As you’ll see in the summary, there was next to no running this week (bloody work). As much as I know that a long run with no prep runs beforehand doesn’t go well, I picked Saturday for it because it was supposed to be the coolest day for a while.
And when I took the dogs out for a walk, it was actually quite cool so I was looking forward to hitting the trails. Then I stepped out of the car and could already feel the humidity as I strapped on my pack. It was heavy with more water, both soft flasks in the front pockets full with sports drink, the side pouches with food, and the back with more food. And since a race was in the REALLY near future, I also packed some of the supplies that I had to carry.
I felt good as I set off. This time I started fueling early to avoid the 20 km slump that I’ve been feeling during the past couple of long runs. For fuel, I had a small baggie of pretzels, some boiled salted potatoes, and some pouches of baby food ready to go. I’ve never used the potatoes and pretzels before so I was curious to see how it worked. The drink was also a new addition, using a recipe I had found on line that is basically different kinds of sugars and salts. It’s a knock-off of a drink that’s really popular with ultra runners. The problem is that I can’t find it being sold at any store in Ontario and to have it shipped would double the cost. Seriously it actually doubled the cost when I went to order it. I don’t think so.
I stuck with my strategy of walking up the hills and running everywhere else. I also started out in a different direction. I found that when I left the boundary of the forest, the Transcanada Trail is not as well marked. In fact…not marked at all. There were a few times when I crossed a road and stopped looking for the trail marker and then turned around to go back the way I came.
I wasn’t really paying attention to where I was headed since there was plenty of trail to cover. I was quite surprised when I emerged from the thick trees to see a ski lift. I was confused. There are two ski resorts close to town so I figured it was the closer of the two. After climbing to the top of a massive (at least it felt like it) hill, I stopped to take a photo of the view and took a peak at the map on on phone and was stunned to see that I was actually at the ski resort that was farther than I thought.
I noticed that it seemed to be a mushroom run. Everywhere I looked, there were brightly coloured mushrooms and I just have to stop and take a few pics.
As the run went on, I started to feel the heat taking effect and I felt the pace getting slower and the definition of a hill seemed to change slightly to allow for more walk breaks. As I hit and then passed my previous distance of 35 km, my brain started talking to me. It started suggesting things like: slow down, you can walk, you’ve gone far enough and the dogs are at home.
Oh was that tempting. So tempting. It was hot. My water was gone and the drink not far behind. It was hot. My feet were getting sore. Did I mention it was hot? I began to do an inventory on how I was feeling. Did I want to stop because I hurt? Not really, just sore feet. Was I feeling sluggish? Take some food. Was I thirsty? Suck it up buttercup and get back to the car.
Then I remembered the 40% rule: when you feel like you’re finished you actually have 40% left. It was the kick in the pants I needed and kept going.
Finally I heard my watch beep and when I stopped it, the display read 50 km. I had run 50 km through hilly trails in 7:12. This was the longest run I had ever done.
I know that I broke the running rule of not increasing distance by more than 10% but I needed this. I needed to know that I could cover the distance, that I have a chance of finishing. In less than two weeks, I’ll be toeing the line in Quebec and now I feel like I may actually make it through this.