Flashback. May 1981. The Canadian Fitness Award. The event: 50 metre dash. Our teacher, Mrs. Yeomans, admonished each of us to run passed where she stood to mark the finish of the sprint so that we wouldn’t slow down and we would get the best time possible. The lesson: Stay focused. No shortcuts. And give it all you’ve got.
Modern Day. A newly minted 42.2 year old (actually 42.16, I’m rounding up) approaches his half marathon training run distance. As I near the 1 kilometre mark my watch beeps to indicate the first kilometre has been completed. But I know this not to be the case. As I’m sure is a phenomenon that many runners with sport watches have experienced, I know that this first kilometre has been measured incorrectly. About 200 or 300 metres short of where the first kilometre beep usually occurs I’d say. The misfire being likely due to the high rise buildings that surround my run as I maneouvre through the still quiet and dark downtown core. I could just count the kilometre in full and run to what my watch dictates as the 21.1 km distance. But I know better. Mrs. Yeomans has taught me well. I can’t short change this. Come race day, I can’t just run 21 kilometres and shut down in a half marathon. I can’t just run 42 kilometres and call myself a marathoner. I need to stay focused. Do the run in full. And give it all I’ve got.
I’m a strong believer in giving myself the best training possible to allow myself to be at my best for my races. It’s why I continue to push through ice storms. It’s why I weather -40C temperatures. The race is not going to be called off because the conditions aren’t ideal. At least I can’t count on that being the case. And the tougher the conditions I train in, the tougher and more ready I am for anything.
In the end I ran 21.42 km today. At least according to my watch. I know this in my heart to be an accurate and complete 21.1 km half marathon training distance. No shortcuts.
My charity Valentine’s Day Marathon to honour my father and to celebrate being 42.2 years old is now just 3 weeks away.