Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Goals

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Course Map

Well, this is it folks. In a little over 60 hours I’ll be at the starting line of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. You’d think that after running six marathons, wrapping my brain around that prospect would get easier. But somehow it never does.

It’s especially meaningful to me to be running in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Media Challenge in memory of my cousin Laura and on behalf of the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada.

As always, it’s been a long and winding road to get to this point.

Kauai Marathon,

Running the Kaua’i Half Marathon (Photo:

I started off marathon training season the wrong way: with a hip injury I sustained from falling off a horse. One month of physical therapy and two triathlons later, I was finally ready to focus on running long again.

I’ve logged 470 miles and 10 races, with three of them as specific training runs for this event: the Kaua’i Half Marathon, Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon, and 20 miles of the Yonkers Marathon. In the process, I’ve notched personal records at 3 miles, 5K, 4 miles, 5 miles, and 10K, the last three of which I nailed during a track workout. I’ve gotten a lot faster this year, especially over the middle distances.

But I hit my training low when I blew up at the Direct Edge Newport Liberty Half Marathon, which was supposed to be my sub-2 hour half-marathon triumph. Instead, I sputtered across the finish feeling defeated and wondering whether I really should be running a marathon at all.

Thankfully, my training high came just a week later during my last 20-mile training run at the Yonkers Marathon. I managed to run a negative split on the hilly course and my fastest 20-miler ever, feeling great in the process. It restored my confidence in my abilities as a runner.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.

Looking forward to the crowds at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. (Photo: Canada Running Series)

But I’ve been sick the last nine days. And I haven’t run in all this time. It’s frustrating to train so hard for four months, only to see it all come crashing to a halt because of a stupid cold complete with fever and chills. The fact that I haven’t run in 10 days doesn’t really worry me. What worries me is that I still might not be healthy come race day.

Even if I am healthy, will my body really be ready for the challenge that 26.2 miles takes? It reminds me to be grateful for all the days that I am healthy, especially in light of the folks I’m running for.

As I see it, one of two things will happen: My body will be so well rested and full of vitamins from nursing a cold that I’ll be raring to go on race day OR my body will be exhausted from fighting a cold and no amount of vitamins in the world will help it run 26.2 miles.

I really won’t know which is the case until I toe the line. So, I’m altering my expectations for race day.

Philadelphia Marathon, half marathon training

Pausing for a photo just before PR-ing at the Philadelphia Marathon.

Here are my goals for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, in order of importance:

1) Just finish. If I get out there and my body is tired, I’ll treat this like an extended training run, not push myself too hard, and maybe look at a late November or early December marathon for a real PR attempt.

2) Run a personal record. That means beating 4:28:06, which I ran at the 2012 Philadelphia Marathon. If I get out there and I’m feeling good, I’ll go for a PR, even if it means beating it by just a minute. After training so hard and missing a half-marathon PR this year, nabbing a marathon PR really would feel good.

3) Run 4:15. This is the goal time I was going for and was on pace for last year when a quad cramp struck at Mile 20 of the Philadelphia Marathon. This is the time I’ve once again trained for this year. I know I have it in me. But it’s got to be a day when all the conditions are in my favor. With the way I feel today, this goal seems like pie in the sky. But I won’t rule it out as a possibility.

My strategy for the race is to go out conservatively the first 10 miles. If I’m feeling good, I’ll start gently pushing the pace until the half. If I’m still feeling good then, I’m going to go for broke.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

Course Elevation Chart

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon course is nice and flat with only a few small hills. I just have to remind myself that the course is clocked in kilometers, not miles, so that I don’t get too excited when I see markers flying by. I’ve got to run 42K at this one, not 26 miles.

With any luck, I’ll win the Media Challenge in the women’s marathon category and earn $1,000 for the charity I’m running for, the Sarcoma Cancer Foundation of Canada.

