Arrived in Montreal

We made it safely to Montreal only for a race cancellation. I’ve never seen a race cancelled for heat before, especially temperatures I would consider mild. The high on race day will be in the mid-80s, so Canadians have decided that’s too hot to run. I’m not sure that any of my training runs took place at lower temperatures!

The race has allowed marathoners to run the half distance, which will start one hour earlier than planned. My new focus is to PR (or PB, as they say in Canada) at the shorter distance and give it everything I have. I’m very disappointed I won’t get the opportunity for the full distance.

We ran intervals Tuesday evening for a total of 8 miles. It was hot and humid, but we pushed through for the faster paces and enjoyed the recovery. I got up for BoMF Wednesday again and did a cool 2 mile run/walk. Flying took up the rest of the day, and then we celebrated our arrival with a walk through old Montreal to dinner in Chinatown.

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Race Week

Montreal is finally upon me, and my flight is less than 48 hours away. The preparation is really complete at this point. What I do the rest of the week will help me more mentally than physically.

Saturday we mixed in some race pace miles toward the end of our training run. Even though it was hot and humid, the pace felt great to me. That gave me more confidence for my marathon. After training, I added on a few miles to get a total of 12.7 for the morning.

Sunday, I was intentional about walking and keeping myself active without overexerting my body. This morning, we did 1.5 miles with with BoMF. I have just a few workouts left until race day. Now my biggest question is what to wear for race day. I’ve already got the manicure to match the finishers jacket.

I Love Track Night

Hamster-style has become one of my favorite aspects of training. While most people begrudge having to run around the track at exhausting speeds, I think it’s really a lot of fun. It’s nice to go fast and there’s always a period of rest.

We ran 3 sets of 4×400 with declining rests in between each 400 (60 sec, 45 sec, 30 sec) for our first fall track night. The paces felt great and the humidity was low. This was my first real run since Saturday’s long run so my body was very ready.

Sunday I took as my typical rest day. Monday began with BoMF and finished at CycleBar. I enjoy mixing it up and working out my legs on the bike to give them a break from running. Before Tuesday’s run, I also got in a good amount of Montreal planning. The trip itself is now only one week away!

Ready to Run

This morning’s long run came long-awaited. I took Wednesday as a rest day (per our training schedule) and intended to run Thursday. A combination of late sunrise, early sunset and a busy day got in the way. Friday was my next choice but only if I could make it out for a few miles over lunch. That didn’t happen either.

Instead of wallowing (for too long) in sadness about missing my runs, I spent time planning next week’s runs and workouts–including clothes for each. I also made sure I got to bed early Friday so Saturday morning would be even more successful.

This morning, the sun didn’t rise until our last couple miles. We got in 7.1 miles by streetlight and headlamp. It really felt like September with nice cool breezes the whole run.

Calf Relief Plan

My calves have come full circle in the past week. They started to feel pain last week when I neglected to stretch following my runch. On top of that, I’ve been breaking in new shoes and focusing on improving my foot strike–which can throw everything off in how my body feels.

The pain wasn’t too bad during my run home Thursday, but I really should have focused more on recovery like taking a salt bath and spending more time rolling. I intended to run back to work Friday morning (with bursts of walking and a slow pace), but the pain was just-ran-a-marathon bad. This really made me angry because I’d only put in about 14 miles over the past three days and I had a race coming up Saturday.

In search of a quick cure, I slept in calf sleeves Friday night. For the first ever, I kept them on for racing. I’ve always thought runners looked silly wearing them but now I’m a believer. I placed third in my age group! To go from struggling to get out of bed to almost-regular paces was amazing. Of course, I know this was still more stress on my calves so I spent the rest of the long weekend with extended foam rolling before bed and daily salt baths. Sunday afternoon, I devoted half an hour to recovery yoga with an emphasis on stretching my calves.

By Monday morning, my legs were eager for a short run with Back on My Feet. Come Tuesday, they conquered hills with my training group. I resisted the temptation to hurry home for dinner and stopped to stretch before jumping in the car. My calves will thank me.

