Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Oakville Half Marathon 2014

Oakville ON
BIB # 314
Chip Time 1:49:33
Official Time 1:49:54
Pace 5:07/km
Place 200/672
Gender Place 55/332
Category Place 18/99

Another fall season, another running of the Oakville Half Marathon. This was to be my comeback race! Picking up where I left off so to speak before all of the crazy calf issues and PF saga began. I've been feeling fairly healthy and kicking ass at the track so why shouldn't I get that elusive 1:45?! I even had Zindine (Irina's husband) to pace me!

I think that this race report needs to start off with the day before. I had planned on sleeping in so of course my eyes were wide open come 6am. I picked up my phone and saw an email from the Oakville Half with the bib number 2898. Sounds familiar? Weird. Then Nicole messaged me her bib number (I was picking up her race kit). 469. Why is your number only 3 digits when mine is 4? I asked. Then Emma tells me that her bib is 3 digits also. And it says that she's running the marathon? Wait a minute!! These are all of our Mississauga Marathon bib numbers! Ru-roh! Sure enough I arrived to the kit pick up to pandemonium. The line up was huge because people were reciting numbers that were not truly theirs for this race and there was some confusion. Finally someone figured it out (other than me) and I was able to get my, Nicole & Zindine's bibs and move on over to the t-shirt pick up. Oh, pink! Me likey! But then the volunteer says that these are the 2k &10k shirts and the white ones are for the half. Boo! Wait a minute. These white shirts are cotton. And children's sizes! Dude! In the end I got everything that I needed and made my way back home so we could drive out to my nephews university football game for the afternoon. If I'm going to veg out I may as well do it outside cheering on my nephew!
Yeah #2!! York Lions vs McMaster Mauraders

Race morning arrives and there is rain in the forecast. And wind. And humidity. Perfect. Who doesn't love a little bit of the elements on race day?! No one, that's who! I got up, got dressed, ate my breakfast, filled my water and put my gels in the little hand held's pouch. I then put everything else into a pile so that I wouldn't forget anything. I'm not going to be the butt of a joke this year. No, no, no! I'm on time with everything that I need. Then Patty, Emma & Amy arrived to pick me up. I walked out through the garage, got half way to the car and realized I forgot to close the garage door. Doh! I got into the car and we were on our way. A minute later I realized that I had left my water at home. Crap! This wasn't going to be good, my water bottle is my security blanket and if I don't have it, it can really get into my head. Not much I can do about it now. It wasn't until we were getting out of the car that I remembered that I had put my gels in the pouch of the water bottle so not only did I not have a drink, I did not have any gels either. This day was getting better and better. Thankfully Amy had an extra gel so I had at least one. I usually only take one gel when I'm racing because they can upset my stomach, but Zindine suggested I try two because one wasn't enough for me when I'm working hard. We then went and made our way to the spot where we were going to meet up with Irina & Zin. My stomach was in knots and as soon as he saw me Zindine said "You don't look relaxed at all". Ha. That obvious eh? We chatted for a short while and then went on a warm up run where I took advantage of a lone porta potty around the corner. Zin asked me how I was feeling and all I could think was 'thirsty'. I went and found Emma in the starting line crowd and put on my saddest face and asked her for a drink of her water. Literally this entire race was sectioned off in terms of the aid stations for me. That was my every goal. Just get to the next drink station.
Emma, Amy, Patty, me, Kim & Zindine before the madness. And rain.

Waiting for the suck to start.

Soon enough the gun sounded and we were off. I think we were positioned fairly well, I don't really remember spending too much time trying to weave around people. Zin had us settled into the pace fairly quickly and I was just counting off the km beeps to the drinks. Beep. Two more to go. Beep. One more to go. You're ok. Beep. Phew. Drinks. I put my hand up and grabbed a Gatorade, drank it and we were off again, counting down the beeps. My mind was fairly blank during this entire race which is strange for me. I was mainly focused on getting to the aid stations and giving out an 'uh-huh' every time that Zin tried to say something encouraging. "Listen to these people breathing hard already. We are relaxed." Uh-huh. "Maintain your effort. Save yourself.". Yep. In retrospect the time actually flew by even though the suck really started to creep in fairly early. It was so friggin humid at the start and I was melting. Thank God I had given Irina my hat to hold onto (Doh! She still has my hat!! LOL) because I would have been way to hot with it on. Not far into the race it started to rain and while others were probably inwardly grumbling about it, I was happy for it because it was cooling me down. It rained for the entire race with a few extra special down pours which resulted in some nasty bra chafe for me but I'll take that over the pounding sun any day.
It's raining it's pouring....

