Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pre-Race Ramble


That is the time that I woke up this morning. Jen and Trevor have kindly allowed Sonja and I to stay here this weekend, but my body is still in Burnaby. I wake up at 6:06am each morning for school, so 6:26 was a bit of a sleep in. My stomach, used to nourishment shortly thereafter, woke up as well. It is amazing the pattern that the body gets used to, the rhythm it finds when the same pattern is repeated day in and day out.

I have heard a few different numbers, but they are not that far off - 10 years/10 000 hours or the one I have read recently is 15 years. That is how long it takes to truly master a skill. To become an Olympic athlete requires a decade of training. Consistent training. 10 000 hours worth of training. Same rules apply to concert pianist. But not only that but you need to have a master mentor/coach in order to fully realize the potential of the training. Consistent training.

It might be this consistency of waking up 6:06am that allows my body to almost
"switch on" in the morning. I am trained myself to get up early. Is that my Olympic calibre skill? Waking up? Oh, what of my life if it is?

"Brad Cunningham passed away today at the age of 101. Known for many things throughout his life, he will be most remembered as being able to wake from sleep at a given time each day without and alarm clock."

Not much of an obit...

But I digress (mostly because I have time to); I have woken up back in Victoria. Driving in from the Nanaimo ferry last night, Victoria seemed much smaller. Living in Vancouver will make many places seem smaller, but for the first time I felt the "quaintness" that everyone speaks off. Everything you need is here, but it is not far away. And the buildings are smaller. The streets are calmer. And the marathon? Well, the marathon, I am sure, will be the same length.

I woke up at 6:26am this morning and could not fall back asleep. 3:44min/km danced in my head. I have been playing with numbers this week, trying to find a pace to start at. I did some mile repeats at the SFU track and found that I had a hard time going slow enough to hit my marathon pace, but that is quite normal in running a one mile repeat. 3:44 is a bit fast. Should be more like 3:48 to start. The worst thing I could do tomorrow is run a 3:35 for my first kilometer. 3:55 would, in a counterintuitive kind of way, be WAY better than a 3:35.

I tell people I coach that they should have three goals heading into an important race. I, and I am sure many others, call them the Gold, Silver and Bronze goals. Bronze is the one you KNOW you can do, even when things go wrong. Silver is your realistic one, and Gold is your dream goal. It is important to have more than one option during the race, because when something goes wrong, you can refocus your energy to achieving on of the other goals. You always shoot for the Gold goal, you put yourself into a position to have a shot at the Gold goal, but in case that doesn't work out, the other two goals are there for you. The other thing we know about goal setting is that you have to tell people your goals so that you are accountable for them. So here goes...

Bronze - 3:10

This is the qualifying time for Boston and I am pretty sure that I can run this even if I need to walk due to cramping or some other issue. To understand this goal, it is important to know that the reason I am running this marathon is a number of my friends had lightly committed to going to Boston in 2008, so I need a qualifying time in order to join them on the start line in Boston. (ed. With new babies and new houses and other commitments, I am not sure how many of the aforementioned friends are going to be able to make it, but I think I am going to go regardless)

Silver - 2:45

2:45 is the time that I have had in my head since my first marathon. This is the time I have always felt I could run, but haven't yet (2:59:58 and 2:55:36 were my other two marathons). The taper for my first marathon was an amazing two week school canoe trip off the west coast of Vancouver Island. I ended up walking good chunks off the last 8km of that race. My second marathon was at the end of the ENDURrun, capping off 100 miles of racing in one week. I would like to finally put a check beside this time and move onto a new goal.

Gold - 2:39:xx

If you peruse Liam's blog you will see that this is his goal as well. This is an elusive target and one that I have just put my sights on recently. Since arriving back from Europe and starting my last training block, I have been surprised with how much fitness I have carried from the Iceland race and from Europe in general. The 5k last weekend also showed me that I am ready to have a good go at this. However, the weather report for Victoria tomorrow (15 degrees with rain, heavy at times) is not necessarily conducive to a fast time. I have definitely prepared mentally for being out in the rain with some wind. This is the "if everything goes right" goal.

Jen picked up my race kit for me, so I don't have to wade through the madness that is a marathon expo. I am going to go for a 25 minute run in about an hour and then visit with some friends and basically try not to walk too much.

Looking out the window, it seems that the emerging day that looks promising; however, I know Victoria too well to think that it will be like this in a few hours.

You can check for live results tomorrow. I have a number of friends running in all the races (Mike Lord is cruising the Half as is Jen Maclean as they are both looking forward to other races; Adam Campbell is running the 8k after having done some hard uphill races in the past months; Stefan Jakobsen and Steve Osaduik are the ones to watch in the marathon). I am sure that others friends are running this as well, so it should be fun to be back on my home course.
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