Hitting up Toronto and taking on the STWM Friendship run!

I was super lucky to be able to hang about Toronto last week, it definitely is one of my favourite cities to travel to, and I always find a ton of new stuff to experience with every trip. This week was the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, which unfortunately I was not running (but those 25th Anniversary medals looked super cool!!) however I was able to make the pre-race shake out run on the Saturday before my flight out.

From the picture below as taken on the Friday, the clear skies were NOT present on the Saturday, and in fact, the temperature dropped to what was too cold to wear the Sparkle Athletic skirt I had brought with me!

If you squint you can see the CN Tower!
If you squint you can see the CN Tower!

I find one of the best ways to see a city is to run it. I must admit that I thought I had seen it all given I had run the Toronto Younge Street 10K, but as I made my way to Nathan Phillips Square on Queen Street – I realised that I hadn’t seen much of city at all. Given the cloudy start to the day (and lack of runners at that time) I must have also stood out given I was head to toe orange with my Pro Compression socks, Sparkle Athletic skirt and BibRave singlet. I wasn’t too crazy, I had last minute packed a fleecy long sleeve which I wore underneath the singlet (I’m going to go out and say this is my lucky long sleeve – it’s saved me EVERY TIME!!).

This is me NOT dressing appropriately for the weather!
This is me NOT dressing appropriately for the weather!

I was afraid of being lost until I spotted a large group of people all huddled around the square amongst a whole lot of construction. They were setting up the pre and post area for the race the following day and we were in the middle of it! It mustn’t have been easy for those trying to set up with so many people around.

I must admit I was a little nervous given that I hadn’t been running in over a month, and all these people were in tip-top shape, but hey, it mentioned a fun run/walk around the streets, so how bad could it be?

Being in a skirt, I was getting really chilly and I was ready to run – however before we could start The Running Room’s John Stanton and CRS Race Director Alan Brookes gave words of advice for those running the event the following day (beware of the headwind, make use of the tailwind and you MUST wear gloves and a hat!!). There was some great insight shared, and if I was running I would be most appreciative of the advice!

The Running Room's John Stanton and CRS Race Director Alan Brookes talk race advice.
The Running Room’s John Stanton and CRS Race Director Alan Brookes talk race advice.

Once the talking had stopped, it was onto the run!!! We were to make our way down Queen St towards Jarvis Street where we were turning right and running down towards St. Lawrence Market. I have never visited Toronto on a Saturday and have never been down this part of the city. Imagine my surprise as we started to duck and weave in between the produce sellers, and market shoppers! The streetscape was amazing!!

It was a straight run through down Wellington St W until University Ave where we ran back up and through to the Square. I was happy with the pace, it was chilly but I was starting to sweat a little (it happens), I wasn’t feeling any pain in the foot whatsoever and I also didn’t feel too uncomfortable to be keeping up with the runners. It was on the return where things started to get interesting….

The SWTM Running Room Friendship Run Route - a nice and scenic run!
The SWTM Running Room Friendship Run Route – a nice and scenic run! Source: Toronto Waterfront Marathon

As I passed through into the Square, I stopped my Garmin – which immediately started flashing numbers at me… WHAT???? Could it be possible that my watch was broken??? I’ve had issues where the GPS hasn’t registered before – but is it possible to get faster? Could you believe it…. I broke my 1KM and 1 Mile records!!!!!

New PR times are:

1K – 3:49.5

1 Mile: 7:52.3

I felt absolutely on top of the world!! My legs felt amazing, my foot wasn’t in pain and I put the great run down to the break and the fact that I had been cross training like a beast! I celebrated with the remaining runners over some Tim Horton’s and fruit until it became too cold (and I had to catch a plane!).

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to catch the STWM Expo – this was located at Exhibition Place which was a little difficult to get to although CRS had provided shuttle buses from downtown. I would have loved to have walked through although I may have saved myself a lot of $$ by missing it….

I did however have a few new awesome discoveries from this trip:

MEC (Mountain Equipment Coop) – This is literally my new favourite store, with all things mountainy, skiing and running related. I managed to stock up on Honey Stinger Waffles & my tropical Nuun + some Oiselle items. You do have to be a member to buy things from here given it’s a coop, but it’s only $5 to join and well worth it!

Tim Horton’s – Ok. So I’ve been to Toronto now 5 times and have not had Tim Horton’s. I thought it was just coffee. I was wrong. It’s awesome and it has donuts!

The Drake General Store – This was the first time that I set foot on Queen St West, as I had a work offsite in the area. The Drake General Store is THE place to get awesome, out of the box Canadian souvenirs. My new favourite thing is a Mountie beanie, unfortunately since we are coming into summer here in Oz I can’t wear it for a few months.

Shark with horns with a cowboy hat – because why not?? This was at the Grand Electric.. Also they have really good Key Lime Pie.

Yep... This is awesome!
Yep… This is awesome!

Do you experience a city by running through it? What are some of the awesome sights you’ve seen? 


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