Friday, September 30, 2011

September 2011

Total Run Mileage: 346.1 KM (215.2 mi)

Highest Weekly Run Mileage: 85.9 KM (53.4 mi) - Week 15

# Runs: 25

# [Run] Doubles: 3

Cycling Mileage: 205.3 KM (127.6 mi)

 # Swims (Distance): 7 (10250m)

Races: Wasaga Sprint Tri, Syracuse 70.3 Relay, Zoo Run 10K, Oakville Half Marathon

Favourite Run: The Zoo Run was a hoot - loved meeting up with Laurel & Marci and just running for fun while checking out the animals.

Most Hardcore Run: That would have to be this morning's 20-mile run-mute to work, whcih started at 4am in the rain. Sooo glad it's done!

Book of the Month: I have not been reading at all! Shame.

Song of the Month: I couldn't choose so I just hit play on my shuffle and this is what came on: If I Die Young by The Band Perry (love it!)

Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure: fall TV! it's season premiere month!


Indulgence of the Month: Potato chip feast which occurred on the road trip to Syracuse... there's just something about chips and road trips!

Drink of the Month: Sticking to the good stuff: h2o.

Current Wish-List: new edition Red Mittens!

Current Need: a nap! and physio [which I have this afternoon!] - 20 mile run followed by 4 hours seated at my desk = not so good for the muscles!

Triumph of the Month: acceptance in the BOSTON MARATHON

Current Bane of my Existence: the air conditioning which continues to run non-stop at work even though we're having fall weather outside... we need windows in this place! bring on the fresh air please.

Current Blessings: a truly awesome husband, family, friends and co-workers who have shared in my Boston excitement and tolerated me talking about it NON-STOP
Current Excitement: hubby's 30th Birthday bash tomorrow!

Current Goal: A successful race (definition of "successful" TBD) on October 16th!

What's your current goal or excitement? Obsession of the month?
Give me one in the comments!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Week 16

After catching up on my double race weekend and of course the big news, it's time to finally post last week's recap...

Monday - rest

I was completely and utterly exhausted form the previous weekend's activities combined with lack of sleep and there was no question that a rest day was required!

Tuesday - run

I woke up still feeling spent, but had plans to meet the girls for an early run. Somehow that got me out of bed and out the door, but on my way to our meeting place I contemplated turning right back around. I made my way there and chatted for a minute while waiting for the last person to arrive, and made the decision to go back home to bed. I could have fallen asleep standing up!

And then I discovered that I had locked my keys in the car! DOH! Sooo not what I wanted to deal with at 5am. J was kind enough to lend me her car to go retrieve my spare set from home while they got started on their run. Eventually, I made it back to bed to doze for a bit before it was time to get up. Again. Not the best start to my day...

I managed to sneak in a 10K over lunch and still felt pretty tired, but a little better afterwards.

10.0KM (6.2mi) - 55:44 - 5:34/KM (8:57/mi)

Wednesday - run + swim

After work I met up with J and our friend P for an easy run followed by a lemonade. It was great to chat away and get all caught up on things. It looked like it was about to downpour on us at any moment, but we managed to stay mostly dry.

10.7KM (6.6mi) - 1:02:46 - 5:49/KM (9:21/mi)

From there I went straight to the pool and swam my longest distance yet! My friend K was water running in the next lane and it was nice to have the company, even if it's not the most social activity.

2000m ~45 mins.
800 free, 400 pull, 400 free, 400 pull

Thursday - run

We had 4 x 2000 on deck at clinic with descending paces from about marathon race pace to tempo. I ran with the coach's group and it was nice not to worry about pacing at all. Fun workout with good company, but I was bagged by the time we got back to the store!

2000 splits - 10:22 - 10:04 - 9:42 - 9:12
18.1KM (11.2mi)  - 1:36:54 - 5:20/KM (8:34/mi)

Friday - run

I was able to rally up my friend K for an early morning recovery run. Legs were understandably tired after finishing Thursday night's workout just 9 hours before!

10.0KM (6.2mi) - 58:19 - 5:49/KM (9:21/mi)

Saturday - run

Toronto Zoo Run 10K

10.3KM (6.4mi) - 59:55 - 5:50/KM (9:23/mi)

Sunday - run

Oakville Half Marathon

21.1KM (13.1mi) - 1:40:06 - 4:42/KM (7:33/mi)


RUN: 79.9 KM (49.6mi)
BIKE: 0 (oops)
SWIM: 2000
Total Time: 7:53:38

It was a lighter week than planned, but it culminated in a big half marathon PR so I am perfectly okay with that! I think it's also safe to say that my bike will be racked until the marathon in a couple weeks with the exception of maybe a short ride here or there if the mood strikes.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oakville Half Marathon Race Report

Up until Saturday, I was planning to run a long warm-up and aim for marathon race pace at the Oakville Half Marathon. And then my legs felt really fresh on Saturday. And I felt the itch to race after the Zoo Run 10K the day before. And I realized that I may actually have a good shot at a PR given how close I am at the 70.3 Relay the week before on a tough course in the middle of the day. And then my running/pacing buddy (Nicole) from Sporting Life 10K told me she was going for 1:40. And then it was a done deal! I didn't know if I could do it, but I thought I had a good shot at coming close.