The usual incline around 8k took the wind out of my sails once again and I decided to take my one and only gel at the aid station right after this. I remember thinking to myself around 10k "Pfft. I got this". I really need to stop thinking that because less than a km later my legs were starting to feel like cement blocks and I was falling further behind Zin. "We should have just done the 10K" I whined. Stop talking! Come on, you got this" Yep. "Let's go! You trained for this". I know. But wait?! Did I train for this? Sure I was consistently doing my track work but I had put in very few tempo runs and it was biting me in the ass now. Crap. "You're slowing down too much. Come on. You need to speed up. You're not even breathing hard anymore!". I'll speed up soon. "Come on Sam! You can do it! I believe in you!" One girl turned and said to me "Oh! He's so motivating! He's even inspiring me to run harder". *Stage whisper* "He's getting on my nerves!!" Haha. He wasn't really getting on my nerves but I like to find the humour in every situation. Even the ones where bricks are tied to my feet. A short time later a lady ran by and complimented my outfit and started asking questions. As I answered them with probably a little more enthusiasm than I was showing for this run I could literally read the thought bubble above Zindine's head.....are you effing kidding me right now?!?! Put the effort into this race not your fashion! Thankfully we saw Irina a few minutes later and she took his mind off the fact that I was an idiot. Hahaha. We hammed it up a little for her camera and kept on moving.
Me: This sucks Zin: Walk in the park

"Let's go Sam! 5 minute km's now ok?! Super hero is just ahead of us. Let's catch her". Yep, I'll catch her later. And I'll speed up when we turn off Rebecca. All these false promises on my part. I wondered if he was buying what I was selling?
Superhero was around us the entire race. She finished maybe 15 seconds ahead of us

Around now my husband drove by and honked at us and then soon enough the turn off Rebecca came and there was a light at the end of this tunnel. This race was almost over and Derek was there to take me home! "Come on now! Let's catch those girls in pink!! Get the pinkies!". Yeah! Let's get those girls in pink! They can't wear pink! That's my colour! Why am I not wearing pink today?! And finally I had a little more zip in my step. Pfft. I may let the girl in the orange cape beat me today but I am not letting these two girls in pink beat me! Right at 20k I got a little bit of a side stich and my brain was screaming at me. JUST WALK! It'll be fine. Zindine is ahead of you, he'll never even know! Just walk off the stitch. And I almost did. I literally took one half of a walking step and said NO! Phew! That was close. And then the stitch went away. And so did the cement blocks. And everything else that as standing in my way and I just ran all the way to the finish line. And it was over and my B goal was achieved. Sub 1:50. I'll take it because I worked my ass off out there and at the end of the day that's all I can ask from myself.
Shoulders up around my ears, yep not tired at all! Haha.

Go towards the light....

Aaaaaaand that sucked. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Guelph Lake II Sprint Triathlon

Sure it's been a few weeks since I participated in the Guelph Lake sprint tri but good things come to those who wait.....or so they say. I can't say that I've actually experienced this to be true. Any way.... I went into this race with high expectations! I've been swimming weekly, I have an awesome bike that did not come from Canadian Tire and I have two legs that can move fairly quickly when they want to. What could possibly go wrong?!

Race day, Derek packed his lawn chair and book into the car and drove me up to Guelph Lake to meet up with Emma. We got there a little later than I would have liked but I got my kit, body marked and set up fairly quickly. Emma was nice enough to bring me a banana and I ate that before stuffing myself into my wetsuit. I even got the wetsuit on the right way round on the first try! Woohoo. I did have to ask a girl to help me zip it up but that's cool. In hindsight I probably got the wetsuit on a little too easily but what harm could there be in not being 100% fitted properly? I packed up my bag and took it down to the water to find Derek and ask him to hold it for me. At this point in life he is used to toting around my bright pink Under Armour bag at races. I think he may even want to borrow it for his boys weekend one day. Unfortunately I couldn't find him so I ran the bag back up to the transition area and put it under the bike. Hopefully it wasn't in anyone's way! I walked back down to the beach and got into the water to try to warm up a bit. I was feeling pretty nervous but I'm still brand new at this triathlon stuff so that's to be expected. I submerged myself and started to swim and realized that maybe things weren't going to go so great at the swim because I just couldn't control my breathing. I swam for a few minutes and thankfully spotted Derek and went and joined him while we waited for my wave to start. Finally the horn blared but I stayed back a bit so as not to be engulfed in the swarm of swimming bodies. I got maybe 100m out and had to switch to the breast stroke to try to calm myself down a bit. My heart rate was through the roof and I just couldn't get a breath. I looked ahead to the buoy way out in the distance and wondered how the hell I was going to get through this swim. Should I wave my swim cap in the air like they said and call for help? No! I was going to finish this swim no matter how long it took me! I swam behind the same woman for the entire race but I think she was just slow and not having a panic attack like I was. As long as she didn't get ahead of me I was happy with that. So what if I was doing the breast stroke, my most favourite hated stroke. Twice I flipped myself onto my back and stared at the sky to try to collect myself and thankfully as I turned the final buoy my body and mind relaxed enough that I was able to finish the swim. Of course this was also the same moment when the fast swimmers from the wave behind me caught up to me. I also started to realize here that the wetsuit was riding right up in the crotch so at least I had something other than getting the eff out of this water to keep my mind occupied for that final stretch. Finally the shore came and I was on my own two feet unzipping this stupid wetsuit and running to the bike! Frick man, get me outta here!

