Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Around The Bay 30K

Hamilton ON
BIB # 2559
Chip Time 2:48:56
Official Time 2:52:04
Pace 5:38/km
Place 2654/6850
Gender Place 836/3331
Category Place 152/600

****MENTAL NOTE TO SELF**** Do Not Eat Nachos the Night Before a Race.

The Around The Bay 30K is a race that I had been waiting in anticipation for a whole year to run. That's 365 days of excitement building! To say that I was eager for Sunday to arrive would be an understatement!

Sarah had been nice enough to organise a dinner on Saturday night so myself, Patty (and her fam), Emma (and her daughter), Marina & Maggie joined Sarah at the Royal Coachman. The trouble with being a vegetarian and going out to eat is that there's not a lot of options. There was not a whole lot of anything that appealed to me on the menu so I decided to go with the nachos. They're carbs right? How bad could it be? Fast forward to a few hours later in the evening when the nachos started repeating on me and I was starting to get my answer.....

I went to bed on Saturday night, set my alarm for 6am and went to sleep. Obviously I didn't have the most fitful sleep from being sick with a cold and excited for the run, and when I awoke hours later and saw that my clock read 6:30am I realized that I had once again forgotten to actually turn my alarm ON for a race! You would think that after Oakville I would have learned my lesson! Thankfully once again I had all of my stuff laid out and ready to go so all I had to do was get dressed, eat my breakfast, brush my teeth and go to the bathroom. It only took one trip to the loo to have my 'Nacho's are good prerace food' theory go out the window. Things just got interesting........

Around 7:30am Derek dropped me off to Sarah's house to catch a ride into the Hammer (which was a little different from the plan that Patty and I had come up with at the Expo to make Emma drive us, but this worked too) with the girls from last night. We quickly made it into Hamilton and found parking (which nobody thought to bring money for - thanks Emma!) and made our way to Copps to try to meet up with some DMers and my runkeeper friend Irina. Shortly before race time we hit the bathroom lineup once more and then joined the thousands trying to make their way out to the corrals. Patty & I walked along like a couple of lemmings following the crowd until Patty realized that we were in a sea of white bibs. Crap! It was now 9:27 and there was no way that we'd make it over to the closed corrals in time so we pushed our way into the open corral just as the gun went off. SHIT! I've still got on my sexy throw away track pants (I know that these pants were dead sexy because I saw people keep looking at them in envy!). I quickly kicked off my shoes, tore off my sexy throw away sweats and threw my shoes back on. Too bad that I didn't take the time to rub any of the nasty Hamilton street debris off of the bottoms of my socks because every now and then throughout the race a new stone would make itself known. This day is just getting better and better!

The race made it's way throughout the downtown area and I suggested to Patty that we should try running a little quicker for the first 10K or so just to try to bank some time in case we have troubles with the hills at the back end of the course. Patty agreed and we sped up. Through the entirety of the race the two of us girls seemed to be getting a lot of attention in our skirts. Spectators were pointing, runners were commenting (two ladies had  a whole conversation about each of our outfits), and dirtbags were taking photos. I don't even want to know....
Around 6K my tummy started feeling a little queasy but I tried not to think about it. Around 8k Patty suggested we gel but I told her that my stomach was not feeling good and I was going to try to wait a bit. Right away she asked if it was the nachos. I knew that was an eyeroll that I saw from her when I ordered them! Shortly after, Patty spotted her friend Beth in the crowd and almost took some random guy out trying to get over to her to pass off her water bottle. I had forgotten to ditch the small pack of kleenex that I had brought with me but after almost spitting on Patty twice (I'm sure that you don't need me to spell out that conversation to you) I figured that it was probably a good thing that I still had them and blew my nose. Now Patty had a new job on this run. To be my official booger checker. Sorry, but I didn't want to be like the guy that Derek saw running down York with a giant snot bubble hanging from his face!

Just after the 9K point there was a set of railroad tracks in the distance. How did I know that they were railroad tracks? Because all of a sudden red lights started flashing, bells starting dinging and the crossing arms started to go down. At that same moment the loudest collective NO! in the history of the universe was shouted as everyone started to haul ass to make it over the tracks in time. Patty looked at me and asked what we should do. RUN LIKE HELL! I yelled to her over my shoulder! The train was still off in the distance so we were pretty safe. The police officer who I refused to look at (in case he told me to stop) was apparently waving people through so we weren't in that much danger. A man who was running alongside us said that he's run this race the last 10 years and never seen that happen before. Just my luck! Not long after this I was able to take a gel. Unfortunately this was going to be the only one that I would be able to stomach for the rest of the race.

