Friday, April 30, 2010

3 Things... on Friday

1. Last night's speed work was a success. We switched it up with 4 x 1600 instead of 8 x 800, and I hoped to keep the pace as close as possible to my 800's (average of 3:40, which would translate to 7:20/mile) even though we were doubling the interval distance.

The results: 7:53, 7:32, 7:17, 7:12 (*average 7:28.5)

I was admittedly sandbagging it a bit on the first one because I got caught up chatting with someone who was aiming for 8:00/mile. No worries; I soon made up for that! Recovery intervals were only about 90 seconds (less than 200m) which is short for 1600m repeats.

2. This afternoon I'm off work early and meeting my Montréal running buddy Dave for our "long" run of 20K/12mi. I would typically run 25K/15mi for my first long run of taper, but I usually take Fridays off and we'll be heading out in the heat of the afternoon, so I'm not too worried about 5K at this point.

3. Sunday is Sporting Life 10K and I'm leaning towards not racing. Either way, I'm excited to meat up with Nolan's Dream Chasers (we have now raised $4540!) including Nolan and his family for dinner on Saturday.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What's with this wind?

We've had a couple of days of near-constant 40 kph (25 mph) winds with gusts of 55kph (34 mph). For that reason, approximately 50% of my run yesterday was extremely easy and the other 50% was extremely difficult. Same goes for today's lunch run.

Surprisingly, it doesn't seem to be affecting my pace. I ran 15K at 5:42/KM (9:10/mi) yesterday and 10K at 5:26/KM (8:45/mi) today - both quite comfortably.

Aside from the wind, it's been sunny and clear, so I really can't complain.

Not long now til the long range forecast is available for May 16th - uh oh!

Still to come this week:

  • Shakin' up the Yasso's with 4 x 1600 with the group tomorrow night;
  • Early long run Friday after work to accommodate for Sunday's 10K.

Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tuesday Tidbits

Thanks for all the comments and feedback on Sunday's run. What a great feeling to have the last loooooong run behind me. I'm feeling more sore and fatigued than usual, so I'll likely be logging some easy miles tonight and tomorrow before Thursday's speed work.

As some of you suggested, I will incorporate some Gatorade with my fluid intake in the days leading up to the race. I also plan to use salt capsules because the Eload caps I have been using don't offer as much sodium as I would like. Sneaker Sister recommended S!Caps which I almost ordered until I discovered the extortionate shipping to Canada. Instead, I went with Salt Stick, which Tall Mom has reviewed in the past.

I just hope it's not humid on May 16th.


Sporting Life 10K is this weekend. Thank you so much to everyone who has donated to Nolan's Dream Chasers; we have successfully raised $4,300.00 as a team so far.

Special thanks to Melanie, Paula, Alicia, Mark, Patricia, Tonia, Laurel, Jamie, Linzi, Aron, Kenny, Amanda, Heather, Lindsay, Marcia, Anne, Kathleen, Beth and Jen for donating and participating in my fundraising giveaway. The winner will be drawn this weekend after the race. My friend Erin (Nolan's Mom) even has a few goodies to add.

I haven't thought too much about goals for the race. I'd love to PR (sub-47:59), but I'm nervous about going all-out in a primarily downhill race just two weeks before my marathon. I know I would recover in plenty of time, but the risk of injury is looming in my mind.


I'll leave you with a few pics I snagged from the 21k de Montréal:

heading in to the finish line

crowded finish shot, I'm on the right near the middle and Dave is beside me in the yellow visor

finish clock shot

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Good, Bad, Ugly & "Other"

The Good

37 KM / 23 mi
5:43/KM = 9:12/mi

Compared to 37 KM in August '09:

6:19/KM = 10:10/mi

The Bad

The non-stop hills took their toll by the end of the run. All of our long runs incorporate several big climbs, but I was feeling it today. Slowed down and walked more than I would have liked during the last 10K, but I held on the best I could and didn't let it ruin my run. The hard ones make us stronger.

The Ugly

For some reason, I was so dehydrated today! It was cool but muggy (supposed to rain, but it didn't... I was wishing it would!) and I noticed that I was sweating more than normal. I was coated in salt and felt like my legs wanted to cramp up, despite drinking water like a champ all week, 60+ oz during the run (I even asked someone for a refill from their hose!) plus a bottle of gatorade plus my electrolyte capsules plus my usual gels. I was hurting by the end and still feel like I can't replenish. Not sure what's up with that...

