well, it was two years ago that i first created this blog with the idea that i would use it to monitor my progress of my attempt to run 31 marathons in 31 days, as part of a training regime to prepare for a BQ, and to honour what would have been Terry Fox's 50th birthday.
Well, i ended up falling short of that insane goal, but i learned a valuable lesson: you can achieve great things if you set your sites extremely high. even in failure of that measuring stick, i still demolished every monthly endurance personal record that i had set. Looking back, that was an amazing accomplishment. 11 full marathons, 2 half marathons, and a total of 572.8k in a month.
Anyway, fast forward to today. Just a miserable 56.50 k in the entire month of July. 16 of which were at last weekend's Tely road race, and 12 which were yesterday. Miraculously, i managed to drop 7 pounds though, mostly due to healthier eating, lots of walking, and staying active.
Well, i woke up this morning around 5.30 am and was quite restless. i couldn't get back to sleep, so i decided to munch down a small breakfast. Then it hit me. It was August! The month which i traditionally have my best training runs. By this point, it was 6.45 am,it was 18 degrees and drizzle, with cooler fog in the forecast. I decided that it was the perfect time for a little test. You gotta start somewhere with a benchmark, so i decided it was time to see if i could run 42.2k for the first time in 70 days. This would mark only the 4th time since then that i had been over 25k.
Well, i got off to a sluggish start, as i usually do, but it seems the 12k from yesterday, that wore me out, actually acted as a good warm up. i managed to pick the pace up a bit when i hit the 5k mark, and coasted away. i ran with a bottle of gatorade, as i suspected it would be humid out. Running with a bottle in my hand may seem like an impediment, but it seems to actually help me keep a steady pace. first quarter in 69 minutes, and the first 13.6 in 89. then i stopped the clock so i could run inside for a gatorade refill, and back out immediately.
at 16k, i was finally finding my groove and i picked up the pace even more. as i hit 19k, i noticed i had a good chance at running a negative half split (2nd quarter faster than 1st), so i held steady and hit the half at 2.16.00. At this point, i was actually feeling stronger than i have since i ran Halifax.
I stayed out for a few extra laps at the pond before looping back home for another gatorade refill. i hit 30.2k in 3.14.00. i sprinted back down my street towards the Thorburn downhill and bolted it, so i could hit my third quarter in 67 minutes, which i did.
After a power gel, i was holding strong. at 35k, i started running even faster than i had all morning. a little fatigue was finally starting to kick in, but i kept pushing as hard as i could. i finished off my gatorade and finally ditched the bottle at the 38.5k mark. the final sprint was on! i flew back down the allandale road hill for the 3rd time (which is much more fun to run down, then run up), and hit 40k. looking at my watch, i saw that i was way ahead of my goal (run a 4th quarter in 67). Instead of coasting, i pushed as hard as i could to see just how fast i could do it. I still felt incredibly strong, considering how far and how hard i had run. i sprinted down the final road and clocked in at 62.58, giving me 4.25.58! This was almost 10 minutes faster than my fastest previous marathon of the year, which was Halifax.
69, 67, 67, 62.58 for 4.25.58 Those are really nice numbers. I honestly thought that i would be lucky to finish at all, and at best, break 5 hours. But to essentially come off the bench and run my 3rd fastest marathon time in the past 14 months (at my heaviest weight), was extremely exciting and satisfying.
Well, at least part of my title is correct. I did indeed run marathon #1 of this month! not sure if there will be any more 42.2k runs until my next official marathon, but the good news is that i've still got it. in fact, better than ever this year.
Well, Boston Marathon 2011 registrations opens in 78 days, which means i have 77 days to see if i can get myself into BQ shape. The goal that i thought was dead and burried, is now officially back on the table. All i have to do is shave off 40 minutes from today's run. with the right training and with 15 pounds of weight loss, this is very doable, as long as my health, especially my foot, stays in relatively good shape. Let the training program officially begin!