It’s been two months since the 2011 Boston Marathon, which was my first attempt at this historic race. As some of you may know, it had been one of the focal points of my life for the past several months, ever since I qualified by 13 seconds back in September of 2010.
I took a new approach to training and really dedicated myself to it. There were many mid-week 4 AM mornings, followed by 1.5-2 hour runs in the dark, snow/rain and wind. I arrived at the starting line being as prepared for any race as I’d ever been.
However, I failed to meet my goal time of a sub-3:03 marathon, finishing in only 3:07:20. I made several mistakes early on and fell behind the pace within the first 10 km. However, I was most disappointed in myself for not pushing harder. I felt that I had mentally “checked out” after the first half, and consciously or not, believed that meeting my goal was now impossible due to the early mistakes. Because of that, I felt that I didn’t try as hard as I could and that I did not give 100% for fear of failure. It was almost as if I had sabotaged myself into thinking, “If I don’t give 100% and miss my goal, well at least then I will have an excuse.”
I fell into a pretty big slump after Boston and didn’t/couldn’t run for almost a week after. Even when I did start again, things just weren’t the same – my confidence had been shattered. I knew I had to break out of this slump, so I signed up for the Mississauga Half Marathon, which was about a month after Boston, to give me something to shoot for.
Why the half? Simply put, I didn’t think I’d be ready for another full so soon – not just physically, but mentally as well. If I were to run the full, I would have wanted to aim for a sub-3:05, in order to get in on the first week of registration for 2012. However, I didn’t feel that I would have the mental toughness required to meet that time and couldn’t deal with the heartbreak of another missed goal. So, I decided on the half, a distance I felt comfortable with.
Things turned out great – though the conditions were looking windy/rainy, things actually were not that bad, and I was able to pull of a huge PR, finishing in a time of 1:24:02 in the Mississauga Half Marathon, well ahead of any goal I’d had. This was good enough for 4th in my age group. Suffice to say, this was a huge confidence booster, something I sorely needed.
Coming off my performance at the Mississauga Half, I felt elated and immediately signed up for the Edmonton Marathon, which takes place on August 21st of this year. This would give me two weeks of downtime before I would have to start a 12-week training schedule for it. 12 weeks might seem a little short, but I actually think it’s pretty close to optimal considering my present situation. I felt that the 18-week program I used for Boston was perhaps a little long, and something between 14-16 weeks would have been better.
Given that I’m coming off a good base established by my Boston training (though not reflected in my performance there, but instead at the Mississauga Half), I feel that 12 weeks is more than enough to be ready for Edmonton, provided I stick to the plan, rest/recovery well and not over do things.
Edmonton will be my last chance to qualify for Boston 2012, since registration starts in early September. Technically, I’m already “qualified” for Boston 2012, but I don’t believe my time will be fast enough to actually allow my entry accepted. Complicated story aside, most runners I’ve talked to have thought that you’ll need to have at least BQ-5 (that is, your Boston Qualification time minus 5 minutes) in order to have a chance to get in, so I’ll be aiming for a sub-3:05 finish.
Running a marathon is no easy task. You train for months and basically have once chance to prove yourself. I don’t deal well with pressure, and I choked at Boston this year. I’m trying to avoid that this time in Edmonton.
Edmonton has the advantage of being a flat course, and the climate is not known for its hot summers. When I ran it back in 2009, the starting line temperature was only around 8C with a finishing temperature of 16C. This is pretty close to ideal. However, there are only so many things one can control.
Training doesn’t guarantee any performance; it can only increase the chances of reaching your desired goal. I have accepted the fact that I may give 100% this time and again fail to meet my goal – that is just part of the game. You can’t be afraid to fail if you want to achieve something.
Yet again, I’ve fallen behind with keeping this site up to date with articles and guides. It’s not that I don’t have any ideas, it’s just that I’ve been lazy to make the time to put them together. A combination of work, training and life has yet again provided me with the excuse to not further this site with articles that may be of importance to readers.
Writing tutorials and other informational articles is as much a help to me as it is to those who read them, so I will be putting more effort towards this. I hope that you have enjoyed the few that I have written this year.