That’s it. Less than 34 hours to go until the Waterford Viking Marathon gets underway. Up until the last 4 weeks, this had looked like it was going to be more than a speed check. It had a real chance of turning into something special. Now, I’m forced into the acceptance that both this run and the coming month may be a long way off the project’s plan.
we are where we are
If you’ve been following my posts of late, you’ll know that the run-in to this speed check marathon has been beyond miserable. What started out as a suspected slight tendon strain, turned into a month of dealing with a problem that just refused to go away. I did what I could to maintain fitness i.e. turbo trainer and short runs when possible. However, there has been a massive hit to my cardio not to mention miles in my legs.
Yes, I do have more than 1,100 miles run since the start of the year. It’s of little consolation with the acceptance that I’ve only averaged of 25 miles/week for the last 4 weeks. That’s quite the contrast to the 70-mile week that I plummeted from. In many ways, I’m not sure that I have any business turning up at the start line on Saturday. Running a full marathon distance race with this lead-in is surely crazy?
I once said, I knew a guy so clueless that he thought ‘carpe diem‘ was ‘fish of the day’. I might stack up a little better in the Latin stakes but I am equally clueless when it comes to fully understanding what my body can handle with respect to running. That’s what this year has been all about. Testing, experimenting, breaking, and gaining acceptance of the things I simply cannot do. Equally so, those which I have surprised myself by being able to do. While traditionally speaking I have no right to toe that start line, I have every need to do so.
I may not be capable of executing the PB that was on the cards a month ago but I will have the mental strength to know that this is just a long run. I’ve run this distance already since the year began and I’ve run much further too. Whatever happens, I will start and I will finish. In between, I stand to gain the kind of insights that would otherwise never have been possible without this injury. Just how much stress can I endure with such a torrid taper before the race?
a 7-day marathon plan
Last Thursday I ran a solid 5 miles on the treadmill – that was day one of my 7-day plan. I got through the next 3 days, running each day, to complete my first 4-day streak in over a month. Therein I managed to cover some fast miles, a 16-mile long run, and 7.5 miles across hills. I took a day off to rest and foam-roll my tendons. Foam rolling and ice has now become a daily routine, with chilly walks in the waters of Tramore Bay on occasion also. On Tuesday, I managed 5 miles at an average below my goal marathon pace (7:32/mile avg on a hilly route). Wednesday was reserved for the magic of physio and getting the legs into the best shape they could be. Today I managed another steady 5 miles on the treadmill; staying off the tarmac until Saturday.
That’s not exactly the best lead-in to a marathon but I must accept the things I cannot change. I suspect that Saturday will really challenge my cardio fitness levels. However, I feel that my head will be challenged equally. I hope that the strength, confidence, and will that I have built up over the last 6 months kicks in. If it does, I plan to run harder than I should, to get answers I never thought I could. I’m actually rather excited about this opportunity despite the context. The Oregano Project isn’t just about getting positive results after all. It’s about finding limits in unusual situations. This Saturday will truly be the most unusual situation I have ever found myself in while standing at the start line of a marathon. Let’s see what happens.