Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

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scrumhalfgirl
Lynn Williams
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Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Fri May 06, 2016 9:03 pm

The backstory...

Since I started running (for the sake of running!) almost 10 years ago, the Boston Marathon has held that allure for me - something I hoped to maybe, someday, do - if I got fast enough, or old enough. I ran my first marathon in 2007 in 4:15, and have slowly worked that time down, running a 3:49 in 2012 after my daughter was born. That 3:40:59 BQ was starting to feel like it might be in striking distance, when they went and took away five minutes, plus the buffer needed to get in these days, it seemed just too far out of reach. Last spring though, I had a break-through marathon, coming back after my second baby and ran 3:35:52. I was so close, I could almost taste it.

The training...

I had a great training cycle over the always tough Ottawa winter, again following a New York Road Runners plan. My training partner qualified for Boston last year (she's two age groups up from me), so I chose an early May race to line up our training timing and to hopefully have cooler temperatures than Ottawa race weekend (more to come on those cooler temps!). This was my 6th marathon, but my first trained for while being a working parent - the juggling act of two kids, a husband who travels out of town for work, and starting a new job in February was the hardest part to handle. I did almost all of my week day running during run commutes - my trip is about 7.5 km each way. I incorporated tempos and intervals into my morning runs, ran doubles a couple of times a week, and did some faster race-pace running on days I was late to pick up my kids! Saturday mornings meant early long runs - cold temperatures, slippery footing, ice and snow, but having a buddy for those made them the highlights of my week.

The race...

I traveled down to Toronto solo on the train and stayed at the host hotel. If you do this race, I highly recommend this option - easy to take the shuttle to the expo as well as to the start line. I even manged to read an entire book on the train - The Illegal - turns out, the woman next to me on the train was also traveling for the race and reading the same (running themed) book! After a brief trip to the expo, I grabbed a thin crust pizza for dinner and watched The Spirit of the Marathon in my hotel room before turning in early.

The next morning we woke to the forecasted wind and rain. :( I didn't have to worry about hot sunny temperatures! After obsessing over outfits, I landed on capris, short-sleeved T, smartwool socks and arm warmers, plus the new visor I'd picked up at the expo. I boarded the bus and made friends with the woman sitting next to me - we ended up chatting the whole way there and hung out before the race. It was a great way to shake off the nerves - this was my first time going to a big race by myself, so it was a lovely distraction. We were able to go into the municipal building to use the bathrooms and stay out of the rain which was really nice. I ate a banana around half an hour before the start (since I'd eaten breakfast about 2 hours pre-race) plus a gel as we headed to the start. I bonked last year and wanted to try and fuel better this time around. I found the 3:30 bunny and soon it was go time.

I knew this race would be a bit tricky to pace - lots of down hill to start. Our bunny told us he would bank some time in the first half, and we had a good chatty group. I ended up chatting with a woman wearing a Another Mother Runner shirt, a company who do books, clothes, a blog and a podcast I love. She had just run Boston two weeks earlier and decided to the race on a whim Saturday night. Again, we hit it off and ended up running together for the next 2+ hours! It was just like being out for a Saturday morning run with my friends. The sub-5 minute kilometres clicked by as we ran through the city, trying not to get too far ahead of the bunny. We passed the half way mark around 90 second ahead of pace, which was just where I wanted to be. I was feeling fabulous! We saw a friend of mine from Ottawa who had come down to cheer and I was all smiles.

Image

At the 26-27 km mark, you head along the lake shore path, past the finish area. It's hard to know there's so much left to go, but I was still feeling great...until I got a wicked cramp in my left hamstring. It was so surprising I didn't even want to mention it to my new running buddy, but I thought I might be done. I took one of my extra salted gels to try and help, and some kind strangers were giving out coke, which was just the distraction and magic fuel I needed. I was starting to tire and really looking for that turn around point. Around the 32 km mark, I could tell my running buddy was fading and she encouraged me to go ahead.

Finally we hit the turn around - and were greet with a wall of wind and rain. Those last 7 km were the hardest I've ever faced in a race. It was "put your head down to keep from blowing over" rain. Just miserable. Around km 35-36, I slowed by 10-15 seconds. I felt like giving up, when a girl ran by pacing a friend and blocking the wind for her, and told me to hop on their train. I tucked myself in behind them, and told myself I would stick with them at the faster pace until the hill around 40 km to at least get the wind blocking. This was SOOOOO hard! But I kept it up, and made it up the hill, and passed them as the friend started to fade. Everything hurt. I was exhausted. But marathon math told me I was close, oh so close.

