Whew! The last two weeks have seen my longest mileage weeks – 102 km and 110 km, respectively. It’s been a long, gradual build-up this summer. I took a month off running following the Boston Marathon to ensure my groin injury had completely healed, and then starting in June I steadily started increasing my distances. 110 km will be my max for this training cycle – I really have no desire to do more than that, not to mention it’s almost time to start tapering for my next big race. I know 110 km/week is nothing compared to elites and ultrarunners, but I think it’s about the max I can handle, both physically and mentally. It’s definitely the most running I’ve ever done in my life, and it’s been interesting to see how my body has handled it and how my perception of what constitutes a “long run” has totally shifted! But running (and running properly, which means stretching, foam rolling, cross-training/strength-training and lots of rest) takes a lot of time, and there are other things I like to (or have to) focus on!
Scene from today’s run – I’ve loved seeing the crops change along with
the seasons. One of the perks of living in the country!
Anyway, why have I been upping my mileage to over 100 k/week? Well, to see if I could do it, partly. But also in the back of my mind ever since finishing Boston I’ve been toying with the idea of running an ultra. I KNOW, I KNOW. (to the three of you reading this who are thinking, “You said you’d never do an ultra!”) Yep, I totally said that. I also said I’d probably only run a few marathons in my life (Boston and the Great Wall Marathon which is my dream marathon one day), and well, I’m thinking I’ll probably run a few more than that – there are just so many amazing races in gorgeous, unique locations I’d love to experience! Never say never, I guess.
I wasn’t sure how training would go this summer coming off an injury, so I didn’t really tell anyone my idea and I definitely didn’t register. But having completed four runs of 20+ miles, I’m feeling (knock on wood) pretty confident that I can maybe actually do this. So last night I registered for the 50K Run for the Toad ultramarathon in Paris, Ont. on Oct. 4!
There are a couple reasons why I’m doing this. Mostly I want to see if I can do it. It also sounds like fun, and even though I don’t believe “longer is better”, I am the type of runner who has done better at longer distances rather than shorter races that require more speed, so I’m curious to see how I might do. It’s also what I would consider a “baby ultra” (ie. NOT a 50 miler or 100 km/100 miler) but I have to put this out there…one day I would LOVE to run the historic Comrades race in South Africa (and it’s 90 km). But we’ll see how this one goes first haha! I was also really hoping to run it with Kelly, but unfortunately she’s had to reassess after getting pretty badly injured (not that that stopped her from making it through three incredibly tough days of the RunWaterloo Endurun challenge!), so it looks like we won’t be getting to do it together this year, anyway.
So that’s my next big race, although I do have a half-marathon coming up next Saturday that I’m really looking forward to. Mostly because Krista DuChene will be there (the race raises money for the Kenyan Kids Foundation, a charity she is involved in) and I find her so inspiring! I’ll probably be running this more as a training run, because I’m not sure how fresh my legs will be feeling after today’s long run. But I plan to take the next two days off running and just do some light easy sessions Wed/Thurs, then rest on Friday before Saturday’s race.
Oh – one more thing! I definitely think I’ve got my nutrition dialed in for long runs. Two caffeinated Gu’s at mile 12 and mile 18, chased with water, seems to work wonders in giving me a huge energy boost. Two weeks ago I ran 26.6 miles and honestly felt like I could have kept going, and the same thing happened on today’s run except I actually took a third Gu at mile 22. I may be waiting a little too long before my first Gu so I think I’ll try taking one early (like mile 5) at next weekend’s half. Anyway, it’s crazy what a shot of caffeine can do! I tried drinking coffee for the first time before a long run a few weeks ago, but I just couldn’t handle the taste. I actually REALLY like the sweetness overload of Gu’s haha…especially the vanilla bean. Tastes like cake batter!