Monday, 7 May 2012
#65: Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da
It's a Good Life (if you don't weaken)!
Not sure what else I should say?! I did better than I could ever have imagined. Going in, I had 3 goals: sub 2:42 would be acceptable, sub 2:40 would be wonderful and sub 2:38 would be incredible. I had the faintest glimmer of hope that I might be able to do 2:37:59 if everything went to plan and here I am with a 2:36 (with but a second to spare). I truly am thrilled beyond belief. It was an incredible day and I can't put into words what it means to me to have done it after all the time and hard work during so many months of training. I even got emotional and teared up for a few seconds as I waited physically drained yet emotionally elated at the finish for my fellow club runners to come in, almost all of them with their own amazing PBs. I owe a few special thanks and much credit for helping me become the runner I am today and strive to be tomorrow. To Doyle and Darren: I'm so grateful to have you pushing me all the time, to share so much training together and for making sure I'm always at my best. This wouldn't have been possible without you two. To Rob Campbell, who put all the pieces together and deserves a tonne of credit as well. Finally, to all the guys in the club I run with and who make the training so enjoyable week in and week out: Roger, Davey, Hiddleston, Gerardo, Metzger, Michiel, Bellamy, Simion, Simon, Dave, Chris... you guys are the best! Thanks so much.
In terms of the race itself, the first half went more, actually LESS, to plan as Rob Watson (yup, we had 2:13 Canadian marathoner Rob Watson to pace us (well Darren)! He even wrote a blog about it) did an amazing job of getting us (Doyle, Darren and myself) to the half (21.1k) a full minute faster (~1:18) than we had planned. It had seemed almost effortless and consistently comfortable and so it was at that point that I began to drift ever so slightly ahead of the group and carried my momentum as I surged forward anxiously alone. Those lonely middle k's (21-26) seemed to go by in a flash as I aimlessly floated through the centre of down town Toronto and made my way West. As I approached the lake, I grew frustrated and annoyed with the lack of marshalling as I made my way into Coronation Park and onto Remembrance Dr and finally to the Martin Goodman trail. I continued West along the lake on what was a gorgeous sunny morning all the way to 30k where I surprised myself with a 1:51 PB. I then began to really concentrate and dig deep as I knew the real race was only now set to begin and then after making the turnaround at 35k, I managed to hold on to finish fairly strong with 9 out of my last 10 km's in the 3:40's. I felt increasingly like death in that last 5k which is perfectly normal but I knew my training generally and fuelling strategy specifically had treated me well as I cruised to the finish. There would be no bonking on this day. One gel before and four during the race were just enough to stave off complete glycogen depletion (not to mention the massive 700+g of carbs I ate the day before). Never underestimate the power of the carbo-load! When I got to the 40k mark, I glanced at my watch a final time and saw I was well under 2:30 and began to believe that everything would be okay. Some strategic fans along the final stretch (Anne Byrne, Lauren, Christine, Bert, two cute girls) provided invaluable encouragement and enabled me to carry on without looking too worse for wear and I made the final turn and saw the finish just metres ahead. I surged to the line looking up at the clock as it turned to 2:37 and couldn't help but be overcome with immense pride and satisfaction at a job well done. Ended up splitting 1:18 at the half which meant a 1:19 second half and even a final 10.2k in 39min (full split details here).
Although the course was fast and scenic, the weather was near perfect and my result was amazing, I still have to say that the organization of this race was less than ideal. The marshalling and course layout was terrible after leaving Fort York Blvd (~26k) and entering into Coronation Park and I was never quite sure if I was in a race or just out for a speedy stroll with several other dozen cyclists, joggers, walkers, and dogs (the price you pay when you run at/near the front I suppose). A guy ahead of me unknowingly took a shortcut and Doyle was led a couple hundred metres off course while I was all alone for several stretches where I could have easily gone astray. This is totally unacceptable for a big city race. It's very unlikely that I will run this race again in the future and Toronto should really (re)consider whether it truly needs two marathons and perhaps stick to one.
But enough complaining...The rest of the day was awesome as well and will go down as one of the best. It was great to catch up with all fellow LBers in the finishers area and see the camaraderie of the team at work. Everyone ran inspiring races and got rewarded with many impressive results. After relishing in the post race excitement, many of us made our way back to Darren's a short but slow distance away where we spent a fun-filled afternoon reliving the days excitement and celebrating our individual and collective accomplishments. We were treated with the guest appearence of Mr Watson, a world class distance runner and all-round wicked human being. Plenty of beer, munchables and great company was had until our strained physiology and psychology could take no more and we retired for the evening. It was a day I will never forget and one I will forever strive to emulate.