Saturday, August 20, 2011

Training weeks 9-10 of Valley Harvest 1/2 Marathon: bring on the strength training, and a sweaty trip to the Point Pleasant Grocery store

Well I am definitely back into training mode now and on track for the Valley Harvest Half Marathon. I'm happy to say that this week and the last, I've done most of my training runs, wich included hills (5 last week, 6 this one -- and I upped the distance on hills too!) and a 14k LSD last Sunday (16 tomorrow).

The 14k LSD was not at all dreamy and mystical like its acronym might suggest. I struggled my way through most of it, a pained look on my face as I wound my way through Halifax's streets -- looking up at people as if to say, "please help me! Why on Earth am I doing this?" If I'd passed me on the street, I might have either chuckled, or commented, "now there goes one of those crazy runners, putting themselves through torture on a hot day."

It was decidedly hot that evening, even though I had waited until the sun started setting for it to cool down (I just haven't managed to wake up for those 8:30 a.m. Sunday runs at the Running Room yet). I'd neglected to stop by the Running Room to pick up some gels, and I hadn't eaten anything prior to setting out for the run. So my energy reserves, in addition to already feeling fried, were lagging.

At around km 5, I stopped by the little convenience store across from Point Pleasant Park - the one that proclaims having more than 40 ice cream flavours on the sandwich board outside its doors (that number fluctuates up and down all the time -- these are the little things you notice when you are on an hour and a half-long run and have too much time to think and wonder). I wanted to pick up some jelly beans or gummies to chew on throughout the run, given that I'd forgotten to bring anything else along.

As soon as I stepped in the door, I was hit by a wave of hot, muggy air. There was a lineup of people waiting to pay at the cash, and within seconds I started dripping sweat in the most unfeminine way possible, wishing myself to be invisible as people glanced at me. Ugh...

Finally, it was my turn to pay for the bag of gummy Jolly Ranchers I'd selected. But lo and behold, that store only accepts debit transactions for purchases of more than three dollars. By this time  I was a veritable waterfall and felt like I was literally melting into a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. No point trying to wipe the sweat away - it was as though someone had turned a faucet on inside of me.

I began to dash frantically around the store trying to find gum or something that would amount to $3. Being so hot and bothered, my brain wasn't working properly, which added to the frantic nature of my scurry. Once I found what I was looking for, I tried to pay, only to have the machine reject my transaction -- not once, but twice. At this point even the store owner, who is your typical chipper chatty lady, let out a huge sigh.

"How well are you training?" she asked me, in an effort to be kind to the sweating mess in front of her, I suppose. She'd leaned over and started rummaging in the Take-a-penny-leave-a-penny box to see if she could find cash for me to pay her that way, probably wondering why the heck a runner was acting so frantic about a pack of sugary sweets. Meanwhile, a German family had been waiting patiently by the cash this whole time, ice cream cones gently melting in the muggy heat.

"Ah, well," I shrugged in a mortified-sweaty-defeated kind of way, "I still have quite a ways to go."

The transaction went through on the third time.

Thanking the kind store lady, I turned around and out the door.

I've always thought that running is not a pretty sport, and that experience only confirmed it for me.

Back on the run, despite the gummies, which really didn't sit well in my stomach - there is a reason why the Running Room and other sports stores sell energy supplements rather than tell you to go to the corner store, I thought to myself as the gummies weighed down in an uncomfortable blob in my stomach - I struggled through the remaining kms of the run. I'd planned a loop, but by the end of it I still had another 2kms to go.

It would have been so easy to quit right there and try and make up those 2kms during the week. But I knew that starting out so late in the training cyle meant I had to complete this run and get the distance on my legs.
That was the long slow distance. I did it, but that one wasn't fun. Meanwhile, I've started incorporating strength training into my routine, to build my core and upper body strength - not only for the running, but also because my dad and I will be canoeing through Keji and the Shelburne River in the fall. And thirdly - I've been gradually increasing my workout routine so that I can work off the weight I put on during my recovery, so my clothes can fit the way the used to! It's amazing to me how quickly the pounds can slip back on but how slow they are to burn off.

Tomorrow's run is 16k LSD, then 16 the following week before we taper back to 12k. After having done two marathon training cycles back to back, I'm enjoying these more manageable distances. Then again, you've got to commend any person who decides to lead a more active and healthy lifestyle - no matter how far.

It's so nice to be active and healthy again! Endorphins are addictive - they make everything feel so much better!

Till next blog,


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