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Long run grind

Friday: 82 minutes relaxed (11 miles)

Saturday: 2hr 5 minute long run (17.7 mile) in 30mph winds (Athabasca)

Sunday: 56 minutes recovery in downtown Calgary

Monday: 82 minutes in Calgary (10.5 miles) legs dead, hard time adjusting to the altitude

Tuesday: 35 minutes (basically off, legs dead/done/trashed)

Saturday’s long run was one of those runs you will talk about for 20 years. “Remember the day we did that 18 miler in Athabasca on Christmas Eve? Remember how FREAKIN AWFUL that was? That run made me want to quit running.”

I had a plan all week for Saturday and was excited about it. The original plan was 2 hours progressive, starting at 6:45 getting down to marathon pace (6:20). I felt like the run was something I could easily accomplish on a treadmill with an MP3 player and a water bottle within grabbing distance. However, it was Christmas Eve in Athabasca, where there was only one gym and, you guessed it, it was closed.

Houston presenting me with a number of different options of “wait until tomorrow or the next day” which I stubbornly refused, and in the end we decided to “man up” and grind it out. We suited up and headed out into what may have been the worst running conditions ever- 30-35 mph winds, cold, icy, and at an altitude we were not accustomed too.

We started out running around a 6:30 pace and barely a word was said in the first 4 miles before we stopped for water. My sister had kindly placed 3 bottles out for us on her way to town and we hit every single one on our out and back loop. Most of the tree lines along the highway had been cleared away which made the wind especially strong. To avoid having to run directly into it as much as possible, we picked a loop that would have us fighting it from the side for the most part.

Having a goal of just going out and banging out two hours of HARD running, I went a little too quick in the first hour. 6:30 miles felt like 6:10 effort, and by the time I was half way I was already completely spent. At just shy of 90 minutes heading back along the highway, I stopped running, shut off my garmin and walked of the shoulder of the road and cried. Literally, I cried. This was by far the worst run ever, and at this point I was so physically exhausted that I could barely put one foot in front of the other.

Houston had to pick me back up and say, “Let’s just run, no more pace, just get the work in.” We finished to final 35 minutes at about a 7:30 pace, which was really all I had left in the tank. The last 2.5 miles was pretty much up hill, but wind at our backs which I was very thankful for. If not, I may have walked home.

At least we got it in.

After two helpings of apple pie, a piece of cake, yogurt, coffee, and a nice warm shower, I finally felt better as Houston and I packed up Maddy and set out on a quick 5 hour drive to Calgary to celebrate Christmas with my Father, Maddy’s Grandpa.

Over the next few days, I would realize just how hard I really did run that day. After 3 “easy” days my legs still have not recovered and I feel that I will spend the next few days doing more of the same…jogging at a snail like pace until I feel somewhat normal. If there is anything I am good at, it is digging a hole for myself when it comes to training. I can’t be bothered being tired now.

I have a marathon in 10 weeks.


Michael said…
Please take it easy and take the time you need. When runs go THAT bad, you need to recover mentally first, then your body can bounce back.

You are SUPER strong, so you'll recover quickly !!
Sunny 2 Runner said…
These runs are always the ones that make us stronger!! You'll remember both the struggle and accomplishment of gutting it out when everything conspired against you. Well done :-)

I cried on my Christmas eve long run too :-)
No matter what, you are a rockstar in my book. Once your body absorbs that run, your MP will seem much easier. Recover, you have plenty of time.That 2:46 or lower is yours! Love following your training!
Christie said…
You are such a dedicated person. I say this in almost ever comment I leave... but you are such an inspiration to me. Hope you have a great New Years :)
Jenn said…
Well, I'm Canadian and now live in Minnesota so I somewhat feel your pain but then again I will likely never truly feel the pain of 6:30 miles in 35 mph winds-ha! I have a hard time accepting effort sometimes in tough weather. I want my watch to spit these great goal numbers at me but I'm running hard and trudging but yet seeing slow and losing fingers...You are wickedly determined to even get your butt out there in this! I really don't love the treadmill but I would have totally smothered it in my bodily fluids on a day like this!

I really think you are going to run an amazing marathon! Super excited to see what you can do!
Raina said…
Wind is just brutal and does terrible things to a person's speed! Luckily I don't ever have to deal with it- just little breezy stuff. Altitude is another killer. Wondering if you have punched in the numbers at some place like the calculator at - it has the variables like altitude and (i think) wind speed. Doing that after a crappy run with "variables" will sometimes set my mind to ease. I am with AM though- you are still a rock star!
Hard-headed just means that you are determined to see through your goal :)

I would love to have you weigh in on my last blog post, if you have the time. I am picking brains regarding fueling.
Jail Break said…
Thanks for sharing this to us, and looking forward for more updates. An informative posts, keep it up. Congratulations for a great job well done.

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