Edited to add: Not enough Body Glide! :/ Of course I didn't discover this until I got in the shower. Ouchie!

The "Other"

A local half marathon was taking place today and we found ourselves on the course. It was an out-and-back and we ended up on the "back" portion for a short stretch, appearing as front runners (we have impeccable timing)! Many runners cheered for us, thinking we were leading the race. We did not correct them. :) (The first and second place runners did eventually pass us. Don't worry, we kept out of their way.) It was a fun distraction in the middle of our run, and I got to high-five Sarah's hubby who was out running a great race.

[ before ]

[ after ] (my hair is soaked!)

I'm glad that's done! Bring on taper.

Friday, April 23, 2010

This week in running

Thanks for all of your comments on my Montréal recaps.

Now that I'm back into the swing of things at home, let's get caught up on this week in running.

After getting home late Monday night and being up til 1:30AM (several hours past my bedtime), combined with going back to an extremely hectic day at work, I was exhausted. All I could manage on Tuesday was an easy 5K and I am just fine with that!

On Wednesday I headed out at lunch for a quick 10K, somewhere between half marathon and goal marathon pace (5:21/KM = 8:36/mi). After work I was able to meet up with a friend who ran Boston on Monday (!!!) for a nice little recovery run.

And finally, yesterday we had 7x800m Yasso repeats! As usual, I find myself between pace groups (kind of like pants sizes, hmmm....) but found someone to run with me and asked me to set the pace. My goal was to aim for the same splits as last week* (or better), increasingly faster throughout the workout.

Results: 3:51, 3:48, 3:44, 3:44, 3:37, 3:31, 3:24 (average 3:40)

*Last week: 3:54, 3:54, 3:43, 3:37, 3:32, 3:27 (average: 3:41)



Today - rest!

Tomorrow - easy 10K

Sunday - The Big One: 37K/23mi

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Montréal Weekend in Pictures

You've read about our adventure and you've read about our race, so here's a peak at the rest of our weekend in Montréal.

Excited about breakfast after our morning flight

Checking out the view from our hotel room

Attempting to read a map - it must be comical! (I am directionally challenged)


Catching the aubway

Lunch at the famous Schwartz's deli for smoked meat sandwiches.

Checking out the view from our rooftop terrace.

Chez Suzette for dinner.

The best french onion soup ever!

Mmmm, crepes! I ordered Chicken a la King.

And the best part:

At the Notre-Dame Basilica:

Having a rest


The long-awaited poutine! Can you tell I'm excited?

Posing with some architecture near our hotel

Au Revoir Montréal!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

21k de Montréal

The initial reason for planning this weekend trip to Montréal was to run the half marathon. Travelling + racing = FUN! We arrived Friday morning and stayed until Monday evening. With the race on Sunday morning, we had plenty of time to explore the city. Stay tuned for a recap soon.

We stopped by a local running store to pick up our race kits on Saturday. No goodies except for the Asics shirt and juice boxes, but I did pick up a new Gu and Clif Bar flavour to try. I'm sold on the Jet Blackberry Gu (yum!) but haven't tried the Maple Nut Clif Bar yet. We also picked up some "Rosibars" - locally made and all natural. They were delicious with a moist and chewy texture and interesting flavours (such as Pomegranate Almond and Lemon Pistachio).

After our running/climbing/trekking adventure on Saturday morning followed by walking all over the city in the afternoon and evening, I expected to be running on tired legs. I was still determined to head out for the extra 11K/~7mi before the race. I even managed to convince my friend Dave to join me (I was travelling with he and his wife Sylvia - hubs was supposed to be with us, of course, but he's overseas). Dave and I both have a marathon to run on May 16th - no time to back off on the distance now!

We made chicken, spaghetti and salad for dinner in our hotel room (love the kitchen suite!) and got to bed at a reasonable hour.

Fortunately the 10am race start meant we didn't have to be up too early. We headed out the door for the first leg of our run at about 6:45. It was a sunny but cool morning - near ideal for racing. Little did we know what was to come! (stay tuned) In order to ensure that we didn't get ourselves lost or run farther than planned, we ran a simple out and back on the quaint Boulevard de Maisonneuve. The sidewalks and streets were dead quiet as we made our way through various neighbourhoods. We were both feeling surprisingly good after the previous day's activities, but kept the pace nice and comfortable.

