I can hardly believe it’s been nearly 5 months since I made the Lake Placid decision official and kicked off a fresh new marathon training plan. It hasn’t been an entirely smooth ride (is it ever?), but I find myself here in week 20 feeling proud of the progress I’ve made and how I’ve handled the challenge of clawing my way back. This started as a demoralizing journey and I really struggled with accepting where my fitness level was (is) and not comparing to “2011 Marlene.” I am not in the best running shape of my life – far from it – but I am finding my way back there and enjoying all the little (and big) accomplishments along the way.
After my brief set-back caused by the achilles issue I had to drop my mileage for the week of September 9th, which was supposed to kick off three peak weeks. Thankfully, I had a “bonus” week in my pocket because we modeled my plan based on a race date of October 13th when it is actually October 20th. Whoops! I never did get around to fitting that extra week into the schedule, so it worked out perfectly. I kicked off my three final weeks of training before taper on September 16th, which included the half marathon, and I’m plugging along in the final push.
Last week I hit the 100K mark including my longest run of the training cycle (37K/23mi), which went very well. It’s crazy to think this is my last big week of training and I have been finding myself looking back on the last several months. Almost every run was hard when I started and workouts seemed impossible, but things gradually came together. I have never had to exercise so much patience during a training cycle, spending weeks slogging through my runs until things finally turned around. I have been feeling strong for several weeks now, the weight has been coming off and I am starting to build some confidence for my upcoming marathon. I have gotten used to running on tired legs all the time, so I am looking forward to the freshness (and hopefully results) that taper will bring. I still don’t have a concrete goal in mind (don’t expect any PRs or BQs here), but I do have some loose expectations. Regardless of the race outcome, success lies in the training as well and I have plenty to celebrate already.
“I was in agony from the waist down. My feet and legs were killing me to the point where I could hardly feel them. Every step was laboured. We took it one kilometre at a time and sometimes had to stop in between. To give you an idea of how much we slowed down, here are the last 10 splits.
Even as we passed the “40K” flags, it seemed like an eternity to the finish.”
This turned out to be a good reminder of how important it is to acknowledge how far we have come, as opposed to how far we have to go.