Sunday I managed to get up for the early morning run at the Running Room. Even though I didn't get to bed until at least after 12 I knew I had to get up early. If I didn't, I'd lose the chance of enjoying a run in the sunny weather.
I only had time for a Quinoa sesame snap bar and some water. I chose this because the bar had the most carbs out of all the quick snacks I had on hand. I was still on the detox so I wanted to save the protein shake until after the run since you're supposed to fuel up with protein post-run.
My hope was to run with the half marathon group and start training with them from now on. Last week I ran with the 10 k group which was good, but I wanted to add a little more distance.
When I arrived just after 8:30 the groups were already heading out the door. I asked a woman which group she was in. She said "half marathon 18 k." Damn. 18 k. I was hoping for 14 or maybe 16 k. I'm not really ready for 18 k. Or am I? I checked the schedule on the board and the 10 k group were doing 10k (not enough). The marathoners were doing 29 k (have a nice time). I'd have to go with the 18 k half marathoners and just run as far as possible. I'd turn back when I'd had enough.
Outside one of the group leaders was going over the route and handing out lists with directions. They were taking one of the Pitt River trails so that was a plus. The trail would be definitely nice and soft to run on and it would be peaceful. I sort of knew the route and I knew I'd stick with the pack as much as possible so I didn't take the paper with directions.
Off we went. There must have been about 35 or 40 half marathoners in total. I ran my own pace. I didn't know anyone in the smaller group I broke off with, but I followed this small pack not sure if I could keep pace since I was about five or six strides behind them. I didn't know if this was the 2 hour group or the 2:15 or what. I was just running my pace.
We ran along the Coquitlam river trail into Poco where we had our first walk break. I was glad to see that we were taking the 10:1 walk breaks. I was losing some distance from the pack, because I had to stretch. I promised my physio I'd stretch once I was warmed up and I'm going to do it. I'm not going to risk further injury.
By the time we hit the next trail, Hyde Creek park, I was closer to the pack again. Two women breezed past me. They looked like marathon runners to me. By the time we exited the park one of the women had dropped back and I was just behind her. We ran into the Minnekhada park and I met the woman I had been running behind. We introduced ourselves as we ran along DeBoville Slough. I was keeping pace and feeling fine. Along the slough we saw three great blue herons. I also saw an eagle. I love running out there. It's so flat and the mountains are right there. The woman I was running with, D., had just done a mini trial triathalon the day before so she was feeling a little done-in and felt the pace was a bit fast for her. She was trying to keep the pack in sight just like me.
When we left the trail and hit the country road near the entrance to Minnekhada park, the pack had split into the front runners of about 8 or 9 people, the middle group of three or four, and the back two me and D. D was dropping back a little, but was still in view. Now I was tired, but I knew we had already started to head back. My calf was a bit tight but not painful. My achilles was doing okay. Again, no pain so I was okay. I was just tired. One Quinoa bar cannot sustain 18 k. I know that and I knew that going in.
I decided that once we got to the next turn I'd take the trail back instead of going up the hill with the group. The distance wouldn't be that different in the end, but there'd be no hill to tire me out more. I thought maybe I'd jog back and ask D. if she wanted to take the trail back with me since she was dropping further and further back and she didn't even know where we were going.
Of course when we came to the hill to run away from the park I went up the hill with the group. I just didn't want to give up. This was the same hill I had run up last week with the 10k group. However, this week I couldn't do it. I stopped half way to walk. I kept taking water, but I really needed fuel. I can't drink electrolyte drinks, or take gels because they often upset my stomach. I didn't even think to buy some Sharkies. I ran again before we reached the top. Now I had really dropped back, but I could still see runners up ahead so I could follow them because now I was also unsure of the route back.
Along the gentle downslope I looked back for D. and didn't see her. When we got to the next turn I looked back and finally caught sight of her. I waved and she waved back so I knew she'd seen me and would see the turn. I had to take an extra walk break and decided that I'd wait for D. and just keep pace with her for the rest of the run. We had about 4 1/2 k left. I jogged back to meet up with D. and she was so grateful for me having waited for her because she said she had no idea where we were or which way to go.
We ran together. We could still see 3 people ahead of us, one of whom was the woman D. had started her run with. We were able to follow the pack and keep going.
With three blocks left D. recognized where we were and started jumping for joy. She got a burst of energy and ran ahead to the stop light. We caught up with the other 3 there and everyone congratulated each other. It was really rewarding after a long run. Clearly we were all struggling together. One of the guys I had run with previously so we caught up since I hadn't seen him since before the Fort Langley half.
Even though I was very tired I was really relieved that I could go the distance and happy that I'd stuck it out instead of turning back early. My time is still a bit slow, but that will come with more training.
I iced my achilles when I got home and felt a little stiff by the end of the day, but not bad overall. I'm going to run with the group as much as possible, even though it means I don't get to sleep in on Sundays. The motivation is just what I need.