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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Avery's Bravery 5k Run - Report

Today, I supported Sick Kid's hospital and Avery Bond running the second annual Avery's Bravery Race. Avery was born in Rockwood in March 2009 and underwent life saving heart surgery at 13 days of age to repair a Coarctation of the aorta. Avery also has Turners Syndrome, which causes several other health complications, but Avery is doing well and celebrated her 2nd birthday on March 13.

The goal for this 5k run was to use it as a long tempo run and PB with a time of sub 30:11. The course was through Rockwood Conservation Area and some surrounding streets for a 5k loop. What interested me the most about the run was the location as we camp every father's day at Rockwood and are already booked for this coming June. It is a lovely spot for a weekend or a day and I thought it would be very neat to run through a (mostly) empty campground.

I got to the race with lots of time to spare and enjoyed watching the kids participate in the 100 metre heart pumper dash. The run was very small, but very organized and we actually began about 2 minutes early.

I started out fast per my plan as the first kilometre was downhill and I wanted to bank some time here. Unfortunately, my pants had other ideas as they kept falling down! I had to stop to re-tie them way tighter but I did so quickly.

This however was a complete crap run for me. I was ready to pace at around 5:55 per KM and get in a longer tempo run to PB, but with my pants falling down, I got all messed up. I ran out way too quickly afterward and ran the uphill too aggressively. The course had very gentle rolling hills (a typical campground that heads to a beach) and lots of pot-holes and the terrain was far more challenging for me then it should have been. I resorted to walking up one hill but wouldn't allow myself to do so a second time. I also didn't eat properly for the 10:30am start and I was STARVING by 3k. I was actually thinking that I'd have to stop on the way home, least I pass out (no worries though, the race gave out water, banana's and granola bars to all finishers; it was a well run race).

I met my goal and PB'd, but I'm not happy with the way the run went at all. I'll being doing another 5k after the half marathon with the goal of running a smarter (and faster!) race:

1KM: 5:02
2KM: 6:27
3KM: 6:03
4KM: 6:01
5KM: 5:12

Total: 28:44 (per Garmin)

It wasn't quite the high note I wanted to go out on in April, but at least I did PB.

April totals: 162km run, 18h21m running.

Tomorrow we will complete 21.1k easy.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

20k Practice Run


On Sunday, our group headed out to meet at the Sheridan Running Room location to run a practice half marathon route for our long run.

The planned route was 19.4k with the last 15k being the Mississauga Half Marathon course (somehow, C and I ended up running an extra 600m loop).

The plan of attack was to run easy for the first bit and then to run the last 60-80 minutes at race pace. After discussion with the ladies who I normally run with, we discovered that there were two race paces, the 6:28 min/km that C and I were prescribed and the 6:40 min/km that CH and N had. Thus a strategy discussion took place between C and I (and some early morning math!) and we decided to hit up the last 13k at race pace.

While it started out seemingly cold and rainy, it actually ended up being the perfect morning to run. We started out easy and before long, we were running along the U of T Mississauga campus and close to 6k. C told me that "the hill" (the one and only true hill in the course) was coming up soon and so we'd hit race pace after that. We agreed that no matter what, we'd talk after 7k.

7k came and we hadn't hit the hill yet, so we decided to just go for it increasing our pace from about 7 minutes per km to our race pace. It felt easy and I was glad that I had someone to run with who had done the race before because she was very knowledgeable about the course.

KM 1: 7:17
KM 2: 7:13
KM 3: 6:51 (half a GU)
KM 4: 6:49
KM 5: 6:50
KM 6: 6:46 (half a GU)
KM 7: 6:42
KM 8: 6:22

Based on my garmin, we actually hit the hill around 9k. There have been rumblings about the hill in the clinic group for a few weeks, but the consensus from the repeat half marathoners was that if you could run up our training hill, you could do this one no problem. This turned out to be the case for C and I. We put our heads down (figuratively of course) and took the hill in stride (sorry, I love a cheesy pun).

KM 9: 6:41 (2 GU Chomps)

Right after the hill, we saw the next pace group stopped to take off extra layers and take gels etc. C and I didn't stop. It was almost an unspoken agreement. Even when she took off her coat, we keep running along with me holding her water belt while she figured out her garmin and coat. Then, our speediest clinic member came up behind us (he was running a slightly longer course) and congratulated us on actually taking the hill really quickly (then he sped away!).

I was practicing a new fuel strategy on this run as I felt that the full GU's sat a bit heavy in my stomach on the 18k run the previous Sunday. My plan was to fuel every 3k, but to keep my stomach in mind considering the er, bathroom problems I had experienced earlier in the week. I also decided to try the GU chomps and rather liked them.

KM 10: 6:28
KM 11: 6:25
KM 12: 6:18 (one Chomp)
KM 13: 6:27
KM 14: 6:32

I think it was during the 14th kilometer that C and I got a bit mixed up on the map and actually paused for a few seconds before deciding which way to go. The run was going well and my only concern was the fact that I was rapidly running out of water (I had a 10 oz hand held and a 500 mL bottle in a belt). I was taking water every kilometer, making sure my stomach was feeling okay and that I was still sweating. I'm not worried about race day because there will be water on the way and I plan to take advantage of it. The other bothersome thing was the little black "noseeem" bugs that were EVERYWHERE on the water front trail. It was gross! C resorted to running with the map held over her nose and mouth least she take in extra protein along the way. There was also a biker that told us we were running along the wrong side of the road (we run into traffic) and called us "Stupid Effers", but I guess the Easter Bunny wasn't that good to him that morning.

