Around the Bay 30k Race Report 2017

on Saturday, April 1, 2017 at 7:09 PM

Did Around the Bay last weekend.  I've done it a few times over the years, but it's always been part of a training run with a portion of it at marathon pace. The training plan had an 18 mile long run with 14 at marathon pace. Around this time last year, I did this same run at 7:15 min/mile pace for the marathon pace portion (not at ATB, but on a normal training run) so I thought I could try that again.  However, if I were able to hold that pace for another 4.6 miles I might qualify for the silver medal which the race gives out to those who finish in under 2:15 gun time.  I wasn't sure however this would be doable.  A 2:15 30k equates to a 3:15 marathon according to McMillan which means if I'm roughly in the same shape as last year, trying for 2:15 would be racing at my limit for the 30k distance. 

I stayed overnight in Hamilton at the same place I've stayed the previous two years. Have that down to a science now,  breakfast, consisting of oatmeal with brown sugar, bagel with PB and jam and a waffle with syrup and a little bit of water to wash it down. Left hotel room 10 minutes before start, jogged to the start line for a brief warmup, stood around for a few minutes and then the race starts.

 Gear consisted of shorts and long sleeve T over a short sleeve T which was about perfect for the conditions, just above freezing, windy but no rain.

I had initially planned to start with the 2:15  pacer and scoped out at the expo that there were actually two pace bunnies this year.  One of the guys was the same guy who ran the 3:15 marathon last year at Goodlife and who had started out too fast, the other guy seemed to have good pacing performances in the past with nice even splits, so I was going to run with him and use the group to block the wind at the start which was coming from the NE.  However, once in the corrals on race morning, the guy I had intended to follow had dropped down to pacing 2:25 which meant that I only had one option for pacers which was the fast start guy.

Having thought about it some more, I decided not to try to stick with pacer because I was pretty sure he was going to go out too fast, add to this that he was actually at the back of the first corral which means he also had to make up the gun-chip difference. I thought trying to chase after the silver medal wouldn't be worth it.  Medals don't mean too much to me.  I have shoeboxes of medals in my closet that I haven't looked at since the day I got them. I thought I could still chase 2:15 for a chip time but I wouldn't try for the gun time because the forecasts were predicting wind and I thought it would be better to start off a ways back so I would have people to block the wind for me. 

Some general comments. I decided not to run the race with a pace band. I normally always have a pace band, but I thought the math would be easy to do on the run if needed (4:30/km, 9:00/2km). The markers seemed all over the place at times. Pretty sure the 10k marker and timing mat was misplaced because everybodies 10k split time seems slow and everyones 10k-15k split time seems fast.  The first 15k of the race is into the headwind at times and I tried my best to tuck in behind people where I could.  I wasn't too concerned with split times or pace but just tried to run a good effort level and found that keeping my HR around 170 seems to work. Didn't have any HR issues early.

The 2:15 pace bunny was behind me for the first mile so maybe he was going to be okay, but then he took off and I let him go. Looking through his Strava race, half of his miles in the first half were sub 7 min/miles with a couple of sub 6:45's in there (a 2:15 30k is 7:15 pace) Glad I didn't try to stick with him. Approaching the 15k mark, I could see the clock was around 1:07:30, in fact checking the split times after I hit the half mark at EXACTLY 1:07:30 (gun time) (1:07:11 chip) which was putting me on track for a 2:15 guntime finish.  This actually surprised me as it means I had made up the chip gun differential and the first half had the head wind.  I started giving thought that maybe I could still chase after the silver medal. The next little bit would have a tail wind where I could bank some time which I could give back up when I got to the "hill".  Easier said then done, because the rolling hills on the next 5k, even with the tail wind, didn't allow me to bank any time whatsoever.  Crossing over the 20k mat, I was about  5 seconds over where I needed to be for the silver medal, but with the hilly part still to come, wasn't too sure that I was going to be able to ramp up the pace. This was compounded by my HR spiking just after the 23k mark.  At this point, I had run 14 miles at marathon pace and was contemplating slowing down/stopping  to try to get the HR to reset. I ended up just continuing to run and not bothering with split times anymore.

