From Friday, June 12 through to Monday, June 15, Nike Toronto had kindly checked myself in alongside my fellow Nike Women media crew to the Trump Toronto Hotel in celebration and preparation for the Nike Women's Race Weekend. It only made sense to have us all in one location as our itinerary was jammed packed for the next three days with exclusive media workouts and runs with Nike Master Trainers and Nike Run Coaches; along with panel discussions with professional athletes and Olympians; and scheduled brunch and dinners. It was fun, eventful, interactive, and never a dull moment. They certainly kept us on the go and moving!
Upon checking into room 2506, I was immediately astonished at how beautiful and spacious my room was for little ol' me. I couldn't keep my excitement in - I jumped up and down, squealed like crazy, and kept saying, "Holy shit! This is complete epicness!" Shortly after, I thanked God for blessing me with this opportunity. As promised, I kept my followers in the loop and begun to Snapchat away as I discovered every door, every closet, every magical switch in my room, and every cheeky surprise Nike had gifted me until entering my bedroom area. Reality immediately kicked in when I saw my race pack essentials neatly displayed on my bed. Seeing and feeling my first race bib number was overwhelming. I remember snapchatting that moment for my followers to witness my instant reaction. I grasped so hard and said, "Holy shit, it's lit! It's lit!" It was real, the time had come, 10 weeks of training for the Nike Women's 15K was right there.
After calming down and posting a few Instagram photos to share, it was time to snap into it and focus on the day's itinerary. A few of my media peers met down in the lobby where our SUV was waiting to bring us to the Nike Women's Village for a challenging Nike+ Run Club Speed Run session. From there, we were brought on a bus and lead to the West Toronto Railpath to join Nike+ Running Global Head Coach Bennett and Nike+ Run Club Coach Rejean. Throughout the exhilarating and challenging speed run, we were greeted by professional athletes and Olympians along the way at each rest time, who gave us helpful pointers for race day. After successfully completing the speed run, a mini block party with food trucks were set up as a nice little surprise treat at the finish line.
After an exhausting yet rewarding first night, I came into my room with a customized welcome chocolate treat, which had my social media handles written in white icing along with other social handles and hashtags I should be using during my stay. It was clever. I was totally stoked about it! In addition, an updated itinerary laid gently on my bed for what to expect the following day. It was a busy one!
On Saturday morning, I looked at the wrong itinerary and woke up super early for no apparent reason. However, coffee is always a good idea to kill time so I went up to the Trump Toronto's American Restaurant on the 31st floor and sipped on my coffee while enjoying the city view, and conversing with one of the waiters.
Shortly after, my media crew and I had a scheduled 9:30 a.m. Shakeout Run with Nike+ Run coaches and professional athletes including: Paulina Findlay, Phylicia George, and Spencer O'Brien. Post run, we were treated to a much deserved exclusive three-course brunch at the Trump Toronto's American Restaurant. The Shakeout run had us hit the streets of Toronto for one last training run in order to get us race ready together. By 5:00 p.m., we had a Nike Talk panel discussion hosted by Sportsnet host, Evanka Osmak. We had the opportunity to get inside tips from Nike athletes before heading to the start line for Sunday morning. Following the panel discussion, Nike treated us to a Nike+ Pasta Dinner to carb load us for refuelling purposes after 10 weeks of training and three solid training days at the Nike Women's Village with Master Trainers and Run Coaches. The Nike+ dinner enabled us to celebrate our training, meet new runners from various run clubs, and get race ready together.
In preparation for race day, myself alongside a few others got our hair braided by hairstylist Aylin Carolina, who helped get us looking race day ready!
After a jammed packed Saturday filled with a much needed shakeout run, brunch, dinner, and loads of laughter and conversations, it was officially time to wind down and thoroughly enjoy my stay at the Trump. I felt as though I was constantly on the go (which I was), that I didn't take time to enjoy my room; enjoy my tub, and take a dip in the hot tub and pool. Alas, the night before race morning, I took full advantage. It was me time. I relaxed my muscles in the hot tub, took a light swim in the pool, and soaked myself in my hotel tub for nearly an hour, while listening to old school 90's Rn'B and watching Scarface (there was a TV in my bathroom mirror). I felt like a true G and I owned that moment. Only thing missing was a cigar and an Old Fashion... and some company... which came later...
You'd think after a nice long bath, I'd be calm. I wasn't. My nerves were going bonkers! I was antsy for race morning and I couldn't stop moving! I read over the final itinerary multiple times, organized my race outfit, and cleaned my entire hotel room.
I went over the race route to mentally prepare myself, which went as follows: 4.5-5K Billy Bishop Toronto Airport, 11.5K Algonquin Island, 13.5K Boardwalk, 15K Finish.
After a false fire alarm at approximately 3:00 a.m., I eventually knocked out at some point and clocked in about an hour of sleep while tossing and turning before having to prep for race morning. I was running off of straight adrenaline.
I can go on and on about my race experience but I already thoroughly expressed that in my pervious post here. After arriving back to my hotel room post race, I was gifted a fresh pair of runners. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 32, to be exact. I plopped onto my bed, and let everything soak in. I remember feeling so appreciative and overwhelmed with emotion over the entire experience; it was a life changing, life rewarding moment for myself. I read over Nike's letter which (partially) wrote:
Soon after, I unravelled my first Tiffany & Co. present from Nike Women, which had an engraved necklace pendant that read: "Nike Women's 15K Toronto 2015". It was definitely earned and I haven't taken it off since. I probably never will.
A massive, massive, massive thank you to each and every one of you who took the time to follow me on my training journey via social media. Every picture, post, and/or status liked and commented on were much appreciated. I know I bombarded your timelines with my weekly and daily recaps, so I thank you for keeping up and encouraging me along the way. Your journey with me meant everything! I haven't gotten a clue as to how I would begin to thank the entire Nike Toronto (N+TC & N+RC) and Highroad Communications team on their continued selfless acts of support, time, and energy put into my weekly training sessions. Because of them, I have met some of the most amazing, motivating, and inspiring individuals who have made me a better person mentally and physically. They have built not only a community, but a new found family. My journey towards successfully completing the Nike Women's 15K (my first race ever) has been memorable, special, and dear to my heart. I am ready to take on more challenges together!
Lastly, thank you Trump International Hotel & Tower Toronto for the hospitality over the entire Nike Women's Race Weekend. After a solid three nights and four days, I made it home and it was certainly hard to leave. It was a much needed, much deserved staycation. Till next time!