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Sorry that my posts have been few and far between lately! The weather has finally perked up in Ottawa so I’ve been pretty busy doing things outside to enjoy it. The marathon is 16 days away now so I am getting in to final preparations. This including running my last long run on Sunday.

I had planned to go out and do 20 miles (32km) to really get over the mental barrier of wondering if I can run far enough to successfully complete the full marathon. My boyfriend was riding in a cycling event which raised funds for CHEO (the children’s hospital) and we both planned to get up early to prepare for the day.
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Here he is all geared up to go!

The night before my training run, we took it easy but unfortunately I was not able to sleep well. I still got out of bed before 7am. I figured that there is no better to mimic a race morning as I typically never sleep well the night before. I did my usual preparations: oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon for breakfast, fill up my water bottles (which I actually had to freeze!) and pack up my fuel belt. I always bring my phone and some cash with me just in case,

I ended up leaving the apartment at around 8:30 and I could feel already that it was going to be a hot day. I went out in my lightest running clothes, a hat, and my sunglasses in efforts to stay cool.

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Last long run before the marathon!

Sorry that my posts have been few and far between lately! The weather has finally perked up in Ottawa so I’ve been pretty busy doing things outside to enjoy it. The marathon is 16 days away now so I am getting in to final preparations. This including running my last long run on Sunday.

I had planned to go out and do 20 miles (32km) to really get over the mental barrier of wondering if I can run far enough to successfully complete the full marathon. My boyfriend was riding in a cycling event which raised funds for CHEO (the children’s hospital) and we both planned to get up early to prepare for the day.

The night before my training run, we took it easy but unfortunately I was not able to sleep well. I still got out of bed before 7am. I figured that there is no better to mimic a race morning as I typically never sleep well the night before. I did my usual preparations: oatmeal with brown sugar and cinnamon for breakfast, fill up my water bottles (which I actually had to freeze!) and pack up my fuel belt. I always bring my phone and some cash with me just in case,

I ended up leaving the apartment at around 8:30 and I could feel already that it was going to be a hot day. I went out in my lightest running clothes, a hat, and my sunglasses in efforts to stay cool.

The forecasted high was 26 degrees for the day. Unfortunately, I left my house later than I wanted and eventually got caught in the heat. In the summer, this temperature would not be an issue but the spike in average highs has not been great for getting acclimatized. Anyhow, I’ll get into that later.

I decided to run a different route in hopes of seeing some of the bike ride my boyfriend was in. His ride started at the war museum and then it was going down the parkway (which is the route that I bike to work). I headed out that way and found that there were plenty of runners who had the same idea. This pathway was a great choice because it seemed that everyone who was planning on biking was in the event. So the paths were all for the runners!

I left too late to make it in time to see the 70km started but I did see some of the people biking the 35km ride. It was cool to see an organized event that wasn’t full of runners! I made it all the way to the end of the parkway/river path and decided to keep going towards Britannia knowing full well that if I had to continue running PAST my apartment to make the full distance, that I would have a hard time doing so.

It was starting to get hot at this point and I really needed to pee. I was lucky I chose to follow the bike route. The had organized a few race checkpoints and I had seen one with a porta potty. I’ve never been so grateful to see one. I was making sure to take a sip of Gatorade at least once every ten minutes to try to avoid dehydration. This also meant I had to pee. I knew that the aid station wasn’t set up for my personal benefit so I made sure to allow all cyclists to go before me and I asked permission from the volunteers at the station. They were great! I even saw them handing out much needed water bottles to runners who didn’t have any with them. very nice of them!!

I really started to struggle with the heat after I took off again. I started drinking more of my water and pretty soon, I found myself with almost no water left. It was very tough to keep running as I felt very over heated. I’m hoping that once I run more in the heat, I will get used to it again.

I knew I was getting into trouble so I sought out water near the war museum on my way back. I figured that I would find water, and if need be, there were medical staff around if I really wasn’t doing well. I was intending to go buy a water bottle from one of the vendors but I found a water fountain first. I must have looked NUTS. It was like striking gold when I found it. I ripped off my hat, dunked it in the fountain, put my head in the fountain and then took a nice cool drink. That was the best tasting water I ever had.

My foot was acting up again so I decided to cut the run short to whatever the distance would be if I made it straight home. There would be no additional benefit to a longer run if I ended up with heat stroke, or a bummed foot. My last long run ended up being 28km instead of the planned 32km. I’m ok with this, I think that I still put the same effort in and that I didn’t miss out on anything.

I had three saving graces on this run (to make a longer story short):

1. The aid station from the bike ride: I would have been using the bushes otherwise; there’s not many bushes out that way/

2. The water fountain: Even with a fueling plan, I found myself in trouble because of the heat. Without it, I may have been in serious trouble.

3. A random strangers kindness: I didn’t mention this earlier, but when I was passing runners in the other direction along the path, one gentleman yelled at me. He gave me a thumbs up and said “whatever you do, don’t give up”. I didn’t think much of it at the time because it was still near the start of my run. I found myself thinking this near the end of my run when I was struggling. So thank you random man, you’ve given me a new race mantra.

All in all, I am hoping that I’ve put enough training in to do well at the marathon. Looking at my training weeks, I wish I could have put a few more miles in but I’m hoping that my dedication to the long runs were enough to carry me through! Now it’s time to get my taper on!

Side note: the weekend before last, I improved my half marathon time on a training run (I wasn’t running full out either). Woohoo!

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