half training weeks thirteen/fourteen: last weeks before the race

views from montserrate, bogota 
I'll keep this post short, because the last two weeks before the race weren't super eventful. I pushed my mileage up a little too quickly last week (11 to 16k) and developed runner's knee. It's not super painful or anything, just mild discomfort. Either way, not ideal. There is a reason why they tell you not to increase mileage by more than 10% each week. This is a good reference for increasing mileage, but it's important to note that it's different for everyone. Some can handle more, some less. I guess my body just wasn't ready for that long distance increase. I've been doing some research and found a helpful article that guides you through increasing your mileage based on what you're currently running. Essentially, you should increase your mileage based on the mileage you're comfortable with and take recovery weeks (reduced/easier runs) every 4-6 weeks.

Week of September 11
Monday - 4.3k, 6:01/km

Tuesday/Thursday/Friday - rest

Wednesday - 5k, 5:51/km (track)

Saturday - cross (bike)

Sunday - 11k, 6:43/km
It was really hot today. One thing I really enjoy about running through the trails between summer and autumn is the smell of apples that have fallen from the trees, kind of a sticky sweet but tart at the same time. Crab apples. This is the smell of autumn coming.

Week of September 18
A singular run, 5k on Wednesday, average pace 6:21/km

Reflecting on my progress over the past fourteen weeks, I think I did pretty well! At the beginning of my training, 5k was effort. Now, the 5k distance is pretty comfortable. Definitely could be faster, but at least it's not as strenuous as before. 10k is still not a distance I'm super comfortable with, so I think I'm going to continue with that distance and try to make that into my new 5k. I did a pretty good job of following my training schedule, until the last few weeks when I kind of flew off the rails due to a combination of knee pain, work being hectic, and the sun setting much earlier. I'm not a huge fan of road running because cars totally kill my vibe, and pavement is harder on the knees than dirt paths, and it's hard to run in the dark on the trails because it's pitch black. Perhaps I should invest in a headlamp.

Speaking of gear, Google told me about a running store near Oakville. My friend Sunny is in the market for running shoes so we decided to check it out. It's called "Du Tri and Run" and had a singular five star rating on Google. We arrived in the plaza that looks like "all of the stores here sell tiles" and various other industrial items. Google said the store was open. It was not. It was a hilarious experience because a) what a place to have a store b) there was a paper sign saying the store was closed c) we were just so confused. We peeped through a crack between the curtain and the window and did see some running gear, various dri-fit things...so it's' a real store. Just...closed. Good times. I don't think I'll ever go back there. We ended up at the good 'ol Running Room.

It's been a hot week and I was getting antsy for my run. The last week before the race was spent eating a lot of carbs and trying to mentally prepare myself for running at least two hours straight.