Ok, so before I get into STWM talk let’s chat about the season post-Boston until now.  As I mentioned last blog (you know, that thing I wrote several months ago) Boston was always planned to be “part” of my season… not the be all, end all of it.  My training after Boston went really well, and since I had not hit the mark with my Stanford 10,000m I knew that if asked, I would run the marathon at Common Wealth Games.  That meant rolling over into another build.  My coach and I looked at my racing options for the Spring/Summer and realized there’d be a lot of em… two 10ks and two half marathons to be exact.  The first plan of action was to decide which (if any) of those races would be an “A” effort, and which I would train through.  The second plan was to decide what sorta mileage I’d hit in my build for CWG.  For Boston I had my highest mileage of any marathon build so far. I was holding 110-115 miles a week on average and though I felt really strong, I really didn’t feel like it made me any more prepared for the race distance. It was a fairly easy conclusion that with the added strength sessions with Dameian I would cut my mileage back to 90-100 miles a week. (I actually intend to blog more about the tortures of Dameian… stay tuned).

The Races

Ottawa Race Weekend 10k: This race was only about six weeks after Boston and about 4 weeks into workouts with Dameian and intervals on my trusty hills and loop down here in Chattanooga.  As much as I wanted to blast away the time I ran last year (32:46), I knew within the first few km that the leg turnover was not there and that I’d be running for top Canadian spot against Rachel Hannah.  Rachel caught me just after the 5k split and had pulled away from me by 7k.  Much like last year I had to come back and turn it on the last km or so to take top Canadian. It was a fun rust buster and I was happy that I had some finishing “kick”.

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Calgary Half Marathon:  After Ottawa I flew out the following weekend to Calgary to speak at their race expo and test out the course that will serve as next year’s Canadian half marathon championships. Not a bad idea, especially since Ottawa will serve as the 2015 10k Championships… how’s that for a double whammy.  The goal for this race was to wear Gladyss the Garmin and keep the pace very controlled until the final 5k where I could pick it up.  I loved spending time in Calgary, got “white-hatted” and really enjoyed the course.

That weekend my lil’ nephew Rowen was born, so I got to run with a little bit of extra bounce in my step.

New York Mini 10: After a weekend off of racing, I headed to New York to try my hand at another 10k.  “Lanni Marchant to race legendary women’s only NYC 10K” This was my first time at this event and I think it is now one of my favourites!  It was such a fun weekend hanging out with all the ladies, running and racing around Central Park and I even managed to come away with a slightly faster time than Ottawa on a hillier course.

Vancouver Half Marathon: Vancouver and I have a love-hate relationship. This year I wanted to go back for the win, but knew I had to do so with a controlled effort.  Vancouver was about showing that I was fit and ready for CWG, not necessarily about going after a course record… sometimes in a marathon build you have to eat your humble pie.  As per usual, I was able to see my lil’ big sis Samantha and get in some awesome runs with Natasha, Dayna, and Rob.

Common Wealth Games: OK, so CWG was definitely a big one… that kinda goes without saying. I felt a bit like the odd [wo]man out being the only marathoner heading to Glasgow for Canada, but I was definitely excited.  I had one long run and workout left to do before lining up to race and was lucky enough to have our Athletics Canada Head Coach join in on the long run fun on a bike and even got some of the other staff members out for the running fun… though that did result in some hobbling around… oops.

I kept my routine pretty low key before the race – carb loading, massage and physio, easy runs. The temps ended up being a lot warmer than anticipated and I’ll admit I had some flashbacks to last year’s world champs… but then the day before my race the typical grey sky returned and I realized I’d likely be running in some humid and/or rainy conditions… bring on the red hat!

The race itself was actually a blast. I was one of the women individually called up to the starting line – whoa is that a way to get the nerves flowing, and before I knew it, we were off. Trent and I had tweaked my nutrition and I knew roughly where my bottles would be on the course (luckily it was two loops, so after the first loop there was absolutely no guessing which end of the line I would find my bottle table).

This was probably the most tactical marathon I have ever run… pace did not matter… clearly, since we split our first 10k over 36 min.  By 15k the Africans had decided they were done playing and made a quick move to the gap the rest of us. My plan was to stay with the chase pack through the first loop and then I had the go ahead from coach Dave to go for it.  Just before the end of the first loop I started to drop the two other women I was running with. It wasn’t so much that I had picked up the pace, more that they had seemed to slow down a bit going into one of the inclines on the course. This meant that I was likely going to have to run the second loop of the course on my own.  By now the rain and wind had picked up a little bit – Glasgow weather… such fun – so I didn’t worry about splits and just tried to keep my effort consistent. At about 25k I knew I had made up ground on one of the Africans who was running in 3rd. By 32-33k I had continued to gain on 3rd, but started to have some left calf issues (damn thing) and was getting caught by the Aussie in 5th. Ugh… nothing is more frustrating that that stupid left calf.  I got swallowed up by the Aussie and could tell that she was going to keep going after 3rd. My goal going into the race was top 5… so I was still pretty solid at this point in the race, but in my mind 5th was now last and I needed to keep pressing to catch the African who was now 4th.  I caught the African with about 1k to go and came into the home stretch.  What an awesome experience. After my finish at Worlds last year where there was no one left in the stadium, it was such a great feeling coming into the park with so many people lining the road cheering.  No medal, but I was pretty pumped with my run.

My recovery post-marathon was fantastic. I felt a little bonky when I got back to the village, but was able to nab (ok steal) some food from the staff, had a beer stolen on my behalf, and immediately get some IST to knock out the junk in my legs.

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I was a little slow moving the rest of the day and evening, but actually made it up and down the stairs to the pantsless third floor room I shared with some of the best roommates ever!

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After returning to North America, recovery continued to be easier than in the past.  I was jogging 10-20 minutes three days after the race, and got back into the swing of training runs pretty easily when I got home to Tennessee.

Home is where the heart is, and it’s where the celebratory burgers and beers were waiting too…