I know its been like 3 months since my last post...I've been slacking- sorry ya'll! But here I am and I actually have something cool to blog about. My first marathon is in 4 days. 4 freakin days people! 16 weeks of training has gone by in a flash. After years of saying I would NEVER run a marathon, here I am about to race 42.2 kilometers. I am flying to Toronto tomorrow morning, and then the next 3 days will just be a blur of excitement and nerves. So let's tell you guys a bit about how this marathon build up has gone down...
In July I made the decision to switch coaches. I had been with Brit Townsend for 12 years and she was (still is) an amazing coach. She molded me into a successful runner and I owe her so much gratitude for my achievements over the years. I am incredibly grateful to have had her as my coach for as long as I did. However, I knew I was ready for a change. After meeting with Richard Lee several times, I knew he would be a great fit as my new coach.
I told him I wanted to run a marathon. We decided together that the best place for me to run my debut marathon would be the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on Oct. 20. This gave me over 3 months to prepare. So Rich got to work and put a detailed 16 week training plan together for me. I gradually increased my mileage week by week, careful not to do too much too soon. He included pool runs 2-3 times a week, which I enjoyed doing in the outdoor pool at Kits beach. It was a great summer to do pool running! (got a tan while doing it:) Oh BTW I moved to Kits (a part of Vancouver) in July too. Lot's of changes this summer! So anyway, back to the running stuff. Spent most of July and August just running. Lot's of running. My highest week of mileage peeked at 152km. Not super high for a marathoner, but definitely a lot more then I had ever done before. And I was consistently running 130-150km per week, whereas before I almost never got over 100km, and usually averaged 80-90km a week. So this was a big adjustment for me. I was only working 2-3 nights a week, as it was just too much trying to run twice a day and then serving at night.
My decision to run a marathon was a pretty easy one. I had been thinking about it for the past year, but just never thought I would have the time to fully commit to the amount of training needed to run one. I mean last year at this time I had decided that I was going to quit running competitively in the Spring. So much can change in just one year... After a pretty successful winter/spring on the roads/track and cross country I knew I wasn't ready to quit- there was so much more I wanted to achieve! It seemed like the time was right for a marathon and I knew I was ready for something new- for a new challenge. And oh what a challenge it has been!!!
First of all let me say that there were times in the last 16 weeks that I did not think I would make it to the start line. So just sitting here tonight, knowing that I am healthy and good to go on Sunday is a huge accomplishment. Training for this marathon is one of the hardest things that I have ever done- and I haven't even raced it yet! Looking back I am not 100% sure that training for a marathon this summer was even the right decision for me. I think I "bit off more then I could chew". One of the main reasons I moved to Kits (an hour from Port Moody where I was living before), was for a fresh start. Everything in Port Moody reminded me of my (ex) husband, and I wasn't able to move forward. So move away I did- new roommate, new place, new training group, new job, new race- whole new life basically. And I also thought that training for a marathon would be a great way to keep my mind off of my recent break-up, and focused on something else. After 6 years of having your heart and soul invested in another person, I was completely lost when this person was gone. I needed to focus my heart and soul on something else- my running. So I put everything into training for this marathon. The marathon was essentially my new boyfriend. lol. Training for this marathon would be the key to fixing my broken heart- or so I thought. At first it was great, I was loving running all the time, enjoying the new workouts, having fun. But then the exhaustion hit. Somewhere near the end of August, I just kinda started falling apart. It was more of an emotional falling apart, which came from being absolutely physically spent. And then I had a few bad races, and it was not good. Not good at all. I won't go into too many details (kinda personal stuff here people- sorry), but the last 6 weeks have been the hardest 6 weeks of my life. But I am very happy to tell you that I sit here today feeling great. Somehow, I made it through. In September I was in a very bad (emotional) place and considered pulling out of the marathon all together. I was completely overwhelmed. BUT! I did not give up. I may have missed a few runs, but I really toughed it out. And let me tell you it was not easy. Running, and especially marathon running, requires a huge amount of mental focus. And when your mind is a mess, its not a fun process.
In the last 2 weeks everything just started getting better. I'm not quite sure why, but I'm feeling like myself again. I can actually say that I am feeling....happy?! I am so proud of myself for getting to this point. I am extremely excited (and a little nervous of course) to race this weekend. I was able to do all of the training and I am as prepared as I'm gonna be. It's a good feeling knowing that I've done all the work and I'm as fit as I've ever been. Not just physically fit, but my head is clear and I'm focused! I feel confident that I will run a good race FOR ME. I have no false illusions that I will be running under 2:30. That has never been my goal for this marathon. This marathon was more about the process. And I've gotten through it. I know that I am ready to run 2:35-36. So fingers crossed that nothing goes terribly wrong and I am able to accomplish this goal. But even if I don't run my ideal time- I will still be happy to just finish! Now I may have said that training for this marathon is one of the hardest things I've ever done in my, but it is also one of the best things I've ever done. I am a stronger person because of it. "In your darkest hour, you find your greatest strength."
Sorry, I know this blog ended up being a little "deep". But hey, its the truth about what my marathon experience has been like thus far. I'm not gonna sugar coat it! Now it's time to get lots of rest, go for a few easy runs, get some massages, watch some movies and eat lots of carbs! Sounds like the best part of marathon training is the next few days:) Ok peeps, wish me luck!