In seven days time, I will be running the BMO Vancouver Marathon. It will be my fifth marathon and the third time I’ve run the Vancouver course but I have no idea how it’s going to go. I’m confident I’ll finish but beyond that…it’s anyone’s guess.
My first Vancouver Marathon was also my first ever marathon and I was woefully unprepared but I knew I was unprepared. I’d injured my foot during training and missed about six weeks of training – the most important six weeks. As a result, the race was tough. By the time I hit the 28km mark I felt pretty ill and the last 10km or so was a nightmare. I ended up finishing in 5 hours 29 minutes.
Last year’s Vancouver Marathon was much better, I made it through the training in one piece and despite it being pretty hot I finished in 4 hours 37 minutes. I also ran the Victoria Marathon in 2012 and 2013. My best time so far is 4 hours 18 minutes in that second Victoria marathon.
Everything was going well last year, I set a new personal best for the half marathon in November and was looking forward to running the Bahamas Marathon in January. Then I injured my leg. What started as relatively simple IT Band soreness turned into a calf injury that stopped me running more than 4-5km and forced me to drop out of the Bahamas race.
I ended up missing 6-8 weeks of training before I found a physio that could get me back out there and I’ve been nursing the injury ever since. Which means I don’t really know where I stand when it comes to race fitness. I’ve been following our normal training program and got through the longer runs without any problems but I’ve also been skipping one or two of the shorter ones to avoid over stressing my leg. I did another lactate threshold test recently and my “on paper” performance is good but still, I don’t know how much fitness I lost by taking so much time off. I won’t really know until I hit the 32km mark next Sunday.
Which means it’s going to be even harder than normal to pick the right pace to run. Go out too quickly and I risk hitting the wall hard and having to crawl the last 10km. Go out too slow and I won’t be able to pick up the pace enough to get the best time I can.
One thing I do know – I’ll be trying out coconut water as part of my fuelling plan. Yes, that’s the sort of exciting decision that dominates my life at the moment.[Into the Final Week by Philip Harris first appeared on Solitary Mindset on 27th April 2014]