This Sunday I ran a marathon – and it took a looooong time
And while I was out there I got a lot of thinking done.
It’s funny how running 42.2km turns into an inner struggle to keep moving forward. I’d been warned it might but since my previous big triumphs (the 1/2 marathons) didn’t have this type of struggle I wasn’t convinced
Perhaps if I hadn’t been running alone it wouldn’t have
The first 8k was great, sailing along on pace and every thing was good. I had to keep adjusting as I was slipping into my half pace and that was too fast
I could not locate any pace bunnies and that was a bit of a pisser as I knew I needed the disapline to keep on track
As we started towards camousun hill I started to hyperventilate. I’m sure it was nerves. I killed this same hill a few weeks before but I wasn’t as confident yesterday
Part way up my pace group from the clinic caught up to me (they had started slow). We ran together for a while but despite starting slow they were running faster than I wanted to so I sent them off a head.
I twisted my ankle in a pot hole around 12k but kept on trucking
Sailing down NE Marine at 20.5k I suddenly couldn’t breathe. It was like I had plastic over my mouth. My hr was in the right zone and my legs were good but I couldn’t catch my breath.
Took a quick break and got back to work
21.1 time was 2:32. Pretty good as I was shooting for a 5 hour finish
But then things went to hell
My legs started asking why I was still running and my stomach started to ask me to stop drinking and eating. It was warm and no sea breeze despite being along the beach.
I started arguing with myself and tried to focus on some of the advice our coach had given us.
One thing I really took away from this clinic is that a marathon is mental as well as physical. When I used to look at the marathon clinic people as they headed out I was always in awe of them, some of them just look like athletes. Trim, toned and tough. Something to aspire too. Something you think you can never be.
Our coach projected this as well but he used some good tips to get his newbs at ease.
He fessed up that he puked during his first 1/2 marathon and had cried on more than one race.
If a 1/2 iron man finisher and sub 4 hour marathoner goes through the “what am I doing?” weepies every time and comes out strong it makes them human, it taught us we could be one of them.
I never learned that in 1/2 training!
In 1/2 training it was all about being disaplined and consistent. Keep on your ten/1’s.
But Bill told us to walk when we need to, sit on he curb if you need to and get up and keep going when you are ready.
So I walked
And talked with myself
And thought about what running this marathon really meant to me.
If you asked me a week ago I would have given you a different answer than today.
I’d walk then jog and walk again all the while trying to throw off the last 10 years of pain
Of heartbreak, self loathing. Soul crushing loneliness
5 years ago a big ball of fur helped
3 years ago starting to loose weight helped
Oct 2011, when I ran my first 1/2 it helped
Earlier this week when I got to my race goal weight and noticed a handsome man watching me it helped
But walk/running up from the kits point to the burrard street bridge did it
Coming up from the beach and running over the bridge I could see where the crest was. I walked to the 30k flag and started to jog again, confident I could make the whole 42.2k
And I knew that when I crossed the finish line that the old me would finally be dead.
Rounding by the lighthouse my legs started to falter but at this point a Dnf was not an option.
I looked at the inspiration signs and one struck home “the voice inside your head that says you can’t do this is a liar.”
I did it and the race nailed that dammed coffin shut forever on the ugly fat girl.
I admit it, I have marathon fear.
Every now and then I have a doubt
I look at the training schedule and think about my last run and its difficulty and there it is, doubt.
I step on the scale or look in the mirror and think “how can portly me run 42.2 and not need to be carried over the finish”
It’s a fear that is both reasonable and unreasonable.
I’ve done 4 half marathons, all close together and have gotten faster and stronger with each one. My recovery has gotten shorter.
But I’ve gotten a wee bit older and a wee bit fatter. My knee is troubling me. I feel guilty when I have to leave Ruby behind.
But it’s that magic distance, 42.2k… The distance that makes headlines when healthy people drop dead on the course.
That magic distance that let’s you say you have done one of the hardest things a person can do.
