Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Toronto Women's Half Marathon

Toronto ON
Bib # 649 (like the lottery!)
Chip time: 2:07:55
Official time 2:11:29
Pace 6:06
Place 459/1162
Gender Place same as above....all women!
Category Place 92/216
There it is, the coveted necklace that started it all!

To say that this race was a hot mess wouldn't be much of an understatement. It was hot, and by the end I was a mess! LOL On Friday I drove into Toronto to pick up my race kit and find the race area. My plan was originally to have Derek drive me in on Saturday (I hate driving downtown Toronto, it's way to distracting for me as a driver!) but he had plans to go golfing so I sucked it up and drove myself in when I left work at noon. The trip took me over 3 freakin' hours due to traffic, my GPS selecting the wrong Leslie St and more traffic! Add in to the mix the fact that I had to pee like crazy and couldn't find a single Tim Horton's to duck into, this was a real crap afternoon!
I'm sure that you can imagine what horrors awaited me in this park washroom!
Saturday I spent most of the day cleaning and reading The Girl on Fire. I spent way too many hours reading and went to bed far too late. It was past midnight when my brain finally shut off and I was able to get to sleep (poor Katniss & Peeta!). The alarm went off at 5am and I was just not in the mood to get up. And my tummy hurt. This was not shaping up to be a good day. I woke up Derek and my nephew Christian (he's 8 and wanted to come and cheer me on at the race which is super cute because even my kids can't be bothered to get up early and come out for me) and we were on the road just past 6:30am. They dropped me off at the park and went to have some breakfast while I hit the porta potties, checked my bag and waited to meet up with Marina. In the meantime I met Lyndsey from Daily Mile and another girl name Jennifer who I had no idea was even on my friends list until I came back home and saw her race posted. Weird! After we all met and chatted a bit we started over to the start area. We soon found that there was no way to get into our corral (#2 Green) so we had to push in with the last corral and move our way up. First race fail of the day. Finally our gun went off and we were running. There was a ton of congestion and our first km was way too slow, but I assured Marina that we would make it up in the next km and we did. I will say right here and now that I did not like this race course. It was all out and back, out and back, out and back and the conditions of the path at times were really bad. I also did not like running all over the crappy wooden bridges, and the smell coming off the water?! UGH! Add in that the path was not closed off to the public and at places super narrow it was really hard to move around people. At times that affected my pace for sure! I also didn't like that I could see the KM markers for the other side. At one point I had lost track of what point in the race I was at but remembered seeing 16K so I figured I was getting close to the end. Then I passed the 13K marker and was crushed! Here I was thinking that I had 5 more to go and I wasn't even 2/3 of the way there. Fail #2! This isn't to say that it was a bad course though. Everyone else that I've spoken to seemed to love it. Maybe it was more to do with my head and heart not being in the race 100% that I'm downplaying it all? Who knows.
For an advertised 'mostly flat course' this sure doesn't look flat to me!

Marina and I ran together up until the 10K mark where I pulled ahead of her. I'm pretty sure that she was trailing  behind me for longer than that though. Every time I looked back to check on her she would say "Don't worry, I'm just following your ponytail!"
Note bobbing ponytail aka race beacon

I then saw her a bit later at another out & back and she gave me the thumbs up so I'm glad that I didn't go out to fast for her. I was a little worried that I may have burned her out.  It was also at the 10K point where my legs started to get so sweaty that my IT Band Wrap wouldn't stay up any longer and my IT Band let me know how unhappy it was with this. Fail #3. Great. I had to stop a lot to readjust it but it would only slip back a few steps later. Boo!

My hydration plan on this race was just to run with water in my belt and use the Gatorade at the stations to keep my electrolytes up. I usually run with Nuun, but I find that it fizzes up and then leaks all out of my water bottles and makes a total mess. It was pretty warm and humid out and I was sweating like crazy. So now I ask myself WHY did I only take Gatorade once at the very beginning?! I knew what was going to happen, and happen it did at the 19K mark. A side stitch. Fail #4. And then at 20K my calves started cramping. Fail #5. I had absolutely nothing left in the tank at this point. I just wanted it to be over. I had to stop and walk at quite a few points these final two KM and I felt pretty bad about it because I only had myself to blame. But then I came around the corner and saw the finish line and knew that my husband and nephew would be up there waiting for me so I sucked it up and jogged it in.  I knew that I was moving slowly but I didn't care. I was moving and at that point it's all I could be thankful for. And I continued to slowly bring it in up until a few steps from the finishing mat when a girl tried to pass me and I found my last ounce of energy to keep her at bay. I ended up beating her by 0.6 seconds. Take that!
Form shorm, get me to that finish line. I'm gassed!

Waving to my adoring fans.

Things that I learned on this race. 1) Don't stay up reading the night before a race 2) Drink your ovaltine Gatorade and keep your electrolytes up 3) Don't wear shorts with your IT Band Wrap on long sweaty runs. IT bands don't like that. 4) Don't try to swipe two packets of ELoad at the station when you're only supposed to have one. Fate will make you lose both of them 5) Don't make a beeline for the cute firefighters handing out water. The ugly ones right in front of them will always jump out at you forcing you to take theirs. 6) Try not to look so revolted at the volunteers handing out chocolate bars at the 19K point of a hot, sweaty & humid half marathon, they probably think you're a bitch.
I only ever walked at 10K (Gu & water break) and then at 19K & 20K (cramping up) You can see where congestion on narrow paths and bridges affected things!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Two races coming up and then what?!

