Monday, 4 April 2011

Confidence down

After last week's long run around Kanata, I was feeling pretty good about my run progression. So for this week's long run, which was 21.1k, I was confident enough to set my run route on the greenspace trails of West Ottawa. My house is just blocks from the West Carleton Trail, an old railway that has been converted into a recreational trail. It goes west out of town to Carleton Place (about 40k) and heading east it joins up with the rest of Ottawa's trails.

The morning was cool and windy, and for some reason my HR was high right off the bat. I had a hard time settling it down, and just decided to enjoy the run and not worry about it. By the time I got to the trail it had come down...just in time for the first hill. This hill isn't steep, but it is long, and I forgot all about it. I just focused on form and pace, and made it to the top about 12min later (yeah, it's that long). I cruised down the other side and ended up in the neighborhood of Bells Corners about 15min later. This is where you meet up with the Ottawa trail network, and I had planned on following the trails all morning. But these trails were much more sheltered and had a tonne of ice still. I toughed it out, knowing there was a road coming up, which put me on a loop back to the old rail bed.

The hills and ice from the trails really put the boots to me, and I was cursing my high HR and dead legs. There was a lot of hurt already and I was only an hour into the run. I did a condition check, passed it, and headed back to the trail for the next iteration of that big hill. Thus was a mental fight now, and I didn't care about pace. I just had to climb that hill. I did eventually make it, and my HR was high and it stayed there. I ate more gel, leaving a bit just in case. At this point I was managing a body that was really lacking something - I just wasn't sure what.

I got off the trail and back onto pavement, and was about to head towards home when I realized I was short on time and distance. I skipped my turn and kept going through the neighborhood, trudging along. The lack of strength in my legs was so surprising, and the elevated HR wasn't helping any. With only 15min to go, I wondered if I didn't get enough breakfast, or was dehydrated, or if I needed even more gel. At this point I just wanted it over. And I wondered how I would ever get through a full marathon.

Upon getting home, I stretched a lot, and drank a lot. Tonnes of Gatorade, apple juice and water. I was probably hungry but didn't was anything to eat - just to drink. A few minutes later I started to feel much better and the whole day got easier.

So next long run, I bring sport drink. Time for a new fuel belt!

It was still a great morning, even with all my bitching. The morning on the trail was beautiful, and there was a tonne of wildlife out - blue jays, cardinals, chickidees so tame they follow you looking for handouts of seed (it is fun to feed them). I saw deer, a skunk, chipmunks and squirrels. The streams were running beneath thin sheets of ice, and the trickle of the water was very peaceful. Running at lunch along the Rideau Canal is great, but you don't see stuff like this.

The run was successful too. I didn't get the easy run I expected, but I did work on hills and tired legs, and the mental aspects of that. I remember reading a quote something like "Don't train for the race you hope to have, but train for the race you hope you never have.". That has stuck with me ever since reading that, and on Sunday I worked on that a lot. I have more guts than I realize, and I still have a lot left.


Matty O said...

Chalk it up as a bad run and just that. Nothing else.

Sometimes we think too much about the crappy workouts and question our current fitness levels.

I think if you hydrate well next time there should be no issues... plus you went long on a hard course, it will beat you up :)

JohnP said...

sounds like a good workout to me. even though it felt like it sucked, its probably extra beneficial to train when we're on a 'low'. You get that much more out of it!

I just got a fuel belt for the wife for the same reason. i find it helps to wet the whistle now and again ;)