So fear is normal.
I am a little undertrained for the clinic I’m in, and I don’t know many people in it. I last ran 21.1 in late June, since then I haven’t even done 10.
That makes for more doubts.
Day one was Jan 1 and Tuesdays are all 6k tempos. Due to the holiday we missed the run but I did the resolution run (5k). My running partner and I decided to run it straight rather than 10 and 1’s. It was a bit of an accidental decision, we kept saying “oh let’s walk at 15” “lets walk at midway” but we never did, we jut kept going.
Worked out ok, for my training pace a tempo is 6:45 and our final pace was 6:50. Perfect without even trying.
Since I’m still finishing up the 10k clinic I’m coaching I took my gang out for hills rather than the 10k tempo. I’m a mean coach, it was a hard hill.
Thursday and Sunday I wound up running sweep on my 9k and walking part way with one of the slower clinic people. We joke at the Running Room that our clinics are like the marines, but for middle aged women, no man gets left behind. So ya gotta do what ya gotta
Week two started with a cold night with heavy rain. 6k tempo on a route with a big hill. “What hell is this?” My brain asked as we stepped out into the icy deluge.
“Shut up brain” said my legs as they started off.
“Wtf? Who plots a tempo up this hill?” Asked my brain as we started to climb at the 1.5k mark.
“Shut up brain,” said my legs, “I’ve got work to do”
And it did.
As I crested the hill my brain got onboard and despite the rain we nailed it, average moving pace of 6:45 for 6.3k.
Despite the rain, I was happy when I got back to the car, even though I was drenched and poor Ruby must have been 5lbs heavier with all that water in her coat.
Shut up brain, I don’t have anymore doubts.
I can admit that I can be a bit petty. Ok maybe a lot petty.
Last year was Lululemon’s first foray into organizing a run. I looked at the perks, the route and the cost and kinda wished it would fail.
From all accounts it was fantastic, helped of course by a spectacular Vancouver summer day. Vancouver can be dreary in the rain but there is no more beautiful place on a sunny day.
So why am I so adamant that I will never do it despite it being my fave distance and a pretty route?
1) I’m cheap.
$128. Ok that includes all taxes and an overpriced Lulu garment but its more that twice the cost of the Scotia 1/2, more than the expensive BMO 1/2 and the new Surrey Music Marathon. Lets not bother to bring up the frugal runs put on by Try Events.
Sure I’ll pay $100 for 1/2 Corked, a race without shirt or medal, they have wine 😉
But 128 bucks for a race that makes the garment a surprise?
And about that garment…
2) My ass is too big
So when Lulu announced their garment it was shorts. Hmm ok I can get into the idea of shorts. Oh no preview of the garment, hmmm. Well hmm. I know I’m in the minority but I am not a fan of my 40+ ass in a pair of tight shorts but if they are not too short I can do it
The size chart XS to XL, ok that’s normal right?
Wait, Lulu sizing. XL is a 12
Looking around the Running Room on drop in night I’m not the only 1/2 marathoner that may have a problem with size 12. My pant size is 12 or 14 based on cut et.
For most races I order an XL shirt, sometimes a L. If the shirt is really small I can swap to a mans shirt. But I sure don’t want to pay $128 for either a pair of men’s shorts or a pair of ladies shorts that I wouldn’t wear in public.
Kinda wish more travel runners realized that there are better options for a 1/2 marathon in Vancouver
So this silly heel has set my training plans back by almost a month. I was going to wrap up a 10k clinic and start dropping in on a 1/2 clinic to coax up my weekly mileage. Instead it was three weeks of no running and having to slowly add distance and speed. I have to keep my strides short to keep the heel from protesting.
Even now, lounging and typing my heel is complaining about today’s gym session and long walk with the dog. Shush heel, I’m working on something here!
In the first week of the marathon clinic the schedule is for 38k.
Right now I’m at 15
My plan is to add two shorter runs to my week as well as two gym sessions. This will gradually build my mileage to around 26k. That makes 38 look doable.
