It looks like I haven’t blogged in a while and I have a lot to catch up on. I was going to talk about how I’ve become a hermit and moved up north to train on soft country roads or something cool like that, but my internet history would betray me by revealing that I’ve been spending an awful lot of time on online games and reading Letsrun. I have been doing a lot of running, though. I’m training for the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon on October 16th. This is my first true half marathon training block and my first serious attempt at the longer distances.
I started my buildup at the end of July after a short break following track season. I ramped up my mileage pretty quickly, and before I knew it, I was three weeks in and it was time to race. The Acura ten-miler was very early in my buildup, but Acura is an awesome race and I wanted an early-season rust-buster. I ran about 160 km that week because I was building up to 175 km and I didn’t want to lose a week in order to rest up for the race. Running on tired legs in pretty decent humidity, I managed to just run under one hour and finish fourth among the women. I wasn’t terribly happy with my race, but I tried to tell myself that it was simply an early stepping stone in a long process or something like that.
As few weeks later, though, something clicked. I started having some great workouts and I knew that I was in decent shape. Time to race, right? Well, no. There’s this thing called “racing sparingly,” which was a completely alien concept to me as a university student, but I’m doing it this season. It feels odd racing only every four or five weeks, but I know that I am getting in good training and that when I step on the line, I am fired up and anxious to race.
My next race effort was the Springbank Half-Marathon in London. I took more than two minutes off of my personal best in the half marathon, running 1:18:33. Springbank is a rolling course and it was pretty humid, so I was satisfied with the time. After Springbank I got into a nice groove, running three high volume weeks and some solid workouts. I averaged over 180k for that block, which is my highest ever with workouts (I’ve discovered over the past year that running a 220k week of just easy runs and no workouts is insanely easy compared to running 180k with some tough half-marathon workouts in there. As much as it pains me to say it, big numbers aren’t everything. They’re important, but there are other pieces to the puzzle.) The training was tough, but I’m happy to say that during this block, I was able to put my head down and get it done. When one trains at this level, there isn’t much time for soul-searching. It is simply a matter of getting out the door, whether you want to or not, and getting a run in. Most of the time I genuinely enjoyed the training, but there are always a few days when it’s tough and you need to run anyway. I haven’t had very many of those sorts of days lately.
Between the mileage, some great workouts, and my current mental attitude, I’m feeling very confident as I head into the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon this weekend. I know that I’m in the best shape of my life and I can’t wait for race day. The marathon is going to be a great race and I’m fired up about being a part of such an exciting event. Part of me wishes that I were running the marathon, but I understand that racing a half this weekend is new territory and a stepping stone for me. The plan is to run my first marathon in fall 2012, and having another year’s worth of mileage, consistent training, and experience will make a huge difference. For now I’m content to (only) go halfway.
I feel fit and ready to race. I think I should be able to survive the taper (I just started reading George R. R. Martin’s “A Dance with Dragons,” so I have about 1000 pages to keep me occupied). See you on the start line.