Week Zero: Darkness before the Dawn

Ah, the start of another training cycle. How many times have I done this now? I can’t count how many. The “working sessions” figuring out the schedule. Adding new elements to the training; things to try out. Re-assessing the gear situation; do I need any new shirts/shorts/tights/thermals/runderwear/jackets/hats/etc… The excitement of yet another goal, another stepping stone on the way to Boston glory…

Except this time, I felt none of that. Mostly just dread. Before, I was excited to be back to working… away with the “junk miles”, and on with the show. But that was before… Before Scotia.

The Scotiabank Marathon of 2008 knocked me on my ass. I think i was just too cocky going in; feeling like I had no problem in achieving my goal time. The training certainly went very well. Other than a 4 week layoff at the beginning, on account of falling off my bike onto a metal rail and deeply bruising my leg, I felt every run had gone well. Hills, speed, tempos, LSD, they all were great. The 3:45 time was mine for the taking, even though it was over a half hour faster than my last marathon. I just had to show up, run a little, and grab that medal.

Well, I ran a little, and struggled mightily to keep pace. My running and training partner Cheryl, who I’d done many of my training runs with, struggled as well, eventually blowing her IT band out at the half way mark and dropping out. So now I was on my own in this mess. That was about the same time my legs started to become leaden, and I was beginning to seriously hurt. By the 35km mark, I was crying uncle. Literally. I managed to pick it up, and finish with 3:49, which I am happy with and proud of. But I was honestly surprised at how hard it was, compared to the last marathon’s I’d done.

Cold feet or not, I am in the second last stage of the master plan; to run the Mississauga Marathon in 3:30 or thereabouts, taking another 20 minutes off my time, and setting myself up to do it yet again in the fall, to qualify for Boston. One can understand my reluctance to start the hard training again.