This year for Christmas, we received the gift of entries into the BMO Marathon relay from Brandi and Sam. Very cool for gift, and I had mentioned I wanted to try different running challenges this year. I had run the full marathon twice and was now getting to run the relay with Ryan.
Going into this race I only had a couple of weeks to train as we are currently in the midst of home renovations. I was super nervous, more than I let on as this was my first distance race since my sinus surgery in March 6th 2018. I had read horror stories online that indicated I would have massive nose bleeds or possibly pass out. I really need to stop googling stuff.
The pre race day insomnia came like it always does and I think I got maybe 3 hrs of sleep the night before. Both hubs and I had laid out our race outfits the night before and that helps trust me.
Sierra wasn’t going to be with us this time so I had her help me pick out my outfit: My Vancity OCR race tank, Lululemon mermaid print speeds, lululemon pace perfect bra, swiftwick compression socks, my new Salomon 5 skin Advanced hydration pack, my Brooks Adrenaline shoes, and of course my goodr sunglasses (not pictured). I also wore a hat to keep the sun off.
I was up at 4 am on race day to work on my nerves and of course stomach issues. I saw Ryan off at just after 5 as he was the BMO shuttle captain. I had a bunch of water and got cleaned up. I got Sierra up at 6:30 am and she was not pleased but her Grandpa Ed offered to take her for us.
Our good friend Troy came and picked me up and we were off to Queen Elizabeth park to the start line. The weather was predicted as hot so I put on sun screen although it got sweat off so I got a burn on my shoulders. For the relay, I was going to run legs A and B, and Ryan legs C and D. The course map we ran is below.
My plan going into the race was to have fun, enjoy the journey and try and stick to intervals of 4min running, 1min walk. The start of the race was at 8:30 am and my corral crossed the start line just at 8:40am. I had my music ready as crowds give me anxiety. I started off quick and then found my pace and set in. I was laughing, smiling and having fun- last year was all about finish times and I got super mad at what I didn’t do so I wanted to change my attitude this time – Running is a gift. I started to cry just before crossing the start line but that seems to be a tradition and I embraced it.
Start line photo taken by my friend Debra Keto.
Ryan and Troy at the start line.
Ryan and Troy were waiting for me at checkpoint 1 – 12km in and I gave Ryan a huge hug. I had brought my own water but took available water at the aid stations and nuun where offered (I train with nuun). I felt really good, got my first relay finishers medal and headed off to start leg 2. The giant hill at about km 9 or ten had me walking to save me legs but I had a good pace going and felt really good.
Around Km 16 the heat started to get to me and my nose felt a little sore. I decided to listen to my body, slow down and take it one step at a time. I didn’t get mad at myself but turned my music up louder and sang really loud – I know I scared multiple people running infront of me. The cheer squats were awsome and some of the signs were hillarious. I had fun giving thumbs up to the on course volunteers and to the cheer stations. This year again there was support staff on bikes on course in the heat to support us runners too.
I had fun slowing down and giving out lots of high fives. I also thanked every volunteer that was out in the heat supporting us racers. That’s no easy job and there would be no race without them. There were multiple cupless water stations within the 24km distance that I ran – so if you didn’t have your own pack or bottle to get water, you weren’t able to get water. I get why they went cupless but it made me worry as I was starting to feel the heat.
My friend Debra was out there running and caught up with me on course to take this picture.
When my watched beeped at 22km I started to push as hard as I could to get to km 24 my relay bib hand off point. You had to go up a hill so I powered up it. Troy and Ryan were waiting for me, I gave Ryan a kiss, and sent him on his way with a butt smack. I then received my second relay medal. Troy and I headed to the car so I could cool off. We weren’t in the car very long when Ryan texted me to advise he had hit his first leg 5km. We headed to the finishers area, found parking and walked towards the finishers corral. That extra little bit of walking helped me legs. I felt sick from the heat and thought I was going to get sick on course but I didn’t. Need to work on heat training.
New this year in the finishers corral was a little pen you could stand in to watch people come in. Also I think the BMO finishers corral is the longest ever. Honestly Troy and I weren’t waiting long before Ryan texted us to say he had 1km left. I was also able to track him on the BMO app.
We were about 250m from the finish when I saw Ryan and yelled his name. I ran up to him, we held hands and ran it in together. They even called out his name crossing the finish line. At the race expo Sierra recorded a six second cheer video and Ryan got to see it while he ran. At the finish there were no more relay medals so we are lucky I got both of mine, so that Ryan had something to show for his over 19km run.
We walked through the finishers chute, grabbed our post race food and headed back to Troy’s car. We did it!! I ran just over 24km and Ryan ran over 19km – our first marathon relay.
As a side note the heat was brutal. I heard stories of people getting sick / passing out / not finishing. It’s scary but when it’s hot there is no shame in slowing down. I’m glad I had my own water and gels and for the volunteer that dumped water down my back – felt amazing!! Once we left downtown we wanted food and had a celebratory cold drink.
The medals we did get are super nice. They have the year on them and a map.
Our team relay finishing time:
I’m super proud of Ryan – the race he ran yesterday was his longest yet and he was able to haul ass. His pace was very steady and he finished safe. I also am starting to learn each new race or challenge isn’t about finish times. It’s one race, on one day, and honestly I’m very proud of how well I did and how amazing I felt afterwards. I finished safe, strong and besides a minor sun burn felt happy. I was smiling, had fun on course and ran my own race at my own pace. I’m still working on getting faster but I finished a marathon relay wit my life.
Extra special thanks to Troy our dear friend for bringing me downtown, hanging with us, getting Ryan and I to our relay exchange points and being there with us. It was over 30 degrees out when both Ryan and I ran at points and we both finished safe. Thank you to Brandi and Sam for the gift of this race, to Sierra for being a total rockstar, for Ed for taking Sierra for us for the day. I’m super happy today, not super sore and re hydrating like mad.
I adore the finishers shirts this year – super light weight tech material and they also have a map on them: