Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run – Race Report

I did it!!! I actually ran a 15K race when I couldn’t even run 5K this time last year!

I entered and ran on my own because I didn’t (and still don’t) know anybody close to my area who would want to train with me. All of my parkour friends who also run are so far away! ūüė¶

Anyway, here’s my take on the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto!

Training

I had about 11 weeks to train for 15km, but I was already running at about 5km as “long runs” because I was¬†being ultra careful with healing a shin splint while doing parkour at the same time.

So, I more or less followed Hal Higdon’s Novice 15K Training Guide as a general guideline rather than a schedule since I’m still searching for that delicate balance between work and home life.

Luckily, I managed to do a 14km long run to the Eaton Centre’s Nike store to pick up my race packet! Yay! Two birds with one stone!

Race Day

Yup, I bought a separate tank top because I knew I’d likely overheat in the tshirt that they gave out!

Nike Toronto Run

Bright and early and pre-gear drop off on the Toronto Islands!

Nike Toronto Run

Selfies are part of a healthy, pre-race breakfast

Even though the race started at 9:30am, I was slotted for the 7:30am ferry since it was probably dedicated to Wave 5 runners. Luckily, the Island had lots of music and amenities that Nike organized pretty well. They had a ton of photo op stations, a really awesome drumline by the name of 416BEATS (who were really impressive), a warm up location, MuscleAidTape tent, tons of Nuun stations, heat sheet tents, gear drop off and, luckily, a MASSIVE amount of port-a-potties to accomodate so many people!

Nike Toronto Run

The course was amazing to go through even though it had rained while we were in our corrals, but it dried up during the race. My absolute favourite part was running on the Billy Bishop runway while the planes were landing close by!

Combined with a pee break at the 3km part, it added about 5 minutes to my chip time, but it was totally worth it.

Nike Toronto Run

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Here’s my official results:

City: Toronto

Province:ON

Bib#: 3429

Division: F25-29

Division Rank: 1284/2256

Overall Rank: 4707

Split Times: Avg. Pace: 0:06:44
3k:0:19:52 Start Time: 09:58:30
6k: 0:42:03 Gun Time: 2:09:09
9k:1:01:13 Chip Time: 1:40:50
12k: 1:21:13 Finish Time: 11:39:19
Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

Betty L, aka me, courtesy of Nike Women Toronto

The gun time is so different from the chip time because it took about 30 minutes for Wave 5 to get to the start line.

Does the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run’s medal look awesome?

Nike Women Toronto Medal Nike Women Toronto Medal

HELLS YEAH! I’ve already worn it a bunch of times! It looks amazing and definitely wearable for all occasions!

Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed a glorious post-race meal of dumplings, noodles and delicious soup.

Post-Race Meal

I actually felt great the day after the race, so that means I’ll be training to do the Oasis Zoo 10K Run in September in under and hour!

Well… Not completely great.

I literally injured myself on the finish line and ended up with a dropped cuboid, aka cuboid syndrome. More on that later!

xoxo,

B.elle

Toronto Information for Nike Women’s 15K

Okay, so it feels like Toronto’s going to be seeing a LOT of people from around the world this year!

The Pan Am and Parapan American Games, FIFA Women’s World Cup and the Nike Women’s 15K Toronto Run are joining the lineup of the usual internationally known events happening in Toronto like the Honda Indy, NXNE Music Festival, Luminato, Pride Toronto, Caribana, Rogers Cup, Canadian National Exhibition, Toronto International Film Festival and a whole lot of other events that I can’t even remember right now.

The Run Nike Women Series’ Facebook page gets dozens of the same questions about hotels, transit, parking, and other local information that they can’t answer it all!

So, as a local Torontonian, here’s a quick FAQ for the Nike Women’s 15K.

Q: Where is the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal?

A: More commonly known by Torontonians as the “Queen’s Quay Ferry Docks” or some variation of that, it’s located¬†on the southern side of downtown Toronto and best accessible by TTC by two streetcar routes:

509 Harbourfront¬†from Union Station, the most southern subway station on the yellow line. It’s a little confusing because of the renovations, but feel free to ask a volunteer in a bright orange vest where to go!
510 Spadina from Spadina Station, one of the transfer subway stations between the green and yellow lines. It’s one of the stations right in the middle of the map.

