About Me

My photo
Milton, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Around the Bay Race Goals!

Its that time again! Around the Bay time!!! This year is the 120th anniversary of the oldest road race in North America. This will be my third time in a row running this race and for the first time, I'm going to race it!

I've always had an amazing time at this race and I hope the fact that I've decided to race it will make no difference in that area


If you want to read about those races, look to the left hand race report navigation and read away!

This year, as I said, I'm not going to run this as a Long Slow Distance run, I'm going to race it. And so, the goals are:

A+ Goal: 2:33

This is my ultimate goal marathon pace of 5:06/km (8:13/mi). It will be a stretch, I think to be able to finish in this time. The 8k of rolling hills which start at 19k is the main reason why.

A Goal: 2:34

This ticks the pace down a bit to 5:08/km (8:16/mi). This may be a stretch as well, dependent on how I do handle the hills and how the wind treats us.

B Goal: 2:35

Do you see a theme? 5:10/km pace (8:19/mi). In reality, this is my sweet spot. I'll be extremely happy if I finish in this time.

C Goal: 2:36

Perfect BQ marathon pace 5:12/km (8:23/mi). Not a disaster by any means!

D Goal: Don't crap my pants. HA.

So, its a bit of a different race. Yes, I have those tiered goals, but I'm not really confident in any to be honest. I mean, you never know when the poop-monster will rear its ugly head! What I want to ensure, not matter what the watch says at the finish line, is that I gave it my all and still managed to have fun.

See you on the flip side!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 16!

Well, week 16 just rolled along. Really, it was pretty much a normal week at the end of it all. Nothing to report here, its all starting to run (hee) together.

Monday March 10th: Rest. After 29k the day before, I deserved it.

Tuesday March 11th: Wake up in the AM and head to the gym for Tuesday Treadmill Tempo! (its kinda my thing). I wasn't feeling it too much, so I only ran 4x 5 minutes at tempo pace, with 1 minute walking rests. I was supposed to do 6. I also ended the run after 8k, but was happy to learn that was what the schedule actually called for. 8k, 44:41

Wednesday March 12th: It was supposed to be hills day but we got 20cm of snow so hills were cancelled. I DID bring my shorts in the car so I could have gone to the gym, but getting home was a bigger priority.

Thursday March 13th: It was our monthly girls dinner in my town, so I left work a touch early in order to get a good run in at the gym. Because I wanted to get things done quickly and because I have been feeling like my speedwork is lagging, I ran 3x one mile easy (9:22/mi or 5:50/km) and one mile race pace (8:12/mi or 5:05/km). Then, I met the girls for dinner and un-did my calorie deficiency. 12k, 1:06:14

Friday March 14th: I wanted to put down another tempo run, but I knew as soon as I rolled outta bed that it wasn't going to happen. Instead I just ran easy on the treadmill at they gym (it was still super cold out). 10k, 59:05

Saturday March 15th: I spent some time on the phone with my Running Room leader Chris on Friday, trying to figure out the new Around the Bay route and a safe way to run it after Emma had posted that the first 10k were likely unsafe to run on non-race day. He lives in my town and mentioned that his planned 10 miler would probably start around 9am and go down a certain street. I live in the opposite direction from him, so I also started at 9am and ran down that same street, hoping to see him. Turns out, he slept in until 11am! (oh to have adult children!!!). It was an amazing run in only a long sleeved shirt!!! Spring is finally here! 11k, 1:03:21

Sunday March 16th: Not so fast on the spring call. Woke up to -25 with the wind chill on our Around the Bay practice run day. Hey, that course isn't exposed at all is it?
I got to the meeting place at La Salle Park with enough time to run to the bathroom for one last pit stop. My legs froze. Then Chris, Ivanka and I headed out to tackle the course together. Its kind of nice to start at La Salle as you start at some of the hilly bits of the race. Just some though. Remember that.