Down the hills and then up to "heartbreak" which was not pleasant, but thankfully this hill is relatively short and over with quickly.  I think I did one time check within the last 5 km which I think was at the 28km mark because I remember thinking at the time that 2:15 chip time probably wasn't realistic, but that I would comfortably finish before 2:16 (The split had me 40 seconds over 2:15 chip).  However looking back in hindsight, the 28k marker was severely misplaced as it seems like I was a lot closer than I thought. If I had checked at the 27k mark, I would have seen that I was right on the bubble. In the end I finished in 2:15:10 chiptime. Gun time was 2:15:30 which means I missed the silver medal by 30 seconds. Could I have found an additional  10 seconds over 30k? yeah probably.   Could I have found 30 seconds? Maybe. Pretty happy with the effort level though.

Splits are as follows. Polar data is here.

KM Time Split Time relative to 2:15
1 0:04:30.6 04:30.6 00:00.6
2 0:09:17.5 04:46.9 00:17.5
3 04:23.0
4 0:18:03.6 04:23.0 00:03.6
5 04:24.6
6 0:26:52.7 04:24.6 -00:07.3
7 0:31:20.5 04:27.8 -00:09.5
8 0:36:03.3 04:42.8 00:03.3
9 0:40:27.7 04:24.4 -00:02.3
10 0:45:55.6 05:27.9 00:55.6
11 0:49:18.0 03:22.4 -00:12.0
12 0:53:48.7 04:30.7 -00:11.3
13 0:58:19.2 04:30.5 -00:10.8
14 1:02:46.5 04:27.3 -00:13.5
15 1:07:11.6 04:25.1 -00:18.4
16 04:33.8
17 1:16:19.3 04:33.8 -00:10.7
18 1:20:41.5 04:22.2 -00:18.5
19 1:25:07.8 04:26.3 -00:22.2
20 1:29:35.3 04:27.5 -00:24.7
21 1:33:56.3 04:21.0 -00:33.7
22 1:38:38.6 04:42.3 -00:21.4
23 1:43:13.3 04:34.7 -00:16.7
24 1:47:49.1 04:35.8 -00:10.9
25 1:52:37.0 04:47.9 00:07.0
26 1:57:01.2 04:24.2 00:01.2
27 2:01:30.6 04:29.4 00:00.6
28 2:06:39.7 05:09.1 00:39.7
29 2:10:52.7 04:13.0 00:22.7
30 2:15:10.0 04:17.3 00:10.0

So the race went pretty well. I'm still not sure that I could sustain this pace over the course of a marathon as it's been 9 years since I've been able to do that and fitness wise. I don't feel that much better in terms of fitness than I was last year where 3:10 was a pipedream but who knows, maybe the taper can increase my pace by a few second per km which might put me in the ball park. I don't necessarily need to run a 3:10 marathon, but just close enough to clear the BQ cutoff under 3:15.  What that cutoff is though is a bit of a crapshoot so the more time the better.

Scotiabank Waterfront Half Recap 2016

on Saturday, October 22, 2016 at 8:49 PM

Paced the 1:45 half at Scotiabank again this year.  With no marathon training to rely on, I needed to maintain some level of fitness over the summer, which totally went into the crapper during the film festival.  Normally when I have a pacing gig, I like to do an LT workout  at a pace where the equivalent race time says I should be able to do an equivalent time at the pacing distance.  So about 3 weeks ago, I did an 3 mile LT run at a pace that says that for a 3 mile time trial, I should be able to do a 1:42 half.  I extended that to a 4 mile LT run the following week which also said 1:42 half.  Still not quite convinced, two weekends ago, I did 15 miles which included 13 miles at about 7:45 pace (1:45 is 8:00 min/miles) so I was pretty confident that 1:45 would be doable.

Normally going into the last week of an important race, I am extra careful about not getting sick or injuring myself, which I completely ignored this final week and with my luck, I started to come down with something on Tuesday and a had a full blown cold on Wednesday/Thursday. Immediately, went on the Cold-F/X (not sure this works, but hey I was desperate) and Vitamin C and it seemed to have settled down by Sunday.  Still not completely recovered however, but at least I could breath through my nose.

