February 14-15, 2016
Today is Valentine’s Day and I am sitting alone in my pyjamas in my hotel room after having dinner alone. It is the first February 14 I haven’t spent with my husband.
Tomorrow is Family Day and I will spend most of it alone without my family, on my return trip home.
After racing the Vancouver First Half Marathon, I was to fly home in the afternoon but that flight was cancelled, forcing me to wait until the next morning. But it didn’t bother me. You see, every day spent with my husband is filled with tremendous mutual love and respect. And every day spent with my family is family day. I don’t need these days marked on a calendar. This Olympic year is about saying no more than yes. I cannot and will not try to be super mom/wife and do it all. So if it means a lot of sacrifices along the way, so be it. We can celebrate in exactly six months on August 14 after the Olympic Women’s Marathon when Team DuChene is in Rio. Not alone.
|Last indulgence for six months until the Olympic Marathon in Rio on August 14, 2016. Chocolate always tastes better after a race!|
January 17, 2016. Aramco Houston Half Marathon – Houston, Texas.
|Photo: Alan Brookes. Many Canadians headed to Texas to race in the half or full marathon.|
The Houston Half Marathon was my 2016 season opener after my two December 10 km and 16 km rust busters. I knew I was far from my best but was ready to test my fitness and put in a solid effort. Race conditions were ideal and I completed the race in 74 minutes, exactly the time I expected. The 1st km felt the same as the 21st and I enjoyed racing against a deep field of women, many Americans chasing the standard or preparing for the USA Olympic Trials. I did not have high expectations for a good placing with such a deep field but was pleased to be the first Canadian woman and pick off a few Americans near the end. Eyeing my competition ahead without paying much attention to my finishing time was great experience for the Olympic Marathon where placing means far more than finishing time as the course is often more suited for spectators than participants, and conditions are often far less than ideal.
February 14, 2016. Vancouver First Half Marathon – Vancouver, British Columbia.
|Photo: Frank Stebner.|
|Photo: Rita Ivanauskas.|
The Vancouver First Half Marathon was to be a bit faster than Houston but with windy and rainy conditions on a curvy course along the seawall, it didn’t happen. In fact most people ran slower times. Going into the race, Dayna and I knew 72:25 was the time to beat in order to secure a spot on the World Half Marathon team. When my fitness progresses, it is steady and consistent but reasonable so running two minutes faster than the month before was a bit of an ambitious goal but I was prepared to give it a go. Dayna and I discussed our strategy. She was going to go out hard, and I was going to try to eventually catch her. By the 5 km mark I knew it wasn’t the race for fast times so I put in a solid effort, again feeling like my 1st and 21st kilometres were the same. When training for Rotterdam last year, I had many workouts that Coach Rick and I counted as “solid effort” workouts, usually because it was running intervals around the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre in -30 C temps. It got the job done. Being attentive to splits is important but tossing the watch can also be of equal benefit once in a while.
March 6, 2016. Chilly Half Marathon – Burlington, Ontario.
Last year when I raced the Chilly Half, I was elated; it solidified my confidence that I could achieve the Canadian standard for the Olympic Games. And I did, six weeks later. This year I will enter the race, hoping for another solid effort and hopefully a faster time. With the name, “Chilly” in the race title, it will be no surprise if the day brings snow or extremely cold temperatures but we have had a mild winter in Ontario so far so I will approach it with optimism.
March 26, 2016. IAAF World Half Marathon Championships – Cardiff, Wales.
Making the World Half Marathon team has always been a secondary goal for 2016. If I run the necessary time on March 6, the day before the end of the qualifying period, I’ll be thrilled. Not only will representing my country at another international competition be a huge honour but it will help prove my fitness to be named to the Olympic team, and give me a tremendous experience running against some of the women I may compete against in Rio.
April 3, 2016. Around the Bay 30 km – Hamilton, Ontario.
Racing the Around the Bay 30 km race is a no-brainer if I don’t make the World Half Marathon team. It is so close to home, draws an incredible crowd, and is a challenging final race as a finale to my winter/spring racing before a decrease in mileage prior to commencing my marathon build for Rio. I have done this race several times and it never disappoints. I can sleep in my own bed the night before and be home again in the early afternoon after racing.
So, onward I go. Steadily and consistently chasing my dream to be at my best, six months from now!