Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Just finished setting into the office, checking email and what do I see? Lance Armstrong's NYC Marathon plan to run & finish within one hour of the race finisher, that would be at least 3:09:30 (Paul Tergat won last year in 2:09:30). Apparently he is running 6:30 minute miles, but hasn't run farther than 13 miles yet. If Lance runs this time as planned, he will be just a bit faster than men's qualifying times for the Boston Marathon 3:10 for 18-34 year olds.

Christy and I ran NYC last November. It was by far my most favorite marathon so far. The course was hilly and challenging, but the people in the five burroughs were amazing! I qualified into NYC again for 2006, but Christy got pregnant (she's almost 8 months now and won't be running any marathons in 2006) and the hubby didn't get in either (his 2nd lottery was denied). Since I have taken a break from marathons this year, the plan was defer my entry until 2007 where we would be able to run it together. Now, I am back on the run or not to run. It would be really cool to run the marathon - it would be even cooler to beat Lance Armstrong (not that I'm any shape to do that right now). Hmmm - still have a few more weeks before the cancellationg and deferral of entry deadline.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Scotiabank Toronto
Waterfront Marathon & Half

Ran the Toronto Waterfront half yesterday! This is my first official run since running with Christy in NYC last November. We got pretty luck with the weather since all forecasts were predicting high winds & thundershowers. The first half was against a brutal headwind, but at least the weather was cool and it didn't rain as expected. Andrew, Arma, Jamie and myself arrived to the marathon start just in time. We didn't have enough time to wriggle our way closer to the start and had to start way back in the pack of the start line. After the gun went off, it took almost 2 minutes to cross the start. I got separated from those two right away, but ran an easy pace as I headed down the course toward the waterfront (and headwinds). I wasn't feeling super strong and ate a goo at about 35 minutes and then picked it up from there. It was great course since it was mostly flat and it's an out and back which allows you to see the elite runners on their way back in.

I've run a lot of marathons, but I've never had the luxury of actually seeing the elite men in action on the course. They are usually finished with their celebratory gatorade/champagne, press conference, ice bath and nap by the time I cross the finish line! In the big marathons like boston & nyc that I've run, the men are separated from the women and then of course you are all corralled in order of your qualifying marathon time. Yesterday, as I was cruising down the lakeshore portion of the course - probably around 9-10k, the frontrunners were on their way back up the hill by the boulevard club. I got goosebumps as the frontrunners zoomed past me - it was definately a motivator to pick it up from there. I pretty much ran the course in negative splits and felt really great. I didn't p.r. by any means, but I think I ran one of my best races (pace wise) ever. I felt so good at the end I was literally sprinting to the finish line (my last 1/2 mile was 5:25 pace). I had my garmin on, one of my favorite running gadgets - second only to my new ipod. (My only grievance with the Garmin 305 is that it occasionally loses satellite coverage around skyscrapers and near the waterfront).
Here are my race splits (the 8 minute one I was running between skyscrapers and lost the signal:
7:00, 8:07, 7:05, 7:38, 7:26, 7:34, 7:33, 7:09, 7:06, 7:01, 7:00, 6:47, 6:10, 2:20
I finished in 1:36 (8 minutes off my PR last year, but better than I expected. I also ran with my ipod which helps unbelievably, I turned it on at about the 10k mark and listened to the tunes the whole way until I spotted my friend Val and ran & chatted with her for about a quarter mile or so.

Jamie did an
awesome video - check it out. I wasn't expecting him to navigate to all the points in the course, but he continually suprised me by popping up, camera in hand. We laughed after the race since he ended up covering more terrain than the three of us as he was constantly running back and forth myself and arma and andrew, trying to capture footage and all of our finishes. If you listen carefully, you can hear him panting in the video as we are approaching the finish line when he said "good job" to me.

After we finished we saw another ambulance coming down the finish stretch - we said, "Oh, NO!, not another collapse I hope". (We were at the finish line of the Toronto Marathon last year waiting for the first full marathon finisher to come in, when the man from Oakville finished his half and collapsed - they were unable to revive him). The sight of the ambulance veering through the race crowds reminds you a bit of your own mortality and pushing ones physical limits in this sport. I found myself wondering if it was an elite runner or a new runner, someone maybe running their first long run, or maybe an elderly runner & hoped they'd be alright. (Read in the Toronto newspapers today, the man who collapsed was never revived). I feel terrible for his friends and family, but hope they can find a bit of comfort in knowing he was doing something he most likely loved!

We rushed back to the finish line so that we could catch the lead male runner coming in - he was on target for a course and Canadian record! He missed the record by less than 10 seconds, I wondered if he would have breaken it if they would have had a separate inside finish line stretch for him instead of having the half marathoners to veer around. Congrats to Daniel either way on an amazing time!

All in all it was a great half marathon! I'd definately run this one again. Arma and I are discussing our next runs...maybe the toronto marathon or half or maybe the Niagara Falls marathon. Of course we have the CIBC Race for the Cure this next weekend, where Jamie has promised to run in a pinkypink skirt if we raise $1,000! Hope to see you there! Or
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