One more week to go and the Toronto Women's Half will be here. Ok, a week and a day if you're picky. My Daily Mile friend Patty had recommended to me not to go all out on both of my halfs (halves? Huh!? This grammar nazi has no idea here. Bueller? Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?) so my plan for next Sunday is to finish around 2:10. That's still a reasonable time right? In training I would finish 21k around 2:15 so I don't want to be that slow. The competitive part of me just won't allow it! Another Daily Mile friend, Marina, is also running the TWH and she plans to finish in 2:10-15 so I may just run with her. My main race will be the following Saturday at the local Moon in June 5K. I'm hoping to PB this race with a 25 min finish. Think it's a possibility one week after a half? My current PB is 26:46 from October's Trek or Treat night trail race but I know that I can do better than that!! I'm hoping that if I cut dairy out for the next two weeks, stay hydrated and pay extra attention to my breathing I should be able to keep any cramping at bay and run those 5min paces. My parents are even going to come out to cheer me on so wish me luck! Don't want to crap the bed in front of them!! Yikes.

Part of the nice shady trail on my 16k run today. It was hot out so the shade was welcome! My first long run since the Mississauga Half and last long run before the Toronto Women's Half.
Gratuitous cute puppy shot. He was tired after our 4k walk this afternoon! So was I come to think of it!

So once I finish these two races what comes next?!  I'm all signed up to do the Warrior Dash in July, but that is more for fun than anything so it doesn't count. I've decided that for sure I want to run the half at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in October but what else? One race is boring, I need two!  I am thinking that I will also add in either the Milton or Oakville Half Marathon in September (probably Milton because it would give me a full month to recover for Scotia rather than the 3 weeks that Oakville would, and def I'm doing the Waterfront Trail in my home town in September. This was my first 5k race last year so I want to do it again. Memories! :oP So with this all in place I thought that I was set. All set until Sarah started asking me about running the Midsummer's Night Run in August with her and her friend. The 30K Midsummer's Night Run. EEK! I'll be honest, the thought of 30K freaked me out a little. Sure I'm all gung ho to do the Around the Bay 30K next March but that's next year. This is a few months away. Can I do it? Do I even want to do it? I really went back and forth with this one. Then came Wednesday night when a girl at work asked me if I wanted to join her Tough Mudder team on August 18. "Sorry, I can't" was my reply "I'm doing the Midsummer's Night Run that evening". Whoa! What? Where did that come from? Were those my lips moving?! So after all that humming and hawing my subconscious made my mind up for me. I'm running a 30K in August. And then the best part was when I was telling my sister about it on Thursday and she was all "30K? That's far!" and I was all "Not really! It's only 9 more kilometers than a half marathon". Easy for me to say, I've never even run 1 kilometer more than a half marathon! LOL

