Better late than never! Since there is just so much to recap i’ll try to keep the little overachiever in me in check and try not to drag on and on about every detail of the summer/fall season.
Coming off of the spring, I was super frustrated. All of this fitness, and nothing to show for it. I had a poor showing at races even though I was in the best shape of my life. As I reflected, I realized that I was taking my spring season too seriously and putting unnecessary stress on myself which was likely the reason for under-performing. The thought of chasing another half-marathon pb was torture. As I got back into the swing of full training I thought, you know why not, let’s run a marathon this fall and not even think about a half-marathon. Half-marathon had been my goal distance for the last 4.5 years, time for a god damn change! The marathon intrigued me. My high school coach told me from the day he saw me, he knew I’d do well in the long-distances. Time to put this to the test.
Oh yeah, did I tell you I was an over-achiever? How about: running my first marathon, buying and moving into our first home, and planning a wedding in 3months all at the SAME time sound? Needless to say, it was a VERY busy summer. But I made no excuses with my training and worked hard.
We changed up my training but not necessarily my training volume – still 100-105k weeks on average but really amping up my long runs and adding efforts into them. My first big test was running with the GRE boys through the hills of Glenn Morris for 32k in July – THE LONGEST DISTANCE EVER- and we ran a 4:30/k average for that run.
I remember telling the boys that I wasn’t sure if my body would keep up that pace because I’ve never even run that distance before. And there I was, minidestructo running up and down the hills and keeping up, dare I say pushing the pace. My confidence really started to improve from this run on.
Racing highlights of the summer/fall:
Mizuno Sunset Series 5ks: 18:15 (July 26) 17:59 PB- first ever sub 18 (Aug 9), 17:47 – another PB (Aug 23)
- Rbc Race for the Kids 15k: 3rd Female/ 58:52
- Oasis Zoo Run: 10k – 37:40 *super hilly course – 3rd Female
My long runs topped out at 34 at 4:20/k average pace. Crazy what hard work and confidence can do for you. The problem was, as the problem always is, MY FOOT. That stupid chronic plantar fasciitis flared up
during this build and on most days I couldn’t even walk without a limp. The spring season I thought I had finally started to clear up this injury but then I ran the WILD BRUCE CHASE sprinting 19k at 2am in the pitch black up rock cliffs and stepping on who knows what and then less than 7 hours later running 25k in the middle of the hot hot summer. The race was so much fun and we got the record but sacrifices were made and the victim – my foot.
My plantar fasciitis came back and with it, a bruised fat pad. It got to the point where in the weeks leading up to my wedding I thought, “there’s no way I can even think about wearing heels.” I had been running on this foot pain for over 1.5 years now so I did what I always did and pushed through. I seemed to still get quality runs in, but also some major compensations. 2weeks out of my goal marathon my ankle locked up and I couldn’t weight bear at all. I was running my last big workout where I was going test out my goal pace of a 2:52 and 3k in, my foot completely cramped and my ankle hurt so badly that I wanted to cry. I ran until 7k at goal pace and then stopped to figure out what to do. After a very painful, slow, cold, rainy walk back to the car, I knew something was off. In the next few days, Josh worked on it for me along with his coworker Gloria, who is an osteopath. I had to take multiple days off and only managed 44 km that week. All that confidence I spent all summer building back up, GONE. Running is 80% mental, so I wasn’t walking to the start line healthy physically or mentally.
You guys saw this: https://www.instagram.com/p/BLWfw11AZiU/
I saw this:
Josh and Gloria worked hard in the two weeks leading up to Scotia to get me to the start line. My foot was taped 24/7 and was slowly getting better but still wasn’t feeling right. I got to the start line as best I could and told myself 2 weeks of training wouldn’t make a difference.
THE RACE – SCOTIABANK WATERFRONT MARATHON/CANANDIAN CHAMPS
Canada Running Series did such a great job hosting me this year. I am so grateful that we have them in the Canadian running scene. They do more to support our athletes than our own governing body. They make it possible to pursue running at this level while still working full time by taking the strain off of accomodations, traveling fees and entry fees. As well as running great events. This was my first year doing any of the CRS events (outside of Scotiabank the previous year) and the calibre of races they put together is just phenomenal. This women’s marathon was STACKED. It was the most elites I had seen all year. There I was on the elite start list – so proud.
The gun went off and I was optimistic. I found my pace 4:07s, that would put me in the low 250s and was a very reasonable goal with my workouts and fitness. I felt pretty great through the first 5k and I had heard everyone say, get to 30 then it starts to hurt. I wish that were the case. It was unseasonably warm that day with almost 100% humidity and it had poured before the race. This meant the ground was completely saturated and footing was horrid. The Black Lungs guys I was running with started rolling a few sub 4min k’s and I knew that was not smart in my first marathon. I let them go, and with it, the marathon became a solo grind from 7k on. I found myself running and not finding any new groups to hold onto. I knew I was in for bad luck when my first water station drink went straight up my nose. My ankle was already acting up but I was hoping it would relax. I had it taped like always. Time wise, I was pretty steady and on my goal pace until half-marathon. (3:53, 4:04, 3:52, 4:00, 3:53, 3:52, 3:59, 3:59, 4:08, 4:09, 4:01, 4:05, 4:04, 4:03, 4:08, 4:03, 4:04, 402, 4:02, 4:03, 4:02).
As I approached the last few k before the half-marathon my calf and foot cramped up from compensating for my ankle instability and I had to fight with myself to keep going. I saw so many other runners drop out already and I was not going to be one of them. I fought and watched my goal pace fade until it was merely “get to the finish line.” I used my next gel and every 2k following the gel as my motivation. “Okay good just get to my gel, 25k, gel, 30k, gel, 35k.” Something like that. The splits of my last half were (4:14, 4:18, 4:20, 4:26, 4:27, 4:31, 4:21, 4:34, 4:33, 4:30, 4:43, 4:51, 4:52, 4:56, 4:54, 4:53, 4:54, 4:29, + 200m).
A lot of factors at play here: inexperience, injury time off = losing the ability to absorb impact of hard paces, slick road conditions, and humidity. The humidity was funny because I didn’t feel hot but it just added up and up until you couldn’t hit your paces. All and all, I finished in 3:03, the hardest and longest run of my life, true grit and determination got me to the finish. I was happy to be the 6th CAN female finisher as my goal was top 6. As I hobbled back to the hotel room, my legs and low back were destroyed. GRE partied hard in the hotel and celebrated my birthday which happened to be the same day! Some birthday present to myself THAT was!
2 days later, Josh and I flew out for our delayed honeymoon in Punta Cana and I thought nothing about running for over a week! Just SUN SUN DRINKS!
All in all, I was happy with the result. I was lucky enough to be able to race at all seeing as though I couldn’t walk 2 weeks before. A 3:03 isn’t so bad considering all the factors and the fact that even Eric Gillis couldn’t hit his goal pace in those conditions. All I have to say, is a HUGE pb is going down next marathon if I can even get 1 or 2 things right instead of just about everything wrong.
This weekend I will do a (much shorter) blog post about what i’ve been up to this base season! Til then, grind on.