So this week was Sunday long slow 6.3, wed 4.5 and thurs 4.1. Monday, Tuesday and Friday also had hour long dog walks, but that is just normal Ruby time. Saturday morning I’m planning an extra 4.2k. That will make a weekly total of 19. Not bad
I started seeing a personal trainer Monday, he gave me a set of brutal (to me) things to do to increase my leg power and core strength. It should help but I an still cuss his name right?
I managed one full and one partial gym workout
Next week I’m adding another 4k run on Monday. Will have to see how the heel is. Will it cooperate?
On sunday I took the plunge and registered for my first full marathon. its a bit daunting, more than my first 1/2 was. Maybe because I didn’t sign up for the 1/2 until I was 2/3 through the training clinic when right now I am a month away from the clinic starting and nursing an injury to boot.
I’m behind where I wanted to be by now. About a month behind, stupid achilles tendon.
The Marathon clinic starts with 38K in a week, with two tempo runs (6 & 10) and a 6K steady. I’ll be wrapping up the current 10K clinic I’m teaching so I’ll be doing a lot of homework. And I have to start now.
Right now I’m only doing around 12-14K a week- that only gives me 4 weeks to double that, and not get injured from adding km too fast.
This could be tricky.
My clinic runs Sunday (long slow), Wed (hills eventually) and Thurday (steady). This week it was 6K and Wed and Thurs are 4 k each (wed is a bit long at 4.5 and both routes have a hill in them). So I’m going to add a 4 K or so on saturday as well as a couple gym sessions. As per my earlier post I’ve started with a personal trainer and while there is a lot of upper body stuff we also did some squat jumps and other things to increase my leg strength. I’m also thinking of hitting the pool a bit
I need to add a few more Km per week to get me to the 35-38 level and I also need to get in a tempo and start edging it up.
Dec is going to be a very rough month
Ok so after three weeks of no running I’m back.
Started with an easy 5K charity run, did ok. As long as I run slow and keep my strides short I can run ok.
Since that run worked I volunteered to teach a 10K clinic via my local Running Room and we started two weeks ago. Since this is a Running Room clinic it is very conservative on the millage build up. That is ok since some of the runners are rusty or new to the longer distances. Already some are struggling.
But since I start Marathon training in Jan I need more km’s so I can keep up. My 10K clinic will overlap for three weeks with the Marathon group so I’ll be running Wed, Thur and Sun with my group and Tuesdays with the other group – still won’t be enough.
To help overall I’ve joined a gym and met with a trainer. We worked out yesterday for the first time and today I can barely move my arms 😉 My legs however are yet to notice the extra strength training we did.
So right now I’m working on bumping up the millage and also some strength training.
Looks like Dec will be harder than Jan…
My first injury… sigh
I’ve gotten a few ows running, a bruised toe, a couple blisters and a turned ankle. They have been something I could work through pretty easily (except the ankle, that took some time).
Last friday I hosted a big Halloween Party. Since it was populated with people i know and like I let myself dance the way you do when you truly don’t care who is watching.
The off shoot? Stiff calves and something with my achilles/ankle on the left. It was so sore the first couple of days I was walking like the guy in Person of Interest.
Down where the tendon attaches to the ankle it is still sore to touch abut walking has gotten easier. The few attempts of jogging or sprinting (when walking the dog) have been painful enough to prevent me from going for my runs.
Having to walk the dog is certainly hindering the healing process but its not like I can hook Ruby up to a treadmill. A dog used to jogging 8K needs some walking let me tell you.
I’m finding being sidelined frustrating. Come Jan 1 I want to start the marathon training clinic and I need to work on my distance between now and then. Sitting on my duff for a week was not on the schedule.
What makes it worse is that the last two days have been sunny and beautiful the way only Vancouver can be in the fall and I’m on the late shift – the morning was just perfect to go for a run in Mundy park but the ankle said no.
Trying to take it day by day but oh this sucks