Before I knew the Toronto Yonge Street 10K was no more I already made up my mind to skip it in favour of the Sporting Life 10K. They both followed identical routes so why do both? I’d done both the previous 2 years but the Sporting Life race always left me more satisfied with the entire event. I managed to run some of my best times and the shirts provided had always been great quality and had a lot of re-wearability – That is until this year’s shirts were revealed. Not their best work.
When Canada Running Series announced they were replacing the Yonge Street race with a new waterfront focused event, I was pretty excited. It followed a portion of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon route along Lake Ontario’s shore and I find running along the water is always better. I was sold.
In May I ran the Sporting Life 10K and set a new personal best – 43:43. Besting my old time of 46:13, but the course on that route was a lot more forgiving than most with an overall downhill grade. It allowed me to run faster without sacrificing much energy like an uphill course would do. Heading into the Waterfront 10K I knew to keep my expectations in check as it’s a pretty flat course without the speed benefit downhills would give. That said my goal was for a 45 minute finish.
When race day came about I did the usual routine – breakfast and getting dressed for the race at a nice relaxed pace. Slowly waking up and getting myself in race mode puts me in a calmer state. As a typically late riser I need every extra minute to feel awake and ready as well.
The subway ride to the race was interesting. About 90% of the people en route were Waterfront 10K racers, so it was a pretty great to be surrounded by people of all ages getting themselves psyched up for a summer run by the lake.
The starting line site was typical of most races that I’d been to. A swath of people standing around, running some warm ups, waiting for the port-o-potties, or just chatting with friends new and old. Music blares to keep the atmosphere high and an announcer counting down the minutes to the race keeps everyone informed. I did the usual bag check and wandered the crowd before I got into my corral (Yellow).
At 7:30 the horn went and the red corral racers took off, and 5 minutes later so were we.
I was running at a comfortably challenging pace but soon found myself at the front of my corral which I thought was odd. I was either a lot faster than I thought I was or I was NOT pacing myself well for the race.
The first kilometer sign is approaching and my Strava app alerts me of my distance as well. My time: 3:53. My fastest split ever? I now KNEW I was going at a pace I couldn’t support with my current level of fitness. I slowed down a bit from then on.
Soon after I was being passed from a couple of faster people as we caught up to the back of the red corral pack. Aside from passing the Roger’s Centre (Forever The Skydome in my mind), the next few kilometers were fairly uneventful.
- 2K: 4:20
- 3K: 4:30
- 4K: 4:27
- 5K: 4:35
The rest of the race became a little more challenging. Around the 5th or 6th kilometer that I had an uneasy feeling in my stomach.
*Instant feeling of dread and sadness*
Was I going to have to take a bathroom break? I wanted to keep going and have a great race, but my body was making demands to find a port-o-potty. I saw none in sight so I maintained pace as best I could and kept an eye out. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately I only found some near the 8th kilometer. At that point, while the feeling had not subsided I decided to tough out the rest of the race. I was less than 10 minutes away! Why stop now? Surely there would be somewhere to go after the finish!
The hardest part of the race, aside from my annoying GI issues, was the last 3 kilometers facing the sun. I wasn’t able to find my Buff for keeping the sweat out of my eyes, and I underestimated the shine of the sun. A hat or sunglasses would have been a smart choice. I was slowly going more and more blind from my increased sweat.
- 6K: 4:44
- 7K: 4:48
- 8K: 4:56
- 9K: 4:26
- 10K: 4:37
Once finished, I walked through the finishing area to the water and Gatorade – rehydration was much-needed after a run like this. I was given my medal and kept on going. I saw they had Toronto 10K backdrops for people to take pictures in front of. I ignored this for the moment and came back once my stomach was back in order.
The race party section was pretty well planned out. They had a lot of food, samples abound and more water/Gatorade. With the summer heat starting to rise I felt the extra hydration station was a smart move.
At 8:45 they had a ceremony for the 3 Olympic athletes that participated in this race: Eric Gillis, Krista DuChene, and Reid Coolsaet. Eric and Krista then signed autographs and met with fans for the next 20 minutes (I got my bib signed) and then they had a “send-off” for the 3 athletes on stage. It was a nice way for them to be honoured before they represent Canada.
Once the ceremonies were over I decided to make my way home, a little tired but definitely happy with the event.
My chip time was officially: 45:28. A pretty good effort! Even if it came up short of my goal.
A couple of notes from the event;
- The cheering areas were great with a lot of support for everyone. High fives for everyone!
- A nice touch was a (I think) dry ice fan blowing cold air on everyone who passed by. Much needed on a warm day like this.
- I strongly considered buying a new smaller STWM shirt as the one I got was too big but I decided it wasn’t a big enough deal.
- Indie88 came through with much-needed sunglasses for anyone who won a Plinko game, which made the rest of the sunny day better.
- Seeing Eric Gillis and Reid Coolsaet neck and neck near the finish as I was only halfway done was a pretty surreal moment. Watching our best athletes in action live was wonderful!
I’d run this race again, I’ll just hope for no mid-race issues.