Posted by: Karen | June 20, 2006

Longest Pre-Marathon Run

I arose on Sunday morning at 4:30 a.m., after getting to bed at around 11:30 p.m. I had wanted to get to bed earlier, but the weekend was just too full. Heck, I probably won’t be running my marathon on much sleep either, so I considered it part of the training. The group run downtown didn’t start until 7 a.m., but I wanted to drink some hot coffee and get the digestive stuff out of the way.

The Running Room group I ran with was covering most of the marathon route, only shortening the westest end of the out-and-back, to make it close to 32 km. Mike, the leader of the group was very friendly. He asked about my running history and I gave him a summary. I told him one of the reasons for showing up with them today was that I hoped to cover a more accurate distance. He joked that “You’ve shown up with the wrong group then!” He gave me a map. Their slowest member, Sheila, stayed with me for quite a while. Good thing her knee was bothering her.

For the first 2 hours I ran with Sheila at probably a faster speed than I should have.  It would have been a GREAT pace for me for a half marathon. She helped me stay on course through the route behind the Stampede Grounds, around the zoo, through Bridgeland, and back on to Memorial again. Mike was great about lagging behind the faster groups, to wave at us from key intersections. Ah, back to the river pathway. Now I knew where all the bathrooms were 🙂 Sheila and I veered off the map to stop at the Eau Claire Y bathroom and then carried on together.

I had been a Chatty Kathy for the first couple of hours, but over time I got quieter and quieter as the pace got harder and harder to maintain. I let Sheila go at somewhere around Home Road. She dug out her Ipod and I watched her fade away. She had been great company, and I look forward to seeing her on race day. Thanks, Sheila!

I turned around at 33 Avenue and Bow Crescent. That might make my run closer to 31 km instead of 32, but at that point I was walking and whiny and tired and grumpy. I dumped out the dregs of my Ultima, refilled with water, and soaked my neckerchief at a water fountain.

“I can DO this.”

The distance between the Shouldice and Crowchild bridges was the hardest mental and physical effort I’ve ever made in my training. My 10/1s became closer to 8/2s. I was running slower than 14 minute miles. When I had about 5 walk-breaks to go I started saying it out loud as I counted them down, and that helped me regain some momentum. Remembering, as Ellie said once, to BREATHE deeply helped quite a bit. Amazing how much air my body needs to run a long distance.

It took me 4:19.
3 bathroom breaks; none traumatic (one in bushes, however).
1 itty bitty blister on the outside of my left big toe. Didn’t notice that until Sunday night before bed.
1 achey left knee slightly below the joint – no big worry.
1 achey right arch Monday morning – not serious. Gone now.
no chafing or sunburn problems whatsoever.
sinuses gave me a dehydration, dull-throb headache Sunday afternoon, pain level 1/10

At noon Sunday when I got home I could barely move. Thankfully the family was already off to a picnic. I slipped into a lukewarm bath which I then cooled down with ice for about 10 minutes. Then I had a warmish (not hot) shower to clean up and warm up. I ate a big can of chicken vegetable chunky soup, 2 cookies and 2 glasses of milk.

Once I felt human again, I packed up the car (took me 2 hours, I was nearly braindead) and drove an hour North out past Cremona to Hubby’s family’s Father’s Day picnic. Sunday night I had an earache and downed 1000 mg Vitamin C, one zinc lozenge and a cup of echinacea tea for good measure.

Monday I felt a little stiffer than I usually do after a long run, but still managed to walk somewhat normally (a big flight of stairs to my office). I drank lots of water and made sure I ate some fiber and fresh fruits and veggies (in case I needed to combat the Imodium I took Sunday).

I am not going to be good for much, mentally at least, for the Penguin Stampede banquet. I hope Dawn and Dianne will still have their brains in working order by that point, because mine will be seriously oxygen-deprived.

Thanks for all your encouraging comments over the last couple of days. I hope to answer you all individually very soon.

Did somebody say TAPER?



  1. You are well-prepared and you’re going to rock that marathon! Don’t forget to HAVE FUN!! I know you will!!!!

  2. Everyone you have EVER MET is now saying, “TAPER. TAPER!!! TAPER!!!”


    Karen’s gonna ROCK CLLGARY *M*!!!

  3. um…that was supposed to be CALGARY. (looks kinda like Gaellic…or airline code…CLLGARY. LOL)

  4. the cool thing about this run is that you did everything right post run. the ice bath, the rehydrating, the fueling. you did the whole thing smart, karen. great job!

    enjoy the taper madness, now. it’s a load of fun going bonkers as you run shorter and shorter and feel more and more discombobulated.

    just remember, you’ve put in all the hard work, now it’s time to rest. fantastic job, karen!


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