Monday, October 06, 2008

toronto: the race edition

I guess I should really update before I leave again and have other things to discuss as I gallivant across Alberta and try to moisturize enough to prevent the top three layers of my skin from flaking off.

I'll start by saying that this was my first trip to Toronto. It is too bad that Jordan and I didn't really feel like doing too much walking around, because it would have been nice to really explore the city. But, I can still say that I have been to Toronto and people can stop making fun of me. Here's how the weekend broke down:


We decided to take the bus to the train station. It was probably easier than taking a cab...who knew? Plus, it allowed for us to stop at Starbucks for a little pre-train caffeination, and that is never a bad thing. When we got to the train station, the stupid little self-check in kiosk wouldn't scan the bar code that Jordan had printed off. At first I thought this was a little annoying, until we realized that only Jordan's confirmation and bar code had been printed off and mine was still somewhere in computer land. Off to the desk and luckily that didn't matter at all, so we both got our tickets and headed to the giant line-up that we had hoped not to stand in, but as the seats weren't assigned (no idea why), we had to if we were going to guarantee seats together.
Other than that, the train was fairly uneventful.

Once in Toronto, we hooked up with Matt and Heather and headed on over to the Expo to pick up our race numbers and timing chips and all that fun stuff. We were there at a pretty good time, so it wasn't too busy. Plus, they still had small shirts, and it actually fit me. Give the Toronto Waterfron Marathon a point! (though apparently, I'm one of the only people happy with the sizing of the women's shirts. everyone said they were too small. as a small person, i'm liking that i can actually wear it)

Once we were done getting our shirts and our free samples of Gatorade G2, we headed over to the CBC to check out the shop where I saw Ron MacLean but was too shy to go up and say anything.
Then, on to the brewry tour! It was great to see Kris and Lynn and I'm glad we also got to have dinner with them...even if it was in a somewhat sketchy locale.

Very low key. We played Wii, we watched TV, we napped (ok, I napped), went to WalMart. And we watched Matt's brother play hockey. I had never been to a kid's hockey game before. There was a real concession stand and everything. So I of course had to have some popcorn (i was carb-loading right?). After a really good dinner with Matt's family, Jordan and I headed to the hotel we were staying at for the night, since it was only 600m from the start line of the race.

Since we were checking in later than a lot of the other runners, we got upgraded. Woohoo! Unfortunately, that's also when we discovered that the hotel didn't serve food until 6am. Not so good when the race starts at 7:30. So, we had to go find some food (and we wanted to make sure we knew how to get to the start line). As soon as I walked out of the hotel, something clicked. My thought was "this humidity? i'm not so sure it is going to go away."

We found the start line and we found a corner store that sold bagels and gatorade. You could tell there was a running event going on, because the gatorade fridge (yes, it had its own fridge) was half empty.

Back to the hotel for an attempt at a long sleep. We set three alarms: Jordan's phone, my watch, and the hotel alarm clock. Right after I turned the light off I thought "let me just make sure that alarm clock is set properly" and behold- the time was set as AM even though it was PM. Never hurts to double check. (though i didn't expect the regular time to be set wrong...)

All three alarms went off just fine, though it felt a little too early. We turned on the TV and it was already 17 degrees. And 94% humidity. Luckily, it wasn't supposed to get much warmer, but the humidity was going to stay.
But, we ate, we dressed, we took a few pictures and headed on over to the race to check our bag and wait in the bathroom line. Good times.

I was really nervous because for some reason, I was putting a lot of pressure on myself to do well. I don't know why. Running is supposed to be fun. Especially for me, since I'm not "a natural" so there is no reason why I should be really good at it. I just like it and it makes me feel good (well, after the pain goes away anyway).
Regardless, I was nervous, and I also didn't quite feel right. As I was standing there behind my pacer, things weren't quite right. Maybe because it was the first time I'd started alone...I had never done that before.

Apparently there was an anthem. I didn't hear it, but I DID hear the gun go off. Then I waited for the mass of people to start. Overall, I don't remember much about the race. I remember it being pretty crowded at the start (it took me quite a few minutes to cross the start mat), some jerk in a blue shirt cutting me off several times (how he kept getting behind me an then insisting on cutting me off...i have no idea), a couple who was running the full marathon on their wedding anniversary and were wearing special shirts (i wished them a happy day), a lot of uneven footing...Most of all though, I remember how crappy I felt. The ENTIRE time. At first I kind of thought "don't worry, you always feel crappy at the beginning of a run and then you find your groove". As the kilometers kept ticking away, I still felt like crap. No groove, no feeling of fun. Just crap. I don't even remember when I lost my pacer, I was just lost in "when is this going to get better?" It never did.

Honestly? I wanted to quit. I wanted an excuse to stop. Fortunately, I never came up with one good enough. At the 15K mark, I knew I wasn't going to make my "ideal" time and by 18K I was just hoping to hang on to my original goal and finish faster than my last one. By 1K left, I tried so hard to kick it up a notch, but there were no notches. My dial was stuck at about 7 and try as I might, there was nothing I could do to move it (not even to eleven).

At a couple hundred (maybe even 100) meters to go, I saw and heard my sister and I think I managed a weak smile and wave. I guess her first words to Matt were "she ain't lookin' good." And I'm sure I didn't.

As I crossed the line and limped through the chute (as soon as I stopped running, my right hip decided it wanted to tighten up), I was exhausted. But instead of that exhausted satisfaction of "man, I worked hard and it was worth it", it was a "man, that sucked. all of it just sucked."

But, I finished. And I did better than last time. But I did not break 2 hours.

Once I met Heather, changed, and organized myself, we had time to find a place to watch Jordan come in. Unlike in May, he saw us, heard us, and was able to give us a "this close" as he came past. He was just a few minutes off qualifying for Boston, which was his "ideal" goal. Also unlike May, I was not worried about his health as we waited for him in our meeting spot. He hydrated well and had a pretty good race, so it was much less stressful this time.

While we were getting Jordan organized, Heather was able to catch my mum and her friends finish walking the half, which was also cool. I missed it, but hopefully my mother is ok with that.

We had to walk quite the detour to get back to the hotel due to the fences from the race, but it was probably a good thing to keep the legs moving. After ice baths, showers, and lunch, we hopped in the car for the long trip back to O-town.

And so ended the race weekend to the big T.O.

Before I wrote this, I thought I had come to terms with the fact that I was disappointed and it was over. But writing it may have finally brought it to a close. I wanted to break 2 hours and I didn't. On another day, I probably could have, but on that day I didn't. Hey, that feels better.

Lessons learned:
-Who knew I could be disappointed with taking 5 minutes off a previous time?
-I hate humidity (oh wait, I think I knew that already)
-Just because you run well (and quite well) the week before a race, doesn't mean you'll run well on race day.
-It is also disappointing not to have fun.
-I'll get you next time you 2 hour bastard
-Regardless, I still like running and really hope that this ankle pain turns out to be nothing

And I don't really feel like writing a concluding sentence. Except maybe that Jordan rocked the marathon even if he didn't qualify for Boston. Oh, and my sister- rockin' as well. Plus, my mum and her friends walked that course like there was no tomorrow.
So: The End. (and i also haven't proofread...soooo, this is probably mistake-ridden)


Heather said...

you did really well... I know you aren't happy but you did well.

Frayed Laces said...

great report and nice bling!

Kirst said...

Man I would have been happy with that. But I completely understand the emotions involved.

Sandra said...

I'm proud of you! Not just for finishing the race or doing all of the training but for admitting you are not happy and then moving on. Way to go!