I found that in the past, I tend to overcompensate when something goes wrong and I realize now that my drinking too much at my race back in May led to me not hydrating enough going into this race. I didn't quite drink enough on Saturday and was probably a bit dehydrated going into the race. I had left home somewhat late and arrived at about 8:00 for the 8:45 race start.  Parked at the Eaton's Centre but made the mistake of trying to cross Bay to city hall by walking south, not realizing that they weren't letting people cross Bay because the 5k race had started at 8:00am.  So after backtracking a bit, it was probably around 8:15 and so had to find bag check, take my pre-race gel and headed into corrals at about 8:30.  Didn't even get a chance for a bathroom break, but didn't need to as it would turn out.

Some general comments for future reference. As is typically, I started the race too fast even though I had made a conscious attempt to be slow.  The Polar GPS pace (left arm) was way off for the first km, but the Garmin (right) seems about right so maybe next time I will just let the Garmin dictate the pace at the start.  I made an immediate correction during the 2nd km and was basically on pace by the 2 km mark. It was very humid, including a light drizzle of rain at the start. Rain stopped after a few kms, but the ground was slick and a bit slippery.  Coming down Bathurst, I heard someone behind me take a nasty spill. Normally on this part of the route, I run down the centre of the street between the two sets of streetcar tracks.  I've done this in the past to avoid the camber of the road and get an optimum GPS signal, but I think this might be dangerous because as people crowd around, there's a risk of people stepping on the train tracks on either side of me and falling which might have happened this time.  Last year, an elite runner broke her leg on the streetcar tracks so in hindsight, probably best to stay on one side of the road. 

Generally on pace for most of the race, picking up time on the downhills (3-8km). The slow down at 7km is due to the train overpass at Bathurst-Front.  I think the slowdown at 12km was an aid station issue since both GPS's show I slowed down to slower than 9 min/mile pace for a short period of time. It might also partially be a tangent issue since this part is a bit curvy. Slowdown at 19km is due to the Lakeshore overpass at Spadina.

Developed a side stitch on right side about half way through. Probably due to lack of hydration. It was really starting to bother me late into the race to the point that I was having difficulty carrying the sign. I normally hold up the sign for the whole race, but was having difficulty doing so because of the cramping. I tried to just carry it by my side for a short while, but realized there was no point carrying it like this if no one was going to see it, so I decided to toss it at an aid station near the 18 km mark.  I still had the time goal on the bunny ears and was wearing a sign on my back so that would have to do. It was a struggle towards the end.  I tried to do the breath on the side opposite the side stitch thing to lessen the pain, but this required a 1-1 breathing pattern and a slow down in cadence which caused me to run less efficiently, which means I had to expend more effort to do so.

During the last km, I usually try to be  encouraging to people running up Bay, but I was in my own little world of hell trying to maintain the proper pace with my abdomen begging for me to slow down. Checked my watch at the 200m and 100m to go mark and saw that I was pretty close to my goal time so no room for error. In the past, I'm up by at least 15 seconds so I can take the last little bit easy. Not this year. Ended up finishing at 1:44:56.

Splits are as follows

KM Cumulative Time Split Goal Time Time Under
1 0:04:53 04:53 0:04:59 -00:06
2 0:09:58 05:05 0:09:57 00:01
3 0:14:57 04:59 0:14:56 00:01
4 0:19:51 04:54 0:19:54 -00:03
5 0:24:43 04:51 0:24:53 -00:10
6 0:29:26 04:43 0:29:51 -00:26
7 0:34:32 05:06 0:34:50 -00:18
8 0:39:28 04:56 0:39:49 -00:20
9 0:44:27 04:59 0:44:47 -00:20
10 0:49:26 04:59 0:49:46 -00:20
11 0:54:23 04:57 0:54:44 -00:21
12 0:59:30 05:07 0:59:43 -00:13
13 1:04:31 05:02 1:04:42 -00:10
14 1:09:28 04:56 1:09:40 -00:12
15 1:14:27 05:00 1:14:39 -00:11
16 1:19:27 04:59 1:19:37 -00:11
17 1:24:27 05:00 1:24:36 -00:09
18 1:29:27 05:00 1:29:34 -00:08
19 1:34:32 05:05 1:34:33 -00:01
20 1:39:29 04:57 1:39:32 -00:03
21.1 1:44:56 05:27 1:45:00 -00:04

Polar Route and Stats

HR did spike at 16km but had turned off HR display so didn't know.  My HR was also much higher prior to this hovering in the upper 170's.  I think this was a remnant of the cold and it being quite humid and relatively warm (was 19C at start). I did the 15 mile run the weekend before in the upper 160's.  

