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Le Blog du Rob #104

Post-race blog, let’s get at it!

The Race: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Goals:
Awesome: Sub-2:12 & First Canadian.

Good: PB and top 10 overall.

Mandatory: Finish. Come hell or high water I had to get that damn finisher medal this year!

The Plan: “Give’r.”
“That’s a plan?”
“You’re damn right, that’s a good plan right there.”

Beautiful morning in Toronto. Good opportunity to run fast. Anthem is sung, Doug Ford is heckled, Gun fires, race starts, and the following events go down:

I felt fresh and snappy from the get-go, so for the first few kilometres I decided to just tuck in with the group going at Canadian record pace. It was quicker than I wanted to go, but I had to do it. Why? Two reasons:

Reason One: Science. There was a headwind coming from the west, the direction we’d be running for a big chunk of that opening 12K. Science says that even on a calm day running behind someone cuts wind resistance by two per cent. On a windy day having those bodies in front can make a massive difference. Running behind people at 3:04/K would be better than trying to solo 3:08’s into a wind. Science said I had to roll with those dudes, so I did.

Second reason: I wanted to give myself just a taste of the pace, put myself in the position to do something special. You never know, maybe I was going to get out there and just feel unbelievable. Have one of those once in a lifetime races and just destroy one. It didn’t happen, but man that would have been rad!

The opening 13K was brilliant. I just sat in the back of that pack and rolled. I didn’t do any work, I didn’t worry about any splits, I just ran. It was nice. I hit 10K at 30:43. I felt good and it was easy, but it was still so damn early and I knew this was a pace I knew that I could not sustain for 42.2K. The wind was now at our backs and I felt comfortable easing back and getting into my own rhythm.

I was supposed to have a rabbit out there, I told him of the plan and I was hoping to just tuck behind him after I let the pack go. Sadly that didn’t happen. My rabbit was a nice enough dude, but I don’t think he was in very good shape. He didn’t even make it 8K with the group. I appreciate the effort by Canada Running Series to bring in some support, but man, that guy was not very fit at all.
As a lone combatant I continued to forge on along Lakeshore as Gilly Boy and his crew floated away into the distance. This stretch along Lakeshore Blvd. is my favourite part of the STWM course. I was running west as thousands of other runners were heading east towards the turn around. The support and encouragement I received from my fellow competitors here was unbelievable. It gave me a huge boost and kept me pushing forward. Thanks so much to all whom helped me along at this point.

Rob Watson STWM 2013
Badass New Balance kit!

All day I was continually pumped up and pushed on by the amazing crowds whom had come out en masse all over Toronto to cheer on the runners. It was friggin’ awesome. It also helped that New Balance had taken the initiative create a beauty of a singlet for the Canadian guys to wear. We really stuck out and people got even more excited and loud when they saw the home team out there rolling.

Bad Ass NewBalance Kit.
I came through the half at 65:04, I felt great at this point. I was in complete control and I was getting excited about pulling off a big one. I tried to remain cautious though. A very common marathon mistake is for racers to come through the half ahead of their pace and feeling great. They get all excited and proceed to pick up the pace between 20-30K. These are then the same people crying and throwing up on themselves at 38K. I really wanted to be conservative from 20-32K, I wanted to be ready to fight hard and finish strong over that last 10K.

Things got a little lonely from 21-28K. It is a quieter part of the course and it is also where the legs start talking to ya a little louder. I had plenty of time in the bank so I just listened to the body and chilled during this section.

Turning onto the beaches at around 28K was a big relief, the crowds there were gnarly. Those folks were very loud and rowdy. I tried to utilize that energy and just soak it all in. I hit the turnaround at 29K feeling groovy. I was licking my chops, all I had to do was float the next 3K then attack the last 10K. I was certain that I was going sub 2:12. I passed 30K in 1:33:08.

The beaches however are also a little rolling, not terribly so, but just enough to do some damage.
I felt the first twinge at 33K, just a slight little tingle, a small spasm. I had felt this before, I was a bit concerned.

By 36K they had hit in full force. Started in the right calf and then moved to the left. Full on cramps and frequent spasms. Damn. Same thing that got me in Boston. I was pretty annoyed. My energy levels were great, my head was clear and I was on for an awesome day.

I guess complaining about cramping during a marathon is pretty stupid. I mean, they kinda come with the territory. We’re out there for 42.2K beating the crap out of ourselves on hard pavement. What the hell did we expect was gonna happen? It’s like complaining about being too full during a pie-eating contest.

The last 6K I was digging so damn hard. I still had a chance at sub 2:13, but the cramps just render you useless, and boy did it ever hurt. Some people talk about the bear jumping on their back, or hitting the wall and things like that. I’ve experienced those feelings as well, and they suck really bad. These cramps sucked just as bad, but in a different way. Once you get over that 30K mark in a marathon there are many different ways in which your life can suck. On Sunday it felt like I was being chased by a very mean little goblin whom just kept stabbing me in the calves. I call him “Stabby the Marathon Ruining Goblin” and he is a little bastard.

Piss off, Stabby!
Piss off, Stabby!

Piss off Stabby!
As I crossed the line I stumbled past the photographers, past the VIP’s, and I was on the verge of going down. Out of nowhere comes this big bear of a man to catch my limp, lifeless body. Clif Cunningham, what a guy. Clif is the west coast head of the CRS, he has been a constant supporter and friend of mine ever since I relocated out west.

Clif has also been known to bust my balls about dropping out of STWM… twice. This race has had my number. Finishing this STWM race was ridiculously important to me.

Clif catches me:
“Great job Rob, good effort”
“Oh shit, oh god…*incoherent rumbling*….”
“You alright rob?”
“Yeah, man. Did I get my medal!”
“Yeah you did man, you want this one?” *pulls out finisher medal that he just happens to have in his pocket*
“F**k yeah I want that one!”
*Impromptu medal ceremony followed by man hug*

Thanks Clif, you’re a good man.

My finishing time was 2:13:29. An eight second PB. I am thrilled with my new PB, that eight seconds capped off an amazing little stretch. 2013 has by far been the best of my career. I am so lucky that I get to continue to live this life, continue to live this dream.

Thanks so much to Coach Pete. Thanks for putting up with my mood swings, messy room and crazy ideas. Thanks for having my back and continuing to push me forward.

Thanks to Kristin for being my training camp Mom. Thanks for cooking me delicious gluten-free meals, hooking me up with gym and strength connections and always being the first to tell the haters to go eff themselves.

Mom and Dad; Words cannot express how much you rock.

Aunt Jill, Jim, My Grandmother, my brothers, and the rest of my family. Thanks for always being there to share these experiences with me. I Iook forward to many more.

Robin Truxelof TurPilates and Chris Napier at RestorePhysio (Nice little 2:35 himself out there). You guys have played a huge part in keeping me healthy and in one piece. This little marathon binge would not have happened without ya.

Shout outs to New Balance, CEP and E-Load. Your fine products keep me fit, healthy and ready to roll.

Thanks to Alan Brookes and the CRS for continuing to put on such great events and going out of their way to help us run fast.

Gotta give a huge shout out to Lanni and Krista, simply amazing work out there. Inspiring stuff.

Lastly, thanks so friggin’ much to each and every person out there whom has taken the time to offer up a kind word and show their encouragement. Be it out there on the course Sunday, on the Twitter, Facebook or even here on the blog. Your constant support has been so amazing and tremendously uplifting. You guys rock.

Onwards and upwards friends.

-rob-