KM 15: 6:25 (half a GU)
KM 16: 6:27
KM 17: 6:15 (I have no idea what made us speed through this part)
KM 18: 6:30

I was planning on taking the final half a GU at this point, but I had no water and I was feeling okay. Based on what happened during the last two kilometers I will be taking it for sure as I needed the boost and I'm sure to have water left.

KM 19: 6:35 (we see our group at the parking lot and just have to run to them!)
KM 20: 6:25

Total: 20KM: 2:12:26, 6:37/km pace

Oh man, I was spent.


I was very tired and very proud! Of course I didn't know how good were were at hitting the race pace in the final 13 or so kilometers (as I wasn't up to mental math at that point), but I knew we had done it pretty bang on! I spoke briefly with Bing as he was checking me in and could barely get any words out telling him that we ran, "20 minutes in 2:12" to which he gave me a crazy look and I just said "You know what I mean."

This run confirmed a lot to me. I'm fully confidant that I'll be RACING the half marathon on May 15th with an actual goal time in mind instead of just aiming to cross the finish line. I'm aware of what a good fuel strategy is for me now (every 3km worked very well as did taking the Chomps in the mid section). Finally, I'm very happy to have run the course because it is a long run down Mississauga Road and that can get very tedious mentally (especially because Bing is quite a fan of twisty routes).

I'm actually still on quite a high from finishing the longest distance run of my life at a great pace (or maybe that's just my tight hamstring talking!).

How did you spend your Easter Sunday morning?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Better now

Then three weeks from now.

This past week, I caught a slight bug which caused me an upset stomach for three days. This means I missed our last hill training night (9 hills) and an easy run on Thursday. While I felt pretty darn guilty about missing these runs, I'm glad I focused on my health especially when Bing's email came yesterday and told us that we have done enough work to be able to cross the finish line in three weeks!

Today, I tempted fate and other things and took advantage of the beautiful late morning to run 9.2k. It went very well and I felt really good! I didn't look at my garmin much and ran by feel and clocked the run in at one hour even.

Tomorrow is our long run. We are running 19k and doing the last 15k of the half marathon route. The last 11k is an option to run it at race pace.

I'll be taking the option baring an upset tummy.

21 days!!!!

I'm starting to formulate plans and goals and will share them soon!

Monday, April 18, 2011


Yesterday we ran 18k for our long slow distance run.

No problem you say because the distance is a joke for you, because it is the middle of April and the weather is getting better in SW Ontario.

Uh, not so much.

We ran through beautiful sunny conditions.

We ran through rain.

Through sleet.

Through snow.

Through 66kph (41mph) winds.

We are not the postal service!

It was a long run and we did take it easy (my average pace was 7:03/km), but it was hard with those conditions.

The run though did mark a few firsts:

The first time I've run more than 16km at once.
The first time I've run in such wind.
The first time I've stopped to relieve my bladder during a run.

All I have to say is thank goodness I'm a camper with no problem squatting outdoors. We were running through an industrial complex with no gas stations or coffee shops nearby, so I ended up using an electrical box and trees for cover. The result of this break was a tempo paced 5th kilometre to catch back up with my running partner.

So my goal in the next few weeks is to figure out hydration as I can't drink lots right before I run otherwise I'll need a washroom about 2k into it.

Less than a month to the half!

Hope all those who ran Boston today got exactly what they wanted out of the race. Well done!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Shock and Awe... I'm doing it wrong

I may have mentioned in the past that my clinic leader, Bing calls his clinic, "Shock and Awe" and while there have been various examples of this over the past weeks, this week really showed me the true meaning behind it.

On Wednesday we did 7 hills.

For the last four, we added about 45 sec - 1 min of VO2 Max training, at the top of the hill.

We are supposed to run the hills at T-pace, of course I always never hit mine, but I do my best. Then, at the end of the hill, we were to keep running at Ipace (45 seconds or so faster than Tpace). Here are my average paces:

Hill 1 (no VO2): 6:47/km
Hill 2 (no VO2): 6:52/km
Hill 3 (no VO2): 7:07/km
Hill 4 (w/ VO2): 7:15/km
Hill 5 (w/ VO2): 7:30/km (and Bing paced me!)
Hill 6 (w/ VO2): 7:41/km
Hill 7 (w/ VO2): 7:32/km (yes, I pushed here)

My Tpace is 6:00/km and thus my Ipace is 5:15/km

Shock and Awe - I'm doin it wrong.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A (Virtual) Half Marathon Weekend!

Back at the beginning of year, The Happy Runner issued her Half Marathon Challenge and I decided to accept it.

My plan was to run it in two parts, over the weekend knowing that my Sunday long run would make up more than half of the KMs.

Here are my results:

Saturday April 2: 5k - 31:42
Sunday April 3: 16.1k - 1:48:12

Total: 21.1k - 2:19:54

I managed to run this "race" about two minutes faster than my current prescribed Marathon Race Pace as I did the 5k around a tempo pace and the 16k was done at varied pace - 15min warm up easy, 6min at tempo with 1min rest x 3, around 42 minutes easy, then 10 min at tempo with 1 min rest x 2, then easy for the rest of the run.

That was a very difficult 16.1k, but I'm glad I decided to do that option (the other options were: Warm up, 70 mins at marathon pace, then easy or just a straight LSD run). I had sore/stiff knees for the rest of the day, but they feel fine now and I'm looking forward to pushing myself more as I train more.

I'm starting to get excited about the race even though it is AGES away and my goal this week is to PUSH during our hill training instead of wimping out after two hills and taking them easy-ish.

Congrats to all of those who ran the Harry's Spring Run Off, those who ran a surprise marathon and of course, The Happy Runner herself, who killed her A goal in her half marathon!

What did you do this weekend?