Race Week: Oakville Half Marathon

Let’s recap this a little bit, I haven’t had the most successful race weeks in the past. There was the last one, Around the Bay where I knew I was screwed and had no business running the 30k. And there was the infamous race week prior to that for my first Marathon. Emotional wreck would put that lightly.

Comparable to that, this race week is going pretty well. I am of course loaded with doubts and feeling like this was a bad idea, is it even a taper without? But I’m also feeling okay, I’m not emotional about this and I know I can do it. My doubts are more on how well.

So now I present to you some of my doubts and the reasons I need to keep reminding myself they’re crap.

Some Irrational Doubts

1. I didn’t do enough speed work. Kind of true, but then again I never do, and actually I did do a lot of speed work, I just didn’t do any tempos, like actually none, not even attempts at tempos. This is what’s getting me, I didn’t attempt race pace at all. I want to, but it never panned out. The weather, my laziness, other speed work coming up, many factors. Bottom line it didn’t happen. But as I said, they never do.

2. My pace has gone to shit. So this is something I decided to investigate last night. I was under the impression the last time I did a half marathon my regular ol pace was faster than it is now. So I went back into my Garmin records and had a look. ‘Oh right, I was even shittier then.’ So with some fresh eyes and appropriate look, we dig down. Truth is I’m running pretty consistently in the low 6’s right now. This is not my fastest. When was my fastest? Fall. FALL JESSICA WHEN THE WEATHER IS NICE. I’m running low 6’s in the worst heat I’ve ever been faced with. So, time to stop fretting. In my speed work I’m hitting new records every time, my speed is there, waiting for the nice weather to come out and play, just like every fall.

Ran a little over 250km last month (couple untracked), pretty good!

3. I am not as well trained as I was before. This relates to the previous 2 as well. All my doubts relate somehow back to my speed. This is only natural, I have proved I can run a half marathon distance on minimal training. That’s not what I’m after with this race. I’m after a PB. So I’m focusing on how hard it is to maintain that pace I need to get that. But let’s look back to last May, my last half marathon. I was averaging about 45k a week. I was doing speed work but no proper successful tempos. My average pace was 30s slower than it is now and training was in the Spring before heat and after cold when everything should have been prime. And let’s get back to the 45k a week average. Do you know the last time I had a week under 45k this cycle? July. I have been consistently averaging 60km weeks for the past month and a half. I didn’t even average that during marathon training. The marathon, the marathon I ran last year I felt confident that if I had been running the half I would have gotten or come very close to a sub 2:00. I am running the most I have ever run ever, I’ve tackled some of my greatest training accomplishments to date during this cycle. And I’ve done it well, I’ve never had a cycle as well as this one. I don’t feel burnt out, I don’t feel tired. So, let’s all laugh really hard at doubt number 3 for being complete bologna.

Some legitimate concerns:

1. My knee is acting up. This is a very real concern and one I need to work hard on this week. Generally this happens before every race, my knee knows what’s coming and decides to make an appearance. I’ve gotten pretty good at rehabbing it by now so I’m just hoping it behaves until then.

Icing the knee

2. My calf/Achilles is also acting up. This is also a very real concern, and slightly more concerning than the knee because road makes this hurt more. If I’m on the trails I’m good but it starts making itself known on the road. Again, I’ll be working on it this week and think I can probably get through the race, I’m more concerned about after the race what it will feel like then. It’s after my last road long run it started bothering me more.

3. I haven’t been training on the road enough. I had plans to do more of my long runs on the road but it was so dang hot I couldn’t bring myself to pound some pavement for 2+ hours. As a result, I only did 2 long runs on the road. The concern here is more that I’ve been gentle to my muscles and they’re going to be in a lot of pain after doing 21.1k on road and at pace.

Hiding away in the trails

The good:

1. So far (*cross all fingers*) the weather is looking near perfect for Sunday. I think the thing that will play the biggest role in whether or not this is a PB is the weather. I don’t do well in the heat at all so if forecasts change and we’re slammed with hot sunny humidity this is real bad news for me. BUT if it stays as predicted now (or gets even cooler!) we’re in good hopes.

2. There will be Nuun on course. I only found this out last night and boy am I ECSTATIC. I’ve never been in a race with Nuun on course, it’s always Gatorade. I don’t drink Gatorade, it’s too sweet and I try to limit my sugar intake which is why Nuun is perfect for me. No sugar and it’s a mild not at all sweet taste. Perfect. I mostly only drink Nuun after my run is done unless I’m going on a very hot long run. Reason? I don’t want to become dependant on it because I know I won’t have electrolytes during the race since it’s only ever Gatorade. But not this time! I only wish I’d known sooner so I could have had it with me on some runs I debated brining some but didn’t.

3. I’m in my best shape yet. I mentioned this while dissolving my doubts but it needs to be said again. I fought my way back from a set-back in the spring and I arrive better than ever. I have trained more than I’ve every train before and feel better than I ever have. I’m about as ready for this half as I could be.

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