Generally, pretty good split times and even pace.  In previous years, they only had a 10km intermediate timing mat, whereas this year they added timing mats at the 5km and 15 km mark which allows me to track who actually ran the race with me. I imported the finish line results into Excel and calculated gun time splits for everyone and then sorted by gun time finish. Using the advanced filtering feature, I can generate a list of people who finished within 30 seconds of my gun time who also were within 30 seconds of me at each of the 5, 10 and 15k mats. In total there were 26 people who fit this criteria.

Engineering degree comes in handy...
 There were also 37 more people who were within 30s of me at the 5, 10 and 15k marks who finished outside of the 30 second finish window, 6 of whom finished more than 30 seconds ahead. 

So all in all, quite happy with the pacing performance this year, even despite the side stitch. Still need to work on that first km though... 

Oh Well..

on Sunday, October 16, 2016 at 8:19 PM

So I didn't get into Boston.  The cutoff was 2:09 which means I wasn't even close.  I needed to run 3:12:51.  Looking back at my BQ run in May, it didn't matter that the last 7 km was into a brutal headwind, I was already behind by the 35km mark. Relying on the BQ estimates that other people were calculating proved to be a bad choice.  The method they used was somewhat accurate last year, but not remotely accurate this year. 

This has had me rethinking the Boston qualifying attempts.  The past 2 years I've just tried to squeak in by using the previous years cutoff as a guide.  This hasn't worked and the issue is that everyone is now aiming to beat their BQ time by 5 minutes to ensure that they can register for the first week.  While it would be easy to say that I should just train for 3:10, the part of me that thinks back to how hard it was 8 years ago to run a 3:10:23 on higher weekly mileage and I start to question whether it's even doable now.  But of course, I don't actually have to run a 3:10 as I just need to clear enough time to make the cutoff so a slip to 3:12 during a 3:10 attempt might be okay.  This is a lot better than initially aiming for 3:12 which doesn't leave a lot of room for error. 

Another side of me says hey I can wait a few years and my BQ time increases to 3:25, but I thought it would be neat to aim to run Boston at least once in each age category which means I would need to do it within the next 2 years before I age-up into the next category. 

I haven't really tried to train for a 3:10 marathon in a long while so I guess I'll have to see how it goes, if it even goes at all.  It's easy for me to say now what I intend to do over the winter, but you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men...

Registering for Boston

on Monday, September 12, 2016 at 7:07 PM

Boston registration started today, but with the new rolling registration system and me having less than a 5 minute buffer, I won't be able to register until next Monday.  I booked my hotel for Boston last week as I'm pretty confident I will be able to get in.  There have been a bunch of different people(here, here and here) who have been data crunching the results list of various races over the past year and they are predicting a minimal cutoff because there are a lot fewer qualifiers compared to this time last year. Most of the drop off was due to the warm conditions in Boston this year, but also a lot of other races this past summer have had crappy conditions so the pool of potential qualifiers have dropped significantly.  Actually, the whole idea is a pretty interesting data mining project.  If they had this registration system back when I was in grad school, I probably would have taken the task to do the analysis as it's fairly rich dataset that would have been easy to work with.  

Looking at peoples times is one thing, but the one wildcard in this was the number of places that Boston was going to offer next year.  All of the above analysis assume that the number of entries next year would be the same as last year which was 30,000.  Obviously, if the number dropped, with fewer place available, the competition gets more heated and the analysis would go out the window.  I was holding out on committing to Boston until I knew the number of places for next year, which they announced last week at 30,000 so that was good and the hotel was booked.

