Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Day Off

I always feel guilty, or restless, or impatient on days off. Something is missing. It's difficult to get into that zone where you convince yourself that it's for the best. That sore hamstring, tight calf, general wear and tear, are all very grateful for the rest.
I think it's important to maintain that balance of being able to take time off with a minimum level of guilt, but to nurse just a bit of that guilt because otherwise the days off could become more frequent. And if that happens, the whole thing could start to unravel. Too much rest is not an option. So 10km tomorrow morning it is, then off to the gym Friday morning. Saturday is a no-run day since it's the day of the expo for Around the Bay. Sunday morning will be the day of the race, and that's what the party is all about.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

I was just thinking about previous marathons, and the Marine Corps stood out as representative of the marathons I had run up to that time. It was the fall of 2007, my fifth marathon, and all of the things you worry and fret about had gone off without a hitch. The weather was perfect. Our travel details went off without a hitch.
And yet I knew there was room for improvement. Oh sure, it was a bit hilly and a bit sunny. Yes, my legs cramped up a bit. But it was what it was. And I could do better. I knew that. I could train smarter and more often. I could tweak my diet. There were plenty of decisions to be made that could affect future outcomes.
And guess what? When you develop that habit of approaching your training, when you take the approach that everything you do can be done just a bit better, it starts to affect everything. Every nook and cranny of your life starts to have cleaner edges.
And that's what a life of running is all about.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Memories of Spring Marathons

The weeks leading up to my first spring marathon in 2006 (Ottawa Marathon) were weeks of anxiety and uncertainty. Sure, I had completed the Toronto Marathon in October 2005, but training through the winter was a bit tougher. I wasn't going out in all weather. I would take days off when it was particularly cold or windy or icy. The pains and tightness that have since become minor issues to patiently work through were matters of concern that would preoccupy my thoughts throughout the day.
The Ottawa Marathon was the last weekend of May, and the entire month was one big rainfest. And cold. On top of that, my daughter, who ran the Toronto Marathon with me, was not having a good time of it with her aching knees. Ultimately, she switched to the Half at the Expo, so it was gonna be just me.
The morning of the race dawned humid and hot. Damn hot. By the end of the race it reached 30 Celsius. But guess what? I ran the race in 4:16, a PR that I didn't pass until the Niagara Marathon in Oct 2009, nine marathons and 3 and a half years later.
I no longer feel anxious before a marathon. Excited and prepared, yes. I have a healthy respect for the distance. But I now just go out there and do that victory lap for all the training that preceded the run, make or renew a few friendships along the route, and bring home the bling.
Come on, spring 2010 marathon season. I'm ready for you.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Around the Bay Around the Corner

It's getting close to the Around the Bay, and I don't think I've ever felt less tense or more prepared than now. Maybe it has to do with having run a personal record four marathons last year, the last of which was a PR. Maybe it's being at my lowest weight since my teens and at my fittest. It could be the dramatic drop in meat as part of my diet in the past few months, or the increasing level of creative input I've had at my job.
Whatever the reason, I'm chomping at the bit. The unrelenting deep freeze temperatures of this winter haven't helped to make me less patient to see spring. It's time. Let the running season begin!