Monday, May 16, 2011

Toronto GoodLife Fitness Marathon 2011

Short one. Yesterday was the first Spring Edition of the Toronto Marathon. For those of you not familiar with Toronto, we've had two marathons here for a few years. For some reason that are unclear to me, the newer Scotia Marathon decided to hold its race only 3 weeks before the older Toronto Marathon, which seems to me like a shitty thing to do. With more money (Scotia bank is the main sponsor) and the most boring course ever (but flat as a pancake), Scotia finally succeeded in forcing GoodLife to move to the Spring. I don't care who's right, I just like the GoodLife course better.

Anyhoot, last week I decided to sign up for GoodLife which was held yesterday. I signed up before looking at the weather forecasts. That's just as well cause I probably wouldn't have run yesterday. I was supposed to meet Chris before the start but I believe he just made it in time.

There was a light drizzle at the start and around 10C (50F), but the wind wasn't so bad. Other than a fairly long-ish hill about 3km from the start, the first half of the course is a net down hill from Northern suburbia (also known as North York). We ran down Yonge st and then, after a little detour toward Casa Loma, to the Bayview extension. This took us to about 18km and pretty much Lake level. My plan was to run in around 3:45 and when I got to the intersection of the Bayview Extension I found myself running with the 3:40 pace group, led by Dave The Beaches Runner. Despite an earlier traumatic experience with a pace group, I decided to stick around. Not like I had anywhere to go.

I was wearing a thin Merino base with a singlet over top and I was getting warm but I could hear the wind in the trees around us and I knew it would be cooler on the Lake shore so I decided to keep the base layer. I felt surprisingly good. At around 28km I saw Chris ahead of me, obviously in trouble since I was catching up. He had been worried about his knee all week, after running the 50 miler at Bear Mountain last weekend. I picked it up a bit and caught up with him. He confirmed that his knee was not doing well. I waited for the pace group to catch up and I ran on with them.

The pacer was really good. We held a very even pace, running at around 4:55 to 5:05/km and we walked briefly while drinking at the aid stations. I had a gel every hour, replacing Gatorade with water at that aid station. I felt strong until km 38. The CN tower still looked so friggin' far, I stepped in a huge puddle, I got elbowed in the teeth by someone who stopped cold right in front of said puddle, the wind was blowing in our face and our pacer, for some unknown reason, picked up the pace to 4:40 to 4:45/km. For a moment there, I wondered if I was going to be able to stick around. More accurately, I wondered why I should. The pacer was obviously demented.

Running too fast, all of a sudden, THE LEFT TURN! After that, it's straight up to the finish. This is sweet and sour. Sweet: we're about 3km from the finish. Sour: it's almost all uphill. Anyway, I push on and run slightly ahead of the pace group. With around 1 km to go, a girl who was running with the group catches up and we pull each other toward the finish. We finally cross the finish under 3:39:46, gun time. My chip time is 3:38:59.

That was a sweet race. I did better than planned. I never got bored. I was sufficiently prepared. I didn't bonk. And finally, it also reminded me that there is such a thing as having fun in a marathon.


Carlos said...

Sounds like your injury is a distant past. Glad to hear you had a good race, now comes Sulphur. You doing any training runs on Sulphur this coming weekend?

Derrick said...

Congrats JD. Always nice to get a little surprise in a race!

chris mcpeake said...

Congrats JD,
I curse my knees lack of cooperation in the second part of the race.
Guess running a 50 mile race the week before was not the best taper in the world ... LOL
Now if I can just find a pacer for Sulphur

Dave said...

Hey JD,

Glad to hear you had fun. Sorry about the elbow. It was the domino effect I think!

You are right about the 4:45 pace for a bit to regain some lost time.
I realized our banked time had disappeared in the wind and I wanted to get everyone to the foot of York / University with time to spare. 4 previous Goodlife marathons tell me that's where it's hard not to slow down. It seemed to work :)

Nice to meet you out there!

See you around!