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Toronto Marathon (Read 591 times)


A Dance with Monkeys

    Top 10 Toronto Marathon Excuses: 10. You expect me to figure out the metric system while running a marathon? 9. The cup of Gatorade I took at mile 14 was actually water. 8. It is possible to hide lots and lots of rolling hills in an elevation profile. 7. Six marathons since April probably is a bit excessive. 6. The wind blows much more strongly by the lake front. 5. I listened to a friend who sent me a pacing strategy; she is a near-3:00 hour marathoner. 4. It was 42.2 kilometers; that just sounds long. 3. That was an awfully big downhill at mile 20. 2. The pace group leaders were wearing bunny ears. 1. They did not play "Oh, Canada" at the start. Okay, so I have spent much of this year beating the heck out of my legs for no good reason but to push as hard as I can and see if I break. Well, not yet I guess. But I have only run two marathons with any real goal of finishing well. The first was French Lick, the first of 2006 for me. There I struggled to get a PR of 3:50. The next, a month and a half later and my third of the year, was Grandma's in Duluth. I was hoping to lop off another 5-10 minutes there, but it was not in the cards due to the bad weather conditions and to my feeling bad that day. Then I did two mountain marathons, a few really high milage weeks beyond what I should be doing, etc. So I figured it is time to give another shot to running a flat marathon. What, I have a work conference in Toronto starting the day after the Toronto Marathon? Ha! I'm in. Goal? Anything 3:50 or less. Maybe 3:40, but I do not know how much reserve I have in my legs. The Toronto Marathon starts uptown, runs a big 11 mile loop that includes a trip through a pretty park, passes the start and then goes downtown to the lakefront and then finishes a couple of blocks from the University. There is one good sized climb in the first two miles and a big kilometer-long climb that starts as you pass the halfway mark. After that, it is net downhill, finishing at an elevation about 200 feet lower. But there are a bunch of rolling hills that include some tremendous climbs after mile 16, a hearty downhill that lasts from mile 20.5 to 22, and then some more rolls. Net downhill? Yes. Flat and fast? No, not really. The morning started out at about 2 degrees. Wait. Fahrenheit. It started at about 37 degrees, with a strong gusty wind and partly cloudy skies. Except for the wind, this is my favorite running condition. I ran in shorts, a short-sleeve technical shirt and sunglasses. I felt good, especially after a 9+ hour night of sleep and a breakfast of a Hello Kitty Pop Tart and two Star Crunches. I took a bus to the start and then waited inside the warmth of an open building for the start. With five minutes to go, I went out to the starting line, listened to the race announcements, the recording of Chariots of Fire they were blasting (why does that dopey tune about shorter distance running always get to me anyway?!?), and we we're off. The course is fairly pretty and the morning started bright. We ran through quite a few nice and colorful neighborhoods. We ran through one that was clearly Jewish (with everything closed for Simchas Torah today), some Arab neighborhoods, several mixed Asian neighborhoods, near shopping malls and businesses. We went through a park that had a meandering path and several wooden bridges over a small creek. Almost all the distance markers were in kilometers, and they passed with alarming speed. That is, until I looked at my GPS watch and saw the distance in miles. Oh well. There were mile markers at 1, 5, 10, 25 and 25.2. But with the help of my GPS, I was able to follow my splits and monitor my pace. My pace? Well, my goal was to go out and run the first half at an average 8:20-8:25 pace, then pick it up after the half if I could. Well, I felt great and the course was pretty nice, even with the hill right after the start. My miles were 8:21, 8:26, 8:27, 8:26 for the first four. Then I had loosened up enough to pick it up a bit more. At this point I was running with somebody and we were chatting and keeping each other going. From here: 8:03, 8:13, 8:15, 8:25, 8:20, 8:12 to 10 miles, which I hit at 1:22. The next three miles included some downhill and took me to the halfway point: 8:06, 8:19, 8:00. My split for the first half was 1:49. A quick calculation, I was on track for a 3:45-3:50 marathon from that split if I could not pick it up in the second half. Of course, as I was considering the second half, I was staring at the big hill on the course. It is about a 1k hill that climbs 125 feet, which is an average 4% grade. While that is not a terrible hill, it ain't easy and it is long. But I had been forewarned about it, and told that this would be the last major hill on the course. So I took it very gently and then figured I could pick it up after I recovered. Did I? My next few miles were 9:15 (the hill), 8:37, 8:40, 8:45 to complete 17 miles. And then the problems began. Sheesh. Another hill. A big one. And another. And another. Where did these come from? At this point, we were running through fancy old neighborhoods and by historic government buildings, all with shaded roads from huge trees. But the hills and the turns? Ouch. Mile 18, which included a long fluid stop, was 9:40. Then I tried to pick it up again, but I could feel that the combination of the hills and all the miles prior to this morning had taken their toll. The next one was at 8:32. Here, the 3:45 pace group passed me (running what seemed to be closer to a 3:40 pace) and then I passed some friends calling out my name. That was great! I was about to start walking after that and I turned the corner and was confronted by a big beautiful downhill through a park. Finally. I had hear now so many times, "it is all downhill from here". Finally. I never ever ever give up and waste a downhill! But my legs were tired so I could not take full advantage of the down. I did the two miles in 8:35 and 8:26. And then I was done. I had to struggle to keep going for the last four miles. My legs had very little in them. The downhill was over and I was left with flats and uphills. The wind had picked up and the sun gone, so it was colder out. But I drank and took my gu and did the best my legs would allow. Mile 22 was at 9:00, then 9:11, then 10:13, then some walking for 12:00. Then the 40k marker. I tried my best to push it in. 9:17 to mile 26. I always get a kick when I see the finish line, but this course took you around a big circle, so you don't get to see the finish until you are through it. And I was. 3:50:42 chip time. Them three Canadian friends were there to greet me at the finish and in the end I felt pretty good. I was happy with my time, identical to my PR (okay, 11 seconds slower, fine) and all in all a good day on a reasonably challenging course after all. Other points- -They gave me a half marathon medal; 3:50 is a long time for a half marathon -Sponge Bob sponsored the race and all the volunteers had on Sponge Bob hats and shirts. And the wet sponges they gave out? Yep, yellow and smiling. -The Gatorade was actually perfectly mixed most of the way through. -They lost my drop bag, may have found it, but I am still waiting for it. -It was a great and pretty day and the marathon was very well organized. -A freind brought me homemade rhubarb pie from home grown rhubarb after the race. We shared beer.
      Ah, Trent! I love your "Top 10's!" Big grin Sounds like a challenging race! Hope the rhubarb pie (YUMMERS!) more than made up for those surprise hills... mmm... rhubarb pie... Big grin