Both streetcars go to Queen’s Quay¬†(pronounced like Queen’s KEY), where you get off and head towards the Westin Harbour Castle Hotel, which is right next to the ferry terminal. You can ask for directions from a friendly Torontonian or you could probably follow the massive crowd heading to the ferries, too.

HOWEVER!

The TTC (our only public transit system in Toronto) opens at 9am on Sundays! So, since our ferries start at 6am, your best bet to get to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal is most likely going to be a cab or someone driving you. If you’re staying a hotel in the downtown core, you can ask the front desk for directions and you can most likely walk straight there. The city itself is pretty huge, but downtown is very walkable.

Q: I’m going to be driving to the Jack Layton Ferry Terminal. Where can I park?

A: Nike recommends parking at the Harbourfront Centre, which is pretty close, but there’s only so many spots available and it’s more on the pricy side of parking rates over there.

I’d recommend¬†looking for a Green P Parking lot or an Impark lot by searching¬†the “Queen’s Quay Ferry Docks.”¬†You can check out their websites right now to see where they have lots so you don’t waste time circling around downtown!

Green P Parking –¬†http://parking.greenp.com/
Impark – http://www2.impark.com/Pages/default.aspx?lang=en&region=toronto

Q: Why do we have to get to the ferries so early when the race starts at 9:30am?!

A:¬†Usually, the ferries don’t see a lot of traffic because the Toronto Islands are very tourism-driven. There are some people who live on the Islands, but the vast majority of the businesses there are only open during the summer.

So, even though our 5 ferries have small capacities ranging from 220 to 975 passengers, this works for the city the majority of the time.

Q: Alright, I have a 7am ferry time. What’s there to do on the Islands¬†until I get into my corral?

A:¬†You’re about to run a 15K race! Why not spend some time warming up on the lush green lawns of the Islands while taking in the fantastic view of the Toronto skyline?

From Wikipedia

Nike has also mentioned that they’ve set up some activities on the Island to help pass the time.

Still bored? Take a short walk around the Start/Finish line and you’ll find a lot of scenic points to get away from the city.

Q: I don’t have a spectator ticket but my friends/family/dog want to come and watch. What should I do?

A: The Nike race has booked out all the available ferries until 9:30am. After that, the ferries will go back to their usual schedule.

That means, if your friends/family/dog don’t mind getting on a later ferry than you, they can simply get a ticket from the Terminal and board the next available ferry like a normal traveller.

(This is what my family and friends are doing. They can’t be bothered to get up that early!)

Q: Speaking of dogs…

A: Yeah, they’re allowed on the Islands. Just make sure that they’re leashed and that they don’t come off the leash while on the ferry.

FYI, there’s been a rash of off-leash dog incidents recently, so the police are doing a crackdown. If you are bringing your pup down to the Islands, please keep this in mind and don’t take off the leash. (Read more here!)

Q: What if I miss my ferry?

A: That would suck so bad. Aim to get there 30mins before your ferry time since it is a real pain in the ass to travel in this city these days!

If you’re running super late and it looks like you’ll miss the race, you can try to take a Water Taxi. But, don’t rely on them since there really aren’t a lot of them available. (See reason above for lack of water transportation.)

Water Taxi Information: 416-203-TAXI (8294)

Q: What else can I do in Toronto after the race?

A: Depends on what you like! Toronto’s a huge city with lots of hidden gems and a ton of things to take in. The tourism board and websites aren’t the best, but if you reach out to a Torontonian forum like on Reddit, you can get some pretty decent answers.

Personally, I’d recommend checking out the food here. There’s something delicious for everyone!

Have another question? Tweet at me @cafelilium or leave a comment! ūüôā

xoxo,

B.elle

Toronto Food Truck Festival

I’m not completely sure where I heard about the Toronto Food Truck Festival, but it immediately grabbed my attention.

What is it?

Canadian Food Truck Festivals is the not-for-profit organization that hosts Toronto Food Truck Festivals, one of the premier culinary arts and cultural music festivals in Canada.

August 2nd & 3rd, 2014 marked the inaugural Toronto Food Truck Festival located in the heart of the Beach at Woodbine Park.

The organization and event are dedicated to creating a public awareness and opportunity to sample some of the amazing culinary diversity that the City of Toronto’s Food Truck community has to offer.

What’s not to love? Live music, a bunch of really well known Torontonian food trucks and it’s right next to the Beaches! The location’s so easy to get to and it was a great day to go out to sample some delicious food.

