Victoria marathon countdown: 33 days and many miles to go
With less than five weeks now before the Victoria marathon, my training continues in my usual good day/ bad day kind of way. I continue to waiver and second-guess myself. Do I keep pushing and planning for a sub-5 hour time, or do I decide to go out with the start-before-dawn crowd — to slow down, simply enjoy the experience, and shoot a lot of photos along the way?
After this past Sunday’s strong 18.43 mile run, I’m leaning again toward giving it everything I have to give it on race day… and gambling that what I have to give that day is good enough to beat the finish line deadline.
My biggest struggle with the really long runs has been heat. I define a “hot” day as anything over 65 degrees. I know, I know — I’m a spoiled Pacific Northwesterner. But I really work hard out there in the later miles on a warm sunny day. Lately, therefore, I have returned to running along the waterfront. This time of year it is usually foggy along the strait, even on those days when a mile away it’s too warm to think about running. The waterfront section of the trail is only five miles long, so I do multiple out-and-back legs from the car. I’m seeing the same section of trail over and over and over again, but at least it’s relatively cool out there. In addition, I see the usual scenic distractions — harbor seals, various waterbirds, and the occasional family of deer keeping pace with me on the trail. When I need a little more direct inspiration, I can look north across the water toward Victoria, and I can visualize those final miles along their waterfront.
I have two more long runs to do before taper time. This weekend I’m aiming for 16.3 miles — that’s 26.2 kilometers — 62% of a full marathon (I really enjoy these mental math tricks). If I can do that in well under three hours — which is quite doable — then I’ve got a great chance of finishing 26.2 miles in under five hours.
The following weekend I’ll do 21 miles — that’s 80% of a full marathon, and per every training plan I’ve ever seen that’s as much as anyone needs to run before a full marathon. It will also give me a very good idea of whether I’ll finish the full 26.2 in less than or more than five hours.
After that — hurrah!! — the hardest work will be behind me. I’ll back off the miles for the final three weeks and set myself up to arrive at the starting line well rested and raring to go.
That’s the plan anyway.
At this point all the signs are positive! I’ve come this far without injury — not just without injury — I feel immensely stronger now than I did on April 19, the day I signed on to this lunacy. I’ve run over 400 miles since that day! I’ve retired two pairs of running shoes since that day.
I’ve come this far without injury, accident, or mistake. I can run another 120 miles or so, safely and sanely, between now and race day.
I know I can make it the rest of the way from here to there. I may be slow, but I’m gonna do it.
One step at a time!