Thursday, November 6, 2014

Ugh Toronto again!? #STWM RR

Nope don’t be confused, and yup it’s Toronto...ugh-gain.

Nobody does back-to-back-same-destination-races ever, but I can be somewhat excused for my poor taste in variety by visiting the fam of course. For the record, that was the main purpose of the trip - obivously ;). However instead of two weeks of touristie stuff and watching a polar bear do flip turns, this time it was only for two days and it had to be all business with a lot less time to tact on a marathon.

And so Sunday dawned upon too early once again, but I was ready unlike last time. Good thing my sister's place was only minutes from the start and finish. No red-eye flights, I took care by planning an early Saturday morning flight from Vancouver to Toronto. I felt bad, but Naiely was kind enough to insist on driving me 5 am to the airport. Also I've been busy and had to schedule in 6am yoga on the friday before the race to simulate the time difference and reboot those legs (I think it worked).

So to recap, in May of this year, I ran 3:12, with a 1:29ish first half split.  This time around I was originally shooting for the sub 3 hours, but fell short again, however given my training, I was pretty ecstatic with the result. I ran sub 3:07, with the same 1:29 first split for my second personal best time ever. For those number crunchers, these were my three latest marathons, including my PB in Chicago last year.  

I can explain the sudden jump from first half splits to second half splits. So the race organizers for this race decided the people running the half was going to be starting at the exact same time as the marathoners. I only found out the day before from my sister's roommate because she was running the half at the same time. 

This meant that 25k people were storming the streets of Toronto minus the 5km people at the same time. It felt like the majors like Boston and Chicago again, and I was running effortlessly just "staying in the bus" and running crowds. People were making funny hand gestures to be polite changing lines throughout the course of the race. Very sportsman like and gentleman sport I guess. 

Immediately off the start, the running pace was fast and I was trying to hold a steady even pace. This was when a familar friend's doppelganger showed up to the rescue. Backwards white Newton cap and compression socks. He ran as smooth as can be and I tried keeping pace with him. Hopefully he wasn't too annoyed with me. As you probably figured out, this was Derrick Lee's doppleganger as seen in this picture, and he went on steady to finish 2:57.

Credit to Nic Browne for finding this picture.
    Unfortunately for me, I couldn't keep pace by the halfway mark. The half runners were pealing off and the marathoners were left to themselves to battle the dragon so to speak. My legs started to be more stiff and when the tough got harder, I started to slowly fade. I think more progression runs would had help me. Channeling Rinny (Mirinda Carfrae) didn't work. Those legs got stiffer and stiffer and it was only a matter of time the pace was slipping. Race conditions were perfect, and I stayed on top of my nutrition. I noticed the people around me during the second half, had some serious kick in accelerations when they wanted to turn it up a notch. I felt like I was getting dropped like a bag of bricks by cyclists all around me. For most of the race, I was running defensively and it was a mental test.

Overall, I finish around the same time as I normally do and try not to get digitally spanked too much, by successfully finishing within less than one hour from the leaders. I can't say the same for triathlons. But with another marathon under my belt, I know where I need to improve my weaknesses and keep training for the long term goal which is to run a faster ironman-marathon. On a fun fact note, I did get embarrassed by the exact same 3:05 pace bunny in the late stages of the race again as I did from the May marathon. Oh wells, I'll take the baby victories that I can. Sub 3 is definitely within reach if I can only keep my leg fitness in check. 
My sister promoting the other marathon's sponsor. :)

Until next time and thanks for reading.

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