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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oasis Zoo 10k Race Report!

Forgive me for the delay in writing this report; being back at work has seriously cut into my blogging time!

The night before the zoo race was not a good one for sleep in our house. Fergus was having one of his nights where waking up at 4am was the thing to do. We tried to get him to fall back asleep in our bed, but even that wasn't working.

I finally got up around 5:30 and made my way downstairs to eat a few pieces of toast with peanut butter and some OJ. This race was an odd one for me. I had a key goal in mind (PB at sub 59:59) and I had spent the summer speed training to get there, but I didn't have any nerves or anything.

I got on the road early as I needed to pick up my race kit and was planning to meet some friends around 7:30. Despite some slow traffic on the 401, I got to the zoo in plenty of time to get my kit, bring it back to my car (which got primo parking right at the gate), go to the washroom and eat my banana.

I met up with my friends and chatted for a bit. D and her husband were running their first 10k races as was N. They all had time goals in mind and were all going to start in the same coral. I had changed my coral to the <1hr one as that was my goal.

Soon it was time to head to the corals and port-o-potties. We stood in the worst line and were still there when the first two corals left. I got in and out just before my start, but lined up in the wrong area! Shouting, "Oh SHIT!" I booted it across the parking lot and caught up with the last people in the <1hr coral.

I started off with the goal of keeping my pace around 5:50 per KM. The first one was spent weaving and passing as I was at the back of the pack. I did run (literally, I guess) into my neighbour and ran with him for a bit and chatted, but he pretty much told me go ahead as he knew what I wanted to do in terms of time and he was aiming for about 1:10:00 (he finished in 1:03:45).

There is a nice long stretch along Meadowvale Road and Old Finch that allowed the runners to spread out and let me get into a groove in terms of pacing. Once again, I couldn't "feel" the pace and ended up checking my Garmin way too often for my liking. By 3k we started seeing elites coming back along the narrow path and it was great to hear the cheers go up from the crowd of runners as they passed.

Just after this, I saw my first animal: Zebras. It was cool to see them and I thought about how they must feel watching all of these people running past them. They looked like they were watching with the best front row seats in the house!

When the aid station came up, I decided to go ahead and take some poweraid. I don't normally drink sports drink during a run, but something told me that I'd want a taste on this day instead of straight water. I've learned a lot in my 11 races and I managed to get the whole drink down while still running and without getting any up my nose! Hooray!

4 and 5k made me realize that the course had been changed since I ran the race in 2009 and we were uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. Across the bridge, through the woods and finally hitting the 5k mat.

(Times per Garmin, which was off by 200m)


I was feeling fantastic!

I had 100% confidence that I'd hit my goal without any trouble and I decided to hold on to a 5:40-5:45 pace least I burn out. I'm glad I made that choice. The course was very challenging with seemingly constant rolling hills and turns. I was starting to feel hungry! and so I accepted more poweraid at the station when I passed through again.

I did get into the enjoyment of running through the zoo at this point and I started noticing animals. I think a lot of my ability to do so was because of the woman in front of me snapping photos. I was awed to see the giraffes and watched them as long as I could because they were so close. When I passed the flamingos, half of them changed their stance as if on some kind of musical theater cue and it was so cool to see.

After 7k, I allowed myself to speed up a bit and push for a finish with the best time that I could get. I never went out so fast that I thought I would have to stop or puke, and I managed to hold on. I knew that I had the goal in the bag and I allowed myself to enjoy it, smiling at the photographers when I saw them:

When I got to the last 500m, I noticed a lot of people passing me (especially men who were struggling - I guess there is some pride at stake?) and I realized that I've got to get into the passing mindset at the end of a race instead of in a "thank-God-this-is-done-and-I-hit-my-goal-and-oh-my-goodness-I-can't-wait-for-more-poweraid" I think I'll work on this in the next few weeks.

When I was about to cross, I listened for my name and when I heard it, knowing that I had hit my goal and then some, I did what any normal person would do: The Fist Pump:

Seriously, look at how happy I am:

And why shouldn't I be? The stats say it all:

Chip: 57:15 (that's a 5:50 PB based on my last 10k race - the zoo in 2009)
W30-34: 84/307
Women: 325/1339
Overall: 832/2194
5k split: 28:55, 10k split: 28:22

5:46-5:43-5:32-5:32-5:26-4:45 (last 200m)

That's PB 2/3 complete.

PB 3 comes November 6th.

I have no doubts!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 11!

This week was a bit messed up for me and I ended up running less than normal because I did my LSD on Saturday.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: No excuses. Ran at the gym during my lunch hour and got in 4 quality miles. 6.44k, 42:30

Wednesday: I ran intervals with the running room group again. We did a 3k warm up the 4x 4 mins at Ipace, 3 mins jogging. I was aiming for a 5:20 Ipace and finished with 5:19-5:16-5:22-5:19. 10k, 1:01:09. This is when I knew I'd be able to race a sub 59:59 at the zoo on Saturday.

