Blog #92

Went to Ottawa in hopes of running a fast 10km…came home the Canadian Marathon Champion…it was a bit of a strange weekend. Wanna hear about it?

On Friday morning I was in the elite athlete hospitality suite at the hotel for the Tamarack Ottawa race weekend. I was kinda just skimming over the details of the weekend; schedules, registered athletes, prize money, so forth and so on. I glanced over the list of athletes registered in the Marathon, there was a whole bunch of really fast African dudes, but the Canadian field seemed a little light. I was a little annoyed because this race is our national championships yet none of our top guys were here…then I realized something, this is our national championship and our top guys are not here! Maybe I could be national champion? That’d be kinda cool right? I then looked at the prize money that corresponds with being national champion in the marathon. That’s when I texted my Coach.

Coach texted back; “can ya win?” 

me; “I think so.”

him; “how fast do you have to run to win?”

me: “probably about 2:20ish”

him: “okay, just don’t do anything stupid”

me: “thanks coach”

I then sought out Elite Athlete coordinator Manny Rodrigues.

“Hey Manny, can we speak for a minute?”

“Sure, what’s up?”

“Can I run the Marathon?”

*blank stare*…5 secs later...”sure, okay. If ya want.”

“Cool, thanks Manny”

I then went for a little jog, wanted to try to process things, but I think I was doing to much processing because I managed to get absurdly lost in French Canada. My 45min shake out jog turned into an 85min tour of lovely Gatineau. At least that gave me some extra time to think, and after I finally made my way back to the hotel I was still content that we had indeed made a good decision.

The decision to run this marathon was based off some quick calculations of risk vs. reward. Obviously Marathons are damn hard, one cannot take it lightly. Luckily my recovery from Boston had gone swimmingly. Over the 6wks since that race I had gotten my volume back up to a decent level and the legs felt fine. I was not super fit by any means, but there had to be a bunch of residual fitness still in the ole’ legs.

I had however been taking aim at a fast 10km, so my longest run since Boston had only been 18miles and I had only one 10mile tempo run under my belt. I was a little scared solely based on the fact that no matter the pace, 42km is damn far, it’s gonna sting! Definitely a bit of a risk, but sometimes ya gotta take chances, spice shit up a bit.

The next day I went and watched the 10km races, they were awesome! Kelley Weibe rolled a pretty solid 29:22 for 8th place, that kid is friggen funny man, really looking forward to putting in a lot of work with him over the next few years.

K Weibes getting pumped to take on all challengers.

Being out there and watching the 10k was pretty exciting. I love that road race energy, but it also got me a little nervous. And maybe a few doubts were creeping into my head also. Seriously, what the hell was I thinking? I had just run a marathon where I had absolutely destroyed myself. Was this gonna be ok? I mean, Lucas McAneney and Clout are good runners! I gotta respect their talents and 2:20 is no walk in the park!

Sure when I was in peak shape a 2:20 would be pretty chill, but I was far from peak marathon shape! Oh man, I was seriously getting nervous, I am not a smart man! But I had made my bed and the next morning I guess I’d lie in that sucker.

Race morning came and I was feeling better. The weather was great, the energy was positive and legs were ready. The race had set up a pacer for the Canadian crew, BMO Vancouver Marathoner winner Thomas O. was assigned to take us through at 2:16 pace. It was a little quicker than I wanted, so I decided to back off for the first bit and work into the race.

The gun went off and I just chilled for the first bit and got myself  into a steady flow. Lucas and Thomas were out in front for the first bit, but eventually I worked up to them and then we rolled together. Our group settled into running 3:13-3:16’s and it felt really easy, I was happy about that.

At about 12km I had noticed a little heavy breathing off to my left and figured I’d throw a little jab to see how Lucas would respond. I made a quick little move and he didn’t respond…but neither did the rabbit! I was a little annoyed about that. I figured Thomas would come with me, because I was still gonna be on that 2:16 pace. The idea behind my move was to drop Lucas and put him in no man’s land early. But since the rabbit stayed with him I just ended up isolating myself! Now they could work together and work back up to me. Tactic fail! I was a little pissed. I decided to keep pushing as to put a bigger gap on those guys. I managed to put 30-40sec on them over the next 5km and then I settled back into a chill pace.

