Blog #104

Post race blog, let’s get at it!

The Race: Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon

The Goals: Awesome; Sub 2:12 & First Canadian. Good; PB & Top 10 overall.  Mandatory; Finish. Come hell or high water I had to get that damn finisher medals this year!

The Plan: “Give’r.”

“That’s  a plan?”

“You’re damn right, that’s a good plan right there.”

Beautiful morning in Toronto. Good opportunity to run fast. Anthem is sung, Doug Ford is heckled, Gun fires, race starts, and the following events go down;

I felt fresh and snappy from the get go, so for the first few kilometers of the race I decided to just tuck in with the group going at Canadian Record pace. It was quicker than I wanted to go, but I had to do it.  Why? Two reasons.

Reason One; Science. There was a headwind coming from the west, the direction we’d be running for a big chunk of that opening 12km. Science says that even on a calm day running behind someone cuts wind resistance by 2%. On a windy day having those bodies in front can make a massive difference. Running behind people at 3:04km would be better than trying to solo 3:08’s into a wind. Science said I had to roll with those dudes, so I did.

2nd reason; I wanted to give myself just a taste of the pace, put myself in the position to do something special. You never know, maybe I was going to get out there and just feel unbelievable. Have one of those once in a lifetime races and just destroy one. It didn’t happen, but man that would have been rad!

The opening 13km was brilliant. I just sat in the back of that pack and rolled. I didn’t do any work, I didn’t worry about any splits, I just ran. It was nice. I hit 10km at 30:43. I felt good and it was easy, but it was still so damn early and I knew this was a pace I knew that I could not sustain for 42.2km. The wind was now at our backs and I felt comfortable easing back and getting into my own rhythm.

I was supposed to have a rabbit out there, I told him of the plan and I was hoping to just tuck behind him after I let the pack go. Sadly that didn’t happen. My rabbit was a nice enough dude, but I don’t think he was in very good shape. He didn’t even make it 8km with the group. I appreciate the effort by the CRS to bring in some support, but man, that guy was not very fit at all.

As a lone combatant I continued to forge on along Lakeshore as Gilly Boy and his crew floated away into the distance. This stretch along Lakeshore Blvd. is my favourite part of the STWM course. I was running west as thousands of other runners were heading east towards the turn around. The support and encouragement I received from my fellow competitors here was unbelievable. It gave me a huge boost and kept me pushing forward. Thanks so much to all whom helped me along at this point.

All day I was continually pumped up and pushed on by the amazing crowds whom had come out en masse all over Toronto to cheer on the runners. It was friggen awesome. It also helped that NewBalance had taken the initiative create a beauty of a singlet for the Canadian guys to wear. We really stuck out and people got even more excited and loud when they saw the home team out there rolling.

Bad Ass NewBalance Kit.

I came through the half at 65:04, I felt great at this point. I was in complete control and I was getting excited about pulling off a big one. I tried to remain cautious though. A very common marathon mistake is for racers to come through the half ahead of their pace and feeling great. They get all excited and proceed to pick up the pace between 20-30km. These are then the same people you see crying and throwing up on themselves at 38Km. I really wanted to be conservative from 20-32km,  I wanted to be ready to fight hard and finish strong over that last 10km.

Things got a little lonely from 21-28km. It is a quieter part of the course and it is also where the legs start talking to ya a little louder. I had plenty of time in the bank so I just listened to the body and chilled during this section.

Turning onto the beaches at around 28km was a big relief, the crowds there were gnarly. Those folks were very loud and rowdy. I tried to utilize that energy and just soak it all in. I hit the turnaround at 29km feeling groovy. I was licking my chops, all I had to do was float the next 3km then attack the last 10km. I was certain that I was going sub 2:12.  I passed 30km in 1:33:08.

The beaches however are also a little rolling, not terribly so, but just enough to do some damage.

I felt the first twinge at 33km, just a slight little tingle, a small spasm. I had felt this before, I was a bit concerned.

By 36km they had hit in full force. Started in the right calf and then moved to the left. Full on cramps and frequent spasms. Damn. Same thing that got me in Boston. I was pretty annoyed. My energy levels were great, my head was clear and I was on for an awesome day.

I guess complaining about cramping during a marathon is pretty stupid. I mean, they kinda come with the territory. We’re out there for 42.2km beating the crap out of ourselves on hard pavement. What the hell did we expect was gonna happen?!  It’s like complaining about being too full during a pie eating contest.

