Hello everyone! This will be my first posting as a Team Running Free member! I’ve recently done the Toledo Marathon and would like to share my experiences and what not. This post is going to be split up in 2 sections. The first section is my actual race report. It’ll be in point form and I’ll mention how I felt during various points of the race; then you’ll get a mini review of the race itself.
Before I begin, I’ll give a little background on my goals for this race. I wanted to go under 3:05 as it’s a new Boston Qualification time for 2013 and that would give me a a new goal to reach. I had been doing some real training all through winter and felt confident that I could tackle this. The weather for this fateful day was something like 3c and 30km/hour winds. Yes, some crazy headwinds. I’ve learned from the past that these are just excuses people use not to push themselves, so I was going to still try my best.Pre-Race, I did a super light 15 minute jog with strides just before the race started. Troy Rowe (look him up, he’s a speedy one) recommended I do this, and it worked for Around The Bay, so I would do this again today.
- My legs were all warmed up when we started. That’s a good thing.
- I had lined up right near the front. There’s no beeping when you cross the mat, so I wonder if these D-Tag things even work??? Heh.
- I looked back and saw the 3:10 pacer. Mentally, I told myself that I will not see that person again. It’s happened way too many times where I get passed. I hated that feeling. Not today for this kid!
- As usual, I was pumped and ready to go during the first km’s of the race.
- I did the first km in 4:30 or so. Ok, we’ll have none of that any further.
- My watch was really messed up for the first few km’s or so. The stupid pace thing was going up and down. It would vary from like 4:10′s to 4:35′s. WTF. Lame.
- There was a huge group going at a decent pace. We all started with the half marathoner’s and the relayers. So I guess that would explain the bigger crowds here.
- There were people standing at various mile markers telling you your time and the pace. The guy would say 7:05 miles which is what I needed for a sub 3:05 pace.
- I ran the first 10km’s in like 43:xx. I felt pretty good stuff, but of course this was still early on.
- The next sections were a bit tough. The wind was going like 35km’s per hour. I wasn’t going to let a silly thing like wind affect me. Not today.
- I was on pace at the one hour mark. It was like 13.70km’s or so and I was supposed to be at 13.75′s. That’s ok.
- Mentally, I was prepared to pick up the pace after the 26km mark. That was my game plan for today. I was just telling myself that 26k better hurry up because I needed to pick up the pace.
- Ok, it’s time to split off. It was at the 8 mile marker at this time. Damn, I still had 18 miles left.
- There was an extremely windy section from like the 16k to the 19k mark. It was pure head wind at this section.
- It was kinda nuts when we were around the 20k mark or so. We went into this park area which was really scenic, but REALLY windy. Things spread out big time here anyways.
- We got bit of a break when we passed this lake area. Then we got to this really nice neighbourhood. Big houses and stuff. Ok, so not all of Toledo is a dump. I guess this was another subdivision. It was really lonely here. I didn’t mind it so. I just told myself that it was my own race.
- My half split time was 1:32 something. Ok, that’s a sub 3:05 pace. Good stuff. I felt fresh as a daisy despite the wind.
- Oh snap, a truck cut right in front of me when I was around the 26k mark or something.
- I took my second gel at around the 26k mark. It was so cold and windy outside that my gel was really hardened. I was not hungry at all, but I just forced it down.
- I would take water at the various stations and rinse my mouth a bit. It felt good.
- So I actually did start picking up the pace after the 26k mark. I was going like 4:20′s and better. Overall, I felt quite good. I knew that this is around the point where I’d either go big or go home.
- I was at 27.6k at my 2 hour split. Great. I was still on time. I just need to keep this ridicolous pace.
- So the next biggie was the 30k mark. I did that in 2:11 something. It was now all a matter of maintaining a decent pace.
- I set the next goal for 32k mark. That came in under 2:20.
- It’s so tough mentally during this next section. I was definitely tiring out. Where’d all my energy go? Yes, the race starts at the 32k.
- This is where people started to fade. I passed a few people who looked like they were in my age group. Deals for me. I was slowing down to like a 4:26 or so.
- It was the 36k mark or so when I started cramping up. I just told myself that I wasn’t going to throw it all away and kept going. My right toe was going crazy and I could feel it in my calves starting up.
- I was so disappointed when I saw 4:30 for one of the km’s here. I had to even stop and walk for like 10 seconds. I willed myself back into running again. “Do not throw it all away!” I tried thinking about the quality training that I’ve done with Troy and that kept me going. I was not going to let it all go to waste.
- Again, I was still passing people now. Whoot. There was this one section on the bridge that sucked, but I was kinda keeping pace.
- So the calculations in my head were counting down from the final 4km’s and the remaining time. I was still good.
- OMG, I made it to 41km and was 2:59 on my watch. Nice. Only 4:30 pace and I’ll be in sub 3:05 club.
- But unfortunately, I didn’t count for the extra 0.195 miles at the end. That’s when the wind blew me. HARD. I just wanted this over with. My god, it was tough.
- So anyways, I finally get to the stadium and saw 3:05:xx. Ohwell. That’s alright. I did what I could to run to the finish. I did a PB, and felt pretty decent all things considered.
Pros – I love these smaller USA races.Everything was quite organized and people seem to be really into it. Plenty of parking to be had and the expo was decent considering how small this race was. The course itself was really flat. There were volunteers at various mile markers telling you the current time, your current pace in miles, and the expected finish time. Whoa, I’ve yet to experience that before. Thumbs up! The ending in the baseball stadium was amazing with friends + family being allowed into the stadium. All finishers get a nice medal and a beer stein. The post race food was great too. Beer and Pizza! Toronto certainly has something to learn from this race.
Cons – There’s only one grip I had about this race. The fact that you’re running on the bike paths with traffic to the side of you was not good.. There were sections where you have to cross the road with oncoming traffic. Yes, they did not completely block off the roads at all. The town of Toledo isn’t exactly a vacation hot spot. Lots of run down houses and stuff. Even the locals called it Detroit, but smaller! I wouldn’t go here for a destination race to enjoy the scenery.
Final Verdict – A great little race if you are into cheap registrations (Only $50), and love getting swag (which I do!). A super flat course, but watch out for traffic at times. Recommended if you want to do a PB.
4 out of 5 stars