What a difference a year makes.
I know my body did not go into an irrevocable downhill slope
in just a year but sometimes I wondered what the switch was that turned off last year’s relatively gloriously perfect training stretch and turned on this year’s debacle. Hindsight can really do a number and paint things rosy, huh?
* “Injury”. I blame three long and continuous days of wearing heels to the first problem in my ankle (jammed it). Running on a locked ankle, the pain traveled to my calf and finally my knee. I thought I would topple over if I picked up my pace and the rest of my body was compensating this way and that, like popping my hip out with every arduous step. Fortunately, I did not have to spend a great deal of money on chiro and physio sessions (who agreed that my radish calves are actually pretty weak) as I took some time off and was pretty much good as new. Yay.
(The one part of me that is worse this year than last is my bunion. Oh boy, I don’t remember it getting as inflamed/sore as it did this year. =( )
* I did very few tempo (quick) runs. At the beginning of the season, a veteran marathoner emphasized the importance of my weekly fast runs but I was so discouraged logging runs that were too slow. Blame it on a few hot days where you melt after being out 15 minutes and just being plain tired by 6PM when you set out. I missed sooooo many of these fast runs. I’m really worried about that.
* The second year of training means knowing I can finish a marathon (especially when I made it to nearly all the Sunday long training runs) but with newly directed energy and anxiety towards getting results. I fared good-to-well in my speed and strength workouts but missed those medium-to-high intensity weekly 10Ks.
* Better hydrated and more fueled. To “make up” for the discouraging feelings of being slow and under-trained, I drank more Gatorade on all my training runs. Thus, I have to do the same at the race. Last year, I brought 18 oz. Gatorade, 6oz. water, 1 bag of Sharkies (equivalent to 1.5 gels), and paused for water at every station. I didn’t bonk, but kilometers 35-41 really sucked. This year, I’m bringing:
* 473 mL Gleukos drink
* 4-5 gels (Gu Espresso Love is like a liquidized mocha truffle. I lick my lips at the thought of having 2-3 of those and 2 Vanilla Bean gels!)
* water at every 1 or 2 water stations (this year’s race has more stations than last year’s race)
* A GPS-enabled Garmin watch. This year I’m the proud owner of a Forerunner 201. You can’t count on it to read the correct instantaneous pace at all times so I hope not to get discouraged when it’s mysteriously lodged at 8:30 minutes/kilometer when I’m actually running 5:45 minutes/kilometer. (However, I do believe that a relative change in an erroneous pace is a true change in your pace. Who knows?)
With that, I’m off to Kelowna for race weekend. Good luck to fellow racers in Kelowna, Victoria, Portland, and Chicago!