gun. Besides Emma, there was: SamPatty, Amy and Kim. Everyone except Kim wanted the sub 1:50. No one but me had a paceband (customized to another hallmark of this race - the 4k of downhill). So, no pressure.

I might as well steal this from Kim as well.
Me, Sam, Patty, Amy, Kim, Emma

Gun goes and we're.... o f f... ish. Clusterfuck of congestion just to get on the road where I rhetorically ask, "Why don't they start this one the road?!?!" No problem. Gotta get to a 5:12 here and for the next 5k and we're golden. The first km comes up at 5:19. No problem. 7 seconds. Easy. I consider starting  to talk and banter and then I realize I'm not pacing for real and that I don't need to lighten the load and be the Best!Pacer!Ever! These gals are my friends. They already know I'm awesome. Look at the tights.

Speaking of tights, I didn't worry at all about them following me despite my short stature. How can you miss those tights?! I even make it easy because my short-legs are of the double wide/thunder thigh variety so there's more to love see.

So its fine. Sam's right behind me, and so is Emma. I'm settling in. This is feeling easy! I'm cruising on Mud Street and hear and see someone hock a loogie right behind me. I discreetly wipe my ass. "Um. Obviously I didn't spit on you! I'm a pro spitter!" Sam chimes in behind me. Okay, okay! Time to hit the downhill!

We have 5 seconds in the bank once we hit the downhill. I'm doing mental math like Stephen Hawking and and pacing like I've got the clif bar balloon stick in my hand. Hitting the down hill is the easy part. WooHOO! Follow the tights, gals, follow the tights!

We get on the Red Hill Parkway and I realize we don't have Patty. Sam tells me she dropped out in the early Ks which is likely for the best considering her calves. (Check out her blog - she ran a smart race). We all exclaim about the beauty of the down hill! If only all races were like this! If only this race was a 10k! If only I could run 4:26/km so effortlessly all the time. 

Whoa. Let's reel that in a bit, eh?

All's well though as the weather nemesis of my race year shows up and we're hit with a headwind which doesn't make it as easy as it should be (asshole). 

We finished the section with 26 seconds in the bank.

5:19-5:07-5:10-5:07-5:12-4:56-4:56-4:49-5:02-5:11, time: 50:49, pace band: 51:15

The End. The brutal, ugly (except for the tights!), end: KM 11-21.1

I'm not going to sugar coat it here. I was feeling a bit like Blerch. I had legs, I had breath, but I had no gumption. I hadn't taken a gel yet, so when the next water station came up, rather then running through it, squeezing the cup and drinking on the go like the pro racer my tights demanded, I walked to take my Island Nector Gu (Ya mon!). The 11k water station comes at the off ramp on Barton street, so it meant that I could walk the incline there as well. This is also where I got my first (of many, obvs) comments on the tights. After ripping the chewed gum off of my dollar store gloves, I set about to catch Emma and Sam back up. I was pacing after all, we had only the last half and we had time in the bank. What could go wrong?

You idiot - have you not even raced anything this year? What about the headwind? 

I caught Sam and Emma just about the time we hit the trail after the bricks and was like, "oh, hey girls!" Then I took the lead again. At this point, any sense of racing or getting to the end with a 1:49xx went, "Oh, fuck you." I just... couldn't. 9k to go and I gave up on myself. Quickly, I said to Sam, "Just keep her at 5:15s, she's got it." Sam looked at me like, WTF are you doing? I can't even read my watch! Didn't we just have a whole conversation about drug-store reading glasses. And then... I left them behind.

First things first. Music. I had put my shuffle on my small waistband pocket and had put the earbuds into my cleavage so I fished them out and turned on the shuffle. The playlist had 1h30m of music and I blasted it into my ears and took off. I could see Emma and Sam in the distance. We started to get to the red bridge that goes over the QEW and things started to feel good. Maybe I just needed the Island Nector to kick in? Hey, I'm doing awesome! Sub 5min/km pace! What the heck! Oh, we're on a downhill. HAHAH. Okay. 

Then, I'm on the lakefront path and things aren't quite that easy anymore despite the fact that Taylor Swift is telling me to Shake It Off, Shake It Off. Still, things aren't horrible. I've still got friends. This headwind and I pretty much have a goddamned blood pact by now. 

Around this time, I decide I'll probably finish 1:50-1:51. No worries. Respectable. Then, the 1:50 pacer passes and I hear her say, "Ya, we'll make up some time here." She had one person with her that I could see. Now, far be it for me to tell you how to pace, but personally, with 6k left in a race, I'd rather be trying to slow down than speed up. Just me. As she passes, another round of, well fuck this, goes through me and I decide to walk the next water station. Then, low! A vision in pink leggings - I see Sam.

S A M!!!

