Result: 2:30:55.7 (chip)
This Race is Hard
I had intended to make this a test run of my planned marathon pace, 5:05/km.
Planned pace: 5:00/km
Actual pace: 4:57/km
Average heart rate - 167bpm
Early on, I felt great and the downhill really was helping me out. So despite my knowing that the worst was yet to come, I let it all flow a bit. I thought my heart rate was under control, which I would define as in the low 160's - but looking back now at my Garmin data, my average was 167bpm. A bit higher than I should have been at early on, I'll have to make sure I don't do that during the marathon!
Planned pace: 5:05/km
Actual pace: 4:58/km
Average heart rate - 173bpm
This is where the race really starts. It stops being easy and starts being a bit of work. From about 18km on, the hills start in earnest... at this point, they're rollers, which you can take advantage of on the way down and let take your pace away on the way up.
I felt good, strong, so I didn't change my pace as planned - just kept targeting about a 5:00/km. Average heart rate through this section was 173bpm - still pretty good for me.
Planned pace: 5:15/km or worse
Actual pace: 5:06/km
Average hear rate - 178bpm
Sweet mother of God. This section is punishing.
There are several long climbs, and they're all pretty tough. I did my best to make up time on the downhills, but it was definitely tougher at this point.
Yet my overall average pace was still under 5:00/km... even at the top of the monster climb at 26km, I was still showing 4:59/km.
Was sub-2:30 possible, for a 5:00/km pace? Certainly at that point I thought so!
Planned pace: Bust a move
Actual pace: Got busted (~5:10/km or so)
Average heart rate - 183bpm (max 187bpm!)
The big hill was behind me, all that was left was the net downhill last ~4km. Hold 5:00/km to the finish and I had it!
- It may be net downhill until the end, but it's actually up until 28.5km! I did not know that.
- That hill may have been behind me, but it's effects lingered
- I went more than 30km - probably because in the big crowds at the start it was tough to take the most efficient line...
So I made a pretty hard effort after the hill to get to 5:00/km pace, failed miserably and found myself in a pretty dark place. I actually walked for about 5 seconds before telling myself to harden the f**k up and finish this thing like a man (well, like a man getting beat by quite a few women).
Nursed my heart rate down a bit and then finally hit the real downhill - then I managed to do OK to the finish.
And I was truly finished - spent 100%. "Are you OK?" from medical staff spent. I left it all out there (and change!) today, and not for any particularly good reason, other than the usual one - it's a race, so race it damn it!
My former PB was from 2009, 2:41:05. Pretty easily beat that, and 5:01/km was quicker than my 5:05/km goal so all in all I'm pretty happy. Although the way I felt in those closing kilometers didn't exactly make me think "I can't wait to do another 12km on top of this"...
The good news is that the Toronto Marathon is net downhill and pretty flat toward the finish. I still have a month and change to train and hopefully make some progress on my weight. 5:05/km should be possible!