Thursday, March 31, 2011

March 2011

Total Distance: 385.4 KM (239.5mi)  - easily topping my previous monthly record of 217 miles last August

Highest Weekly Mileage: 98.0 KM/60.9mi (Week 12)

# Runs: 31

# Doubles: 3

# Non-Run Workouts: 0

# Rest days: 5

Races: Chilly Half Marathon and Around the Bay 30K

Favourite Run: Chilly Half!

Most Hardcore Run: the time hubs tried to kill me with 800-1600-3200 {no break} x 2 intervals

Book of the Month: Beautiful Boy by David Sheff (gut-wrenching but touching)

Song of the Month: Hey Soul Sister - Train

Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: mini Skinny Cow ice cream cups

Obsession of the Month: oil of oregano - I started feeling like I might be getting sick (still paranoid) and enough people recommended this potent natural remedy that I had to give it a try. It tastes awful, but if it will help me stay healthy then I'll continue to choke it down!

Indulgence of the Month: night out for my Mom's Birthday!

Drink of the Month: water, water, water [ignore pic above, lol]

Current Wish-List: a new spring running wardrobe from Lululemon

Current Need: a haircut, but I want to grow it out. This awkward "in-between" stage is not working for me.

Triumph of the Month: my half marathon PR of 1:42:22

Current Bane of my Existence: not one but TWO cold sores that have taken up residence on my lip/face. uggghhhh

Current Blessings: the best support system a girl could ask for

Current Excitement: upcoming races galore!

Current Goal: to remain healthy and strong through the remainder of training - only about 6 weeks til the big show!

Bring on April!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Around the Bay 30K Race Report

After a late night on Saturday, Sunday morning's alarm came early. Actually, it didn't come at all. Hubs apparently slept through it, but fortunately woke up in time - 15 minutes before we had planned to leave! Oops! At that moment, I was very relieved not to be racing this one or I would have been stressed to the max. Instead, I frantically calmly got ready as quickly as possible and made breakfast to eat on the way. We hit the road just 25 minutes after waking up. (I usually like to be up 1.5 hours before leaving the house for a long run or race.)

It took us an hour or so to get to the site and we found some close and cheap parking. After making a quick pit stop and assessing the weather (COLD! it was about -10C/14F at this point), we bundled up for to run a few miles before the race. We just ran a simple out-and-back that conveniently included one more pit stop so we could avoid the crazy lines at Copps Coliseum (race HQ).

Thankfully it seemed to warm-up considerably and it was turning out to be a beautiful sunny morning. We made a quick wardrobe change at the car and headed to the Coliseum. I was able to meet up with Quinton and it was awesome to catch-up briefly and exchange some good lucks. Q went on to kill it, so make sure you check out his report if you haven't already. (Unfortunately I failed to take a picture! Boo!)

I did take a pic of the finishing area inside the Coliseum.

Pretty soon it was time to meet Juliana and I quickly realized that we had not decided on a very wise meeting place. It was so crowded and impossible to find anyone. I sent hubs on his way and continued scouring the crowds. I waited as long as I could before I had to join the sea of runners heading to the starting line. I managed to bump into a bunch of others from my training group and my first question was: "Has anyone seen Juliana?" Most of them had seen her earlier, but no such luck in tracking her down. I stuck with my friends and was relieved that at least I knew I would have some company.

We snapped some pics amidst the crowds while waiting for the start.

Finally, we were off! Without making an official decision as to who I would run with, I settled in with my friends W and G. We had started as a larger group, but quickly separated in the masses of people. It was extremely crowded (which I remembered from last year) so we were doing quite a bit of weaving as W and G tried to find their pace. We were taking one-minute walk breaks every 15, at this point. We leap-frogged with several others from our group along the way and it was fun seeing everyone. I took advantage of having my camera and snapped their photos when I could.

The majority of the first half looked like this:

With the sun beaming down on us, it was heating up fast. There were articles of clothing strewn all over the road and I was really glad to have ditched a layer at the last minute, but I was still very warm.

I had decided not to carry my own fluids since I was already carrying the camera as well as my cell phone. The water stations were unfortunately pretty difficult to navigate; for the most part, they were only set up on one side of the road and weren't nearly long enough. They always seemed to come out of nowhere and I had to squeeze my way through traffic in order to grab a cup, losing W and G in the process (they were carrying water). I would then speed through the crowds to catch up again - impromptu fartlek training!

As we approached the half way mark, W started pulling ahead. G had stopped talking and I could tell that she was having a bit of a hard time, so I decided to hang back with her.

We crossed over the famous canal bridge where the footing was interesting.

We were finally enjoying some views of the water so I took it all in while trying to keep G's spirits up by pointing out this or that.

G continued to struggle but we were working our way through the miles. I was more thirsty than usual and going through water like crazy, so at each aid station I would run ahead to get her a refill and fruit when it was available. It felt good to have a mission!

I knew the toughest part of the course was coming and G was slowing down, but she hung in there and we tackled on kilometre at a time.

The biggest hills comes around 26K and the race is pretty famous for it. This guy is there every year dancing, high-fiving and blasting Queen at the base of the hill.

