We’re almost at the end of the build! The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon is now five weeks away and I. Am. Exhausted. I’ve really tried hard this year to have quality runs and to do that, I’ve had to ensure quality recovery. Managing all the little aches and pains in addition to refueling properly has been quite the task at times but so far things have worked out with very few days missed for injury. I’m hoping I’m not jinxing anything here but so far so good.
The last race in the plan before STWM was the Harvest Half. This was a last minute pick for me after the Milton Half was cancelled. The race is put on by Run Waterloo and starts in the little town of St. Clements. The course was much more challenging than I had expected. Coach Rick had told me that there were some loose gravel sections. I though “It can’t be that bad. I train on gravel trails anyway.” Turns out that the course was about 4k paved road and 17k dirt/gravel country road. The country roads were quite hilly and zapped your energy if you weren’t careful. To top it off race morning was a complete wash out. It rained from the moment we arrived until after all the runners had finished (Figures!!). Having said that, I had my friend Kevin Farr with me for pacing. I’ve been enjoying long runs on the weekends with Kevin and other members of Grand River Elite Running Club. You can read more about them here: http://grandriverelite.weebly.com/ They’re a small but super fast group of runners. In trying to keep up with their paces, it has been pushing me a little in the long runs where I need it most.
Our plan was to go out in 4:00-4:04 kms which would bring us back somewhere between 1:25:00 and 1:26:30. Before the race I had been concerned with a bit of a nagging groin pull that’s been on and off the last couple of weeks. I told Kevin that I wouldn’t really know how it’d hold up until we got to race pace. Luckily, everything stayed together and Kevin and I were able to bring home a 1:26:31 finish which is a 17 second personal best time beating out the Ottawa Half earlier this year. I placed 11th overall and 1st in my age group. At first I thought I had placed 3rd but it turns out the two guys ahead of me placed 1st and 2nd overall in the race so that bumped me into first for the age group.
Discussing the race over some pizza, fresh corn and other goodies later, Kevin and I thought if the hills hadn’t been a factor we probably could have been closer to a 1:25:00 finish. I was also trying to be careful during the race to not aggravate the groin. I only felt it once briefly in the last km when we started to push a little. Overall, Kevin helped me execute a perfect race. With a negative split, we picked off about 6 runners in the back half of the course. The half-marathon is still my favorite to race. I’ve got a good strategy on how to run them now and really enjoy picking a runner in the distance and trying to catch them in the back half of the race.
So, the next race will be my second full marathon. Now’s the time to stay focused and be extra careful, listen to the body and have good thoughts. I feel the taper crazies coming but first I have one more 38k long run to do next week.
See you in October!