It’s been 368 days since I last ran a marathon.

I haven’t laced up my running shoes for a marathon in 2013 yet. Time and opportunities are quickly running out and my 3-year-long streak of running at least one marathon a year is in jeopardy.

A year of struggle

This year has been a struggle in the running department to say the least. Between elbow surgery, and a nagging ankle injury, it hasn’t been easy. At this point last year I’d run three marathons and a 50km ultra and logged well over 1,500km.

This year I’ve run under 700km and raced just once—the GoodLife Fitness Toronto Half Marathon in May.

In July I began to rebuild my running base. The initial goal was to be able to run about 15km in Shawnigan Lake, BC when we visited in August.

After that I continued to slowly add mileage through the week, and I also slowly increased my Sunday long run distance.

By mid-September I was running 16km on Sunday. I did 19km the following week and 28km the week after that (with a 42km weekend). I was back!

Staving off injury

With a mileage increase like that, shin splints and leg soreness were inevitable. Fortunately, regular stretching, deep massage and weekly acupuncture has kept things in check. Things are not great from the knees down, but things are not horrible either.

Last weekend marked the final test—could I run 32km and how bad would it be?

I ended up running just under 33km at my usual marathon race pace and felt pretty good. I ran continuous and the route was far from easy with a lot of hill especially in the first half.

My legs paid a price for that effort, but acupuncture and recovery runs again kept things in a reasonable place.

To be totally honest, I’m really surprised that I was able to build up to a 33km continuous run in that short a period of time without injury. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I would say that it’s quite possible assuming you have a good few years of distance running under your belt.

A 42.2km secret

A few people (Kenny, Jess and others) caught on and noticed that I was running my usual marathon training schedule leading up to the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon on November 3, 2013.

I figured I should probably let the cat out of the bag now: if you were to look at the confirmed entry list for the race, you’ll find my name on the list.

It won’t be any easy race, nor will it be a PB. But getting out there and running 42.2km again has me really excited.