It’s been a crazy few weeks since my last post. Crazy, and awesome. Allow me to give a quick recap.
Winter has officially arrived in Ottawa. Sort of. We’ve seen everything from sub -20C temperatures to blizzards to massive rain storms. What does that mean for my training? Well, not much really. I'm still out there, day in and day out, running in whatever insane weather I’m faced with. Some folks will push a training day back, or head indoors to a treadmill if the weather is less than ideal. Me? Nah. Get out there. Do it. Face it head on and own it. Who knows what race day will be like? My latest long run was 23 km in a blizzard. The week before that was 21 km in the pouring rain. You just never know. Just get out there and enjoy nature.
“How’s training going?” I hear this a lot from pretty much everyone I know. Friends. Family. Co-workers. Acquaintances. Hell, even the neighbourhood dog walker asks me. I guess it is kind of what I’m known for now. But it’s funny, it always starts with that same question: “How’s training going?”. Some people truly care. They know how much it means to me and ho long I’ve been working at this. Other people think I’m crazy, and they’re just trying to understand me. Others use it as a conversation starter, to avoid awkward silences. But the funny thing is, very few people leave it at that. Once they’ve asked the “How’s training going” question, it’s like they’ve opened Pandora’s box of marathon training curiosity. By the time the conversation is done, they’ve asked me another dozen or so questions. Everything from “so how many kilometres do you run in a week” to “Do you actually take ice baths?” to “Wait, you ran 20km in -30? Are you insane?”.
For the record, yes I am insane.
So, how is my training going? “Pretty good” is my standard response. If things are going amazingly, I tend to down play it a bit. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. Marathon training is a long, gruelling journey that takes patience. On the other hand, if I’ve had an absolutely terrible week, I answer “pretty good” in an attempt to stay positive. Only Katie gets to hear me bitch and complain about how my pacing sucked or my toe nail went black. She’s a lucky gal.
Okay, honest answer. Training is going great. The last time I trained throughout the winter was 2 years ago. At the time I only has one marathon under my belt, and I had put a ton of pressure on myself. It was my first true attempt at qualifying for Boston. Spoiler alert. I didn’t make it - it took me two more times to qualify. But since then I’ve learned a lot about marathon training. I now know how to approach a long run in a blizzard, mentally and physically. I understand how to warm up and stretch properly. I’ve learned how to avoid injury, how to cross train properly, and have improved my eating habits. I’m not saying training has been easy. It hasn’t. It never is. But I’m calmer and more confident. I have a bit more of that “I know what I’m doing” attitude. Not cocky - just prepared. I know how to manager my emotions and my expectations. I’m 7 weeks into my 20 week training program. I’ve still got a long way to go. But please, keep asking me “How’s training going?”. It’s the best thing you can do to support me.