My first marathon

My first marathon.

I just finished my first full marathon on Sunday. 42.2km, for anyone who didn’t know. It was an experience.

I’ve done two half marathons, about 5 years apart, with the latest being last year. This full is likely the most I’ve trained for a run in my life, with my running club hitting it three times a week fairly consistently earlier this year but fading going into summer time.

I needed to train more, but I knew that going in. I anticipated a high physical demand, but it was even higher than I planned. My buddy Eric told me the marathon starts at 30km, and he was right. It is amazing the ‘capacity increase’, as there was a day when a 10km run was intimidating. Then, a half (21.2km) was intimidating. I breezed by that point in 2hr15min, a personal best (“pb” in millennial speak). Now, a marathon is slightly less intimidating.

So the physical side was one part, the mental part another. I had to will my way through that one, which I actually trained for too. I deliberately put myself into some uncomfortable situations – aka waking up at 5AM when I didn’t want to, getting behind in Pickleball and having to mentally get back into it (aka hit another gear), bike to church when it would’ve been easier to drive, bike to work when it would’ve been easier to drive, etc. I call it making my overly-comfortable life less comfortable.

The one part that threw me right off though was the unexpected emotional component. On at least three or four occasions, I got choked up. It depended mostly on the song I was listening to, or what I was dealing with at that moment, or sometimes talking to my buddy. I think my body as in such a state of shock that it just came out, and I had to fight through that. It felt good to be alive.

And hills. Lots of hills.

I started the race and ended it with my buddy which was the highlight.

What’s next?

Heal my blisters, and then focus in on the swimming and biking to prep for some sprint, Olympic and hopefully a Half Ironman next year.

Me and my buddy crossing the finish line, photo compliments of his wife, Casey

Running Club

I have about twenty minutes to write this post before I go for a run.

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been running Monday and Thursday nights at 9PM, and again Saturday morning at 9AM. According to my HabitShare app that I talked about in a previous post, I’m currently on a streak of 3 and overall I’m at 86%. In fairness, that would be 100% except I did a run Tuesday morning instead of Monday night due to having to fix a plumbing issue in the new house.

Why do I do it?

At least part of it is I’m preparing for the Banff Marathon coming up in September (originally June, but they moved it a week again). I did the half marathon virtually last year with a time of 2:30:20, by running from Banff into Canmore. I did the same run, but the opposite direction, four years earlier with a time of (I’ll get back to you). Both times were with my good friend Eric, and he’ll be with me this year too.

Speaking of friends, that’s another reason.

The 5KM loop I do – when I’m in my home city – goes right by two of my friends’ houses. One – Jesse – I’ve mentioned on here before, the other – Anthony – I’ve also mentioned as my accountability partner. Both are now avid readers (I know they’re going to read this and laugh). They come out and follow me around the loop, drop me off, and carry on back to their places.

Proximity is another reason.

Recently, I moved back to Airdrie, and one of the key reasons is to be closer to our community. My brother and his family are here, our church is here, some of oldest friends are here, and it’s closer to my parents and extended family that live a half-hour north. Our last spot had good friends nearby, but we were still driving up quite a bit. To be within running distance is great, so I’m happy to take advantage of it.

Growing up, I did a paper-route with my family. My mom would drive us kids around and we’d run by my Youth Pastor (Andy) who would be running with some of the church guys. I always thought that was cool.

Also, routine.

There’s something satisfying about it. The guys I’m in the running club with are part of the “400 pound club”, a group who were regularly attending the gym, for a myriad of reasons (some may be listed here). Among those goals was the aspiration of leg pressing 400 pounds. Anyways, they’d meet 3x a week at the same times as I listed above. So I figured the next-best thing would be a bit of cardio.

Finally, discipline.

I don’t particularly enjoy running. I prefer the gym or even riding the bike. Or hiking. Or sitting, sometimes. But again – going back to my post on external vs. internal motivation) – I feel compelled to go out and run when I know the guys will be there or at least my accountability partner Anthony will check my progress on the HabitShare app.

Gotta keep that streak alive. I want my golden star.

Tonight I’m running in Kelowna on a layover. I’ve done a 5km (5.07 actually) loop virtually here before, a route recommended by Patrick. I just screenshot it on Strava and send it to the group to participate in the club virtually. That was followed by a walk (3.55km) and a hike (8km), and today all I did was the hike (mind you it was 13.57km total).

I’m going to retrace the same loop and try to beat my own time – which was 27:38 last time.

I’ll report back when I return.

28:13. Thirty-five seconds slower!

More importantly though: Anthony and Jesse did the loop back in Airdrie at the same time!

Running Club is off to a good start.

View from the hike today (Knox Mountain, facing south)