Late winter/early spring is always a busy time for Team DuChene and this one proved to be no different.
I am relieved to know that I survived:
Four consecutive 160 km weeks in the coldest month in recorded history.
Two consecutive 170 km weeks in two different training environments.
One 20 km tempo run, one 38 km long run, and one 6×1 mile repeat workout in the same week as six Disney excursions with my family.
My three kids’ birthday parties in seven weeks.
Since racing a steady 74 minute Chilly Half Marathon on March 1, everything has nicely fallen into place. I had another 160 km week to transition into my highest two training weeks of 170 km/week, which were planned for Houston and Orlando.
Back in the fall, we knew it was going to be necessary to escape the Canadian winter in order to log some quality kilometres at the right time in preparation for my April marathon. I could build a base in the winter months and consistently cross train but would especially need reliable footing in order to take it to that next level of fitness.
Mary Davies graciously offered that I train and live with her and I gladly took her up on the offer. So, on March 7 I flew to Houston and spent 10 days with her and her family. It was absolutely amazing. Mary was so hospitable and I felt very much at home. Her husband and mother-in-law were super supportive of our schedules, and an integral part in meal preparation and childcare. I helped out with some dishes, meal prep and playing with the kids but it was nowhere near what I would have had to handle at home. Each and every day I napped and rested in bed for nearly two hours in the afternoon. Two hours! At home, at the most, it is 45 minutes. And in the evenings, I was in bed between 9-10 pm. Rest and sleep have been priorities during this build and being in Texas was the perfect opportunity to continue implementing this. I am so grateful for Mary and her family.
As for training, our coaches were able to work with each other’s plans in order to optimize our opportunity as partners yet keep the consistency we were each used to. So when I arrived, Mary had just finished two difficult days and I was able to adjust to my new environment as we enjoyed our first runs together at an easy pace. When I was there, it was cool and gray. Mary kept apologizing for the “cold” conditions but I reminded her that it was nothing, coming from -35 C with the wind! We got into a good routine with our morning runs and afternoon cross training sessions at the gym. Our speed and tempo workouts were done at Rice University with her coach, Jim Bevan. Jim and I enjoyed chatting about my Petrolia, Ontario background – the training camp I attended at Rice U. 20+ years ago, my friend and teammate Erin Brand, who went on to run for the Owls and our wonderful track coach, Murray Jackson. Mary and I did a bit of running with Becky Wade who debuted with a 2:3? at the 201? California Marathon but she was at the very end of her taper, getting ready to race the USA Marathon Championships in L.A., California. Other than the bit of humidity that played a bit with my G.I. system (that also happened to many of us at the training camp, years ago!), it was an absolutely wonderful and perfect experience. I didn’t know it at the time but I logged my highest ever mileage week while there. On the final day, I did some 1 km repeats while Mary completed a paced run around campus. After a quick shower and breakfast, she drove me back to the airport to say our goodbyes. Mary is one great mom, wife, friend, daughter and marathoner! She juggles it all so well and with so much grace. I certainly admire her.
My flight to Orlando was rather uneventful, which is always desired when travelling. But when I got to the airport and checked my messages, I realized it was going to be a very late night. Jonathan was flying with the kids whose flight ended up being delayed by nearly three hours. I got a coffee and pulled out my laptop to do some work, which helped kill the time. It was great to see the kids again and their excitement upon their first airplane ride. After a few complications with getting the rental van, finding our way to and checking in at our resort, getting groceries, and settling in, I was in bed at 1:00 am with my alarm set for 6:00 am. Coach Rick planned that our Disney excursion days would be my easy run days. The first 48 hours of the trip were crazy but eventually I settled into another routine. When the 7 day trip was over, I successfully logged 170 km of running with some pool running AND Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Animal Kingdom, Downtown Disney, the evening Disney fireworks and electric parade, and Hollywood Studios. Naturally my body let me know it was too much by losing the battle to a nasty cold but I’m at the end of it now, as I begin my taper for my April 12 Marathon.
I have another 10 days at home before I get on another flight to put all this work into place. It has been a unique and challenging journey but I look forward to seeing what this body can do at another 42.2 km.
|Getting my preventative maintenance done in the early hours of the morning before our flight home from Florida.|
|Team DuChene with the mice.|
|Enjoying a Starbucks treat after one of many enjoyable runs together.|
|Coach Jim Bevan at Rice U.|
|The girls taking a break at Disney while the boys head off for a ride.|
|Fuel and hydration prep before our 40 km run in Houston, Texas.|