Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Mississauga Marathon - race report

To start the weekend off right, the gift bag from packet pick-up had some of the better items ever.  Starbucks instant coffee.  a nice pen from the sponsoring lawyers.  Bottle of Special-K breakfast drink. potato chips.  easter chocolate. I got a bag of Cadbury min-eggs, and Jen got a Cadbury egg. The expo had several other races with sample medals.  Jen would have sparkles in her eyes for them, but sadly was at work making pitas.  The Midsummer Nights Run was beautiful, and we are considering it highly for August.  The mini-van shed a piece of the tailpipe, so it sounded like a tank for the drive home from the expo.  Can't get it fixed on the weekend either, so we will have to put up with that through race day. 
Starting line
Up before dawn, and out into the morning gloaming, the dog doesn't get walked today.  We drank the Special-K on the way, then got the customary bagels on arrival in Mississauga. The highway exit was closed, so we carried on to the next and doubled back.  The pickup truck in front of us did the same thing.  Fellow racers, surely.

The herd in motion
They let us into the mall lot and park right beside the start line. It was cold and really windy.  We huddled in the car for Oh Canada, and as Mayor Hazel welcomed us.  She said it's the most beautiful course in the world. Most everyone was in jackets.  Fortunately I brought my Brita jacket from the Running Room Resolution Run last New Years Day and Jen had her Run For Retina Sweater.  We waffled a bit over the decision to wear the jackets, and went with jackets and gloves. Good pick, it was cold.  Towards the end we unzipped some, but mostly were grateful for the jacket and the gloves.

Expect delays? I don't want delays
Heading west, my left arm was warm from the sun, and my right was cold from the wind. Oh, and they included sunscreen in the race package too.  What a great idea, if only I had done the right thing and put it with my race-day equipment so I would be sure to use it. 
Go straight to get to the finish.  Go right to get to the pain.
The full and the half started together.  About 14 km, Jen and I got to take the right turn to do the full.  The crowd thinned out, but there were a few runners at our pace who we chatted with.  Like Ironman girl.  She was running barefoot and hoping to make 5 hours.  That was too fast for us. She was like a hobbit running barefoot like that, which she and her friend thought was funny.  
You're on the wrong side of the pilons for the pain
There would be pain ahead, but for now we were deep within the delirium portion of the run, feeling like we could run forever.  We were both enjoying the music in our headphones.  Bluetooth is great.  No wires.  We could still talk with each other.  We sang a bit of Neon Pegasus.  
and the thousand armed robot octopus will try to grab your golden reins.  But your wings are strong from the battle over cupcake mountain.
Guy beside us adjusted his headphones (if he jams them in farther, maybe he can't hear those nuts).

The maximum is 42.2
We both needed a bathroom break after only 5 km.  I had all that coffee on the way, and stopped again at 10 km, urging Jen to go on ahead.  There was a couple people in line at each stop.  The porta potties were nicely spaced on course.  The aid stations all had water and Gatorade; most stations had a couple flavors. Blue is our favorite. And they had 3 Gel stations which was an awesome surprise. Usually people bring along what they need themselves but having new brands and flavors is always fun.
If it was miles we'd be at the finish
They had Powerbar gels on course, with enough left over for stragglers like us.  I sampled the strawberry, and Jen the latte. It's thinner and goes down easier that the Gu we were carrying.
Ironman girl, barefoot
Ironman girl was still with us, so she wasn't going to make 5 hours today.
The chemical plant
At which point we came to the chemical plant.  We had a laugh about the most beautiful marathon in the world. The amusement was short lived.  At the plant we turned north, into the most fierce wind ever.  It must have been 40 - 50 km per hour.  "It's like walking through water" Jen moans.  Nevertheless, we manage to run / walk about 1:4 through the kilometer where we turned into the woods. Passing beyond everyone we had been running and chatting with. 
No oncoming runners for the out and back
No sunburn.  There's enough corners that we got sun from all angles, and not enough to get properly fried.  There were lots of people going by on their bikes.  Expensive stuff like Cervelo, Cannondale, and DaVinci. With the toe clip shoes.
Scenic roads
The woods are lovely, segueing into a nice residential area.  It reminded Jen of Mont Tremblant, because of the homes nestled in the woods and the lightly rolling hills. 
Lakeshore, with bikers
The neighbourhood exits to Lakeshore.  Woot!  Lakeshore is the last stretch, long and straight to the finish.  ...or at least it would be if we got to go straight.  The route turns south and goes back to the waterfront.  It's a beautiful waterfront.  The CN Tower could be seen shining across the bay. The view of the CN Tower was in the promotional when we were debating to sign up.  
Oh another hill, lets go up that one.
We returned to Lakeshore, for the last little hill of the course. The cars went whizzing by.  "They can run me over.  It would hurt less."  Jen commented.  I love running with her.  With 30 km down, 12 to go, she was still trying to be funny.  Keep our spirits up.  Aagh, my quads hurt. 
The lake
At 40 km, the fun run was being assembled.  We went past their starting line just in time for the little kids with their parents to be released.  They're so cute!  We found some young ones to follow who had the right pace and were successfully weaving through those who only managed to sprint the first hundred meters to get in front of us.  
CN Tower is over there, I promise
Finished in 5:20.

At the finish there was chocolate milk still left! and bananas!  What a great job they did stocking supplies.  It's the best banana you will ever have. They did a really good job of stocking everything for the race from volunteers (all those teenagers needing to get their high school hours) to tasty eats at the finish.

Oh Oh! and the medal spins like the time turner from harry potter! but only for the marathon medals the 2k and Half's don't.

Jen can now say she runs marathons.  It's become plural.

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