Sunday, October 25, 2009

Toronto Marathon Weekend ... PBs all around

Last weekend both Kim and I took part in various races at the Toronto Marathon. It was definitely a very busy Sunday for us as Kim ran the Half Marathon and I ran in the 5K and most of the Half Marathon as well.

Both of us had originally signed up in August to run the HM. The idea was that Kim would run the HM in an attempt to PB and I would pace her during the race. Although I was very, very tempted to run it hard I knew that this would be a bad move on my part with the Hamilton Marathon just 2 weeks later. This plan seemed solid given how my fall racing season had been set up with my short races early in September then Haliburton, some XC and lots of recovery time before Hamilton. Of course this was before the whole VRPRO fiasco. Yeah I know I still have to blog the details about that one but I am just getting back to updating regularly and so want to keep things positive for now. There will be lots of time during the coming winter months to try and convince you never to sign up for a race with VRPro :-). Anyway because of this I decided to add the Toronto 5K to my racing schedule so signed up a week before the race.

The plan was a simple one as Sunday Oct 18th was the first day of my taper for Hamilton. All I need to do was race a 5k and then get another 12 miles in so this could work out perfectly. I would do a warm up, race the 5K and then head up to St. Clair and Young to the 10K mark of the HM and meet up with Kim to pace her the rest of the way. A number of club members were running the water station at 10K so if I missed Kim at least I would know. I was pretty sure that I could make it up there in time but with both races starting at the same time in different places I might miss her.

Pre Race
We headed over to the expo on Friday and picked up our race kits. I just had to look on the board and get my bib number and then... crap. No listing for me in the 5K. I suspected that the system saw me double registered in both races and so didn’t register me. This was going to be fun.

I spent the next 15 minutes trying to explain the following to a number of people at the registration table. I am registered in both races. I am racing the 5K with a chip. I am then going to join the HM in progress with no chip (no official time) to pace someone. I registered for both because I don’t want to be on the course illegally and have a problem with race marshals. Rinse and repeat.

Honestly the people at the registration table were great so no complaints there. They passed me on to the woman in charge and she got it right away. Unfortunately (actually fortunately for me) they could not double list me in the system so she changed my registration to the 5K and gave me the bib for HM anyway no extra charge. It’s so nice to actually deal with a race that gives a rat's ass about runners (you know what I am saying VRPro).

I quickly bought a bunch of stuff at the Expo to celebrate my new found wealth. I picked up a Nathan fuel belt which I had been looking for and is perfect for trail racing. I also picked up this cool little stretchy pack for carrying stuff while running. I already tried this out and it works great.

Race Day
Kim left early cabbing it down to College and Yonge to catch the race provided bus to Mel Lastman Square and the HM start line. I lounged around the house for another hour got dressed and then ran the 3 miles over to Bloor and University and the 5K start line. Got there 15 minutes before the race with my warm up already done and plenty of time to make sure I was in the front of the corral. Weather was great for racing 0 degrees but some wind, nothing to extreme however.

The 5K

Lined up to go, checked my shoelaces (get out of my head Too Tall Tony) and took a look behind me. Man, there were a lot of people in this race. Bumped in to Feargal McCauley another Longboat member who is living in Ireland but was here visiting. He told me he was looking to run 18 minutes which is too fast for me so wished him luck. Then just like that we were off.

I came out pretty fast with a plan of running hard early while we were headed slightly downhill and then just hanging on in the second part of the race which is slightly uphill. My hope was to break 21 minutes although I knew that might be a little out of reach but hey ya got to try right.

Hit 1K at 4 minutes exactly which is pretty fast for me. Just after the 1k sign as the lead runners started to thin out I saw a guy slightly ahead of me. His left shoe was completely untied and his laces where whipping around. The girl next to me yelled at the guy to let him know but he said he was aware. Got to be a tough call, stop and tie the shoe and lose time or keep running and risk stepping on your own lace and taking a header (glad I always remember Too Tall's prevention advice).

Hit 2K with my second K run in 4:08 so was still right on my goal time and still felt pretty good. Reached the halfway point turn around at King and University and headed back up the other way. Saw George H. right at the turn around, it’s always nice to hear words of encouragement. Was still in pretty good shape but as I hit 3K I had slowed a little. The second half of this course is all slightly uphill, funny how such a small incline becomes noticeable when you are sucking wind.

