Blog #71

Shit man, that was close. I almost nailed that sucker…Almost! The goal was always to run qualifying pace as long as I friggen could, and I did that, was on pace to qualify until 37km, then I blew the hell up! I blew up so friggen hard! As it was happening it was absolutely agonizing and heartbreaking, but looking back on it now it was hilarious and I’m quite proud of myself. I did what I do man, huge FFTF that had me reduced to the physical state of a of drunk 16yr old girl combined with a freshly dead human succumbing to the effects of rigor mortis. If ya check out the splits you will see that I may have been a bit ambitious to start, but there is a reason for that. Let me explain, keep reading I’ll give ya’ll a race recap.

Okay, race report. Initially coming into the race I was just looking to run 3:06 per km for as long as possible, just even and chill. I wasn’t concerned about what the other folks were doing, this was my plan and I was happy to do it. Then Mother Nature decided to be a whore. The forcast was calling for a windy one on race day. Windy enough that the prospect of dealing with it on my own would have been just stupid (sure a 64:40 1st half may have been equally stupid…shut up). So the day before the race I decided that I had to go with a group as to have people to work with and bodies to block the wind.

There were only two groups to choose from. There was the world record group going out in 61:30. Let me just take a quick second to repeat myself here. Yeah, the lead group was planning on going through the half in 61:30…that is effed. Then there was the group that was put together for the Dutch guy who had to run sub 2:10 to qualify for the Olympics (and we thought our standard was hard!) Luckily they wanted to break 2:10 as evenly as possible, so 65:00 was the half split. That was my group, good ole’ group 2.

As race day came I was excited and relaxed. It is a great feeling heading into a race knowing that you are ready and prepared. I knew that I had prepared as well as I could have. The night before the race I ate about two pounds of ugali to top up the ole’ glycogen and then there was nothing left to do but give it a go.

So on to the race, first thing is that the start line at Rotterdam is nuts. You’d think that for such a big race they’d have a wider start than a two lane road. But they don’t, the start was a mosh pit, the cannon went off and I was throwing bows and sprinting outta that gate like a sonofabitch. Luckily I got off the line unscathed, sadly the same can not be said for my man Dylan W. About 500m into the race Dylan rolled up on my shoulder; “That’s f***ing awesome man, I went down!” As he said this he gapped me, as a result of the fall Dylan easily threw in a 65sec 400 to start the race. Money in the bank!

So we settled in and got to rolling, 1st km was a 3:07, perfect. Next km was a 3:04, okay I guess. Then a 3:03… Oh well, this was my group. I would need them later on.

We came to the 1st bottle station at 5km, the bottle tables were just a cluster fudge of miscellaneous bottles, I just ran by, didn’t even see mine, oops. Dylan was kind enough to share his bottle with me, that was super nice of him. We kept on rolling, the 5km between 5-10km was covered in 15:10, shit was on! We came to bottle station #2, I saw my bottle this time and grabbed it, success!..or not, it was not my bottle. I had accidentley grabbed some random bottle. I felt bad and tried to put it back, and in the process of doing so knocked down about 10 other bottles, it was a horrible failure, and I was bottle less again. Once again Dylan hooked me up, I was starting to feel like a damn fool.

We kept rolling, next 5km covered in 15:20. As we approached bottle station #3 I was getting a little concerned about my lack of fluid and carbs intake. We got to the tables, I slowed way the hell down, spotted my bottle and grabbed that sucker. I then made sure to drink every damn drop of that bottle! It was good, but during this process I got gapped hard! I covered the km between 15-16km in 3:15 and lost 10sec on the group. I was a little annoyed as the whole reason to roll with this group in the first place was to have people there to fight the wind with as it was gonna hammer us between 20-30km. I increased my pace in an effort to catch the group. At about 18km a dude on a motorbike came up on my shoulder and informed me in a very charming Dutch accent “You must catch them by 20km or you will be all alone in the wind!” He was genuinely concerned. I just gave him a thumbs up and said “working on it dude!” I dropped a 9:00min 3km split between 16-19km and got back on the group a little after 19km. That was certainly not ideal, I’m not very smart sometimes.

The wind hit us a 20km and I was very happy to be in our group, it was pretty annoying. We covered the 10km between 20-30km in 31:25, and it felt like we were pushing hard! This was probably also due to the fact that we rolled a 64:40 1st half and fatigue was settling. I was cautiously optimistic at this point. I was hurting, but it didn’t seem to horrible…yet. Fast forward 2km…by 32km I was suffering. Wow, that happened fast!

