About Me

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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Long run alone

Well, here I am two weeks after completing my first ever half marathon and I've recommitted to a Sunday morning long run (and so has my awesome husband).

Because I don't want to put my family out too much with my running, I've decided not to join in on the long runs with the Running Room for the time being and will instead be doing them all by myself.

This morning I set off at 9:10 and ran a 12k route through my end of town. It was a good run as it didn't rain, it wasn't silly humid and while I did fail at keeping my pace at 6:50/km or slower, I felt good.

I decided that I'd run with a sports drink in my handheld for the first time along with my water bottle and felt okay taking that. I doubt I'll ever race with sports drink as I do find it sweet, but I sweat like crazy and I want to be able to replace all of the salt I loose when I'm on these shorter long runs.

Before I knew it, I was back in my subdivision and heading for home. I am glad I got out there for the longest distance ever run alone in my life.

12k, 1:19:40, 6:48/km

24k last week (w/o May 23), aiming for 35-40 this week.

One week until the Bread and Honey 15k race. Goals to come

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Increase in Tempo pace... in the rain!

Average pace over 4k: 5:48/km

I felt great!

Total: 6k, 35:29, average pace: 5:57/km

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Long, Slow Run

Yesterday was Victoria Day in Canada. This is a federal holiday and so my husband golfed was home (but he played 9 in the morning). It was an odd day with on and off rain, thunder, sun and wind but after the baby went for his afternoon nap, I risked the weather and set out to run my first LSD run since the half marathon, settling on a 10k loop through town.

This was the first time I had run more than 9k on my own so I was excited to get out there to see if I could finally pace myself to an actual slow pace and keep myself company for the 70 or so minutes.

I started off good, deciding to hit the hard part on gravel first and was quickly through the first two kilometers. I was enjoying my music, the scenery and the cool breeze. My only problem was that I was checking my Garmin all the time just to ensure that my pace wasn't creeping above 6:50/km. Before I knew it, I was on Main street (I really did run through town) and at 5k. At that time I started reflecting on how short 10k now seems. I can't believe that back in January, I was dying at the end of 7k thinking it was such a long distance. Again, I was grateful that I had signed up for the program with the Running Room as those 16 weeks taught me so much.

While I was running kms 6-8 the sun came out in full force and it was HOT. I was thankful that I opted for my shorts and tank and that I had remembered a hat and sunscreen. Ideally, my goal is to get out for LSD runs on Sunday mornings and keep up the schedule that I had with the RR, but from home. This weekend being a holiday is what shifted my schedule a bit.

I finished strong (if a bit fast) and am looking forward to building a schedule to focus on speed for the 5 and 10k PBs I want to hit this year and building distance so that I can tackle the 30k Midsummer Night's Run in August.

10k, 1:07:16, 0:06:42 average pace per KM.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

And on to the future

First of all, thanks for all of the comments on my race report! Six entire comments is a new record for me! HA!

And so... now it is time to look to the future.

Thus far, my summer looks like this:

June 5th Bread and Honey 15k Road Race

July 9th Warrior Dash "3.24 Hellish Miles" 4:30 Heat!

August 20th A Midsummer Night's Run 30k I was thisclose to signing up at the expo last week, so I just need to sign up for this one.

September 10th Energizer Night Race (not sure if I'll do 5k or 10k) I need to sign up!

September 24th Oasis Zoo Run 10k

November 6th Road To Hope Hamilton Full Half Full Half Marathon Or maybe the full I have to sign up!

My other goals are simple:
1. PB 5k (sub 28:44)
2. PB 10k (sub 1:03:05)
3. PB the Half Marathon (unless I do the full!)

Obviously, I have a big decision to make regarding November and soon. Do you think I'm crazy to run my first half marathon and first full marathon within six months?

Monday, May 16, 2011

Mississauga Half Marathon Race Report!

Without a doubt, this race was a wonderful experience for me (despite the grey skies, drizzle and high winds). It cemented my love of running, my love of racing and the fact that I will continue to be a runner for a long time to come.

