August 08, 2011

Running effortlessly - it takes work

I started running this morning and felt fantastic. By that I mean that my legs felt as weightless as they did powerful, I was a cheetah, a gazelle, the prey and the predator, all in one. I could run forever as fast as I would like to. It gave me goosebumps. Few runs feel that good. That sense of effortlessness and speed lasted for the whole 90 minutes, or about 18km, of my session and it was awesome.

I didn't expect to feel that way.

In my current marathon schedule I have one day off per week, always on Monday. Last week I ran 97.5km in five days, from Tuesday through Saturday. Tuesday had 24km, over 2 sessions: 11km on the road in the morning, and another 13km in the evening mostly on trails (I was naughty as I should have only run 16km in total that day).

On Wednesday morning I ran 35km (in 3:02) and was suitably tired for my recovery run of 10km the next day. Friday had 19km in total, including 11km at half marathon pace. Saturday was another recovery run, I did 9.5km (1.5km more than the schedule called for).

Immediately after my Saturday session we left for Vancouver Island as Tim was racing the Sooke Half Ironman on Sunday - that was also the reason I had done my long run on Wednesday. I didn't expect to be able to run on Sunday and didn't even bring my running shoes, which is highly unusual.

I did plenty of walking as we brought our dog Luka. On Saturday evening, for example, I didn't mean to go for a long walk but my body was keen, and my mind didn't object, and neither did Luka. Taking a left from the road of our hotel, we ended up on the triathlon run course that followed the undulating Whiffin Spit Road before dropping down, just past Sooke Harbour House, to the Whiffin Spit, a beach park with a soft gravel path that separates Sooke's harbour from the Juan de Fuca Strait.

The views of the Olympic Mountains were spectactular. On the other side of the spit, it was hard to miss the Prestige Ocean Resort, the brandnew modern colonial-style hotel where we lucked out with a last-minute deal on a swanky room in seagreen and bright white with 14-foot ceilings, king bed and balcony with sweeping views.

Luka and I kept walking, and followed the path all the way to the light house, sniffing up the salty fresh air. It was quiet. It was perfect. It was dark by the time we got back to the hotel.

Sunday had more walking, as we cheered on Tim who ended up finishing second in his age group, a great result on the challenging course since this race was also BC's provincial championship. By the time we got back in Squamish on Sunday evening, it was past 11pm.

Since I hadn't run on Sunday, I decided to run today (though it means I will run 7 days in a row this week until next Monday's rest day).

With such a spectacular start, that rare effortless run that is the reward of plenty of hard training, I couldn't be more motivated to tackle this week's 100-odd kilometres.

If I count today's 18km run with the 97.5km I covered in the previous six days (Tues through Sunday), I've run 115.5km in the past 7 days.  


Karl said...

That's awesome, gotta love runs like that! They are few and far between.

Is it at Bellingham or Victoria that you are going for 2:xx?

Margreet Dietz said...

Good question Karl - at this point I am completely focused on Bellingham, and on running a PB there, i.e. faster than 3:07:10. The marathon goal race pace I am gunning for in my training sessions is about 4:22, or 7:02/mile, which should get me across the line in 3:04:25. The women's course record is 3:04:26:-). How I will approach Victoria depends on my recovery from Bellingham. In terms of the 2-hour marathon, I find the mental jump from 3:07, which I have run twice, in 2008 and only just now again in May, too big. Having said that, a woman I interviewed for my first book Running Shoes Are a Girl's Best Friend told me she went from a 3:09 to a 3:00, and then a 2:59. So I don't want to not expect a 2:XX either, but I prefer to aim for a simple PB for now, and see how the rest of the training unfolds. I've found that the weight of large expectations can be a bit too heavy sometimes, though I try to keep an open mind for sure.

Karl said...

Gotcha, well good luck with both of those! Look forward to results, sounds like you're gonna kill your PB with the training you're putting in.