June 17, 2015
I expected four intense days with Nike last week, ending with the Nike Women’s Toronto 15k. But I don’t know if any of us expected it to be as wondrous as it all was.
My Thursday started with a media tour of the space at Harbourfront taken over by Nike Women Village. Nike always goes all out so the space was sleek and modern, filled with gear that had us all drooling. The most exciting news, though, was that nike.com will finally be introducing e-commerce in Canada. And let me tell you, we all cheered with glee (no more needing to hunt down pieces in the city, or having friends in the U.S. pick up things for me!).
Then we were introduced to the Nike Master Trainers, including, of course, Toronto’s very own Eva Redpath. Soon after, we all entered the stunning Crystal Coliseum, a barge floating in Lake Ontario. It’s such a gorgeous space you can’t help but feel inspired and put in that extra effort in class (or was that just me who felt that way?). We did a killer NTC class with the trainers and that was a wrap for me for day 1.
Friday, day 2. I’d signed up for the Skylar Diggin’s Zoom in 5 NTC class and it was just as upbeat and awesome as the first class, despite the gloomy skies. I found myself wishing I’d registered for more NTC; I hadn’t put too many in my schedule as I didn’t want to exhaust myself before the race.
Friday night, I returned to Nike Women Village for a speed run with Global NRC Coach Bennett and Toronto NRC Coach Rejean Chiasson. I’d added this last minute to my Nike itinerary (I’d been scared of wearing out my muscles so close to the race). We had a bus take us to the West Toronto Rail Path where we did speed work totaling one mile. Coach Bennett assured us that a 5k pace isn’t tough…that is when you’re running it for only 200 metres.
The most inspiring part for me were the group of schoolkids they had join us. These young girls were fast. And at the end of our one mile of speed work? Food trucks! All of us sweaty runners downed some sliders and gelato bars and then called it a night.
Saturday, I focused on resting up for the race and in the evening, joined in for the Nike pasta dinner at Cafe Diplomatico. It was fun to have some social time with fellow runners as we all ate pasta and fretted about whether a glass of wine would be a good idea or not. Coach Bennett was there and introduced his first crush, Joan Benoit Samuelson, the woman who won gold in the 1984 Olympics the first year the women’s marathon was introduced. Joan was racing Sunday with us and it didn’t matter that I met her two years ago in San Fran, I was still starstruck. Her athletic feats put me in awe.
Sunday, race day! Well, the forecast had not been good and the rain held out…until about 20 minutes to the race start. It poured on us and we shivered in the start corrals. But everyone’s spirits were high. I went into it not feeling too confident; I had caught a cold earlier in the week so hadn’t run all week and my training has been spotty at best given I’ve been traveling and I’m just worn out (I guess four races is too much in a season for me). My ideal goal was to finish in 1:15 so I started with that pacer.
I felt fine til 8k but then started feeling tired and a little lightheaded. I’d maintained a 4:58 pace up until then, but after that, I slowed about once second each kilometre and slowly lost sight of the pacer. There was a variety of terrain (cement, grass, sand) and many puddles to contend with, and throughout the race, given the narrow path, you were always surrounded by other runners. The race took us onto the runway at Billy Bishop airport, and it was incredible to see the stream of runners racing along the runway.
The rain stopped when I was about 4k into the race and I almost felt myself wishing for rain at that point as I was feeling warm. In the end, I finished just under 1:18 (1:17:50) and I’m fine with that.
The pretty blue boxes from Tiffany & Co. were a welcome sight as was the generous buffet spread and mimosas in the Nike VIP. It’s a shame the weather was miserable as many of us hightailed it off the island as we were wet and cold.
It’s not confirmed whether this race will be held again in Toronto, but I truly hope so as it was a heady four days of fitness, not to mention the amazing experience of racing with 10,000 women giving it all they’ve got in a 15k race.
For which, we all are, of course, #betterforit.
Filed under: Fitness Swellness