So coming into the last 10km things were starting to get ugly. I had been dropped by the group and was starting to suffer. I came through 35km and even though I was hurting greatly I was still moving alright and was still on pace. But by 37km it was over man, my legs basically shut off and life was sad. I ran a 3:35km between 37-38km. I tried to remain positive, I told myself that I’d be fine, I could still do it, I just had to dig! Man, the next 2min of my life was just pathetic. I put my head down, let out a mighty grunt and attempted to rally.  But all that happened was that I kinda just swung my arms back and forth very aggressively and almost fell over. Survival mode last 4km for a finishing time of 2:13:37.

What happened at the finish line was very embarrassing, yet pretty funny. So I crossed the finish line and immediately fell on my face. A bunch of people ran over and started saying shit in Dutch, I just kinda groaned. I got thrown on a stretcher, it was glorious, I fell asleep. As I was getting carted away I woke up and immediately threw up all over a random dutch man. He was not happy. I was taken into the medical area and they put me beside a bed…I threw up all over the bed, we went to a different bed. It was better.

At that moment I had never been more uncomfortable in my entire life. My guts were effed, I was cramping like a surly bastard, I had gone hypothermic and I was sad I didn’t get standard. It was rough man. But then I got a whole bunch of sweet drugs through an IV, a massage and a whole bunch of blankets. I was useless and pathetic. I really gotta learn better pacing skills.

The finish line medic crew at the Rotterdam Marathon was top notch. I kept joking with them that I wanted a beer,  later I happened to run into all the medics at the post race banquet. They were happy that I had gotten my hands on a beer and they informed me that I looked much better than the last time they had seen me. One of the medics had even taken pictures of me during my time in medical, he was supposed to e-mail to me but never did, I wish I had these to share with you folks, they are pathetic.

So anyways that was my race. I’m sad that I did not get the time I was looking for, but I’m ok with it. You can’t complain about a 3min PB, that would be an asshole move, I’m not an asshole.  I am proud of my effort and I know that I can do better. Better pacing, better fueling execution and better weather will all help make the next one faster. Coming into this race I had given myself an ultimatum. If I didn’t go sub 2:15 I was going to retire from competitive running. I love this sport to the very core, but to justify doing it at this level I wanted to actually be good at it.

I am very encouraged with this result. I was starting to wonder if maybe I just wasn’t built to be a marathoner. I’m 6’3, 150ish lbs with a size 12foot, definitely not an ideal build for the marathon. But now I know that physically I’ll be okay. It’s my stupid friggen head I gotta control now. 2:13 is a good starting point as I transition into the next phase of my running career. I’m excited man. Onward to Rio!

Quick shout out to the Canadian Ladies Krista and Lanni on absolutely killing it out there in Rotterdam! 2:32 and 2:31, unbelievable! Great girls, so happy for them.

Also Dylan Wykes, yeah man. He did it, he was brilliant out there. Little known fact, at about 28km I could see that Dylan was suffering, and I remembered how fired up and adrenalized he was after falling earlier in the race. So I ran over and pushed him down, needless to say he bounced back up got a second wind and ended up with his 2:10:47, you’re welcome dude. How amazing is it that Canada will have 3 dudes in London? That is just rad.

Canadian crew post Rotterdam

Thanks again for all the support both before and after the race. You guys continue to humble me. Thanks to all my friends who continue to support me through everything. Jane (I swear we’re just friends!) you continue to rock, thanks for being rad.

I really can’t articulate how much love I have for my family. Thanks so much to  brothers Mike, Scott and Erik, and sister Kristen, I love you all! Aunt Jill (1984 Olympic Heptathlete) Thanks for always being there with your love. Coach/ Brother Pete; dude has always been so important to me in my running, now he has played a massive part in getting me back on my feet and running fast. I love that guy. And obviously Mom and Dad are simply the best fucking people in the world.

Okay, over and out.





Apr 2012


COMMENTS 58 Comments

58 Responses to “Blog #71”

  1. Tim says:

    Hell yeah man. The best part about this is that we all know you got a 2:11:30 in you.. Rio will be the race. Don’t worry. Just keep workin on perfecting your splits.

    Stay positive (especially for your fans) because we got your back 100%.

    Onward to Rio!


    • rob says:

      Hey Tim,
      Thanks a lot man, things are moving in the right direction, just gonna keep pushing. Onward to Rio indeed!

  2. Melanie says:

    Great write up again Rob. I laughed out loud at parts. Way to go on your PB! You will nail the marathon, I am sure of it.

    • rob says:

      Thanks Melanie,
      Glad ya liked the blog. Yeah, that marathon is a tricky bastard, slowly but surly learning how to tackle it.

  3. Stevenson says:

    Next Crack Scoita in Toronto? Steal the big paycheck when you break Drayton’s Record?