      Roads were made for journeys...


      You'll ruin your knees!

        Way to go Trent! Congrats...love the top 10! ....hmmm rhubarb

        ""...the truth that someday, you will go for your last run. But not today—today you got to run." - Matt Crownover (after Western States)


        A Dance with Monkeys

          I have been working hard on that pie...
            Hey! Angry Aren't you going to share???

            Roads were made for journeys...


            A Dance with Monkeys


            Needs more cowbell!

              Beer: good Rhubarb in any form: I love your race reports. And even if the last few miles were brutal, I still think you're hella fast! Big grin k

              Kirsten - aka "Auntie Kirsten"

              '14 Goals:

              • 2 olympic distance duathlons -- 6 days apart -- PR at least 1

              • 130#s (and stay there, gotdammit!)


              A Dance with Monkeys

                Beer = good. Rhubarb = almost as good. But together? I'd think that could get ugly fast. Tight lipped Trent, I know you're a fellow Nashvillian - are you running the Flying Monkey? (I'm assuming so based on some of your posts). I was planning on running Memphis in December, but it looks like I won't ... and I was sad to see that the Percy Warner mary has filled up.
                E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                A Dance with Monkeys

                  are you running the Flying Monkey? (I'm assuming so based on some of your posts). I was planning on running Memphis in December, but it looks like I won't ... and I was sad to see that the Percy Warner mary has filled up.
                  Well, yes, in fact I am planning to run it. I am obliged to do so. You see, I happen to be the race director Big grin. Yep, I plan to run and to give the RD duties to somebody else that day. You are correct, the marathon has filled. But a bunch of folks have dropped out and the waiting list has just about emptied. If you are interested, head over to the website (http://www.harpethhillsmarathon.com) and click on contact, then send a request to be on the waiting list. There may just be a spot... Wink I am taking from the wait list first come, first served... T
                    Trent - Awesome - thank you! I already scooted over there and sent a message to "general information." Hope that works; if not, give me a clue. I put your name on it, so maybe it'll get to the race director's office? Smile I should have signed up for it 6 months ago, but I'd really planned to do Memphis. But life keeps getting in the way of organized races. (Plus, I run Edwin/Percy Warner all the time, and know that it's going to be a !%#! of a run.) The starting line of YOUR race, however, is about a mile from my front door. If I get in, I'll probably jog over there Smile Thanks for the tip, Eric (a.k.a. Jake) P.S. No "Oh, Canada?" Seriously? There oughta be a law ...
                    E-mail: JakeKnight2002@aol.com
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                    A Dance with Monkeys

                      Got your note. Check this out- http://www.harpethhillsmarathon.com/parkmap It is a little hack I put together. Eric provided awesome advice and guidance to me as I did so. Eric continues to rock big time!
                      Mile Collector


                      Abs of Flabs

                        Congrats Trent! I think you're training everyone here to look forward to your bad runs because your top 10s are awesome Blush Thanks for the race report and a job well done, no matter what you say!
                          Trent--great report! Loved the detail. They should have at least given you two half-marathon medals Big grin.
                          My Masters (>50) Race PR's: 5K - 20:17 10K - 42:36 HM - 1:31:22 Marathon - 3:20:48