I started off with the goal of setting aside Saturday mornings to put in the long slow distance, and another one more session of a shorter run / cross training with kettle bells. The first couple of Saturdays were extremely painful, with a target to cover a distance upwards of 30 to 35km or so. I started out by walking that distance, then building up to walking / jogging, and progressing towards jogging the entire distance in the last couple of sessions. Needless to say, I became pretty familiar with the trails of Macritchie Reservoir after a few sessions in. I know that this isn't a proper training schedule, and the going full steam ahead on accumulating distance covered probably wasn't the best idea, but it turned out to be a rather efficient (and high risk strategy) as I built my base fairly quickly. Towards the end of the period leading up to race day, work slowed down a little and I managed to do a separate 10 to 12km on a weekday around the CBD, which is beautiful at night.
One of the training sessions that stood out was on a particular Saturday, where I had began running at 0500 and it started pouring at 0600. I was soaked to the bone but still pushed on for fear of missing out that training session. Subsequently I was stalked by a pack of dogs around the peirce reservoir area and was attacked by monkeys lining the road, but the feeling of completing that session was pretty exhilarating, even though I only managed to finish 20km or so instead of the 30km I was looking to do. It boosted confidence that I could execute and push through in not so ideal consequences, and was getting a tad better at being comfortable with uncomfortable.
Unfortunately I caught the flu bug one week prior to race day, and that kind of affected the last stretch of my training plan, and I wasn't at my best for race day, but I managed to pull through to execute in about c.5.30. It's not the best timing, but it certainly feels good to have put in the requisite effort over the last 8 weeks and I felt I gave it my best sustained effort in light of the work situation. Now that I've built up the habit of waking up early on Saturdays to put out a long hard session, I found myself looking forward to doing so this morning, but unfortunately my body is still recovering from the pushing and I only managed to do 45 mins. Nevertheless, am quite pleased with this habit, and I look forward to wake up early on Saturdays for exercise in the foreseeable future.
That is one good habit that came through on this process. The other bit which I felt an improvement on was the ability to take on suffering and being able to adapt the game plan to unforeseen twists (like work load or sickness). The marathon is always a humbling experience and I found myself doing good all the way till 28km before the suffering began to set in, but I stuck with it and managed to pull through, which definitely builds resilience that I hope will be put to good stead in other facets of life.
So all in all, I did think while the process could always be improved, it was a decent effort thrown into the goal at hand and that's something I can be proud of this time around. Here's to future goals in life, to a fitter body and mind, and to a faster time. Cheers.