The last 6km I was digging so damn hard. I still had a chance at sub 2:13, but the cramps just rendered my calves useless, and boy did it ever hurt. Some people talk about the bear jumping on their back, or hitting the wall and things like that. I’ve experienced those feelings as well, and they suck really bad. These cramps sucked just as bad, but in a different way. Once you get over that 30km mark in a marathon there are many different ways in which your life can suck. On Sunday it felt like I was being chased by a very mean little goblin whom just kept stabbing me in the calves. I call him “Stabby the Marathon ruining Goblin” and he is a little bastard.

Piss off Stabby!

As I crossed the line I stumbled past the photographers, past the VIP’s, and I was on the verge of going down. Out of nowhere comes this big bear of a man to catch my limp, lifeless body.  Clif Cunningham, what a guy. Clif is the west coast head of the CRS, he has been a constant supporter and friend of mine ever since I relocated out west.

Clif has also been known to bust my balls about dropping out of STWM…twice. This race has had my number. Finishing this STWM race was ridiculously important to me.

Clif catches me:

“Great job Rob, good effort”

“Oh shit, oh god…*incoherent rumbling*….”

“You alright rob?”

“Yeah, man. I did it, I get my medal!”

“Yeah you did man, you want this one?” *pulls out finisher medal that he just happens to have in his pocket*

“F**k yeah I want that one!”

*Impromptu medal ceremony followed by man hug*

Thanks Clif, you’re a good man.

My finishing time was 2:13:29. An 8 second PB. I am thrilled with my new PB, that 8seconds capped off an amazing little stretch. 2013 has by far been the best of my career.

I am so lucky that I get to continue to live this life, continue to live this dream.

Thanks so much to Coach Pete. Thanks for putting up with my mood swings, messy room and crazy ideas. Thanks for having my back and continuing to push me forward.

Thanks to Kristin for being my training camp Mom. Thanks for cooking me delicious glutenfree meals, hooking me up with gym and strength connections and always being the first to tell the haters to go eff themselves.

Mom and Dad; Words cannot express how much you rock.

Aunt Jill, Jim, My Grandmother, my brothers, and the rest of my family. Thanks for always being there to share these experiences with me. I Iook forward to many more.

Robin Truxelof TurPilates and Chris Napier at RestorePhysio (Nice little 2:35 himself out there!) You guys have played a huge part in keeping me healthy and in one piece. This little marathon binge would not have happened without ya.

shout outs to New Balance, CEP and E-Load, your fine products keep me fit, healthy and ready to roll.

Thanks to Alan Brookes and the CRS for continuing to put on such great events and going out of their way to help us run fast.

Gotta give a huge shout out to Lanni and Krista, simply amazing work out there. Inspiring stuff.

Lastly, thanks so friggen much to each and every person out there whom has taken the time to offer up a kind word and show their encouragement. Be it out there on the course Sunday, on the twitter, facebook or even here on the blog. Your constant support has been so amazing and tremendously uplifting. You guys rock.

Onwards and upwards friends.



Oct 2013


COMMENTS 53 Comments

53 Responses to “Blog #104”

  1. Eric says:

    Great blog. I’ve been with this blog since day one! I can’t wait for the blogs from Rio in 2016!!

    • rob says:

      Thanks Eric, I too hope to get the opportunity to blog from Rio! But until then we’ll keep blogging on the grind, thanks for sticking around.

  2. Michael Krahn says:

    It was really sweet to run in a race in which so many people PB’d and/or set new records. I was one of those thousands going the opposite direction cheering you on. Crap, you were going fast!

    And for the record, back in the yellow corral there were some boos and hisses for Rob Watson’s introduction as well… which made me smile and made me darn proud to call you my favourite Canadian runner. :-)

    Keep up the good work! Remember: If everybody loves you, you must be doing something wrong. (At the very least, if everybody loves you, you must be boring.)

    • rob says:

      Haha, Thanks Mike! That is awesome, damn Yellow Corral Hecklers! I agree, if you are not upsetting a few folks you are doing it wrong.
      I appreciate the support and cheers. How’d your race go at STWM?
      Keep rolling man.

      • Michael Krahn says:

        My race went well. I hit 3:30, an 18 minute improvement over my first marathon (last year)! So I’m shooting to go sub-3 hrs next year at STWM.

        It will be a lot of work but I’m looking forward to it.

    • But really now? says:

      What would the 3:30+ crowd (or whatever yellow corral is) have against Rob? Serious question.
      Great work, man!!!

