For the past five weeks now, I have been ramping up my training with the goal of peaking into ultramarathon shape by March 2011. It actually started the week before the CamSur marathon, and I have not slowed down since. I have been making the most of whatever free time I have by gradually building up my base mileage. To achieve this, I have replaced my usual 10k weekday runs with longer 15k runs. There's greater regularity too, as I now run five to six days a week. These include the obligatory back-to-back long runs on weekends. Two weeks ago, I logged 75 kms for the week including back-to-back 20 km runs, and the following week, I logged 90 kms with back-to-back 22 and 23 km runs. Work was a bitch last week, but I still managed to cough up two consecutive 15k weekday runs. The plan is to regularly log at least 100 kms per week by the third week of November, with back-to-back 32k ++ runs on weekends.
It has only been a few weeks, but I am already getting some initial returns on my investment. At this morning's Adidas King of the Road Half-Marathon, I set a new personal best of 2:03:52 (Garmin time) - an improvement of almost six minutes from my previous record of 2:09:44. And it actually could have been better. Twice along the route, I was forced to take unscheduled walk breaks due to the sheer volume of runners going in opposite directions. Now that I think about it, I can honestly say that a legitimate shot at a sub-2 half-mary just got away from me. Still, it was one hell of a run. I was only planning to treat KOTR as just another LSD incorporated into my ultramarathon training, but I instead ended up with a new benchmark for the 21k distance. Details of my run here.
While I am obviously happy with the new PB, I draw even greater satisfaction from the fact that, finally, the hard work seems to be paying off. The hours of plying sidewalks under the sun and through the smog, the countless rounds on a tartan track under the pouring rain, the discipline and passion. Nothing has gone to waste, after all.
This is what it's all about. It's small victories like this that keep me going, and that drive me to push harder. And if everything goes according to plan, I will cross that finish line at that old train station in San Fernando, Pampanga on March 6, 2011.