I passed the 4K mark and then headed up around Queens Park on the final stretch. I was slowing down here more then I wanted as both my legs and lungs were stinging. At around 4.5K fellow Longboater Mark Stoller said Hi as he passed me like I was standing still. I suddenly felt like I was really slow as I watched him get smaller and smaller up ahead of me. Great running Mark, damn you and your young legs (Mark posted a 19:47 chiptime). I continued to push as hard as possible right to the finish, PBed by 2 seconds but didn’t make it to the magical 21 minutes. No worries will get it next time.

Official race stats
Gun time - 21:17
Chip time - 21:14
Place overall - 78 / 2556
Age group placing - 8 / 88

Race Phase 2
Took a quick 5 minute rest and chatted with Mark and George who had made his way up to the finish line. He was headed off to the HM course as well to do some pacing so I ran up the course with him. In no time I was up at the 10k mark where I saw Longboaters Anne B, Rob C. and Steve B. working the water station. Steve told me that Kim hadn’t passed by yet so I headed further up the road. There is a mid sized uphill just in front of Mount Pleasant Cemetery so I figured that I would go to the bottom of the hill and run with Kim from there. I didn’t even get to the bottom before I saw her.

I jumped in with her and she was doing pretty well and was holding her intended pace. She told me that the only glitch was that the buses were messed up as in not enough of them. She ended up taking another cab and only got into the corral 4 minutes before start time. From this point the rest was easy at least for me. I just tried to not speed up and let Kim draft off of me.

I have to say that this was a really fun time for me. I don’t often get to run with Kim as I am always training and so my pacing is too fast for her. I also don’t get to just relax during a race. Hitting the 18K mark of an HM and not being on the edge of imploding was a completely new experience.

Kim ran great and steady only slowing slightly in the last couple of KMs which are up the dreaded University Ave. incline. As we headed up University Kim said you’re not going to make me hold hand as we cross the finish are you. To which I gave her the as if face. Suddenly the girl we were passing said “Last year me and my boyfriend did that and then got a picture of us kissing as we got our medals. It was so nice”. Yeah like gag me with a spoon lady.

As we both pondered this bit of unsolicited information some guy with a thick Mexican accent yelled “You Can Do It” at us. Kim started laughing which is really not advisable when you are out of breath and energy at the end of a 13 mile race. She managed to get it back together and we crossed the finish line with Kim passing 3 people in the last 100 meters. Way to go honey. Kim was 6 minutes faster than she was at Scotia and 12 minutes faster than at Mississauga in May finishing in 2:20:47

All in all a pretty good weekend of racing. No offical pics posted yet... super slow they are. I will post them when I have them.


  1. What an amazing day you had! And finishing 8th in your group. wow. Way to go Kim too for beating her Scotia time. Wonder if we'll see that picture the lady was talking about, haha. C'mon, we all know you guys finished sweetly :)

  2. Awesome race report!

    My husband would never take that picture either. Love the "gag me with a spoon" line. Are you sure you're not from the Valley?

  3. Great report and good work with as a pace bunny. Too bad that you skipped the happy couple finish, it would have been adorable. :p

    I am very interest in hearing about the vrPRO issues you're having.

  4. Hi Chris Mcpeake,

    Thanks for visiting my last post.

    I will see your blog again as soon as you post pics about your weekend of racing.


  5. Awesome how the organizers dealt with the confusion of your double-registration. I agree - it's nice having people who give a damn.

    Congrats to both you and Kim for running PB's! What a great day for a race.

  6. Nice day of racing! Impressive "double". And good 5k time, even if you didn't break 20 (you will next time). Pretty neat that they gave out medals for the 5k. Good luck w/your last bit of marathon training!

  7. very creative way to include your race, your run and your commitment to pacing others...I can see it makes for a great day and a fantastic memory

  8. Sounds like a great weekend. Congratulations to both of you!

  9. Congrats and grat race report! I hated that Univesity Ave. hill too and it felt like much more than a slight incline at the end of the half! I bought the iFitness belt too-now wondering if I should have also picked up the Nathan. Oh well!

  10. Congrats! I don't know how you run fast 5k like that, thinking about 5k race it makes me want to barf :-)
    Good luck in Hamilton this week!

  11. Congratulations to both of us. It's awesome both of you got to enjoy the experience together. Love the medals too!

  12. Cool race report! And awesome that you ran hard in one race, but still had some in the tank to run another!


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