11.0 KM / 6.8 mi
5:48/KM / 9:23/mi

We made it back to the hotel and had some time to freshen up, change our clothes and have breakfast. The break was nice, but I was really curious to see how my legs were going to react when they had to start running again. I also uploaded my run, of course.

Soon we were on our way out the door and took a short subway ride to Parc Jean Drapeau on the island where the race was taking place.

We arrived just in time to check our bag, pick up our timing chips, use the facilities and jog to the starting line. We found ourselves at the very back of the pack just as the starting gun went off. Here are Sylvia and I strolling along either just before or just after the race had officially started.

This is also when it started to rain. It was only spitting at first, then drizzling, and quickly turned to pouring rain. It ended up raining for the entire duration of the race. It was only about 5C/41F and pretty windy, so it was a little uncomfortable, but there was nothing we could do about that.

Dave and I had planned to run together while Sylvia was going to hang back and take it slow (she's expecting!). Quick pic before starting to make our way through the crowd.

We spent the first few kilometres gradually weaving our way through the crowd, trying to find our pace. The goal was anything under 4:00-marathon pace, or a sub-2:00 half.

The course took as around two islands, Ste. Helene and Notre-Dame. We ran primarily on the shores, but there was also a lot of zig-zagging and loop-backs. It was a tedious route with many turns and combined with people and puddle dogging, I know this is why my Garmin recorded a greater distance than the typical deviation for a half marathon.

(Dave was snapping these pictures along the way. How he manages to take such good pics while running, I will never know! It sure was nice having my own personal photographer!)

We were pacing well and slightly faster than target for the first half. We were both feeling pretty good and picked it up a bit to test our limits.

During this time we also found ourselves running on the Formula-1 race track. This was definitely a highlight of the race - more so for Dave, but I also thought it was pretty neat.

The kilometres kept ticking by and I was feeling fantastic. Dave, unfortunately, had begun to struggle. He's been training at a slower pace than I have and I knew this would be putting him to the test, but he held on really well. We slowed back down to about 4:00 marathon pace or slightly faster for the last 5K. I tried to stay a few steps ahead of Dave to drag him along. I always knew how far behind he was from the panting and mumbled cursing. (heh) By the last couple of kilometres, he was really hurting, but doing an excellent job of hanging in there. I started promising beer and poutine and crepes and anything else I could think of to keep him moving, and I even reminded him about his pregnant wife back there running this thing. He may have wanted me to just shut up at the time, but I know I kept him going and he told me multiple times that he would have slowed way down or even walked if I hadn't stuck with him.

Even during all of this suffering, our slowest split was 5:49, which was not bad at all.

The finish line was finally in sight! As we rounded the last corner, Dave found his kick and turned it on for the home stretch. We crossed the mat well ahead of schedule in 1:56:01.

This proved to be another great confidence booster for me. I have memorized 4:00-marathon pace and it feels very comfortable at this point. It was also a fun and rewarding experience to share the race with a friend and drag him through those final kilometres.

We grabbed our gear and headed back to wait for Sylvia to finish. She was a trooper out there and finished much faster than she expected. Here she is crossing the line with Dave by here side. So cute!

And the 3 of us post-race:

Chip time: 1:56:01
Average pace: 5:30/KM (8:51/mi)
Adjusted pace*: 5:27/KM (8:46/mi)
Overall: 1354/2092
Females: 312/742
F25-29: 68/145

*23.3 KM

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Check-in from Montréal

We are having a wonderful time in Montreal! This city is beautiful and we've been exploring every inch on foot, eating and drinking our way through the famous cafes, bistros and delis as we go.

Yesterday morning we headed out for a little exploration. We laced up, fired up our Garmins and hit the streets, choosing which direction to turn as we went.

We soon found ourselves heading into McGill University campus (gorgeous!).

See that mountain in the background? That's Mont Royal and we climbed to the look-out through a combination of steep trails and countless steps.

Quick stop for self-timer photo-op part way up:

We eventually made it to the top to take in the city views.

We're laughing in this pic because I had just traipsed through the massive puddle lake after setting the self-timer, before realizing the water was ankle-deep!

Back down at the bottom:

And the steep descent back to our hotel... we ran up this hill on the way there.

Perhaps not the ideal way to spend the day before a half marathon, but we enjoyed every minute. It's amazing what you can discover when exploring a city on foot.

We have another full day here in Montreal, so stay tuned for more of our adventures and my half marathon recap.

Good luck to everyone running Boston tomorrow!