Thursday: Another lunch run at the gym. I bit the bullet and changed my membership, so I'll be trying to hit the gym on lunch at least 2x a week. 5k, 31:42.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Zoo Race! I totally hit my goal, running the 10k in 57:16 per the chip. This is a 5:49 personal best! I'm very happy. I'll write the report when the pictures are ready.

Totals: 31.44k, Time spent running: 3:12:37, Average pace per KM: 0:06:08.

It was a speedy week for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oasis Zoo 10k Race GOALS!

That should really read race goal.

Sub 59:59


That's it.

Once goal.

For real.

Bib #1536.

I'll be at the big world outside the gates meeting friends at 7:45. If you see me, say hi. I think I'm going to run with my phone (because I think I've lost my iPod!) so will try for photos this time!

I think Saturday will be a great day for a PB.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 10!!!

I can't believe it is already week 10 of the training plan. The time has flown by since I started and I'm so, so proud that I've stuck to the plan. The weather is changing and we are getting perfect running weather these days (I love the fall) so it is nice that I'll be able to finish up the weeks that way.

Sunday: I was at my parents house as my husband was away for the weekend and us sleeping over would make the whole morning routine a lot easier for everyone (as they would be dropping children off everywhere). I decided to sleep in and then after dinner I ran 14k to round out a total 1,000k on the year. 1:30:00 (My times will be rounded as I don't have access to my Garmin files).

Monday: Rest!

Tuesday: I got up bright and early (well, Fergus got me up and after he went back to bed, I did not) and ran under the morning stars. This is part of my "no excuses" mantra. I'm not allowing myself to make any excuses about not running due to work. There is always time to find time. 6.21k, 0:40:00.

Wednesday: Back with the running room half marathon clinic. They were doing speed work that night and I decided to join. 3k warm up then 4x (4 minute interval pace (aiming for 5:20’s), 3 minute jog). Intervals were 5:19-5:13-5:21-5:25. I can't wait to do this type of run again. 10k, 1:02:00.

Thursday: Rest!

Friday: I had the day off as I was headed to a girl’s long weekend retreat in Prince Edward County that day. I got up and walked my oldest to school and then headed straight out for a run. This morning was the beautiful fall weather that I loved. I ran in a long sleeved shirt and light wind jacket and was perfectly warm/cool enough. 8.01k, 0:50:00

Saturday: I had a great Friday night, but didn't indulge too much so after a leisurely Saturday breakfast and more than a few laughs I headed out on Highway 33 (Loyalist Parkway) for my long run. Many of the 23 ladies were either going on a cheese tasting or spa trip (or both), but I just wanted to relax and run. I was originally going to run 16k, but decided to run entirely through the town of Bloomfield so I ended up going 18k on my out and back. The last 6k were at 10k race pace with no problems. 18k, 1:53:00.

Whew! What a week for me - my highest yet!

Totals: 56.22k, Time: 5:55:00 Average pace per KM: 0:06:19

I won't hit such high mileage this week as it is the week of the Zoo Run! This is a goal race for me and I'll be sharing goals after Wednesday's interval run.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Energizer 5k night race

On Saturday, September 10th I ran in the inaugural Toronto night race put on by Energizer. I had decided to run the 5k race because a few of the ladies that I did the Warrior Dash with were suppose to run this 5k as well. Well, life got in the way and they all dropped out.

Not I! I had decided that this race would be a PB attempt and I'm too cheap to lose my fee I was excited to be part of this first time event.

The race pick up was easy and the shirts were very nice. Black with bright yellow strips down the side. The headlamp was great and I put it together on the Subway back to work.

On Saturday, I did my best to take it easy during the day and to eat a higher number of carbs than I normally would. I was okay on both fronts. My husband was away camping, so I was solo parenting and where I would have normally attempted to take a nap in the afternoon, I couldn't do it because someone had to actually parent the kids! :-p

When Fergus woke up from his nap, the kids and I headed to my parents where I had an original Coke in lieu of sleep! HA. We had dinner with them (steak, potatoes, beans) and I ate about half of what I normally would have because I didn't want stomach issues during the race. This turned out to be a mistake as I was starving by 3k.

I left Mississauga with plenty of time to get to Sunnybrook which was good because the 401 was a mess (seriously, is it EVER any other way?) and I ended up parking in lot 8 at Sunnybrook (aka a long, long, long, long, long way from the Start/Finish). I hopped on a shuttle bus to the start line (Brilliant idea!) and we started rolling when I realized that I was still clutching my sunglasses and I hadn't taken any gum with me (yes, I like to start runs with gum). No problem, the shuttle guy stopped and let me off and I sorted myself out and got the next shuttle.

