Monday, December 29, 2008

Last race for 2008 and surviving the off-season

The 2007 Central Coast Half Marathon was the first time that I'd run 21km and I remember feeling apprehensive at the start, wondering whether I would be able to make it to the finish. I did, and enjoyed the event thoroughly.

Now, a year later, I once again stood at the start in my customary back-of-the-pack position. I not only felt more confident now, having five half-marathons under my belt, but even harboured a secret hope of finishing in under two hours for the first time. The course, starting from The Entrance and running along a bike path around Tuggerah Lake (google map), is almost monotonously flat so it's a good event for those seeking a fast time - or in my case a relatively fast time.

It's an out and back race and I reached the turn-around in about an hour feeling quite pleased with myself. Ah yes, pride comes before a fall... Just after starting the return leg I started to feel the first signs of an unhappy tum which rapidly grew into an urgent and unignorable demand to get to the nearest loo pronto. Luckily for me this course is especially well serviced with toilet blocks and I darted into the nearest one for a prolong pit-stop.

I completed the rest of the race but at a very subdued pace, even by my standards. Perhaps there was something wrong with my pre-race banana ? Or perhaps my body, alarmed at being asked to go (sort of) fast for the first time ever, was sending me a reality check.

And so endeth the 2008 fun run season...

The off-season

My next event will be in March 2009 at the earliest. As someone who runs for mental and emotional health as much as physical health, and who begins to flounder very quickly without regular goals to train for, this seems like a worryingly long off-season.

The solution ? Aim for something big enough to need a long training program - the sort that says: it's week X, day Y, do this. Goodbye off-season blues, hello Canberra Marathon / 50km ultra double, April 2009.

As I write I am just starting week 3 of one of Hal Higdon's 18 week marathon training programs - slightly modified by extending a couple of the longest runs with the aim of completing the 50km ultra. My logic is that since I failed in my first marathon attempt in Sydney this year, I'll make it easier for myself in Canberra by aiming past the marathon finish line. Cunning eh ?