Saturday, September 8, 2012

One month left, and getting my 20-milers in!

It's September 8th today, meaning that yesterday marked the one-month mark until my 2nd marathon, the GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon. I am so excited for the race. It's going to be special on so many levels. Here's a few reasons:
  • This is my 2nd marathon, but a first in a way as the first one didn't go according to plan. I get to go in with experience of completing one before, but with a new opportunity to establish a finish time that reflects what I am capable of at last.
  • Running the half marathon in Victoria was my re-introduction into endurance running last year. It's so hard to believe that it was only a year ago that that race took place, and this blog was launched. I have achieved so much since then as a runner. I am fitter than I have ever been in my life and keep making improvements. Since that race, I have completed 5 other races: a 10km race, 3 half marathons, and 1 full marathon. Going back to run Victoria will be like a celebration of me, my love for the sport of running, and how it's changed my life. I think I will likely make this race my annual event.
  • And of course, my main reason - running this for Dad, the day after what would have been his 70th birthday, in the year that marks 5 years since his passing. I miss him dearly, and will be wearing his memory on my heart as I run for him, and make him proud.
Today I ran 32km, or 20 miles. The 20-miler runs are the distance that everyone running a marathon should reach at least once in their training, or so "they" say. It's this magic number that the experts quote as being the  number we must reach to ensure our readiness for the big show. I won't get into the theories, the sciences, etc. of the 20-miler. There's plenty of info on the interwebs to support this, if you are so inclined to read. But I will say that I ran my 2nd one for this training cycle today, and I feel like I accomplished something. 

Why? It's a hard distance to reach, one that was once intimidating, and now attainable yet still an incredible challenge. Today was particularly challenging given how tired I was going in and how hot it was outside. I was excited about today's run yesterday, but dreading it this morning when I woke up exhausted. But I got through it. And I feel amazing now.

Last time, I only ran one 20-miler. It was earlier in my training cycle, with the full intention of getting to a 2nd one a few weeks before the race. But last time I dealt with both injury and illness, and the 2nd 20-miler did not happen. I look back and wonder if it meant I was somehow undertrained going into my first marathon race, not getting that run in, and having essentially a 4-week taper period. But this time, that won't be a factor. I not only got the 2nd one in today, but I'm going to attempt a 22-miler next weekend (roughly....I'm thinking 35km, which is just shy of 22 miles). 

Why, you ask? Well, training for a marathon is a huge mental game. It's all about positive self-talk and proving yourself to yourself. Show me what I am made of. Last time and this time too I find it hard to imagine running only 32km in training, and magically needing to tack on another hour of running onto that on race day. Of course it's completely possible with a proper taper period to allow rest and repair of you body, plus the excitement of race day. But because running a marathon is a mental game, I need to do what my mind needs - to prove myself. Running a bit more gets me that much closer to the distance and makes it that much more imaginable, being able to get there on race day. Getting in 3 runs of at least 20 miles will be huge for my training and even huger for my confidence. 

Overall, everything is going great. I'm feeling so strong with how well my runs are going. And I know I'm getting stronger daily, especially since incorporating strength training twice a week into my schedule and being very disciplined about running 4 times a week. 

I also had a follow-up assessment with the Peak Centre for Human Performance here in Vancouver last week, and it was amazing to see how my fitness has improved! My low effort runs are getting faster. Of course that means that my fast runs are getting faster too. And doing speed work at the pace that I'm now supposed to do them at (based on the new results) will now be even more challenging. I'm going to feel the burn, I am sure! Oh, and going to turn heads at the gym as I burn up the treadmill. 

I get to talk through my results with Mike from the Peak Centre on Monday, and I can't wait. I'm thrilled that the adaptations to my training has worked! And it will be great to see what it all means, really. And then my first time using my new zones for speed work will be on Tuesday's visit to the gym. I'll let you know how it goes, and what I've learned :-) Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. October 7th marathon will be my 2nd marathon too! My husband and I just ran a 30km this Saturday too! It's not exactly a 20 miler but it's good enough for us :) We started racing again just last year at the Victoria half-marathon too!

    Unlike you however, we have not ran as much. It's actually hard enough as it is just getting to the one 30km run. We already feel bad having to push our son for so many hours on the weekend:( We don't really plan to do more marathons after this. I thought we were doing pretty good in our training until I read your post. Lol. You are so much more prepared than us! When we ran our 1st marathon 9 1/2 years ago, the longest run we did prior to that was only a 21km. Dumb, eh? Now we did a 30km so I do feel better about this one :)

    Good luck to you and see you at the race!