If you’ve read my blog entries from the last few months, you’ll know that my 2006 season has been one where I’ve pushed myself to my limits. Before the season, I had three major goals:

  1. Break 1:30 for a half-marathon
  2. Finish a half-Ironman
  3. Run a full marathon

I got goal number one out of the way early in the Waterloo Half-Marathon . In July, I managed to will myself through the half-Ironman run and cross the finish line (Peterborough Half-Ironman Report). Yesterday, my final day of reckoning for 2006 came as I took to the starting line in the Toronto Marathon.

As triathlon season wound down in August and early September, so did my training. I am also back in school this fall (see my MBET blog), and the last few weeks have been busy with projects, tests and networking. My training for the past month consisted of long Sunday runs (got up to 35km a few weeks ago), and maybe one short run squeezed in during the week. With the relatively low volume of training I had done, I was worried heading into the race about how I would hold up over the distance. On the bright side though, I was feeling fresh and strong heading into the race!!

One of my biggest concerns was the weather and how to dress. The high was predicted to be around 10 degrees Celcius, but it was much colder at the start. Despite being worried about overheating, I wore long tights, a long-sleeve running shirt and little “magic mitts”. I threw on a throwaway T-shirt overtop to keep warm until I heated up, and was ready to go.

First 21.1 km – 1:30:49 (4:18/km)

My strategy going in was to try to run around 4:25 – 4:30 / km for the first 10km, then see how I felt and maybe pick it up. As always seems to happen when I get in a race, I went out hard. Despite seeing my heart rate in the high 170’s (in training I tried to keep it around 165), I told myself I was feeling good and running easy. I tossed the throwaway T-shirt at the 5km mark and turned up Allen Road. The stretch of run through G. Lord Ross park was a nice change from the city streets, and I hit the 10km mark around 43 minutes. I kept it up, and passed the 14km mark in just over an hour – that’s almost a 3-hour pace!! Way too fast! However, at the time, I was feeling great, and thought that a 3-hour time may actually be possible.

Coming down Yonge St. back past the starting line was a lot of fun. There were people lining the street cheering us on. A few people even used my name, causing me to do double-takes to see if I knew them. After this happened a few times, I realized that my race bib had my name printed on it along with my number! DUH!!

I kept moving well down Yonge, and pushed on the steep downhill leading up to Hog’s Hollow. When I saw my time at the halfway mark, and knowing that there was a long downhill stretch on the second half, I thought I might have a shot at three hours, and figured I was on pace to finish in around 3:05!

Second 21.1 km – 1:44:36 (4:58/km)

The second half started with the toughest hill on the course, the nearly 1km killer just south of Yonge and York Mills. I missed the kilometre marker at the top, but I’m sure I managed to push up it in around 4:30. I was still feeling great when I passed my parents a kilometre or so later, and boldly predicted a 3:05 finish time as I ran by! It wasn’t long before I began to regret that!

At the 27km mark, I could feel my legs getting heavier. Take a look at the splits below, and you can see that’s where I really fall off the pace. I started stopping to walk through the aid stations around this point, and I knew any hopes of a 3-hour run were gone. At 35km, with my legs aching, I told myself that if I could hit 37km by 2:45, I’d still have a shot a making 3:10. I died in kilometre 36 though, and walked for a minute or, costing me precious time! The realization that I was not going to make my goal hit home at 39km, and the wind went out of my sails. Coming up York St., the final uphill and the mental battle took it’s toll, and I came to a complete stop somewhere past the 40km mark. Just as I stopped my friend’s Adam and Lynne walked by – Lynne had finished the half and they were walking home. Their cheering got me moving again, and I shuffled my way around Queen’s Park.

The last few hundred metres were lined with spectators, and somehow, I found then energy to turn it up. As I picked up the pace, I could hear the cheers, and broke into a full sprint for the last 100 metres! It was a bittersweet moment crossing the line, because I knew I had come so close.

The support of my friends and family being there at the finish was awesome though!!! Thanks guys!! Next year maybe one of you will step up from running the half and try this with me!

Total: 3:15:23.5, 10/102 M25-29, 97/1119 Men, 104/1618 Overall (Full Results)

Note: I posted my kilometre splits here.

Guess that’s it for the 2006 season of racing. Thanks for following along. Over the next couple months, I’ll try to post some of the things that I learned this summer as I challenged myself at longer distances! I’m looking forward to 2007, and potentially an Ironman! Stay tuned!


2 comments untill now

  1. PICS ARE ONLINE! GO CHECK THEM OUT!!!!!!!!!!! They did a better job then the Peterborough race that is for sure!!! They managed to get the shots from my sprint from Lakeshore and Front area to the finish……gawd i hated Lakeshore cause my short tri jersey was soooo wet and the winds were HORRIBLE! Did you use the free massage therapy? It was my first time….totally orgasmic!!

    Just to let you know that Im gonna be gunning you down come Waterloo APril 22nd…you doing the full or the half? You doing it at all?

    How is your recovery? Im running 3 miles everyday or so…its hard but i take a break and swim if i feel the pain….And yes i took a week off of running.

    Did you eat anything during race? Any tips on nurtrition? I didnt eat anything cause i knew the Banana would make me hurl…awell my fault 🙂 I learned my lessons 🙂


    Fellow Tri Geek, Fellow Dan, Fellow Comp/Bus Geek,


  2. Yeah, I saw the pics. They are pretty good. Got some good ones of me sprinting to the finish. Lakeshore was pretty brutal, I was glad for the long sleeves and long tights. And yes, I certainly took advantage of the free massage therapy!

    Good ideas for new posts… recovery and nutrition. I’ll write something up about both in the next couple days.

    I’ll probably run Waterloo in April, at least the half. I have trouble running in the winter, but signing up for the full would force me to get training! I’ll probably go for it – looking forward to having you chase me down!!