Nat Couture: Reflecting on my Season

September 20, 2016

After a 2 week hiatus from running I'm now taking the time to reflect on the season I've had. It feels like many years have passed since I ran Boston in April. I remember feeling disappointed with how my run went there. Cramping and quad soreness progressively slowed my pace in the last 10k and even crippled me to a walk in the last mile of the race. My goal of a sub 2:45 was out of the question and I knew it as I struggled to get through the Newton hills, so by the time I crossed the finish line I already had plans to run a redemption marathon. This turned out to be the Fredericton marathon a few weeks later. I felt no pressure to perform for Fredericton so I went out pretty relaxed spending most of the race enjoying every minute, smiling, chatting and giving high fives. The race wasn't without issues, as I lost my 3 gels within the first kilometer so I did this run without fuelling at all and felt a little flat towards the end. I think a few gels would have perked me up towards the end but who knows. Fredericton went better than Boston and I ran a personal best 2:48:04, still not my season objective of 2:45, but not bad for a back to back marathon. I then took time to rest before ramping the training up to prepare for a set of 3 ultramarathons that I'd be doing in August. I was very calculated with my training, ramping up slow and steady, and peaking at the perfect time for the first run. My first run was Brookvale on the first weekend in August and although I treated like a training (fitness test) run, I took nearly 30 minutes off my previous best at the race. This was a big boost, giving me confidence going into the first of my two 100 mile runs, namely Eastern States 100. I had high hopes for ES and felt like I was well prepared for the terrain, the humidity and the heat. Things didn't go as planned and I spent most of the race thinking about quitting. I felt awful very early on, and had some of the worst spasms and muscle cramping issues I've ever encountered in a race. Needless to say I learned quite a bit on this run and hopefully I'll be better prepared for this if I ever encounter these types of conditions again. I completed the run against my better judgement and wrecked my body in the process. Upon arriving home I had my doubts about the second 100 miler that was coming up in 2 weeks. I stayed calm, took lots of recovery blends and cared for my feet and just hoped I'd be ready as I'm not one to give up when a few bumps appear in the road. By race day I felt great and ready to go again, although I hadn't really run since ES. The Gaspesia100 was a new race so I had no expectations of time but knew that at a small race like this I should be near the front. Despite some difficulties with the course markings I ended up having a great race there running strong from start to finish, and earned my first 100 mile victory in the process. 

When it was all said and done, I ended up racing 450 kilometers this year, more than any other year, and I felt I performed very well at each event despite a few hiccups.