As I’m currently sending around the Interwebs via Facebook, I ran the Good Life Toronto Marathon today and feel super happy about the results. My marathon PR (from Cologne in 2009) was 3:31:22, but today was only the third I’ve run. My stated goal was to run a Boston qualifying time, which for my agedness means <3:21:00. I trained mainly with a target of 3:16-18 or so in sight, and thought if the stars aligned I might pull off 3:13, so given the rain, wind, and general crappiness of the weather, that I ran a 3:14:26 makes me joyous beyond belief.
What blew my mind was when J looked online and told me my overall results. I was 77th overall (of 1261 finishers) and ninth in my age group, which, as is the norm at this distance, was the largest age bracket (152 finishers). Never, ever thought I could seriously hope to run an urban marathon and finish that high. Top ten, holy cow!!!
Particularly satisfying about the day is that I had a plan and stuck to it. I ran the front and back halves in nearly identical times (1:36:26 and 1:38:09), and was slower over the first 30K than most of the people around me in the overall standings. That just means I avoided going out too fast, and had power left at the end, something that comes from the wisdom gained from having nearly killed myself in the 2010 Leipzig half marathon by starting too fast. Both of my splits today would have beaten my PR in the half marathon. Conversely, I ran the last 12K faster than most in my vicinity.
Feels silly to toot my horn this way, but I’m just too damn happy to contain myself. I’m so glad that my runner wife got me into this, and supports me as I support her in this madness. Can’t wait to run a race again with her (A Midsummer Night’s Run in Toronto, dear? Followed by drinks and dinner?).
She recently gave me a copy of Haruki Marukami’s What I Talk About When I Talk About Running. Greatly enjoyed reading it, and he helped me think about my own desire to run and the simple pleasure in just moving forward. Also gave me two very useful mantras, one of which he noted comes from another source (some famous distance runner). I used both today, as well as a third of my own devising:
- pain is inevitable, suffering is optional
- at least he never walked (Marukami wants this as his epitaph)
The first two are obvious choices, but the third represents my two failed attempts to skate 200km in Austria. Sure, the first time it was severe injury, and the second time the conditions were abysmal, but given what I put into the training (especially the second time around), the failure to achieve that goal has stuck in my craw for some time. Today’s conditions were really less than ideal (albeit better than too warm or too humid), but somewhere around 10K I said, no, this gets done today. No excuses.
Oh, one last bit: last year J and I ran the epically comical and epic Tollenseseelauf marathon in Neubrandenburg, Germany. Our times were stately, but I think in hindsight we will never regret running there (it was, visually, spectacular). At any rate, I finished side by side with her. Today, as I came into the final stretch and the spectators were calling our names (on our numbers), someone yelled at the woman running by my side: Go, Jennifer! Despite my misery, I laughed out loud. She finished about four seconds directly behind me. If I run another marathon, I think now it is essential to find a Jennifer for the finish.