I also applied to the lottery for Tokyo and London for next year which take place in February and the week after Boston, respectively.  With my luck, after striking out over the past few years, the one year I don't want to get in will probably result in me getting into both of them!  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it though it'll be a nice problem to have. 

Run For Hutington Disease 10k Recap

on Friday, July 1, 2016 at 7:18 AM

I did a 10k race last Sunday, but I didn't actually end up racing it.  After doing a marathon, I usually like to do a few shorter races to test where the fitness is.  I had originally planned on doing the Run for Lions event which is on the Saturday that I had done last year, but I slept in.  I also had a weird twinge in my ankle on Friday.  I had switched shoes recently and I think it ended up stressing my ankles so the extra day of rest would hopefully be beneficial.  The race takes place at Sunnybrook park, and starts at the same place as the Korean Peace Marathon and Spring Into Action races that I've done before, but the route was different.  While the other two races are a 5km out and back course.  This race consisted of a 2.5 km out and back course that we would have to do twice.  While this might seem a bit boring, I actually don't mind this route as it eliminates a big hill that is present when you do the 5km out and back course.

I arrived Sunday morning and it was a bit warm and I don't like racing in warm weather.  While I had hopes of setting a PR, I quickly realized that this was going to be unlikely. I did the warm-up HR spike thing which I did get to go and reset, but as soon as I started, the HR took off right away hitting 190 in less than a minute.  I ended up running to the first water station which is just after the 2.5 km turnaround and then decided that with the HR spiking that I would shut it down.  I then proceeded to walk hoping to get the HR to reset.  I thought it did a couple of times, but as soon as I started running again, the HR would take off. In the end, I spent the next 4.5km or so trying to get the heart rate to reset. Was finally able to get the HR to come down shortly before the 7km mark for good and then proceeded to run out the rest of the race at a moderate effort.

Polar Stats and Route

So here's crazy HR.

HR at start is well over 190 and over 200 by the time I shut it down at the first turnaround, whereas at the end, the HR is at around 180 even though the pace is roughly the same.   You can also see me doing the run/walk thing in between.  Normally, when I walk, the HR is just over 100, but when it spikes it hovers at around 140 or so.  You can see when it spontaneously resets at just over 40 minutes when the HR drops suddenly and that's when I start running again to finish the race.  

Finish time was 58 minutes or so, which I guess isn't so bad when you consider that I walked for a good chunk of this. It was nice to actually enjoy the route and take in the scenery. It would have been better if I didn't have to pay a $50 entry fee to do so, but I got a tech shirt out of it and the money goes to a good cause so I suppose it's okay.

I'm finally getting the HR thing looked at again so hopefully I"ll have more information to better decide if its okay for me to actually just run through these HR episodes.


on Friday, May 20, 2016 at 10:15 PM

While talking with Kenny at the start of the Goodlife marathon a few weeks ago, he mentioned that he had considered doing the Whitby International marathon as his after Boston race which is taking place this weekend.  I had never considered doing Whitby, but it's timely placed and a relatively flat course.  I started thinking about maybe doing Whitby shortly after finishing Goodlife.  I'm not sure that a 45 second BQ cushion that I had at Goodlife would be enough. Would have liked to have at least a minute or something similar to what I had last year.  I would have had a good three weeks of rest and recovery between the two races. While I've done 2 weeks before, it wasn't ideal and I think three weeks would totally be doable. 

However, I did have to take stock of what my fitness level would be and what time I could reasonably run.  While Goodlife was a net downhill course, Whitby is a flat  course that starts and ends at the same place so no net elevation change.  I honestly think while doing Goodlife that I was more fit than I was doing Goodlife last year and if not, for the crazy headwind over the last 7 km I would have at least matched my time from last year.  The question however is how that fitness would translate onto a flat marathon course and that I'm not sure of. 

Crunching the numbers from Goodlife, the only time I was able to really bank under 3:15 was a result of the downhill drop of Goodlife.  If I eliminate the first half of Goodlife, from the 21.1k mark to the start of the wind at about 35km, I only averaged about 7:29 pace over the flat section which would have put me at a 3:16 marathon if extrapolated to the full distance. Goodlife though was a crappy day with rain weighing down my clothes and I had a side stitch issue so maybe I could knock a minute off of that in more ideal conditions.  If I look at my time in 2015, I did the last half of the race at about 7:25 pace which would put me at a 3:14:36 marathon, still slower than the time I had this year.  Could I do more? Sure, maybe if I hadn't pigged out on food in the last few weeks and put on about 2-3 pounds, so it was looking like that trying to do Whitby in the hopes of bettering my BQ time would not be in the cards, until I started doing some digging around in Garmin Connect. 

