Sunday, September 27, 2009

2009 Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon

What a disaster! from the beginning to the end of this race, a race full of frustration.

I arrived there around 30 or 35 minutes before the start of the race. Huge amount of clueless crowd, or maybe I was the only clueless one? I don't know. I couldn't see the start line at all, following the crowd trying to get to the start with the correct corral, there was no sign nor support crew to clarify where to line-up. Finally another runner told me to look at the colour of balloons. But there were two colours of balloons in one section, why do they group up red & yellow, blue & green??
This is what they advertised:
„X Red: 2:30 to 3:10 marathoners, 1:15 to 1:35 half marathoners, 0:20 to 0:29 for 5kers
„X Yellow: 3:11 to 3:35 marathoners, 1:36 to 1:47 half marathoners, 0:30 to 0:44 for 5kers
„X Blue: 3:36 to 3:59 marathoners, 1:48 to 1:59 half marathoners, 0:45 + for 5kers
„X Green: 4:00 to 4:45 marathoners and 2:00 to 2:15 half marathoners
„X Purple: 4:46+ marathoners and 2:16+ half marathoners

There were purple people thought they were blue! and there were a few of us blue full marathon runners got stuck with bunch of green half marathon runners! this is a huge race, why did they make full marathon and half marathon starting at the same time? Toronto Marathon was a much smaller race, half and full were started at different time. I had to jog, sprint, dodge tons of people trying to find the 3:50 bunny, but I still stuck with bunch of green corral people! Finally I saw the 3:50 continuous bunny, he was 600m-800m ahead of me, I was in panic mode as I couldn't get to him and the race already started, my first km was basically chasing after him, I was running at 3:59 - 4:49min/km just to catch him up! started out too fast but I had no choice, a start of the disaster race.

The first 5 kilometers were very frustrating, basically I was constantly trying to fight a spot to stay not too far behind the bunny pacer. Why was there so many half marathoners following a 3:50 marathon bunny? this makes me think why would I ever want to go to another marathon with huge amount of runners, such as NYC or Chicago, perhaps it is better organized over there I hope. As we get into 10k, things were more settled, runners speard out more and I was able to get closer to the bunny pacer. My heart rate were steady around 175, legs were crusing the course just fine. The pacer told us we were on pace for a 3:48 finish, I felt fine so I kept my pace with them. Things were uneventful except we started to see a few runners with us dropped behind, at half way it shows the we clocked about a 1:53 half marathon, I thought it maybe a bit faster but everything was under control and comfortable except the air was a bit humid.

At around 25k, there were only 3 of us from the original group following the pacer. 27k, still going great but all of a sudden I felt a sharp pain in my right calf, I knew this may not be a good sign, soon at 28k, same deal goes on my left calf... 30k we clocked 2:42, but both of my calves seized up... I knew this is the same thing happened last year with midsummer night 30k, seems my calves just gave up on longer distance when humidity is high. I had to pull aside and start stretching, from this point I never get to see the bunny pacer again. The frustrating experience began again, every couple hundred meters I had to stop, stretch and run a bit. My heart rate was dropping to 160ish, it really frustrate me that my engine is fully functional and going easy, but my wheels just doesn't go. My legs kept on crampping, I had to stop and stretch, this continues all the way to 40k. At around 40-41k, I saw the 4:00 bunny pacer passed me, I knew my goals were toasted. Not only I cannot make 3:50 but I might not even make it under 4hours.

Last 2.195k I gave up on stretching, both of my legs were screaming but I kept on going. My hobbling pace is barely around 6:00min/k, when I saw there was 500m left, I bite my teeth hard, going with my "fast hobbling" technique, I was only able to make to 5:22min/k pace... I saw 3:59 on my watch, but still 200m to go and I couldn't sprint at all, really crushed my heart. At the end - it was 4:00:29.3 chip time.

After the race, I was not tired but my legs were trashed, I almost fell while walking out. The volunteer had trouble to take off the chip off my shoe laces, and she was going to untie my shoe laces! *&^%@! I had to bend my cramping legs to sit on the ground and pull off the chip for her, I swear it wasn't that complicated! as I was hobbling to exit the city hall, someone behind me pushed a wheel chair and ran into my achilles! what else is there to add to my horrible experience today!

The only two accomplishments were:
- I passed David Miller at around 5k, he was doing a half marathon.
- If I am a woman 45-49 I am qualified for Boston! lol

What I was disappointed about this race:
- Confusing start line
- Bad corral arrangement
- Full/Half started at the same time
- Humid day (but I heard it was already much better than last year)

Will I do it again? maybe only to get it under 4 hours, but I really need to think about it if they don't seperate the start time of full and half. Although it was still a PB to last year's Toronto Marathon - 4:05:10.2 but I enjoyed the experience with Toronto Marathon much more.
End of my complaints and excuses.


jonovision_man said...

I've had craming too... wrote about it here:

That was 2008, but I had it again in 2009. It's an early-season race (Paris to Ancaster) and it's Mountain Biking, which I didn't train enough for... so I think in my case it's under-training for what I was doing. If you think your electrolytes were fine, that's the most likely cause. Thankfully the solution is simple: run more, run longer, hydrate.

Boris T. said...

Ouch about the cramping! I know the frustration, today was not a good day at all.

Marlene said...

Sorry that you had such a tough run, Felix.

I share your sentiments about the chaotic start. They need to reorganize trhis race if they expect to successfully host so many runners.

Fox said...

It's all David Miller's fault XD