Several weeks ago, I expressed some interest in possibly running the Around the Bay 30K race in Hamilton, Ontario, in late March. It was between the New Bedford Half Marathon and Around the Bay, which are on subsequent weekends. The decision depended on the dates of our trip to Barcelona. We booked our tickets to Spain over the weekend, and I moved on to picking a race.
I talked it over with Lisa and Scully (friend and future Team Type 1 women’s cycling team rider) and Céline (friend and possible future multisport athlete). The decision: I’m going to run Around the Bay.
It will be my longest race ever. I’m sure I can do the distance, but I’m still working through how I want to approach it. I love running, and I love racing, but they’re often at odds. When I race, I expect to go as hard as I can, but I’m not a masochist. I expect that running a 30K (18.6 miles) is much more like running a marathon—which I’ve never expressed any interest in doing—than running 5K or 10K races, which I like because they’re short enough that I can go all out the whole time.
The ironic thing is that, despite not planning to run a marathon anytime in the foreseeable future, I’ve started a marathon training plan. (I know you’re saying it’s just a matter of time. La la la . . . I can’t hear you.) It looks doable, peaking at 20-mile long runs instead of the 14-milers of the half-marathon plan I was using. It only has three days of running each week, which leaves me plenty of time for my other tri training, but I wonder if that’s enough volume to help me get faster at the longer distances.
I showed my plan to 2:22 Marathon Man, my awesome coworker. (He’s a fantastic guy. We’ve worked on some great features together that I can’t tell you about yet. We also had a lot of fun in San Diego and the Imperial County backcountry some years ago before a medical imaging conference. He’s also a wicked fast runner and very generous with training advice.) His assessment was that it was pretty good, but that if I want to run a consistently fast pace for longer periods of time, I need to run longer tempo runs, possibly as part of my weekly long runs. This will also, he noted, give me a chance to work on practicing my race-day nutrition plan and diabetes management. That was already on my list of off-season goals, and this will (I hope) expand my chances of success.
Tonight I put on my bright yellow shirt, strapped on my headlamp, and went for the first tempo run using my new training plan this evening. In the dark. In the sleet. On the completely uncrowded rail trail. It was great!