Sunday morning 5 of us hit the road together at 5:45 for the drive to Oakville. We arrived about 45 minutes before the start and found free parking nice and close. Unfortunately we ended up dilly dallying at the car a little too long and ran out of time to warm-up after using the washrooms. Oops!

Next thing we knew it was time to line up. Check laces, turn on Garmin, fire up playlist. Ready, set, GO! (Sometimes it's kind of nice when you don't have a lot of time to mill about getting nervous!)

The course is a loop starting and finishing at the lake front park and running along various residential and commercial streets. Most importantly, it is mostly flat with just some gradual uphills in the first half and gradual down in the second half. It's not crowded at all, starts nice and early (7:40) and is an excellent race to shoot for a PR.

Nicole and I were a couple hundred metres behind the 1:40 pacer from the get-go and kept him in our sights, while I checked my Garmin every once for insurance. :) The pace felt fast, but I knew it was supposed to and I didn't let that get in my head. I usually hate dislike the first 5K of a half marathon and this was no exception, but I plugged along and zoned out to music. Nicole and I ran side-by-side, but we were silent. We had agreed before the race that this would not be a "talking race."

KM1-5:  4:37, 4:37, 4:36, 4:41, 4:41

We were pacing slightly faster than intended, but it felt "hard but manageable" so I decided to go with it. (Overall target was 4:45/KM). I had made the decision to push the limits a bit more than I usually would to see what I could do - hoping, of course, that I could maintain it. We eventually caught the 1:40 pacer and stuck with him for a while. He was clearly on target and it was nice not to worry about checking the pace for a little while.

KM6-10:  4:40, 4:39 (gel at 7), 4:45, 4:44, 4:38 (salt at 10)

Our pace crept a little faster and we gradually drafted ahead. Something must have given me a boost around KM 11 as illustrated in the splits below. I remember feeling good here - I was working hard, but happy to be half done and pretty confident.

KM11-15:  4:33, 4:35, 4:42, 4:42 (gel at 14), 4:46

The sun was high now and it started to get very warm. I was a soaking wet sweaty mess and started dumping water on my head to cool off. Nicole had drifted ahead around 13K and I had to let her go; I didn't have enough in the tank to pick it up. I kept her in my sights, which helped me focus on maintaining the pace as it got harder and harder to do so. I was by myself for this whole stretch and it was tough. I slowed noticeably and felt 1:40 slipping away, but refused to give up. I lost nearly 30 seconds in KM 16 to 20, which is extremely frustrating given my final time (stay tuned).

KM16-20:  4:52, 4:53, 4:52, 4:43, 4:50

The 1:40 pacer caught me again and I tailed him for the last couple kilometres before finally finding the will to push harder and pass him again. At this point I knew it was going to be close - VERY close - and I high-tailed around the final bend into the finishing chute.

KM21:  4:42 + (0.1 at 3:45/KM pace)

Chip Time: 1:40:06 (2:16 PR)
Average Pace: 4:44/KM (7:38/mi)
108/715 Overall
19/320 Females
5/33 F25-29

freaky leg muscles!!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Yesterday I finally read the words I have been hoping for ...

"This is to notify you that your entry into the 116th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 16, 2012 has been accepted..."

I was shaking at my desk. I cried a little. I immediately called those I needed to tell first, then emailed/tweeted/facebooked the news for all to see. I couldn't believe it. I truly didn't think I was going to make it - in a way, that makes acceptance even sweeter. I celebrated my BQ race back in May, but was also disheartened to know that it might not be good enough to bring me to Hopkinton.


All I could do was my best. That BQ was incredibly important to me, whether it would lead me to Boston 2012 or not. I wanted it, I worked for it and I got it. I crossed that finish line with a BQ time and minutes to spare, screaming and cheering and crying as though I had won the race; it felt like I had.

It is admittedly a little disheartening that I didn't get to say: "I'm going to Boston!" The reality is, I don't believe there is a very good shot that I will actually get in with my time. 3:37 simply may not be good enough for Boston... but it's good enough for me. For now.