She turns, and we are joined once again. Destined finally, to finish a race together!

The rest of the race goes like this:

ME: Hold on, I've gotta put these earbuds back in my cleavage again.
SAM: If you angle your head for the trajectory of the spit, you'll never hit anyone, but you've gotta judge the wind too.
ME: Oh my God! We're going to actually finish together (thinking, don't sprint past me at the end)..
Sam: YAY! (I guess there will be no finish line sprint.)

Best race memory #2: After many, MANY, "I LOVE your pants!!! I love your outfit!!!" and both of us saying Thanks, I say to Sam, "Obviously, they are talking to me!" Sam: They are probs talking about me! Random guy in the God Awful race shirt: No! They are talking about me!!! Sam: Must be your original outfit.

We talked before the race (when we saw Captain American) about how it sucks to get passed by the people dressed up during a race. I mean, looking good is one thing, a costume race is another, but a random person dressed as a hot dog who passes you is just a bit too much.

Random Hot Dog dude passed us at about 18k. 

Sam and I didn't speak, but our shared look clearly communicated, are you fucking kidding me?!?

Then I saw a photographer:

Me: A photographer!!!
Sam: Hunh?
Me: Race Photos!!!
Sam, Eh, what?
Me: Take my hand, Sam. Take my hand. SAM, HOLD MY HAND!!!

Srsly! Who has the best tights? And pit stains!
Then, I realized that I hadn't tapped the 20k sign the week before. How could I forget! I can't believe it!!! As it came into view, I told Sam I was going over and tapped it. She started to pick it up here and I was dying. There is a little incline right before the turn the the finish line and I always hate it. It is just BRUTAL! Then, we're on the straightaway in the chute to the end. I start waving my arms in the universal "Make some noise!" gesture to get us all the cheers our tights we deserve and I quickly see a commotion at the end with paramedics working on a downed runner. Sadly, Richard Greidanus passed away.

Knowing how badly the guy down shook up Sam last year, I grab her hand again and yell, "Look away, Sam, Don't look!!" Thankfully, she thinks I mean don't look at the clock and we finished together and as above, holding hands. 

5:11-5:21 (GU)-6:03-5:12-5:39-5:52-5:40-5:25-5:41-5:34-5:18-1:24 (for 260m), split: 1:02:30, time: 1:53:19, pace band: 1:49:45

Well, that's the season done. Day two of off season and I'm enjoying it by doing nothing so far. Look for a bit more activity in the next while as I lay out my 2015 plans. They are familiar and big, and this year, no matter what the weather or my body throws at me, I hope to complete them all.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Niagara Falls Half Marathon Race Report (pacer)

On Sunday, October 26, 2014 I had the pleasure to run the Niagara Falls Half Marathon for the second time. This time, I was the 1:55 pacer.

You may recall, the last time I ran this race, my goal was the same. And it didn't work out. At all.

I went into Sunday, with 2 more years of running and racing under me and I was quite a bit more experienced and faster. However, I was still worried. When I agreed to this pacing gig, I had assumed that I would have spent the summer training to go sub 1:45 at the Oakville Half Marathon. Well, that didn't happen. Instead, I spent more (enjoyable) hours on the bike, cut running down and forgot all about speedwork. I hadn't run a lengthy distance at close to this speed since March's Around the Bay (average pace of 5:20/km). I was super worried I'd let the group down by not being able to hang on to the 5:27/km average pace over the course of the 21.1k. This fear was compounded by the forecast of 30kph winds (seriously. WHAT is with the winds this year?).

Smarter about the race logistics this time, I got to the Crowne Plaza Hotel with time to visit the washroom twice before lining up for the bus shuttle to the start of the race (the halfway mark of the Full Marathon). Once at the start I hit the portapotty for one last visit and pulled on some arm sleeves and a foil wrapper to keep warm. Of course as it always goes when you're the pacer, you get talked about and talked to. I answered lots of questions about the pace, the course, the day and finally, I lined up to take my chances with the headwind and the pace.

The First Half: KM 1-10

And we were away. The crowding wasn't too bad at all and I got right on pace. I yelled out my usual one liners to the crowd, telling them my name etc. I let them know what pace we were running (5:27/km) and answered the question in miles (8:46/mi). It was around  2 or 3km that my fave line came: "Oh, the race is actually shorter in miles." That go a LOT of laughs.

By this time, we hit the first water station. While I didn't need water, I decided to go for it anyway so that my group got used to me disappearing from time to time. While I took the water on the run, the cups were plastic and not good for the squeeze/funnel technique so I didn't actually drink much. 