At the top of the hill, the grim reapers await, right alongside the cemetery. (How appropriate!) The one in front claimed that she doesn't show up in pictures. ;)

After that, we just had a few K to go and it was all flat or gradually downhill. G was pushing as hard as she could to keep going, even though she was not feeling well at all. She was having hot and cold flashes at this point, so I gently asked her not to pass out so I wouldn't have to carry her the rest of the way. I was counting down the K's and telling her "just 15 more minutes and you get to stop!" I don't know if I was helping or not, but I have definitely been there and I know it would have sucked more to be alone.

She hung in there and pretty soon we made the turn back into the Coliseum for the big finish.

Official Stats:

Chip time: 2:55:44.9
2968/5878 Overall
128/192 M25-29 (oops, apparently I registered myself as a man)

After collecting medals & food, I started making my way upstairs to the Coliseum seating area where hubs and I had agreed to meet. The place is a zoo so it was a good thing we had decided on a very specific spot. On the way up the escalator, I randomly bumped into Alex who I have not seen in forever! After squealing like little girls and sharing a hug, it was great to catch up for a few minutes.

Still no luck in meeting Laura, even though we are always at the same races. She's like Polkaroo.

We had a great showing from my training group, with several PRs and strong races. I was admittedly jealous seeing everyone's excellent results, but it was very rewarding to see my friends reaching their goals. I ran very comfortably, had a lot of fun and racked up some quality time on my feet - exactly what I set out to achieve.

But next year? This course is mine!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Before the Race

I definitely didn't follow my usual pre-race (or even pre-long run) routine over the weekend. On Saturday I had the opportunity to join Juliana and a few of our friends at the Banff Mountain Film Fest. We noshed on vegetarian cuisine at Fresh before heading to the theatre.

It is certainly not my usual fare, but there were several healthy and delicious options. I decided on an "immune-booster" smoothie, a vegetarian burger with sweet potato fries, as well as a spring roll and quinoa onion ring which were shared by the table. Everything was delicious!

The Film Festival was in Toronto for three days, with various short films being featured each day. We were treated to the following, ranging in length from 8 minutes to 51 minutes:

Dream Result *a favourite*

A group of top athletes (extreme kayaking) and friends are driven by passion to explore the limits of possibility. Expeditions to Norway and a quest for waterfalls throughout Argentina and the US are all part of the program in Dream Result so hang on for the ride!

As It Happens

Renan Ozturk and Corey Richards "go rogue" and file video dispatches from their attempt at the first ascent of Nepal's 6,000 meter Tawoche Himal. The film takes these individual pieces and ties them together in one well-made story that lets a challenging trip unfold as it happens.

Tibet: Murder in the Snow

In an incident that shocked the world, a teenage Tibetan nun, Kelsang Namtso, was killed when Chinese border police opened fire on a group of pilgrims as they fled Tibet over the infamous Nangpa Pass. The shooting was witnessed by many international mountain climbers, some of whom videotaped or photographed the events and also helped rescue survivors. Tibet: Murder in the Snow is the story from their perspective.

Khumbu Climbing School

Through this beautifully crafted film, we learn how the Khumbu Climbing School has contributed to the safety of Nepali climbers, Sherpas and high-altitude support workers as they learn proper techniques for knot-tying, belaying, and ice climbing from world-class mountaineers. In Khumbu Climbing School, it's apparent that the school provides more than just training as one experienced Sherpa says: "I always felt like a yak, even though I had been to the summit of Mount Everest. Now, I'm a climber."

Eastern Rises *another favourite*

The Kamchatka Peninsula in the Russian Far East may as well be the end of the earth. Its enormously wild landscape is swarming with bugs and bears and threaded with rivers full of massive mouse-eating trout. In the stunning film Eastern Rises, fishing is poetry; Bigfoot lurks in the fog, and fishermen risk life and limb in decommissioned Cold War helicopters to explore rivers that have never been fished before.

Life Cycles

Filmed in Ultra HD, Life Cycles provides some of the most visually stunning images the mountain sports world has ever seen. It¿s a beautiful celebration of the bicycle, and is sure to amaze anyone who has ever ridden one.

The films were fantastic and led to some great conversation during intermission and on the car ride home. I really enjoyed the variety and definitely recommend the event if you have an opportunity to attend. Click here to learn more!

It was a fun night, but a late one. I finally tucked myself in at about 12:30AM. Yikes!

Race report up next...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 12

I'm feeling great at the end of another big week, especially with a couple of major workouts including a new 5K PR (see Thursday!). I feel like I should be more sore and tired than I am, but I continue pushing those "too good to be true" doubts out of my head and making sure that I'm following my own rules for staying strong, healthy and focused. There's still a lot more work to do, but that home stretch is almost in sight.

Monday - xtrain/rest

I'm all over the rest!!!

Tuesday - 24K medium-long (2 runs) with "triple threat" intervals

I headed out over lunch for a steady 8K. I knew I wasn't supposed to "cheat" by taking it too easy before my intervals after work, so I just cruised at a pretty "normal" pace and finished with negative splits.

