Well, I’ve finally arrived at the place I’ve been dreaming about all weekend: my couch. It’s been a totally insane, but fantastic weekend complete with two running races that I’ll give you the low-down on now while it’s all still fresh in my head.
Warning: This May Inspire You.
Trek or Treat 5km Run – Friday October 12th 2012
Matt’s marathon was on Sunday of the same weekend, so sadly he was out of contention to be my “running buddy” in the Trek or Treat 5K night run (he would have slowed me down anyways…….;)), but I was thrilled that my friend Bailey and her boyfriend Graeme were in to do it with me! We got to the course just in the nick of time and checked in, they really went all out with the Halloween decorations, and the place really looked great! Oh, and did I forget to mention that we tried to dress up as Ninja Turtles? Please, contain yourselves…
If I’m being totally honest, I don’t think I gave this run the respect it deserved. I’m usually pretty good about getting well hydrated, eating pretty well and trying to fuel my body right before runs, but for some reason this time, something was “off”. I wasn’t feeling 100% after my swim at lunchtime; I think it was a little bit of dehydration setting in. It always gets me that you can get dehydrated from swimming. I guess that’s called irony. Anyways, the biggest issue I had on Friday (I think) was my nutrition. I was eating pizza half an hour before the race, didn’t drink enough water…pretty much broke all of the rules for distance racing, but playing by the rules is no fun anyways right?
So Bailey, Graeme and I had a great run. The course was a lot of fun and wound through some great trails (that were lit with our head lamps of course!), and there were even some scary ghouls and goblins hiding out around some of the bridges to keep us on our toes. We finished in about 32 minutes with huge smiles on our faces – MISSION SUCCESS! Big congratulations to Bailey for finishing her first distance race!!! You rock sistah!!!
Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon & Half Marathon
We had a great time at the Trek or Treat Run, but the big event this weekend was definitely the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (for Matt and his dad Roy) and the Half Marathon (for Matt’s brother Neil). I was so excited for all of the boys, I know how hard they’ve all been training, and they deserved this weekend to be all about them. Matt’s big goal was to break the 3 hour mark, Roy wanted to go sub 3:30 and Neil was hoping for a PB below 1:50 in the Half Marathon. Those are some big goals, but that’s pretty much how these guys roll. I think they’ve all rubbed off on me A LOT over the past 3 years and I love it.
We got downtown on Saturday afternoon and went straight to the Runners Expo at the Direct Energy Centre. The place was hopping.
I love going to the Expos at big races, I’ve been lucky enough to go to the Boston Marathon Expo (thanks Roy for the ticket to that one!!), and that was totally out of control bananas. There must have been half a million people there. This one, thankfully, wasn’t quite as crazy. We got the boys their race kits, walked around and got as much free swag as possible, and then headed off for dinner at The Old Spaghetti Factory.
Insert Side Note: I hate city traffic on a regular day. Insert almost 20,000 runners and their families into the city, and you have Sara somewhere close to a total nervous breakdown. Back to the Spaghetti now.
We had a pretty low key night, although we did manage to squeeze in the Toronto Marlies Season Opener game against the Rochester Americans. They won 3-1 by the way. They’re not the Leafs, but I guess they’ll do…
This morning we were up and down at the Start line by just after 8am. It was absolutely pouring rain, and quite windy, which made it pretty chilly early on in the day. Neil’s girlfriend Jessica and I were the packmules spectators for the day, so we packed up all of the coats and sweaters and pants and waited for the start!
Once we saw the guys take off (let me tell you – if you’ve never been standing at the Start line of a marathon when that gun goes, you’re missing out. It’s a sight to see. Goosebump city), we booked it over to the 7km mark where our plan was to see Matt, Neil, Roy and hopefully the Sidders’ family friend Fergus go by before we took off for our next spot to watch for them.
Unfortunately, the walk that looked like about 2cm on our pocket map turned out to be about 3km, so we ended up basically sprinting down the sidewalk to try and beat Matt to the 7km mark.
God damn that guy is fast.
We just got there in time to see Matt, and he looked amazing!
We gave him a high five, told him he was almost there (mwa ha ha) and he carried on. Neil and Roy weren’t far behind him! Neil was running with Roy for the first couple kilometres to help him get out of the fray with all of the runners in the Start zone. If you remember from my very first post, Roy suffers from an eye condition and is considered legally blind. Not that that stops him from running marathons or doing IronMan competitions or anything…
After we saw Neil and Roy, Jess and I decided that we needed to book it down to Lakeshore to about the 18 or 19 kilometre mark to try and see Matt one more time before we went to the Finish line to see Neil come in. We made it down to the 19km mark just in time, and with only minor road confusion. Who’s the genius behind the TWO Lakeshore Road’s in Toronto?? There’s only ONE ACTUAL Lakeshore people?!?!
When we saw Matt at the 19km mark, he was 2 minutes ahead of his goal pace and looked fantastic.
We booked it up Bay Street to catch Neil at the Finish line, and somehow ended up walking right up the middle of the Full Marathon course towards the finish line…can you just imagine for one second if a Kenyan runner had come in for first place while we were walking in the road??? Needless to say, a couple of cops suggested that we get ourselves off the road, and we were thrilled to oblige.
Neil came in looking great at 1:49:17. He made 1:50!! We collected him (with some confusion as to where exactly we were going to meet up – the runners were herded like cattle over to Nathan Phillips Square which was a pretty solid walk from our hotel right on the finish line) and went back to wait for Matt and Roy to come in.
I’ll interject here that as soon as we saw Neil come in and we knew he was okay, my thoughts immediately went to Matt. Ever since we saw him at the 19km marker, this sick little seed of terror had been planted in me. It was like everything was going too well.
I’ve never seen anyone train for anything the way that Matt has trained to qualify for Boston and for this race as well. His work ethic is impeccable. 19 weeks of training and he never missed one single workout, and you better believe he left everything he had on the road for every single one of those workouts too. Matt has the heart of a champion, and I’m not just saying that because he’s my boyfriend. But I just had a weird feeling this time.
We got back to the finish line when the clock said about 2:53. For seven long minutes, we waited. I counted every second, my heart in my throat. When that 2:59:59 changed to 3:00, I knew that something had gone wrong. Matt doesn’t run “to see what happens”. He knows what should happen, and if it doesn’t, then something went wrong. I was beside myself, but there was nothing I could do at that point but wait and hope that we would see him soon. I was in agony.
We didn’t have to wait long, he came in at 3:03, essentially matching his Personal Best set in Manitoba, and qualifying for Boston…again!
Matt battled hard for the last 10km of his race. That’s when things started to go off-plan a little bit. He finished the marathon in a state that would have knocked a lesser person right out of the race faster than you can say “Uncle”.
Either there’s a major screw loose in this guy I’m dating, or he’s part machine.
One or the other.
I talk a lot in my classes about “not giving up” when things get tough. But really, I don’t know anything about “when things get tough”. Not like this anyways. It takes a special breed of human to battle the way that Matt does. I hope I have a little bit of that spirit in me too.
Well this is turning into a marathon post (pun intended) – but I’ll wrap up by saying that Roy came in shortly after Matt with a very impressive time of 3:33:55! A successful day all around.
I am so ready to tackle this week armed with the inspiration from all of these amazing athletes. Congratulations to ALL of you!