Monday, September 28, 2009

Week 17: The Dress Rehearsal

Last week the majority of people in my run clinic started tapering in preparation for Sunday's Toronto Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon - and in a strong show of solidarity I did the same ;) Okay, I was lazy and tired and just wanted to slow things down for a bit. The presence of Joan Benoit at the Nike lounge did serve to light a fire under me though and I was able to slog through my VERY LONGEST long slow distance run on Sunday - boy was she a doozy.

Monday and Tuesday: Off. I did some weights and yoga on Tuesday just for kicks.

Wednesday: 6km group run. I have no idea if this was meant to be a tempo run but it was kind of a "slow tempo", more of a rumba run if you will. Good times, the run ended in the dark giving us another taste of Fall.

Thursday: 5km Running-In-The-Basking-Warmth-Of-Joan-Benoit's-Wisdom. This was a Nike Runner's Lounge run. They were giving out personalized shirts that night so most of the RR clinic was there. My shirt was going to say "I eat hills for breakfast" - but the lineup was crazy and after the run the Nike girls seemed frazzled and tired, so I left with a non-personalized shirt. Whatever, it was still free.
Friday I woke up with a wicked sore throat - I attributed it to standing around outside in shorts and t-shirt for quite some time before heading out to run Thursday night. It was chilly! Anyhoo, spent the day alternating between hot baths, under the covers and making tea. It worked - felt much better on Saturday.

Sunday: 36km long slow distance. So I bandited the Waterfront Marathon you guys. Shhhh! Yes, I ran the route without paying the fee. I didn't get a bib, a shirt, a timing chip, or a medal, or drink the Gatorade or use the toilets. Okay, okay I did use a toilet at 27km but there were no runners waiting! Gah. Anyway it was a great dress rehearsal before my big day. Tried to go to bed early on Saturday but was way too wired, woke up at 6am to pound in a bagel and tea, did some stretching, readied my iPod, sorted my gels, poured my Gatorade, stashed some cash and I was off and running at 7:30am - my earliest LSD run in 17 weeks. The crowd was massive and it took me 8 minutes to cross the START line. Madness.

The first 16km of the route are shared by the half-marathoners so it was amazing how quiet things got after that - no offense, but the half-marathoners are a CHATTY lot. I saw quite a few runners starting to shut down around 23km, lots of walking, lots of bending over and massaging legs, lots of inappropriate shirt removal. I split off from the marathon group at 30km and started to run back, I only needed to go 36km and running towards the Beaches would have taken me further away from home. All things considered it was a really great run. I never felt like I NEEDED a walk break but I made sure to take them on schedule. I had to remind myself to keep my pace slower than race pace which was hard given the energy of the crowd, they just make you want to run faster. I still had energy left when I got to 36km and I ran just a little bit further to get me closer to home. Given all this I think that I'm pretty well prepared for my own marathon :)

As for the Waterfront Marathon, I'm not sure that I'll ever pay to run this race. As much as I admire the work of the Canada Running Series I can't say that I loved the course. It wasn't as "Waterfront" as I thought it would be - I saw way more of the Gardener than I did of the lake. I really like the routes that the Toronto International Marathon has had for the past few years - it's a good mix of hills through the downtown and quieter areas of the city. I wish these two races could get their shit together and either merge or cooperate so that Toronto has a Spring AND a Fall marathon. And would a nice race shirt kill anyone? I mean really you guys?

Marathon countdown: 19 days

Up next: Slow ride, take it easy.

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