There is less than two weeks to go before the Ottawa Race Weekend! Who is excited? I am!
At the two week to go mark, most training plans have your last long run scheduled for a big distance. There are some plans that cycle up to a target distance, then bring it back down and finally have one last quality long run at the two week to go mark. This starts the taper period, although tapering weeks still have lots of running, although the last week mileage is dropped significantly. Since we are at the end of training, I’ve had a chance to reflect on my effort for half marathon #2 – Although my running has improved and I’ve put forth more of an effort in training this time – my long runs have not been where they should be. I am running significantly more runs from 5-10K, but only a few runs above that number. It is a combination of P working many weekends (I will never bring Max on a long run), crappy weather and just being plain busy. But last time, I had only made it to 17K and I also only ran a long run maybe 2 or 3 times before that 17K. So I knew if I made it to that point, I would be ok. Am I going to run a sub-2:00 half? No, I am not. But I will finish and most likely I will run a PB race.
Yesterday I was asked to participate in a 1K run for girls (and a few boys) that were 12 and under. My role was to run with them, cheer them on and make sure no one gets lost. It was lots of fun. We ran the race in two waves: ages 6-12 went first and then 5 and under. It was a simple out and back, where everyone could see everything. I ran to the 500m mark, then stopped to high five everyone, then when the final person went past me, I flew back to the front to cheer them on as they finished. We ran the 1K two times for a total of 2K (plus a little bit). I even wore a tutu for the occasion.
Since the race was at the Aviation Museum, which is 12KM from my house and on my favorite running path – I choose to run home. I gave P my tutu and freebies, filled up my water bottle and off I went. It was 20 degrees out at 11:30am when I started and this temperature is probably the limit for running at this time of day.
I started off my run VERY slowly. I took some time to take a picture or two, to take a small rock out of my shoe and to make sure I did not go to my usual 6:10 pace. My first two KM were 7:20 and 8:13 which are numbers I have not seen in quite some time. But I think it paid off. I also did stop numerous times during those two first KMs, but not because I was tired. I stuck with my 10 and 1 long run plan at a 6:40-7:23 pace (which is where I’m actually supposed to be, not 6:20 and under). The route from the Aviation Museum to my house is almost exactly 12KM. I planned on adding on KM at some point.
The first 4-5K are on a gravel path right on the Ottawa River. It is really pretty! The wind was strong that day, but I was able to get shelter from the wind because of the path and because I was running in the opposite direction. I felt great during this stretch. Nothing was hurting, my cardio was kickin – and the weather was great! After the gravel path, you move up onto a paved path into a nice shaded forest area. Such a beautiful place to run! I had some minor stomach issues all morning, but nothing extreme, so when I saw the outhouse, I quickly went in and out. After the outhouse, the path location is where most of my 8-12KM run’s mid-point is, so I felt great about already being at this part. I was starting to run out of water and waiting for P and Max to hurry up in the bike trailer to re-fill my water. That is the one downside of the path – no water fountains!
When I reached 8KM and getting towards the end of the path (before heading towards my former school and neighbourhood), I decided to add KM on this flat section and went back on the path for 1 KM and then turned around again. This is when I saw P who was very confused on why I was running towards the Aviation Museum again. After refilling my water bottle, they took off and we agreed that I should be back in an hour.
I saw another runner at this point who was running with her husband behind her on a bike. He was handing water to here. At one point during her walking break, I ran past them and he held out his hand to grab his wife’s water bottle – with her laughing going “that isn’t me!”. Funny! We both noted that it was such a nice day. She was right behind me for the remainder of my time on the path. All of my KM at this point were between 6:22 and 7:50, with the longer KM being ones that I took a minute long walking break.
When I started heading into my neighbourhood for the last 4KM, I had started to realize that I made a grave error. Earlier in the morning, I looked in my fuel storage box and realized I did not have anything on me like GU gels or sports gummies. I had my usual PB on toast and banana earlier in the morning, but nothing else. Since it was now 1pm, I was getting really hungry as I was just intaking water. So what happened at KM 13 – I bonked and hit the wall a little bit. It was really weird. My legs felt fine – you know, a little bit of tiredness and some ‘meh’ spots – but I was running 13+km, it is bound to hurt a little bit. But what was happening was those little voices in my head saying “home is right there, just walk a lil bit – or why not stop all together, there is chocolate milk in your house!”. I ended up running/walking the last 3KM. I still did ok in terms of times: 7:04, 7:14 and 7:13 but it wasn’t pretty. In comparison with my Army Run Half – my body was falling apart at 16KM, but I wasn’t hungry. So this runner needs to get herself some running food!
At least I was able to run 18KM yesterday and now I’m positive that I will be able to run the 21.1KM for sure. I also ran those 18KM alone, with no music and (obviously) no nutrition, so I am hoping adding those three things will make it a bit better on race day!
Have a great Monday!