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T-8 Weeks: Intensity – check! Differentiation…lost.

My goal this week was to increase my speed on the long run, and maintain intensity of training. In retrospect I did maintain intensity but I didn’t differentiate very much…I think I will have to assess my pacing and start getting realistic about how fast I’m running. Adding 5km to my long run and increasing my pace by 15 secs/min is a huge success – but my left foot has an issue today that I’m icing. Feels like a tendon, so I’m not going to panic, just RICE!

Monday

Rest day!

Tuesday

6.5km – Supposed to be 4 strides, but I did this run around the bridges to Gatineau so it became a combination of both strides and hills. Strides are still 15-30 seconds long, I should get a stopwatch and figure it out…starting to think a Garmin might be a good idea. Hot sunny day – I was very overdressed. Forecast said rain so I didn’t have anything but a tank and my jacket!

Wednesday

I had a time trial scheduled…still haven’t done one of those…

Thursday

8km, first time I ventured onto country roads that early in the morning. In retrospect, should have gone the other direction, since traffic was very heavy heading into the city. So much wind lately, 30km an hour feels a lot stronger when you’re running into it! Tempo run, still feel a bit rushed to get home when I have things to do afterwards.

Friday

Hung over ūüė¶

Saturday

8km, winter again. SO MUCH WIND! I swear it was gusting to 60km/hr, I almost got picked up off my feet running into it! It’s hard to gauge effort leaning into the wind, until it stops blowing briefly and you practically fall forward. My breathing was 2-2, which usually signals I’m working too hard for “easy”…not sure why I kept pushing, probably just cuz I was angry at the wind! MUST decrease my easy run pace next week, might have set myself up for injury with a run like that…

Sunday

26km of awesome. I didn’t have a plan to walk except for the times I fuelled (2 bars and one gel). For the most part I felt strong and actually pretty fast, but I was at the mercy of my pains when it came to walking – I would prefer to be more in control of my walk breaks instead of just walking when I start to get creaky. Next long run I will try 10 minutes of running and 30 second walking, see if it curbs the aches and pains that come up in the last half.¬†My average pace was 6:55. I would like to bring that down to 6:30 for the marathon (and I’m hoping a little race magic will help to do the trick!).

Goal for next week: Be in control of my walk breaks in order to avoid “having to walk”. Be more in control of my pacing – decide on pace before I step out the door and don’t go too fast!

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Run-Love

I tend to write in my running journal when I’m down about an injury, or worried about (not)¬†achieving¬†a goal. Last night I had a fantastic run and midway I decided I needed to share why I love to, and need to, run!

Progress.

Tagging on that extra kilometre, or shaving off that extra minute, and doing it without anything but your own two legs. That awesome feeling when 5k feels like 3k, and 3k finally feels like just a stroll around the block. That moment when your pace, focus, posture, and breathing come together for a while after miles of trial and error. Those times you return feeling better than when you started, like you could do a second loop right away.

Me time. 

My favourite part of a long run is the time between when you forget what you were doing before you left home and you haven’t thought about the¬†Epsom¬†salt bath you’re going to treat yourself with after the run. The long stretch of empty country pavement, when it’s just me, my breath, my focus, and maybe some llamas watching me (slowly) pass them. This is my favourite way to be present.

The sunsets.

I think I’ve seen more beautiful skies in Ottawa because of my late-evening runs. The beams of sunlight streaming past the pink silver-lined clouds over the swaying fields of corn and soybean. The rising moon sparkling through the lone, massive tree in the empty lot against an indigo sky.¬†And I get to see it from so many different angles as my route takes me around the neighbourhood. You can’t tell me this isn’t paradise!

Learning my limits, and going beyond. 

A goal is supposed to be big and scary so you can reach and exceed your limits. I didn’t expect to reach so many other, “smaller” limits on the way to the actual goal. I learn so much about my body and, more poignantly, my mind, with every limit I encounter, which is making the journey to the starting line an incredibly rich experience. It’s true what they say – the marathon (or half in my case!) is the victory lap for all the training and work you put in over the months before.

Too bad I can’t write while I’m running, there are so many great ideas that come to you while you’re alone on the open road!

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