Click for larger, we started around the 24k mark.
So, we run along and Chris and I are telling Ivanka about the race lore and the little guy with "We Will Rock You" and the grim reaper and then were running in downtown Hamilton and man, its boring as hell. Chris starts joking around about how bloody long the 9ks of (very easy) straight running are. Ivanka and I take gels at 10k (and 20k) and Chris hits an allyway to pee (it IS downtown Hamilton after all).

 Then, we turn onto Woodward.... and get hit with the train that caused the whole route to be changed anyway! We walked up to it instead of running up to it and we ended up not having to stop at all which was good. Just before the turn onto Beach Blvd the wind hits us. And the wind just pounds us for the next 11km. So we run with a headwind from 13 to 24km. At this point, I'm so tired and my upper back and neck is sore from hunching into the wind. Chris has moved ahead because he's been running a lot slower with us and is feeling not as bad as I am and I tell Ivanka to go ahead. I start walking here and there, trying to keep to the run 10 mins, walk 1 min pattern that many people do during their Sunday runs. The worst part of the last 4k is that I know that the worst hill in the whole race is coming, the long, long, long climb to La Salle Park and our cars. And I keep mis-judging when its coming. MAN! Oh, did I mention that my iPhone died due to cold at 8k into the run (stupid Apple - make products that work in the cold!), so I'm alone, I hurt, I have no motivation in the form of music and I've been walking (albeit in a controlled manner). Finally, I'm at the very last climb to La Salle.... and .... I can't. I walk for 500m and then pick it up to a jog because there is no way I'm letting Chris and Ivanka see me walk into the park. Phew. If the actual race is that hard, there may be many o'gods cursed, I tell you. 30.5km, 3:05:50

Total KM: 71.5 (44.43mi), Total time: 6:59:11, Average Pace per KM: 0:05:52 (0:09:26/mi).

Next up is another 85k week and then a bit of a rest/easy/taper and I'll race Around the Bay for the first time ever. More on that, later.

Hope you have a great week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 15!

Well, well! Week 15!!! Only 8 short weeks left until the marathon! I can hardly believe it! Of course if Winter keeps sticking around, it will feel like those weeks will last forever. I also fear the icy rains that are sure to come. Likely during Around the Bay. (That's right, you heard it here first). Week 15 was another peak week of 85k (52.8mi) on the plan, but I almost didn't get it done. Almost.

Monday March 3: Rest. That's right, I'm now doing long runs on Sunday's which make Monday's rest days. I miss Sunday rest days. Monday "rest days" still mean I have to go to work. Sigh. Where is my winning lotto ticket? I did go to physio for my PF and got treatment and a massage.

After the ultrasound and laser, its all ice on the foot, heat on the calf.

Tuesday March 4: Early o'clock wake up (0440) and I hit the gym treadmill to get the 10k in. Basic run and everything felt good. Wore the Man-Shorts and took a photo for the skirt girls. 10k, 58:08

Wednesday March 5: I was supposed to do hills with the group on this night and run about 14k. But after a 0830 dentist appointment for me and the boys stretched to almost noon, I ended up working the rest of the day from home and ran a glorious outdoors run instead (I have a cracked tooth and something growing under a cavity. Gross. The good news is, I'm getting it fixed. Two days before Around the Bay. HA.). 10k, 56:34 (always amazing by how much faster outdoor runs are.)

Thursday March 6: No worries on missing some mileage the day before. I decided to run a double on Thursday, one run in the AM on the gym treadmill, one in the PM with the Running Room group. Then I ended up at work until 20:00. Sigh. On the plus side, the 6k I ran on the treadmill was my 75th run of the cycle; my foot hurt though and that sucked. 6k, 35:45

