Race Reports, Running

Race Report: Toronto Marathon 2019

Here we go. It’s been a week since the Toronto Marathon and I’ve had good time to reflect. This was the second crack at the full marathon 42.2KM or 26.2miles. If you remember, my first one at STWM last year did not go exactly as planned. Yes, I finished, I became a marathoner, but without proper training and running an entire month before, I hit the wall in stunning fashion at 30KM. I finished STWM in 5:18…it was time for redemption.

GOALS 

A – run without hitting the wall

B – sub-4:00

TRAINING

This training block, I got appropriate physiotherapy from Dwane Rebello of Spectrum Sports Institute. This got my left ankle back in working form. This allowed me to complete a 12-week Running Room training plan with 4:00 goal marathon race plan in mind.

Prior to this during winter, I did a bunch of intentionally ridiculously slow Zone 2 Heart Rate (~135bpm) long distance runs on the treadmill. This is one of the best parts of the treadmill as you can really dial in a pace according to your heart rate. I did 4 of these half-marathon 21.1KM distance big slow runs in total. I feel like this really benefited my winter aerobic build up. 

In addition, I strength work 4-days a week. This involved 4 main compound movements. Deadlift, Backsquat, Overhead press, and Bench press. I found that these staple resistant weightlifting really help develop my core, and back structure and form. 

RACE NUTRITION

  4x Endurance Tap 

  250mL flat coca cola with 1/4 tsp Himalayan pink salt

  • Water from every aid station. No Gatorade as it doesn’t sit well in my stomach
  • PS Coconut oil makes an easy natural chaffing cream!

GEAR

  • Nike Vaporfly 4%
  • Underarmor singlet 
  • Patagonia strider pro shorts
  • 2XU compression long socks 
  • Apple Watch Series 4

PRE-RACE ITNERARY

3:30AM – Wake up

3:40AM – 32oz Water + BCAA/Creatine

4:00AM – Breakfast Bowl* with coffee

5:00AM – Stretch & Yoga routine 

6:00AM – Leave house

6:30AM – Arrival to Yonge & Sheppard Centre 

6:35AM – Bagel with peanut butter, strawberry spread, honey

7:00AM – Clif Bloks Black Cherry + 50mg caffeine 

* 3/4 CUP DRY OATS 

1 BANANA

1/2 CUP BLUEBERRIES MIX 

1 TBSP CHIA, HEMP, FLAX 

1 CUP SOY MILK

THE RACE

I dropped by backpack at bag drop-off at 6:45AM near the start line, which was actually still being set up for the 7:30AM start time. I met up with awesome Instagram running friends Lisa, Joy, Denoja, Vanessa, and Jon. We went to find the 1:50 pacer. But we kind of ended up doing our own thing. Joy, Lisa, and myself pretty much stuck together for the first half of the race. Being in their company really made time fly. I got a quick surge of gratitude within the first 2K when I heard someone yell “Yeah, go Sean!”. It was my good friend Randall, who was doing the Half-Marathon later on that day. The weather was absolutely beautiful, I could not have asked for better race conditions. I felt pretty good from the get go. There was one big hill at 8K, but then the course became an overall downhill and then flat for the most part. We pasted by some cool spots like Casa Loma, the CN Tower, St. Lawrence Market, Ontario Place, and many tempting restaurants along the way. 

I took an Endurance Tap at 8K, 12K, 16K, 20K. Like I said, I felt pretty solid. While I did not hit the wall, I started my legs begin to slow down at around 28K. So, I immediately began sipping on my flat coke throughout up to 35KM. It’s weird because I don’t normally drink coke (from my weight loss journey), I was surprised that it actually worked magic on me during a long race. My legs quickly got energized within a few minutes. The last 5K stretch along Lakeshore was pretty draining, and I dug deep to keep the pace. I recall my eyes closing at times, as I just wanted to push through. When I saw my Watch at the 1:50 mark, I started to get a little worried, but knew if I kept to my plan, I’d be fine. I did not want to be greedy, and blow up by accident. I stuck to my pace and the sub-4 goal would be mine for the taking. The only 200m was a sudden uphill and then across the Ontario Place bridge to the finish line in front of the Better Living Centre. Crossing the finish was an amazing feeling. I did it. I accomplished what I originally wanted to do, but failed at STWM last year, which was to run a sub-4 hour marathon. 3:55:37.2 to be exact! I PBed by 2 hours! I sub-4-ed a marathon! 

POST-RACE

When I saw the clock at the finish line, I was thrilled and relieved. I hobbled over to a volunteer and received a ginormous finisher medal. This thing is the size of a pancake! I surprisingly felt pretty good overall. My form was good, and other than the normal soreness expected, I was in pretty good shape aerobically and structurally. I made my way into the the Better Living Centre to get a banana, coconut water, and some Clif bars. I collected my bag, and changed into some dry clothing. I found Lisa and Joy and we all got a nice photo of the three of us and our super sized medals. 