    • rob says:

      Hey Stevenson, Scotia is a great event, that just may be the next marathon. Don’t think I’m quite ready for a 2:10:08 just yet though. I still have a lot of work to do before I can take a run at that sucker!

  4. Paul Raymond says:

    I’m extremely stoked about your performance man! I think you’re going to kill it even more in the future! Amazing!

  5. Scott says:

    Great blog as usual. I am glad that you got over the initial sadness and are holding your head high as you should. Its great to see you, Reid, Eric and Dylan being so supportive of one another. The 2010 Olympics will be great but you guys are forcing one another to step it up even further in the years ahead. Just awesome. Can’t wait to see Canadian marathoning continue to get better.

    • rob says:

      Thanks Scott,
      Dylan, Reider and Gillis are just great dudes and good friends, I have so much admiration and respect for those speedy bastards. The future of Canadian marathoning is looking good.

  6. Jeff says:

    Way to go deep man. Still very impressive

  7. Michael says:

    Way to keep on keeping on in Rotterdam!!!! Big inspiration Rob!!

  8. Anonymous says:



  9. Lauren says:

    I must admit I laughed out loud at parts of this, then immediately felt guilty about laughing at your misfortune. But! you have to keep running and make the Rio 2016 team if only to prove those SCI kids wrong when they didn’t vote you most likely to go to the Olympics. Good luck in your future races!

    Congrats again on the PB!

  10. Rowlands says:

    They were kind enough to keep your faceplant out of the camera shot. Looks like a pretty solid push to the line for the amount that it must have hurt. Marathon&new_search=1&match=26&camera=2682&lap=0#video

    • rob says:

      Hey Rowlands, Thanks! I watched those videos, I look a lot better than I felt…and I don’t look good at all!
      Coming to lunch today? See ya in a bit.

  11. James says:

    Very exciting! Inspiring stuff to see hard work slowly pay off.

  12. PL says:

    So proud of you dude! Someday you will make it big time!

  13. tf says:

    rob, dont be disappointed in this race at all…take a page from many past greats who’s marathon careers took them 3-4 marathons before they nailed it…rodgers..2:19/dnf/2:09!!! hell DAVE EDGE from canada went 2;29/2;17 then 2:12:25,then another 2:12, 6 weeks later….stay focussed and mention your size being “not marathoner like”…what about PETER MAHER?????? 6’5 146LBS….. hope to see you in some more road races in your next pre marathon phase……remember there is a BIG difference between being “fit” and being “race fit”!!… a boxer can hit a heavy bag til he’s blue in the face, but getting in the ring is alot different!!!

    great work and great blogs.


    • rob says:

      Thanks TF,
      I hear ya my man. The disappointment stems from not making the Olympics, if that was not on the line I would be thrilled!
      Thanks for the perspective though, the marathon is certainly a tricky event, takes time to get it right!
      Hoping to put in a few races this summer. Hope to see ya on the roads.


  14. Olivier Dyason says:

    Being part of that second group gave you some pretty solid airtime, too! That motorcycle camera guy must’ve been right up in y’all grill.

    • rob says:

      Hey man,
      Yeah those motorcycles were actually kinda annoying at times, they were all about following the Dutch guy, they got quite close and it was awkward. If I knew that was gonna be the case I would have shaved and did my hair.

  15. The Stu says:

    Muchas gracias el Toro – its been friggin fun to follow your build up and race – many congrats on the PB…

    Watching Coolsaet go balls out from the gun and Gillis sprinting to the line at Scotia & then Wykes go from DNF disappointment to 2:10 within a few weeks was awesome to see – but you, Rob Watson, you’ve done what few elite sportsmen manage – to totally captivate the imagination of the community and inspire. From your ballsy coaching move and extremely gutsy race to your blog that is open, honest and extremely entertaining (& you respond to just about every reader’s comment) – to quote Nurse Alice in Saint Ralph, “you made us all feel like we were part of something big”. Sponsors take note

    So keep on keepin’ on young Jedi – Citius, Altius, Fortius – & keep effin’ that chicken


    • The Stu says:

      Just occurred to me – you might think you’re becoming the new Dean Karnazes – you’re NOT dude – you’ve got the results to justify the support

      • rob says:

        Hey Stu, awesome comment. Thanks so much. I am happy to have ya’ll along for the ride. I can always count on the awesome people from this blog for some inspiration and motivation. It’s a two way street my man. Let’s keep rollin’!

  16. ben says:

    epic man!