Friday March 7: Oooo-KAAAyyy, Today will be the double day! I still hadn't given up on my 85k goal, so I set the alarm for 0440 again to get in about 10-11k. Except I set the alarm for PM, not AM and woke up just before 0530!!! I decided that I could afford to be a little late to work as I was there the night before for an additional 3.5 hours (aside  - I was all of 8 minutes late). I ran 9k in the morning and nearly froze my quads off. Then, after dinner I hit the road for an additional 10k and it was amazing! Nice and warm and I was over-dressed! 19.02k, 1:50:30 (run one at 5:48 pace, run two at 5:49 pace. Not bad).
When the perfect night comes together!
Saturday March 8: My running room marathon coach, Chris always tells us that the Saturday run is married to the Sunday run. You should always do some easy mileage the day before the long run so that your legs are a bit tired. It helps on marathon day when you've been in the taper. I've taken this advice to heart for the past two years, so I headed out in the glorious weather to get my 11k in. Everything felt good and I was able to avoid most puddles (I'm NOT complaining! I'd rather have puddles and warmth than ice and snow). It was so nice I started to plan a skirt outfit for Around the Bay! 11k, 1:04:10

Sunday March 9: The plan called for 29k. The weather took a turn for the worst and it was about -8 to -10 at the start of our run, but with a promise of sun. I dressed perfectly for this one and gladly hit the road with Yan and Ivanka to conquer the distance. The route was one I had run before as a 26k run with Chris and I hadn't enjoyed it at all. Probably because my foot was a mess. On this morning, I proactively took two Advil prior to the run and the foot was okay (I'm not saying I'm out of the PF woods, but I am considering making this week's Physio and treatment my last one until after Around the Bay). Yan had to run back around 15k due to hip pain and Ivanka and I settled in and got it done. Our total time and pace reflects the few walk breaks we took to take gels (two) along with the times we had to slow or walk over ice. This was a distance record for Ivanka who is targeting 4 hours for her first marathon and in my opinion, she's in a great place based on this run, which was way more challenging than the Mississauga Marathon course. 29.01k, 2:52:47

It takes a lot of directions to run 29k. And an apple waiting in the car after is a must!
WHEW! 59k in three days, but I got the distance DONE! Next peak week comes during week 18 and will end with Around the Bay!

Total KM: 85.03k (52.8mi), Total time: 8:17:54, Average Pace per KM: 0:05:51 (0:08:55/mi)

Obviously I'm getting excited about my next race now that its only 20 days away! I'm thinking that I may go for it this year and actually race, but in reality the state of my foot and plantar fasciitis will be what makes the final call.

I hope you had a great week!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chilly Half Marathon Race Report!

This past weekend was the 19th annual Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington, Ontario! This would be my third year running the race and the first year I wasn't planning to go for a PB. As discussed I wasn't ready to try and beat my Hamilton time and I've been having problems with plantar fasciitis. So, the plan came together for Sam and I to pace Emma to a new PB of 1:50!

Then we woke up and it had snowed 10cm overnight and it was -14c (-20c with the windchill). PERFECT racing weather!

Meeting up and heading to bag check, Sam and I kept it on the down low and decided that Emma had to make the call. Sam's PF was a lot worst than mine and she wasn't sure she'd be able to keep up, but I felt confident despite the fact that I had also woken up with a sore throat and runny nose

Performance Enhancers? 
Emma was keen to at least try to go for it at the start, so we lined up right with the 1:50 pacer and enjoyed the fact that the crowd kept us warm. We ended up with Richard and his friend Robert as well. Then, they started playing the George Michael hit, Freedom and Sam and I HAD to sing along. Man, it was great for a laugh:
Freedom! I won't let you down! Freedom! Please don't give me up!
Okay, okay, time to go!

KM 1-7: This feels good. 7k to the turn.

