Since January, I have more or less built for three weeks then had a taper week that included a race. It is a pattern that has worked quite well, which I have quite enjoyed. So upon recovery from the Calgary Half Marathon I ramped up the kilometres again for a few weeks before decreasing to compete in my final scheduled race before the Olympic Marathon. Prior to my taper week, I hit 170+ km, which was a good taste for what is to come in July.
There was one particular day that I had one kilometre repeats to do. Boy, did the previous day’s 31 km run take the speed out of my legs. I only had 7 repeats to do but they were slow! I could have done them over and over but not any faster. I never get concerned about workouts that don’t nail the target. Rather, I look at the big picture to know why and then move forward. As expected the next week I hit my 400’s with speed. Definitely the lower mileage helped as did the numerous hours spent off my feet while unfortunately, my three children suffered through a nasty and lengthy gastrointestinal virus. Other than the extra laundry and cleaning, and seemingly endless rinsing of buckets, it was a fairly physically relaxing week. After all, sick children don’t need meals, don’t go anywhere nor have the energy to fight with each other.
Once my husband returned, I escaped to the basement bed where I successfully caught up on my sleep and headed straight to Toronto after my midday massage on Friday. There was no way I was going back to that house!
The weekend was going to be a big one and I had been looking forward to it for weeks. Marathon training with children doesn’t give much opportunity for a social life. I wouldn’t change it for the world. I don’t think many training for the Olympics have much of a social life. After arriving in Toronto on Friday I had a lovely dinner with Dayna and Catherine then another very restful sleep. There was some partying going on across the street but it was just background noise for me. Not having to get up for anything in the night was refreshing.
The inaugural Toronto Waterfront 10 km was incredible! It was the start of a wonderful day. I had a good warm up, tossed the watch, and decided to keep the leader within reach while embracing the pain. Dayna was ahead for much of the race and just before the 8 km mark I decided I needed to make my move on the hill. Fortunately it worked; I was able to close the gap, surge ahead, and hold on for the win in 33:50. My normal style is to run my capable pace, consistently from beginning to end, so the change was welcomed.
Immediately upon finishing was a flurry of activity. From several media interviews and photos with Peter Fonseca and John Tory to Canadian Olympic Committee autograph signing and a Rio send off celebration with Reid and Eric, it was a very busy and fun morning. Alan and his Canada Running Series crew did an amazing job. It’s times like these where I make myself pause, take a deep breath, and savour every moment of what is happening around me. Once the activities ended, I jogged a 2 km cool down then walked to the Ex to catch the Go Train west.
Back in Brantford I attended the grand opening of the new Kiwanis track & field facility at Pauline Johnson High School where I was honoured with another signed Canadian flag as a Rio send-off. Thank you, City of Brantford! Back at home with the air conditioning busted amidst a 30+C day, Jonathan, the kids and I had a quick swim and dinner before I headed out with Rick to the Guelph Inferno track meet. I enjoyed a half sweet mocha from Second Cup and cheered for those competing in their various events that evening. I could have been a rabbit for the 10,000 m but kindly declined; it was nice being a spectator. Eric Gillis who was the men’s winner of the Toronto Waterfront 10 k earlier in the day, pulled off a second victory by capturing the Canadian 10,000 m title on his home Speed River Track. Quite the double-double and once again, with his fine form, made it look easy! He’s completed five marathons within the 2:11-2:12 range and is expected to be named to his third Olympic team in just over a week. It was an honour to share my Rio send-off with him and his teammate and good friend Reid Coolsaet another accomplished marathoner.
Unfortunately the night did not end well for everyone. The final weeks leading up to and including the Olympic trials can be disappointing for many. And my heart aches. I know each and every day is a gift and simply bumping my toe can end this Olympic dream so I aim to appreciate and be grateful for every day leading up to August 14. After getting to bed later than ever that night, I enjoyed another restful evening and was able to sleep in until nearly 8:00! Once home from church, I put on my layered running gear, filled my Eload bottles and headed out to run 33 km with temperatures soaring at 32 C. I had my fluids on ice in the van, stopping to hydrate after each of my six 5.5 km loops. The beginning of the last loop was definitely the most difficult but I managed to finish with a solid final 2 km. Since then I logged a steady week in transition from my taper week to my upcoming three highest training weeks. Rest, hydration, diet, sleep, heat acclimation, and preventative maintenance are of highest priority now. In fact, I am treating one of these upcoming weeks as a stay at home training camp as Jonathan and the kids will be away. I will make the most of it, much like my training week with Mary Davies in March prior to the Rotterdam Marathon where I ran my 2:29 standard.
Only 6 weeks to go! Official team announcement will be July 11. Onward.