We got up and rolled out of the house at about 7:30 for the trip over to Hamilton, and the start at Copps Coliseum. The kids were neutral, and were mainly excited about the opportunity to get an egg mcmuffin while Dad was running. They're not normally allowed any where near a McDonalds.
The organizers kept claiming "Over 10,000 Runners" on the PA system. It certainly seemed like that at the start, but in the end, that number turned out to include the walkers, who started an hour early, and the 5 k runners who ran a different route.
It was a pretty standard start, although unseeded, which caused the usual annoyances.
After a my short run yesterday, where I had to walk after about 20 minutes, and a fairly painful nights sleep, I wasn't very hopeful. Wearing a pair of cycling shorts to bed to sort of double as compression shorts did seem to help a bit, but when I walked around in the morning my right IT Band was sore, and that's not good.
And so, my race was really a story about my right leg.
I started out pretty slow. In fact, after the first 500 meters, just after passing the family, I came about 3 inches from pulling up, and walking back. I've never dropped out of an event, and since this was to be my last real running race for a while, I figured that I'd just run through it.
Km 0 - 10ish - Hamilton is a dreary town, but, I must say, that there were more cowbells out being rung by people than there were during the Toronto Waterfront Marathon. Less people but more cowbell.
The cowbells weren't enough to distract me from the pain however. Each step felt like someone was poking a hot brand into my leg and knee. I felt terrible. Having this happen forced me to keep an easy pace, which as a strategy worked out well.
Km 10 - 20 - Running along the waterfront was nice, and my leg loosened up quite a bit. I managed to keep an easy stride, and the pain reduced to a dull throbbing. I was actually enjoying myself for a bit.
Km 20-25 - Then came the hills, by some nice properties, owned by rich people, overlooking the smokestacks of the bay. The uphills weren't bad, not too steep, and not too high. Hills in High Park are tougher. It was the downhills. Horribly painful, stabbing, I want to quit, evil downhills.
Fortunately the last big hill doesn't have a downhill after it. Now it is fairly long, at I'd say maybe 400 meters and from the water line to the highest elevation, maybe 45 meters high. I approached it fairly cautiously, and kept my heartrate just below threshold. I'd been thinking about it for the whole race and had heard it was devastating. I let my stride pick up in the last third and cruised over the top.
Then a funny thing happened. The last 4-5 km was all a slight downhill, dropping about 10 meters. My leg still hurt like a mo-fo, but as my stride picked up it didn't hurt any more, so I went a bit fast, and so on.
Pretty soon I was running 5 min / km and faster, which is not what nature intended of me. It felt satisfying however, although not perfectly comfortable. Not in the least.
I got to the finish, my left leg feeling great, my right, in brutal agony. Fun Times.
Interesting Stats. My Marathon pace was 5:25 min/km. Average HR was 155 BPM. Today my pace worked out to be about 5:29 min/km. Average BPM was 147.
I'm not sure but that puts me in better shape now, or maybe just smarter, than I was back in September. Hopefully this'll translate to a decent time in Paris to Ancaster in 3 weeks time.