I was pretty much all alone for the rest of the race. It was okay though, it really gave me the opportunity to read my body and have complete control over my effort without any distractions. There was also awesome crowds I could pull energy from and I had the lead Canadian vehicle there with my man Kent giving me constant updates of pacing and such.

Gotta give huge props to the Ottawa Marathon Organizing Committee. They manage to put on this event with 45,000 runners with only 3 paid staff! This event runs on the power of volunteers and community support. That is something that is so cool about the road racing scene, a lot of people are doing this for the love of the sport. It’s truly a brilliant thing that we are so lucky to be a part of!

So anyways. I continued on and at 34km Kent informed me that I had 1:45 on Lucas. I was happy about that. My legs were getting a little tired and I was able to sit back and chill. At around 35km the course double backed on it’s self and I was able to pull some energy from my fellow runners heading in the opposite direction. Congrats to all the other finishers out there! Great job.

At 38km I was pretty tired. I think a big part of this was simply due to the fact that I had not done a 38km run in a long ass time! Even during training doing an easy 38km run is hard! 38km is a far ass way to run folks! I focused on keeping my stride fluid and the arms pumping. I came on through to finish as the national marathon champ in 2:18:33. Not gonna lie, I am super pumped about this. I have not won very many national championships, so this was quite cool.

Marathons are fun.

Overall I am very pleased with the way everything played out. It was a perfect day for a marathon, the course was not too challenging and my body responded well. It was certainly a hard run, no doubt about it. I did suffer some out there, and it was certainly quite uncomfortable, but I am really happy that Coach and I made the decision to switch races. I’m gonna take a few chill days here to recover, we’ll then have a little chat about where to go from here. It is always good to have a plan, but at the same time ya gotta leave room for tweaks here and there, ya gotta take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.

After the race I hung out with my parents, they had their own little adventure this weekend, but as always they were there to cheer on their boy. Best damn parents in the world, love those two!

Celebrating with the Team!

So that is that folks! What an awesomely fun weekend! Damn I’m lucky to be doing this! Thanks again to the whole Tamarack Ottawa Race weekend crew! Manny, John H, Kent…Everyone involved in this event, top notch folk for sure, they even provided many a post race beer!

Onward and upwards my friends, cherish the grind and eat your vegetables.



May 2013


COMMENTS 40 Comments

40 Responses to “Blog #92”

  1. Jacob says:

    Congratulations! Awesome man! Awesome! Your post made me smile and I am so happy for you! And so proud. I am even telling my friends the Canadian marathon champ is my friend. Click on this link!

  2. Trotz says:

    stackin that cash!

  3. Desy says:

    I would have continued to bike with you along the parkway there, but Kent didn’t like that idea and didn’t want to get you in trouble. Then I saw Rejean and figured it’s less work/biking watching the race with him, so I decided to hang out with him.

  4. Fan of RW says:

    Silly Rabbit can’t hang with us!

  5. Scott says:

    Ballsy call and execution. Congrats!

  6. cindy says:

    wooohooo! awesome race, great photo too…congrats!!!

    • rob says:

      Why thanks very much Cindy! I appreciate the amount of exclamation marks in this comment, really shows how excited you are!..!!!!

  7. PR says:

    Glad you spotted the opportunity and had the nuts to take a crack at it. Well played Mr. Watson. Well played!

  8. Andrew says:

    Love so much your blog man! Keep going with it, and before I forget, huge congratulations for the win!!! The Canadian running scene is lucky to have you!

  9. Not Canadian says:

    Moscow!! Make Canada proud, do it, and congrats on the big win. You’ve given me the marathon bug, once I figure out my own injuries. Onward and upward!

    • rob says:

      Not Sure about Moscow, but glad ya got the bug! Get healthy my man, nothing like being out there with thousands of other runners loving the sport and riding the grind. Onwards my friend.