I’m usually not craving any solid foods after big bouts of effects. But I knew my body was in much need of nutrients, and it’s best to consume them within 30 minutes. I whipped out my Recovery Smoothie which includes Banana + 2 Dates + 1/2 cup frozen mangos, 1sp Tumeric powder, and Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein. It was delicious. 

THOUGHTS

I felt like I had solid form all the way through. This somehow, was by far the single best athletic performance of my life, so far. It was most likely the combination of spectacular weather, the 12-week training, nailing the nutrition, and the positive vibes. 

Getting my own squat rack and doing compound strength training movements such as deadlifts and back squats really help improve my lower back and core stability. The training paid off. I also noticed that my appetite returned much quicker after an extensive long run effort than before. And I guess my body is now getting used to the longer distances. I had no muscle cramping, no noticeable stomach issues, and never really got out of breath. 

While I was sore the following 2 days, it was expected. What I was surprised about is how NOT so terrible my body felt versus STWM 2018. 

Also, if you’re wondering, the Nike Vaporfly 4% lived up to the hype. They are an absolute dream to race in. I will only be using them for important races as I’ve heard that don’t last too long, and the cost a pretty penny. But if they’re good for the great Eliud Kipchoge…then why not? 

WHAT TO DO NEXT TIME 

I’m very happy with the training plan I followed for the Toronto Marathon. While, I know that I have something that works, I still want to strive for a 3:30 goal time next. 

Before I get into full training for STWM 2019, I will do a few more of those Zone 2 HR super long runs, to continue building my aerobic base. 

Thus, I’m now looking for some other training options, possibly a coach, and/or using power with the STRYD foodpod. 

 

View this post on Instagram

 

What do we say to the god of DNF? NOT TODAY. They say #Hardworkpaysoff…AND I CASHED THAT IN. Finally hit my goal at @torontomarathon this gorgeous day! SUB-4 hour marathon with an official time of 3:55:37.2. I had to dig so deep in the last 3K. Big props to @belovedrunner & @joysofrunning for running with me the majority of the course. It was awesome seeing @attherockshow root me on at the beginning, and congrats to him on completing the Half!! Thank you so much everyone, the organizers, volunteers and spectators for this BEAUTIFUL RACE ??????? All #poweredbyplants ? More thoughts to come after sleep, food, and of course Game of Thrones…#MyTorontoMarathon #TorontoMarathon #veganathlete

A post shared by Sean Chin (@seanchin) on

Running, Triathlon

My 2019 Race Schedule

These are the races and events that I will be taking part of in 2019.

Some are road runs, and some are triathlons.

April 28 – Run for Southlake 5K, Newmarket, ON [23:24 PB]

May 5 – Toronto Marathon 42.2K, Toronto, ON [3:55:37.2 PB]

June 2 – Milton Triathlon Sprint (750m swim, 30K bike, 7K run), Milton, ON [ 3:02:25.1] *2 Crashes + 2 Mechanicals

June 23 – Tour de Guelph 100K (Non-race event)

July 7 – Ironman 70.3 Muskoka (1.9K swim, 90K bike, 21.1K run), Muskoka, ON [8:16:37 PB]

July 22 – Toronto Triathlon Festival Olympic (1.4K swim, 40K bike, 10K run), Toronto, ON [3:17:49.1 PB]

August 18 – Ride4UnitedWay 100K (Non-race event)

Sept 8 – Haliburton Forest 50K Ultra Trail, Haliburtion, ON  [07:07:12.80 PB]

Sept 22 – Toronto Zoo 10K, Toronto, ON [49:31.1 PB]

Oct 20 – Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon 42.2K, Toronto, ON [3:39:36 PB]

Race Reports

Race Report: Run for Southlake 5K

Absolutely loved the atmosphere at #RunforSouthlake this morning! Inspiring community and fun race! Finished strong with a new official 5K PR of 23:27! Additionally new PRs for 1 mile (7:19) and 1K (4:27) woot woot ?????! Thank you to all the volunteers, spectators, @southlakefndn /@southlakerhcorganizers, and sponsors @naturescanada ?! The @nike#vaporfly 4% were a dream to ride on! Time to refuel and get ready for the blood bath on Game of Thrones tonight! #hardworkpaysoff

Inspirational, Life

My 2018 Recap

As 2018 comes to end, I look back to the 15 page Goals document I made for myself last year. Did I fail or accomplish anything? I claimed that 2017 was the best year of my life when I dropped from 185lbs to 130lbs and took up running. I promised myself that 2018 would be even better. Here’s some of the best things that happened for me:

VISION CORRECTION 

Ever since I was a kid, my vision has always been terrible. I had a -8.5 prescription. But thanks to Dr. Raymond Stein at the Bochner Eye Institute. This allowed me to do physical activities that I was uncomfortable doing with eyeglasses before. I now have 20/20 vision after PRK. This has been absolutely life changing to unimaginable levels.

