Everyday is a Winding Road

On the road again, I just couldn’t wait to get on the road again. I was on the road again, this time in Toronto running the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I did this little beauty last year for my debut marathon at this level. It didn’t go according to plan, but like most things in life…you’ve got to learn from them. I thought back to the life lesson Walter Sobchak gave to The Dude, “You have got to buck up, man. You cannot bring this negative energy to the tournament.” So I went into the weekend with a very calm and comfortable state of mind! I knew that my training was spot on because of excellent coaching (thanks, Steve Boyd) and my body was ready to go.

I will not bore you with the ritualistic eating or amazing stories of me doing homework and watching shows that was my Saturday before the race. We will jump right into the race.

Race Day

 We all get on busses at 7:15am (SHARP) so Cliff is happy and when Cliff is happy, we are all happy. The busses took us to the Toronto City Hall where we relaxed in the city bunker. That was kind of neat. At about 8:30 we all travel over to the start line to do our final strides and feel the energy of the crowd and other runners!

 

Race

For us, there is only the trying. The rest is not our business. – T.S. Elliot

 As always in the Canada Running Series races, there is a good buzz in the air and the volunteers and organizers are very helpful and friendly! Despite the cool conditions that day, fans were out in full force cheering us fools on! I want to thank you all for your courtesy. I want to thank you all for watching us bleed!

The awesome thing about this race for me and the other guys that were shooting for a sub 2:20 marathon is that we had a pacer, Andrew Nixon. There was a group of 8 runners, including a half-marathon runner, that was scheduled to run through 21.1km in 69:30. We had all gathered the day before and talked about our game plan and individual race credentials. I was for the dude that brought the thinnest list of accolades, but that’s how she goes sometimes.

The pack was very tight for the first half of the race. With a tight pack there is an increased risk of a traffic accident at a bottle station (Bottle stations are set up every 5 or so km of personally prepared drinks).  Two guys collided at the 3rd bottle station and one of them hit the pavement HARD. I didn’t think he was going to get up and continue, but damn, Christian got up, shook it off and continued the race! We stayed as a pack right until the half way point then people started to do their own thing. Some fellas picked up the pace, some dropped off. My goal was just to stick to pace until 25km and reevaluate things after that. Folks, things get a little foggy after 25km so Imma hit the high notes!

I rolled though 30km in 1:39:38 (pleased with pace at this point) listening to a band playing Lukey by Great Big Sea. It was the kind of thing a person needs to keep the engine going at the start of the hardest part of a marathon. I started to look down at my watch to see what the average pace was. I was still rolling through at 3:19, so it was all good. THEN the winds hit on our way back to the city. The stretch from 35-40km was a tough one. The winds were coming from the NW and had the right amount of sting to add on a few seconds per km. At times like this, you have to just think back to all the hard workouts and remember all those early morning and late evening runs, all the work that has gone into this race and just remember to keep your legs turning and using those arms to power you through. I kept remembering back to last year’s race and how rough it was. Those tough memories kept me focused and my spirits positive because I was nowhere as beaten up as I felt last year.

I crossed the line in 2:21:40. That was a 5 minute PB from the same race a year before. I was encouraged that I chopped off that kind of time and excited to see what else these legs have in them on more favourable weather conditions.

What does the future hold?

I am going to take some down time and recover from this marathon and then start the build for a spring marathon. I am not sure which one, but it will be sometime in the early spring.

I would like to thank you all for your support over the 2014 season. It has seen a lot of ups and downs but it is great to have a support network around when the times (on and off the road) are a little rough!

I’m off to get my stretch on at yoga. Namaste Y’all!

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