The best (and worst) part about training for a half marathon is the importance of a weekly long run. I tend to do my long runs on Sundays. As much as I would LOVE to join the many run clubs around Ottawa for their 8:30 am Sunday runs it doesn’t work with my schedule 😦
All that being said I normally look forward to doing my long run on every Sunday and lately I have been doing mt run at the end of the day. This isn’t ideal and to be honest the afternoon is not when I have the most energy and usually it is when i least want to go for a run but it has been when I have the time to do it. BUT somehow I manage to get my gear on, tie up my shoes, and head out the door. This afternoon was ESPECIALLY difficult to get going as the weather sucked….it was cold and super windy..not my favourite weather for running and I wanted to do was chill on the couch with my husband. But I went!
Today I ran without music (which I prefer most times) and I also decided to bring my fuel belt with me (filled with water) and ran straight to the Running Room on Slater St to pick up some gels/beans to fuel my run just before they closed.
Now, the moment I stepped outside and ran down my street I was hit hard by the cold and strong wind. My face was freezing, my ears were stinging and my motivation was dropping fast. I literally kept telling myself “ok so just run to the Running Room get your gels and run home…you can do this run tomorrow..today is not the best day to do it…I wish I would’ve worn a warmer hat….” I felt slow and not in the mood At ALL to run…but after chatting with the woman who sold me my energy beans I got a little extra boost. She said “you can do it!” and suggested I try running along the canal as it was less windy.
I headed down Bank Street and ran all the way to the Bank Street Bridge by Lansdowne and then hopped on the pathway next to the canal and passed infront of some big beautiful homes…I was looking at my watch and it said I had ran only 3 km…’oh great’ I said to myself ‘only 13 to go and I still feel like my legs are moving in slow motion’.
i ran all the way to the Bronson Street Bridge then headed up the stairs and walked across the bridge to hop on the east side of the canal and was heading towards Hog’s Back. There was a section of the canal when I literally felt like I was going to be blown over sideways and this is when I was asking myself ‘why did I choose to run today?? This is the worst day ever and I am the only person out here. I must be crazy.’ But after a few minutes of crazy side winds blowing me over, the wind stopped all of a sudden and it was smooth sailing to the next bridge (I think it was Riverside Drive?) and I started thinking ‘wow I feel like I could run forever, I am so glad I kept running and didn’t let the wind get the best of me!’ I looked down at my watch and it said 45 minutes, ‘perfect I am halfway!’ I started running along Riverside Drive along the bike path and started reminiscing about my days of training at LC Fitness just up the hill on Bank Street, then saw a few groundhogs darting into their holes and thought ‘I wonder if there is an entire world of tunnels and groundhog homes underground?’ I also ran past quite a few geese (which I’m a tad scared of for some reason) and ducks. The run along this river is beautiful and I totally soaked up every ounce of nature as I passed by. Once I passed Bank Street the path felt like it just kept going, I came up to the 60 minute mark and my legs felt lighter and I felt like I was running with ease. My pace picked up and I felt like I could keep running forever. I kept telling myself ‘man I really love to run, I love this route, i have to do this path again’. I was running a route I had never run before and I was literally the only person on the path, I wasn’t worried but as the time kept passing I kept thinking ‘I hope this path ends up close to my home?’ I had a feeling it did but I wasn’t 100% sure and I also had no idea how much farther I had to go but I planned a 90 minute run and was 70 minutes in, only 20 minutes to go. I caught myself smiling to myself and saying ‘I am so happy I decided to keep running, this has got to be the best run I have had in a long time’. And eventually I came to a path I recognized, the path that leads me home, so I finished my run through Strathacona Park and as I soon as I reached the huge hill up Range Road I stopped running and looked down at my watch….90 minutes and 16 km! I did it and it felt like the time flew by! I was filled with a huge sense of accomplishment and pure joy. It was hard to believe that 90 minutes ago I had such a hard time getting myself going and how I had to keep talking myself into continuing to run and not giving up.
So if you’ve made it to the end of this long winded post, thank you for reading. To all you runners out there I encourage you to go for your next run solo, without music, enjoy the sounds of nature, enjoy being with your thoughts and enjoy the journey. And during the first 5-10 minutes when your body is resisting you and your mind is saying ‘what the heck are you running for’, IGNORE IT and tell yourself you’re just getting started. Once you’re warmed up you’ll (hopefully) get the feeling I get when I feel as if I could run forever and get lost in just how amazing it feels to sweat while I run. I feel so blessed to be able to run so this motivates me to keep running while I can!