It is now marathon week. This is it. Months of training, emotional ups and downs, injuries and exhaustion. On Sunday it all comes to an end. I think I am still trying to process this. As a result I am not quite ready to write about my plans for the big day. So instead of looking forward, I have decided to spend a couple of days looking back. My next couple of posts will be about training memories – good or bad. They will be in no particular order, just moments that come to mind when I think of the last four months.
Memories #1 and #2: The High Moment and the Low
My first real moment when I thought I might honestly be able to do this was the day I ran 11k and then followed it up with the Army Run Half Marathon. The run had many moments of feeling effortless and I was able to maintain such a steady pace. Completing more than 30km was a huge feeling of accomplishment, particularly when I crossed the finish line feeling great. I think that day will be remembered for a long time.
The lowest moment was definitely when I hurt my hip and I.T. band while trying to accomplish a 30k run. Having to give up at 25k and limp my way back to the car for 5km was completely demoralizing. Having no idea how much training time I would lose while trying to heal did not help my mood. That was definitely the closest I came to quitting. I am sure it would be nice to bury this memory but it is worth remembering. I did get back to training and I did have successful long runs. I may have had to readjust my goals but I didn’t quit. If I ever do this again, I will need to recall this low point to remember what I can accomplish.
A quick check of Sportstats has shown that Evan, Lukas and I have taken part in an event at Somersault’s Fall Colours Race since 2009. Luke was 4, Evan 6, and I was, well, never mind. And my husband has made the trek out each time as our chauffeur and supporter. The Fall Colours Race has truly become our Thanksgiving tradition.
Today was no different. I signed up for the 10k to use as a training run for next week’s marathon and both boys entered the 3k race. Once again the weather was stunning. I think every year we have done this race we have had beautiful weather and as the race name suggests, wonderful fall colours. This is a rural race east of Ottawa, a nice change from city races. It provides challenging courses – I could have used this race for my first marathon but given all the hills I was too wimpy to even consider it. Even the 10k has some good uphill challenges – my Garmin recorded a couple of slopes at a 10% grade. This race also has a hugely popular kids’ 1k race that is just adorable to watch. It is held on a loop on the Cumberland Heritage Museum grounds, giving a safe and well cheered race for the kiddies. I will always remember Luke running it at four years old and telling every stranger he saw how he ran the whole thing non-stop. The kids are the stars of the show on this day.
My kids are moving on from the 1k runs, though both still qualify in terms of age. They are definitely ready for running challenges so today they set out to see how fast they could do the 3k. I had to wait until I was done my race to find out the results but it was worth the wait! Yes…here comes mommy bragging time. Out of 91 participants Evan was 7th overall, 2nd of all males and 2nd in the males under 13 category, receiving 2 lanyards and a prize. Luke finished in 29th place, 10th in the males category and 9th in the males under 13. While I know he would desperately like to have a top three placing we reminded him that he has another FIVE years to compete in that age category, so there is no rush!!
Their race made my day so my run seems a little irrelevant. It was nice to pick up my pace again since my body seems stuck at my marathon pace. Since I was not aiming for any specific time I let myself go faster than I would normally at the beginning just for fun, then pulled back for the middle and finally picked up the pace a bit towards the end. A final time of 57:33 was certainly not my fastest but definitely faster than I have been running lately. My theory was if I ran fairly quickly and had to do hills, next week’s marathon on a flat course should seem easy, right? Yeah, I know, nice theory.
We have all now earned our turkey and stuffing that will be served tonight (thankfully not by me but by my mum!). HAPPY THANKSGIVING!
Recently I was lucky enough to have a wonderful blogger, Rod Lowe, write a guest post on my blog. Today he has posted my thoughts about kids and running. It took me a while to write the post, one of the reasons being I wanted to make sure I could adequately express the benefits I have seen first hand of running for children. Please take a moment to visit Run Rod Run to check out my guest post. And while there, be sure to enjoy Rod’s musings on running and life.
I’ll leave you with a quote from Rod’s post “Who’s Your Biggest Fan?”, the message of which has stuck with me since I first read it: “In a race the crowds will cheer for you. Before the race your loved ones will encourage you. But ultimately you are the only one who can get yourself across that finish. You need to be your biggest fan.” -Rod Lowe
Trail running views
Having left the world of riding (horses, not bikes) to become a running addict, I thought my days of crash landing on hard ground were over. Apparently not. Today I headed to the trails, welcoming a break from pavement and enjoying a perfect fall day in the woods. After 12k of carefully stepping over roots, and only a km away from my car, I managed to catch a small root with my toe. The root may have been small but it was enough to send me crashing to the ground. As I lay for a moment recovering, the irony of P!nk singing through my earbuds, “You gotta get up and try and try and try”, was not lost on me. Thankfully there was no major damage short of some scrapes and a nice goose egg on my knee. A new meaning to “fall” running.
Two weeks from tomorrow I will be running a marathon. The reality is just setting in. I am now into tapering for the big day. I have read a lot of information that says runners can get antsy during taper time and have a hard time adjusting to the decrease in distances. Can I just say I am NOT one of those people. I don’t know if there is something wrong with me but I am kind of excited about taking a step back from this running craziness. Don’t get me wrong, I actually enjoyed my last two long runs, both the 32k and the 35k. And yes, that whole statement just sounds wrong to me too. I think for years to come those two runs are going to stay in my memory as something special. My 32k run had those surreal moments when I felt like I was having a bit of an out of body experience; moments when I felt like I wasn’t even running. During the 35k run, despite being a little tired with a cold, I found myself smiling several times. I was smiling because a new confidence had taken over and I knew (rather than hoped) that I would be finishing the run.
But now I think I need a break. Today I was able to run but my body was telling me it was tired. Three weekends of long runs and a cold for the last week and my body wants to rest. So I may not follow a specific taper program. I know from past experiences that I run better with appropriate rest. For the next two weeks I will run when I feel like running and I won’t aim for specific distances. I will run for fun. Hopefully, on October 20 it will pay off.