I got to the start and used the port-o-potties, joined the warm up and watched the 10k race go. Then it was time for the 5k race to line up and I seeded myself accordingly behind the 25-35 minute sign. We all ensured our headlamps were on and that our earbuds were out of view (they were prohibited) and the race began.

I started really strong and concentrated on keeping my pace at 5:20/5:25. I had put my ear buds in and had the music going very low as I don't like running without music unless I have someone to talk to. It got dark super fast and the head lamps were awesome! It was fun to run with everyone and their lights and I found that I had no problem passing people or letting them pass me. I just kept repeating that I'd get my sub 26:45 (a goal I had in mind) if I just kept it at 5:20ish and ran strong in the last kilometre.

The race really just flew by. My only complaint was that I was ALWAYS checking my watch to check my pace. I just didn't find anyone that I could pace off of so I really was all on my own. It is good practice for Hamilton as I will be running alone, but it was annoying to look at the watch every 300-500 metres.

Before I knew it, I was in the final KM and I kept myself running at the 5:20ish pace, telling myself that I'd ramp up in the last 500m. I heard a man behind me talking to himself saying, "You got it! You got it!" and then a 70 year old passed me trucking along on his way to a great finish. It was great to see.

I crossed the finish line and was looking at the 10k time clock so had no idea what I passed in. I looked at my watch and it said: 5.07km, 26:53. WOOT! I had totally done it! I had gotten my 26:45 FOR SURE. I did some quick math and determined that my time was 26:35!!! WOO-HOO! I posted on Twitter and on Facebook claiming my unofficial 5k time.

Then I got home and looked up Sports Stats. Hmm.

27:00 time
26:50 chip

I guess the race was long or my Garmin was off. I was mad for a bit, but after a few days I'm happy. I met my A+ goal and beat my April time by 1:54. That's nothing to be upset about.

Then I looked at Sports Stats a bit harder.

74 out of 574. I was on the FIRST page for the first time ever!

21 out of 396 females.

10 out 130 in my age group.

I'm happy. It turns out, the race was great for me and my stats!

5:13-5:20-5:18-5:26-5:17-4:42 (last 70m), Average pace: 5:18

(according to McMillan, I can run a 2:04:02 half marathon - now that is something to think about...)

Zoo Run next Saturday, I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 9!

Another great week in the books!

Sunday: I ran 20k with two ladies (one who I met at the Thomas Street Hill). I was so glad that they were able to run with me as the Ks ticked by and I was able to get it done without any problems. I only took one gel on this run which was an all time low for me, but I felt okay throughout. I hope this means I'm getting stronger. 2h11mXXs (I don't have my garmin with me right now).

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest. It was my first official day back at work! I also had my last baseball game of the season, so fitting in a run would have been difficult. I went 1/3 and scored a run.

Wednesday: Amazing tempo run! 7.32k, 42min

Thursday: Treadmill run at the gym during lunch. I will have to figure out if upping my membership is worth it for lunch time runs, but I was happy to get it in. 7k, 45min.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Energizer 5k Night Race. A PB for me at 26:50! Race report to follow tonight.

Totals: 39.32k. Time: 4:04:50 (give or take a few). Average pace per KM: 0:06:14

Friday, September 9, 2011

Energizer 5k Night Race - Goals!

When I signed up for this race my entire goal was to run the race in under 30 minutes. I've never done this in a Chip timed race.

I did run a 5k under 30 minutes back in April, when I raced the Avery Bravery 5k in 28:44 (per Garmin).

Since that time, I've run a half marathon, kept training and have really focused on speed-work. I've had some speedy runs as of late and as such, here are my goals:

C: 28:43 - Just beat the fastest time to date

B: 27:59 - Shave some time off of that April time

A: 26:59 - Based on my tempo run on Wednesday, I should be able to do this.

A+: sub 26:45

My other goal is to run the race smart.

I don't want to get caught up in the start. 5k can be a LONG race if you go all out too quickly. My goal is to go out at a 5:30 pace per KM and speed up after 2k and run like I'll never run again in the last 1k-500m.

The headlamp is ready and so am I.

Bib 2375.

See you after the race.

Amazing Wednesday Tempo!

Now that I'm back at work, I've decided that the best way to keep up with my running schedule is to use the no excuses mantra that has seemed to work for me during all other busy times.

With this in mind, I took off for a 7k tempo based run on Wednesday night after the baby had gone to bed. I decided that I'd run 2k easy, 4k at tempo pace and then the last 1k easy. It was a cool night so I wore my long-sleeved Warrior Dash shirt for the first time and was glad to have made the decision to do so (I started the run around 7:45pm).