While the Whitby marathon claims that it is a certified course and a Boston qualifier, I'm not too sure.  I say this for two reasons.  Firstly, the Whitby course doesn't appear on the official list of certified courses in Canada.  While the list does have an entry for the WIN marathon, this was for the course in 2010 which is not the same route that is shown on the WIN marathon website or the same route that was used last year.  There doesn't appear to have been a measurement of the new course that was certified.  Now this isn't necessarily an issue if the course actually is the marathon distance as you can always get it certified later, if need be. 

However, there's a possibility that it's not even the right distance which leads to the second reason why I don't think the course is certified.  While scouting around on Garmin Connect to see what the actual route looks like based on previous people that have run the course, it appears that no previous Garmin has measured the course at being at least 42.2km

Less than 42.195km "marathon"?

While 5 people running is not a big sample size, the fact that none of them show a distance of at least 42.195km is a bit of a concern.  Now GPS isn't precisely accurate, but generally, based on past experience, GPS measurements of marathons are longer than the actual distance, not shorter.  While I'm not sure how actually short the course is, the longest is about 80m short while three of the routes show 200m short.  200m short would be about 55 seconds of running that I wouldn't have to do, which would be a big bonus for someone like me who's on the bubble.

Of course knowing all this could potentially taint any supposed BQ time and I'm  not sure I would be willing to benefit from this.  Would it be cheating if I intentionally ran a BQ time on a course that I knew was short?  That's a good question, and I'm not sure it's something I want to have to answer.

Goodlife Toronto Marathon Race Report 2016

on Wednesday, May 4, 2016 at 7:15 PM

I ended up doing Goodlife again. Yes, I know I said last year that I wouldn't after the terrible organization, but sometimes the weather throws you a curve which ended up being a forecast of strong winds coming from the northeast.

Forecast on Wednesday before race.
Strong winds from the east favored Goodlife as it's a net west course with only the last 7 km or so running into a headwind. Mississauga on the other hand has about double that running into the wind at the end. I little bit of wind I would have been able to handle, but this was gale force stuff so logic justified Goodlife.

Race morning was pretty much the same as it always was. Woke up at 5am for a 7:30 race start. Downed a bagel with peanut butter with a little bit of gatorade and was out the door by 6:15am on the way to the start line. Took a short detour before parking to figure out if they had correctly placed the 1km marker and yeah they had, so hopefully no F-up like last year. There was little bit of drizzly rain which wasn't too bad and of course the wind, but you could hardly feel it at the start line.  

Goal for this race was to be 3:12:20 which was about 10 seconds faster than last years Boston cutoff which was about 7:20 min/mile or about 4:33 min/km. 

Downed a gel with 30 minutes to start and was going to start warming up with about 15 minutes to go.  Bumped into Kenny who had just done Boston and was ninja running this race to try and re-BQ, which he did.  Goal for warming up was to get the HR to spike to hopefully get it to calm down before the race start, which I was able to get it to do.  

So as the race starts, my goal was to start off at the right pace and to maintain a nice steady cadence and proper breathing to avoid the HR spike. First two km were at exactly 4:33. I was kinda running with the 3:15 pace bunny for a bit at the start, but not for long because the 3:10 bunny and the 3:15 bunny were within 10 seconds of each other for at least the first 10km of the race. I think the 3:15 guy was going out too fast and the 3:10 guy was going out too slow.  I won't go into the km by km split as the tale of the tape is listed below.

Even though I was carrying a pace band, I knew the course profile and the weather were going to wreck havoc with split times so basically my strategy for the race was to be close to where I wanted to be after the Hog's Hollow hill (about 6km in), pick up some time on the downhill portion of the race (12-20km), pick up some additional time heading west (20-35km) with the tailwind and then hang-on for the last 7 km into the easternly headwind. 

