Mississauga and Toronto (both located in Ontario, Canada) held their annual road running races on the weekend of May 6 and 7. As they have done over the past 18 years, some of my Team Over The Top runners partook in distances from the 2 kilometre kids’ run to the full marathon – and the 10 kilometre and 1/2 marathon distances as well. One of my marathoners is also peaking for the Ottawa, Ontario, Canada marathon on Sunday, May 28 – more on her later.The 14 kilometre mark in the Mississauga races (photo above).
As per usual, my runners all worked diligently toward their respective races. They had put in the time on the hills, track and roads – along with doing some of my unlocking drill training in the Form & Function gym. Nobody accomplishes anything in life worthwhile without sacrifice AND hard work. This season was no different. One of my marathoners aggravated an old calf injury and had to bow out. Terry in the middle of the photo above the day after aggravating a calf injury!
Three of my 1/2 marathoners got bogged down with work, travel and family commitments and had to bow out. You get the picture! Pushing through to the end of ANYTHING is never easy.
Also, as per usual, none of my runners suffered avoidable running ‘itis’ injuries. By following my Squat-Scoot style of safe, efficient, powerful running, doing the Extensor Chain Activation and hip unlocking drills, moving barefoot as often as possible and using the Barefoot-Science inserts, they all stayed strong, balanced and injury-free. Beautiful!!!
Race day broke cloudy, cool and rather windy in spots. Almost perfect running weather. I was on the Mississauga course – thus, the photos below are from various vantage points on that course.Above, you will see the 3rd place and 4th place men and 1st place woman in the Mississauga 1/2 running strong and efficient as they approach the 15 kilometre mark. The form is not perfect BUT it’s damn close. Further back, the pack of sub 2:00 1/2 and sub 3:30 full marathoners head toward the turn-off point (14.5 kilometres into the race). Note the range of running techniques – many of them ugly!I then ventured out to the 30 kilometre mark of the marathon – where it traditionally starts to get ugly and most runners go into dark areas. Finishing this thing called a marathon becomes more a case of survival than thriving!This is the 3rd place finisher grinding up yet another hill at 32 kilometres on Lakeshore Road before heading down to run along the shores of Lake Ontario – and into a nasty wind.
In the following photos, I am at the 30 kilometre mark. This is where the majority of the hills kick in and the race also truly begins! The 1st photo is of a runner on pace to go under 3:10. The 2nd photo is of the 3rd place woman who is on pace to finish sub 3:10 as well.The 3rd photo is off a woman who was on pace to finish sub 3:25 BUT, based on her apparel (winter jacket) and severe heal-striking along with a rather pained expression, my guess is she did not finish – or if she did, it was not pretty. You simply cannot hit the road that hard with locked out knees for a full marathon without paying a severe price!The next 2 pictures show a pack of runners with the 3:30 pace bunny and my Team Over The Top marathoner, David, who was on pace to qualify for Boston (under 3:40). He ran a gutsy race despite cramping at the 36 kilometre mark and still finished in a respectable 3:47:41. Good on you, my friend!Next, it was on to the finish area where euphoria always mixes with suffering – “please get me to the finish line standing up, Lord”!! The marathon is quite simply bloody hard work!!Alicia made her comeback to road racing after bringing 2 children into the world with husband, Wes (who completed the 10 kilometre race on the Saturday evening of race weekend), over the course of the past 5 years. She had qualified for and run Boston under my guidance before ‘semi-retiring’. It was great to not only have her back with Team Over The Top but to have her finish the 1/2 marathon in 1:53:00 – not her best BUT most respectable.In what was a highlight of the weekend for me, Alicia’s 5 year old daughter, Rhea, ran the 2 kilometre kids’ race – without stopping. She shows natural running ability and has a perfect runners’ body. According to Alicia, she simply LOVES to run and compete – part of the next wave of Team over The Toppers.Annette’s goal was to break 2:00 in the 1/2 marathon (excluding the time required for her traditional need to use the Port-A-Potties multiple times – in this case – 3!!!). She trained exceptionally hard and remained focused throughout the clinic. Well, after it was all said and done, she showed a clocking of 2:00. Hell, I’m giving her a 1:59:59 finishing time!!Finally, Kerry, who has run Boston a few times under my guidance and is now on track to qualify again in Ottawa on May 28, took on the Toronto downtown 10 kilometre race with a goal of breaking 45:00. I felt she would go faster and that she did – 43:39!Her training schedule called for a 30 kilometre run – we discussed this pre-race and felt she could add on 20 kilometres AFTER doing the 10 kilometre race – and average sub 5:30/kilometre. If Kerry didn’t do just that – averaging 5:26/km with at least 1/2 of it into a nasty wind. Boston? No problem!!
As you can gather, there is no room for mediocrity in the Team Over The Top world. I simply will NOT allow it. Perfect practice and preparing at an A level will always lead to fantastic results – in road racing and LIFE! Prepare well, my friends!!!