On my schedule for Sunday was the longest run of this training cycle: 35k. After that, I got to taper (sort of. I have 25k on deck next week, but that will seem easy after this.) My focus on this run was to stay fueled and get through it. I didn’t want to focus too much on pace. And I had just read in a Runner’s World post that, in order to get faster, it’s more productive to focus on effort, not time. Noted.
I broke the route into four parts: the Don Valley, the Beach, the Spit and Cherry Beach. And, surprisingly, the first three parts went pretty well. My legs started to tire at about the 2 hour mark, but it was nothing I haven’t felt before. Things started to get rough at the end of the Spit — I was out of water and was slowing down rapidly. So I changed my route to get a bathroom break and filled my bottles up. This created a familiar problem: how will I know if I ran 35k? (My lovely friend Kate lent me a Garmin, but I forgot to charge it!) At this point, I was at about 4:15 in my run. I decided that if I could hang on until my watch passed 5:00, I’d be pretty damn close. So that’s what I did.
I reached a weird stasis at this point. I was tired and delirious, but I felt that as long as I did not stop, I could run as long as I needed to. It was slow, it was painful, but it was doable. I guess this is the point you need to get to in a marathon: acceptance of where you are and belief you can make it to the end.
A marathon is only 6k farther than what I ran on Sunday. I think I can actually do this.
The run: 36.1k in 5:02:54
The route (Google Map won’t let me connect the Don Valley to Taylor Creek, so assume I start at the bottom):