River Run Classic and Beyond

Nearly two months ago I ran the half marathon in the River Run Classic. The River Run is an event I have a soft spot for, it was my first race when I started running in 2010. Last summer I had trained for and entered the half marathon, then took a bad spill from my  young horse just six days before race day and had to change my plans to a slow 5K instead. For the past year, the River Run half has felt like unfinished business and I’ve been determined to run it.

With just six weeks between the Saskatchewan Marathon (half) and the River Run, I thought training would be fairly simple – just maintain my fitness and things would be fine. The part I hadn’t considered was that my kids had finished preschool for the summer just a couple of days before the SK Marathon, and I had used those mornings to fit in my long training runs. Without a kid-free daytime option for the month of June, and with my husband busy in the field, I was forced to do most of my training on the mile-long loop of my driveway.  The driveway runs are a way to get training in, but they do get pretty tedious when you’re building up to ten laps.

Race day was clear and sunny. It was cool at the start, but a couple of friends were running the 10K, so I had people to chat with while I waited for the start.

I didn’t have any time goals for this race, I simply wanted to complete what I’d started a year ago and actually run it! As we left the scenic River Landing area and headed north I was pleased with the pace I was setting for myself, pretty much on track with what I’d run in the Saskatchewan Marathon half. My parents’ crescent backs onto the paved Meewasin Trail at the north end, so they and the kids had walked down to cheer for me as I ran past. I was pretty excited to see my mother-in-law there too! She had gotten up early and driven into the city just to see me run past. As my Dad has said before “distance running isn’t exactly an exciting spectator sport,” so it meant a lot to see her, my parents, and my kids there. My daughter ran beside me for 100m or so while I drank the water they’d brought me, then ran back with the empty bottle. The turn-around point was shortly after this, so they waited and cheered again.

When we headed back south towards River Landing again, the sun got high and HOT. It hit me like a ton of bricks and I utilized many more of the water stations than I had planned to. My pace slowed and I was glad I didn’t have a big goal to chase. I always want to run under two hours, so I told myself as long as I accomplished that I would be happy.

The second half of that run was so difficult. The sun blazed on. I was so relieved to see the finish line and my friend Melanie taking pictures!

Almost there!

Almost there!

Mel and I at the finish

Mel and I at the finish

I finished the race in 1:59:46. I had several popsicles from the cooler at the food tent and vowed I would never run a half marathon in July or August again! I still love the River Run, but I will definitely choose a shorter distance next year!

photo (40)

While I was running this race, I also came to terms with the fact that I need a break from longer distances. Between the farm, kids and horses I just have too much going on in the summer and I really resented the amount of running I “had” to do. I decided I would re-visit my goal of a sub-25 minute 5K and put half marathons on hold for a few months. a 5K would allow me to keep running, but eliminate the big time commitment required for a half. I had been training for half marathons for eight months and I just needed a break before I got overwhelmed.

In the weeks since the River Run I’ve been following Hal Higdon’s advanced 5K training plan and have my sights set on the Heartbeat Run 5K on September 15. I ran the 10K in the inaugural Heartbeat Run in 2012 and it was a great event. The last time I attempted a sub-25 5K was two years ago. I used this same training plan that time, but I just wasn’t ready for it. I was still a fairly new runner and now I know that it takes time to be able to tackle a plan like this, both physically and mentally. It’s going much better this time, and I feel strong and fast and ready to nail it!

New shoes = physical and mental boost! Bright = fast! ;)

New shoes = physical and mental boost! Bright = fast! 😉

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