Sunday, October 2, 2016

Running lessons: Life happens...

Woah. September was intense. Not bad. Just incredibly busy. I can't remember when I last felt so pulled in all directions. Fortunately, the road ahead looks less congested, but I'm overdue for some rest and looking forward to a relaxed Thanksgiving.

This period of frenetic activity has reminded me that life has a way of interfering with even the best laid and executed plans.

I've been training all year in hopes I'd run a marathon in a personal best time this fall. And I might have if life hadn't gotten in the way. But work travel, family celebrations, a funeral, and new job responsibilities meant I didn't getting the rest I needed to recover properly between workouts. As a result, training didn't make me stronger - just more and more tired. By mid-September, I was totally discouraged despite completing most of my planned workouts - including a couple of hot and hilly 26k runs.

At my lowest point, I had an appointment with my chiropractor, Eric Helson, who patiently listened to my tale of woe and reminded me that (a) marathoners always feel beat-up as race day approaches and (b) people of a certain age need more recovery to see any real progress. Rather than give up on my goal, he suggested I reduce the frequency and intensity of my runs for a couple of weeks, then see how I felt.

I took his advice and ran just a few times in the past two weeks in an effort to give my body time to catch up. One was the "glory leg" of the Rum Runners Relay last Saturday. After months of running in hot, humid weather, it felt wonderful to race in cool, crisp fall air. And despite being tired from a busy work week and a long day on the road, I completed my leg in a respectable time - making the mat with time to spare. I was relieved and happy - not least because my teammates all ran well and I was worried I'd let them down. (One of our teammates took the fun photo at the top of this post.)

Today, I tackled a long slow 18k in near perfect conditions. It was a grey and drizzly but temperatures were ideal and I felt strong for most of it. I faded in the last 3 or 4 kms but I suspect that may have been due to dehydration since I didn't take much water with me. Overall, the run went well enough that I feel ready to register for the Moncton half marathon in a few weeks.

That's right, I said half marathon. Despite feeling much better, and having nearly enough long runs under my belt, I've decided not to attempt another full this fall. It would have been nice to complete a 10th marathon before my 55th birthday in March but I've no interest in posting another slow finish time. When I next go the full  distance, I want to run a personal best, and that's not realistic right now.

What is realistic is a personal best half marathon. At RRR last weekend, I averaged 5:41/km over 11 kms, despite a hilly course and nasty blister, so I'm hoping I can manage something close to that in Moncton. If I succeed, I'll easily beat my best half marathon time of 2:06, clocked in New Glasgow more than a decade ago. Fingers crossed.

So that's the news from here. I'm still hoping to write posts about the rest of our vacation, my recent visit to the Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, and other bits and pieces soon, but life'll have to calm down some first.

In the meantime, here are a few photos. It's too bad life intervened to keep me from tackling a full marathon this fall but at least the past month's been fun and interesting.

Happy running and writing!

1 comment:

  1. So much to comment! I hear you about feeling beat up while marathon training, and slower recovery. I'm sure it was burning the candle at both ends in August that put the kibosh on my fall marathon. Any time would be a PB, so maybe next spring or summer. Men of a certain age need more recovery time too. The run mojo is just starting to come back. I'm positive that more beach time would help my recovery. I'm pretty sure that church is in Lunenburg. From where that photo was shot, if you looked to your left you'd see the B&B we stayed in.