8.3KM (5.1mi) - 45:12 - 5:27/KM (8:46/mi)

Run # 2 is when things got serious!

"Doozie Twosday"

800 @ 5K - 1600 @ 10K - 3200 @ MRP [back-to-back]
1000 recovery
3200 @ MRP - 1600 @ 10K - 800 @ 5K [back-to-back]

800 [goal 3:28] - 3:25
1600 [goal 7:12] - 7:09
3200 [goal 16:42] - 16:30
1000 recovery
3200 [goal 16:42] - 16:28
1600 [goal 7:12] - 7:09
800 [goal 3:28] - 3:24

16.2KM (10.1mi) - 1:22:46 - 5:07/KM (8:13/mi)

Wednesday - 10K recovery

Thanks to an unwelcome gift from Mother Nature, I resorted to the treadmill for my recovery run. I knew I needed to take it really easy, and that simply would not be possible when trudging through snow. I plugged along reading my ereader and got it done. Legs felt pretty good.

10.0KM (6.2mi) - 1:00:00 - 6:00/KM (9:39/mi)

Thursday - 13K with speedwork TBD

I wasn't sure what we had on the plan for clinic night. The majority of the group wanted to keep it on the lighter side since they were planning on a hard effort at Around the Bay on Sunday, so we settled on a tempo run of 4-6K after a warm-up jog to the park. The path had been flooded and then frozen over so there were a few treacherous patches which required stepping lightly.

I took off with my group and looked down to see something closer to 5K race pace than tempo pace when my Garmin chimed after the first K. Oops! I backed off slightly, but the pace was still much faster than intended. As I approached 2.5K I realized that I was on target for a 5K PR, so I decided to go for it.
Previous PR was 22:35 last July (which nearly killed me).
Thursday night splits: 4:25 - 4:38 - 4:25 - 4:23 - 4:22 (avg pace 4:25/KM = 7:06/mi)
22:03 5K! 
I was definitely working at the end, but it certainly didn't feel like a 5K race effort. I can't wait to see what I can do at a race in a couple weeks.

13.0KM (8.1mi) - 1:08:24 - 5:16/KM (8:28/mi)

Friday - 8K recovery

Cold and sunny lunch run. You know the drill! My legs were only slightly sore and tired from the night before, but I kept it nice and easy and ran the usual "square."

8.4KM (5.2mi) - 48:26 - 5:46/KM (9:17/mi)

Saturday - 7K easy

Hubs and I headed out on another cold but sunny day for a nice morning run. Legs felt good!

7.2KM (4.5mi) - 39:29 - 5:29/KM (8:50/mi)

Sunday - 35K long (incl. 30K race)

Hubs and I added on a few miles before the run. It was beneficial for taking us to a washroom far enough away from the starting area that there weren't lines, as well as helping with last minute wardrobe decisions. for the race.

4.6KM (2.9mi) - 26:19 - 5:43/KM (9:12/mi)

Around the Bay 30K - race report to follow!

30.3KM (18.8mi) - 2:55:49 - 5:48/KM (9:20/mi) [I did some back-tracking]

Week 12 Total: 98.0 KM (60.9mi)
Total time: 9:06:25
Average pace: 5:35/KM (8:58/mi)

7 weeks to Mississauga Marathon! (less than 50 days!)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Foto Friday: A day in my life

First, the winner of my Races2Remember Giveaway is:  Jen B.


I decided to play along after Morgan shared A Day in the Life of the Redhead. It's harder than you would think to remember to take pictures of everything throughout the day, but I did my best!

I photographed everything I ate as well, but will be posting separately - stayed tuned for FOOD Foto Friday next week. :)

[Photos were taken on Tuesday!]

My day starts when the alarm goes off at 6:45 most days (since I am not running in the morning right now).

After showering up and getting ready, I head downstairs for my first "meal" of the day.

After making sure I've remembered everything for my run(s), I'm usually out the door within about half an hour of waking up... with all of this luggage in tow!

Enjoying the sunrise as I pull out of our driveway

After about a 30-minute commute, I settle in at my post for the day.

I spend the morning blogging tweeting facebooking working and eat my breakfast and snacks along the way (to be pictured next week!), anxiously waiting for lunch hour so I can get my run on.

I take a quick peak at the weather and haul my bags down to the private washroom to get ready.



Aftermath on the washroom floor

It's always fun to take off the headband and see just how bad my hair is, before making myself somewhat presentable again.

Sweat makes an excellent styling aid, didn't you know??
Emily knows.

Compression socks in black are essential:

Then it's back to my desk to get back to work upload my run and stuff my face for the remainder of the afternoon.

When the clock strikes 5:00 4:55, I'm out the door an on the way home (usually), but tonight I was heading straight to the park for my next run. I stopped at the local library to use the facilities for my next wardrobe change. (Sorry, no photo! Someone was in there with me!)

Then it's over to Fairy Lake and time to get going on some speed work.


Back at home it's time to unload - not my favourite task!
I catch up with the hubs and get busy on dinner and lunch for the next day before putting in some couch/laptop time.

Last but not least, I take a hot epsom salt/bubble bath most nights before turning in. Ahhhh.....

Tell me about your day!