So I have had 2 weeks to recover and reflect on the whole “0 to 40” experience and no matter which way you look at it, the end result is an outstanding success!
I went from the first week of training where I had to walk/run the 6M long run in about 70 minutes to running a PB in the marathon the day after running a half-marathon!
When I first signed up for the Goofy Challenge at the beginning of 2010 I stated that I would like to run a PB in the half and get as close to my PB in the full as possible. What actually happened was a bit different, I ran a PB in the full and also during the full, my second 13.1M split was only 60 seconds outside of my half-marathon PB. I would suspect that this means I was a bit too conservative on the Saturday and I could have managed a PB in the half.
I overcame my injury, and also during the course of the 18 week plan I had a couple of colds, the flu, a urinary infection and a bladder infection! The flu forced me in into running back to back 50+ mile weeks that I had never done before, heck, before this training plan I had not run a 50+ mile week!
So the end result was that despite training for 50+ weeks in 2009 for the January 2010 event which included lots of speed work, cross training and also partaking in an Olympic Distance Triathlon, I managed in 18 weeks to get myself in better shape!
The training plan was meant for just doing a marathon, so I am obviously wondering what I could manage in a marathon without 13.1M in my legs from the previous day!
However, having said all that I have above, how the end result was a success, the end result is not the whole story when competing in an event like this. You don’t just rock up on the Saturday morning and run, there were 18 weeks, 4.5 months of training involved in getting there too. If you look at the whole thing, training included, then whilst a fantastic achievement and one I am rightly proud of, it isn’t something I am planning on repeating. It just wasn’t as enjoyable as running the marathon on its own the year before.
Last year I enjoyed the whole race from start to finish, this year it was only the last 6 miles or so when I actually began to realise what was happening and what I had a shot at achieving. I take my running very seriously (probably more seriously than my actual ability shows!), so the act of going 39.3M is not the be all and end all of my race, I want to do it in the best time I possibly can, which means I spent the whole of the half-marathon stressing that I was going too fast, and I would feel rubbish on Sunday and thus not enjoying the actual run. I then spent the first 20M of the marathon thinking I was tired and that I was about to hit the wall, but didn’t.
The amount of training involved was also very high, that was obviously my decision and one I would do again. I would/will use the same training plan if/when I decide to run another marathon. The problem for me was I started the plan when Max was only 4 months old, this meant a lot of Saturday and Sunday mornings where I missed out time with him which I regret, as I was either out running or sleeping as I had been out in the middle of the night. There is also the amount of work you have to do during the week, 8-10M runs at the peak of the training, once the family is sorted out it is getting late if you need to fit in a 90-100min workout.
So as I said, while the end result was a success, the journey to get there wasn’t as enjoyable as I had hoped. Although I will freely admit that this was, wrongly it now appears, due to me comparing my times to the previous year and seeing I was a lot slower.
I would definitely not recommend attempting anything like this with a child as young as Max was when I started, not unless you have a very, very understanding partner! This would always be a problem with children, but as they get older there is more interaction with them on a daily basis than you get with a young baby in between them sleeping.
So what I am trying to say is, whilst I am over the moon with how I got on, at the moment in my running “career” where I haven’t found my limits as I am still learning how to get the best out of myself, and I don’t believe I have run the fastest marathon I ever will, I don’t see tackling the Goofy Challenge again as something that I want to do in the immediate future. Once I have a few more marathons under my belt, and I believe that I cannot go any faster, so my running is not motivated by PB’s then it is, for sure, something that I will revisit.
For now I just need to decide when I want to run another marathon and all the training that goes along with that. It’s something I don’t have to worry about for a while so I am just going to enjoy the comparative rest of winter training for now!