  10. Sherlock says:

    Excellent move, Watson. This is exactly the type of ballsy, daring, spur of the moment risk-benefit calculation that needed to happen. Now, I expect you to take this to the max and really promote yourself out there. Smashing job, ol’ boy!

    • rob says:

      Well thanks very much! Glad ya approve man. I’m gonna go promote the hell outta myself now, thinking even thinking of talking in the third person from now on. Yeah, rob thinks that’s a good idea.
      Cheers man.

      • Sherlock says:

        You’ll be pleased to know that I have been promoting you properly as well, ol’ chap. I used to declare things like “As Rob Watson, elite runner, says/does…”. Now I say “As Rob Watson, Canadian national marathon champion, says/does…”. I am finally lacing up for the first time in over a year to run at the Longest Day 5km at UBC. I shall try and execute a FFTF. Perhaps developing cool FFTF wristbands is a good idea for self-promotion. Swag.

  11. Ben says:

    Wow.. very cool!

  12. pwatson says:

    One of the most interesting aspects of the Marathon experience is the ‘Technical Meeting’ where the race director and assorted race officials go over the local race rules and the course in general with the elite runners. It is truly fascinating to have the opportunity to observe the Ethiopian, Kenyan and assorted other importees runners up close. (The women are amazingly petite and frail looking and none of the runners ever seem to ask any questions or even talk?)) Of most interest to me is how the rabbit/pacers fit into the overall success of any/all major races. Three unusual happenings at Ottawa are worth mentioning …. 1. the second place overall male runner was actually a pacer who because he was having such a good day decided to hang in there and picked up a much bigger pay cheque than just his rabbit fees 2. Thomas, the personable rabbit from Hamilton, who was hired to pace the Canadian leader, couldn’t keep up to the pace you were running and stayed behind with Lucas … very strange? 3. I believe that in the 10k the rabbit who was supposed to support the pre-race favourite never did arrive from where ever and the favoured runner without support finished 3rd. Great entertainment!!

    • rob says:

      The Tech Meeting is my favourite part, that’s when things get real and the nerves kick in. Can’t wait till we do it again pops!

  13. Perry says:

    Rockstar move Destroyer…well done,
    enjoy and good luck when u get back at er to break that Can record…..
    u r the man to do it :)

  14. Anonymous says:

    Way to go champ – & forget about the money – this is gonna get you laid!!!!!

  15. Fan of RW says:

    Every move Watson makes in 2013 will involve big balls…this is a good trend.
    Shit is goin down in the fall in Toronto, it’s gonna be on like donkey kong smokin a big bong.

    • rob says:

      If I end up running Toronto then yes, I plan on making shit go down. But I still have yet to decide on my fall marathon.
      Appreciate the support dude.

  16. Anonymous says:

    What a great read – Great story – Very inspiring Rob – Congrats on the race – Good luck the rest of the year..

  17. Jenn says:

    Congrats, Rob! Your random, last-minute decision certainly paid off. Holla that! And your blog post was, as usual, an entertaining read. Hope you rock the next one too! PS – you look a lot like your dad!

  18. Heather Ogg says:

    Congratulations Rob. Well done! You were brave to make that last minute decision. Serious mental strength to be able to switch races like that. Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

  19. Faith Madden says:

    Happy Birthday Rob and I hope its successful race you have today.Did you know that one of the most courageous runners I ever saw shares your birthday? His name is Filbert Bayi from Tanzania , who also loved to get to the front and stay there!.If you want to get inspired,watch on you tube the final of the 1500 metres in the 1974 Commonwealth Games in Christchurch.It was the greatest middle distance race ever seen in New Zealand.And we saw a few in the 70s…!.Filbert ran the entire race from the front and beat our champion John Walker in an incredibly gutsy race.They both broke the world record and I didnt know who to scream for in the last lap .My loyalties were torn.I lost my voice for days.The stadium erupted and we kiwis didn’t know who we wanted to win in the end.Emotional stuff for sure. So all the very best from downunder. Cheers :-)

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