With Around the Bay training finished I am moving on to my next challenge, pacing the 5 and 1/2 hour marathon group for Ottawa Race Weekend. I took a week off after ATB, only logging 20 relaxing kms for the week. That was enough to make me feel ready to get back to higher mileage and I was very pleased with a total of 64 km for the week of April 11.
My plan for these last weeks before the marathon is straightforward; train during the week at my regular paces and try to nail the bunny pace during my long runs. The latter, however, is more challenging than you might think. I set out last Friday for my first attempt at a long run at the correct pace. I found it incredibly difficult to adjust my pace and try to keep it steady. Add in the fact that I have to do 10 & 1’s, which I’m not used to, and I will admit panic started to set in. I struggled to adjust my gait and my muscles were hurting in places that don’t normally bother me. I started to think I had made a mistake in signing up for pacing duties. What the heck was I thinking choosing the marathon distance as my first bunny job?
But around 15k I started to get a bit of a rhythm. The walking breaks started to feel more natural. Unlike most of my runs I wasn’t out of breath and I’m quite sure my heart rate stayed very low. I started to enjoy the beautiful summer-like evening and wandered aimlessly throughout Kanata. My original plan was to run 25k but it was so nice out that I continued on until 32 km were done. Remarkably I felt as though I could go even farther – what a wonderful feeling! The first half seemed a challenge, but the second half of the run felt like a gift. I thought running for such a long time (4 hours!) would be boring on my own. Instead it was uplifting. After a long winter – actually not as long as it could have been, but it felt like it lasted forever – it was so nice to enjoy a beautiful evening. In the winter I often head out and complete a training run without seeing another runner or walker, but on this run everyone was outside, and I swear I was feeding off their energy. During parts of the run I imagined doing the same thing but with the amazing Ottawa spectators cheering on my group of runners. I am now so excited for race day!
Tomorrow will be another long run, I’m not entirely sure how far I will go. I am loosely following a plan right now but training for ATB put me a little ahead on long runs, giving me a some freedom in my distance choices. I already have a 30k and a 32k under my belt with 5 weeks to go, so I am feeling confident that my training will carry me through the 42.2. Here’s hoping tomorrow’s run maintains the confidence I am feeling now!
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