I did it! As I mentioned previously, this past week was my last chance to get my act together for the Vancouver marathon 2010. It was a rest week, with 3 short runs, culminating with today’s 3 hour and 51 minute trial! That’s right—almost 4 hours of non-stop running. I didn’t even have to make a pit stop or stop 10 times to take rocks out of my shoes like on my last long run! (The secret was to wear thicker socks so the little devils couldn’t get in.)
This run was roughly 33 KM (probably a little under, but it was trail running, so the actual time to run 33 KM on roads would be less than the time I ran today). So I am back on track with the training schedule, and I’m aiming to tackle my first ever marathon on Sunday, May 2.
Today’s run was 35 minutes longer than I have ever run before! For the last part of the run I kept saying to myself, every step I take is farther than I’ve ever run before. It was really exciting! My last long run was 3 hours and 16 minutes. Today I got to feeling really tired after about 2 hours and 20 minutes, which makes sense because that’s about what my previous limit was over the past 3 years. So it was a real slog for quite a while, and I was very conscious of the fact that trail shoes would be better than the street shoes I was wearing. Every rock under my feet became painful after a few hours. (I noted to myself several times that I must get some trail shoes, but that’s also what I noted to myself on my last long run…)
As I was running along, feeling like I was barely moving, constantly on the lookout for lumps in the lumpy gravel, it occurred to me that I’d probably used up all the energy that was readily accessible. So I wondered how long it would take for my body to figure out how to get at the more deeply stored energy (that is, the fat deposits in my thighs and belly)! Now I was getting to the nitty gritty! I sensed these areas, trying to discover whether I could feel the fat being sucked out to be used as energy, but I couldn’t. I did have flashes of euphoric energy running up my back and into my head now and then. But for a very long time I was slogging, and feeling the assault on my feet.
At about the 3 hour mark I gave myself a nice pep-talk. I had run up to the Seymour Dam, and now was back at the northern end of Fisherman’s Trail. From here it was easy-peasy. A softer trail, mostly downhill (until I hit the Homestead Trail), and best of all, it was MY trail. I’d been on this stretch of the river trail many, many times. So even though I was soon going to go past my limit, since I was on the home stretch of familiar trails it seemed like it would be easy. I KNEW I could make it back. And believe it or not, it seemed like the trees and river along this stretch knew me too, and were sending me friendly energy.
A little later, I glanced at my watch and noticed it was 3:16—the time of my previous longest run. Slog, slog. But it was a bit easier because the trail wasn’t as rocky as the Spur 4 gravel road. Then suddenly, at 3:20, I was infused with energy. Without trying to, I was back to my normal running speed. Aha! So this is how long it took for those fat deposits to give it up! (About an hour.) Or maybe this is just what happens when I boldly go where I’ve never gone before!
In any case, this re-energization lasted for the remainder of my run. My legs felt a bit strange, to be sure, like they were in shock, but the speed was there. Even on the Homestead Trail—1 KM of pure uphill, with very steep sections—I kept up the new pace. In fact, I ran it faster than I usually do! This was from 3:26 to 3:37. And from here it was totally smooth sailing. The little leg of trail over to Lynn Valley Road seemed to vanish under my feet much more quickly than ever before. Across Lynn Creek, and up the road to the cul-de-sac where I’d parked, with the last three minutes on the flat road inside the gate to Lynn Headwaters Park. And I was done!
I let out a whoohoo and a few yeahs with arm punches. But that didn’t truly express the wonder of the moment. Only a coyote howl would do! AAOOOOOOO!! That shut up the little yappy dog nearby!
So I am going to put in my registration for the full marathon. I just have two more runs that are longer than today’s, and I am feeling confident that I can do it. No serious pain in the run or after. I’ll adapt my training a bit to fit with my new work schedule, probably cutting out the 13 KM runs on Wednesdays. That’s the plan, and I hope to see you there!
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