Marathon countdown, two weeks to go and time to start evaluating my training and racing results from the past five weeks to determine a target pace for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.
On August 26th, I ran a 10K I’d rather forget in Quebec City. The route was a lovely, slightly rolling, point-to-point route run on a wide scenic parkway along the St. Lawrence with one wide turn. The weather was hideous with near 100% humidity, high-heat and not the slightest breeze to be felt. I was far off my goal of going under 45 minutes with a time of 47:35.
Last Sunday, I ran a 10K in Oakville in 45:37. The weather was fabulous, the course fairly flat and I was satisfied with my time. Apparently the course was long. Members of a local running club posted their times with revisions to what they felt their results should-have-been. I was happy to accept the possibility that my time was really closer to 44:40.
Today I took part in what was billed as a time trial. The Railpath Run took place on a 2K loop with a timing mat at each 1K mark. The challenge was to see how many kilometers you could run in 45 minutes. The top three male and female runners were determined by the number of kilometers logged and a tie would be broken by the fastest time for those kilometers. My what-if is . . . say two runners both run 9K but one runner passes the other and holds the lead before the 45 minutes is up. Does the runner with the fastest 9K time still win? In the women’s race this scenario did not materialize as the top two both ran more than 10K but less than 11K. From about 400 meters, I was in fourth place and not long after passed one woman and held on for third place. I received a lovely photograph taken along the rail path route.
The drama for me came when at the last kilometer I saw that I would have to run a really fast lap to get timed for 10K. With the help of cheering from an enthusiastic volunteer who saw how close I was to crossing the timing mat before 45 minutes was up, I just made it! My last lap was my fastest time of 4:16. I was pleased as the last lap was also one of the harder ones as it had some uphill running and a severe hairpin turn.
1: 4:22 4:22 downhill
2: 4:31 8:52 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill
3: 4:36 13:27 uphill
4: 4:35 18:02 uphill, hairpin turn, downhill
5: 4:29 22:30 downhill
6: 4:34 27:03 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill
7: 4:35 31:38 uphill
8: 4:38 36:16 uphill, hairpin turn, downhill
9: 4:30 40:45 downhill
10: 4:16 45:00 downhill, hairpin turn, uphill
Given the impediment of the five hairpin turns, I’m confident that I am in sub 45 minutes shape. For an almost-57- year-old, the age-graded equivalent of 45 minutes is 36:25. I think I’ll be finding it harder to internalize these extrapolations when 50 minutes becomes the new 36 minutes. According to my research this will happen in six years when I turn 63. Like most people, I find it is hard to accept the physical limitations of aging.
As for determining my goal pace for the marathon, that is complicated and I’ll save that for a pre-marathon blog-post in the next while.
The best of times, the worst of times, still glad to be out there. Happy days!