O.K., I think I might be really liking this slow-down-the-long-run thing!
In the past I have made an effort to slow down my long runs, but when you are not a particularly fast runner to begin with, it can be a struggle to slow things down even more. But in training to be an Ottawa Marathon pace bunny, I have had no choice but to keep a slower pace. I have now done two 32k runs and a 30k run around the pace I should be doing to lead my group to a 5 and 1/2 hour finish. Here’s the amazing thing – those two 32k runs were two of the most enjoyable runs I have ever had. I’m not saying they weren’t hard work – they were – but I truly felt happy during the runs. In fact, the first one was only meant to be around 27k, but I just didn’t feel like stopping and so continued on. These runs allowed me to do that thing that eludes so many of us – to simply be “in the moment”. There were times when I was so busy enjoying what was going around me that I stopped thinking about how many kms there were to go and just enjoyed the ride.
This past Saturday I had to pick up race kits for the Sporting Life 10k that the kids and I were running on Sunday. The kits were downtown so I decided to combine pick-up with a long run. I really only run in downtown Ottawa during races, and while I always enjoy the routes, race day isn’t always the best time to take in the sights. For this run though, doing my 10 and 1’s and my pace bunny pace, I happily took it all in. The sun was out, it was somewhat warm and Ottawa was alive with runners, cyclists and tourists. Even the first tulips were blooming a little ahead of the upcoming Tulip Festival.
And so I ran, but I ran as a tourist. I stopped and took pictures and took in the sights. Ottawa truly provides constant changing scenery for a long run. I was never bored, not for a moment. There is no shortage of waterways to follow; I traveled along the Rideau Canal, Dow’s Lake, Mooney’s Beach, the Rideau River and the Ottawa River. I ran past Hog’s Back Falls and the Rideau Falls. I saw the historic buildings of Parliament Hill and the beautiful modern architecture of the Convention Centre and the National Gallery. I stopped and looked at the bizarrely beautiful “Maman”, the giant spider sculpture outside the Gallery. I crossed the Macdonald-Cartier Bridge and completed a loop in our neighbouring province, Quebec. All this and more in one run. Why don’t I do this more often? Then again, maybe it would lose its charm, or rather I would lose an appreciation of what the city had to offer, if I headed downtown regularly.
As for my training, I find this almost scary to say, but I feel really good about pacing this marathon. I have adapted to the 10 and 1’s, would even go so far as to say that I like them, and I feel like I have done a good amount of distance work. Besides the 3 long runs mentioned around bunny pace, I also did the 30k at Around the Bay and there were of course all the runs leading to that race. Last week I ran 70km, plus about 10k of orienteering and overall I am feeling pretty good. I’m rather proud of myself that I ran 32.2k on Saturday and then on Sunday ran with my 10-year-old at the 10k race. And yes, I did 32.2 specifically so I could say that on the weekend I ran a marathon…just not all at once! (Just a note, I am even more proud of my kids. It was Luke’s first 10k and he did it with no walk breaks, had a huge sprint in him at the end and finished in 1 hour and 24 seconds! For Evan it was his second 10k and he took over 6 minutes off of last year’s time, finishing in 55 minutes!)
It is taper time now, though I admit I don’t really think of it as a taper until there are only two weeks left. I’ll get a run in around 23km this weekend and then will start resting up in preparation for wearing those bunny ears.
Ottawa Race Weekend…I’m ready!
Follow me on Twitter @AverageRunnerK