Monday, 15 October 2012

#86 Good Day Sunshine

Editors note: There was in fact little to no sunshine on this day nor during this race. The use of the word 'good' in 'good day' is also the opinion of the author and is not necessarily shared by others in this post.

Sunday 14 October 2012

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (Half-)Marathon Race Report

1:13:29 (official gun time). 1:13:25 (chip time)

What else can I say?!

Okay, this is what else I'll say...

It was probably, nay definitely, the best race I have ever run both in terms of how it felt (mostly comfortable), how it played out (controlled and consistent) and my overall finishing time (kick-ass) which was an approximately 2.5 minute PB over the 1:16:06 I did in Oakville 3 weeks ago. In terms of placing, I was also 12th overall (although someone told me 9th at 20k and for a time after the race, I didn't exist at all according to Sportstats) in a field of 9692; 4555 of whom were male and 723 whom were in my 25-29 age category. All in all, I AM the 1%! So in sum, it was simply excellent.

But it didn't start out way. I was sincerely unsettled with the weather forecast in the days leading up to the event, and even the night before which still called for constant rain and strong winds. And yet when 8:30 rolled around on Sunday morning, it seemed that once again, the running gods were smiling down upon me. The rain mostly held off, the winds were mild at worst and the heat and humidity (what humidity?) didn't really have any effect at all. Sure, the conditions weren't ideal... but they were pretty damn good, particularly if you were only running the half.
The new and improved (and accurately measured!) 2012 STWM course route(s).
And best of all, because it was the Canadian Running Series, the course was accurately measured! The new course was a huge improvement. Sure it seemed less flat (especially that 'long' 1km climb up Bay St to the finish), but the atmosphere and energetic crowds in some of Toronto's nicest neighbourhoods including Queen's Park, U of T, Bloor St, Yorkville, St. George, College, and Bathurst, really made a difference and seemed to distract from the Task in the early stages of the race. Likewise, the out-and back along the Lakeshore was significantly shortened from previous years and seeing the crowds of both charismatic cheerers and fellow runners made it seem entirely tolerable. Kudos to CRS for the changes.

I won't bore you with the details of the race, but wish to highlight that my 'decision'/strategy to use the elite Canadian women (Krista DuChene and Lanni Marchant) and their respective pacers (Rejean Chaisson and Brandon Laan) to push and pull me through the first 20k of the race, really paid off in a huge way. I more or less stuck in front or beside them for the entire way, knowing they were trying to hold a pace of ~3:30/k and wanted to split the first half (21.1k) in about 1:14 or so on route to hopefully breaking the Canadian women's marathon record (2:28:36). A huge congratulations to both of them for going for it, and to Krista for finishing a very gutsy race in a time of 2:32:14. A further congrats to Mary Davies of New Zealand who actually went on to win the race on the women's side in an impressive time and 9min PB of 2:28:56. I ran right next to Mary for a good chunk of the way while on the Lakeshore and she was looking very good early on and was even so kind as to share a few kind words with me (probably just wanted me to shut up and block the wind). I had no idea she would go on to win the damn thing. Way to go Mary... and you're welcome for the drafting you got from me in the first half Haha

So ya, I was extremely lucky to have that group to run with for almost the whole race and who no doubt pushed me to do things I may not have thought possible on my own (like running 3:30/k for 21.1k!). I hope I didn't push the pace too much or throw them off their 'game': “Probably went out too fast in the first half,” DuChene said. “We were about 30 seconds too fast." Oops! But I may have gotten a little carried away knowing I was being filmed as part of the live broadcast (at one point the camera guy even asked me to move out of the way). Thanks again to my impromptu race and pace crew. You all did awesome out there!

2012 STWM female marathon winner Mary Davies of NZL (2:28:56) and top Canuck Krista DuChene (2:32:14).
The final set of both congratulations and praise goes out to my fellow Longboat Roadrunners, particularly to my amazing training team, who absolutely tore it up out there occupying 12 of the top 51 spots overall in the half! Dave Clark ran an incredible 1:15 (Wowzers!). Darren ran 1:17, a week after doing 1:16 in Victoria. Chapman, Metzger and Coach Campbell came flying in one after the other all under 1:19 and not far behind were Bellamy and Hiddleston both running sub 1:20 (that's 8 guys running sub 1:20!). Reyes, Gough and new guy, Gregor, were all under 1:21 and Conrad came in at sub 1:22 despite a niggle of the knee. Then it was Simion, Francois and Stefan all coming in at 1:23 and Sharlene C, our top female finisher, in a time of 1:24. And the list of LBRs goes on and on... Congrats to John M, Greg, Aleks, Richard W, Tara, Rob Kay, the other Kevin G(allagher), Peter de Vries, Kevin C, Rob H, George H, Dana, Laura M, Melinda, Jimmy, Juliana and so many more!!! A terrific day for Longboat and the flying feathers.
Updated team photo coming soon...
The remainder of the day was equally (but not equity) excellent in that I was able to spend a majority of it hanging out and relaxing with my training team/best buddies; drinking beers, eating junk food, raving about the race and general running stuff and even watching some crazy Austrian dude free-fall from near Outer Space. That was insane! I then came home and caught a majority of `The Lion King`on CBC, ate a falafel and a Reese's ice-cream sandwich, played some Uno with the lady friend (I lost) and took a nap. What could possibly be better?!

Next up, as everyone should know, is the NYC Marathon, now only 3 weeks away (on Sunday 04 November). My mileage will increase moderately from the 128k I ran last week to about 140k this week, before tapering off to 120k two weeks out and about 100k in the final week, including the race. My goal of running 2:34 is now looking more and more feasible and perhaps, based on how I feel in the next weeks, I might just try to go for something even a bit more daring. Only time (and the taper) will tell...

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