Saturday, May 14, 2011

Week 17-18: Look how far I've come!

Eep! It's T-23 hours and 35 minutes till the starting gun goes off, and I've definitely got little butterflies and ladybugs flitting around in my tummy!

Today's going to be a rest day, so I'm taking the time to reflect on all the training I've done, as well as my personal milestones in my running history, all the way back to my first 5k at the Toronto Waterf ront Marathon in 2004. It's a great way to remind myself of just how much I've accomplished.

 Look how far I've come!Time
2004 Toronto Waterfront 5k39:20
2008 Blue Nose 10k54:14
2009 Halifax Hypothermic Half1:59:49
2009 Blue Nose Half1:56:48
2009 Valley Harvest Half1:54:46
2010 Blue Nose Half1:57:44
2010 Legs For Literacy Full4:39:51
As for my training for this marathon, the last two weeks in Ontario have been a little busy, what with visiting family and friends throughout southeast Ontario, and working out of our National office in Toronto. Surprisingly, I did manage to get most of my runs in last week, including what felt like an amazing 16k race pace run in Orléans, Ottawa.

Unlike last fall, when the runs leading up to the Legs for Literacy Marathon in Moncton were painful, sluggish and had me wondering how the heck I could manage to run 42k when I couldn't keep up the pace for these smaller distances, last week's 16k felt amazing. Effortless.

As I wound my way through Orléans, the cars whizzing by me at a much busier rate than in Halifax, and trusting my Garmin and my sense of direction to get me back to my brother's house, I finally felt like all of my training was coming together. It took me a good 15-20 minutes to warm up, so my calves in particular were a little crampy at first, but I knew that if I just kept going, eventually they'd work themselves out. And once they did, it felt magical.

Looking down at my watch after the first few kilometres, I was surprised to see that I was running below my goal pace of around 5:40. I told myself I could hold off a bit, but even when I relaxed and "slowed down," my pace gradually increased to about 5:20ish, then even down to 5:11.

I couldn't believe it. There was no lactic acid buildup, my breathing was relaxed, and my legs felt FANTASTIC! After coming back home, pink-faced and sweaty, I spent most of the rest of the day on a cloud, proud of myself and all the work I had put into this training program, and confident that I could now accomplish what I have set out to do: run the GoodLife Toronto Marathon (and hopefully accomplish a PB over last race).

The following day, I did a slow 6k, and my legs felt much more sluggish, but I took most of the rest of the week off to relax (in any case, my work and social schedule were so busy last week, I had little or no time for running).

My race bib and the Toronto Marathon t-shirt!
I've come so far since those first steps on my journey of 952.2 kilometres. To be honest, I haven't run all 952.2 kilometres in this training program. In fact I've built in a lot more cross-training into the program, with Zumba, Body Pump and yoga. But I feel ready.

Thinking back on my first Blue Nose 10k race in 2008, when that run from the Halifax town clock, over the MacDonald Bridge and back felt like a huge accomplishment (and it is - no doubt about it), I've come so far. I've made new friends, trained really hard, and run farther than I've ever done before. I also owe so much to the support and encouragement of my husband (who says he'll be virtually holding out the chocolate milk and chips for me at the finish, even though he'll be watching from Halifax), friends and family who believe in me and will be cheering me on.

In fact, on that night more than 10 years ago when I headed out for a short run through downtown Toronto, and kept running simply because I wanted to get home and out of the Riverdale Valley before it got dark (because at night in Toronto, the critters and the Don Valley tent dwellers come out) I could never have imagined I'd one day be prepping for my second marathon.

But no matter the highs and lows, the aches and pains, the nights that I don't want to pull on my gear and head out for that run...I've gotta say, I've been bitten by the running bug.

And no matter what happens tomorrow, whether I accomplish a PB or not, the important thing is the journey. And by golly, it's been a tough one, but I'm here, baby. Bring on the Toronto Marathon!


1 comment:

  1. So proud of you. When you look at it in terms of the whole big picture, you've run the equivalent of across a decent chunk of Canada:) Great job, bubbs!