The long game

I feel like standing outside my front door and yelling, “Guys! I did it!”

I totally owned my long run today: 28.5 km, and it feels so good.

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Here’s how it went down:

  • Timing: Our nearly two-year-old little man had his first sleepover at his grandparents’ place, so I moved my long run time to the morning. (It has typically been during nap times on Sunday afternoons so I can maximize time with my boy).
  • Route plan: My goal was to tackle 29 km today, and while considering routes, I started wondering how long it would take to run out to my inlaws’ place. Turns out it wouldn’t give me enough distance, so I added on here and there, and presto, created a 28.5 km route. I told my husband to meet me there around noon, and off I went just before 9 a.m. today.

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  • Fuelling: I learned my lesson from last weekend’s run. I need to eat more. Easy! Last night we had a date night and I ate my fill. My dinner wasn’t really carby so I topped up with a bowl of cereal when I got home. Breakfast about an hour before I hit the road was two pieces of toast with peanut butter, honey and sliced banana. I brought along three Honey Stinger chocolate gels (I’m trying something different every week to see what I like best).
  • Hydration: Another lesson learned from last weekend was I needed the ability to carry more fluids. I purchased a four-bottle belt from the Running Room. Each bottle holds seven ounces. It was surprisingly comfortable and I really enjoyed running with it. I drank as much as I could stomach throughout the run. All in all, my energy levels were fairly steady throughout the run! Success!
  • The mental game: I made an effort to stay positive and just get myself from one walk break to the next (I follow the Galloway method, which is taking a one-minute walk break every 10 minutes). I allowed myself to walk most hills to conserve energy. I listened to two podcasts (Marathon Training Academy and Coach Jenny Hadfield, followed by my running tunes). If I ever started freaking out about the distance, I would go back to focusing on getting through the next stretch.
  • Weather: It was windy but otherwise beautiful and cool at about 2 to 5 C. I found it to be very comfortable.
  • Hills: My route included a mostly downhill portion to downtown, followed by rolling hills along the harbour, a gradual uphill through the retail district, another downhill and flat portion past a busy retail area, then a long, gradual climb along Golden Grove Road, which took me out of the city, past many sparkling lakes toward Rothesay. The road was pleasant but not very safe with no sidewalk and many blind hills/corners. I took out my earbuds quite often to make sure I could hear approaching traffic.

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  • Overall feeling: I felt great for most of this run, which was a complete turnaround from last weekend. The only downfall was a sore knee from about 22 km onward. But I found that if I kept a strong running stance it was manageable. I have since stretched and used the foam roller and I feel fine, so I don’t think I have an injury.
  • Full Garmin stats here.

I am now basking in my new accomplishment. It’s incredible to wrap my head around running all that way, and still feeling human at the end of it. My confidence levels have been restored. I now know that I can take on the longest training run, which will be 32 km in two weeks. From then on, it’s taper time.

I keep telling myself that Ottawa will be so much flatter than the courses I have tried around here. That, along with race day adrenaline, should result in a pretty acceptable time for my first marathon.

Thanks for reading and for all your support.

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April Runs On

A writer who loves to run, often while chasing a toddler on the east coast

2 thoughts on “The long game”

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