Toronto Food Truck Festival 2014

As well as about a dozen food trucks on site, there were some stalls selling primarily cold drinks and a large stage for live music, sponsored by Indie 88.

I went with Chris on Sunday the 3rd (which also shows you how bad I am with posting) and we got there just around 3:15pm, thinking that it would be kind of slow by that time.

It was still really, really busy! But, most of the park was actually just people standing around, waiting in line to either order or to pick up their food! We looked around at each food truck (there was a lot of variety, so that was great to see), but we finally settled down on Buster’s Sea Cove.

Chris got the Lobster Roll:

Food Truck Lobster Roll

And, I got their Ahi Tuna Taco:

Food Truck Ahi Tuna TacoChris was really happy with her lobster roll ($13 with chips!), but my tacos’ tortilla shells turned out to be really soggy and stale tasting. It’s pretty bad when I paid $10 for the both of them.

The filling itself was pretty good, but I felt like it could’ve used a bit more seasoning or some other layer of flavour just to ramp up the profile more.

Even though there was some pretty good music in the background since the stage was between sets, the entire festival still felt really¬†lackluster. The “Beverage Garden” outlined in the festival map turned out to be a single stall from Mill St. The Children’s Village was a couple of bouncy castles that stood out like a sore thumb against the trendy food trucks.

Once the live band came on, the awkward atmosphere didn’t change at all. You could practically taste the embarrassment as the lead singer led a round of “Happy Birthday” to a fellow band member and then immediately made a sex joke in front of the young families in the crowd.

Maybe it was different on Saturday, but the energy was rock bottom on the second day and I hope, for the sake of all food trucks in the GTA, that this isn’t a sign of what’s to come.

xoxo,

B.elle

Taste of Toronto 2014

I won a pair of tickets from a Twitter contest that Pommies Dry Cider held a while ago and it was such a fantastic evening! Thank you so much, Pommies!!

Taste of Toronto features a huge array of artisan vendors, top ranked restaurants and live music from all around Toronto and beyond. Instead of money, restaurants and bars will only accept Crowns, which are bought at $1 a piece.

This year, it was held at Fort York at the south end of Bathurst Street and Thursday was the perfect evening to go!

image

I went with the monsieur and we first loaded up our Crowns card with $40, thinking that it would be enough for a few dishes and a couple of drinks. We actually had to go back and top it off with $20 because there was just so much to try!

The first dish that we tried was a smoked pulled duck taco from Barque Smokehouse (299 Roncesvalles Ave.) that was absolutely divine. The duck was succulent and soft, but perfectly seasoned with just enough of their special barbeque sauce. It was contrasted with some lightly pickled radishes, crispy fried onion and fresh green onions.

It was all gone before I could take a picture!

We tried a couple beers (100th Meridian is surprisingly refreshing but crisp), a Pommies each (delicious as always!), a sampling of a Canadian gin distiller called 66 Gilead Distillery (Black Dragon Sochu and Canadian Pine are both very tasty), and some tequila to round the night out (Tequila Tromba has a delicious cilantro, lime and jalapeno chaser for a hard night of partying).

In between all the drinks, we went and had some more of the finest food Toronto has to offer!

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From the famous Splendido (88 Harbord St.) comes pieces of sashimi salmon on a block of crisped rice with some avocado, pickled jalapenos and roasted sesame seeds on top. Something in the dish really made the salmon flavours pop and the whole dish was very well balanced.

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The monsieur got the fresh agnolotti with ricotta, mushrooms and truffles from Splendido. I thought 10 crowns would have gotten him two agnolotti but I’m guessing that the black truffles really raised the price! The agnolotti wasn’t overpowered by the truffles at all and the ricotta was decadently creamy with such a wonderful aroma.

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Lastly, we made a stop at the LIQUID NITROGEN ICE CREAM (aka Ice Volcano)!

They didn’t accept crowns, so the monsieur bought some Nutella ice cream for us because he’s a total sweetie. I didn’t expect it to have dry ice at the bottom! And, it was one of the smoothest ice creams I’ve ever had!

As a pair of scientists, we were both VERY impressed.

Everything at the Taste of Toronto was luxurious, classy and it seemed like everyone was having a good time! I’m REALLY looking forward to seeing it again next year.

Thank you again to Pommies Dry Cider for the tickets! You can find their delicious Ontario cider at the LCBO.

Xoxo,

B.Elle