Things were pretty uneventful running down the Beach Strip towards Northshore. I saw my friend Bill out in the crowds with his dog which was a nice surprise. Not soon before we hit the lift bridge I decided that I would try to spit again because I was getting tired of stuffing snotty kleenex into my skirt pocket. This time I made sure to do it in front rather than to the side so that I wouldn't hit Patty. Obviously I have terrible aim because the guy running ahead of me missed getting a giant gob on his left ass check by a mere inch! Thank God he was wearing headphones and couldn't hear the nervous laughter coming from behind him!

Running with an upset stomach and a cold was starting to take it's toll on me. I was almost out of water and the stations seemed to be few and far between. As we neared Northshore I was getting desperate and thankfully took an orange slice from some unofficial random strangers. They had runner club jackets on so I figured I was safe. Surely they weren't part of some strange body trafficking ring that drugs runners under the disguise of kindness and comes along the course at the end of the race in a van and collects their victims??!! Now Patty had a new job. To make sure that nobody stole me! Probably that would be better than checking for boogers anyway. As we came up to the rollers on Northshore Patty reminded me to keep an even effort. Check. Up and down and up and down we went and I was getting really thirsty again but didn't want to have to drink the small amount of water that I had left. "Where the F are the drink stations?!?" I yelled. Patty agreed and I could see that she was in real need of water too. I offered her some of mine and realized just how desperate she was when she actually went to take a sip, cold cooties and all. Lucky for her just as she was raising the bottle to her mouth a water table came into sight. Cooties averted! I was starting to get light headed so I grabbed two cups of Gatorade and gulped them down. Soon after we were at the bottom of the first crappy hill. A random woman said to her friend "Who is it that hates this hill again?". "EVERYONE!" was Patty's response. We made it to LaSalle Park and I started looking for my sister and her family who I knew would be up here. I spotted them before they saw me and I ran over to give them high fives. Too bad that my little nephew didn't see me and my big nephew was way to cool to be giving his snotty nosed aunt a high five but my sister & her bf were happy to smack my hand. Yay! Off I went again to tackle the next hill with a little spring in my step. Too bad that it didn't last and I could feel myself starting to drag. I got quiet and only responded to Patty's conversation with one word answers or grunts. We got up onto Plains Rd and Patty had to walk for a minute to get her gel out of her pocket. I gladly told her that was fine and took a little more water. This was the hardest part for me to start running again....the lowest of the low. Almost as if it were a sign we noticed the Priest of the church across the street with the Palms blessing all of the runners. I said a little prayer inside my head and took strength. Thank you God. :o)

Soon enough we came to the spot where the famed 'little person' was. I could hear the We Will Rock You blaring from his ghetto blaster (does he seriously listen to that for 3-4 hours straight?!). I watched people high five him as we ran by but all of my high five energy had been given to my sister. Down the valley we ran and made our way over the bridge to the Valley Inn Rd Hill. "Here we go" Patty said. I decided that the best way for me to make it up this hill would be to get behind her, put my head down and watch her feet. Up up up up we went. Around the corner we went. Up up up we went. Some buffoon yelled out "Look up! You're almost there!" Of course I looked up and guess what?! I wasn't almost there! F*cker! Down my head went again and up I went. We finally made it to the top and I knew that Patty would keep going but I needed to drink the last of my water. Mouth breathing for the last 2+ hours had made it feel like sandpaper. I slowed to a walk, took the last few sips and watched Patty move off in the distance. I had a quick flashback of watching Nicole move away from me at the Midsummer Night's Run and that was all that I needed to get my legs moving and catch back up to Patty. I saw her look over her shoulder for me and yelled "I'm coming!". It didn't take that long to get back to her side and soon enough we had made it to the Grim Reaper.
I would totally buy this picture if that weird looking guy in the red wasn't there. I can't take my eyes off of his hat.

