After taking two weeks off from running because of a lovely virus that had me coughing and hacking, and then left me completely devoid of energy, I started back up on Monday with an interval run on the treadmill. I started out harder than I should have, trying to make up for the two weeks that I had lost, but of course, you can’t really do that, and I ended up with my last interval being much slower than my first one. I had completely run out of steam by the end. My 8K tempo run on Wednesday was a bit better, but not as fast as I was hoping for. At least I finished strong…ish.
When the weekend hits, it is time for my long run. I am always nervous for this one, and Saturday morning it was worse than usual because I was planning to try the full half marathon distance of 21K. I have never run this far before. I decided to run the bike path beside the Ottawa River Parkway, but I didn’t have the patience to manually map out the distance ahead of time, as it is a bit painstaking if you are not following the roads. I just decided to run out for one hour and ten minutes, and then run home again. Based on other training runs, this should have meant about 20-21K of running.
Saturday morning was a perfect spring weather day, with cool temperatures but a beautiful sunny sky and little breeze. My iPod Shuffle was loaded up with two episodes of CBC’s Definitely Not the Opera. All systems go. I set out, hoping for the best.
I followed my plan and headed down to the parkway pathway where I got on the path at Tunney’s Pasture and headed West. It was great to see Darcie along the way (Hi Darcie!). By the time I hit my destination time, I was just past Britannia Beach where I turned around to head for home. The first half of the run was quite enjoyable; the second half was pretty tough, and I had to add in more walking than I had intended. I also ran out of water at around Westboro Beach which was not pleasant at all.
One of the best parts of a long run is the chance to listen to longer pod casts (like DNTO) uninterrupted. The first one I listened to was all about sacrifices, and it was a great one for parents to listen to. Some interesting information: Your overall levels of happiness decrease when you have children, and they do not rise back up again to your pre-parental levels until on average eighteen years later, once your kids have left home. It wasn’t all bad news for parents however, as parents reported that they had a great deal of meaning in their lives, as well moments of intense joy with their children. Just not loads of happiness it seems. Hmmmm. I also really enjoyed the story told by Habiba who could never win an argument with her mother because any time they disagreed, her Mom would bring up how she had had such a truly difficult childbirth with her. That is one big guilt trip all right.
Things that I encountered on my long run, some good, some bad, some unusual: lots of little black bugs that died on my forehead, up my nose, and in my mouth; a few geese but not the entire contingent just yet; many red winged blackbirds, and a man and his approximately 10 year-old son out riding their unicycles. Also of note were the port-a-potties along the route. These could come in handy in future, and I have noted their locations. One other observation: so far pineapple is my favourite flavour of Gu.
So in the end, how did I do? I mapped the distance on Gmaps Pedometer after I got home and it turns out I did 21K in 2 hours 20 minutes. And the next day I am still tired and this gin and tonic is going down quite nicely, thank you very much. Ah, weekends.
I still have five more weeks before the big day. I would like to increase my speed before then, but I feel like I have hit a speed wall. I just don’t know that I can run any faster over such a long time. I will keep up my intervals and tempo runs which are supposed to help, but somehow I wonder if I am pre-programmed to go this speed. I’m not sure that I can go any faster. I will be giving it my best shot though, that is for sure.