flat is flat (the 6th halfer)

(warning, at some point in this blog, i will become more graphic because that is the complete experience. this graphic section will be clearly marked and you can skip to beyond it. just a warning….)
the toronto waterfront marathon was the most difficult one ever… for me; ironically, it was also the flattest course there could be….

as usual, small lessons and observations were gleaned along the way and i had plenty of time to think….
next time, i need to eat normally, to be especially wary when traveling to a marathon destination. that is, over the weekend, i was indiscriminantly gobbling on vietnamese, portuguese, ethiopian, dim sum, and 4 tarts. that the night-before dinner was perfectly by the book was small grace from the rich indulgence of the preceding three days! (but, oh, it’s difficult to hold back!)
personalized bibs! that was a nice touch, but it did not garner any extra friendly advances on yours truly… meh, it’s no secret my demeanour is on the aloof side.
the new shoes were a boon (only the third time wearing them)
the best way to wear my thick hair to endure two hours of jostling without fraying is in two pigtails. my hair is very heavy and as a single ponytail distorts in no time; spreading the weight across two pigtails was successful
avoided milk for the entire time i was in toronto, and the “breakfast of champions” consisted of a bagel, yogurt, a pear, a banana, and 500 mL water
a flat course might not be all it’s chalked up to be… no perceivable variety and endless pounding of level pavement is tedious on the mind in addition to the knees.
my 10K time was 58:00, not so far off from my 10K race this year of 57:23. go me!
i really fell apart at the end of the race. twice in the main race, i took breaks after 8 minutes of running instead of 10. the end of the race, with about 2 km to go, was by far the worst. knowing that my time was already shoddy, i took breaks whenever i felt like it and considered walking across the finish line.
running alongside the bow river with calgary downtown as a backdrop was much more pleasant than running on one major street in toronto (lakeshore blvd.) along lake ontario and with t. downtown on the other side
it being a scotiabank marathon, the t-shirts were red, making it my third red marathon shirt of the year… =S.
in toronto, after the run, you see plenty of fellow marathoners still donning their medals on the subway. but unlike “civic nation,” it’s not like you nod knowingly with each other. didn’t see any full marathoners on the subway though… too wiped out =P and a good number of them had not yet completed the race.
the unisex xs was still too large for me so i’m happy i brought my nike runTO t-shirt, an inadvertant advertisement for the 10K run on centre island. in any case, it made me feel like any other torontonian

this is the part where i get graphic ————————-
what is regularly an unbearable ordeal was pleasant by comparison this time.

the blister count is not lengthy (one barely formed on high on the instep of left foot, one bubbling one on side of left big toe, instep of the left foot is sore, and the side of the right big toe is sore). i had a sore back, sore feet in general, and a little bit of an upset stomach throughout the day.

for this particular half marathon, i was experimenting because i want to avoid getting as sick as i did after saint john and calgary. (thank goodness i got to crash at W’s place for a few hours after saint john – it was a 4-hour drive home – and in calgary, after the race my sister and i backpacked around calgary and good thing the sightseeing venues had bearable restrooms!) look up “runner’s trots” and see that i’m not the only one afflicted.

so, on the aggregated advice from several websites, i fastidiously avoided milk for the days preceding the race. the dinner before was so yummy (my cousin cooked) but not adventurous consisting of roasted mixed mushrooms laid over mixed greens in a balsamic vinaigrette and a basil florentine spaghettini. while i didn’t avoid caffeine as i should have all weekend, i didn’t repeat saint john by having one that morning. i also avoid fruit juices because of the sugar and for breakfast sunday morning, ate a multigrain bagel and banana (both touted to be constipating), a pear, organic yogurt with peach and grains, and two cups of water.

as a result, and goodness knows what other factors i did not know, the strong and terrible urges to run for the loo were pretty much pleasantly absent. i can do even better next time.
——————————— end graphic section

following are the final results as gleaned from the official list. it’s nice to see split times and that my pace wasn’t much worse in the second half. i really have no idea where the “6:05-minute kilometer” came from; i certainly couldn’t recalculate it.

2554 out of 4751 half-marathoners
1006 out of 2658 women half-marathoners
204 out of 402 women in my age category (25-29)
official time, 2:08:11.5
chip time, 2:07:08.5
6:05-minute kilometer
0 to 12km took 1:12:50 (6:07-minute km)
12 to 21.1 km took 55:22 (6:08-minute km)

so, to rank the current races to date…..
1. saint john ’04 / 2:02:19.2
2. vancouver ’05 / 2:05:00
3. calgary ’05 / 2:05:34
4. toronto ’05 / 2:07:08.5

5. p.e.i. ’04 / 2:10:57
6. halifax ’04 / 2:11:16.2

as is also part of the tradition, before i’ve even run a race, i’ve decided on my next race and it will be… the seattle marathon held over (american) thanksgiving weekend!

as you can see above, i’ve been pretty consistent this year (italicized; getting slower, unfortunately!) but that also means that i’m most definitely in shape to train well for the next two months (weather will be cooler and also, unfortunately, wet) and i would be thrilled to slot seattle into the second position but we’ll see….

On this day..


  1. NML says:

    Wyn, you scare me with all of this marathon running. I read this and want to hide under my duvet! It wasn’t very graphic at all. I was thinking that it was going to be something about sex, but when I realised that you were talking about something to do with needing the loo, I thought you were going to say you’d done a Paula Radcliff, which is basically what appears to be doing a No2 on the side of the road!

  2. Michelle says:

    wyn, you keep confirming over and over that runners are CRAZY! lol. all in good fun though. i’m glad you made it out pretty much unscathed. and you’re coming to seattle again! the route looks a lot more scenic compared toronto. but then again, Seattle *is* on a hill afterall.

  3. wyn says:

    me post about s*x? that will be the day….! haha.
    the seattle course looks cool with all sorts of neighbourhoods we’ll trek through and no double-backs over the same terrain. i haven’t found the elevation map yet and it might be scary… but nothing i can’t handle… two months from now. =P yeah, i’m looking forward to knocking down halfers in the states now =D

  4. Anonymous says:

    Your race was awesome Wynne. I was up in Toronto and planned to cheer you on, but I posted myself on the full marathon course and too late.
    That breakfast is very odd.
    When I race, I pig out on tofu-cheese scrambled eggs over a bed of rice. Then I lather the dish with spicy sauce. Now that’s race food! In Europe of course, I was restricted to only eating plain pasta.

  5. RiD says:

    Great race Wynne. I was up in Toronto for the weekend and planned on cheering for you. Unfortunately, I slept in and posted myself on the full marathon course, thus I missed you.
    That breakfast is very odd. When I race, I pig out on tofu-cheese omelettes over a bed of brown rice. I lather the dish with red-pepper sauce. Now that’s race food!
    On the other hand, in Europe, I was restricted to eating only plain pasta.

  6. teahouse says:

    Wow, I am seriously in awe of you. I’m in a slump now, haven’t gone running in over a week. Don’t know what’s wrong with me! You are my hero.

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