I was originally going to try to blog about my training every two weeks, but as you can see that fell apart quickly. I’m now a little over halfway through my training plan for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (aka #STWM), so I decided to recap some highlights. I also have a blog post with race day tips for your friends and loved ones who are spectating your race on the Canada Running Series website. You can check it out here. Let me know what you think.
#STWM Tune-up Run #1 – June
My training actually kicked off back in the beginning of June. It seems like forever ago now. I was feeling out of shape, having just taken a few weeks off from running for my trip to Peru. In major need of a tune-up, I attended the first #STWM tune-up run of the season. I’m a digital champion for the race, so this was also a good chance to meet other digital champions and community leaders. We took our pictures (and some selfies) before heading off in High Park. I felt so out of shape and it didn’t help that High Park is notoriously hilly. A few of us got lost along the route, so we made up our own route. It all worked out in the end and we made it back.
#STWM Digital Champions Tweet Up – June
Less than a week after the tune-up run I was excited to get to meet more digital champions and community leaders for the race. #STWM organized a tweet up, which, naturally, started with a run. Still feeling out of shape I lagged behind the other champs. There was one person behind me and she had just finished running back-to-back 50k races! I was really inspired by everyone. We stopped for photos along the way. At one point the race director Alan Brooks was riding beside me (he is unable to run anymore so rides his bike instead). When I introduced myself he called me “Mei Ling from the Beach!” I was thrilled. I run in the Beach all the time now, with some pretty incredible runners, so it’s an honour to feel like I may be representing them in a some way. I hope I make them proud. After the run we had a special treat and got to visit Twitter Canada’s headquarters! We watched a presentation, learned a lot about Twitter and Periscope and went on a tour. (Incidentally I have been on Twitter for 6 or 7 years and you can follow me here: @yling). After many selfies, we were also treated with a Twitter tote bag, which came with an umbrella (#catsanddogs). It’s a good quality umbrella and I’ve gotten good use out of it since the tour. It makes me smile every time I use it.
Training with The Running Room
I had such success training for my first marathon with the Running Room that I decided to do it again. My marathon clinic started on June 24 and I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s a great group and even though I can’t keep up with many of them, everybody is really friendly. As always, my long runs have been filled with good conversation and many laughs. I’ve learned a lot and we have already had 2 pub nights (very important when you’re training for a marathon!). What I love about this group, and pretty much everybody who I have met out of this Running Room is how supportive they are. I’m completely inspired by all of them. Runners really are the best people. I was very sluggish a few weeks ago and found myself way behind everybody else on hill training night. When I reached the last hill most of the group had already finished and they started clapping and cheering for me. I even had company going up the hill, which I really appreciated. The next night I also lagged behind on our recovery run and again, everybody clapped and cheered as I finished. Seriously, runners really are the nicest people!
Canada Day – You never know who you’ll run into
On Canada Day I went out for my run a little later than usual. I was feeling lazy and procrastinated so ended up going when it was hotter than I would have liked. I made the last minute decision to reverse my run and run the Cherry Beach Trail first (usually if I run Cherry Beach on my own I save the trail for the end to make my run more interesting). As I was running towards the beach I heard someone yelling my name. I stopped and looked around and saw a hand waving out of a cube van. My first marathon clinic instructor Jason is a mover so I realized that it must be him. I went back and I saw him and he told me that he would pull over up ahead. This was a funny coincidence because I haven’t seen Jason since he moved out of the province over a year ago! It was great to catch up and he mentioned that he recognized me by my running gait. This actually makes sense since he trained me for 18 weeks, and I’m pretty sure I could recognize most of my runner friends by their running gaits too. I guess it’s a runner thing.
Run TO Beer – July
#STWM organized a beer run with Run TO Beer, a group in Toronto who, as their name implies, run together and then go for beer. Dan and I attended this run and were thrilled to discover that it was to a brewery in the east end, so we didn’t have to go too far. They had three distances to choose from and we opted to run the shortest distance – the 3k route. I had just finished running 13k that morning with my running group and Dan is coming back from injury, so the 3k route was perfect for us. The run was organized so that the 10k group started and along the way picked up the 5k group, and then along the way they picked us up and we just joined in and started running. It was so hot and I was thankful that we didn’t run further. The run ended with some free beer at Left Field Brewery. What an awesome way to cool down!
#STWM Medal Reveal
Last week, #STWM held a medal reveal run. Every year, their medal features a Toronto landmark that can be found along the marathon route. This year, to unveil the new design they planned a run where we met at a brewery and then followed the run leaders to get to the route. Arlene, who trained for my first marathon with me (and is doing an awesome job coming back from injury) drove in from Brampton to join me. We thought that the run was 4k and only after we started did we realize that it was 4k out and 4k back! Oh well! It was exciting and I also got to say hi to other digital champions and catch up on how their training was going (and somebody also recognized me from Instagram! It was fun to meet her in real life. By the way, my Instagram account is @ylingp if you’d like to follow along). After much anticipation, we ended up at the Humber Bay Arch Bridge, which is the featured landmark on this year’s medal! I’m so excited! I had actually never run on the bridge before, being from the east end, but this bridge represents a lot to many runners in the city. A lot of people run on it during their training and I used to dream about running on it when I passed it from the highway. I’m glad my dream finally came true! At the unveiling, Arlene and I also met Canadian Olympic marathoner Eric Gillis! He also ran and chatted with us for a while on our way back to the pub. He’s so nice (and such a fast runner). We were starstruck.
So, now that I’m just past the halfway point in training I’m feeling pretty good. I feel stronger and faster. We have two more weeks of hill training and start speed work next week. On Sunday I was supposed to run 29k but my friend and I got lost a few times and ended up running closer to 32k. Oh well, we had to do it eventually I guess! I’m feeling pretty good. So we’ll see how the second half goes. I’ll have some more updates soon, including race recaps from the three half marathons I’ve run in 2015 (I’ve pb’d at every half that I’ve run this year!) and a recap on one of the highlights of my summer, the annual Berger Pit Fun Run!