A Marathon Takes A Village

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“For an athlete, the biggest pressure comes from within. You know what you want to do and what you’re capable of.” Paula Radcliffe

It’s been a long few years since I’ve toed the line of a marathon and, in part, that’s because I a) seriously haven’t wanted to and b) I’ve been injured. It’s not much of a joke that I’ve DNS-ed (Did Not Start) more marathons than I’ve ran - close enough at least - and a large part of that is because I made the all-too-common mistake of not listening to my body and training too hard (or not enough, you choose).

This cycle was different because, for the large majority, I was on my own due to my crazy schedule. I focused on getting stronger (Thanks Dane’s Body Shop!) and I focused on volume. I did very few speed workouts (with the exception of some long run pace-y bits) and instead worked on doing my easy miles, working on maintenance exercises, and getting in plenty of time on my feet. It was the first cycle in a long time that I’ve felt proud of, felt fit enough to race, and generally made it to the start line of the race healthy(ish). 

The weather and the race didn’t go as I planned, but there’s not a lot that I can say that I would change. I couldn’t have planned for the eventual cramping, and couldn’t have foreseen my sciatica flaring up as a result of cramping, dehydrated muscles. The Vancouver marathon was beautiful and scenic, but (as many would tell me beforehand, too) a lot of the scenery is lost when you’re suffering.

The Seawall is beautiful but it’s miserable when you’re in pain. The sun and accompanying temperature that would be great for hiking, biking, and general touristing around town was the worst thing to see at a 8:30am start line. And the terrible uphill finish? Exactly that - terrible. 

But, overall, I’m proud to say that I hit a 3:49, which represents an 11 minute personal best over the last time I’ve ran a marathon (oh man 2013?) but also presents a baseline fitness for another training cycle. I have said before a common error for many runners is not respecting the 26.2 mile distance and, even though I knew of some dangers and pitfalls, an extended time away made me forget just how much it sucks. Oh god it sucks. 

So, many people have asked me if I’m ready to run another one and the answer is yes, but no, but maybe yes. I’ll be ready in due time for another crack at it - mostly because I feel as though I’m owed one because the conditions just seemed so unfair - but I’m not eager to rush into anything. 

I want to continue to focus on the things that have been successful to me this past year - strength, massage, & recovery. 

So without further ado - I have to give credit where credit is due.

To my fellows friends and coaches at Dane’s Body Shop - thanks for making me strong, making me push the limits and, as always, pick up heavy barbells. I’ve said time and again that strength training has made me a better runner and maintaining a consistent and strong base has kept me healthy.  Glutes, please, use your glutes. 

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RunLab - Of course, love to Brent & Lauren & Q for massaging me into pulp and putting all the things back in place when I broke them. Thank you to John for listening to me talk about my phantom pains and telling me to shut up because nothing is broken. Seriously - without these guys, I don’t know where I’d be and I am happy to send my runners to them any time for anything that is needing some TLC.

Jake at Functional Sports Therapy & Fitness - Thanks for being a rockstar and using your masterful hands and ART practices on me to push my hips back into submission. Active release techniques are a godsend when you need something adjusted and Jake’s just the person for that!

Restore Cryotherapy - I’ve been going to Restore for the occasional cryofreeze when I’m feeling especially sore (or maybe sadistic), but they’ve recently extended their line to include a stretch therapy - called Stretch Base - which is out of this world. I love being bent like a pretzel, but these guys take it to a whole other level. Maybe not quite as relaxing as massage, but I love how easy it is to book several services in one place and knock out my recovery.  And have I mentioned they have a set of Normatec boots? Pure heaven in such a small little studio.  

Thanks to Bill for letting me come and try everything out and as always, having the best hair in Jiu-jitsu.

And for any and all wondering, NO this is not a paid endorsement by any means (not that you all thought it was). But, these are the people that keep me healthy and these are the people that I will forever refer my friends/clients/runners/fellow fitness peeps to!  

It truly takes a village to get someone ready for a big event and my success is in part to all of these magical humans. So thank you, thank you, thank you.

Until next time, 

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"You have to forget your last marathon before you attempt another. Your mind can't know what's coming." - Frank Shorter


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