Well it turns out I'm going to Boston afterall! A great big thank you to all of you for the kind words, finger- crossing, positive thinking and good vibes over the last several months and especially this past week. Congratulations to everyone else who will be joining me on April 16, 2012, and my heart goes out to those who didn't get good news yesterday.

Unfortunately, hubs is part of that group.

"Thank you for submitting your application for entry into the 2012 Boston Marathon. Regrettably, we are unable to accept your application due to field size limitations and the large number of applications we received from qualified runners.

Entries from applicants in your age group were accepted through and including the time 3:08:46."

My heart breaks that his incredible 3:09:18 time did not get him in, and that we won't get to do this together like we are supposed to.

Of course he has been nothing but supportive and will ensure that I have the best possible experience [by coaching me through another bad-a$$ training plan], but it's just not the same. I know he is just getting started and next time the numbers will be in his favour - I'll just have to make sure I stay fast enough to join him!

Team "BQ x 2" - we're not finished yet!

Monday, September 26, 2011

I GOT IN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update: No news yet on hubs...

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Zoo Run 10K Race Report

First things first, I had the opportunity to meet up with Laurel and Marci on Friday evening for dinner. The first (and last) time we met was at the expo the day before my first marathon back in 2008, when I was soaking up advice from these seasons pros.

It's amazing to see how far we've all come in the last couple of years - unfortunately, we failed to take a picture! Doh!! We'll make sure 3 years don't go by before we get together again. Should be easier now that we're all on the tri circuit. ;)

Race morning I headed to the zoo and got there about 45 minutes before the start, which is actually late by my standards! I was pretty laid back about everything since I was only planning to run for fun. I wandered around for a while checking things out and keeping an eye out for friends.

I managed to connect with Laurel and we chatted away while waiting for the start. We even remembered a photo!

I heard someone call my name and spotted my beloved Dr. Pain working the start line with the elites. Hmmm, how much faster do I need to get for my physiotherapist to come to all of my races? :)

Before long we watched the first wave start and I called my buddy who I was supposed to be running with to see where he was - since our wave was starting in 5 minutes!!

Laurel went to line up in her wave and Dave showed up just in the nick of time. We sneaked into our corral literally seconds before the start.

The plan was to take it nice and slow. We started in the parking lot and made our way along some back roads before heading into the zoo for the fun part.

I slowed down or stopped to take pictures of the animals at every opportunity and had a blast soaking up the sights. It's a windy, narrow course for the most part with lots of small ups and downs to keep things interesting.

There was some entertainment along the way in addition to the animals. These guys were awesome!

Dave hasn't exactly been running this summer... at all... and was definitely working to keep running while I yammered his ear off and obnoxiously snapped photos constantly. I like to think I was providing a good distraction.

I wore my cheetah running skirt (could there be a more appropriate race?) and that got lots of comments along the way. The volunteer and spectator support was excellent.

Pretty soon we could hear the crowds and made a few final twists and turns toward the finish. Quick stop to smooch his baby girl, and we were done!

Chip time - 59:49

It was a fun morning! Next up - Oakville Half Marathon on Sunday! (incase you were wondering why I took it easy on this one....)

Friday, September 23, 2011

Ironman 70.3 Syracuse Relay Race Report

I already shared a quick summary of how things unfolded leading up the race. In short, it was very busy and loads of fun. Unfortunately we did NOT sleep well the night before the race thanks to a noisy roommate (relative of a friend who bunked with us). We were all pretty bleary eyed when the alarm went off at 4am, but ready to tackle the day nonetheless!

We went through the motions of getting ready in a sleepy stupor, then stumbled downstairs for the breakfast buffet in Erin's room.

Then it was time to head to the race site - about a 15 minute drive. It was cold (about 4C/39F) and pitch black at 5am, but the place was buzzing with Ironman energy.

We unloaded and headed to transition so everyone could set up. My wrist band allowed me into the transition area, so I was able to help out check out the bike porn.

The time flew by quickly and the sun finally came up, but it wasn't getting any warmer yet. We were bundled.

3 layers on top and 3 layers on the bottom - all fashion.

We made our way down to the water and everyone got ready to swim. The girls got in for a warm-up - literally, since the water was much warmer than the air!

We were able to watch the pros start and some of the leaders finish before everyone lined up in their waves. I had nervous and excited butterflies as we sent them off to officially start their day.

Relay [final] wave - go Erin!

We headed right over to the swim exit to snag a spot. It was awesome seeing everyone coming out of the water and cheering them on as they ran up to transition. There were wet-suit strippers too, which was fun to watch.

Here comes Erin right on schedule, in the first half of the all-female relay pack!

Swim - 40:30 

Erin's son and I ran along the path with her towards transition, then headed over to the bike exit. They had a loooong way to run, but she was quick in transition.