The first 2k ticked by very easy and a bit fast and I decided that I could probably up my tempo time to a 5:40 pace (per KM) based on the interval training I had been doing. I hadn't run a true tempo run in over six weeks and I had previously been doing them at a 5:45 pace. When I started to run, I ran fast. I first looked at my watch and saw a pace of 4:xx and reeled it in. But I couldn't reel it in too much. It just felt too slow. I quickly made a decision to go with it and ended up running a 5:17 first KM of tempo.

Having that in mind, I decided I'd try to hit 5:20s for the next three k. This is faster then the pace I want to run Saturday's 5k in and I realized that it would be a great test of my ability to achieve the results I want at Sunnybrook Park.


Average pace per KM: 5:21

I was pumped! In all, the 7.23k I ran had an average pace of 5:45 per km and I'm confidant that I'm going to achieve my goal tomorrow night (which I'll share with you in the next post).

Man, this no excuses thing really helps doesn't it?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 8!

Half way there! I have a 16 week training plan with week 17 being the half marathon race. This was a cut back week FOR SURE as we were out of town on Sunday and Monday, but I made up for it with great feeling, speedy runs for the rest of the week.
Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10k. I took my oldest to the dentist so my youngest stayed with my folks. When we got back to their house, it was still mid-morning and they had no problem with me leaving the kids so that I could run. I headed out to the trails around the man made lakes that our clinic ran often and discovered that the route from my parents house was exactly 10k. 1:02:22. (Also, fast pitch - 2/3 with a run).

Wednesday: 6.24k. I had spent the day at the Ex with my neighbour who has kids the same age as mine and we did a lot of walking, but not a lot of junk eating (we packed lunches). I did get Tiny Tom Donuts though (and I'm not linking to their website because, wow is it annoying!). I knew I had to get out for a run and didn't expect much but I had speedy legs again and rocked out the run. 39:17

Thursday: 9.4k. I had both kids so off to the gym it was. I love that I can get two hours of babysitting for $7 for both kids while I run and shower. I decided to see how far I could get in an hour. I'm sure I could have pushed for 10k, but I'm happy with the run the was it was. 1:00:00

Friday: I took Friday off because I got my hair done:Back to work hair!

I didn't have time to run in the AM (plus I wanted to enjoy some of my last sleeping in for a while) and who wants to run with freshly done hair?!?

Saturday: 6.77k. I ran in the later afternoon at the gym during the big thunderstorm that rolled through the GTA. It was humid even in the gym. 42:00

All in all, it was a good week with a lot of running even though I missed 20k on Sunday.

Totals: 32.41k Time: 3:23:39 Average pace per KM: 0:06:17 It was a speedy week! I'm wondering if I should keep up with tempo and interval training for the last eight weeks. Right now I've only got intervals planned, but a short tempo run during my lunch hour may also work out well. I'd love some advice!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


August was an amazing month for me! I really got into my Hamilton Half training and I haven't fallen off of the plan in a major way yet.

I joined the RR group for hill work almost every Tuesday and I got some great long solo runs in, including running from home to my parents house. I added Track Intervals to my training and really started to see the results from them. I also discovered that I really liked them.

More then straight tempo runs I think.

I continued to get out with local friends when I could including meeting up with a girl from the RR group for a long run and various runs with Jenn with and without our boys:

In total I ran 155.92k in 17h19m55s for an average pace per KM of 0:06:40.

My longest run was 18k and I completed that easy in 2h16s. I'm feeling good about my upcoming races in September and the ability I'll have to run PBs. My only anxiety is that I return to work from Mat Leave on September 6th and I don't want to loose this training momentum. I'm sure racing twice in September will really help to carry me through.

It was a great August. I'm so lucky to be able to participate in this sport.

Week 7! (excuse the delay!)

Rather late, but I'm filling the last days of my leave before returning to work on Tuesday!

Sunday: I met up with Alison from the current half marathon RR group and we ran together for about 13k while I got my 18k in. A great run with great company and it flew by. I kicked up the pace in the end. 2:00:16

Monday: Rest. Fastball: 2/4 with an RBI.

Tuesday: Thomas Street Hill. 8 repeats with VO2 max on the last two repeats. It was a gross night running for me as I felt pretty slow and ragged on the hills, but hit paces of 5:24 and 5:12 on the VO2 max parts. 9k, 1:00:21

Wednesday: I went to the gym as the sky looked like rain and decided to go a bit longer then I would have with the jogging stroller. 7.2k, 0:49:26

Thursday: Rest

Friday: I was kid-less all day but was getting ready for a small cocktail party with my girlfriends all day. When I finished early, I decided to go for a short, quick run. Quick it was - I was 7 seconds off my PB from April. 5k, 0:28:50

Saturday: No time. We went away and we were busy organizing kids and packing.

Totals: 39.2k Time: 4:18:53 Pace per KM: 0:06:36