23 January 2019

Washing away the grime of 2018

I can hardly believe that I've not posted anything since last September.

But with January quickly winding down, I thought that perhaps I'd better provide a bit of a wrap-up on how my 2018 went ... so if I could describe it in just one word it'd be:


(c'mon ... I bet that someone would want to use that every now and again to describe their feelings 'in one word')

My single focus, my one all-consuming goal for 2018 was to cross the finish line in a marathon before the race clock read 3:00:00.  To that end I worked once again with a coach (who happened to also be my friend and RunNinja leader Mike MacInnes) to try to make me sub-3 ready for last year's Mississauga Marathon.  Under his guidance I incorporated strength work that I'd not put in since my university days, and bumped my weekly mileage as high as it had ever been (to 100 miles in a single week).

Alas, my efforts were fruitless ... I bumbled my way to a gun time of 3:19:58, one of my slowest efforts in a long time.

Less than two weeks later, out of sheer stupidity, I ran the MEC London Marathon in 32°C unbridled heat, and it took me 3:32:02.

It was getting worse.

Trying to reinject some speed I tackled a couple of 10ks over the summer, not being able to log anything better than a 45 minute gun time.

In an effort to keep the streak alive, I went back for a fifth time to perform pacing duties at The County Marathon (as the 3:30 bunny), wholly unsure that I was able to actually complete the job this year.  However I managed somehow to keep it together to peg a 3:28:58.

Feeling like maybe I had one more kick at the can I accepted a bib transfer from my fleet-of-foot friend Jeremy Grampola and took on the Hamilton Marathon (a race that I've never really enjoyed or performed well at) - and sure enough, the best that I could muster was 3:17:16.

Whatever balloon I had, had burst.

Caveat:  I completely understand and appreciate that running two Boston qualifying times (for my age group) in one year should provide enough satisfaction to anyone.  I don't want to diminish the objective accomplishment, nor cast any judgment on anyone else's performances or capabilities relative to those times.  It's just that in comparison to my goal, and what I felt like I was fit and healthy enough to accomplish, I fell flat on my face.

Perhaps I've gotten too old for fast racing.  Maybe I fooled myself thinking that I had the right stuff to go sub-3 in the first place.

The truth may lie somewhere in-between or elsewhere.

So with the books closed on 2018, my 2019 plans have shifted away from the marathon.  Time to circle back around to the race that I bailed on back in 2016.  It's time to go after that belt buckle again.

I've resolved to focus on running ultras this year - so far I'm registered to tackle:
Needless to say this means that I will be shifting my focus from road-speed to trail-endurance, and testing my mental limits perhaps more than my physical ones.  

Also by way of a mini-update, I've elected not to renew my ambassadorships with Salming Running and Endurance Tap.  Please don't get me wrong - I believe that both organizations and their respective product lines are great, and I would happily endorse them with anyone interested in stepping up their running performance.  However I found that I personally did not have the best feel and feedback with my Salming running shoes despite the great technology and design elements integrated into their footwear, and even though many many people do experience them to be fantastic weapons in their arsenals and leading them to new personal bests.  As for Endurance Tap, I'll probably still be packing my running vest pockets with their gels but I'm also looking to experiment a bit with Maurten as a number of friends have given it a big double-thumbs up.

That's a wrap for now - looking forward to turning a corner in 2019, and hoping all the best for you in your running and life adventures!