Got to be honest here, originally I had no intention of running the Toronto Marathon this year. I had expected to go back to Bear Mountain which is on the same weekend but sometimes things just don't go as planned. Okay really things rarely go as planned.
As it turned out the place we lived in was going to be sold so May 3/4th became stay home and move your crappy weekend. We planned to be done moving by Saturday evening and I needed to get a long run in on Sunday so running the Toronto Marathon made sense. I know myself and there was no way I would wake up and run 40k on my own Sunday so at least the race would get me out to run plus I had a cheap entry through the Running Room.
There was just one rule, NO RACING! I would find someone mid pack to pace and stick to my long run speed.
I met up with a few of the runners that I have been coaching and we shared a cab up to the start line. Two of them were first time marathon newbies and were excited and nervous. Once we got up to the start line I ran into lots of clinic members and a good number of Longboaters as well. Everyone seemed pretty pumped and the weather looked good except for the predicted 35k winds on the Lakeshore, yikes!
One of my runners who was trying to BQ had her watch die before the race start. I ended up giving her my Ambit so she could pace properly and since I was going slow I was not worried about time at all. Soon I found Sarah, another runner I coached, who said she was going to run around a 3:55 - 4 hour race so I decided I would run with her for as long as she could put up with me. No easy task on her part.
Just before the gun Sarah asked me why my race bib said ALICE. I looked down and what the heck it did say Alice. Turns out the race was out of blank bibs and the manager at the Running Room thought it would be funny to get me "an interesting pseudonym". I didn't mind but was disappointed that I had not noticed it at home. If I had I would have donned the Alice Cooper makeup and run incognito. We lined up in the corral and then we were off.
The Not Racing Race - Go Alice
Sarah and I ran the first few kms at a decent but easy pace effort wise. We chatted and she told me that she would have liked to beat her PB which was just under 3:49 but didn't think it was doable. When I heard this I decided that we should at least go fast enough to give her a shot at it so I picked it up some. There is a good bit of downhill in the first half of the race so now was the time to take advantage.
Since I didn't have a watch I just ran by feel and whenever Sarah called out a split I found a little slow I would pick it up just a bit. I wanted to make sure she ran hard but didn't want to see her burn out in the second half. The race was going pretty good as we turned into the wind hitting the half way point at 1:50. That meant Sarah was on pace for a PB and that I was running way to fast for an easy run. I was right in my junk mile zone, too fast to be an easy run but too slow to be at race pace. That means you are doing more damage to your legs than a training run with no real training benefit you would not get running easy. My legs were getting tired, 3 hours of sleep and 2 days of lugging furniture and boxes around was catching up fast. Might have still been feeling the 50k trail race from the week before in my legs, who knows. I decided I would keep pacing for as long as my legs felt okay and then would back off.
The wind for the next 12 -15k was soul sucking. Looked like the weather guy got it right as much of this section was into 35k winds. I ended up staying with Sarah until the 31-32k mark. She was running great and had lots left so at that point I slowed it way down to save my legs and let her go. Even going slow my legs were beat. The damage was done already which made for a painful last 10k even going extra super slow.
The one great things was all the Longboaters and clinic runners that were out cheering (about half my clinic people were running Ottawa so not racing that weekend). As anyone who has run in Toronto races knows fan support is few and far between. Kind of sad really but for those that came out a great big Thank You.
Ended up finishing in a more painful than necessary 3:58. Sarah ended up just sneaking in under her PB. Way to go Sarah.
Next up Seaton 50k May 10th