So we were off. It was crowded of course, but not too bad. I was surprised when the 1:50 pacer didn't take off more quickly, but we stuck with him and didn't worry too much. We were quickly down Brant and heading west on Lakeshore toward Northshore and behind the hospital. The footing was a whole lot better than expected and I kept asking Emma how her calf was. She assured me it was fine. Sam, Richard and Robert were all around, but I focused mainly on Emma. Before we knew it, the leaders were coming back up Northshore and I knew were were close to the 3k turn and the climb back to Lakeshore East. I took water at the station. Or, I guess I should say I took ice-chips. I am thankful that the day was so cold because I barely had anything to drink at all for the entire race. Every cup of water was loaded with ice chips (nothing the water stations could do in -14) and I was worried about choking. Around this time, I realized that Emma was a touch behind me, but no worries. Sam was a touch further back, but I didn't worry about her at all. Her foot was bad and I knew she'd stick with us if she could. By this time, we were back on Lakeshore heading east and I was ahead of the pacer. I saw Richard and asked if he knew were Emma was as I couldn't see her any longer. He assured me she was right behind us. He took off ahead and I kept checking, but lost sight of Emma. At this point, I was thinking, Sweet, 7k to the turn. I've got this.

5:20-5:07-5:08-5:11-5:15-5:09-5:09, total time: 36:19, pace band (1:50): 36:29

KM 8-14: I will wait, I will wait for you!

I've got to say in this stretch, I wasn't sure if I was going to find anyone again. It didn't get me down though, not at all. Of course there is always a group you end up with and pace with and I stuck with that. I was feeling really good. I wasn't pushing myself to hit under 5:10s/km because I was still holding out hope that I wasn't that far in front of Emma or Sam and I knew we had the turn at 13-14km to make a final decision on how hard I'd push if I didn't see them. Instead, I started looking for leaders and it seemed a very long time before they started coming back toward me. I guess its because I was running a bit faster this year. I also was running with no music at all. This is not the first time I've run a race without music, but this is the first time I've run in a race totally alone without music. Nothing was bothering me though. I was feeling just fine.
Still singing Freedom?
It was fun to see the leaders. I saw DM friend, Mike along with Kenny and Phaedra looking so super strong coming back west. I took a GU at 10k with a few ice chips and was excited about the possibilities in the last half of the race had. Right before the turn, I got swallowed by the 1:50 pace group and as I turned around, I saw Emma. I'm waiting for you, Emma, I said. Catch me.

5:09-5:16-5:16-5:16-5:07-5:17-5:23, split 36:44, total time: 1:13:03, pace band: 1:12:59

KM 15-21.1: MOVE! Your f**king legs are longer than mine!

As soon as Emma caught me, I asked what pace she was targeting. Her answer was none. She was running by feel. I cursed myself for not knowing her exact PB, because I knew it was 1:51:xx, and I wanted to ensure she got the PB no matter what. She hooked onto my left shoulder and I had to keep myself under control so that I didn't pull away from her again (aside, this makes me very happy about the state of my training in light of the fact that I want to qualify for Boston in two months). We were in contact with the 1:50 pace groups (there were two), but slowly they started to pull away. I knew if we could see them, we'd get Emma a nice PB, but I didn't say anything to her. She was in the zone. When I saw her look at her watch I told her, You don't worry about that bullshit. That's what I'll do. I feel like Emma understood that I had lots left in my legs and that all she had to do was to stay with me. With three kilometers to go, I told her to just hang on. She was fading a bit and I yelled, Put on your Eminem or something and LET'S GO!!! (Even though he's my running/music boyfriend).

19k and I'm looking for that 20k sign. As you may know, I always hit that sign. I did it in my first half marathon and have never done any different since. There was a photographer here and we tried to get a good photo together, but um... well...
Me: PhotoOpp! #runnerd!
Emma: OMFG, I hate you, Nicole

Boom! I detour over the the side of the road and onto the sidewalk to hit the 20k sign. I hear a lot of cheers at that (You go, girl!) and boom, back to Emma and I'm talking now. Let's go, Emma. You've got this. YOU'VE. GOT. THIS. Twice around the track! That's it! (cue horrified groans from those around us). And then we're turning up Brant and the crowds have expanded and we can see the finish line.

Let's go, Emma! You've got this.

