With just over six weeks to go, I’m deep in training mode for my next marathon: the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. And I’m super pumped! I’ve known all year that I’d run two marathons in 2019, and over the summer I decided on Toronto.
Here’s how I landed there:
- The timing (October 20) is perfect. It gave me plenty of time to recover from Boston (April 15) and will allow me just over four months to recover and build up again for the Olympic Marathon Trials (February 29). Weather-wise, it’s favorable too, as late October in Toronto is historically nice for racing and my build-up coincides with the best months to train in Boulder.
- Toronto (and its organizing crew) has a great reputation, and has been on my radar for several years. While it’s not quite as competitive up front or as deep as some of the Majors, it’s still an IAAF Gold Label race and a place that people go to run fast. My training partner from Houston, 2:28 marathoner Mary Davies, won the race several years ago and set her PR there, so I trust she left a little magic on the course for me.
- My last three races have been Majors—Chicago, London, and Boston—and while the hype and crowd support were out of this world, I felt that a slightly lower key race would be good for me this fall. As a foreigner who’s not in the hunt for a spot on the Canadian Olympic Team, I’ll go in with less pressure and more freedom to run my race and execute the performance I know I’m capable of.
- As this year’s Canadian Marathon Championships, a solid pack of women will be gunning for the 2:29:30 Olympic standard and that coveted Olympic berth (which will go to the first Canadian across the line, given that she’s under the standard). That should be a great group for me to tuck into and work with, in addition to . . .
- . . . my husband Will, who is going to pace! Some marathons allow pacers while others don’t, and Toronto’s willingness was a deal-maker. I completely trust Will to carry me along in the appropriate pace range, to encourage me in the right ways, and to help me work through rough patches—because he does all of that in the majority of my workouts already. He has also paced me in two marathons so far (when I finished 3rd in Houston and 10th in Chicago), and his steady presence was a not-so-secret weapon that I am enormously grateful for.
It’s a little early to talk specific goals, but I won’t let myself off the hook quite so easily. Without knowing anything yet about my fitness level on race day, my competition, the conditions, or any of the other dozens of variables that go into a marathon, here’s what I do know: I want to attack the Olympic standard (2:29:30), which would be about a minute PR and well within my wheelhouse. I want to work on my fueling strategy in training and in the race, as that’s something I haven’t yet dialed in all the way but should give me a big boost when I do. And more abstractly, I want to squeeze every last drop of fitness out of my body and set myself up for a strong showing at my next marathon, the 2020 Olympic Trials.