Monday, May 26, 2008

Bawston bound!

Well, I did it! I qualified for the prestigious Boston marathon yesterday during the Ottawa Race weekend...I finished the marathon in 3 hours 20 minutes and 6 seconds. What a thrill! Now I have to wait until September to register for Boston...I guess I will have to find a new goal now because I reached this one faster than I expected.

I did learn a few lessons during this journey, though;
  1. We can accomplish much more than we give ourselves credit for. I thought I had set a BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) by trying to cut my marathon time by twenty minutes in four months but a tailored training plan really worked..It is really a question of putting your mind to it and sticking to the quality runs.
  2. You can't ignore the signals your body sends you. I had this nagging knot in my left shoulder and extremely tight calves - these both really screamed at me on mile 20 at the Disney marathon last January and I wasn't sure I could finish. During my training for Ottawa, I spent much more time stretching and had some massage therapy to make sure the muscles were relaxed and the kinks were worked out. It really made a difference and I will ensure to continue to develop more flexibility in my future training regimen. I read somewhere that a common excuse for not properly stretching is because workout time is filled up with putting in the necessary miles; but if time is such a constraint, you are much better served to cut back each run by a kilometer and spend that time stretching properly.
  3. You need to address the source of pain and deal with it mentally as well. I wrote in one of my newsletters about a pulled groin muscle that kept resurfacing every time I rolled my ankle on soft terrain or after long distances. I saw a physiotherapist/massage therapist for a post run stretch and massage yesterday and she pointed out that my muscularity in my legs was not balanced. This could be a result of this injury and my compensating for the pain during my runs. I will need to rebalance my adductors to make sure my pelvis is more aligned. I will therefore have to add some resistance exercises to my training plan. I knew that running alone was not the way to go for a long term fitness regime, resistance training is an important component to build muscle and in my case rebalance muscle symmetry. Also, don't underestimate the power of your mind. When I do feel pain during my runs, I recite a mantra over and over again to myself and remarkably, I no longer think about the pain.

So what comes next? I will be working on developing a more balanced training regime that will incorporate stretching, resistance training, and exercises and techniques to help me become a more efficient runner. Also, I will be running in San Diego next weekend so I will have a good baseline comparison of my ability to recover from one marathon to another within a week. My goal is not to be completely spent after 42.2 km so that one day, I could build up to greater distances.


Patrick said...

Well I ran San Diego. What a hoot! Over 20,000 participants, it was literally a sea of people...I ran with a fellow Team in Training participant. It was her first marathon so I told her I would support her the whole way. We got split up at mile 22 and I spent the next 45 minutes running ahead and waiting at various point in the course in hopes of finding her again. saw her once at an out and back with one of the coaches but never saw her again, so I booted it to the finish and waited there. She crossed the line a few minutes after me. Congrats Josee. Anyway, I recovered extremely well and am hankering for my next challenge.

Andy said...

Congratulations to you, Patrick. I look forward to supporting your next project.