      • Michael Krahn says:

        The answer: Rob has personality and isn’t always diplomatic. Some people don’t like that.

        They were probably all Leafs fans. They don’t know any better.

        Go Sens. :-)

  3. Mole Man says:

    I wasn’t saying Boo… I was saying Boo-urns!

  4. Nicole says:

    Great PB Rob! Super proud of you on your 2013 year. Look forward to many more accomplishments from you in 2014 and onward to Rio! Keep running and we’ll keep cheering.

  5. 24 In The Rain says:

    Good a good laugh out of Stabby the Goblin. Awesome running and always enjoy the blog. Excited to see a big 2014 dude!

  6. RW Fan says:

    Congrats on a PB and a fantastic year! Your blog posts always have me laughing, thanks for keeping it real. Can’t wait to see you kick ass in 2014!

  7. Anna says:

    Congratulations on your new PB, Rob, awesome performance and blog!

  8. Jake says:

    I’m usually not the type to leave comments on blogs, however, I feel compelled to do so today.
    Thank you for sharing your journey with others through this blog. And thank you for being yourself and not trying to fit the image of what others think a professional athlete should be.
    Am I allowed to pick favourites? If so, you are my favourite Canadian distance runner (to clarify, those other three marathoners seem like pretty decent guys also). Keep being honest and open.
    Can’t wait to see what 2014 has in store for you!

    • rob says:

      Jake, man. Thanks so much for your awesome comment. That really means a lot. The support from people like yourself is amazing and uplifting. I love the running community and all the great people whom are apart of it. Thanks again man.

  9. Kristine B says:

    Love the blog Rob! Have you ever tried pickle juice for your muscle cramps? Just attended a sport nutrition conference and the Aussies use it in endurance events. Might be something to look into.

    Enjoy the recovery!

    • rob says:

      Pickle juice eh? Sounds gross, but anything it takes to keep Stabby away is worth it! I’ll look into it. Thanks for the tip!

  10. Fan of RW says:

    Way to go man. You ARE the man Watson. Thank god you didnt mention me at 34.5k telling you that Eric looked like shit and you looked fresh. That means I will be at the next one running beside you for 50m LOL

  11. Pamela says:

    Your blog is always such a great read – thanks for the refreshing honesty, the laughs and the running inspiration! What a great year you’ve had – look forward to following your continued running adventures in 2014.

    • rob says:

      Thanks Pamela! 2013 has certainly been a great year, and I can’t wait to tackle 2014 full on. This is just to much fun!
      Appreciate the support Pamela, hope you have some great runs and results in 2014 as well.

  12. Anonymous says:

    The Road To Rio…

    England 2 Poland 0
    Watson 4 Haterz 0

    I dig it!!!

  13. Nicole says:

    Love the blog. I think it’s the best running blog going. Congrats on the PB, especially after a crazy year! Sorry to hear Stabby was giving you a hard time. I’ve encountered his distant cousin, Stabby the I’m going to f* up your cooldown after hill repeats Goblin. The whole family’s a bunch of jerks.

    • rob says:

      Yeah, Stabby and his brood are a horrible bunch for sure.
      Thanks for stopping by the blog and offering up some awesome support. Appreciate it Nicole.
      Keep working, keep training we gotta defeat Stabby!

  14. KWO says:

    Rob – I can’t figure out what I enjoy more – Your blogs or your races…..They are equally exciting
    The way you break down the race gives all of us recreational runners solace knowing that even the elite struggle at times and it can be painful as hell to push through….thanks for that
    Lmfao on Stabby – that little bastard.
    Congrats on a phenomenal year and good luck with all of your training and prep for any/all upcoming events

    • rob says:

      Thanks so much KWO,
      one of the things I really dig about running is that no matter your pace, speed or finishing time, when we are out there busting our asses we are all sharing that same suffering. We can all relate and connect to each other in that way. We share the pain, and when we cross that line we can also share that elation in knowing we accomplished something great.

  15. dean nicholson says:

    Been following you since watching park mile repeats in Guelph with Eric and Reid and you have done well grasshopper!!!

    Anyone who does anything with the passion you exhibit will be successful lad.

    Your heart will lead you to the promised land. Keep it up, and keep sharing……

    Much love dude,


  16. Zorbs says:

    hey, I was in the yellow corral and I cheered for you when you went by!

