The triathlon training blog of Phil Barnes

Boston or Bust - Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon*

*Boston or Bust for Guylaine.

We are very happy (can't you tell)

A few months ago, a friend of ours planted a dangerous seed in Guylaine's head. "It's only 3:55 for BQ". Guylaine's previous (and only marathon) was 4:14 - but she said she went too easy, and had lots of energy left.  She was hooked. I ran the numbers through McMillan and based on last year's hilly half-marathon of 1:51:02, a full would could come in at 3:53:40.  I was hopeful. It was going to be tough -- I can not match McMillan's marathon times based on my half -- but then again, I don't like pain too much -- and that wife of mine is stubborn enough to do it. We were both in peak shape based on the last 6 months of Ironman training. A five week marathon training schedule was hatched.

The 5 Week Training Schedule:

The training went well (give or take), and we arrived in Toronto ready to rock. I was actually very nervous, Guylaine not at all. She had put her complete trust in me, and had agreed to the plan.

The plan:
DistanceSplitSplit PaceTotal PaceTime

This year's Boston cutoff was 1 minute and 2 seconds under BQ. For Guylaine's age-group that meant 3:53:58. We had targeted 3:53:00 to give a two minute cushion. The plan was a blended negative split. The first 20K was to be run at 4 hour pace (5:40/km), the remaining 22.2K was going to be faster at 5:23 pace (3:47 marathon). This would give us a finish time of 3:53:00.

But this was all Pie-in-the-Sky
Realistically, the hopes and goals were, in this order:
1) Have a good marathon
2) PB by a lot
3) Break 4 hours
4) Come close to 3:55
5) Break 3:55
6) Hit 3:53

I had made a custom pace band with 5km splits, and not wanting to mess up ala the Canadian 226, I wrote the two most important numbers on my hand.. 5:40 and 5:23.
The custom Pace Band

Here's how it officially played out (my stats, Guylaine's were virtually identical +/- a few seconds on the split times; but, we ended up with exactly the same finish time).

Split Name Distance Split Time Pace Race Time Overall (/5117) Gender (/3228) Category (/535) Time Of Day
10 km10 km0:56:545:41/km0:56:54244418123189:53:57
Halfway21.1 km1:02:145:36/km1:59:082274170930210:56:11
25 km25 km0:21:315:31/km2:20:392254168530011:17:41
30 km30 km0:27:045:24/km2:47:431986151026911:44:46
35 km35 km0:27:405:31/km3:15:231833139925112:12:26
40 km40 km0:27:135:26/km3:42:361654127322612:39:38
42 km42.2 km0:11:165:07/km3:53:521577122022012:50:56

It more-or-less went according to plan. (note that incredible surge for the final 2.2 km). So here's what happened....

My Garmin was consistently off, gaining about 100 meters every 10 km.  By the 25K mark I was only relying on the Garmin pace / km as a general indicator. I was checking the on course markers every 5km against the bracelet as an indicator of where we were based on the plan. All the while hoping the Garmin distance was right, and the course markers were wrong, and that it would magically work out in our favour at the end (wishful thinking). At 35K, we were about 1:20 slower than our goal, but I kept feeding positive news to Guylaine. "Yup, we're right on pace / We've totally got this", all the while keeping her at 100% max effort. At 40K, my watch time had us 1m36s over (but still 24 seconds under 3:55) - not enough - I wanted more! We really pushed and apparently dropped it to 5:07/km pace. I could hear her breathing like a racehorse, and I was seriously worried she might not make it, but she pushed through it, and we made it in with a BQ and 1 minute and 8 seconds in the bank. Neither one of us could have run any faster.

Now, all that said...
I am in no way taking credit for any of this. She did the run by herself, and powered through a world of discomfort I would not possibly want to discover. I was more-or-less on my fitness limit, and probably would not have run that fast if it weren't for Guylaine's motivation.

The full Garmin Story...

Here are some other pictures from various sources:
Fastest marathon in a baseball outfit.

Not sure if he set a record, but definitely best superhero outfit.

Fastest female marathon in a fireman's outfit.
We passed going the opposite direction, we were at about 36k, and she was at 29
- and looking a little discouraged. Glad to hear she made it.

Fastest half-marathon as a super-hero.  He was kickin' it hard.

Ryan Gosling kept popping up.

Fastest marathon while juggling - we saw this guy, he was running fast too.
Fastest Marathon dressed as a Zoo Keeper. (Note the Boots!)

aint that the truth!
At the expo with Ed Whitlock

And funnily enough, we ran into Ed in person at the Eaton Centre that night and shard a good laugh about my blogs.