…well it was a different season than what I have had as of lately.
I had some personal events that were the main focus for the end of summer/beginning of fall.
I got married!! Which was awesome and such a fantastic event. But people are not kidding when they say planning a wedding takes a lot of time and energy. I was able to not miss any runs while in wedding mode but in the end I think the accumulated stress on my body was more then we had once thought.
In reflecting on the summer I was able to accomplish some things I had not done in a while. I ran a race on the track for the first time in 7 YEARS!!! This summer was the first time I had an desire to be back on the track and I must admit it was really fun! Sadly, with my late spring marathon I did not get fit enough until the beginning of August so was only able to run one race but luckily I hit my goal of breaking 10mins in the 3000m (9:59— just made it). It was a lot of fun and I could definitely see myself racing on the track again some time.
I ran the TO womens race series race two 5k in a time 15s faster then I have ever run on the same course and was alone doing it.
From that race we wanted to focus in on a potentially late fall marathon. I never had my heart set on running a fall marathon this year. I had done 3 marathon builds in a row and figured with all the personal events I could probably use a little lee way in my training. But with the results in Ottawa Megan and I were fired up to try to get after the PB we knew I was capable of.
I was also given the unique opportunity to run the Chicago marathon. Unfortunately, I was not primed and ready to race it so we decided to use it as quality (*amazing) long run.
The week before the race I noticed some tenderness in my shin, no pain with running but definite tender to touch. After having it assessed we decided this was likely a stress reaction. So my options were stop and let it heal or back off and see how smart I can be about the situation as to not let it progress any further. I of course chose the latter. And backed everything off with the goal of getting to the start… and finish of the Chicago marathon. In comes pool running and the alter G… not my most favourite ways to get mileage in but you do what you have to do.
In hindsight, this was quite interesting because I was not running high mileage nor was I doing any more intensity then I would have typically been doing.
BUTTTTT while away on my honey moon I did continue to run (*in some pretty amazing places) but what I did not do was all the ever so important ancillary work. (*practice what you preach). This is the stuff that no one enjoys as much as running but it is critical for longevity. I know this and I got cocky with my long streak of limited injuries that took me out of running. While away for the 2.5wks I did no strength training and limited stretching. Not to mention my nutrition was not what it usually is. One thing I did have going for me was my sleep… way more then I typically get, which was great, but not enough.
Back to the Chicago marathon. I had an absolute BLAST going to Chicago and running the marathon. I highly recommend this marathon for anyone looking for a destination race that is flat and fast! When the day came with perfect conditions I will not lie I was sad to not be racing because the day was made for PBs and if you have read any of my previous marathon reviews you will know I have had bad luck when it comes to conditions on race day.
So I ran the first 30k with a fellow nike pacer at ~3hr pace (*going through the half at 1:29:30ish– not a bad pacing job;)). I decided at 30k that I would tempo the remaining 12k as I was feeling good and if I averaged 4min/km I could match my first marathon time (*therefore keeping all my marathon times within a 9min range). It was really fun to run a race with a negative split and end strong… not my strong point when I am racing typically. Sadly my bib did not click in so if you search me it will look like I ran 6:01 but my garmin says otherwise clocking me in at 2:56:20. Solid long run.
Post race I took the rest of the week to recover and cross train (*my favourite… not)
Then I attempted a workout that I called humble pie as it was the worse workout I have had in a long time. We hit the times we were meant to but the effort it took was not normal for me. I was really not happy with stopping and leaving the season at that. So I decided I would train for one more week and attempt the workout the following week— if it was better I would race and if not I would call it for the season and take time to get healthy. I did not want to prolong it any further as it was now obvious a marathon was not going to happen so more important to get healthy and get back to training for the spring. So of course the next week the workout went well… the difference a week can make can be remarkable. So we decided Niagara half marathon it was.
This past Sunday I headed to Niagara to race the half, knowing I was not as primed and ready as I typically am going in to a race. I told Mike before leaving I would be happy if I could manage a sub 1:20 and top 3 finish. I ended up with 1:20:55 (*probably my slowest in 2 years) and a 4th place. BUT this is not to say I did not take anything away from this. I made it a challenge of not going negative on myself when I knew the pace was slipping, which is what I typically do. And I succeeded at that.
Now I am on some down time to get healthy and regroup. Another thing I learned from this season is that I need a concrete end goal to work towards. I am willing to make appropriate sacrifices to reach my goals but when there is not set goal I have a lot of trouble fully committing. So of course I have already got my sights on a spring marathon. I am pretty much willing to go anywhere in order to find a fast marathon with good conditions… if you have suggestions please let me know! I must break 2:45… the post it stating that goal has been on my bathroom mirror for far too long at this point.
Some other cool things I got to experience were experiencing running from the other side… the coaching perspective through NRC! I cheered at Scotia Toronto waterfront marathon which was an incredible experience. I was able to run with a bunch of our NRC community. As well as an athlete I coach privately. It was amazing to jump in with people during their race and help to encourage them. I have loved coaching with NRC so far and the opportunities I have given and the people I have met have all been incredible.
I was also given some great opportunities through Canadain Running magazine and Canadian Running Series. I did a couple of articles & a video with Canadian Running and I was invited to speak at the STWM health & fitness expo. All of which were great experiences.
- do not skip the supportive work that keeps you running– if you cannot fit it in then back off on the running front
- watch out for accumulated stress– it is not just the physical stresses of running that are at play. Mental and emotional stress plays a role as well
- get creative with your goals if you are not ready for them to be performance based. There is always something we can learn and grow from our experiences
Well this blog is too long but that is what happens when I have not blogged in a while. All in all to say I love every part of running and feel so fortunate I get to be involved in it in many facets of my life.
Stay tuned for some updates on my plans for 2017 and potentially another fund raising endeavour. I am excited to look to the future and crush some goals!! And I hope all of you are too.