So, in typing the title for this post I have given myself the heebie jeebies as this plan is 18 weeks and I’m at 14!  How did THAT happen.  Anyway, what happened last week?

Well, I kicked it off with a pretty gruelling 12 miler in Chicago.  I’ve run here before and loved it, but this time the Windy City was especially drafty AND cold, also seemingly “under construction.”   This meant me, a girl with zero sense of direction… and often zero…sense, ran into more dead ends than a cemetery.

Chicago- go!

Chicago- go!

After this, I came back to Mason and it truly felt like I left my run mojo on Navy Pier.  Motivation for the next run was low.  It’s often said that half the battle to get out and run is mental… well, this is me, pre-run giving my mental self a jolly good talking to

You know you want to?

You know you want to?

And do you know what?  You’ll never regret a run, it’s true.  I ran 3 miles of misery, got to Mason track, started my 5 x 1K reps and then… in the distance I saw ORANGE GOODRs… that can only mean 1 thing, THE LAUCHNESS MONSTER himself, Mr Lauchlin MacGregor and the CinCity crew!  Yay!  Suddenly, the setting sun looked beautiful, my strides effortless and my mojo was restored.  Sometimes all your run needs is some good mates doing stairs around you and a sprinkling of hypothetical fairy dust.

Cin City got 26 problems but point 2 ain't 1 (geddit?)

Cin City got 26 problems but point 2 ain’t 1 (geddit?)

I finished my running week with an 18 miler.  I think you get to the point in marathon training where you can get a bit blasé about these long runs, but there is no mistaking this is A LONG WAY.  I managed to hook my feet into a random metal ring and take a face dive at 10 miles, resulting in some ouchie grazes and an overwhelming feeling of wanting to puke, but it soon passed and I managed to nail that last 8 in all within my required pace goals.

(This work out was supposed to be 14m of 18 at target marathon pace, which for me is 8:50mm, I managed to hit an overall average of 8:44.  This is an interesting one for me as my coach urges you to treat the long runs with respect, slowing right down and going for time on your legs.  In this instance, I gave the naughty step a swerve because overall it wasn’t too far out and this phase of training is about race prep.  I think the underlying advice though, is that for most of the long runs pushing pace is not the goal until race day).

Why are you looking so happy you've got 18 miles to run?

Why are you looking so happy you’ve got 18 miles to run?

My Weekly Inner Philosophical Debate:   Runsploring and Aqua Jogging

  1.  Runsploring

OK, my run in Chicago was challenging, but actually there is something so cool about being able to take your sport with you pretty much wherever you go.  All you need is your trainers and your own personal collection of techy, wicking garb and you are all set.  In my time, I’ve run in every continent bar South America, in about 6 States of the USA AND Canada.  I pretty much run wherever I go.  I guess I just run.  But what I guess I really wanted to say, is what an excellent way it is to connect with the places you go. I famously raved about my run last Christmas in Niagara Falls where no one was up and I had that little old waterfall all to myself.  OK, my tour of Chicago was a bit disjointed, but I managed to get views of that city I never would otherwise.

Isn’t running awesome?

2.  Aqua Jogging

There’s a theory that says the universe will send you the people (runners!) you need, when you need them.  If this is true, then the universe TOTALLY loves me and has sent me some stonkers.  Recently I got introduced to a lady called Angie – further to simply be known as Lovely Angie.  This lady is an awesome, seasoned runner and has run marathons in double figures including Boston.  Unfortunately she recently fell prey to a stress fracture and had to pull out of running Boston again.  She is a big supporter of Aqua jogging, something I heard about while injured last year but could never quite get my head around.

Anyway, so, when my other friend, Lovely Carman (for the Cincy runners reading this, it’s THE Carman of Carman’s Climb), also down with injuries, was looking for some “GIVE ME CARDIO PLEASE” solutions, Angie offered to show us the AJ ropes (or should I say floats).

OK, I confess this isn't me doing it, but I fully believe I looked this good.

OK, I confess this isn’t me doing it, but I fully believe I looked this good.

Basically, Aqua Jogging is where you wear a flotation belt (very simple, much more so than I was expecting) and simulate the running motion in deep water.   Your feet don’t touch the bottom of the pool.  It’s quite a funny thing to get your head around, but in the course of just over an hour we simulated easy running, sprints and form drills.  I so wish I’d known about it last year.  For anyone injured, or seeking some alternative cross training that eases pressure on the joints, I thoroughly recommend this.

So, a month to go, (whimpers), isn’t running awesome? *she says with less conviction 😉