After doing the smart thing and dropping the kids off at my parents to spend the night (the baby is still up at least once per night), we headed home to relax a bit before I headed to bed. I went up around 9pm and was tired but read a bit to ensure I was able to sleep right away. That was AFTER I discovered that the top and sports bra I wanted to wear and all of my socks were in the wash and I had to do laundry! Thank goodness for dry-weave!

I slept okay in about 4 hour spurts which makes sense as the baby usually wakes me up. I was able to get right back to sleep each time. My watch alarm (I had 3 alarms set!) went off right at 5am and I slowly got out of bed to eat (Bagel with peanut butter) and check the weather and twitter get ready. The weather looked bad: 9 degrees, rain and wind gusts up to 54kph. I grabbed a long sleeved top along with a wind coat and my husband and I got on the road.

Luckily for me, a friend from my running group works at the start line and so we met at her office building and were able to avoid the long port-a-potty lines before heading to the start. We saw quite a few of our group at the start, but not Bing (who we did see sprinting toward the start line when we were leaving the office building. I'm sad to say I didn't see him at all after the race).

The entire time I was debating if I should pin my bib on my short sleeved shirt or my long sleeved one. It was cold, but not raining. It seemed like the day of our training course run and so I decided to keep on the long sleeved shirt with my bib attached and my watch on the sleeve. I was also wearing a garbage bag (as were many others) and that worked wonders for keeping warm.

The gun went, the bag came off and we walked to the start, crossing the line about 5 minutes after the gun. The race had begun!!!

The strategy that C and I had set was to run the thing at a 6:23 pace which would allow us to meet the A goal of 2h:15m. We had decided on attempting a negative split so that we would conserve energy for two things: The hill around 9.5km and the last three KMs. So, we started strong and right on pace.

Within the first 2k, I knew I was over dressed. It was so humid and not yet raining. I made a quick decision to strip off my long sleeved top which meant fumbling of: Belt, bib (with four pins), watch, ear buds and pace band. C agreed that I should do it early when we could catch up time if it slowed us down and held a bunch of my stuff while I ran and redressed. The lesson here is to buy a bib belt thing. I had bleeding fingers from re-pinning. The first 5k were easy despite this and I was just waiting for the turn onto Mississauga Road so that we'd be on familiar ground.

KM1: 6:27
KM2: 6:24
KM3: 6:23
KM4: 6:17
KM5: 6:27

5k split: 0:31:58 Pace band: 0:31:59

We were racing smart. We were reeling in if our pace got too fast and watching the pace bands to ensure that we were on target for the overall goal. We both skipped the first two water stations as we had our own water and didn't need any. There are some downhills in this part and it was still early so it was awesome to see the sea of people in front of us running. There were quite a few spectators (for such a crappy day) and their support was great. It started to mist/rain, but I couldn't feel any wind and told C that I'd take pouring rain over wind any day.

These next five KMs are the ones that stick out the most in my mind. I noticed people running in Vibrams, ladies heading behind stores to pee (while men just stood with their backs to the race), people using bus shelters to strip off layers. For a while we were running right with a couple who had shirts printed with "First Marathon 2011" which made me smile. The turn onto Mississauga Road was a boost because from here on out it was familiar ground and I was feeling good. My normally stiff knees felt perfectly fine.

At 6k, I ran through the water stop to chug a cup and took my first of three planned gels. We were now on the route we had ran in practice and I was feeling great! C and I were chatting, ensuring we kept the pace as planned and enjoying the misty rain keeping us cool (I run VERY hot!). We looped through UoTM which has a few small hills and saw people walking already. We kept passing, passing, passing which was a testament to our steady pace and great training. When we came out of campus, we knew that the hill was coming up. We actually thought it was a bit earlier (around 7ish km) and C took a gel sooner than she wanted to I think but no matter, we banked some time on the downhill and got ready to keep running. Around this point I told C that I had a feeling. And that feeling was that, "We've got this in the bag." C was hesitant as we still had the hill and she finds the last three KMs challenging.