It was at this point that I thought to myself 'Please don't let her pick up the pace anymore, I don't think that I can go any faster". I did a body check and realized that I wasn't hurting anywhere other than my tummy but I had simply run out of gas. Only having nachos for dinner and one gel on the course was catching up to me. Now it was time for the whining to start. "I hope I don't puke on the course, please let it happen at the end"...."I'm TIRED!"...."I'm SOOOO thirsty"..... "Ugh, I have nothing left in the tank"..... "OMG I'm TIRED!". Only once did Patty tell me to suck it up that we were almost there so I shut up. At that point all that I could focus on was my all consuming thirst anyway. I just kept putting one foot in front of the other, dreaming of the water that I knew would be at the finish line. With 1K left to go I said to myself "We got this". With my eyes on Copps the whole time it seemed almost like a bad dream, the one where you're running and running down a hall but the end just never comes! After an eternity we made it to the turn into the arena and I saw Patty give a burst of speed and from God knows where I was able to put one on too and crossed the finish line.
Thank God that's over! 30K in the books and no bird crap on my hat!

In the end we had both done what we came out to do. Patty got her sub 2:50 and I had a better experience than at Midsummer. Sure it would have been way better had I not been feeling sick but I was able to dig deep and keep my pace through this entire run. I didn't have to walk those last few km's or have bad feelings about the race. Probably if I didn't have Patty to run with I wouldn't be saying these things but that's what friends are for. To help you get through the tough times. I have learned a few lessons from this race obviously

1) don't eat nachos the night before a race
2) turn the alarm clock ON
3) use kleenex rather than spitting
4) the cadets in the food line really take their job seriously (I was begging the boy for 2 juice boxes but he would only give me one)
5) shut up and run!

Friday, March 22, 2013

ATB Sunday = Sore Throat Today?!?!

So Around the Bay 30K is this Sunday. Yay!

Stolen from my friend Marinas FB post.
I've already run the entire route twice and run the tough portions a hundred times..... ok probably not a hundred ...... and am feeling confident that I will be getting my retribution on my Midsummer Nights Run 30K fail last August. At least I was, until I started to feel a sore throat coming on last night at work. I texted Patty around 8pm who told me to gargle some rum?!?! Ah, no thanks. I did however gargle salt water and drink a chamomile tea with lemon and honey and then take some of the Winter Remedy when I got home. Fast forward to this morning when I opened my eyes and realized that my throat felt like sandpaper and my nose was runny. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! More Winter Remedy got put under my tongue and a few prayers were said. I had planned on buying some Fisherman's Friend on my way into work this morning but we were running late. First I had to take a picture of the birdy who I am assuming is laying eggs on our porch light.

I think that this is the mommy and the daddy stays on our roof or front lawn protecting her. Yesterday he was sitting on her. Not very chivalrous but who knows how the bird world is supposed to act. Any way, between this and Noah realizing at the last second that he forgot to brush his teeth (sound familiar?) there was no time to stop at the store so I just took another dose of the nasty Oil of Oregano concoction. Thankfully I'm not feeling too poorly so I think that I'll be alright to stick to our race goals on Sunday. Once again I am running with Patty. My main goal is just to have a better finish than Midsummer. Patty's goal is to run the course sub 2:50for a new PB. We've both had graston / ART on our legs this week and other than my brewing cold I think that we're in good enough shape to see it through. Wish us luck!! We are going to the expo around dinner time today where I plan on purchasing this rainbow tshirt.
More than likely they will either be sold out or it's not going to look as cute in person. Also guaranteed. The ATB shirt that everyone covets will be hideous this year simply because I want one. I apologize in advance for my bad luck everyone. Wishing us all good weather and good fortune on Sunday! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Chilly Half Marathon

Burlington ON
BIB # 1399
Chip Time 1:51:45
Official Time 1:53:37
Pace 5:16/km
Place 894/2830
Gender Place 248/1514
Category Place 42/247

