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Control the Course

17 Aug
I’m the first to admit it: I am a bit of a control freak. I don’t hide the fact that I like things in order and to go according to the plan that I, have more often than not, made.  I know, not cool. But I think I’ve made big improvements on my controlling habits – ask Mark.

But in that need to control also comes the need to control a race course as much as possible. I need to know every turn, where every aid station will be located, and the elevations and undulations. I know some people just show up race day and come what may will race whatever route is before them. I so could not do that. Whenever I can, I drive the route the day before a race.

This is why I’ve scanned the interwebs for bloggers passed who have run the Athens Marathon. I’ve read their race reports and review of the course. The race reports that I’ve read have strengthened what I already knew. From kilometre 17 to 32 the race is all uphill and it’s not fun. One blogger gave particularly good advice by saying to be conservative the first 10km despite the ideal running course conditions (flat). She said that this allowed her legs to stay somewhat fresh during the climbs and breeze through the final 10km into the finish chute.

I know these bloggers are just repeating what the website has in its course description but I don’t like surprises. I was looking for a little window to confirm the difficulty of the course. It’s also nice to have a runner’s perspective and tips instead of the race organizers’ description of the course.

In light of the realization of the difficulty of the course (not that I didn’t know it was going to be hard), this week’s 21km long run will be along a route with lots of hills.  In my attempt to control this course I’ve mapped it out with the elevation details.

HH

The first part of this route climbs quite a bit but there’s a nice break by the middle with just a bit of a climb by the end. I know those small hills will seem like mountains by that point though.   I know this route very well.  I drive half of it to get to work every day so nothing will be a surprise.  I think a new beer will be in order after I finish that run tomorrow.

Do you prefer to go into a race blind or preview the course before the start? Do you like to prep yourself mentally with the course map?

Marathon Training: Week 3 Rewind

8 Aug

It’s time to ‘fess up. I was a bad runner this week. My long run on Saturday was supposed to be 17km but I came up 2km shy. Although I didn’t run the full 17km, I felt strong all throughout the run so I can’t say that it was a wasted training day.

The rest of my training days were fairly uneventful. I did not fall or see any old men yelling “bimbo!”

Saturday afternoon Mark and I spent the day in Toronto. We took the bus into the city and wandered around for hours. We walked through Chinatown, ate lunch in a hippie/granola market, spent a bit too much money on shoes in MEC and had delicious drinks by the water.

Waterfront drinksSunday was a much needed relaxing day after walking the streets of the Big Smoke. We went for an early morning swim at the outdoor swimming pool. I can’t say how much I love swimming in that pool. The water almost seems more refreshing than the indoor swimming pool.

Swimming poolIt was a bit of a chilly morning so we had  the whole pool to ourselves. So perfect! I saw my 1500m and Mark stayed in the pool for over 3000m. It was a great weekend wind-down.

It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a Sunday night beer.

SomersbyMy Somersby must be dreaming of Europe…

Marathon Training Week 2 Rewind

29 Jul

Another week has gone by and more miles were covered. This week’s training was pretty much the same except for the added miles on Sunday. I did one of my training runs in Georgetown during my lunch break. I knew I was spending my afternoon at my desk in the workroom which meant no customer interaction. This was a free ticket to  being gross and sweaty. I also want to do a lot of running in Georgetown because of the hilly terrain in the town will hopefully prepare me for the mountainous terrain in Greece.

I’ve been trying to stay motivated both mentally and physically. The problem I’ve had in the past is mainly staying focused and faithful to my training. I often tend to skip runs if the weather isn’t perfect or if I’m tired or if I don’t want to get up early. So in order to keep my mind on the prize, I’ve been reading up on running, races, and runners from all levels. One runner I came across is Orville Rogers – a 95 year-old track and field record holder. Orville has 5 key rules to stay focused and injury-free:

  1. As far as training goes, listen to your body. Don’t go too fast or too far.
  2. When you’re upping your training, increase your speed or distance, not both.
  3. Look at the records and then make a goal for yourself that you think you can do.
  4. Visualize, and when you visualize, picture yourself breaking those records.
  5. Never give up.

These rules can be applied to any runner training for any distance. After reading these rules, I find myself thinking of #2 often on my long runs – I need to remember to take it very slowly. I always want to run faster and at a pace that my legs cannot maintain. Then comes the blow  out…

I am determined to not let this happen during this training session. Here is my motto:

slow and steady