One of my DailyMile friends, Angela was running with my group with an ultimate goal of 1:55 and she told me that if she got to 8k with me, she'd be on track to PB based on her Mississauga time. Alright! I spoke with some other people, all of whom said they'd be with me until the end. I let them know that I got mean with about 300m to go - "I'll scream at all of you until you get in front of me, so long as we have time." The group seemed eager to see this in action at that point. 

Water had been about every 3k, so I took my one and only gel (Clif shot vanilla. YUM!) at about 9k and there was no water. The way the race route goes - it follows the river, so it bends around the water almost always. I kept thinking we'd get water and didn't. Finally I gave up and took a piece of gum instead, hoping that the gel + lack of water wouldn't see me with stomach problems later on (all was well).

5:24-5:20-5:20-5:26-5:23-5:24-5:24-5:22-5:25-5:24, time: 53:52, pace band: 54:30

To the End. The Head-Wind Filled End: KM 11-21.1

I was right where I wanted to be. With 42 seconds in the bank, I knew I was being aggressive, but I knew that meant I could walk the water stops and slow a bit if the wind ever hit us head on. Thus far, the day was just fine. I spent the whole race toying with the idea of taking off my gloves but my hands never got unbearably hot, so I kept them on. It was overcast so I didn't miss my sunglasses. The wind only hit us randomly and always from the left side, which was fine by me. "At least its not raining," observed one of the people in my group. "Ha!" said I, "I'd take rain before headwind any day." 

The water station finally came up around 12k and I slowed right down in order to take a full drink. I never felt the need for the HoneyMaxx they were giving out, so I stuck with water (plus I don't like HoneyMaxx). From this point on, I was walking each water station - taking a few seconds back here and there. This was purposeful. I needed to slow down and I needed to drink and all of the cups were plastic, so walking was the only way to ensure water ended up in your belly. 

After 12k, I was thinking about the count down. 9k left! WooHoo! Things were not easy!super!fun! but I decided I'd be able to keep up the paces for the next ~50 minutes and not fail at this pacer gig. In fact, with 8k/5miles left, I told someone, "Less than 45 minutes. We can do ANYTHING for 45 minutes."

Then the headwind hit.

14k. We had 14k without major headwind. Sure, it blew from the side and maybe from the front but nothing that was bothersome. 

Until now. 


Okay macnic, this is why you have that buffer. Just keep at it. You have the pace in your legs now and you have 7k left. Let's go.

And really, there was nothing to do but to go. These 7k were filled with me hitting a 5:29 or 5:34 on my watch and speeding up until I hit around 5:25 and tried to hold. Around this time a few people were with me like glue. I knew that they were hanging on to me, willing me to lead them across the line in 1:55. Although we didn't chat much, it helped to have people to pace with (The pace was in their legs as well). 

Just before 16k, there was a water station. They had oranges. They were the best.

It was here that John from somewhere, USA caught me and we began to chat. He had chased me for a while after falling behind in the middling miles and was happy that he had me again. "Just hang on to me, John. 3 miles to go and you've got it." I don't know when, but John faded again.

4k left. Okay. Just keep moving. This wind SUCKS. SUUUUUUKKKKKSSSS. 5:30 km? Damn. Where is that downhill for the last 3k?

And we were turning onto the parkway with way more spectator support at this time and people were calling out to the "Bunny" and I'm trying to nod or thank them, but I'm not saying too much. HA. I can hear my stupid breathing and I hate it. My mouth is super dry and I take advantage of the last two water stations (seriously, 3 water stations in the last 5k?!?) because despite the headwind, despite not feeling easy!super!fun! I still had time in the bank! And then, before I knew it, I had 1k to go. 

And the wind kicked it up a notch. Seriously.

However, we were on a mighty downhill, so the wind was mitigated. The one thing I don't like about pacing is that last kilometer, when you just want to run as fast as you can, but you can't because you want to be as close as possible to your time and then you get the added joy of mental math. HA. 

By the time I got into the chute, I still had time to spare. So I did what any self respecting pace bunny would do. I turned around, started to run backwards and screamed my head off at the two guys behind me who had a shot at catching me. Jerry took me up on the offer and crossed 26 seconds before I did. The crowd was loud, I was pumped and I heard the announcer say, "Here is our 1:55 bunny, Nicole Macpherson and she's going to be right on time!" And so I was. So I was.

5:20-5:30-5:22-5:26-5:27-5:31-5:38-5:30-5:25-5:34-5:22-0:1:01, split: 1:01:03, Time: 1:54:58

Chip: 1:54:55
Place: 400
Category (F30-39): 47/384
Females: 121/1229

Next week, I'll run Road2Hope in Hamilton for the fourth year in a row. This time, Sam and I will run with Emma, Amy and Patty who all hope to PB with sub 1:50s. This will be a tough effort, I'm sure but I'm up for the challenge. Nothing is sweeter than seeing your friends hit their goals. See you after that one!