T1 - 3:49 

Then it was time for the spectators [and runner] to wait. It was a one loop course with no opportunity to see everyone out on the ride. We knew we had a good few hours so we hoofed back to the cars for a bit to have a bite to eat and rest. It had warmed up by now and we shed some layers before wandering around the race site some more. I was antsy as the time ticked by, constantly checking my watch and hoping that Erin was having a good ride.

Eventually we settled in near transition and got comfortable watching for the pros. I tried to have a catnap on the grass, but it felt pretty good just to sit. We cheered everyone on as they came in, watching them finish the ride, tear through transition and head out on the run.

I was consciously hydrating knowing that I had a half marathon to run in the middle of the day, and ate a Clif Bar about 90 minutes before I expected to start. With about half an hour to go, I made one last quick to the washrooms and made my way to the cow pen waiting area at the end of transition. I scoped out the competition while watching some of the faster teams make the swap.

I looked over at Erin's son who was watching for her, and got super excited when he waved that she was coming!

Erin had an awesome ride out there and made it look easy based on her race pics.

Bike - 3:18:07

I saw her run into transition and let the volunteer know that she was on her way. We cheered her on as she ran all the way through transition to the pen. She even managed to pass another relay team member who was making her way to the exchange.

T2 - 1:07

I gave Erin a quick congrats, grabbed the chip off her ankle, strapped it onto mine and crossed the mats.

My turn!!

It started with the grassy uphill run out of transition - the same as bike exit pictured above. Erin's son was waiting at the top with his awesome sign, which was pretty much the cutest thing ever.

Erin's daughter and friend T were waiting at the next corner; it was great to see them and get a boost as I headed off on the course.

The route was two loops and I didn't know much about it (except that Ironman courses are generally challenging). The sun was pounding down hard and it had heated up a lot by this point, so I had no idea what to expect. 12 noon is definitely not the ideal time to be racing long distance, but I was out to see what I could do for the team. I expected something in the 1:50 range, but (secretly) hoped for 1:45.

large rectangular part completed twice
I clearly got caught up in the excitement of being out there and started off too fast, but settled in after the first KM.

1 to 5: 4:42 - 4:48 - 5:14 - 4:56 - 4:58

I also quickly learned that it was a tough course when the first climb came early. There were a few good ones (most people walking) and we would be running all of them twice. You can easily spot them in my splits. I was usually able to make up the time on the downhills, which my quads have been punishing me for all week!

Notice the hill behind me!
I almost felt bad passing non-relay athletes on the course, but I tried not to be obnoxious about it; it's not like I elbowed them and yelled "You suck!" as I ran by. ;) There was a big "R" on my calf to identify me as a relay runner and every once in a while I would hear less than supportive comments from behind me or from the sidelines - "Don't worry, she's only relay." That only made me run faster. Ror the most part, it was a great environment to be running. I definitely caught myself wondering what it would be like (next year) to run a half marathon after a 56 mile bike ride and 1.2 mile swim.

 6 to 10: 4:37 - 4:55 - 4:51 - 4:53 - 4:58

This race had some of the best support, volunteers and spectators I have ever seen. I was excited to take advantage of the fully loaded aid stations every mile, stocked with water, sports drink, coke, fruit, gels, bars, etc. but as it turned out, all I wanted was my water (small handheld, which I partially refilled twice) and gels (7K and 14K).

11 to 15: 5:10 - 4:59 - 5:12 - 5:17 - 4:46

I was hot and had been dumping cups of water on my head (making sure it wasn't coke!) every couple miles. I was running quite a bit faster than expected/planned and kept wondering if I was going to bonk, but with 5K to go I knew I could hold on to it.

16 to 20: 5:01 - 4:46 - 4:51 - 5:05 - 5:00

Nearing the finish we had to make a quick turn with a short out and back and I got to see the team here for a quick boost before the home stretch. I kicked it up a notch. I wish Erin could have jumped in with me here so we could finish together since she did most of the work but we had been warned that we could be disqualified for doing so. Bummer. :(

With less than 100m to go there was a guy just ahead of me and I was itching to pass him, but held back so I wouldn't ruin his moment photo.

21: 4:30 (+ 0.1 at 4:10 pace)

Run - 1:43:49
4:55/KM (7:55/mi)

(we started 50 minutes after the clock)

"Girls on Your Left" 
5/14 all-female relay division
not bad for being the only 2-person team!

It was a great day out there and I loved being part of all the excitement. Most importantly, a big congrats to my partner for rocking out her "A" race of the season. It's mostly her fault that I got all caught up in this tri stuff to begin with.... but it's not so bad afterall.