“My mama told me there’ll be days like this” – Van Morrison

People my age should get the song reference. I’m sure many of us recall it or think a similar line when we are just having “one of those days”.

The 9 days of running awesomeness are off to an auspicious start. Sunday I raced the Hypothermic Half Marathon in Moncton for the fourth consecutive year. After a terrific 2015 and a fairly strong couple of months of training I thought that , while a PB for the distance wasn’t in the cards (nor a goal), I should be able to run my best time on that particular course. Add in the conditions being the best of the four years I’ve done the race and I was confident. As it turns out, I was overconfident – as I will explain below.

The two weeks leading up to the race, I wasn’t able to run a lot but I felt like this was almost a taper – forced, but same effect. My overall mileage has been good, as mentioned, and my nutrition, hydration and sleep leading up to race day were all pretty typical.

Looking back, I really didn’t do any warm up at all which was likely my biggest error. I did some stretching, bouncing and whatnot, but no warmup run at all. Going from that to an initial race pace of under 5 minutes per kilometer did not end well for me. Only six kilometers into the race my hamstring tightened up like a vice and never loosened up. By the time I crossed the finish line, I had a time of just under 1:53 – my second worst effort on this course. During the run, I alternated between resignation that my course best was not in the cards and despair while worrying about that this result meant for my season. I considered calling it a day at the half way point (the run is two loops of the same course) but ultimately knew I would regret that a lot more.

I suppose that after so many successful races and hitting my goals last year that a result like this will ultimately be beneficial. I certainly can’t rely on improvement without sensible training and pushing myself harder than I have before. It’s also difficult but necessary to remind myself that it is only February. I have a lot of time left before my goal races in May and especially October. I need to be more particular about my training and be patient with runs like Sunday. They are going to happen but can help me reach my goals just as much as the good days.

As for the Van Morrison song I took the title of this post from? It actually refers to the good days, not the bad – it’s all about perspective. Right?