At the beginning of this year, I set out a few goals for myself. PB at the Bluenose half in the spring, PB and finish top ten at the Tely 10, and run my first competitive full marathon. 2 out of 4 is a pass right? Well, it was 3 out of 4, and I'll get into that in a bit.
I ran the Bluenose half in May, and this was my second time at the race, and I did a recap earlier, but I know I didn't push myself hard enough even though I did PB. The Tely 10 (my fourth) was in July, and I ran a 4min PB, but missed out on the top 10 (I finished 13th, so no complaints).
This past weekend, Jenn and I travelled to Toronto for the #STWM (HASHTAG!!), Jenn to watch and cheer, me to race. I spent the majority of my Tely 10 training to help gear me towards running my first full marathon, and I spent hours on the roads during August and September doing long runs and work outs. In September I went out and completed a 31km run by myself with 20km done at race pace. This was the run that truly told me I was ready, I mean I was alone the whole time, and I nailed the workout. Going into the race, I stated to Jenn my goals. A goal was to run 2:42, B goal break 2:45, C goal, finish, and my A+ goal, break 2:40. Workouts indicated 2:40-2:42, and if the stars aligned I felt I had a shot at cracking the 2:40 barrier, but I wouldn't go hunting for it, I was going for my A goal first.
We flew into Toronto at 6:30pm Friday night, and made our way to our relatives condo. We headed out to Queen street to grab a couple of things and eat. Saturday, we munched on a couple of croissants and cinnamon buns (carbs baby), and headed out to the race expo and to do some shopping. Fast forward to lunch time, I'm stuck in IKEA with no snacks, and I won't eat there because it would only mess up my stomach before the race. See where I'm going yet?
Back at the condo, we drop out purchases off, and hit up an Italian place Jenn's uncle suggested, and I wolfed back bread and pasta. I snack on some toast later in the evening, and hydrate.
5am, race morning, I'm up eating a banana, and two bagels, followed by water. I feel great, and I'm excited to run. We make our way down town to Nathan Philips Square to take a photo and soak up some of the atmosphere before I jump into the corral and run around TO.
8:45am THERE GOES THE GUN!!!
I gotta say I like this, I'm usually running smaller races back home so I'm usually at the front of the line, so it was a completely different experience starting a little farther back. Lots of energy from everyone that was around we, and it was special running up University in such a large crowd. I started to ease into my pace, and I was watching for the 1km marker to make sure I didn't go out too fast. I passed the marker and my watch said 0.92km, so I switched to elapsed time and noted 3:53, right where I want to be for the first 5km. As I was nearing the 5km mark, and the first water station I noticed an elite female runner lying in the middle of the road, and I knew what happened without even seeing it. When we first walked down Queen St on Friday, I noted the streetcar tracks, and I won't lie, they scared me, because they were deep and it wouldn't take much for an injury. So I knew she must have stepped in one coming down Bathurst, but I wasn't expecting what I read later that day (broken femur). I put my head down and concentrated on the road, and forgot about what I just saw. Around 9km two guys from home running the half caught up to me and we chatted for a bit, but they slowly pulled away from me over the net few km. Great race for both Jamie West and Fraser Clift, way to go guys. I ran with a pack of halfers until the split, then I was alone, or so I thought. Another full guy was right behind me, Josh Smith from London ON, We chatted for a while, and stayed together for the next probably 4km till I noticed our pace had dropped over the last two km. So I said I wanted to speed up a bit, but he wasn't feeling it so I went alone. At this point I think I was 24km in and I felt amazing, I was running up Bayview and passed a couple of runners ahead of me, and saw my friend Jason White from home coming the other way. We both edged to the middle of the road and gave a big high 5, it's good to get motivation during lonely stretches like that. I made the 180 degree turn on Bayview, and had a little trouble getting my pace up, but I pushed and I was right back where I wanted to be, for the next 3km. I made the turn onto Eastern Ave to go over the Don River when I got a hit from the wall. It happened so fast, I was really surprised, my legs were aching and my turnover was gone. I went through 30km in 1:56, which I was really happy with, but knew was slower than my goal pace, and that bridge played a factor. Kilometres 30-35 I split around 04:30/km, and my legs were shot. I saw my wife and uncles around 31km and they said I looked great, though I didn't feel it. On my way back I saw them around 34km, and Jenn (my wife) said I looked like I was suffering, and I was. My lungs were fine, my HR was great, but my hamstrings were completely drained. I stopped just before the 35km timing mat, and had a quick walk break, and I did this pretty much every km until the finish. There was nothing left in my legs, and I downed a couple of gels, some gatorade, and rubbed them. I kept pushing but my legs had had enough, so walk breaks it was. I crossed the line in a time of 2:58:31, a PB, a BQ and a fast time.
It's not the time I was going for, but I wouldn't trade it for the experience I gained, and the race itself. I have to say, Canadian Running Series put on an amazing race, and they really have the city of Toronto involved, the neighborhood cheer zones were awesome. Especially The Beaches, where it felt like everyone was urging me now, and calling me by name.
It's been nearly a month since the race, and I'm finally sitting down to finish this report. I thought I had everything planned out, but my meal planning the last few days before the race was garbage. I didn't have anything with me when I was in Ottawa, and didn't take enough with my on Saturday when we were out shopping, so I'm not surprised by my confrontation with the wall during the race.
So there we have it, my first marathon in the books, will I run another, I'm not sure but it's almost certain. I plan on taking it easy from now until the New Year, and just run when I feel like it with no work outs or weekly distance goals. Once the New Year starts I'll start in on a new training plan to get my 5k time down near 16min ( currently 16:40), and bust out another half in Halifax or Ottawa in the spring, with a goal time of sub 75.