Monday, May 30, 2011

Calgary 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Whew...I don't remember half marathons being so hard! It's been 3 years since i've raced one so maybe i've forgotten? Or maybe in the past i've gone out easier and tried to have something left in the tank for the end? That didn't happen yesterday. I pretty much went balls out from the's almost like i've forgotten how to race since i missed last's like i don't know what i'm doing...or maybe i'm trying something new to go all out from the start to see what will happen? I dunno, but if i do something stupid like that during the next marathon i run, i'm pretty sure i'll be walking it in across the finish line. Luckily the half marathon is shorter where you can kind of experiment and get away with it to a certain point.

Anyways, here's the break down of yesterday morning. I live very close to the start of the race so I left my house around 6:30am to jog the 10 mins to the start and had a little time to line up for the porta-potty. After that it was time to line up and pretty much get ready to go for the 7am start. It was a beautiful morning...sunny, chilly though at 1 degree C but definitely my favorite temperature for racing!

The gun went off and everyone went nuts as per usual and I spent a bit of time dodging around people. Even though I started close to the front I still had a lot of dodging to do. My first couple of km went by quick and I felt great...then I got to 3 or 4km in and thought, I feel like crap already...i had a terrible sleep of maybe 4 hours total (but not consecutive) and I was tired...and i wasn't sure if i even wanted to do this anymore. All of these doubts started entering my head. I don't know what my problem was but it wouldn't stop! I remember thinking, wow, i would really love to step off to the side right now and stop altogether. I almost feel like the only reason i kept going then was because I'd have to walk or jog back the same distance to get to the start which would suck! Also, i thought, it's going to be so lame if I stop during a half for no real reason other than i feel like crap and i don't feel like racing at this pace...if anything, just slow down and keep running!

Yeah, i had serious negativity going on for at least the first half of the race. I forced myself to keep at it and to try and focus on smaller goals like just getting to the next km marker instead of thinking about the finish and the pain i've still got to go through to get there.

Once the race got off 14th street and turned west onto Memorial I knew we'd start seeing the leaders of the half on their way back. I started counting the women that were infront of me...there were 9 that passed and then 2 just right infront of me so that meant i was sitting in 12th. I was catching the 2 infront and I really wanted to make the top 10. The girl right infront of me was relatively easy to pass once i did, and i never saw her again. The next girl was tougher...i'd pass her, she'd pass me, then we'd run next to each other for a while.

Finally I think the last gel i consumed started working and my legs picked it up and took off. I didn't see her again but i did look over my shoulders quite a few times to see if she was sneaking up on me. Funny, i realized that it's the exact same girl i caught up to and passed towards the end of my 10km a few weeks ago. I wonder if she knew it was me?

I was good then till about 1km to go when the 10km racers that started a half hour after us and had been running in a different lane on the road than us, all joined in with us for the last km as we rolled through the streets of Bridgeland till the finish. It was not fun. Trying to dodge this insane crowd of 10km'ers in my last km when I literally had nothing left sucked and definitely took more out of me than i wanted. There was a tiny "hill" on the way in that i felt like i could barely make up after that. I turned my last corner and finally saw the finish. The clock had just rolled over the 1:30 mark and I hoped that my chip time would get me under but no such luck. I was still pumped with my finish at 1:30:07...a huge PB of 7 mins...and good enough for 10th female overall. Not too shabby.

I've definitely started off this season with a bang and i'm pretty pumped for what's left to come. I have a lot of work to do to get faster...and definitely need to do real speedwork training for these road races. It's been virtually nil so far. Aside from the K-100 relay coming up at the end of this month, i'll be on the trail for the rest of the summer which i'm happy for. It's much easier on the body, there's great scenery, and it's just a lot more fun! I'm still thinking about doing the Victoria Marathon in the fall but will make that decision later on.

Hopefully it won't take me too long to recover...the 50km is just 4 weeks away!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

May Long Running

Team Pine Line was back together again this past long weekend for some fun trail running. I left Calgary after work on Friday and made the long drive out to Vernon. I didn't get there till about 11pm BC time and had to be up at 6am to get ready for a big morning of running with Steve. I'm not a morning runner anyway so having to get up early plus a long night of driving before didn't help!

It was not pretty. I haven't been on any trails yet this year (quite a bit of snow out there in the mountains) and haven't been doing a ton of hills or anything either. The only advantage I have was living at a higher altitude than my brother so it was nice to have something going for me. He still kicked my butt though. I was impressed with my skills going uphill...but downhill pretty much shredded my quads and i've been sore ever since!! That day we ended up doing around 26km with 3800 ft of climbing. I didn't go home and crash on the couch like i fully expected...managed to go out for a bit and take Logan to the dog park.

Sunday I woke up pretty much unable to move easily...i couldn't get down the stairs without holding on to the rail...same goes with trying to sit on the toilet...needed a wall or something to help me down. I don't remember the last time i was that sore!!! But, we had a 2 hour run to do and it was pretty much all uphill from the time we left the house till we got to the top of "Vernon Mountain" (actually it has no name apparently but a few people call it this). I have no idea how much climbing we did but i was thrilled with this run...i didn't walk anything...just kept on trotting up to the top. Felt great. Next came the downhills which i could barely get down in anything faster than a snails pace...Steve would take off and would have to stop and wait for me. It was sooo painful....and probably equally as painful for him having to wait for me! Clearly my uphill skills aren't too shabby but i've got to do some work running downhills so I can get some Iron Legs for that 50 miler in August!!

