Nike Women’s 15k Toronto

Runnin’ through the 6ix with 13,000 of my closest woes.

On Sunday, I came, saw, and conquered the Nike Women’s 15k on the Toronto Islands. Somehow, I managed to completely avoid the rain during the actual run and it was really beautiful! The whole course was so amazing, including a whole stretch by the Billy Bishop Airport with a gorgeous view of that Toronto skyline I love. Nike put on a great show and really took care of us. They had DJs, drumlines, and a gospel choir (!) scattered along the run, and lots of spectators cheering us along.

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There were so many photographers along the route so lots of opportunities to grab that elusive white-whale perfect insta but… it’s hard to run and smile! I was trying to focus on my plan: 1-5k set a strong but steady pace and clear away from slower runners in my wave. 5-10k keep quick pace and settle in to push back when I hit the wall… usually around 9km. 10-12k recovery mode with deep breaths and prepping for the final  push. 13-15k double the pace at the boardwalk and sprint the last km. I probably passed about 100 people in the last stretch. I finished strong and leaped over the finish line in triumph! I still feel like a million bucks!

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During my training I averaged a comfortable 10-minute mile, so I was aiming to finish the course between 1:30 to 1:45 — and I finished in 1:33! I am really pleased with this time. This has been a great experience and really good practice for… the Scotiabank Waterfront Half-Marathon in October! My goal will be to finish the half in under 2hrs! These mountains aren’t going to climb themselves. See you on the finish line!
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The 100 Mile March

How to quantify your goals and measure your success.

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In like a lion, indeed. Here we are in March, I can hardly believe it. I have turned into one of those people who are genuinely shocked on the first of every month. As if it doesn’t happen 12 times every year. We’ve had a very cold and bitter winter. I’m battling a cold and there are blackouts all across the city due to freezing rain and exploding generators. I’m ready for the days to get a little longer, and for the sun to shine a little brighter.

I love experiments. Tweaking little things to modify results. Challenges like going to the gym 20 days in one month (hard – near impossible), drinking 4L of water a day (doable), meditating before bed (easy and pleasant), and giving up caffeine after noon (still adjusting). I’m always trying to find the best/easiest/fastest/most productive way to be and do. I have found that having something to work towards, a goal or number, makes the journey so much easier and satisfying to accomplish. And so, I present to you: The 100 Mile March.

My goal for March is to clock in 100 miles of running, which is roughly two marathons or 4 half marathons. It equates to around 3.2 miles per day, or a nice 5km. There is no real reason to do it, except why not? I remember a few years ago when someone asked me what my hobbies were… I had recently moved back to Toronto after university, and many of my friends were either abroad or still in Ottawa. I found college to be very easy for the most part and I had very little homework, so when I wasn’t in school or working, I was at the gym. That was my hobby. The person asked if I was training for something… I wasn’t. I just liked to run. I remember feeling that my answer seemed inadequate. Why do something just for the fun of it? Why waste the time and energy if you are not trying to achieve something?

One of my New Year’s resolutions in 2013 was to double my long run from 6 to 12 miles. I found along the way that a half marathon is 13.1 miles, so that became my goal. Each week I would tack on another mile and in just a few weeks, I had chipped away and passed 13.1 miles. It was a tangible goal with a clear plan. I loved seeing 13.1 displayed on the screen and I felt accomplished and proud. My mistake was that I didn’t plan for what was to come next. The logical move would be to either continue adding to the distance, or try to improve the speed. But I didn’t do either. I passed 13.1 and that was that. Back to the regular everyday grind.

I think 100 miles is both a realistic and challenging goal. Maybe a little aggressive, but why not aim high? I am young, willing, and able enough. I can do it, I’m sure, but it won’t be easy. If it was easy, everybody would do it.

I have printed out a table, 10 x 10 squares, to colour in as I go and to help me keep track of my progress. Now if only I wasn’t sick as a dog with this cold, I could be out there right now. I, along with every single person on the GO and TTC, seem to be fighting the same cold that just will not quit.

Paper Clips | by Maggie de Barra Nike Women's 15k Toronto

This 100 Mile March is good practice for the Nike Women’s 15k on June 14, 2015 on the Toronto Islands. A 15k race is a nice buffer between a beginner’s 5k and a half marathon (21k). To register, you first have to enter a raffle on March 9, 2015 and a random draw will be held to choose spots.

I can’t wait for the warm weather to sweep in so I can take my 100m from the treadmill to the park!

If you register and are chosen for the Nike Women’s 15k, let me know! And if you are brave enough to tackle the 100 Mile March with me, I want to know your progress!

See you at the finish line. On your marks, get set, GO!