Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Where I've been, where I'm going

Over the past nine months I've gone progressively from training for a half-marathon, to a 30km to a full marathon. The half was the Toronto International Half-Marathon which I completed in October 2008. I had been using the Nike+ system in my training and the week before the race the battery blew on my sensor - causing my calibration to be slightly off and therefore making it appear that I ran further than my required 21km. Regardless, it was still a thrill to hear Paula Radcliffe's chipper British voice cheer me on through my iPod "Congratulations! You've just run your farthest distance yet!". Thanks Paula :)

With my momentum high I immediately signed up for the 30km Around the Bay Race in Hamilton, Ontario. Aside from being the oldest road race in North America (with the coolest shirts!) the race was also held in a town from my childhood and is one that my mother herself completed when she was 16 years old - walking, of course.

I followed a new training plan for this race, for the first time straying from the John Stanton regimen. This time I was only running 4 days a week - three runs of 5-10km and one long run. I think that it really helped me to stay injury free (or as free as possible) and prevented me from burning out towards the end. The bf paced me on the run which really saved my ass and got me through some tough points. Unfortunately it also meant that I went out way too fast and didn't walk early enough - as you can see from the mountainous peaks in the latter half of my Garmin report.

And yes that's right - I said GARMIN. The bf got me the Forerunner 405 model for Christmas - many kisses all around for that one. I was thrilled to the gills but had no idea how much it would change my running or my training - in one word it's BRILLIANT.

The day after the Around the Bay race I received confirmation that I won the lottery into the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon. Within minutes bf had the race hotel booked and I was already mapping out my training plan. To say I was excited is an understatement. We have a thing about San Fran, and I have a thing about medals made by Tiffany's. Funny that.

I quickly realized that the marathon might be the end of me physically so I decided to break down and re-join the Running Room training clinic. A friend of mine was running in it and I figured that I could use the mental support during long runs. I'm at week 10 now and I've yet to join the group on a long run. I have to say that I find the solitude of a long run enjoyable, I kind of get lost in my audio book and my pace and just go. I have definitely found the clinic instruction sessions helpful though - especially when it comes to pacing and injury prevention. And I must say that I have never been more committed to my hill training than now. In the past I've slacked when it came to hills and would never make it to the final goal number (usually 7 or 8). But this time around running with a group of 50-70 other runners helps to keep the motivation up and the pace moving - you don't wanna slow down when there's a huge, heavy-breathing pack coming up from the rear!

So despite the fact that I like to think of myself as an independent, lone, strong, willful runner - being surrounded by a crowd of short-short wearing, sweaty, sassy, gel-packing misfit runners is helping to get me through. We'll see how the next 10 weeks go :)

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