At the base of the hill, right at Dundas and Mississauga Road, there was a spectator that I noticed right away. He had a sign with a square cut out of it and on the top it said, "I'm your biggest fan." He was sticking his head through the cut out, making himself part of he sign. I pointed him out to C and he saw me and pointed right at me. I cracked right up and it was the perfect start of the hill for me. (C was a bit confused - she was wondering if this dude was my husband! He was just an random awesome spectator).

So. The hill. We ran it no problem. The 10k marker is right in the middle. We kept running. If you look at the splits, we ran the first half FAST! We spotted a familiar back and low and behold it was C2 from our clinic! She must have gone out FAST as it took us 10k to catch her and she constantly runs at a slower pace than us. We saw her after the race and she was very pleased as her strategy was to positive split. This was her second half marathon and she knew what worked for her.

KM6: 6:26 GU
KM7: 6:18
KM8: 6:22
KM9: 6:13
KM10: 6:15

10k split: 1:03:32 Pace band: 1:03:59

We finished the hill and talked strategy again. We decided to keep our pace no faster than 6:20 so that we had some legs left for the last three k. I told C that I wanted to wait until we passed the highway portion before going significantly faster as that is my least favorite part of the route and she agreed that it was a good plan. And so we ran. It was still lightly raining. I still felt no wind. My run play list was done by this time so I had shuffle on and I was getting some awesome tunes to motive me (and I'm the type of gal who was motivated on this day by Bust a Move, Delilah and Rock Me Gently). I was chatting, feeling great and most of all I was not thinking. There was no mental game going on. I took another gel at 12k and started to run through all of the water stations. At 14k, there was the "Lucky Shoe" and I tapped it. At 14.5k, the full marathoners turned onto Indian Road and I told C that we'd be making that turn next year. By 15k, I started thinking: 10 mile run, 5k race.

KM11: 6:45 (last of the hill)
KM12: 6:25 GU
KM13: 6:25
KM14: 6:21
KM15: 6:23

15k split: 1:35:51 Pace band: 1:35:58

Just before 16k and the turn parallel to the lake I told C that we were right on time. A man asked us what pace we were running and I told him 6:23/2h15m finish. He was pleased as that was his target. I told him that we were bang on and he smiled. Once we were running parallel to the lake, I did feel some wind, but it didn't phase me. I was having such a great run! I just can't explain how amazing I was feeling. Sometime around here an older man passed us running in bare feet. C wasn't talking but a woman and I remarked about how his feet MUST be leather. He was booking it as well and passed us with speed. I must also admit, that we didn't see a lot of the same people on the race. This means that the people who passed us, passed us and we didn't give chase. It also means that the people we passed, we passed - we never ran too quickly.

I took my last gel at 18k even though I didn't feel like I needed it. I wanted to boost some energy for the last bit and give myself every chance I had. By 19k, race bikes started passing us telling us to keep to the right. At first I didn't understand what was going on. Then I started looking for traffic for the Marathon Elites and cheered with everyone else as Josphat Nzinga floated by us on his way to the win. What a boost! We kept running. I was slightly ahead of C at this point, but knew she was right there. Then we saw A from our clinic who was very happy to see us. She didn't have her best day with foot cramps and was so happy to see someone she knew as she couldn't keep up with her partners. We chatted for a few seconds, but then we ran on.

I had so much in the tank. By the 19k marker I knew I was going to go for it. I turned to C and told her, "We've got it! Its done!" She again, hesitated. I shouted, "We have 14 minutes to run 2k! WE'VE DONE IT!" A woman running near us asked if that was 2h15m and when I said yes, it must have given her something more because she said that the time was her goal as well and then... she was gone!. It gave me something as well. I was going to try for tempo pace in the last two kilometres and had no problem. Sure, my breathing was a bit heavy, but my legs felt great. I can honestly say I did not have one single negative thought in my head. At that point the run became about getting in sub 2:15 by as much as possible.

