Yes, you read that right. I’m finally doing that half marathon I said was my main “fittest by 50” goal way back, before I discovered triathlon. See my post about goals here.
My commitment to that changed after my first triathlon. But when I started doing longer runs on Sunday mornings with my friend, Anita, before I left for Burning Man, she asked if I’d be interested in the Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon in Toronto (that’s the same one Stephanie wrote about the other day, but she’s a true amazon–doing the full marathon). I had two months to train for it, and it would be one month after my Lakeside Olympic distance triathlon.
Why not? I registered (which, as I’ve said before, is enough to get me to follow through).
My training for this race has been haphazard, at best. I kept up something of a running routine on our summer vacation, with runs along the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and in hilly Sedona, Arizona. But once we got to the Nevada desert, the environment was just too harsh. That took out a week of training, though Burning Man challenged me physically in other ways.
For the past few weeks, I’ve managed a couple of runs during the week and longer runs on Sundays. Twice I embarked on 18K all by myself. The first time, Anita couldn’t make it but I knew I had to show up for the distance or risk not being ready for tomorrow’s half.
That’s when my whole view of long distances changed. Instead of facing the run with fear and dread, I looked at it as a morning outing. I gathered up my water and my snacks, put on some sunscreen and my red running cap, grabbed my sunglasses and set the Garmin to 10-1 intervals so I could run-walk my way.
I pre-planned a route in advance so there’s be no guesswork. We’ve been blessed with outstanding fall weather this year. I brought my iPhone so I could listen to music or a book. And off I went.
The first 15K or so I felt fresh and strong. Towards the end, my legs dragged and I shuffled along, hardly able to pick up my feet. I had to add some extended walk breaks — two minutes instead of one — and a bit more frequently.
I coaxed myself along with promises like “make it as far as that road sign and you can take a walk break” and “you’re almost at the top of the hill” and my go-to comment when I’m depleted and all creativity has left me: “you can do this!” And I did do it.
The next week was better. I added on 0.5K just because. I didn’t have to take more frequent breaks and there was no need to lengthen them. Yes, my legs ached and my feet got tired. But I wasn’t shuffling at all.
Two weeks ago I did my last long run with Anita and a friend. 20K on a perfect autumn morning. I’d enjoyed running alone but with the two of them, it really did feel like a leisurely outing. I wrote about it in my post about doing the impossible: here. I realize that leisurely is probably not the adjective I’ll be looking for tomorrow when I’m at the race.
Anita and I are driving to Toronto with my longtime friend and colleague (who happens to be her spouse), Rob, later this morning. We’ll check into our hotel, go to the Race Expo, pick up our kits, and soak in the prospect of doing a race that has 10,000 people in it! This afernoon my god-daughter is picking me up for a family party in my honor (for my 50th–let the celebrations continue!).
I’m planning an early night, a restful sleep, and a quiet morning leading up to the race. Start time: 8:45 a.m. It’ll be chilly, but hey, we’re Canadian. And the sun will be shining. Report to follow.
So far, being 50 is working for me!