Get me to the land! And ignore the man from the next wave behind me

Yeah, beat you out of the water buddy! So what if you started 6 minutes after me?!
SWIM TIME 17:09 750m
AG place 16/26

I got into the transition area and found my bike fairly quickly. There weren't too many bikes left on my rack but that was ok. I'd catch up. Maybe. I quickly threw everything off and then on and ran out to the bike mount area. My heart rate was still pretty high so I didn't work too hard at the start and all the fast men from the wave behind me went whipping by. I ate a gel and cruised along noticing that there were far more hills in this 'flat' course than I had anticipated. Hills are the devil. Unless you're Emma. The bike course went by fairly uneventfully until a big trasport truck decided that he needed to turn left, but because of all of the bike traffic on the other side of the road he had to stop, causing me to have to go onto the loose gravel shoulder. All of a sudden my back tire started skidding and I started to fall. Thankfully I got my foot unclipped at the last second and saved myself right before my head cracked the side of the truck. I righted myself and got going again, all the while the girl behind me was screaming. "I'm sorry, are you ok?" I turned and said to her. "Am I ok? Holy shit! How's your heart rate right now?" she asked me. "Through the roof" I replied. She rubbed my back and then rode past, leaving me to catch my breath and notice the cut I had somehow gotten on my knee in all that craziness. I got to the turn around, unclipped my left shoe, and kept as tight to the cone as I could. Once again the ride was uneventful and I was counting down the distance remaining while noticing the crosswind that was a little annoying but still having a fun time out there. Around 22k the top of my head started hurting, like I had a hair clip in or something. I stuck my finger in my helmet to see what was up only to realize my helmet was inches above my head. Doh! I awkwardly fixed my helmet and walla!
I hope I don't need this helmet to protect my head today!
I pedalled along and saw a big downhill coming up! Woohoo I love the downhills! As I flew down a bee flew into my neck. The G force had him stuck there and so he stung me. Aaaaand he was still stuck to my neck. I grabbed the bee and threw him off to the side yelling "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?!?!". Thankfully no one was in close enough ear shot to hear it. I had officially had enough of this race. My neck was throbbing like a mother and I was swallowing back tears of frustration. I finally rounded the corner to get back to the park and I rode as fast as I could so I could get off this bike.
BIKE TIME 1:12 30k
AG place 23/26

I ran into the transition area and noticed a sign for my AG on a rack that didn't look like where I had been, but it was my age group so it was right. Right? Wrong! I ended up running around the transition area trying to remember where I had been when I saw my pink bag sitting all alone amoung the returned bikes. There were a lot of them. Oh well. I had a drink, changed my shoes, threw on my headband and ran out of transition. "Go Sammy" my husband yelled to me. "OMG. I almost got hit by a truck and stung by a bee! That bike did not go well". Later Derek told me that I looked like I was having a smoke break in T2, because I was taking my time. Harhar.
Leaving T2
Mid bitch

Immediately I felt hot on the run and was glad that I had brought my handheld water bottle. I heard a girl ask a volunteer how long until the water station and he told her 3k. Yikes. Good luck, girlie! I got a few hundred meters into the run and came across a hill. "What's with all the hills?!" a girl beside me asked. Right?!?! We both stopped and walked the hill and she wished me luck when I started to run again. And then I walked again. And then I ran again. And walked. And ran. It was hot. My legs were tired. I was fed up. Gah! Just run and get this over with I thought to myself. And why the hell are these people looking at me? IS MY NECK SWOLLEN from this bee sting?!?! Am I like Sloth Fratteli out here?
Hey you guys!!!
I saw Emma on her way back from the run and asked her how her morning was going. "I'm on the death march right now" was her reply. Don't I know it?! Eventually I got to the run turnaround and I was feeling a bit better. At least I could focus on running and passing all these girls with D30-39 on their legs and the old dudes who had passed me on the bike. I did not see a single girl from my AG but I was sure seeing a lot from Emmas! I wonder..... With 2k left to go I passed another old guy who said to me "Looking good!" "Thanks" I said "Keep it up!" he replied "I'll try!!" I responded. "I better not see you out here again today!" he yelled out to me and I laughed. Message heard. Finally I turned the corner and saw the finish line. Thank God that's over!
Yeah yeah yeah get me over the finish line

RUN TIME 44:30 7K
AG place 12/26

AG place 22/26

All smiles. Yeah, that wasn't so bad. Not. 

Turns out my rock star friend Emma finished 3rd in her AG at the Duathlon, and I was lucky to get out of the sprint tri alive. At least now I know where I need to work next year if I want to compete in more triathlons, especially the half iron that Mari has talked me into. Open water swims are a must to get past the panic. I've never liked dark water swimming so I need to get more comfortable there. Even with a good bike (thanks Irina!)I was crap and probably I should actually try brick runs before race day. So after I run the Ottawa Marathon in May my focus will change to the tri and I'll become a crusty bitch as Derek would so graciously put it. LOL