Strategy didn't quite play out as planned.  By 10km in, I was only 10 seconds behind where I planned. By the half I was 26 seconds ahead of where I wanted to be (1:35:44). I didn't pick up anytime on the western portion and actually started bleeding back the time. The portion running through downtown wasn't as easy as I thought. Even though the wind was supposed to be at our backs, there was a couple of times there was strong headwinds. Also my HR spiked shortly after the half mark. At least I got through to the half way point without it spiking.  By the time  I hit 26km which was the start of the waterfront portion of the westernly route, I only had 8 seconds banked which I then proceed to give back (and then some) as I was running west.  

Even though there was a tailwind, I started to give back time because of two issues that were beginning to bother me.  Firstly, I could feel the makings of a side stitch starting to form on my right side. I was trying to do the breathing thing where you time your footstrike on the opposite side of the stitch as you exhale, but that was only working a little bit.  The second issue was that I started to feel that I needed to pee.  I had carried a gatorade bottle that I had been drinking from for most of the race, plus a cup of water at each aid station along with three cups of water to down my gel at the race start and then add that it was raining and that I wasn't really sweating because of the cool weather and it all adds up to a bladder filling up.  Now that I think of it, I think the two issues were related. The side stitch could have been caused by the extra weight. While running by the restrooms in Coronation Park, a place that I've stopped at many a time, I started to think how much time would I lose if I stopped. I didn't have nearly the amount of banked time that I would have liked and with the headwind still to come, I wasn't sure if I could afford to stop.  I continued on. Ran through Ontario Place and past the finish line on the way west. This was a route I had run many a time and I started to visualize where I could possibly stop for quick break and not lose too much time.  I thought that Marilyn Bell Park would be a good place, but decided not to when I got there because there were spectators there. I continued on and down the hill near the Legion building and then I see two portapotties up ahead on the trail. Finally! But of course, once I get there, they are both occupied. Damn! I continue on. At this point, I started thinking about just peeing on the run. My shorts were already wet and it was raining so there was going to be a good 10k for any liquid to dilute itself, and I don't think anyone would have noticed but modesty got the better of me and I held it in.  I hit 35 km and I was 50 second behind where I wanted to be.  I was still in BQ range, but only 1:49 under with 7 km of 30km/hr headwinds to come. Not so good. As it would turnout, neither the pee issue or the side stitch would bother me after 35 km, because I now had something else to worry about. The gosh darned F'in wind.
Actual weather measurements. Race was between 7-11am.

So at least the weather forecast was right. I had been mentally psyching myself up for the whole race to conquer this last 7km which I knew was going to be tough. My original pace band goal was out the window. My goal now was to just simply BQ with as much time as I could and to basically just leave it all out on the course. The first two km's of the last seven, I was trying to get a sense for what pace I could sustainably maintain running into the 35km/hr headwind and I figured on 7:40min/mile pace which was 20 seconds slower than my original goal. This was also easy math to do as it meant that if I could maintain that over the last 5km, I would lose about a minute of time. That, I considered acceptable so that's what I tried to maintain. Basically I ran the last 5km as if I was running in a a 5km race. Breathing hard in a panting one-one pattern like in a 5 k race. Trying to run the tangents and basically trying to shut out everything but getting to the finish line. The hill in front of the Legions building didn't even phase me. As I finally approach the finish line and turn south to finally get out of that wind with only about 50m to go, I was pretty much spent. Couldn't even muster up enough energy to sprint these last 15 seconds or so. Crossed the finish line and I was done.

Finish time of 3:14:15.

BQ cushion of 45 seconds.

Timing mat splits are:

2:47 Positive Split which wasn't too bad.
Comparing this to last year's race, I ran the first half 48 seconds faster this year, ran the western portion (13.9km) 7 seconds slower this year and ran the last 7.2 km 66 seconds slower this year (and remember that last year also had the extra 20m added on because of the parking lot issue). Overall I was 25 seconds slower this year, despite the fact that last year I had calf, blister and HR issues.

