If you’ve seen me on my long runs recently, you might have a hard time believing I ran a marathon just three and a half months ago. Afterwards, I slacked off in a major way, often running only once or twice a week and sometimes not running at all. It was awesome. And now I'm paying the price.
I’m back to my regular training schedule, but there are bound to be a few sore muscles as I track down, catch up to and jump back on the running bandwagon. This morning’s 18K was no exception. Run on what I hope will end up being the coldest day of the year (-33C with the wind chill), I logged a sluggish and slippery 6:12/km pace.
My goal race is Around the Bay, a 30K event in Hamilton, Ontario on March 28th. I did the race once before, in 2009, and ran it in 3:17. But I’ve learned a lot since then, and logged some results that make me think I can do better this time. At this point, I have three possible goals.
Goal 1: Finish and improve my time. Feel healthy afterwards.
Goal 2: Finish in less than 3 hours. Feel healthy and satisfied afterwards.
Goal 3: Finish in 2:51, achieving the 5:42/km pace required to run a 4-hour marathon. Feel healthy and delusionally-optimistic afterwards.
Here’s the thing – I don’t want to run the first half significantly faster than the second half, the way I did in The Marathon That Must Not Be Named. So in a few weeks, I’m going to have a good long talk with myself and set a realistic goal for Around the Bay. I’m going to choose a pace and stick to it. That will require some real discipline on my part, because Around the Bay features some pretty spectacular hills right at the end. I’ll need to moderate my pace in the early miles and push myself at the end, just when it’s getting difficult. Here’s the elevation map, which I … um … “borrowed” from the very enjoyable blog Run by Numbers (thanks!):
And yes, there’s a guy dressed as the Grim Reaper who stands at the top of the last hill. He attempts to wave exhausted runners into the cemetery conveniently located nearby. With that in mind, I'll add:
Goal 4: Avoid feeling so exhausted that I want to take him up on his offer.