It looks like winter has finally left us and on Sunday I only needed a thin hat, thin gloves and spring jacket for my long run. Of course, I decided to ruin the comfort of the mild temperatures by taking my first ever ice bath immediately after I got home.
Let’s talk about the run first.
I think I mentioned that I’ve been feeling uncomfortable with the fact that there is only one 20-mile run in the plan that I’ve been following since getting injured.
My plan said 14 miles for Sunday, so I decided to return to the Running Room, where my marathon group — which I have abandoned lately in favour of running alone — was planning to also do 14 miles due to it being a taper week for them.
In the back of my head I actually wanted to do 18 miles so I could set myself up to run two 20 milers before tapering a couple of weeks before the marathon. This would coincide with a few other beginner marathon plans I’ve read recently.
I told myself to make it through 14 miles and then reassess and make the smart decision.
It was great to be out running with the group again. The half-marathon clinic also followed our route so I enjoyed chatting with a few different people along the way. It made the front portion of the run go so much faster.
At 18K, the half-marathoners were finished, so I set off for another 5K with a woman from my marathon clinic who runs a similar pace. My parents also joined — they finished the day at 23K, a personal distance record for them!
At that point everyone was heading home to eat brunch, but I was feeling good and wanted to keep going. I filled up two of my bottles, took another gel, did some stretches, and set off for another 7K. I was determined to get it done.
That last section of the run definitely became painful. I was pretty seized up in my lower back. The miles seemed to be tick away much more slowly. Even so, I’ve never really struggled with the mental aspect of long runs. I know how to push myself through, which is going to get me through the marathon, I think.
At one point I ran by an older man who said — “You must be running far!” — I think he could tell I was struggling.
“29 kilometres,” I responded with a weak smile.
“All in one day? Congratulations!”
It was a nice boost to propel me to the finish.
I finished my 18 miles and was pretty proud to have a new distance record under my belt. My pace has progressively been getting faster with each long run, which is also encouraging.
I drove to the nearest gas station and bought two bags of ice before I could change my mind.
When I took my sneakers off I realized my toes had poked through my favourite socks.
As I poured the ice into the tub, it became very clear how much my life has changed since I started running. On Saturday night I drank water and ginger ale while out for “wine” with my girlfriends. I left early and was in bed by 10 p.m. Then I ran 18 miles out of my own freewill even after my running buddies had gone home.
And there I was back at home, alone, pouring two bags of ice into a bath I was planning to hop in.
I tried to get prepared. I wore a sweater, winter coat and my trusty fur hat.
It really sucked. The first minute was the worst. I think I probably stayed in for about five minutes. And I think it definitely helped my legs recover.
Here’s a pro tip, though: don’t call your husband while you’re in the beginning stages of your first ice bath. I’m pretty sure he thought I was dying and yelled at me to get out.
Six weeks until the Ottawa Marathon