2018 week forty

Book Read:
46. When Running Made History — Roger Robinson

Kilometres Ran:
week forty — 56.8

To date: 2,161 KM

I had the pleasure of getting to meet Roger Robinson when he and wife Kathrine Switzer were touring When Running Made History and made a stop in Vancouver at Forerunners on 4th (and the following night at the Main Street location). The book could be considered semi-autobiographical, although I’m not sure that Robinson would characterize it that way. The book chronicles some of the pinnacle moments in the history of the sport, with the caveat that Robinson only includes those events that he was physically there to witness, or participate in. It’s a great book not just for the compiled history of the sport, but because Robinson, also an emeritus professor of literature, is a pretty great writer. I found the book inspiring as I stared down my racing my second marathon this weekend in Victoria.

It did not go well. Well, it did not go according to plan. The plan was good: open with 3K at 4:44/KM then 4:40/KM to kilometre 14, 4:37/KM to kilometre 28 and then the final third at 4:33/KM for finish time of 3:14 give-or-take and a slight negative split. And it was going well at 10 KM I was on plan to the second. I had some pacing consistency issues (as usual) and hit midway off by only half a minute, but Victoria’s rolling hills and the not so great conditions, not to mention my not so great condition, really started to take their toll. By the time I reached the final hills at 36 KM I was done and there was no recovery. All that was driving me was to finish without walking and not get passed by the 3:30 pacer.

Glove toss photo by Stephanie.

I went into this marathon with three goals. First, to run a Boston Qualifying time of sub 3:15 for my age group. Second, to beat my first marathon time. And third, to finish without dying. The first was admittedly really ambitious. Perhaps too ambitious. Perhaps I had a bad day, or perhaps in my current condition I am not a 3:14 marathoner. I know my training was better overall than my first attempt at 42 KM, but I did not come out of training feeling the confidence I felt before my first attempt. Part of that was, and is, the fact that I had no business running a marathon yesterday with my knee in the condition that it’s currently in. Some thirty six hours of icing, epsom salt bath and copious anti-inflammatories later it looks more like a football than a knee and I can still barely walk on it. It was dumb. Pride is dumb. I won’t say that I won’t do it again but it wasn’t smart.

I passed the 3:30 pacer on the mid 20 kilometre out-and-back section of the course. I still recall the slapping sounds as his feet hit the wet asphalt in the rain. For the next 18 kilometres I listened and dreaded hearing that slapping coming up behind me. It never came. I finished my first marathon in 3:34:40 and this time, with experience and sobriety on my side I was determined to beat that time. A funny thing happened along the way. Although I faltered hard at 36 KM, when most people hit the wall I didn’t want to quit. I knew I wasn’t going to come close to 3:14 but I also knew that I’d finished once before, and I would do it again, and I’m definitely better now, even running with an injury, than I was running hungover. I kept listening for the slapping feet behind me but they never came. I crossed the finish line at 3:25:59 for a new personal best. I beat myself by 8:41, which I think it pretty great. Now to recover, get healthy, and get back to chasing my BQ.

2018 week thirty nine

Book Read:
In progress

Kilometres Ran:
week thirty nine — 32.8

To date: 2,104 KM

I’m still reading Roger Robinson’s When Running Made History and it seems sort of fitting that I finish it and write about it next week. I haven’t read much this week but I did pick up a read a pretty great Haruki Murakami short story called “The Wind Cave” in the September 3 issue of the New Yorker and you can read it too here if you haven’t already used up your free articles this month however many that is (five?) but it’s also October tomorrow so new month! or you could clear your cache and browser history or you know get a VPN or something. Or get a subscription and then randomly pick up an issue from a few issues ago from your coffee table one night when the power has gone out and you’re sitting in your darkened apartment with a few bottles of slowly warming ginger beer and a Petzl headlamp. Or just read it online.

North Van Run by WestVanRun. Confused?

I’m tapering and by tapering I also mean trying to rehab a knee enough to convince it to work for just 194 minutes, give or take, next weekend. In spite of that, it was a busy week. I bought a new bicycle, one with more than one gear, which is nice. I decided to try out the indoor pool in my new-to-me building for a few laps of pool jogging and pool jogging sucks but it felt good so I’ll probably do it again (a lot again). And today I ran the North Van Run 10K and it was really great. This week has been a mental drag as I second guess myself on whether or not I’m going to meet my goals in the Victoria Marathon next weekend. Recap: Goal 1) run a BQ which means 3:14:59 or faster Goal 2) set a new PB which means 3:34:40 r faster Goal 3) don’t die. More on Goal 1 later. My plan for today was to run the first 5 KM at goal marathon pace and then run the second 5 KM faster. And it worked beautifully and was a lot of fun. At 5 KM I was right on 4:37/KM average pace and then I followed that with my third fastest 5 KM for a chip finish 43:46 good enough for 28 overall and 8 in my age group (my age group winner was the overall winner at who finished just over ten minutes before me). The weather was awful but I don’t mind running in the rain. The finish on this course, though, is ace. The last 1,500 metres are a nice downhill onto the straightway to the end of Burrard Dry Dock Pier looking out across the harbour to downtown Vancouver. I think it’s the best finish line I’ve run through.

I’m especially happy with my result today because of how everything felt at the start and throughout. Lately I’ve had to fight through pain for the first couple kilometres before everything loosened up but today I felt great through warm up and from the gun. It wasn’t easy to hold back and stick to my race plan; the NVR course is slopey but fast and I’m sure I could have set a new PB out there today. But I definitely didn’t want to blow a tyre a week before chasing a BQ in Victoria. I definitely got a confidence boost from today, but 3:14 is still very ambitious. Then the news this week: BQ times for 2019 are minus 4:52, and they’ve dropped the standard across the board by five minutes for 2020. I’m not interested in running Boston 2019 or 2020. But I want to run that BQ time. But I’m not running 3:09 in Victoria next weekend. But I want to end this somewhat positively so I’ll say that I’m still looking forward to crushing my first marathon time.