Two halfs, three days and a bit of (non-Superbowl) football

Thursday was one of THOSE days that runners occasionally get – the perfect day where everything comes together. Weather, route, energy = everything just felt awesome. I really needed a day like that just mentally in terms of training, you know? It was such a confidence boost and left me beaming all day.

It was around -5, sunny and I ended up wearing the perfect amount of layers where I wasn’t too cold or too hot. I warmed up with 5km then ended up on a country road that is a long hill. I marked out a kilometer and ran four hill repeats for a total of 8km. Uphill, I tried to focus on breathing and core strength, and also tried to work in a burst of speed at the very top. Downhill was all about relaxing, loosening up and sitting back a bit while letting my legs pick up some good speed. I felt awesome the whole time, although definitely challenged, and when I finished I had been planning to do an easy 3km cool-down, but I decided to just go for it and do a full 21.1. It was just too nice a day to pass up!

I wasn’t sure how smart of a decision it would be though because I planned to do my long run (22.5) this weekend on Saturday rather than Sunday, with my best friend Kelly who recently moved back to Canada from Scotland. Kelly is such a running inspiration – she’s BQed, ran various trail races in Scotland and a midnight half-marathon in Iceland, worked at a running store in Edinburgh and has a TON of knowledge about running. We met in high school cross-country so it’s fitting that our friendship has taken us through many, many miles together! We’ve laughed, cried, talked about big things and little things, missed race starts (usually because we were laughing too hard) and commiserated over unshovelled snowy sidewalks, dark training runs before or after work, waiting 20 minutes + for our satellite watches to kick in, sports-bra chafing and a bunch of other lovely things that come along with being a runner.


Getting ready for a run in Edinburgh this past spring

Kelly and I are both signed up for Around the Bay 30km road race in March, so she was game to head out for a snowy 22.5km on Saturday morning. I’ve never ran two half-marathons with just a day off in between, so I was a little nervous my Thursday run would come back to bite me in the butt. I took Friday completely off and just lazed around and re-watched Season Two of my favourite show ever, Friday Night Lights. Did a bit of foam rolling and stretching, and even though I felt a little sore, the day off really helped my muscles recover.

Saturday we headed out a little after 10 with a loose idea of where we wanted to run. My parents were great and so helpful in helping us plan a route (my mum even drew a little map that I tucked in my pocket!). We knew the city streets would be a mess so we did a few kilometers along a busy highway (treacherous! Not fun!) until we could turn onto this absolutely beautiful country road. Everything was completely blanketed in snow, there was very little traffic (maybe 6-7 cars total?) and there were some rolling hills in there that we both loved. Gets you in a nice rhythm. The snow didn’t stop coming down the whole time, and was in our faces no matter what direction we ran in, but honestly, that’s to be expected. Temperature was so great (-3), we couldn’t complain! And best of all was the company. I LOVED having a friend to run with, and those kilometers just flew by in a whirl of conversation! (except for when we were going uphill…I’m still not good at the hills + talking). I wish I could do my long runs with Kelly all the time!

I had some issues with pre-run nutrition that kicked in at the 15 km mark (let’s leave it at that, I’ll write more on nutrition/fueling/digestion in a future post but if you have ANY tips, please share them!!) and a bit of muscle soreness from Thursday, but otherwise felt good. We ran a nice 5″28 pace and did 23 km out and back. Normally Kelly and I both loathe out and backs but this one was different – I think a combination of the company, the lack of traffic and the pretty snow that changed up the scenery all helped!

We ended back at my parents’ house and after cooling down a bit, the only thing both of us wanted to do was get out of our running clothes, shower/stretch/foam roll and watch our  mutual TV obsessions (FNL for me, Homeland for Kelly). We discussed how some runners are the “socializing after the run” type who head right to the coffee shop immediately following a run. There’s definitely nothing wrong with that, but we both agreed that the last thing we want to do after finishing a run is sit around in our running clothes, especially after you’re running in extreme temperatures. I’d love to do a “let’s go home to shower then meet up later and post-mortem about our run – or talk about other things!” (even though let’s be serious, it’s way to easy to get caught up in talking about JUST running) but immediately after a run I’ve got my own list of things I like to do:

– stretch, foam roll, do my 10 minute core routine

– shower

– put on compression socks; get dressed in (clean) running clothes (they’re comfy!)

– plug in my GPS watch, look at my splits and pace, etc

– eat

What do you like to do after working out?

Today I took another recovery day from running. I went to a gym and did 30 minutes of very light biking while reading a magazine to just flush out my legs a bit, and then tomorrow I’m planning on going for a 5km run before work. The past three days were intense ones with the two long runs so I’m taking it easy and not overdoing it. I think in the past I would have pushed on with another run, but overtraining and injury are my big fears right now so I learning to listen to that common sense voice in my head and giving my body a nice break!

And now back to FNL! Who needs the Superbowl when the Dillon Panthers are playing?!?

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