Marathon Training Day Day #35: 18k on Leslie Spit

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Thanks to a combination of stress, bad posture and no yoga, my back was tense. I booked a massage on Sunday, with the plan of running 18k beforehand. Then I slept it, so I went to my massage first.

The plan for the massage was to tackle my back and shoulders, but once I casually mentioned “if she had time” if she could work on my IT Bands, it turned into a runner’s massage. And it was painful — in a good way. I learned I was “doing something right” when it comes to my calves (I’m assuming my compression socks are working) and that my hip pain is a result of my IT Band, as expected, but my band is messed up at my knee. And my IT Band is probably why I don’t have a ton of mobility in my knees in yoga — which explains SO MUCH. My hip flexors are pretty open, but I can’t do pigeon or anything that requires my legs to be bent in different directions without pain. And now I know why.

I came home, ate lunch, then headed out to do 18k around 3. I wanted to be done in time to watch the SuperBowl (how crazy was THAT game?). 10 and 1s, slow and steady. I like running Leslie Spit because it’s practically deserted in the winter and there’s no stop lights to worry about. And the view of the Toronto skyline can’t be beat.

I started to fade about 15k in, and convinced myself to power through. After a certain point, running becomes a mental game. That’s something I need to work on before I tackle 42.2.



The run: 18.2k in 2:23:51
The route:

July #PubRuns Recap: Leslie Spit


I did not take this photo. Margonaut did. I can use it because Creative Commons is amazing.


Summer has been busy, busy, busy. So busy that our monthly PubRuns haven’t been well attended. Which is fine — it’s all about coming when you can! Last month, Jill and I ran through High Park, along the waterfront and eventually made our way home. This month, Kendal and Karen joined me for an out-and-back along Leslie Spit, followed by brunch at OK OK Diner. I really like running Leslie Spit for three reasons. One, it’s hard to believe it’s made of garbage. Two, it’s hard to believe this park is at the bottom of our city. And three, the views of Toronto are pretty spectacular. If you’ve never been there, you should. It’s a bizarre wasteland of nature and industrial debris and it’s beautiful.

We met at 9am because it’s been hot. Really hot. I’m not the best at running in the heat and I like getting my runs out of the way early — because if I don’t it means waiting around until like 9pm to get my run in and that’s not fun.

The original plan was to run the whole thing, around the lighthouse and end at the park entrance. We started off strong, but it was tough. I haven’t been running all that much (thanks, hip) and when I was home, I rolled my ankle. It’s nothing to be too worried about, but I need to take it easy in order to prevent things from getting worse. And I should probably see somebody, just in case. But as we hit the bridge, we weren’t feeling it. Pubruns is supposed to be fun! So we stretched out out and headed back, deciding to run all the way back to Queen and Leslie for a solid 8k effort.

Along the way, we discussed strength training. We talked about FitStreets and what a great idea incorporating strength training into runs is. So we decided: PubRuns BootCamp. The idea is that one evening a month, we’ll organize a bootcamp-based run — 5k through the city, stopping every 10 minutes to do dips and lunges and what-not. We’ll still have our regular pubruns, I promise! This is just a bonus add for anyone who is as crazy, er as serious, as Kendal and me. If you want in, let me know. The first PubRuns bootcamp will be in September.

I feel like my body is turning on me. The hip is old, the ankle is temporary, but during this run, my knee was twinging. I’m going to power through until Midsummer’s Night Run, then reassess. The half-marathon this season may be out. I like pushing myself, but not to injury.

I hope I can push myself to get better.

The next PubRuns is in August. If you have a route suggestion, a brunch suggestion or want in on our awesome running group, let me know!



The run: 8.6k in 51:57

The route:

Race Recap: A MidSummer’s Night Run 15k

Last night, I ran my first-ever 15k night race, the MidSummer’s Night Run. And it was a lot of fun. Despite the 1:48 effort (which I understand, but am not all that happy about), the course was stunning, the swag was stellar and the post-race beer tent was delicious.

All summer, I had been focusing on the Beaches Jazz Tune-Up 10k, and that result I was really happy with. Then, I don’t know. I got cocky or something. I’m also freaking out about the possibility of a serious running injury. Both my running pals Kendal and Meghan have battled big injuries this summer, so now that my left calf tends to get really tight after 5k, my reaction is to freak out and slow down. (Both Kendal and her husband Pierre have been very helpful with stretch suggestions and specialist recommends, so I’m confident I’ll be able to get this sorted out by the time my Scotiabank half rolls around).

15k would be my longest distance since the HM in May. That was dumb. I also ran a tough 8k on Thursday with Dani (if you’re reading this, Dani, you are a much better runner than you give yourself credit for). On Friday, I went to a blistering yoga class. Then on Saturday, I spent the entire race day at BookCamp.

If you add all that up, it’s not the smartest pre-race plan.

I was hoping for 1:35, planning for 1:45. The water stations were 3k apart, so my plan was to reach them in 20 minutes, then walk for a minute, then book the last 3k for a time right around 1:45 (If this plan was executed perfectly, my time would be 1:42ish). This plan worked splendidly for the first 3 water stations. I hit the 3k marker at 20 on the nose (they lied — the first water station was at 3.5k) and crossed the 5k mark at 33:15. Pierre was just past the 5k marker and it as the first time I’ve ever had a cheering squad mid-route. It was a great pick-me-up, so thanks Pierre!

Then, just before the 6k mark, my calf began to feel really tight. This is a relatively new phenomenon, the first time it happened was on the 5k PubRuns in High Park, but has made an appearance on every run that 1) involves hills and/or is longer than 5k. On the plus side, my hip felt fine. I pushed myself to the water station and did some (very) quick stretching in hopes to combat it. I came out of that water station at 41:00, which was still on pace. But it wasn’t loosening up, so I slowed down. I found the 1:45 pace fairy around 8k (running and carrying a large sign is impressive. Kudos to all the bunnies and fairies out there) and stuck with them until the 9k water station, did some more stretching and had a quick water break, and passed the 10k marker at 1:09, making the second 5k split 36:00.

10k-12k was the roughest part of the race. I was sore and starving (pre-race food: 2 pb&j sandwiches, a handful of crackers, 4 coffees, 3 apples and 3 ShotBloks. That was it for the day. Another lesson learned!), and rapidly running out of energy. It became painfully obvious I should have added more long runs to the summer training plan.

Once I passed the final water station, I felt the end coming. Only 3k left! That’s nothing! I concentrated on simply getting one foot in front of the other without pain. That worked. When I came around the corner for the final 500 metres, I booked it and passed dozens of people. (Why don’t more people sprint to the finish? It’s right there!) 1:48:23, making the final 5k split 39:00. Ouch.

This result makes me worried for the October HM. But I have 2 months to amp it up. A sub 2:10 HM is within my reach, but I’m going to need to work for it.

First ever 15k race done.

Several lessons learned.

Eat properly.

Rest properly.

Train properly.

Stop being a baby.

Master the racing mind game.

I can definitely do these things next time.