Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Training recap week #38 - and a few words about the Running Community

Recovery after Montreal was relatively painless. My calves were a bit sore on Monday but by Tuesday I was back in the gym for some cycling and stretching.
Thursday I did my Q2 training which consisted of a warm up, and 2 x 10 minutes at T-pace with a 2-minute rest in between followed by a cooldown. I didn't have time to do the prescribed 4 intervals but I felt fine - even after the marathon.

On Sunday morning I drove to Ottawa to compete in the Army have marathon. My strategy was to maintain my target race pace for the entire distance. There were so many people at the start that I couldn't get further up in the corral than the 2:10 pace bunny. I was aiming for 1:35 - so I had a lot of catching up to do. Since there were so many participants, it was hard to run fast so I stayed on the outside and ran the better part of of the first 10k on the grass. I progressed through the crowd and enjoyed reeling in the various pace bunnies one after the other. I made sure to keep a steady pace and not go out too fast. By the halfway point, I had passed the 1:55 pace bunny. It seemed to take longer to catch the others, however....Looking back, I now realize that this is because as the race progressed, the distance between the pacers spread out closer to the planned 5 minutes whereas in the earlier miles, they were likely closer together. Regardless, I reeled in the 1:50 and then the 1:45 but I was already at the 18 km mark then....I decided to take it up a notch and weaved my way through the runners all the way to the finish but could not catch the 1:40 bunny. I must have been close because my finish time (chip) was 1:40:40. I was 5 minutes off my goal but I know I had some left in the tank and I needed this performance to boost my confidence that I can run at a Boston qualifying pace again.
For the last bit of this post, I just want to write a few words about the running community. I knew one existed but the advent of social media like blogging and Facebook is really adding a new dimension to this concept. Although most of my runs are solo, I regularly blog and update my status on Facebook with posts related to my running. These posts are drawing comments from friends I didn't even know were runners and has put me in touch with new friends as well. I have also noticed that I regularly see the same people at races - and only at those races. Which is kind of bizarre given the sheer numbers of race participants. For example. what are the odds that I would cross paths with an old army buddy at three separate events? This is a really enjoyable experience as we spent these few moments together and seem to pick up the conversation as if we had just been talking not too long ago when in actual fact, a year has gone by...I also notice that runners help runners. How many times do you notice during races that total strangers will strike up a conversation while on the course, or see a stronger runner voluntarily accompany and offer support to a struggling runner? A pet peeve of mine is the race kit pick up that is not available on the morning of the race. For events that are closer to home, you don't necessarily want to show up the day before just to pick up your kit. For the Army run, I asked an aquaintance if she would mind picking up the kit for me. This type of request would probably seem out of place if we were non-runners, but as members of this community, it is perceived as a small gesture to help out a fellow runner. No big deal. So although I prefer to train solo, I know I am not alone. And as I gain experience, I am delighted to share my newfound wisdom when I am asked. There is definitely a running community out there and it is not limited to running clubs and track teams. It has become a virtual community and it possesses the great quality of selflessness and compassion. I am happy to be a part of it.

Keep on running ;-)

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