Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Toronto Marathon Race Report

Toronto Marathon Race Report
Okay so this race report is going to be shorter then my long drawn out usual reports. I am calling it a shorter report for a shorter race.... HA. Sunday May 15th was the Toronto Marathon. This race used to held in the fall until former mayor David Miller and his socialist cronies on the Toronto City Council decided to make the organizers bend over and grab there ankles in a disgusting display of attempted social engineering and the political favouritism. The Toronto Marathon had to move or more then likely it was going to be eliminated.

Crap, starting to rant and I don't want to get too into this issue at this time. I promise to do a much bigger post just on how these guys got screwed over in the next few weeks. That said they were put into a near impossible situation and handled it very well.

Okay so originally I was planning on running this marathon as hard as possible (racing it) to put up a good time. Those plans changed however when I decided to run Bear Mountain. Just a word of advice, don't run a 50k race and a 50 miler during your taper time, you will be tired during the marathon.

So my new plan was to run hardish for 21km and then assess but with the plan to most likely slow it down some in the second half. I had been having an issue with my knee all week. Now this is a chronic structural injury so I know exactly what the deal is. In my early 30's I suffered a complete tear of my ACL. That means I no longer have the ligament that goes from the top of the shin area to under the knee cap (think the middle of your knee). There is no fixing it outside of major reconstructive surgery. Usually this is not a problem and running doesn't aggravate it but every now and then it rears its ugly head unexpectedly. The last time was at Dirty Girls in 2010. I would wear a protective sleeve and hoped for the best.

I woke up Sunday morning to crappy weather with more crappy weather forecasted for the rest of the morning. It was rain with 25 - 30 km winds and it was going to stay that way. I thought about staying in bed but I was going to have to run on Sunday anyway so might as well do it in the race.

I had planned to meet JD at the start line well before the race. Unfortunately I was traveling to the start line using the TTC (city transit) so the 45 minutes it should have took ended up taking more then an hour and a half. No I am not bitter about that at all. Seriously.

Got to the race with a whole 5 minutes to spare, lined up and we were off.

The Race
I really like the course for the most part. Its a fast course with little uphill and a good amount of downhill in the first half of the race. I got off to a good start, fell into a sub 5 minute pace early and cruised along. It rained, it drizzled, it rained but we were mostly sheltered from the wind and it was not to cold so all was good.

I crossed the 21km mat in 1:43 and was in really good shape, not tired, not bonking and I was surprised that my legs didn't feel heavy given my 50 miler a week before. My quads felt good, my glutes were a little sore and my HR was good and controlled. I though maybe I would keep up this pace for another 10km and then slow it down a little. That way I don't torch my legs completely and might still end up with a PB.

This idea was very short lived and by 22k I started to feel some knee pain. Within the next km or 2 my knee was hurting really badly. It was so bad in fact that I actually began to think I was going to have to drop out of the race. I just could not run on it. GRRRR.

I continued to hobble along. I was suddenly really slow.We were now on the Lakeshore a place where I have run many times. It was miserable with cold rain and wind. Somewhere around 28km JD caught up to me. He was running with the 3:40 bunny. I chatted with him a bit and told him to tell Kim that I would be later to the finish then projected. I honestly thought that I would have to start walking soon because of my knee.

Soon I was at the turn and headed back along the Lakeshore in the opposite direction. The wind and rain was in my face again. How is that possible, how can the wind be in your face going east and then going west. Stupid Lakeshore.

At 33km my knee started to feel less painful (maybe it went numb) and I was able to pick it back up. It was very frustrating, I felt good but could not run due to the knee. As the knee pain lessened I picked it up to a 5:30 pace and then just held it there. I could very easily go faster but I was really worried that if I did the knee would start to get really bad again. More important then any time I might put up in this race was getting healthy for my upcoming 100 milers so I kept it slow and steady.

Soon we were off the Lakeshore and tackling the slight uphill all the way to the finish. I started to pass a lot of people along here and soon saw Kim near the finish line.

Then I was done.

Post Race
Saw a lot of people that I knew just after the finish line who had come in just before me or just after. Lots of Longboaters and a number of runners that were taking my Running Room clinic. It is so cool to see people finish that you helped to train.

