Monday, August 24, 2009

Island Girl 10k Toronto Island

Autographed Book & prize basket for 2nd place

Last week was our first event as a sponsor of Multisport Canada Running Series. This new all womens' run series hosts all womens events on Toronto Island and Wasaga Beach. The island girl 10k was a great event from start to finish. My start was at about 6:00 a.m. as I drove down to the vehicle loading dock for the ferry to Hanlan's Point. This was my first experience of being in a vehicle on a ferry - I actually drove my car onto the ferry and sat in the drivers seat at the front of the boat as we traversed the lake over to Hanlan's point. Then I drove off and around the island to the start/finish area of the race to set up the skirt tent.

It was a beautiful, but quite warm & humid day and luckily - rain free. I had a great time working the skirt booth and chatting with all the loyal skirt fans that stopped by to check out the new skirt gear. Most of our speedy skirts (Josiane, Aynadis, Judika, etc) were over at the Beamsville Bench 5k race - part of the Niagara Running Series (that we also sponsor) since they are in the running for top placings in series. I decided that I might as well run the race since I needed a workout (it was saturday after all) and I could tell it would be an awesome course. The race went off at 10:30 a.m. and I quickly crafted a sign that said "Out Running, Be Back Soon!" and then abandoned the skirt tent temporarily just in time to toe the start line. I normally like to do a 20 minute or so warmup before 5 & 10k races, but this time - my warm up was the 200 meters from the skirt booth over to the start line.

And then we were off.....I took off a little under a 6 minute pace following a very speedy one in front of me and quickly drew in the reigns. Since I've been recovering from the arch strain, I haven't been doing any speed work at all so I knew this was going to be a tough run - especially in the heat (it was about 35c (90f) and 80% humidity. I took it down to between 6 and 6:30 pace as I watched the speedy girl increase the distance between us - after the 1-2k mark she was nowhere to be seen.

Whew - it was hot - there wasn't a lot of shade on the course and I was feeling the humidity. As a California native, I used to train with the Fleet Feet Sacramento racing team in the warm Sacramento summer weather (could get into the triple digits), but it's a dry heat there. Humidity is's almost like trying to breath underwater, above ground and does a number on the heartrate and core body temperature. So, yeah, it was hot...and lonely out there and it was tough to talk myself through the last half of the race. It was a beautiful and flat course around the island though - great city & lake views and a well marked course. I made sure to douse myself at each water stop to try to cool down a bit. I maintained my pace to the best of my ability and prayed for the finish line to appear. Finally - as I made my way down the finish line stretch I spotted the speedy girl about 100 yards from the finish - she was congratulating me on my run (she was already comfortably positioned among the other spectators at this time).

I got some fluids in me and doused myself again and thanked the organizers for a wonderful race course and then headed back to congratulate speedy girl on my way back to the booth. Turns out - her name is Megan Brown and she is one of Canada's fastest middle-distance runners and one of Canada's top prospects for 5000 meters event at the 2012 Olympics in England. She finished a full 4 minutes in front of me 35:59! Way to go Megan! I chatted with her briefly after the race on my way back to the skirt booth and she told me about her athlete training business. She mentioned that she trains with the Brooks Marathon group in High park and also at UofT Track.

I made my way back to the skirt booth in time to start welcoming all the "skirts" back in from the run. It is so much fun chatting with the runners and hearing their race experiences. I especially love the ones that tried their new running skirts out for the first time during the race! I love the "I told you so's" that I get to repeat over and over again as each new skirt convert comes back to report and rave about how extremely cool and comfortable her new skirt was.

Best Race Bag ever! Click to zoom in and check it out!

There are too many highlights about this event to list them all, but here are some of the top:

* each women gets "lei'd" at the finish line - beatiful leis in lieu of medals

* best race bag ever (had full size mac eyeshadow, loose face powder, gover girl eye shadow compact, cute heart shaped mirrored compact,secret antiperspirant and more)

* great powder blue & white tech tee race shirt

* awesome steel drum band at the finish line

*great race prizes (aside from the free running skirts to top finishers of course, top winners & masters recieved amazing Fruits & Passion gift baskets and autographed womens book.

*wonderful beneficiary - "look good feel better" (assisting women with cancer)

This was my favorite race so far this summer - I highly recommend fitting it into your Toronto Running Event calendar for 2010! It will surely sell out quickly after word spreads about how well organized and fun this race is.

Will post a few pics as soon as I can. See you at the island girl next year!

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