Saturday, April 5, 2008

Week of March 31 to April 6

What marathon runner doesn't occasionally feel deflated or unsure of their commitment or doubt their ability or their strength to cross the finish line?  At the end of today's 16 mile run a friend looked at me with pain etched into her face and said "I don't think I can run another mile" in reference to next week's run.   She was frightened with the possibility that she could endure no further pain; that she had reached a plateau.  The pain and frustration temporarily clouded her ability to appreciate that these 16 long hard miles that she had just accomplished was in fact the longest distance she had run in her entire lifetime; a milestone of achievement that few have come to savour, a milestone that makes her children proud of their mom, a milestone that is to be acknowledged.  It's a quirk of human nature that we tend to ponder what we can't do rather then celebrate what we have achieved.  Can she run a marathon?  Absolutely.  Will it be hard? Absolutely.  The expression "pain is just weakness leaving the body"  may be cliche, but therein lies a nugget of truth. 
Dick and Rick Hoyt are a father and son team from Massachusetts who live and breathe the motto "Together, you can do anything.".  We would do well to consider life from the Hoyt's perspective.  I defy you to watch the video clip without doing some soul searching...  without shedding a tear.  Dick Hoyt will be speaking in Winnipeg on April 29.  Contact Manitoba Marathon for tickets.  Spread the word good runners!  Cheers,  M
Tuesday, Verona, Ontario, 4.01 miles, 10:02 pace (steady)
Verona, small town Southern Ontario... the biggest household expense according to my brother-in-law?  Ammunition and gasoline!  It's a quaint little town about 30 kilometers west of Kingston.  A couple of churches, a school, an IGA, and a Sears mail-order outlet.  We stayed with Jennifer's sister, mother, and brother-in-law. The smaller building to the left of the larger house was recently built as an addition for Jennifer's mother.  The two houses are connected with walk-through.  They live well off the beaten track on a large property overlooking a gorgeous lake. It was a great week with LOTS of amazing food and perhaps a little TOO much amazing wine. I eat, therefore I run! 
Wednesday, Ottawa, 8.69 miles, 10:03 pace  route 
There's something about Ottawa that makes me feel proud to be Canadian. The Parliament buildings, 24 Sussex Drive, Museum of Civilization, Chateau Frontenac, The Senate, and amongst all this grandeur, the humble cat shelter a stone's throw from The House of Commons.
The Stray Cats of the Hill is maintained by a pensioner and is dependent on the generosity of strangers.  It's tolerated by the officials and largely ignored by the heavy security.  It may not be quite legal, but it's humane and it's the right thing to do... herein -somewhere-  lies a metaphor for Canadians... we don't wave flags, but we do the right thing.  Each entrance to the Parliament Grounds is manned by 4 RCMP in two cruisers parked in "V" fashion (a total of 12 cruisers around the clock, 24-7.  I wasn't sure if they would let me run by so I slowed down and made eye contact with one officer. He gave me a nod and a friendly wave (only in Canada) and I went on my merry way.  It's liberating to live in a society where such freedoms are permitted and even smiled upon.  The run was superb!  I ran along the Rideau Canal in and around the Parliament Buildings, The Senate, the National Gallery, and in to Quebec for a run by the Museum of Civilization.
I even ran along a portion of the Ottawa Marathon; a most spectacular course!  Jennifer and her mother spent the mourning errr, make that, morning shopping at IKEA while I ran... who had the most fun? 
Thursday, Kingston, 5.66 miles, 10:01 pace (steady) route
This was the warmest run of the year.  It wasn't quite 'shorts weather' but it was very close.  I ran along Lake Ontario towards Fort Henry.  It was a good run, nice and slow with lots of good views and friendly runners.  I ended up at Timmy's for a hot chocolate and bagel... sinfully umm, umm, good!
Sunday, Winnipeg, 16 miles, 9:46 pace (w/w), Route 
John, Jacques, Deb, Diane, Naomi, Alex, Nazir, Ken, Rodica
The pace was a quick, perhaps too quick.  We need to remember that these long runs are for endurance and not speed.  Walk adjusted race pace is 9:19 so we may be pouring it on a little too soon (memo to pace bunny...  -that'd be me- ... slow the pace... s-l-o-w the pace).  Next week we bounce down to 12 miles and then back up to 18 miles on April 20.  Here's a plan... many of us are running the Police Marathon on April 27 which is a scheduled 18 mile day.  I propose we switch the May 11th run (14 miles) with April 27th (18 miles) i.e. we run 14 miles on April 27 and 18 on May 11.  Unless I hear objections we'll go with this plan.  Cheers to Sandra who has had to pull out of the full marathon training due to a nasty injury attained at the Hypothermic Half Marathon.  She has joined Ted's Half-marathon group and is enjoying the new pace.  Nazir, Ken, Deb, Alex, and I followed up the run with a Tall Grass coffee at the Forks.  It was great fun and excellent company.  Congratulations to Jacques, John, Naomi, and Alex for whom today's run is a milestone.  Yes friends, it was another great week to be alive.  Cheers,  M
week total = 34.36 miles


Jen said...

Sounds like a fun week. How important is the slower pace on long runs? Is it harmful to go too fast? And thanks for the video! Lucky that you get to see him in person!

Anonymous said...

Thanks so very much for your motivating comments above! I guess being a pace bunny is more than just pacing, it is about inspiring.

Unknown said...

Naomi, My entire pace bunny reputation lies in getting you across the finish line upright and smiling... no pressure ;>) Seriously, chalk yesterday's run up to a bad day. We have good runs and bad runs... you unfortunately experienced the latter. I wish I could say it'll be your last. Fortunately we have more good than bad. Next week is an easy 12 miler... remember when 12 miles was impossible?! Cheers, M

Unknown said...

Jen, I ain't no expert but my understanding is the long runs are for building endurance and strength. The wisdom in this neck of the woods is no runner was ever injured from running too fast! Speed training is shorter (about 6 to 8 miles weekly). I am guilty of setting too fast of a pace for the same reasons you mentioned in your "Why I Run" blog. Race day is about speed, the mind, and adrenalin... this is the day you pour it on... you've got nothing else to save it for! Good luck in Salt Lake City Marathon. I'll be rooting for you! Go girl, go!, Cheers, M

Jodi said...

Hi Michael and thanks for you cheers for me on Jen's blog! I love what you wrote above (it appears about Naomi after reading your comments)... Great advice! Especially for me after my longest run ever today too. I was okay during it, but did think to myself, "How will I ever add three more miles to this to finish the half?" Deep down I know I can, but it is pretty discouraging at times. It is six hours since I arrived home from that run and I am feeling SO wiped out and spent. Does that ever get better??? I had to sleep for two hours to just recover and I never do that after a six or even seven mile run. I have only been running for not quite a year, but it seems it wouldn't drain me SO bad. Sorry for rambling! But thanks for listening. I love your blog and will visit often!

Jodi said...

I really love what you wrote to Naomi above and was wondering if you mind if I quote you and add that to my regular blog (not running one) when I write about my run today? It really says it all!

Unknown said...

By all means Jodi, quote away. Shucks, now I have an inflated ego! ;>) M

Jodi said...

You should!!! ;)