Run Commute

Continuing yesterday’s theme of making time for a run whenever possible, today resulted in a one-way run commute after work. Sunrise times keep creeping later, and I had to look nice for an event this evening. That left my only option as running home from work for a total of 5 miles.

Key to a successful run commute is understanding a good route. The best route for running will likely not be the most direct route for driving. Sidewalks are important along with looking for protected crosswalks and avoiding busy roads. Run commuting is also one of the most effective ways to really learn street names.

I debuted my new Nike ID shoes tonight, which I created for Montréal. I’m so excited about how they look, and it helps motivate me to know I’ll be crossing the finish line in these same shoes. The tongues say “26.2” and “MTL” as a great reminder of why I’m using my Flintstone-power to get me home from work. Making sure I had Nuun* in my water bottle also got me home safe with the boost of caffeine and electrolytes.

*Save 25% off Nuun with code FANDFHYDRATION2017 through Sept. 1, 2017

Out for Runch

Marathon training is sometimes about doing whatever it takes to get in the miles. That can mean taking time off in the middle of the day for a run. Instead of leaving for lunch, I headed out for “runch” today.

There’s a little jogging path near my office that enabled me to get in exactly 3 miles. It’s still a little cooler than usual for August, but the humidity caught up to me by the end of the run. My new CliniqueFIT makeup passed the test, enabling me to get back to work quickly.

Scheduling a workout in the middle of the day is a refreshing and healthy boost (and much cheaper than a Starbucks break). It’s similar to the benefits of morning workouts with the bonus of tapping into those benefits right when the typical afternoon slump would hit. I return full of endorphins and more productive.

Less Than One Month

The countdown to Montréal is now less than a month. Seeing the 24th flash across my calendar really motivated me to get in my miles.

Thursday I added on before a social run for a total of 7.5 miles, and Saturday I added on after our training run for a total of 8 miles. Tonight we ran almost five in training, but I couldn’t stop myself from doing a little bit more when I got home for a total of 5.5 miles.

The weather in Dallas has been cooler and more run-friendly, probably the only positive side effect of Hurricane Harvey’s devastation. One of the best ways to help near and far is to send donations through Trusted World and provide specific items like diapers and clothing. Local runners are also directly helping by donating our retired shoes. These will be essential to clean-up efforts, which I pray will start soon.

New Shoes

I broke in new shoes tonight. It’s about that time of year to start rotating in new pairs, which is both exciting and expensive.

When it’s time for new shoes, I can tell first by feel then inspection. I check for wear on the soles and think about how many miles I’ve run on them as a good standard. Most shoes can last about 300 miles, but there’s no hard and fast rule.

We did 5 miles tonight to the lake and back, and it’s already starting to feel just slightly cooler in the evenings. I took it easy yesterday and only did 1.5 miles with Back on My Feet. I also got a full 8 hours last night, so my body felt rested and strong.

Running with a Group

My running mindset has changed a lot ever since I joined my local running club a couple years ago. I used to almost exclusively run by myself, occasionally with friends but I didn’t understand the point: we’re running so we can’t chat, we’re probably both listening to music anyway and we can’t keep our paces the same.

Now, I prefer running with a group. I also rarely run with music, even when running alone (though I still love to make motivating playlists for races), and carry on some of the best conversations while running. I’ve made this almost-180 shift by discovering the power of a group. Running together makes the miles pass by quicker–sometimes we don’t even think about them–and magnifies the sense of accomplishment.

We train in pace groups as a club, and I know it’s the only way I had the discipline to accomplish some of our longest marathon training runs. I’m leading a half marathon pace group this season, so I do actually have to keep an eye out for the route (no more cruising along in the “peloton”), but I am still getting many of the other benefits.

When I thought about the extra miles I had to do alone after today’s group training run, I reached a clear decision. No solo long runs this season. I’ll do what I can with groups and friends and make the rest of the gains cross training. That’s how today’s planned 20 became 10 (6+4), and why I feel great about it: running with a group keeps running fun.