So obviously the whole mystic has  been taken away as to whether I made my time goal or not at this race, unless of course you didn't read my race info at the top which makes me wonder why you are reading this at all. LOL The competitive person in all of us wants to see how well someone did at a race, right. To see if we might just be faster than them. Everyone thinks like that right? Right?!! Surely it's not only me?!?!  As I think about it today I have spent hundreds of hours running along Lakeshore and the beach strip so it's only fitting that I get my PB on a course that I know like the back of my hand!
The day started out like any other race day except my tummy was not feeling well. While I was out walking Gordie I began to think that rather than start out with the 1:50 pacer and see what happens I should start out with the 1:55 pacer and try to move up and just hope that my stomach worked itself out. I choked back my usual breakfast of oatmeal with chia seeds and got ready to go meet up with everyone. Thankfully I checked facebook one last time before I left and saw Nicole's picture that she posted of her race gear, including the bib that I was about to forget! EEK! I ran back to the kitchen and grabbed my bib and out the door I went. It was decided that I would go this race alone because Kyle had to work so we were down one car and Derek wasn't really into standing around in the cold while I waited about for my friends at the finish. It's no big secret that Derek finds my races extremely boring but seeing as I am just as uninterested in his pastimes of golf & guitar I don't take offense.  
The plan was for everyone to meet up at 9am at 760 Brant and use the bathrooms at Patty's workplace in peace. We all sat around and talked and peed and ate our prerace bananas and then around 9:30 headed down to the start. We did a slow warm up run on the way down so that we could A) warm up and B) stay warm. On fresh legs on the way to the start this felt great. On cold stiff tired legs on the way back after the race this felt like sheer hell. We got to the start and said or goodbyes and good lucks and Nicole, Phil and I made our way to the 1:55 pacer. I never did see a 1:50 pacer so my plan to switch was obviously the right one. The gun sounded and off we went. Woohoo. Not even a km in I decided to ditch the pacer. What the hell right? Probably this would have been a better idea if I knew exactly what my paces were supposed to be to reach my time goal. I just aimed for a 5:15-5:20 pace and hoped for the best. Haha. Type A race personality I am not. I do not know my PB's right down to the second and I pretty much fly by the seat of my pants in races. Patty would crap her pants if I ever took the lead for us. LOL

Me & my Daily Mile friends Emma, Phil, Patty & Nicole.
Like it usually does the first 5K went by in a congested blur. We did an out and back on the beach strip while running into the backs of people and trying to wheel around them. The smell of pot was in the air and I quietly listened to the banter of three guys running behind me. After the turnaround we passed Patty who was the 2:15 pacer. The three dudes behind me commented on the hot pace bunny in the kilt which gave me a little smile. Too bad they couldn't see her matching nail polish. Patty is nothing but put together. Type A personality at it's finest. Some mornings she must cringe when I show up to run with last nights makeup and uncoordinated clothes, spouting off my PB's to the minute. Even though the course was so packed I was still able to stick to pretty consistent paces. 5:23 5:12 5:16 5:20 5:21
Things were pretty uneventful for the next few kms and I was getting bored. I forgot to bring any headphones which was unfortunate because I had just downloaded the most recent Jay & Dan podcast. Boredom was not a good thing for me to be feeling because it gave my mind time to wander and it wandered right down to my calves which were getting tired. Perhaps graston & ART on Friday was not a good idea? Around 7km the guys that had been behind me the whole way pulled ahead so I didn't even have their conversation to keep me entertained any longer. At the next water station I stopped for some Eload drink which I ended up getting all over my hands. Yay something new to think about. How sticky my fingers were. How the hell am I going to finish this thing on tired calves with sticky fingers?! ARG! It was pretty much at this exact point that the heavens opened up and brought me an angel. My angel was my Daily Mile friend Phil. Phil asked me how I was doing and I told him alright but my calves were bothering me. We talked for a little bit and I kind of thought he was going to take off but he didn't! Yay! Talk about renewed energy! We ran along, sometimes chatting and sometimes not, but it was nice to have someone there. Around 9.5k we passed a couple of teenagers out to cheer everyone on. Too bad that they were singing "Ohhhh You're Halfway There". Someone teach the youth of today some math, please! Just past 10k we hit the water station to gel. Phil grabbed one of the Eloads that they were handing out and I ripped into my GU which I then sucked back too hard and it got stuck in my throat causing me to choke. #loser Kilometers 5-10 were the lowest and highest for me but I still kept up my pace. 5:19 5:22 5:32 (Eload break!) 5:21 5:19
Not a lot happened for the middle of the race. Casual chatter, watching the race leaders (some who looked like they were out for a walk in the park and some who looked like they were dying) making their way back from the turnaround, and the sound of the man who sputtered like a horse kept us entertained during this time. Because I knew the course so well I was pretty much able to call out everything that was coming up and took it upon myself to be our cheerleader. I honestly had no idea at any point in this race if I was going to make my 1:52 time goal but I knew for sure it would be a sub 1:55 so that was alright. Considering the banana that I had eaten at the meet up kept making an appearance at the back of my throat I thought that I was doing pretty well. Stupid upset stomach. We hit the turnaround and had something new to occupy our time with; looking for our friends. 5:45 (gel break!) 5:15 5:18 5:15 5:20
Finally we were on the home stretch! We were starting to get tired but I told Phil that even though I was on the verge of puking up my banana we were going to finish strong. We saw Emma & her friend Janice go by, then Mari ( the run/walk 2:15 pacer) who we called out to be she pretended not to hear us (haha), then Patty who told me to hurry up and pass her friend who was just up ahead. We also saw the 1:55 pacer but did not see Nicole. We wondered if she had fallen behind because we never did catch sight of her but I joked that she was probably right behind us getting ready to pick us off! In the distance I saw the famed priest and some of his congregation out cheering everyone on. I noticed him handing something out and I thought it was communion! Body of Christ on a race?! Heck why not?! This was a Baptist church, who knows how they do things here! Talk about disappointment when I realized that they were only handing out oranges and *gulp* bananas. God love you all but bananas are the last thing that I want to think about right now! It kind of made me sad though because we had passed the street that my church, St Patrick's, is on. I would have loved to have seen Father Ray out there cheering me on. *sad face* We hit another water stop because Phil had forgotten to bring any water with him and soon after we saw Pierre! Yay Pierre. I totally would have missed him had Phil not called out to him. I gave Pierre a smile and a wave and ran on. Shortly after I felt a tap on my shoulder as a blur went whizzing by. "I've been chasing you guys down since 16k! Come on!". Ha! I was right! Nicole had indeed had us in her sights getting ready to pick us off! "Let's go!" I yelled out to Phil as I heard him let out a groan. "We can't let her beat us!". I took off and caught up to her and ran along side for a few minutes. At 19K Nicole told me to get going, that if I could do two 5:25 km's I would have my goal. I looked down at my Garmin and quickly did the math. Holy crap she was right. I pushed my tired legs as hard as they would go and took off. Why is it that the final 1-2 km in ANY race feels like crap? Is it all in your head that you're SO close to the finish that your body just wants to stop and lay down? I just had to shut my mind off and go. I knew Nicole was hot on my heels and that was enough to propel me to the bottom of Brant St where I picked things up for my last kick and sprinted to the finish. Holy crap I had done it!! With the help of two friends I had made my goal AND although my stomach felt like garbage the whole race I hadn't puked up my banana or crapped my pants. #winner 5:10 5:22 5:12 5:07 5:02 4:54

