Monday, September 1, 2008

Post summer blues ... or pre-race jitters?

I know the Toronto Marathon is still six weeks away but I'm getting a bit tensed. I've done all the workouts at the prescribed pace. I've cross-trained (swim-bike-run!). Yet I cannot imagine running 42k at a 5 min/km pace. Yesterday I ran my longest run since May, about 25km, at a 5:30 pace and I was pretty much done at the end of it. Can I imagine having to run another 17k? Nope.

I'm going to have to trust that my training plan is good. It hasn't failed me yet so there's no reason to doubt it. But still...

After a year of training, it's the first time I've felt this lost. The triathlon season is effectively over. The marathon looms like this impossible feat only a few weeks away. I'm still excited about doing it, I just don't know how I can meet the expectations I had when I started this journey. At this point, ALL the workouts seem hard. There are no runs under 60 minutes, even the quality workouts. It is hard to enjoy the training.

Another reason that might cause these feelings is that my running speed has stalled. I was expecting that when I started triathlon training and marathon training, but this is still hard to accept. My speed increased steadily until the Spring, but I'm pretty sure I'm still stuck at about 45 minutes for a 10k. Again, I knew this would happen but it's emotionally hard to accept. I think that after this, I will take a short rest and then work toward a 10k PR in the Fall. Fall training is great because the temperature is really nice over lunch time, which is my preferred training time.

In 3 weeks is the Scotia Marathon, where I will be racing the half-marathon. This has me spooked as well. I have no doubt I can run 21km, but I should be running it at a sub 5min/km pace and that, I'm not sure I can do. I think that I'm unsure of my ability to suffer over a long period of time. When I look at my last Olympic triathlon results, I feel like I should have run faster but I REMEMBER how tired I was. I could not summon the energy to move my legs any faster. Those long events, those over 2 hours, seem to stay with me for a while. Memories are vivid, specially the run.

In the past, I read a lot of blog posts, articles and books about how the Marathon is a journey. Up until a couple of weeks ago, I hadn't really felt like that but now I believe that I do understand a bit more. For me, at least, this is about conquering my fears. I fear that my training is insufficient. I fear that I won't run as fast as I hope. I fear that I will get hurt before my race or at the beginning of it.

But worst of all, I fear that I'm mentally weak. After a couple of hours, my inner dialog becomes a struggle, a battle of will between one side that wants to follow the plan and another that wants to make the pain go away.

Well that's it for now. I will keep on swimmin', bikin' and runnin'!

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