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Defying the 26km curse...

Posted Aug 08 2013 11:35am
I just spent a lovely week up at the cabin including lots of time in the sun, on the boat and at the beach. I was planning to get some posts done while I was away but our only internet access is via the cellular network which is spotty there at best.  Unfortunately the service was practically non existent this trip so my apologies for the hiatus!

Boat time!

I was lucky to get in a few good runs while I was there.  And by 'good' I actually mean 'hard' - the roads around the cabin are all super hilly and every time I run out there it's like a workout and a half.  My sister is training for her first full marathon right now (which we'll be running this fall) so we were able to do our long run together this past Sunday - 26km.

Now I don't know about you but whenever I hear "26km" I shudder a little.  That's because I seem to be cursed running that specific distance! The first time I ever attempted to run 26km I ran into the bus stop pole and got a concussion. The second time I attempted a 26km run I finished it but stepped in a small hole and strained my calf at the beginning of my training for the Run for Water ultra marathon.

I was definitely a repeat victim of the 26km curse!

Since then I've kind of just avoided running that exact distance and have opted for 25km or 27km instead. Until this past weekend. It was time to try it again.

Our plan was to run from the cabin along Eagle Bay Road finishing at the Blind Bay Marketplace Store in Blind Bay where someone would pick us up.  The road follows the lake the whole way and despite being very hill for the first 10km, is a very scenic and lovely route to run.

Looks long when you see the whole thing on a map!
Our group included my sister and myself, a couple other ladies from the community and my husband who planned to run with us for the first 10-15km but he didn't seem to be quite as excited about the run as we were...

Hope he doesn't mind that I posted this goofy picture!
We headed out at 5:30 am so that we could get our run done and carry on with our day. Admittedly I was a bit nervous because my sister and the other ladies are much faster runners than I am. Especially when it comes to long runs. I'm a big believer in going nice and slow on long days and my 'slow' is much 'slower' than theirs. My sister had previously told everyone she was going to run with me that morning so at least I knew I'd have some company (and protection if we ran into any bears!)

No matter how hard you try, it's always tough not to run a bit faster when you're with faster runners. We all ran together for the first while and it was definitely a manageable pace for me but faster than I'd have run if I was on my own. Around 7km Hubs turned around to head back. Just around the corner we stopped at Shannon Beach for a pit stop (read: potty stop). Lucky for us Shannon Beach is a very pretty place to have a potty!

Around 10km another lady from our community drove out to meet us and her daughter (who started the run with us) was going to drive home from there because she had to work. The rest of us carried on.

For the most part I was feeling pretty good. It's hard not to enjoy a run when you get to run in such a pretty place. I just love looking at all of the cabins and checking out the docks and boats on the lake. Its so much nicer to take it all in on foot.

Somewhere around 18km is where I started to get kind of pooped. The two faster ladies had pulled ahead a few km earlier when I felt like I needed to take the full minute at each walk break (up until then I'd been walking just long enough to grab a drink and was pretty much keeping up) My sister and I continued to run together and most of the hills were behind us but I was still feeling tired. We decided to turn up the tunes and put our heads down.

I'm not sure if it's just the hills or if I started off running to quick for a 26km run or maybe if it's just the altitude compared to home but I always find my cabin runs a bit harder than usual. This run was pretty good on the whole but I definitely needed to focus those last 8km because my legs were feeling pretty heavy. It's amazing what turning up the volume can do! Ha ha.

At 22km my sister passed me and told me that Carmel Beach was just ahead. I was happy and sad at the same time. Carmel Beach was getting close to our end point but there was a nasty hill right there in that corner that I was NOT looking forward to. I flipped to a good song and trudged my way up. Phew! So glad to get that hill done!

After Carmel Beach we were into Blind Bay and on the home stretch. Had to mark this milestone with a sweaty selfie of course!

Blind Bay in the background!
Just a few more km and we'd be at the store. My sister looped back a few times and we made a few jokes and tried to get through those last few km smiling. With less than a km to go my sister's husband passed by in his truck on his way to the store. Yay! I knew he had a jug of chocolate milk in that truck which put a pep in my step!

Our last little path before the store, lined with
these pretty little flowers
When I got to the parking lot I was 200m short so I circled the parking lot a couple times until I passed 26km. And yes, then I laid down on this picnic bench. Ahhh, finished!

We all stretched and drank chocolate milk and chatted about our run. Everyone had a good run which is awesome because it was the longest distance ever for my sister and one of the other ladies. Even though she said the last few km were a bit tougher, my sister is doing so awesome with her training and I know she could have run this distance at a much faster pace. She is totally going to rock her marathon this fall. Too bad I won't be there to see her finish though, I'll still be trudging along on the course! Ha ha.

I posed with the chocolate milk in hand for that first picture but my sister told me I was being geeky - not sure the second pic is any less geeky though! Regardless, I was happy and feeling good. Another 26km in the bank.

And even better yet? No poles. No holes. I defied the 26km curse! Phew!

It certainly wasn't my fastest 26km but it was a good run. Here's what we did:
  • Total distance: 26.09km
  • Total time: 2:50:44
  • Average pace: 6:33/km
I wish I could have kept my pace a bit more consistent but overall I'm happy with the average pace. If I could run in that range of pace for Surrey Marathon I could potentially take off a good chunk of time from my last marathon finish which would be cool. The upcoming long runs 29-35km will be good indicators I think.

Anyhow, we got driven back to the cabin, showered up and hit the dock a bit later in the day to enjoy some sun...

We were hanging out, having a couple of drinks and planning to head out on the boat for some surfing when we noticed that the sky was getting a bit dark. We held off on the boat for a bit and sure enough the winds started picking up too!

Within minutes we had a full-fledged storm on our hands and everyone pretty much packed up and fled the dock. The water got so choppy so quickly we could barely stand up! The waves were crashing up over the dock and one lady got knocked in when the tube in her boat slip got picked up by the wind and knocked her in! It was crazy.

We hung around for a bit and helped some of the boaters get their boats safely into their slips and tied up before finally heading back up to the cabin. I can't believe how quickly the storms come up on Shuswap Lake.

So it was a bit of a crazy ending to an otherwise good day. Take that, 26km curse!

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