Chronicles of a writer abroad

T-minus 3 months


There has been some grumbling about all of the rain in Zürich lately — but none of it has been coming from me. Reading, writing, running — I’d rather do all of my favourite things in the rain. For the first two activities, rain provides that lovely “I should be inside doing this” feeling. For the third, it relieves the concerns about heat stroke and dehydration and sunburn that I consider to be major annoyances relating to running in the summer months.

I promised that I would give updates on my training, and since two days ago marked three months until the Amsterdam marathon, I thought I’d check in. First, here’s my data:

Since I wrote about this last month, I’ve nearly doubled my mileage, and my pace has improved somewhat, although I have to qualify this by telling you that these numbers are something of a lie — they don’t include my walk breaks, which may be more frequent than I’d care to admit. You don’t get to press “stop” on the timer during a race, so I shouldn’t really be doing it in training, either…but the numbers become too depressing otherwise.

I’m now just past the half-marathon distance in my training, and I’m still surprised by how difficult it is. I’d assumed that doing this for the second time would be easier, but I forgot about a little thing called motivation. For the first-time marathoner, the motivation to accomplish the goal is huge — you want to prove that you can do what you set out to do. In this second round, I’m finding that my attitude is “yeah, I know I can do it…but am I crazy to want to?” I think a lot of repeat marathoners use time goals for motivation, but since it’s been a struggle for me to get back in shape, I don’t see how I’ll even manage to run as fast as I did last time. As of now, I will be running the race the same way I did in 2010 — no time goal; the only object to get myself past the finish line.

I’ve also been toying with the idea of using my run to raise a bit of money for a worthy cause, but I think I’ll hold off on committing to this until I see more proof that my legs are really capable of carrying me over this distance.

Sorry for the somewhat pessimistic update, but this is the way it feels at this point.  We’ll see how things look in another month. I think recording this might serve as a useful reminder to my future self that if I can get my fitness back, I should not allow it to melt away again. Yep, it can melt like fondue cheese, or like that delicious melted chocolate I saw last week at the factory… Wait — Switzerland, surely you’re not trying to sabotage me?!

4 thoughts on “T-minus 3 months

  1. Running is such a joy, and running in warm Summer rain is a particular favourite of mine. You have been brilliant to get back to this level of fitness: I always get hooked on stats on times and drive myself too far(I don’t run nearly as far as you, it must be said): it’s nice to just have a finish-line goal…..

    • Thanks, Kate. I am at least grateful that I have the time to do all of this running — it’s a not insignificant commitment of hours, especially when you’re moving at my speed!

  2. I have to agree…a second marathon is a lot harder than the first (for me it was harder both mentally and physically). But it also gives you more of a sense of legitimacy that you can do it again and it’s not just a one-off thing. Plus running can be such a big component of being healthy overall that I just kept trying to convince myself that at least it gives me a goal to work towards. Treat yourself to some new running gear every once in a while (or even a running magazine) to try and stay motivated! Keep us posted on your progress!

    • Thanks for the encouragement, Kim! I do really need a goal to strive for, otherwise my running becomes pretty aimless (read: infrequent and slow). I hope 3 months is enough to get me in shape for this. I will continue to update!

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