On Tuesday morning I finished my last big workout before Around the Bay. It wasn’t a particularly special day, and my workout wasn’t even all that great, but for me it was another big step in a journey I set out on at the start of this year. (Yes, it’s going to be another one of those blogs…all overly dramatic and crap. Sorry.) It began in December, when a sad and dejected Leslie returned from having her soul crushed at the Canadian Cross Country Championships in Vancouver and boldly decided to forsake cross country forever and set out on a new path by running Around the Bay and a fall marathon in 2012… No, wait. That wasn’t how it happened, because I wasn’t all that upset about my performance at Canadian XC, I haven’t given up on cross country, and I had planned on running those races well before that point. Maybe the journey began back in 2007 when I decided I wanted to (eventually) run marathons. Anyway, at some point last year, Steve and I decided that for Leslie Sexton, there would be two and only two goal races for spring 2012: Around the Bay 30k and the Montreal Half Marathon. Everything else was secondary. Now, I’m not going to talk very much about the Montreal Half Marathon in this blog because, well, Around the Bay is coming up in a week and Montreal isn’t.
My buildup for Around the Bay has also been a trial run as I work towards my first marathon this fall. I’ve been doing some real distance donkey training. I love it. There has also been the matter of figuring out fuelling, which involved me trying to chug Gatorade in zero-degree weather and being perplexed as so how to get more carbs in until I was told to use gels and water and I felt like an idiot. Gels, what a concept! I only sell them to people every time I go to work! I’m really not sure what my problem was there, but since then I’ve been taking my GUs and handling the fuelling aspect well.
Overall, my training block has gone fairly well. My mileage is very close to what I was doing last fall in preparation for the Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, but I have taken a big step forward in my workouts. I have been handling the longer workouts and long runs very well, while keeping in touch with my speed. (So if anyone was confused as to how I got convinced to run an indoor 3000m race in February while I was training for a 30k race, don’t worry, it made sense within the context of my training. It went well and I ran a personal best by over six seconds in the middle of a 180km week.) I had a good fitness test race at the Really Chilly 10k here in London back in February. I ran faster than my track 10,000m personal best and started the year off right by beating Lucy Njeri (last year’s score was Njeri: 4, Sexton: 2…I need to do better this year). In any case, my training and my races have indicated that I am in good shape.
So, coming back to Tuesday’s workout. The big tough training before Around the Bay is now over. I’m not naive enough to say that the hard part is over and that the race will be easy in comparison to the training I’ve just done. I know that the 30k will still be a ridiculously difficult race, no matter how hard I’ve trained for it. The difference is that it doesn’t scare me anymore. After Tuesday’s workout, I realized that I’ve been to the edge a bunch of times already. There is still the unknown of how it’s going to feel when I hit that last big hill with 25k of hard running in my legs, but the past few months have shown me that I can handle it. It might not be pleasant, but I’ll grit my teeth and put my head down and power through and get it done. I’m heading into this race as confident as I can be while still having a ton of respect for the distance.
That’s it for now, I suppose. Expect a boredom and anxiety-fueled update next week when the taper is finally getting to me, followed by a much-too-long race report after Around the Bay (can I title the blog “there and back again” if I’m racing on a loop course? Probably not.) Anyway, the journey continues. Hamilton is but the first stop.