Post Marathon Thoughts

 

Marathon

 

It’s been six weeks today since I completed my marathon experiment and I wanted to take some time to fully digest my thoughts before writing this post.  As most of you know I have spent the last 20 years taking on new and bigger cycling challenges to the point that there is very little I won’t take on if it involves turning over the pedals.  Running on the other hand is a whole new world and most certainly one that I am going to claim any wisdom or experience in. That being said I am an athlete and competitor at my core. I do strength train, run, XC ski, play hockey and am  willing to participate in just about any activity that will make me stronger and more competitive in life. 

My marathon experiment was me satisfying my curiosity on how quickly I could make my body adapt from a cycling focus to a running focus.  I committed to the Banff marathon (June 16) on January 20th giving me 21 weeks to prepare. Sometimes being naive is a blessing however looking back I can see why most build their way up to a marathon with a few 10k then a 1/2 then the full after 6 to 12 months of preparation.  That has never been my style or the way my brain works. For me jumping in with both feet provided the perfect amount of fear and motivation to keep focused without becoming complacent. Many of you have asked me if I would do it again and how I feel now having completed with a solid 5th overall so here are my thoughts. 

Running is boring. I say that with no disrespect to runners but for me it is.  However in it’s defence I don’t feel I have reached the same level of efficiency that I have on a bike or XC skiing and for that reason I do plan on carving some time from my cycling training to continue to run.  In every endurance sport there is a meditative state you reach when you are efficient enough to no longer feel the pain and your mind is free to wander off. This state of mind for me is a mixture of mediation and flow and I feel like I have yet to really find it running and I know that true runners without realizing it. I also know that I need more stimulation than pouding asphalt  to enjoy running so I plan to branch out into trail running. Fortunately the Banff marathon is ran on the 1A Hwy which has beautiful views and about as close as you can get to trial running on an asphalt highway and I am thankful for that. 

 I will say that running is incredably simple and for that reason I can see the appeal, there is no concern with mechanical breakdowns in a race, no second guessing tire pressure or tread.  It is simple to train when you have time or travel constraints, simple to race as you just show up and run. Having picked my marathon in early June meant that I had to fit in training around seeding. Of course the long runs had to be cut short but it was very manageable to just step out the door and maintain the plan.  

Endurance sports have always been the focus of my training and therefore every activity that builds endurance in my legs, lungs, and mental strength has overlap and is therefore positive to growing as an athlete. I also love the challenge of something new and different, feeling my body adapt, learning the language, the gear, the subculture of each activity.  I do not see my straying too far from my cycling tribe however it is likely that you may see me running the back roads on my days off the bike and occasionally at the start line of a few running events over the next year. 

 

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