The only accurately placed marker prior to 37km last year was the 27km marker so if I split that up, from the half timing mat to the 27km marker (at Ontario place) which involves running in the downtown core,  I ran that leg 12 seconds slower this year and from 27km mark to the 35km turnaround which is along the waterfront, I ran that 6 seconds faster. 2:47

Overall splits are as follows

Km Marker Split Pace (min/mi) Actual Time Banked Time Relative to 3:12:20
1 04:33 07:19 0:04:33 -00:00
2 04:33 07:19 0:09:06 -00:01

4 08:52 07:08 0:17:58 -00:16
5 04:44 07:37 0:22:42 -00:05
6 05:11 08:21 0:27:53 00:32
7 04:01 06:28 0:31:54 -00:00


10 13:51 07:26 0:45:45 00:10
11 04:35 07:23 0:50:20 00:12
12 04:36 07:24 0:54:56 00:14
13 04:25 07:06 0:59:21 00:06
14 04:19 06:57 1:03:40 -00:08
15 04:29 07:13 1:08:09 -00:13
16 04:40 07:31 1:12:49 -00:06
17 04:31 07:16 1:17:20 -00:09
18 04:18 06:55 1:21:38 -00:24

20 09:10 07:23 1:30:48 -00:21
21 04:30 07:15 1:35:18 -00:25

1:35:44 -00:26


24 13:57 07:29 1:49:15 -00:08

26 09:07 07:20 1:58:22 -00:08
27 04:39 07:29 2:03:01 -00:02
28 04:42 07:34 2:07:43 00:06

30 09:16 07:27 2:16:59 00:15
31 04:34 07:21 2:21:33 00:16
32 04:33 07:19 2:26:06 00:15
33 04:38 07:27 2:30:44 00:20
34 04:34 07:21 2:35:18 00:20
35 05:04 08:09 2:40:22 00:51
36 04:44 07:37 2:45:06 01:01
37 04:44 07:37 2:49:50 01:12

39 09:16 07:27 2:59:06 01:21
40 04:52 07:50 3:03:58 01:40
41 04:33 07:19 3:08:31 01:39
42.2 05:43 07:40 3:14:14 01:54

I think I was late hitting the lap button for km 6 (which includes part of the hill) and that's why km 7 seems so fast, but I'm not sure.  Wish I had gotten split at the 8km mark.

A couple things about the course. The markers were correctly placed this year (Yeah!!) and the issue I pointed out last year with the parking lot that added about 20m onto the course was also corrected. (Yeah!). The 35km split seemed excessively long.  I measured this in google maps and that split is about 100m longer than 1km. All the other splits around it seemed about right so I'm still thinking something is up with that course. Water stations on the waterfront portion weren't well manned. I can understand that with the miserable weather, volunteers maybe don't want to come out. Those that did come out I give all the credit in the world to so I can't fault them for that. I think not stopping to pee was the right call.  A part of me thinks that if I had unloaded the extra weight, I would have been faster over the western part of the course. I fully expected that portion to be faster than last year, but it wasn't. 

Wore a sleeveless-T, shorts and dollar store gloves which I think was about right given the conditions.  Never really felt cold until after the race was over. .  

Post race was not pleasant. After running in the rain for 3 hours and then having to come to a complete standstill in the chute to get a medal and then having to shiver my way to the other side of the parking lot to pick up my checked gear which was out in the rain for two hours and then having a really small change tent that could not be used because it was packed, it was not a pleasant experience. Also, they had shut down the street car service to the Ex and not told anyone so I ended up having to walk to the streetcar loop across from Coronation Park.

So I got my BQ by 45 seconds. Will that be enough? There are some people in the Runners World Forums who are trying to crunch the numbers to guess at the cutoff and they are predicting a very low cutoff due to the warm weather in Boston this year and the fewer number of people that actually requalified at Boston. So maybe 45 seconds will be enough. I have no desire to make a fall marathon attempt as I don't really want to train hard over the summer. I tried to do just maintenance miles last year, in the hopes that I would be able to qualify just before the window closes, but it wasn't really enough and of course there's also the crapshoot of what the weather is going to be in mid-September. 
 I don't think I want to do marathon training this summer so I'm leaning towards sitting tight and hoping for the best.