It’s been a wonderful summer, one of my favourites in fact, but eventually all good things must come to and end. September seemed like years ago, but is now just around the corner. Sigh. You can read more about my summer cabin life here. It was absolutely everything I hoped it would be. Our family found a good balance between life at home and life at the cabin. I completed my workouts and higher volume at home then headed to the cabin with the kids each Wednesday to Friday. I could rest and relax, logging fewer and easier kilometres, while we enjoyed our precious time with my sister and her three kids. The kids just love spending time with their cousins (also two boys and one girl) and my sister and I cherish the quality time we get in our quiet two months of the year.
Last weekend I travelled to Edmonton where I finally competed in the half marathon, a race I had planned to do a few other times but didn’t due to injury (2015, 2017). Competition was going to be strong with elite Canadians including Rachel Cliff, Dayna Pidhoresky, Rachel Hannah, Emily Tallen and Catherine Watkins. The biggest concern was the air quality due to the forest fires in British Columbia, but after a bit of rain, the rating improved and race day was a go. Like other races in a marathon build, I was not going for a personal best, rather a solid effort. Right from my first kilometre I knew it was not going to be a fast one. At all. I’m not one to overthink things and dwell on slow times but I think I’m simply a sucker, even at the slightest bit of elevation. I realize Edmonton isn’t that high and I’m not that deprived of oxygen, but yikes, a 1:18? I think I was more capable of 1:16, but reflected on my 2016 year with a 1:16 in Calgary in May after my 1:12 in Montreal in April when preparing for the Olympic Games. When I returned to Ontario, Coach Dave gave me a lower volume week to ensure I was fully recovered from the race, the travel and the solid 170K week I had completed a week before race day.
Today I was happy to give a solid 70 minutes at marathon pace effort with running friends, Mitch, Rachel, Tanis and Rob. Just last month I failed to keep Mitch and Rachel in view, but today I succeeded. Dave K. was a great support on fuel stations and a wonderful encouragement to all of us. We replenished with recovery drinks and stretched while Rachel Hannah finished her longest marathon-paced workout in her build to Berlin. It’s been encouraging to see Rachel’s build, five weeks ahead of mine; a reminder that with consistency and good health, everything will come together. I’m excited to see her run a smart and strong race in Germany on September 16. After we snapped a quick group shot we chatted and later texted about how much we’ve enjoyed training together.
Right now I’m trapped under our gazebo with the rain pouring down, happy that we weren’t drudging through it this morning, and grateful for this life of faith, family, friends and running. After achieving the summer what I had hoped for, and even with a bit of uncertainty ahead as I take on the task of coaching my daughter’s rep hockey team, I am confident that in eight weeks I will have one of my best experiences at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.