The Tuesday after the Chicago Marathon, Cortney and I woke to a half empty house. Robbie, Tamsin and Al had headed home, Charlie and Ellie went to an early workout class and the others were still sleeping.
We crept out of the house and took our lead/sore legs for a gentle mile run to meet Charlie, Ellie and Michael for breakfast, where my smoothie bowl cravings were truly satisfied!! We had a small chat and then said our goodbyes. Coffee grabbed, we made our way to the Lululemon Store, a few minutes walk from our air b&b, to attend a free yoga class.
I knew this wasn’t going to pleasant but it was so needed! The teacher was brilliant, making sure we were all okay, coming round to check us and slowly explaining every move and where the stretch should be felt. A wonderful hour of flow and release!
After yoga we headed to the supermarket to buy lunch/snacks for the journey, headed back to the air b&b to shower/change and say our goodbyes. Ready to take on another adventure – road tripping to Toronto, Canada!
With the drive being over 8 hours, we decided to stop half way at a small hotel nestled right next to an outlet mall – which was a huge disaster but we had fun browsing! The drive wasn’t too bad, Cortney did great, and I can happily tick two more States off my list that I’ve “visited”!
The next morning we were up early to get on the road. We made our way to the boarder, just over an hour from the hotel. We stopped to grab coffee and stretch our legs etc before crossing, and carried on our way to Toronto.
Finally we arrived, in the early afternoon and unloaded all our stuff into Cortney’s apartment. We then decided to have a wonder around the city and grab some food.
After a good nights sleep, I had a slow start to the morning. We were both up early, Cortney had to go into work for the morning, and I was off to meet my aunt and uncle for coffee/breakfast and a wonder around St. Lawrence food market! They were over visiting my cousin, who now lives in Toronto with her fiance! It was wonderful to catch up with them, and following on from that, my aunt and I headed to meet my her to do some wedding dress shopping!
I then made my way back down into the town, to meet Cortney for a much needed pedicure, take some time out to chill before heading back out for an early dinner, then collecting Anna from the airport!
Not believing that it was already Friday, we all slowly got up and made our way to the brunch on the other side of the city, before heading to the expo to collect our bibs for the 5k and half marathon. Anna, unfortunately, had to drop down to the 5k as her knee was giving her a little trouble and Cortney and I stuck to the half marathon. We wondered the expo, collected a lot of freebies, had a look at the merchandise and took a lot of fun photos! Afterwards we wondered back into the main part of the city, munched on donuts and explored a bit. We were all quite tired from both post marathon and jet lag, so headed back to Cortney’s apartment for an evening of tv, ordering in and the sofa!
Saturday morning we were up early to head out of the city to Duffins Trail parkrun. This route was beautiful. Through the trails, the sky was blue, the sun shining and the trees were starting to turn. A great way to start the day, followed by bagels, coffee then off to do some pumpkin picking!
Having had our Halloween/pumpkin fun fix, we hearded back to the city, grabbing drinks on the way back and I tried my first PSL (pumpkin spice latte) and let’s just say, never again!!!! Sorry Charlie 🙈 we were all pretty knackered, so we got changed and wondered to find bits from the shops before I parted with the girls for the night. I was off to have dinner with my family, at a really small, family ran Italian restaurant – perfect for night before/pre race carb loading! It was a lovely evening, catching up and having a laugh. I ended up not staying out late, only because I was really nervous about the half the next day. For many reasons. I didn’t sleep great that night and was up early the following morning.
Race morning and the nerves were high. Physically I felt great. I had been pretty sensible and recovered well for Chicago, so that I was ready for the Toronto half. The weather was great, blue sky and a little chilly. We waved Anna off early with Cortney’s friend, and we shortly followed to the start line in the centre of the city. We were a bit late getting to our start pen but I wasn’t bothered, the less hanging around the better in my eyes! The gun sounded and the first wave was off, followed shortly by mine. The crowds were great, I passed lots of pacers, first time marathon runners (the course is also a marathon course) and some great fancy dress costumes.
The route was pretty simple. Up to the top of the city, back down and then out along the waterfront, round and back into the city. I kept an easy pace, enjoyed the views and high fived a lot of little supporters. I continued to feel good and comfortable. Heading into the city and ending outside the town hall, the crowds were amazing. I crossed the finish line, grabbed my medal and headed to find my uncle, aunt and cousins. It was great to have them waiting for me, mainly for a big hug and I’m hugely thankful to them for coming to support me. Our meet up didn’t last long but it was enough and I made my way to meet Anna and Cortney’s friend at our brunch spot. Free beer drunk and lots of food consumed, we were all proud of our efforts, especially a week after a marathon! People have called me crazy, a machine and wild but I enjoyed this half so much. Seeing cities by running through/around them, has become my favourite way of exploring them!
Slowly making our way back to Cortney’s, we showered and packed up. We walked Anna to the train station and said our goodbyes then grabbed my belongings and found some food before it was my turn to head to the airport.
Ending the best holiday filled with lots of running, fun, laughs and exploring two new cities, with two great friends, on a serious high! A massive thank you to Cortney for driving me around both Chicago and Toronto, putting me up and to both of these amazing ladies, for making my holiday the greatest!! I can’t wait for our next adventure together!
Thank you to everyone for your continuous support, motivation, love and congratulations. I can’t express enough to you all how much it means to me!