RUN! MOVE!!! YOU'RE F**CKING LEGS ARE LONGER THAN MINE!!! (that got some huge crowd laughter. What the crowd didn't know is that yelling so hard caused me to pee my pants. Um. More than a little bit. Yay for those post baby treats!).

And she's pushing and I'm falling in behind her and we're crossing the line to the end.

5:22-5:14-5:22-5:19-5:30-5:23-5:16-0:51 (5:07 pace), split: 41:33, total time: 1:51:20, pace band: 1:50:00

So? Was it a PB? Did Emma do it? She didn't know! HA! She couldn't remember her time at Hamilton either. But soon enough, we knew - she gained a 5 second PB on a much tougher course (and conditions!) and I'm thrilled I was able to be there to see it! We caught up with Peter right at the end, who waited for us despite the fact that he finished in 1:37 and was pretty much ready to audition to play Olaf, Jr in Frozen 2. We waited for Sam who came in under two hours despite a bad bout of PF and not the best day. Then we went to get our free chili and beer with Richard and Robert.

As for me, this race quieted some nerves about my goals for a sub 3:40 marathon in May. With my PF injury and running indoors so often, I had no idea how I'd fare racing. This race set me up to feel good. I'll likely use it and the next few weeks to make a final decision on what I'm going to do for Around the Bay which will be the true and final test before Mississauga.

One thing I can recommend, if the race isn't going to be a personal best effort, run it with friends and have fun with it. To me, racing is always worth it, but racing with friends is special indeed.

Chip: 1:51:19
Gun: 1:52:13
Place: 684/2172
W35-39: 33/179

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 14!

Well, week 14 was always meant to be a cutback week. I knew I had the Chilly Half Marathon on the plan and the original goal was to make this a goal race and go for a new PB. As I stated in last week's Goals Post that plan went out the window, but I didn't decide to go easy either. The week ended up short by almost 18km, but I'm not going to sweat that. I really took care of my plantar fasciitis this week which resulted in less mileage.

Monday February 24: Rest after the killer 26k the day before. Both myself and my foot needed this. My footware of choice this week were my running shoes. Which look so weird with the black laces! My other footwear due to Polar Vortex also shown. Sigh.

Tuesday February 25: Back to the treadmill at the gym (still avoiding the dark, cold and uncertain footing). My calves were really tight and my ankle was a bit sore. I ran an easy first 5k, then 5k at the proposed Chilly Race Pace (which felt easy!!!) and then cooled down for 2k. Good, good all around. I had physio in the evening. 12k, 1:07:15

Wednesday February 25: Hills, hills, hills. Back to Thomas Street and Streetsville for 7x up and down the hill. Not as busy this week and I was done without any problems. My approach to hills this year has been odd. I'm not really attacking them the way I've done in the past. I'm just going to assume they are still doing their job without worrying about paces. 12k, 1:12:20

Thursday February 26: I was planning for another 12k, but then Fergus decided to join me in bed which basically means a super light sleep for me for the rest of the night. I decided to "sleep in" a bit until 5:30 and then I got the first train into Toronto and went to the gym from there before work, where I ran into one of my staff. Who loved my skirt. Obvs. I ended up with just 6k, 35:22

Fergus is damn lucky he's so cute!
Friday, Saturday: I actually took Sam's advice and rested. I wanted to run on Saturday but didn't find time.

Sunday March 2: Chilly Half Marathon with Emma and Sam. Race report to come. A very good day. Strong running, great friends, funny moments, peed my pants. You know. The usual. 21.17k, 1:51:13 per Garmin.

Total KM: 51.17 (31.8mi), Total Time Spent Running: 4:46:10, Average pace per KM: 0:05:36 (0:09:00/mi)

Week 15 is another 85k week and it starts tomorrow! Running the half yesterday gave me all of the push I needed to attack this week strongly. I had a leg massage and PF treatment today and hope that I continue to see improvements to see me to the end of the road. The marathon is now two months away! I just hope I can continue to hit the runs and build that confidence. 

I hope you had a great week as well!