The Milo Marathon - my second full marathon - is less than two weeks away. I must admit that, in terms of training, I am not where I was hoping I would be this late in the day. A lot of factors have conspired to keep me from training as religiously as I originally wanted. Unavoidable factors, actually, such as work, travel (for work), family obligations, and countless other things. Oh well. The story of my life.
It has become a race against time, these past few weeks of my marathon training. I won't say I'm cramming though, because I'd like to think that my training for my second marathon began the minute I hit the road after recovering from my first marathon. And that was back in February. Although I have not been following a structured marathon training program, my average weekly mileage has increased significantly since Condura. Prior to Condura, I was probably averaging only 30 to 40 kms a week. Post-Condura, that figure has gone up to approximately 45 to 60 kms per week. My Sunday runs have also become longer. Post-Condura, 20, 21, 25, and 30 km runs have become regular weekend fare for me. I've also added a good variety to my training runs. I've been doing a combination of tempo runs, hill repeats, intervals, and LSDs. The benefits have been evident, as my times have significantly improved.
Conditioning-wise, I'd also like to believe that I am significantly better. This time around, I'll be running the marathon at least 10 to 12 pounds lighter. A better and healthier diet has brought my weight down (from 195-196 lbs to 183-185 lbs) without robbing me of energy and strength. I've significantly cut down on smoking, so much so that I'm now down to being a weekend smoker. I'm now a non-smoker six days a week. The regular runs (four to five times a week) have built my endurance considerably. I am also completely injury-free, unlike during Condura where I ran three weeks following a month-long lay-off due to a swollen right knee. You can just imagine what that did to my conditioning. Given all of these, I'd like to believe that I am entering my second marathon in much better shape than when I did Condura.
The prospect of completing the Milo Marathon in five hours or less is getting me all excited. I laid a big, fat egg at Condura with a 5:42 finish. I hope to improve on that, and the smell of redemption on July 4 has gotten me all pumped up.
But then, aside from my personal redemption at the full marathon distance, do you know what else I am hoping would happen on July 4? I'm hoping that it would rain. I ran under the pouring rain during my 30k run last Saturday, and again during my easy 10k run at ULTRA yesterday. Call me sentimental, but running under the rain brings back so many happy memories of when life was so much simpler. Of life's simple pleasures. Rain during the marathon would remind me of times gone by - as I run against time and test the limits of the person I have become because of running.