So what do you think? Am I biting off more than I can chew here?
August 18 Midsummer's Night Run 30K
Sept 8 Waterfront Trail (Probably the Double Crown 5K & then 8K)
Sept 16 Milton Half Marathon
Oct 14 Scotiabank Half Marathon

~~~~~~~~~~~~~BREAKING NEWS~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Totally unrelated but definitely brag worthy, my 17 year old nephew made the Team Ontario football team this past week! He's a running back who hates running. Shame really, he is LIGHTENING fast!
My nephew Jonathon. That's him in the black!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Recovery Week

So. Recovery Week. Not what I was expecting. I'm pretty sure that no one told me that I would be aware of every movement that my legs made last Monday. Seriously. You know that point after you've had a few drinks that you start to really notice your jelly legs? Yep, that was me except I just skipped the drinks and went right to the drunk. Thank God we were slow at work that night and I was able to cut out early. I was dying a slow and painful death. Probably leaving the half and going right to church (after a 2 second stop at home to change my clothes) and then coming home from that and scrubbing my house from top to bottom was not a good idea. Probably the smart thing to do would have been coming home, putting my legs up and icing them. Mental note for next time I guess. And yikes, next time is in 2 weeks for the Toronto Women's Half?!?! Hopefully my plan of just going out to run this for fun will help my drunk leg syndrome the next day. I'm so excited for my necklace!

I had no intention of running on Monday or Tuesday but was hoping to get out Wednesday morning. Unfortunately my husband cut the power to the upstairs on Tuesday night (painting the bathroom and changing the fixtures) and I didn't set my alarm clock correctly so I slept through Wednesdays run. No biggie, I'll just go out Thursday. Yep, Wednesday night at work was so busy I didn't get home until late so I slept through that run too. My argument to myself was that my body needed the rest more than a run so I didn't feel badly about missing it. Friday afternoon I was able to get out for a quick 5K run but that was it for the week. Saturday was reserved for my youngest sons confirmation and Sunday was a long day at work for Mothers Day and then my oldest son had not one but 2 3on3 games Sunday night (he's a goalie and everyones best friend!) But now all of my recovery, confirmation, Mother's Day, hockey game excuses are over and I can get back into the swing of things this week! Yay!

Confirmation Day

Happy Mothers Day!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Mississauga Half Marathon - YEAH BOYYYYYYYYEEEEE

Mississauga ON
BIB # 3386
Chip Time 1:57:31
Official Time 1:59:35
Pace 5:35
Place 1022/2911
Gender Place 360/1639
Category Place 120/530

Finally a race shirt that I will wear!

Aaaaaaaand 2 weeks after I add 'completed 10K' to my race list I am now adding 'completed half marathon'! Crazy! I can't believe how far I've come since last June when I started running again. My goal this time last year was just to get a 5K done, and I had absolutely no intentions of ever running more than 5! That was my limit, I was happy with that. And look at me today. 21.1K!! I freakin' rock!!!!

On Friday I went down to the Expo to pick up my race kit. It was BUSY! I had to drive around a bit to find a parking spot, but once I did I hustled in and moved through the crowds quickly. I bought some gels at the Running Room booth, cashed in on some free samples at various others and then went home to dig through my bag of goodies. Saturday I didn't do much, I ate a lot of carbs and lazed around the house trying to keep my legs fresh. I went up to bed early and caught up on Game of Thrones (I love this show but always feel like a total perv watching it. I hate how HBO has to push the envelope just because they can!) then went to sleep. I didn't wake up again until my alarm went off at 5am. Thank goodness!

Race day I got up at 5am, showered, ate, and walked the dog. My friend Sarah was being picked up at 6am by her friend Heather and then driving up to my place to hook up with me. I returned home from my dog walk to find a text saying that they had left early and would be at the meeting spot in 10 minutes. Looking at the time that the text was sent this was now!!! EEK! I wasn't even dressed. Thankfully my bag was already packed and my clothes laid out so it only took a few minutes to throw my clothes on and my hair up and I was out the door. Oops. Without my bib or chip. Thankfully I realized right away (not on the highway like last time with my phone!!) and was able to run in and grab them.  Phew! In no time we were at Square One and ready to race! We made a quick pit stop to the nasty porta potties (why are they always so digusting?!?!) stretched and made our way over to the starting line where we said goodbye. I was planning on running with the 2:00 pace bunny, Sarah & Heather were aiming for 2:15. With this being my first half I really had no idea what I was doing and I wanted to play it safe. The pace bunny that I found was a walk/run but I figured that was fine. I really didn't know how the continuous group was going to do it. I can't do 21K without stopping so 10's & 1's were fine by me, even if I haven't done them since last August! OMG, 10's & 1's are the way to go. I had so much energy in this run! I don't know if it was the run walk, or the major carb load I did this weekend, or a combination of both but I felt amazing from start to finish!
And we're off! There's me in the white sweater (that I ditched at the 2K water station) and pink headband. My pace bunny Leah is there on the right. She carried that sign the ENTIRE race!!

I kept pulling ahead of the group and then having to slow down to catch back up to them. Just as we got to 'The Hill' around 9K (holy crap this was tough!) the pace bunny suggested I go on my own. I really wasn't confident to leave her just yet so I stuck around, but I knew at one point I was eventually going to have to let go of her apron strings and go on. A few other members of the group also thought that I should pull away ("You're in great shape. Look, you're not even breathing hard!" one of them said to me) so around 15K I had once again pulled ahead but I didn't bother slowing down for them, I just kept on going. There was another girl from the group with me (her name was Lisa) who had on a Garmin so we decided to run together and continue with the 10's and 1's. Around 19K I asked her if she was going to take anymore walk breaks because I was just going to keep on. "I don't think I should" she said so we went for it. Unfortunately she couldn't keep up with me any longer and that was the last that I saw of her. I tried to find her at the finish to say thank you, but I never got the chance. At the 20KM marker I turned on everything that I had and went for it. This. Was. The. Longest. Kilometer. Of. My. Life!!! Honestly. I never thought it was going to end. It was like a bad dream where you're running in a tunnel but the tunnel has no end.
Just past the 20K mark and I'm still smiling!

Longest KM ever!

Finally we crossed a bridge, turned a corner and there it was!! Hello! As I came down the home stretch I saw that the clock was in the 1:59's so I found that last little bit in myself and brought it in! Yay! My goal was to finish under 2 hours and I did it. With 10's &1's!!
Hitting the mat.....gotta turn off my RunStar app!! I came down the homestretch so fast it caused my Simple Hydration water bottle to pop out of my pants!!!

 I got my chip cut off my shoe, grabbed some gatorade & water, found my pace bunny and thanked her (she thought that I did terrific for my first half --- thank you very much!) grabbed my food and waited around for Sarah. We finally met up and did the post race mortem on the way to the shuttle bus. What a great morning. The weather was amazing, the course was terrific and I am so full of pride. I went from doing 1's & 1's less than a year ago to a sub 2 half marathon. Yeah Boyyyyyyyyyeeeeee!

My 10K split was 54:30...not too shabby!