Marathon training is a lot like a roller coaster ride. There are ups and downs. It's fun and scary. You're both nervous and excited. Sometimes you can see what's coming next, and other times you get pulled in a totally unexpected direction. Sometimes during the ride, you just want it to end. But once it's done, you want to do it again.
Roller coaster ride. That's how I would characterize my last few weeks of training. After an incredible weekend of running, sightseeing and racing on Vancouver Island, I returned to Ottawa on a high. I felt great. I was treated with amazing weather, and I really kicked butt in that race. I felt unstoppable. Full of confidence. I didn't see it coming, but all of that momentum and confidence was about to come crashing down.
Okay, that sounds dramatic. It wasn't that bad. I didn't get injured or anything like that. Here's why last week sucked so much.
The weather. Ottawa was hit with typical Ottawa weather. Snow, rain, wind, snow, ice, deep freeze. Bottom line was that the streets were an absolute mess. School buses were cancelled, people worked from home. I tried running, but falling on slushy ice sucks. After a particularly crappy training run, I decided to take a few extra days off before my weekend long run to rest and wait for the weather to improve.
Saturday rolled around. Long run day. 32 km was on my schedule. It was snowing, but it wasn't too cold. The side walks and paths were still a complete mess. Ice and slush, which means slippery and wet. I couldn't get into a good rhythm and got discouraged very quickly. The negative thoughts, the ones that I've trained to ignore and overcome, made their way into my brain. "You suck at running" they said. "What are you even doing out here? You think you're going to run Boston? Yeah right." I knew they were wrong, but that didn't matter. I was grumpy and frustrated. I scrapped through the run, hating every second of it.
I came home discouraged and pissed off. I bitched and complained to Katie about the run. She's a trooper. She sympathized and built me back up. Forget about it. Move on. Shit happens. You're the best. All that stuff. I love that girl.
So I did. I forgot about it. Not entirely. I spent some time reflecting on the bad experience, figuring out how to deal with it better next time. Then I moved on.
After a strong week of hill and speed training, I was ready for long run redemption on Sunday afternoon. 32km. Let's do it right this time.
Finally - finally - we got some good weather. I'm talking sunshine and plus 2. No more toque. No more tights. No more falling on ice. I started my run in a good mood. I was wearing shorts and sunglasses. I felt strong and rested. The warm weather had caused a lot of that snow and ice to melt, meaning that there were some serious puddles to avoid. Sure, my feet got wet early and often. But I didn't care. I was just happy to be out there enjoying myself. The run flew by. I was keeping an awesome pace of 4:35 during the majority of the run, and came in under 2 and a half hours. Redemption. It feels good.
I'm back up on that high. I'm not stupid. I know there is a low coming again at some point. That's just the way things go. I learned a lot about that low. When those situations arise, I need to remember the wise words of my former yoga instructor Kelly from Elevate on Elgin who always used to tell us to "manage your reactions".
So here I am, a month and a half away from my big day, feeling pretty good again. Spring is around the corner and my tapering starts in a few weeks. That's a scary thought, but I'll deal with it when I get there.
45 Days Until Boston