Monday, 18 October 2010

GoodLife Fitness Toronto Marathon/RW Challenge race report

- passed 4000 lifetime kms run during the marathon. 
- passed 1500 kms run in 2010. 
- passed 30000 Spark lifetime fitness minutes 
- celebrating my emoticon today! 

official chip time: 4:38:33 (PR!) 

The Good: 
- solidly met stretch goal 
- felt as good as can be expected between kms 35-42.2 
- managed nutrition/fluid intake well 
- no blisters or chafing! 

The Bad: 
- got a bit frazzled by some unexpected pre-race adventures 
- still too many walk breaks in final stages 

Expo/The Day Before 

Met Challengers and RW editors for an easy shakeout 2 mile run. 

Rick Ball (single leg amputee WR holder in the 10K, half marathon and marathon) , Mark Remy (author, RW online editor, writer of RW Daily blog) 

Mark Remy, me, Jen van Allen (RW special projects editor) 


The race was a point to point course, and there were shuttles to the start from a few downtown hotels, about a mile from the finish. The half started at 8 and the full at 9, I get downtown just past 7 to discover a HUGE lineup for the shuttle going around the block. People (presumably panicked HMers) started jumping into cabs. I didn't have any cash on me, so I stepped out of line and yelled at everyone, "I am driving to the start, and whoever wants a ride is welcome to come!" 2 guys take me up on my offer, Matt, who was doing the half, and Victor, who was doing the full. We get into my car around 7:30 and I burn rubber towards the start in order to get Matt there in time and I'm worried how to get near the start with the road closures. About 2 blocks from the start, Matt says, "oh @#$*, I haven't pinned my bib and I have no pins!" Due to a past wardrobe malfunction, I now carry safety pins in my purse and I give them to Matt, who is still frantically trying to pin his bib as I pull up 1 block from the start at 7:58. 


Miraculously, I found parking within view of the start that appeared to be legal and I'm still kind of frazzled as I approached the Toronto Centre for the Arts, the meeting place for RW Challengers, but the extremely calm RW staffer who directed me to the entrance also reassured me there was plenty of time to race start. Lots of other runners were trying to get in but were turned aside, "This is a private party." I loved being VIP! Inside, it was beautiful: 

Shiny clean bathrooms! No stinky portapotties! 

Coffee, tea, hot chocolate, bagels, fruit and Gatorade for last minute fueling. 

One of the things that makes this race unique is the Psyching Team, who are at the expo, walking around the start, and ride the course on bikes, offering general support, but also one on one to anyone who looks like they need it. The psych I was talking to before the race was asking me my motivation for running the race. I kept telling her that it was for personal satisfaction, but upon closer reflection, my TRUE motivation for running? 

This race marked the logical conclusion of the path that I set on, upon discovering I was pregnant in July 2009. I wanted to prove that a "regular" woman can have a baby and return to pre-pregnancy shape or better, without a personal chef, trainer, or nanny. 

A course map for those of you following along at home:

The early stages (kms 1-21) 
Stopped to retie my shoe in the first km. Should have checked the temperature before leaving Toronto Centre for the Arts - as soon as we ran into the sun, I knew the arm warmers were a bad idea. 
There was no 4:30 continuous pace bunny, so my plan was to run with the 4:30 10/1 bunny but keep running during the walk breaks. 
Hogg's Hollow hill. Good thing this hill was early on. It was long, but I am not known as the Girl Who Eats Hills For Breakfast for nothing. 
Forest Hill - a decent number of spectators for a Toronto race. Still hanging with the 4:30 bunny. 
Rosedale Valley Rd. (16K) - glorious fall colours. I'm zoning out to my music and getting in a good rhythm. I think, "if Beth showed up to cheer me on, this would be awesome." 
Bayview Ave. (18K) I thought I heard someone yelling my name. I looked up and there was Beth on an overpass with a GO PATTY sign! 
Eastern Ave. (19-20K) I remembered that the last time I ran on this street, it was around the 37K mark of my last marathon, when I had bonked and was praying for death. And this day I was feeling good! 

1st half split: 2:15:31 (gun time) 

The bad part aka get this @$^&%$ wind out of my face! (kms 22-31) 

We turned onto Queen's Quay/Lakeshore heading west and was immediately hit with a strong headwind. Stopped to refill my water bottle at a public fountain and take a short walk break and lost the 4:30 bunny. The only thing that got me through this section was seeing Greg and Bryden (who were looking for me coming back the other way) and counting down the kms until the turnaround, so I could enjoy having the wind at my back. 

The Wall and Beyond (kms 32-39) 

My goal for this final section was simply to walk less than my previous 2 marathons. My reach goal of sub 4:30 was out of the question at this point, but a PR was still very possible. I just kept my pace faster than 7:00/km. I had run the first 30K between 6:20-6:30/km pace. I thought about all the things I was doing right: I hadn't hit the wall, I had no blisters or chafes. "It hurts up to a point and then it doesn't get any worse." which led to, "The faster you run, the sooner it stops hurting." So I kept running. 

Staying strong at 31K. 

The final stretch (kms 40-42.2) 

Made the final turn, which in reality is a tiny incline, but at this point in the marathon felt like a mountain. Remember how earlier I wished to see Beth and she appeared? I thought about how nice it would be for her to run me in, but alas, the Running Gods did not answer my prayer this time. Passing many runners who were walking along dejectedly made me pick up my pace, determined to finish strong. I knew the last mile took me almost all the way around Queen's Park Circle, but I knew there would be no more walk breaks. Those 18, 20 and 22 mile training runs with fast finishes had taught me well. 

42 km split time: 6:05/km. 

Field Placement: 1504 / 1991 (75.5%) 
Age group: 30 – 34 
Group Placement: 83 / 120 (69.2%) 
Gender Placement: 432 / 652 (66.3%) 

Then it was off to Hart House for the post race party. 

A buffet of roasted veggies, sandwiches, wraps, fruit, smoothies, and BOOZE awaited us after we showered and had a massage. It pays to be slow - not too many people were in line for a massage after me, so I lucked out and got almost 30 minutes of rubdown instead of the 15 I was supposed to get. 

GIANT HONKING MEDAL, with a quarter as size reference. It hurt my neck to wear, but I earned it!