At 20k I took my ear buds out (note: sticking them into the straps of a sports bra is perfect as they don't flop all over the place) and enjoyed the crowd. I was a bit challenged to pass people, but keep on the right side to allow people to pass me and I stopped looking for C, but I kept running. With 500m to go, I stopped looking at my watch. I knew I was running fast. I knew I would just keep running until I got passed the line. I didn't look for anyone (my husband, Bing), I just ran. There was a MASSIVE puddle around here and I ran right through it as well (my feet were already soaked). I ran and ran and to my surprise, I didn't cry or even get close to it. Like the rest of the race, I was smiling, laughing, enjoying this amazing run, this wonderful accomplishment, exhilarated with my mind and body coming together to meet a goal that was 4 months in the making. At the line, I threw my hands up and celebrated!

KM16: 6:08
KM17: 6:22
KM18: 6:13 GU
KM19: 6:20
KM20: 6:07
KM21: 5:44
0.21KM: 1:04

21.1k split: 2:13:58 Pace band: 2:15:00

Official Stats:
Time: 2:18:37 (6:35 pace)
Chip: 2:13:50 (per Garmin - 6:19 pace)
F30-34: 178/289
F: 1115/1946
Overall: 2300/3430

Crossing the line:

I can't tell you how happy I am. This next photo shows it a bit (Um, Fergus loves cold things right now as he's teething. Don't worry, no baby drank any beer. That was all for me!)

Now the question is: What half marathon do I run this fall?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Friday, May 13, 2011

Foto(s) Friday (and a bit of showing off)

With my clinic ended, I'll need some motivation to run on my own at multiple times a week. Lucky for me, we have a great second hand store in town and I picked this up for $80 yesterday (this is just a photo from the net):

Everyone has spent the past few days carb loading. MMM, Bagels!

And Scoobi Doo pasta (For real, that's what the package says, I'm not just pandering to my four year old).

Finally, this is what happens when race kit pick up interferes with afternoon nap time:

How was your week?


As you know by now, my first ever half marathon is this Sunday, May 15th.

When I started training, I thought that my main goal would be to just cross the finish line.

Of course, after 16 weeks I have some more specific goals in mind:

C Goal: 2:20 (should be doable despite the forecast rain and 40KPH wind)

B Goal: Sub 2:20 (not out of reach, it is a 6:38/KM pace which slower than our 6:37 pace during our practice run on course)

A Goal: 2:15 (this is the real goal. The one that C is aiming for as this is her repeat half marathon)

A+ Goal: Sub 2:15 (The secret, I'm pretty sure I can do it if I just hang on and RAAAAAAAAAAAAAAACE! goal)

No matter what, this race is a Personal Best.

It is a reward for committing to the training and for running (nearly) every training run.

BIB 5065

I can't wait!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Getting excited!

And nauseous.

And excited.

And nervous.

And excited.

And I'm not the only one!

I don't know if I've mentioned, but the half marathon on Sunday falls exactly nine months to the day that Fergus was born. In fact, at 4am on Aug 15, 2010 I had my first contraction. At that exact time on Sunday (May 15, 2011) I'll be hearing the alarm to get up.

Today, my girlfriend gave me the following shirt that, along with my husband's help, she had made to help me celebrate:

That's the front. The back is what is awesome:

And proud?

Yeah, just a little!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The end is almost upon us....

Sunday will be the start of the end.

It will be the last Sunday run of our half marathon clinic which began way back on January 25th.

So much has changed for me since then and I really can not believe how far I've come. Here are some numbers (to date - May 5):

# of Runs: 61
Time spent running: 47h58m47s
# of KMs run: 432
Weight lost: 20 lbs
Wipe outs (while running): 2
Injury's: 0 (knock wood!)

I've done so much more though. I've learned about new neighbourhoods both near where I grew up (which is where the clinic was held) and here in Milton.

I've learned that Gu Gels aren't actually the devil.

That I CAN rock skin tight pants (um, only while running though).

That my love for Eminem on the play list is justified for motivation.

That I WANT others to share my love of running.

That I am my own motivator.

That I will be a runner for a long time to come.

10 Days until half marathon #1.