The finish line is a right hand turn that's obstructed, so you can't quite tell how far you have to go...that last stretch seemed to last forever. Finally, I turned the corner and saw the clock. I'd made it.

Image

Final time - 3:29:18.7 - BQ by 5:21 and a PB of 6.5 minutes

And yes, there were tears

Image

(The not so good part...the finish of this race was terrible. No blankets on a freezing wet day, no bottles of plain water, no signs directing us to the shuttle buses and no one who knew where they were. If it weren't for my friend who met me with an extra rain jacket and helped to guide me way out of the way to the buses while I shivered like crazy, I'd probably still be curled up in a puddle crying somewhere)
Jesse's 2017 Plans
April - Boston Marathon
May - Sporting Life Ottawa 10K
May - Ottawa Half Marathon

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Habs4ever
Kevin Sullivan
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Habs4ever » Fri May 06, 2016 9:57 pm

Aw Jesse, what a great race, race report and all around great day! Super duper pictures too!
So happy for you.
I wanna live like there's no tomorrow
Love, like I'm on borrowed time
It's good to be alive, yeah....Jason Gray

Running is a conversation with your body. Sometimes you listen and sometimes you tell it to stop whining and do something. - Ian

chunkymonkeymelonhed
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby chunkymonkeymelonhed » Fri May 06, 2016 10:17 pm

So completely freaking happy for you. Impressive training and beyond impressive race. Wow Jesse :D You BQed like you meant it!!!! And that PB? Monster!
I am excited to meet you in Boston next year (I am feeling optimistic :wink: ).

CONGRATULATIONS :dance:

I love love love that "victory" photo. Awesome!!!
On the books for 2017:
50th Birthday!!
Boston Marathon- April 17th what a day- DREAM COME TRUE :dance:
Run for Water 10K- May 28th
Scotia Half - June 25th
Trail River Run half marathon- Sept. 30- CANCELLED
MEC 10K Race 10- Nov. 5

Mark.AU
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Mark.AU » Sat May 07, 2016 3:16 am

Congratulations! Great result well earned, not only on race day but the effort to get the training done so effectively.
"It's now very common to hear people say 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fcuking what."

Stephen Fry.

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purdy65
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby purdy65 » Sat May 07, 2016 4:25 am

So awesome! Totally agree with you about the finish. Completely unprepared for the weather. My bag was drenched, the TTC was not operating regularly in the area, and I never did find the supposed race buses. I do love the course though. It's a scenic fast one. It was good to see you!


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It's not the size of the dog in the fight...it's the size of the fight in the dog! 11K Marker post - 2010 ATB.

Introducing 2017

GoodLife Half Marathon.
TBD

RobW
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby RobW » Sat May 07, 2016 10:39 am

Congratulations! Great photos capturing how you felt running down the finishing chute with a PB and BQ in hand. Now the fun begins from clicking on the register link on the BAA website to running down the finishing chute on Boylston. So happy for you!


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Ken B
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Ken B » Sat May 07, 2016 3:05 pm

Congratulations! Reading this report has made my day! Great report and photos and a totally awesome race! Again - congratulations!!!! :)

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RA.
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby RA. » Sat May 07, 2016 3:17 pm

Congrats, Jesse! The fact that you trained with such a busy schedule is always inspiring! I'm so glad your effort paid off and you had a great race time! I love the photos!
Life is short. Stop whining!!- Jwolf

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Annelizabeth
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Annelizabeth » Sat May 07, 2016 6:08 pm

Fantastic race report. Loved it, did the same race- also BQed, also a big breakthrough. Now I am hungry for faster. Actually you got my goal time.
Here is my report- to lazy to do my own race report thread http://postdink.blogspot.ca/2016/05/goo ... -full.html

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Tori
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Tori » Sat May 07, 2016 6:22 pm

Totally amazing! I am so glad you got your BQ. i can't wait to see your race pics in Boston next year.

deerdree
Kevin Sullivan
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby deerdree » Sat May 07, 2016 7:40 pm

thanks for writing a report! i'm so thrilled for you, and very happy your hard work was rewarded. :dance: :dance: :dance:

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Spirit Unleashed
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Spirit Unleashed » Sat May 07, 2016 7:50 pm

Yay!

Thanks for the report.
Athlete....Maniac 973....Marathon Maniac 6645
Live the most amazing life you can live - La
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mas_runner
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby mas_runner » Sat May 07, 2016 8:21 pm

Amazing! Great race, great report, so inspiring.

