Play in the Big Leagues

Continuing the brain dump… Like a pre-teen or teenager so eager to grow up fast, I wanted to hit the longer runs and keep challenging myself as quick as possible, so the natural next step for my progress has a runner was joining an Half and then a Marathon race.

Even before my definite move to London, has a “joke” to myself when I was still in the limbo between being a Jogger and a Runner, I signup for the London 2012 Marathon and surprisingly I got a place.

But then the real move happened, and with less than 2 months left to D-Day, was clear that first I was totally unprepared and second mostly unaware of the commitment for a Marathon…, so I didn’t had any choice but to called it off for my “still” big regret until today.

Oh the irony! Since then and after building real running mileage and finding myself in a better position to tackle a Marathon, I kept trying year after year to get a place on the London Marathon Ballot without success.

After coming back from a short weekend in Portugal in May 2014, my alarm on the train buzzed… was the reminder to register for the 2015 Ballot! God’s know I tried, but conjugation of dark forces denied me first proper internet access, combined with a chain of followup office meetings that took most of my morning and when I could breath, just tried again, but the ballot was already closed!

I had promised myself that I’ll get into a Marathon in 2015, so quickly reviewed my odds and remembered I received not few days ago an email related to the Schneider Paris Marathon, has quick I remembered it, has quick I registered for a place… After a few months like Iris the divine messenger of the gods, I got an eMail with the good news… I was on the race!

To be honest after getting the news, didn’t made up any plan or draft any real training schedule, just let the days pass until Xmas holidays came and hit me hard, less than 4 months and I’ll be running on my birth city. So I did draft a training plan that could fit on my schedule and promised to stick with it.

Winter, “bad” weather, work, family trips, etc… all got into the way of my “perfect plan” and with that lost precious first month and half of proper training. Worse, being a impulsive/passionate type of person and always wanting to juggle more that I can handle, I was already doing some parallel training for the London Triathlon 2015 (more later on this), dividing running time with cycling and swimming.

At the end from the planned 62 training runs, I just completed 48 of them (77% of my plan). But still did managed to do some valuable long runs (>25Kms) on Sundays mornings at Hyde Park… learned first to like myself more left alone with my thoughts for averages of 4 hours, pace myself properly, holding the urge to speed up too early, refuel during the race and build up the required minimum confidence to address longer runs.

I’ve to be fair, some days I was getting fed up and worried that I’ll start hating running, glad that emotion never got the best of me!

One thing on my plan I did right (at least that’s my understanding), was to signup for an Half prior to the big one. So mid March 2015 I was proudly with friends on the starting line of the Vitality North London Half Marathon. And was the right essay to see if some of my pacing and fuel strategy were on the OK track.

1h39m46s later of waving hi to Mo Farah cheering us at the starting, I was crossing the finish line… proud that I strictly kept my strategy along all the run and very pleased with the time, not dead, able to even sprint at the end… Yep for me I was on the right track!

The Marathon “narrative” need a space for its own, that I’ll address on my next post.

My learned highlights:

  • What fuel works for me and what really doesn’t… oh the urge to find the closest portaloos it’s real, it’s not a myth!
  • Don’t over drink, last minute toilet run doesn’t count has warming up
  • A pace strategy it’s crucial to cross the finish line with some dignity
  • Don’t follow the crowd like sheeps, be a different type of animal or even better be the wolf or a smart fox

But the end result of this training, besides being now a true evangelist that the weather no matter how bad is it, can’t be used has an excuse to not hit the road, it’s that at the end, my priority list was reshaped, Running/Cycling/Swimming/Trails those that keeps my spirit kicking are on the top!

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