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Race Report: Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon

I suppose I should do a race report.  Last weekend I ran the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.  But it wasn’t really about the running.  Or the race.  This time, it was about the people.  Many years ago, I got into running and I joined a running site, www.RunningAHEAD.com.  The site has several running forums and boards, and most importantly to this post, user groups.  One of the groups is for women only, the LLR.  From that online user group many many friendships have grown.  Over time, my participation in the group was reduced, especially once I stopped running.  However, I still interacted with a couple of the ladies via Facebook and/or Twitter.

Last January, I posted to Facebook from Las Vegas.  Wouldn’t you know it, so did my friend Lisa.  My “internet” friend Lisa, I should say since we’d never actually met in person.  Upon realizing she was there, I asked her where she was and for how long.  She was at a hotel I could see from my window, for about 40 more minutes and then she was leaving Vegas!  I of course jumped in a cab and rushed to meet her.

Sometime after that I also became friends with a few more ladies from the group on Facebook.  This past June, I got back into running (and even ran a race).  So when Lisa said I should come join the ladies and run a half marathon in Toronto, I said yes.  (Never mind that I was nowhere near really BACK to running, as I said, this was about the people).

Fast forward to last weekend, where I got on a plane (in the exit row) to Toronto.  And see a couple across the aisle from me (in the exit row).  When we land in Toronto, I hear her mention “LLR”, and I think to myself it must be a coincidence.  I get through customs and check Facebook.  One of the other ladies that is getting picked up by our hostess Lisa said she is in baggage claim.  I ask via Facebook messenger if she sat in the exit row with her husband.  Spoiler alert: she did!  We met up, found a few others, and eventually I ended up at Lisa’s house.

Friday night and Saturday and Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, I met several women from the LLR (and some of their husbands, too).  Several of them were meeting each other for the first time as well.  I very well COULD have felt like the odd man out since I didn’t participate in the last few years in the group online.  I imagine many of the women could easily have thought to themselves, who IS this woman?  But I never once felt out of place or uncomfortable.  They are an amazing, wonderful, hilarious, welcoming bunch of women.  I am so glad to have met them and gotten to know them.

Oh yeah, and there was a race, and it was awful, and it was my worst finish time for a half by something like 30 minutes (official finish time: 2:53:55) and I felt like poop run over by a truck, but I ran it with Lisa and it was so worth it.  The end.

Some of the ladies of the LLR

Some of the ladies of the LLR — photo credit Meghan Braithwaite taken by Erica Boos, I think

 

View of Toronto

View of Toronto

 

Pre-race

Pre-race

 

Mid-race WHILE running

Mid-race WHILE running

Post-race

Post-race intentionally making bad faces. Lisa wins.