Friday, February 28, 2014

It looks bigger in metric

It's no secret to almost anyone in North America that this winter has sucked. In terms like "40% more snow than average" and "23 cold days where we usually average 6" (NB: I have no idea how they define "cold day", since there's only been 1 day above the freezing mark in 2014 that I remember), it may not be the suckiest winter that ever sucked, but it's been pretty brutal.

Nonetheless, I have been out there running.

Iced up eyelashes, here I come!

While slipping & sliding on ice, trudging through deep snow, a nasty brush with frostbite and enduring more evenings at -10c/14f or below than I can ever recall, I've actually managed to break my mileage record for February. I finally pulled off, despite missing 1 planned run due to a very late night at the office, an average of 50km / 31mi per week for the whole month...for a total of 200.89km / 124.83mi.

Through sheer bloody-mindedness, I've amassed a pretty solid base since the beginning of January, which has me wondering if I shouldn't take this just a tad further than my original Around the Bay campaign idea. Y'see, I ran unheard-of mileage in 2013 - a grand total of 2,138.3km / 1,328.7mi - and really felt like I made some progress as a (still rather mediocre) runner. I pulled off a sub-2-hour half marathon and a sub-3-hour 30k almost solely on the basis of a pantload of miles, and I'm on a decent track for this spring as well.

I ran something like 621km from Jan 1-Mar 31 in 2013, but that was an easy winter.

2012 was the last year that I ran Around the Bay, coming off an injury in early January and trying to tackle the horrible hills of Hamilton on a "long" run of only 18k. I've already banked a couple of 20+km runs in the last couple of weeks, with more to come before I do what will likely be a 2-week taper come mid-March. I'm less than 20k away from my total 3-month prep of 2012, and feeling pretty good about my odds of improving my 3:04:22 finish time.

There's one other PR that I'd really like to work on, though, and I think the timing may be right.

Look at that 2011 mileage. I can top that by the end of this weekend, if my planned runs work out. Look at the distribution, too - almost half of it run in March, like someone suddenly panicking when they realise they have a long race coming and haven't done the work.

Like someone who has totally and utterly failed to respect what a full marathon really takes.

Oh gawd..

It was May 1st, 2011 when I toed the line of my first and only attempt on the 42.2km of pain that is the road marathon - at Waterloo, which isn't really for the faint of heart. I only put in another 171-odd kilometers in April, bringing my 4 month base up to a paltry 575km - less than I put in last year during my half-marathon campaign. I paid for my laziness in the hard coin of race-day pain, nighmarishly sore legs for days afterward, and a time that rankles to this day.

4:37:53. Almost 8mins slower than my goal at the time, and almost 9 minutes over the Oprah line.


Moving so slowly a sign grew out of my head.

Based on last year's Midsummer Night's Run 30k result, the McMillan running calculator says I should have a 4:15:xx marathon in me...if I do the work. It's exactly 4 weeks after Around the Bay, which actually gives me a bit more recovery time than I had between the Run for the Toad 50k and Horror Hill 6-hour last fall. The final hilly miles of Around the Bay make it a pretty ideal training run for the Waterloo Marathon, and will ensure I get in at least a 30k long run before the marathon. I might even be able to sneak in a 20-miler in the four week interim. Really, though, I think the additional 3 years of base mileage and the knowledge that I've run more than full marathon distance several times now is what will see me through. That, and keeping up the good training I've put in so far this year.

After all, it's only 26.2 miles...right?

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