Friday, 29 March 2013

Where The Watermelons Grow

Training for a marathon is a huge physical task.  We run slow, and we run fast, and we run on hills, and we run intervals and we run long LONG distances.  All the runs outlined in our training plan are teaching our bodies something.  They teach our muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints to take the pounding.  They teach our bodies how to efficiently access the fuel we need to keep going.  They teach our bodies how to heal, regenerate, and come back stronger and faster for our next run.  But our training runs are designed to teach us so much more, especially our long runs.  These long weekend runs are a place to practice all the little things that will really matter on race day.  The things that you might not even think of, that have the potential to make or break your race.

So here are some of the things we learned when we ran The Around The Bay 30K...

1.  Everyone poops
Before a race there are very important prerace routines that must take place.  These are not optional.  If this is not taken care of your race will NOT be enjoyable.  Wake up earlier then you think you need to, you will be glad you did.

2.  I'm stupid
Remember before the race when I said we had no time goal, and that this was just going to be a training run.  Well that's much easier said then done.  Stick me on a race course with thousands of other runners, and a big starting line, and lots of spectators and I morph into Lightening McQueen at the start of Cars. I'm stupid.  I run, I run faster then I should, I run with no regard for what pace I SHOULD run at, and I want to reach a time goal that wasn't supposed to exist.  Poor Leigh spent much of the race reeling me in and reminding me to keep a training pace.

3.  Trains happen
As Leigh mentioned in his recap post we were stopped at a train crossing for somewhere between 3 and 4 minutes.  I have never ever stopped in a race.  I carry my own water and nuun and fuel so I don't need to stop at aid stations.  If something hurts, I keep running, and hope it will stop (see #2).  But our train stop taught me that sometimes during a race 'trains' happen.  There might come a day when I am racing and I need to stop, this is not the end of the world...Don't have a shot at the prize money either way right!?!

4.  Childbirth still wins
Leigh said in his recap post that "It was the hardest physical test I have ever had in my life."  I can with complete confidence say that childbirth is still without a doubt the single hardest physical test I have ever had.  EVER.  Period.  I'll let you know if that changes after the Ottawa Marathon.  I don't think it will.

5.  Cliff Shot Bloks are some of the best candy EVER
When you are running very long distances your body exhausts it's available glycogen stores, meaning you need to ingest sugar to fuel your body and brain.  Since I am cheap frugal, I usually use dried cranberries or steal some of the kids fruit snacks.  But we swung by MEC on the way home from the expo on Saturday and grabbed some actual endurance sport fuel.  Pretty sure I would run 30K just so I can have an excuse to eat these.

6.  Smiling is my favourite

Slowing my pace, relaxing (a bit), high fiving kids, minnie mouse, and the grim reaper, and smiling make racing a celebration of how much I love running.

7.  Body Glide works
This stuff works like a charm.  30K, no chafing.  True story.

8.  You won't feel like dying at the end if you take it easy at the start
Leigh made me take it easy at the beginning (he's not stupid...see #2 again).  When he cramped up near the end and sent me off to the finish I felt strong and still had gas in the tank so I busted a move all the way to Copps Coliseum.

9.  Training on hills makes you a stronger runner
Our marathon training plan had us do weekly hill runs for the first 7 weeks.  We also live in a hilly city, so no matter where we run in Guelph we run hills.  In no other race have I ever felt so strong on the hills.  If you are diligent with your training you will notice the effects come race day.

10.  Toenails are for sissies 
Running Coach Google tells me that the blisters on the nailbeds of my second toe on both feet are probably from all the hills on The Around The Bay course and my shoes not being tied tight enough, so my feet scooted forward and banged/rubbed repeatedly on the front/top of my shoes.  Dr. Google tells me that my nails are likely going to fall off.  Just in time for sandal weather...Lucky!

11.  I missed my cheerleaders
I get a huge mental boost when I know that the boys are waiting near the finish of a race.  When we ran the Niagara Falls Half Marathon last fall I was hurting big time by the end of the race.  Knowing that the boys and my mom would be near the finish helped me to push through.  Other then Leigh, the boys and my mom are my biggest supporters.  I miss them when they aren't there.

12.  I love running with this guy
I did an 18 miler this morning by myself.  I missed Leigh.  Last week's long run was more fun!



  1. Sometimes I am stupid too :) I am trying out honey stingers on my run this morning, may have to give shot bloks a try! xo AM

    1. The pink lemonade honey stinger chews are good too. They are smaller then shot bloks so take longer to eat. We cut the packages of shot bloks in half and put the package halves in a ziploc. Package is 200 calories, so 2 servings worth.

  2. Also super awesome race photos! A

    1. Thanks. Almost want to buy them, but good grief they are expensive!

  3. Awesome post, hope your nails don't fall off and Lucas looks so little in that picture.
    Good Job Lex and Leigh! love, mom

    1. They are feeling much better and haven't gone anywhere yet. Time will tell I guess.