  17. Observer from London says:

    Charged around the course to keep up with the Canadian leaders … it was fascinating, as usual, to watch how the lead pack, of non Canadians and the rabbits, so quickly dissolved at around the 30k -32k mark once it became apparent to the leaders who was having a winning day and who wasn’t – but they had enjoyed the benefits of pack assistance to that point ….. at 22k you were running about 16th alone – at 30k you were 6th (still running alone) …. at that point do you know where you stand and how far ahead or behind you are? …
    Are pacers/rabbits a help or a hindrance? …. how much difference does it make (timewise) if you end up running the last 20+k by yourself without any pack support … would it make sense if the race organizers want a course/Canadian record that they provide Canadian runners with the same pack support as they provide for the faceless group of imports?

    • rob says:

      Hey OfL,
      Thanks for the comment. I didn’t know what place I was in until about 32km, and when I was told I was 6th I was surprised because I had just seen a huge pack of about 12 run by in the other direction (Last rabbits must have stopped at 30)
      Pacers are a HUGE help! They help in so many different ways. Alan provided an awesome group for Eric for his quest for the canadian record. His pacers did a great job. There are limited resources for pacers, so there can only be so many. It was nice of Alan to get me a pacer, unfortunatley he was outta shape and didn’t help at all. It’s just the way things work sometimes.

  18. PR says:

    Red Coral had your back! Spotted you and then JWM not far from the Legion. Eff! So close to a watering hole and the guys I want to buy rounds for are all rolling on. And roll you did! Good job fighting off Stabby. You should get NB to make Rob Watson race shirts! Your green guy up front, Stabby on the back. Race expos gems! All the best recovering! Onward

    • rob says:

      Thanks for the support PR, I can always count on you man. Good stuff. Stabby and Rodney (green guy) shirts would be sweet!
      How’d your race go at STWM?

      • PR says:

        STWM went great! Hoped to go under 1:40. Went 1:36 high. Fist pump! Mama Ran the 5k and won her age group. Yeah!! Then we heard 2.or 3 boys ran away from our babysitter and the neighbourhood called in the OPP to help find them..Oh Brother~everybody was running that day! *STWM Tweaked my left IT a little, but i’ blame it on my desk job. Too much sitting made everything seize up It only developed a day later….only notice it when I walk. So eff walking..planning a spring 1/2 and hope that Boston opens a 5K; Mama is in again.
        Sounds like the West Coast running scene keeps growing. exciting environment for you guys!

  19. Nic B says:

    Stabby looks like an evil bastard. Great work on the PB and the always entertaining blog. Looking forward to some off season blogging, and hopefully some tales of preparing for the Comm Games? 2014 is going to be awesome!

  20. Lisa says:

    Congrats on looking fine in your New Balance singlet! (And on the race.)

    The Rob Watson Fan Club

  21. dorkcorral says:

    I’ve lined up in the yellow corral before, though not at Scotia this month. What business does anyone in the yellow corral have snarking about an elite, unless they caught said elite with their girlfriend or doping, or doping with their girlfriend.

    Loved this post, anyway. Cracked me up the hardest since the one about pacing the guy to qualify for Fukuoka. (The photo in that one slays me every damn time.) And really happy for you to have had such a great year. You rock it, Watson. Cheers from the midpack.

    • rob says:

      Hey Man, Thanks for the kind words and support. Ya can’t make everyone happy I guess, I am completely fine with that, and I would never hang out with a lady who dopes!

  22. Dylan Olchin says:

    Im long out of the running game but i dig reading this blog!

    • rob says:

      Dylan! What’s up man, thanks for stopping by the blog! I was just in fort collins, good memories of jello shots of 151 and Bob Dylan tunes. Cheers man.

      • Dylan Olchin says:

        Going back to the fort this weekend myself. gotta get out of the snow. catch a CSU football game, have some beers, see some folks….
        next time in CO give me a shout out – breckenridge has some real altitude training for you!

  23. Belinda says:

    Congrats from the Yellow coral! I was cheering you on as you flew past me ~14k. So proud of the Ontario talents! Love your blog and the honesty!

  24. […] very difficult to imagine when you’re watching them. My favourite recent race recap is this one by Rob Watson on his Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon because he manages to give good advice, […]

  25. […] 4. PB in Toronto; Great way to finish up a very busy year. I was tired heading into this one, both mentally and physically I was just holding on. Luckily we got a glorious day and I managed to hit a PB. It was a small PB, but still faster than I have ever run that distance before. And like I said before, if you complain about a PB you are an ass. […]

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