Friday, September 28, 2012

A mistake

Five days of no running, or workouts of any sort! It feels like a long stretch, but it also feels luxuriously wonderful (and necessary - both quads are still tender). I think about lacing up the shoes, or selecting my long run clothes every day.

I've learned something that I used to know, and forgot (so is it really learning? Gah). I was wondering what the reason was behind my early wane in energy during the marathon, so I did a litle reading.

Perhaps I ran out too fast. The time posted for my first 10k was good and fast, and I read on several sites that if you feel like you're going fast in the first 10 miles, it's a sign that you need to slow down. I recall keeping my speed down at the beginning of previous runs, and just waiting for time to pass so I could pick it up. I wish I had remembered that on Sunday because my initial speed might have triggered the burnout. I know I have another sub-4 race in me. There are always spring marathons to look forward to.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012


No running today! I am still waiting to get my land legs back. Monday and Tuesday were rough on my quads, but when I rose this morning they felt stronger. Lowering to a seated position or descending flights of stairs are still painful activities though, and I look funny doing them. A few more days of this prirate-leg nonsense and then I will be ready for a non-running activity like yoga or a bike ride. I might delay a return to running for another week, and skip the long run altogether this Sunday.

I might even designate October as a month of light running, with no distance over 10k, and some cross training. I can't wait to attempt a Zuze Lite workout. Maybe on the weekend.

I've been thinking about my diet lately. I've been gorging on snack food and takeout meals every day, sometimes for every meal of a day - yuck! My clothes aren't fitting properly and I feel unhealthy. I think that a lot of this is happening because I've been suspending my personal time in order to be with others or to complete projects. I can't wait to get the upcoming social events and deadlines over with, and relax.

Exercise gives me space to be alone and focus on myself. So necessary.

Many factors need to align in order for me to be cooking my own healthy, fresh meals. I need to be at home fairly regularly (haven't been). I need to dream about a delicious dish (nope) and find the time to cook it (ditto). And exercising helps to set me on the path to wanting to cook because my body craves nutrition and downtime, so cooking and exercise really do go together.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Au revoir, Montréal

Alright, marathon #3 is a done deal!

We had a cold start to what evolved into a beautiful race. Huddled in my bright green throw-away hoodie and practically defenceless against the sharp wind, surrounded by my buddies in Corral 9 on the Jacques-Cartier Bridge, I turned my face upwards toward the sun to let the rays lay some solar energy on me. I chatted with some Montrealers who were doing the race for the first time. One young woman was getting ready to run her first marathon. She said, I think a marathon is really hard. She had run a half marathon before. An older guy had run one marathon before and said he would be happy with a time of 4:15. We were excited and raring to go. And we were cold. Loud music pumped through large speakers set up on posts. I danced to some Daft Punk and waited for the signal. Finally the first corral was let loose. After the second corral took off, we moved up. And after a few more, we were gone, like wolves on the hunt.

The first kilometre of the marathon is always an enjoyable place to be, but this start was sublime. No other word to describe the sharp right turn off the bridge and then a long, narrow run downhill through a park. I shifted into Go and let er rip, passing people and watching for puddles and broken asphalt, of which there was a considerable amount. (I saw someone slip into a side plant, probably skinning a palm or two and the side of his leg). I made good time in this portion - something like 51 minutes for the first 10k. We ran on a narrow path that snaked along La Ronde, and I imagined I was a brutal bloodsucker flying madly through the amusement park at night, a la The Lost Boys.

After a strong first 10k, I started to feel a lag. Which was kind of nuts, because I still had a long way to go. I spotted the 4:10 pace bunny just ahead of me and every twitch fibre of my being decided that there was NO WAY I wanted to follow this rabbit. I sped up and tried to make good time while I could, because some part of my lizard brain recalled how the final 8k or so can feel like they take five hours because your quads, shins, calves - the whole enchilada - become encased in invisible cement, mentally speaking. It's called maing hay while the sun shines. Besides, speeding up and passing people gave me something to concentrate on besides my anxiety about time.

After a while, I saw that I had mixed with some half-marathoners crowded around their 2:00 pace bunny. I ran away from them and met up with the 4:00 bunny. Perfect! I ran along with that group for a while. It was relaxing; I just went with the flow until I realized I could go a touch faster. I quickened the pace and maintained a good, quick speed, secure with the dreamy image of being just ahead of 4:00.

But all dreams eventually come to an end. My right quad developed a twinge that was not severe enough to qualify as a cramp, yet was a little annoying. I stopped for cups of water/orange electrolyte juice, and the 4:00 bunny team passed me, and although I tried with all my might, my heart and soul, I could not catch up to their speed. Several agonizing minutes of deprecating self-talk later, I made the decision to abandon the 4:00 end and just enjoy the rest of the course. Between a finish time that appealed, and one that repelled, there was an overlap of acceptability; a result I could live with.

It was a lot easier to let that go than I thought it would be.

I have had experiences in previous races where I thought, if I don't get the final time I want, I won't accept any other. That's pretty defeating, though.

My self talk was mostly positive this time. If I had a common phrase that popped up, it was along the lines of, The first half is training, the rest is will power, and if there's anything you have, it's that.

The third 10k is mostly zapped from my memory, if it was ever there to begin with. I sort of remember running through urban neighborhoods with large trees, sometimes with only a spectator or two. In some areas there were large waving crowds, and people with funny signs that read, "Pain now, beer later." My kind of message: funny and practical, and then there's the beer. A kid handed me a whip of red licorice which seemed like a good idea but wasn't. I threw it away after one cold bite.

The last few clicks were pretty awful, but that's standard. It takes everything to keep going, and if you stop, it is much harder to restart, so you keep rolling. And people start using your name more often in their motivational phrases, which is endearing. I kept smiling to those peeps and mumbling, Merci. I also talk to myself. Just three more kays. What's that. Absolutely nothing. You've done this a million times. FFS.

I tried to imagine that I had just biked a century ride, and then was now going for a light 5k jog to loosen up the legs. I thought the new perspective might give me a boost. It worked for a while.

And finally I rounded a corner and there was a finish line, so I crossed it. And there was D, waiting with his camera to take my photo, and take me to breakfast.

Speaking of breakfast, I met another runner in the washroom of the resto. She ran the half-marathon in exactly half my time, and was black. We had the same name, but other than that we were opposites!