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Get these legs healed up, get back to running, and then think once again about triathlons...
Pierre Mihok toronto waterfront ma...
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Toronto Waterfront Marathon Race report......
..... It was my first full marathon, and I read everything about what you're supposed to do etc. and tried to follow it. I carb loaded, tapered, and managed to get about 5 hours sleep last night. Then we were running a little late to drop Cindy off for the bus for the 5k, so I was frantic when we got into a traffic jam! Fortunately I was able to find a terrific underground parking spot right by the race start, and we only had to cross the street to get to the bus lineup for Cindy. She had no safety pins for her bib! I looked around and found some on the ground, and so she was saved. Then back to the parking lot in the driving rain, took a moment at the porta potties, and then looked for Sarah and Sam and Alan and Richard near the meeting spot but never spotted them.
The rain continued fairly heavy until starting time, and then it stopped entirely! I was quite soaked (tee shirt and shorts) and getting a bit chilly. And then what should I do but step into a hole and fill my shoes with water! What a pain! So the socks bunched up and gave me hours of agony as they pinched my feet and restricted my motion!
I was deliberately holding back to 6 min/km or so, trying to stay at an aerobic pace to lengthen the time before I hit the wall, also I couldn't breathe too deeply with the rib. I found a young lady who was going exactly my speed and whom I could easily spot, so I stayed within sight of her for the first 20 km. (Turns out she was going the Half). I was dismayed that my feet were already hurting and my knee was already in pain at 5km! I tried changing my stride until I found a way to keep going, and was able to nurse it along until it seemed to feel better at about 12km.
There was an enthusiastic crowd of spectators, and I tried to pay some attention to them when I could, to appreciate their efforts. I had half expected one of my buddies who lives on Front and Yonge to stand around and look for me, as I gave him the time I would be going by, but he wasn't there. I recognized (and yelled encouragement to) a few of the people coming the other way as we headed along Lakeshore towards High Park, while they returned. They were in the front of the throng. I did look a bit for Ed Whitlock but as Spence says, he doesn't run in the rain so I didn't look too hard (just looked for his results, he ran it in 3hours and 30min!!!).
I was delighted to spot Nicole and she was a real ray of sunshine cheering for the people going by! Much appreciated!
When the half marathoners split off, the only persons I recognized were this short thick guy with really lanky hair whom I have seen at some other races, a skinny blonde woman who is about my age and invariably chicks me near the end of the races, and a tall Asian girl I've seen before whose mom and dad were waiting to cheer her at the split (her dad joined her to run for about a km.)
At the split, I was already worn out trying to keep my legs going! And it got worse. I had been easily without the least effort staying with the 4 hour pace bunny, but at about km 17 I desperately needed the porta potty, and when I came out what should I see but the 4.10 pace bunny in the distance! So I tried to catch up and never did. I passed loads of people, though, as my legs were acting pretty good for a while there. But then my right foot got so bad (that's my bad leg) that I could barely tolerate it hitting the ground! I had to let it suffer though, because the alternative was to strain my knee, and the knee was already just holding together.
I kept on though, and stopped once to try to pull my socks up, but I was an idiot and hadn't looked at the race kit before I was there, so I didn't know it was one of those lace-in RFID tags! that you have to put on your shoelaces. If I'd known I would have brought a separate lace to hang it from. I can't put it on the lacing below the knot because I can't tie the shoes comfortably if I do. So I made a Gordian knot of the extra lace, going around and through that tag until it was guaranteed to resist all possible efforts to remove it. So I couldn't remove it to try to find why my foot was so sore.
Then I finally gave up and stopped, untied the darn thing, fixed the sock, pulled some rocks out of the shoe and realized my bad toe has somehow managed to gnaw a hole in that almost new pair of shoes! Wow. Need new shoes. But when I went on again, the whole foot felt fine except for that toe, so it was a massive relief.
I passed Henry on the double-back portion of the far eastern route, he was just skipping along looking like he was having the time of his life! It was great to see him. Some time later, the 4 hour pace bunny came by! so I knew he was faster at that point than 4 hours (he was around 31km I think.) And I also passed someone who looked familiar but whose identity I was unsure of -- he called me by name -- who was working as the 4.55 pace bunny! Could it have been Paul? I don't know. My glasses were covered with sweat at that point. And I passed Alan, who was looking to my overly anxious eye as though he was suffering, and I gave him a cheer.
I had managed to mostly keep running, and fuelling, without stopping to this point but I ended up walking about a km up one long upslope near the turnaround. Unfortunately when I walked, it became almost impossible to start running again, and took a long time to get back up to speed. Both of my legs were pretty much done for at the 33k point -- the left because it was doing almost all the work for the right, and the right because of its various injuries! So I was limping from foot to foot, trying to make some kind of speed, and feeling lousier and lousier.
At about 36k I finally succumbed to another porta potty visit, but was able to do this one much faster than the last one. Still, I lost time and when I came out, took a long time to start building up a pace again.
At around 38k I decided I was going to run the rest of the way as fast as I could, whatever speed that might be. I was in severe pain from both legs at that point, and for about the last 15k I had been thinking I was finally done for, I had nothing left, but I kept on going. So at the 38k point I was far past the point where I thought I had nothing left to give, and so it was just sheer torture keeping going, let alone trying to gain some speed. I actually passed a few people towards the finish line, whereas usually it's the other way around! But one guy went sprinting past me looking fresh as a daisy, and I muttered "asshole" because where was he all this time? Never saw him before. Why was he so fresh, if he was so damn slow that he was actually behind me?
Well, I got my medal and banana and tottered a few blocks to the car, and it took me about 15 minutes to bend over to untie my shoes!
A 1 hour nap, a hot soak, and a dose of crusts with Marmite, and I was feeling fairly good, able to do a bit of renovation work before we came home.
I learned a lot about running a marathon from running this one. If I do another one, I'll choose someplace more scenic than Toronto though -- only the High Park/CNE loop and part of the east route was worth looking at; most of it is ugly crap without any effort at all to give some kind of unity of appearance to anything. If Toronto wants tourists it will have to do better. That said, the route was a good one and the race wonderfully organized, and I realize that it's not easy to manage an urban environment to the benefit of all. There were some nice things -- I particularly liked the old buildings at the wedge of Front St which were very picturesque as I ran up the street towards them.