After Sundays run my legs toast...I took 2 days off and then ran the past 2 days on the treadmill to try and loosen them up. Today is the first day i could sit on the toilet without help so i think that's a good sign lol :) Hopefully this means i'll be ok for Sunday's half marathon? Yikes. I have a goal of breaking 1:30 but i'm not sure i'm there yet...i'll definitely be happy with anything under 1:33 though. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

10 km Gone Right!

After my first 10km of the season being a bit of a gong show...I started to become less thrilled about the upcoming Mothers Day 10km as last week progressed. 10 kms hurt...and now I have to endure another one! I'm not a speedster...i don't know how to race these things! Regardless, I really wanted to do well and start off my 2011 racing season on a good note and prove to myself that while I missed all of 2010 due to injury, I can come back and be better than I was in 2009! It's a lot of work to get back to where you were...and I'm still not there in terms of endurance...but my speed is definitely coming back...

Even though I had the 10km race on Sunday of this past weekend, I didn't want it to cause me to miss out on a longer run. So I met my friend Charlie on saturday morning for a 22km run on the very rolling pathways of Bowmont. It was a beautiful morning for it and was happy to get out as I knew it was supposed to rain in the afternoon and most/all of Sunday. By the end, my legs were feeling heavy and sore...i don't think they were completely recovered from the previous weekends "race". After some good stretching, I put on my compression socks and wore them for the rest of the day. They definitely helped!

Sunday morning came and I woke up as I do on most race mornings...cranky (wait, that's every morning) and thinking how much I don't want to race today. I'm not a morning person body might wake me up early everyday, but it doesn't mean i have to like it! Breakfast always makes me feel better and helps to wake me up so I started to feel better after that and finally start to get pumped up for the race. Andrew got out of bed and told me he was coming to the race (even though it was cold and rainy out) which made me happy. I didn't expect him to come on such a gross day! He proved to be the ultimate boyfriend supporter :)

The race starts out in front of the Chinook mall and they had opened it early so we could all wait inside. That was sweet and the mall was packed with runners. I did some stretching, said good-bye to Andrew around 15 mins before the start and went outside to warm up in the rain. I just ran around trying to look like I know what i'm doing to warm up...but I don't. When I try to mimic what some people are doing in warm ups I end up looking like an idiot so i've learned in the past to just do my own thing.

Anyways...the race got underway and of course I went out's hard to hang back and try and do your 1st km slower than you'd like and of course i didn't...i went out guns a blazin and just tried to stay relaxed yet fast. It worked...for about 4 km i was thinking, yeah i could keep this up..i might come really close to 40 mins for this sucker! Then I got to about 5km and I thought...oh no, i think i'm running out of steam. Shit. It started to rain harder which I didn't notice too much until I realized my feet were completely soaked...they were actually sloshing around in my shoes. It didn't really bother me...just an observation.

There were a few hills in there that I didn't expect (but that's what happens when you don't check to see what the route is beforehand! lol). And while the hills sucked and I felt like i was starting to suck...i realized that is where i kept passing people...on the hills. Damn skippy! I got through them...enjoyed the downhills when they came...focused on speedy quick leg turnover and concentrated on getting to each kilometre mark. Finally there was 1km to go so I tried to pick it up as best I could. I knew I wouldn't come close to 40 mins but I wanted to get as close to 41 mins as possible...I crossed the line in 41:20...a new PB by 1 min and 17 seconds. Woop Woop! Andrew was there at the end to cheer me in and had a yummy hot Starbucks beverage waiting for me...what a guy :)

So yeah, great hurt a lot...and while I'm going to continue to work on my speedwork this season...i think i'm done racing any more 10kms until maybe the fall. Maybe then i'll be ready to break 40 mins? Next up...the Calgary half marathon in 2.5 weeks. I'm a little worried...not sure if I can go fast for that distance yet but I guess i'll quickly find out!

Monday, May 2, 2011

10 km gone wrong

While chatting at the end of Saturday's "10 km" race, one guy put it best when he said "well that was a 10 km gone wrong!"

I won't go into long annoying details but the gist of it is this...after about 200m or something from the of the volunteers was standing in the wrong spot and therefore pointed us in the wrong direction. She was in fact supposed to be a little further down the route before pointing us where to go.

Now before you start thinking...well, you should know the route and where to go anyways...yes, yes this is true. THere are 2 points regarding this... 1.She was standing in the middle of the road we were supposed to go straight on and pointed for us to go left. 2.My friend Garrath who was running it with me knew we were going the wrong way right off the bat. But what are we to do when the leaders are just up ahead and i looked behind and the entire race was following us. Where do we go?

Eventually we did turn around and ended up back at the start after completing 4km. Then we started again. Blah. By this point i had lost all steam and just wanted to stop. 10kms are hard...and while i could have been half way through by now...i was starting again. I had no desire to run the whole route but Garrath ended up convincing me to just go with it and have a good training run.

So that's what we did...14km later I was finished. I don't know how they have decided how to determine who came first and all that or if they will. I'm definitely happy that in the end i forced myself to do the 14km and go with it. But boy did i hurt. Why the heck was i so silly to register for a 10km anyway...and two in a row in fact? Now i've got to do this all over again on Sunday! Lucky for me this should be a relatively flat and easier course. So we'll see what happens!