And if not, I’ll be happy just to have fun and take in the excitement of running Canada’s largest city. Running for a cancer charity has a magical way of putting everything into perspective. Cold or no cold, I still get to run. And that’s an amazing thing.

See you on the waterfront, Toronto!

Karla Bruning


Karla Bruning is a race announcer at the TCS New York City Marathon + other major events, TV host for the New York City Triathlon + contributor to Shape, Redbook, Runner's World + other publications. She used to report for Newsweek but spent her free time squeezing in workouts. Now it's her job. She's run 8 marathons, 30 halves, 10 triathlons + open water swims. When she's not running, talking about running or writing about running, she's snuggling her baby, spoiling her dog + compulsively traveling.


10 2013

10 Comments Add Yours ↓

The upper is the most recent comment

  1. 1

    Can you believe it is in only a few days??? Like you I can’t quite get my head around it. I’ll be writing out my goals tonight, I’ve been too nervous to write them yet because it will make it all so real.
    Part of my taper was wiped out by a cold too so I know how you are feeling. Now my IT band is a little sore so I’m trying to be careful. I’m going with the theory we will just be well rested.
    You are definitely ready between all the miles you have run and your new fast times. I converted my running to miles and I am definitely behind you – I only managed a little under 400. It sounded much better when I had it in km.
    Now we just have to hope for the good weather. I love the projected temperature, not crazy about the possibility of rain. Let’s hope everything comes together for both of us and we can enjoy the run :)
    Kristi Raz recently posted..Last Week and Losing My MindMy Profile

  2. 2

    Ugh, I can’t imagine how frustrating it must be to have trained so hard for so long and then end up getting sick! (My husband is sick right now so fingers crossed I can keep myself healthy!).

    Your goals are perfect for your current situation, and like you said unfortunately you may not know which one you’ll be going for until you’re out and running. Most importantly though like you said you’re there to run in memory of your cousin and that’s something you can do no matter which of those goals you do or don’t accomplish!

    Good luck and can’t wait to hear how it goes!
    Danielle recently posted..Marine Corp Marathon: T-Minus 10 Days!My Profile

  3. 3

    Best of luck! I’ll try to send good (and warm!) thoughts your way while I’m running the Des Moines half at the same time :)
    Sadye recently posted..A possible half marathon firstMy Profile

  4. 4

    You are going to do so amazing this weekend, I have no doubts of this! Keep your chin up , eyes open and enjoy it— this is what you have worked so hard for!
    Laura @losingrace recently posted..Moving Forward: Staying PositiveMy Profile

  5. PV #

    Wishing you good health and a great marathon!

    Man, that looks like a good course for a PR.
    PV recently posted..Smart Fitness PlanningMy Profile

  6. 6

    The cold was badly timed, but you’re in great form so I see no reason why you can’t achieve #3, or at least #2. Get out for a light jog the day before if you can. Good plan to start easy. When we visited Toronto we stayed near mile 20, so I’ll imagine cheering you on from there. I enjoyed runing along the waterfront — looks to be a great course!
    Ewen recently posted..Blackmores Sydney Half MarathonMy Profile

  7. 7

    That sucks getting sick. I am definitely all too familiar with losing time due to illness. But the important part is that you not get discouraged. Your goals are totally right on. If you can PR, great, if not, just finishing will be great. Just have the FFF philosophy: Focus on the Fun and the Finish! You can do this, and no matter what the outcome, you’re running in memory of you cousin and that’s all that matters. She’ll be looking down and proud of you regardless of how you finish. Good luck! :)

  8. 8

    Good luck and more importantly have fun! Can’t wait to read your always thorough race recaps – be sure to take some video again :)
    Kristina @ Blog About Running recently posted..I Almost Got a New 5K PR *Golf Clap*My Profile

  9. 9

    I hope you are feeling better from your cold and that the marathon went great. Looking forward to hearing about it!

  10. Karla Bruning

    Thank you, everyone!
    Karla Bruning recently posted..Race Report: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront MarathonMy Profile


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