3238.42km. 323 individual runs. One marathon. Three half marathons. Two 10k races. Two 5km races. Two duathalons. And, I joined a running club. Who would have thought three years ago that this would have been possible – I didn’t. I did joke with my family that I’d run a marathon by my 50th year (I actually did that), but I’m not sure that I really thought that I would. It was one of those things that one just said – perhaps by way of distracting others from all the brownies and chocolate cookies one is eating . . .
Here I am with all that running under the belt and preparing for a marathon this coming spring, with a few other events in between.
April, 2011. Vancouver Sun Run: 1:16:32.5 (7:40 min/km)
April, 2012. Vancouver Sun Run: 0:47:16.1 (4:44 min/km)
Between April 2011 and April 2012 I changed my approach to running. No, I actually started to run. My plan in 2011 was to walk the 10km Sun Run course. What happened was that the walkers were just too slow for me. I don’t mean to boast. I simply like to walk fast. That was how I had been training: brisk walking at the pace one needs to walk to get ice cream home on a hot summer day without it all melting away! 😉 So, when the walkers started off I found that the only thing that I could do to get by them was to jog out into the running lane and run forward a bit. So, I found myself run/walking the course and finished with a pace of 7:40. Nothing to boast about, but it was faster then I had envisioned and it allowed me to consider that I could set a goal pace of 6:30 min/km for the following year.
I continued with my daily walking regime through May and June of 2011. By July I had finally decided, after my experience in the Sun Run, to add in running to my daily routine. My initial program had me run for 5 minutes walk for 10, run for 5. By the end of the summer I was running a minimum of 30 minutes a day. By that fall I was running 45-60 minutes, 7 days a week plus walking an hour a day 5-6 days a week. By November I decided it was time to buy a GPS watch to record the specifics of my runs.
On November 24th, with a GPS watch on my wrist, I ran 10km in 57 minutes. A 5:00 min/km now seemed to be a feasible goal! I also started to think that I just might be able to run a marathon before the end of my 50th year. Rather than jumping right into it I decided to do it by increments and signed up for the Vancouver Half Marathon (May, 2012) and the UBC Tri/Du Duathalon (March 2012). The Sun Run (April 2012) was a must run and would come nicely in between the Du and the Half.
Things really started to pick up with the running as my confidence and capacity built over the year. My Sun Run time went way beyond my initial goal of 65 minutes: 0:47:16, 4:44 min/km! My first half marathon in May was 1:46:38 (5:04 min/km). I ran the Scotia Bank Half in July and the Fall Classic in November with times within a few seconds of my Van-half time.
After the half marathon experience in May 2012 I decided that I would in fact run a full marathon and selected the Victoria Marathon (Oct. 2012) for my first try. While the only time that really counts is the final time, I am kind of pleased to report that my 10k split was nearly the same as my Sun Run time (0:47:46) and I set a PB on my half marathon split (1:44:55). As any experienced runner will note setting a PB half marathon time while running a full marathon is not a good idea. The last 8km of my marathon was excruciating – for my final 5 km or so I had to alternative 200m walking with 800 m of running. My final time was 4:06:45. My time was a bit slower than I had planned on. I had, nonetheless, done what I had set out to do – enter and complete a full marathon in my 50th year of life!