  17. Emily Tallen says:

    Congrats Rob, inspiring run. I hope you continue to work hard, you haven’t even scratched the surface of what you’re going to do- keep your head up and eyes on 2016, can’t imagine the team without you on it. Thanks for inspiring everyone in Canada….canadian marathoning is making a comeback thanks to people like you Dylan, Reid, Krista and Lanni!

    • rob says:

      Hey Emily,
      Thanks for stopping by and thanks so much for the support! It is very exciting to be a part of this awesome marathon thing we have going on.
      So Lanni and Krista have really thrown down the gauntlet, you gonna be going after it soon?

  18. Ben says:

    Wow.. Rob, you did great. Only some bad luck stands between you and the Olympics. Going under the standard is just a matter of when.

    All the Canadians are so much fun to watch and follow. Thank you for the blog and all the updates.

    • rob says:

      Hey Ben,
      Glad ya like the blog, thanks for coming by!
      Looks like I have 4yrs to get this right, just gotta be patient, I think it will happen also!

  19. Alex says:

    Amazing Rob! Just a rad performance, I was going crazy when I saw your splits online. Good on ya for going balls to the walls even though you wanted to die that last 5k. Another rad blog to go with an unreal time. Your hard work is paying off and your only limit right now is the sky. Wish you all the best in the future!

  20. XR says:

    Feels like yesterday i was reading blog #1. Its been great to follow the journey dude. What is the plan for the rest of the year, are you planning to take a shot at 27:45 10k standard? or continue on the roads?

    All the best

    • rob says:

      Ahh, good ole’ blog #1, that was forever ago! Thanks so much for sticking around.
      As for my plans, just gonna stick to the roads. The only 27:45 track 10k I could get into is next weekend…don’t think I’ll be ready!
      Have a good one.

  21. Oddish says:

    Impressive run Rob, I always thought you were a dark horse and might pull off something amazing, the best is yet to come. Keep at it, I love reading le blog and following your exploits.

    • rob says:

      Thanks Oddish, I appreciate your support. The best is yet to come for sure, let’s keep all the positive shit going!

  22. Jacob Aliet says:

    Great work! You are my hero! You guys actually eat Ugali? Is that what Canadians call it? Yes, Ugali is what we Kenyans love. I eat it every day! Keep it up man. A year from now you could go sub 2:10. There is no reason why you should not. Its just all about training and prep.

    • rob says:

      haha, Thanks Jacob. I had my first Ugali whilst in Rotterdam, it is delicious, I am going to learn how to make it. 2:10 in a year? That would be rad, let’s get at it!

  23. […] weekend was big for the marathon. Dylan Wykes made the Olympic standard! Rob Watson didn’t but boy did he try. Lanni Marchant and Krista Duchene destroyed the IAAF standard, and […]

  24. Karen says:

    Best. Race report. Ever.

    Well done, Rob! Okay so you’re 6’3″ and 150 pounds with size 12 feet, but we all know the real build of a marathoner is in his guts – and you’ve got those in spades.

    Onward to Rio!

    • rob says:

      Thanks Karen, glad ya dug the report also thanks for the kind words. all in all your comment was pretty solid, thanks!

  25. Canadian says:

    You’re a great storyteller, really made me feel like I was there. Sorry you didn’t qualify but a great performance nonetheless! I will keep following your adventures.

    P.S. I didn’t realize you were so tall — you need to post more photos!

    • rob says:

      Hey Thanks a lot dude, pumped to have your support.
      I would post more photos, but I don’t photograph well, I’m much better in person…but that’s still not that great.

  26. triathlete says:

    wow, that is still a crazy awesome time! pb’s are always fun. only gonna get faster from here! i loved reading your race report, funny as always and you still had a great attitude about it all. sounds like you found that scary place. good luck going forward!

    • rob says:

      Thanks Triathlete! I certainly found that scary place…and it dominated me. Hopefully next time I can deal with it better. Cheers!

  27. Anthony says:

    Holy Balls dude! I just watched the video clips and looked at the finish line pix! Made me feel a little queasy.And yet you just laugh it off.Mother-fudger you got giant ones dude!! Anyone with that much commitment will achieve their goal.
    I’m freaked by those shots! Speechless.
    Inspiration for May 6th !

    • rob says:

      Hey Anthony, thanks man. The pain and suffering is just part of the game my man. We all know that is gonna happen, nothing you can do about it, might as well embrace it.
      Great job at the Younge Street 10km, enjoy the taper. See ya on the 6th!


  28. CRTrojanrunner says:

    Amazing Rob,
    I am so glad I found your blog as the first one I ever read. You are an inspiation!. And London,Eng. is a dump anyways. Rio is where it is at! And think of the ladies you will have there. Can’t wait to watch you represent Canada in 2016.

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