FYI I did purchase this picture so I'm not a total dirtbag for ripping it off.
Eye on the prize.
Thank goodness in this low res version you can't see my cold purple lips or the crusty frozen
salt stuck to my eyelids. Dead sexy.

Friday, March 1, 2013

February & A Race!

It's finally arrived! My first race of 2013! The Chilly Half Marathon.Yippee. It feels like so long ago that I felt that prerace excitment. Of course right now I'm feeling those prerace doubts. Am I as fast as I was last fall? Am I going to fail miserably? Is my injury going to rear it's ugly head? Am I finally going to poo my pants in a race? You know, the usual stuff. In spite of all of those niggling doubts I'm still going to try for my 1:52. Like Scotia, my plan is to start out with the 1:50 pacer and see what happens. *fingers crossed* A goal is 1:52 or better. B goal is sub 1:55 C goal sub 2:00. There is no D goal because honestly I'll be pissed if I only make it to C goal. I'm planning on picking up my race kit on my way home from work this afternoon. That may change though seeing as I realized on my way in to work this morning that I forgot to brush my teeth! *sigh*

Don't come any closer!

Looking back at February I'm SUPER proud. It was my highest mileage month EVER and I ran the entire Around the Bay 30K route last Saturday with Patty! Not bad for trying to rehab a calf strain! Speaking of which I have an appointment for physio this afternoon. Last week was supposed to be my final session but my calves were so tight it seemed to affect my strain, and while doing ART on both calves to loosen them up he found some serious overuse crap in my other calf. Boo hiss. I've got to be getting to the end of my insurance coverage so hopefully things clear up soon! 

That big climb around 17 miles is the dreaded Valley Inn Hill. It truly sucked after 27kms!

Why yes I did run 224km in a month with only 28 days!

Next up my Chilly Half race report. Hopefully it's a positive one! Good luck to all of my friends who are also racing Chilly. It sure makes it more exciting to know other people there!