That second photo really captures the indescribable feeling of marathon pain.

Congrats on the BQ!!
PBs
5th Sep 2015 - Run Ottawa free 5km - 21:05
21st Jun 2015 - UR 4 Men's Cancers 10km - 45:45
16th Jun 2013 - UR 4 Men's Cancers 15km - 1:11:44
16th Apr 2016 - MEC 10 miler - 1:20:21
12th Apr 2015 - EY R4R Half Marathon - 1:41:15
26th May 2013 - Ottawa Marathon - 3:43:51

2017 races - coming up
7th May - Defi Entreprise 10km
28th May - Ottawa Half Marathon
17th Sep - Army Run Half Marathon

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FishPants
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby FishPants » Sat May 07, 2016 10:10 pm

Great report! I love the pictures! Congratulations :)

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dgrant
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby dgrant » Sun May 08, 2016 7:03 am

So great. Your tenacity, consistency and attitude have been really inspiring. You're a superhero.

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La
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby La » Sun May 08, 2016 7:18 am

What a great race (and report). Congrats on your achievement. Sorry I didn't get to see you and cheer you on (though clearly you didn't need it). ;)
"Maybe I will be my own inspiration." - UltraMonk (Laura)
"Everywhere is walking distance if you have enough time." - Steven Wright

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Jwolf
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Jwolf » Sun May 08, 2016 11:35 am

So happy for you Jesse! I was following along before my race on Sunday and knew you had a good chance for a great day-- Rob texted me your result part-way through my race and it gave me such a boost to keep going.

Your progressing from that first marathon is so impressive and inspiring.

Congratulations again.
Support me in my fundraising for the Boston Marathon, Boston Public Library team:
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5km
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby 5km » Mon May 09, 2016 10:59 pm

Congratulations! Great running.

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scrumhalfgirl
Lynn Williams
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby scrumhalfgirl » Tue May 10, 2016 6:00 am

thanks so much everyone! it meant so much to know you were all cheering me on!
Jesse's 2017 Plans
April - Boston Marathon
May - Sporting Life Ottawa 10K
May - Ottawa Half Marathon

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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Stampie » Tue May 10, 2016 10:34 am

Great report, with an equally awesome outcome! Your PB & BQ, well that is just EPIC! Your dedication and tenacity during training was second to none. Your pictures truly confirm how lose and ready you were on race day. I can certainly equate to ‘Runners Math’, I think we all do it. :wink: :lol:

Knowing how well you were doing on course as I prepared for my race (CMMH was texting me updates as I got ready in the morning) gave me the added push to conquer my marathon. It was fun attempting the virtual marathon relay.
PB’s (official race results)
5K – 26:20; 8K – 41:28; 10K – 52:13; 15K - 1:22:43; 21.1K – 1:54:16; 30K – 2:51:34; 42.2K – 4:24:14

What is up for 2018
Feb 11th - First Half Vancouver
TBA
Planning & in my sights
Jun 9th - Puddle Jumper Classic

Run the mile you're in. Not the one behind you, and not the one in front of you - the one you are running now :) - purdy65

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Jogger Barbie
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Jogger Barbie » Wed May 11, 2016 9:33 am

What a fantastic race and I loved your report. The pictures are real keepers. Congratulations on toughing out that last 7 km - that takes an incredible amount of determination.

Have fun in Boston!!!
Jacqueline
--------------
19 marathons (3:24:56), 9 30 km ATBs (2:21:33), 2 Midsummer 30 km (2:22:07), 15 half marathons (1:33:53), 5 10 Ks (44:17), 1 5K (22:59), 1 50 K (4:29:22)
2015: London :)
2016: Boston, followed by injury rehab and then ???

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Robinandamelia
Jerome Drayton
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby Robinandamelia » Thu May 12, 2016 7:23 am

Congratulations, was so happy for you when I got home and looked up your result...you killed it. Was a hard day for racing with that wind and you still did awesome....Such a huge accomplishment!! Well done.

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jes
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby jes » Thu May 12, 2016 12:10 pm

I came back just to see if you'd posted a race report.

I KNEW you could do it this time. You were so very close last time, and you ran so strong all winter. Congratulations again! :dance: :dance:
If it ain’t broke, run through it -- Strider

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carm
Bill Crothers
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Re: Goodlife Toronto Marathon - BQ or Bust

Postby carm » Sun May 15, 2016 8:26 pm

It's so well-deserved. Congrats Scrummie!
Carm


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