I wanted to wait around for the other clinic finishers but was starting to get cold and that can be trouble after a long race so Kim and I headed home. I got changed and then we headed over to Coach Rogers place for a little Longboat post race get together. Thanks for the burgers Roger! They went great with my giant beer.

Final time 3:47:23

Next up Sulphur Springs


  1. First, congrats on finishing! Sorry the knee got in the way of your plans. Marathons can be so tough like that, both physically and mentally. Here's to figuring out the problem and nailing it at your next one.

  2. When I first saw the Post Title I thought, "a marathon - isn't that like a 5K for Chris..."

    Good show. Hope the knee gets better for your "long" races.

  3. Great time despite your pain. Hope the knee is better for your goal races. What a brutal day!

  4. Congrats on finishing and despite the knee issues, it looks like pretty good timing to me.
    Hope the knee gets to feeling better soon. Take lots of care.

  5. Great that you could finish the marathon. I've had knee problems before and understand how it could make a runner insecure. Somehow the knees can give us strength but also insecurity if they are not in good shape. Wish you all the best.
    Marathon training
    My Marathon Blog

  6. Hi Chris,
    GREAT time despite the knee issue! I'm SO glad you were "surfing" and found my blog, despite being neglected (I hope to post again tomorrow--lots to catch up on :(). I really appreciate the kind words. Good timing--today I needed a boost--thank you :). Also glad you are doing PP. I can't imagine having to run DOWN that mountain, though. You'll do great with all of the miles you are comfortable logging already!--and you live even farther north thatn I do--how do you do all of that training in the cold/snow? (I'm a wimp who grew up in Calif). I guess I'll find out when I catch up some on your blog--looks like a great one! Let's keep in touch so we can meet in Aug. My brother-in-law's mother-in-law and brother-in-law lives in Toronto --just trying to work out your brain some :)
    Happy training! Ann

  7. Holy cow Chris- great job! You are amazing!

  8. Congrats! I was cheering you on just north of Wellesley on the circle. Took me a second to realize it was you!

  9. I can't believe you can run an ultra and then a marathon the very next week. I'm so impressed at your powers of recovery.

    I have the same feelings as you re politicians. Our mayor and the state's premier are both runners and yet our major marathon in Brisbane (the State's capital) has to be run on bike paths which are still open to bikes because they can't provide the resources to shut the roads for a Sunday morning. Very poor form.

  10. You're awesome and handled that like a short jog!

  11. Wow amazing time despite your challenges...Hope the knee is ok...

  12. Nice job on the race! That is a bummer on the knee pain, sounds like you were really running strong, a 1:43 half marathon would have been on pace to shatter your marathon PR. Seems like you are really in good shape now. I guess if you really want to beat your PR you may have to taper a bit more to make sure that your knee is totally solid and everything is ready to go for a personal best.

  13. Congrats! Glad the knee didn't knock you out of the race.

  14. Man, oh man...you hobbled to a finish more than an hour faster than my marathon. Guess all those mile you run pay off, huh? :)

    Hope your knee behaves itself. I tore my ACL (not completely like yours) 10 years ago playing volleyball. It hasn't affected my running as much as I was afraid it would, but if a knee is going to hurt me, it's that one.

  15. Great race despite the knee issue! As you had forecasted before the race, you ran the first 21 km at a sub 5 min./km average pace although the track was a little hilly and the weather was rainy.

    I enjoyed reading your Toronto Marathon race report although it was shorter than your usual reports :)

    I hope your knee will be better soon!

  16. Taper schmaper...HA! Great job on finishing.
    Cripes on the knee, hope it's doing better with each day.

  17. Fantastic time, especially considering the knee problems you were having! I hope the knee stops bothering you soon!

  18. Sorry about the knee pain - how frustrating! But good thing you listened to it & will race another day. Despite your "slow down" and being close to dropping out, you finished with a great time!

  19. So many things to say (besides, big, big bummer on painful knee), but I'll just say this (besides more below): loved, loved, loved the line, "Just a word of advice, don't run a 50k race and a 50 miler during your taper time, you will be tired during the marathon."

    I don't know what the heck I'm doing on taper time. I was never trained as a runner. Sometimes I'm injured and don't run at all prior the big race, other times I taper, and other crazy times I actually up my mileage. So, in that way, I can relate.

    Congrats on your running. You do an amazing job!

  20. way to work through the pain. stay off the pavement for a while.


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