THE MARATHON

When I talk with people today, they think I’ve been running all my life. That is far from the truth. My journey into running only began in July 2017. I vividly remember not being able to run 500m without losing breath. But I dug deep and gradually moved my way up to 5K, 10Km, and Half-Marathon 21.1km distances. My goal was always to run a full 42.2km. And on Oct 23, 2018, I did just that at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  While I did not hit my sub-4-hour time goal, I pushed through and did not quit with ankle tendonitis plaguing me the previous month leading up to the race. I’ll deftinely return for the rematch, But at the end of the day, I am proudly and officially a Marathoner. 

FORGING ELITE FITNESS

Some say that one cannot training for endurance sports and make gains at the same time. I was okay taking up this challenge. So while doing my long distance running, I took up strength training via CrossFit. After a year of doing heavy lifting, and movements I never thought I was capable of, I managed to gain 10lbs of lean muscle. I now am at a sustainable 140lb. When I first started CrossFit, I couldn’t even do one pull-up. I made it my goal to be able to do 10 strict pull-ups, And I can totally do that and then some now. 

SPARTAN TRIFECTA

If you know me well, then you know I can be a big germaphobe. So going to a CrossFit gym and using community equipment was already something I had to overcome. But diving into mud, running up ski slopes, scraping legs on bushes, climbing up walls, carrying cement buckets, crawling under barbed wires, and jumping through fire really pushed my limits. To my surprise ,with the encouragement of my fitness friends, I registered for the Spartan Sprint, Super, and Beast races randomly out of the blue. And you know what? I crushed them all and loved it. Yes, there was some very risky moments, got a crap load of bruises and scratches, but I can now hold the Spartan Trifecta. AROO! 

NUTRITION

High quality whole foods is how I lost the majority of my excess fat. And it continues to be the foundation of my health. I am now actually eating twice as much as I did previously, but struggle to keep my weight up! yes up! Eating a whole food plant based diet is nutrient dense and aids in recovery and leaner gains. To step up my game, I took part in my first educational course since graduating university. I am now Precision Nutrition Level 1 certified. 

JOURNEY TO TRIATHLON

If you thought that marathon running and CrossFit training was enough…well it wasn’t. Somehow, while mindlessly watching videos on YouTube, I came across a very inspirational mini-documentary on Ironman triathlons. That was enough to get me hooked. I only had 2 issues. Yes, I can run. I could swim as a kid, but haven’t for 15+ years. And I never learned how to ride a bike. So what did I do? I registered for the Toronto Triathlon Festival’s Sprint distance. This forced me to get back into the pool, which, I picked up swimming back instantly surprisingly. I’m not a great swimmer by any means, but good enough to get me to the finish line. But the biggest challenge was the bike aspect. I did a whole bunch of research and bought my first road bike. The TREK Domane SL5 aka “Dianna”. Getting on and off, and balancing was super hard to learn, but with only 4 weeks, I learned enough. Out of all the medals I earned this year, my TTF medal is the one I’m most proud of. Swimming in a pool is one thing, but open water races is completely different. It was the first time in a race that quitting actually crossed my mind, twice. But I fought through the swim, rode through the gusty wind, and was so delighted to get to the run segment. Now I’m addicted to triathlon, and signed up for Ironman 70.3 Muskoka in July 2019.

SLEEP

I thought nutrition, training and working out was the end all and be all of fitness. I was sorely wrong. While I already feel amazing after a workout, I often felt a sense of tiredness or lack of energy during the day. I quickly learned that sleep is absolutely vital. I read a book called “Why We Sleep” by Matthew Walker. I now make sure to get at least 7h30m of sleep every night, with my utmost of trying to get 8+. This made a huge improvement in my energy level, alertness, recovery, and well-being. I use an app on my iPhone and Apple Watch called Pillow to track the quality of my sleep. Sleep is a crucial component of recovery and making those lean gains.

EXPLORED THE MIDDLE EAST 

Travel is one of the best ways to live life, learn new things, and become a better person. I had the privilege this year to explore the beautiful countries of Israel, Jordan, Dubai, Qatar, and Egypt. This brings my country count to 47. While you may have heard all the negative stories about this region fo the world from news channels, I had a phenomenal time there. Some big highlights for me was crawling through the Red Pyramid, visiting old Jerusalem, the centre of the 3 major world religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. I had a luxurious time in Dubai.  I absolutely love Middle Eastern cuisine, as they incorporate a lot of fresh vegetables, breads, meats, and most importantly delicious hummus!  

All in all, I feel like I did myself well in 2018. I am proud of everything I accomplished. And now begin drafting up my life goals for 2019 for an even better year! 

My hashtag for 2018 was #THISIS30.

For 2019, say hello to #MaximumDiscomfort! 

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