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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mississauga Marathon: Race Day Strategy

I've gotta say, I had that feeling today. That "I can do this" feeling.

Part of it was my constant re-framing of positive thoughts in my head.

The whole, trust the training mantra.

Getting the play list ready.

Chatting with Peter over Facebook (spoiler, he won't let me get off easy trying to dull the edges on the goal) and confirming that we I CAN do this (Peter's already done it). He said all the right things to me today, that's for sure.

Of course, as always, Sam has been a constant text companion, building up my confidence as well. She will be running the half marathon and will wait around for Amy, Patty, Emma, Peter and I. She's a great gal, that's for sure. She's also given me something else to help boost my mental game on race day
I knew from the moment I opened this that I would wear it on May 4th.
My DailyMile friends, my imaginary chat-board friends, my colleagues, my family - they are all behind me this week, this Sunday. Everyone is tolerating my newest companion as well

The course map
And so, this leads me to strategy. Because it is time.

Strategy: Clothing
Easy. I'm running for a princess. I'm wearing a skirt.

Depending on the weather I may end up with my arm sleeves (which are black). Sunscreen, body glide, and a pace band (even though Peter keeps telling me that my job is to run, not check time) will complete the outfit.

Strategy: Fuel and Water
I will start the day with a plain bagel with butter and cheddar cheese. A small coffee, small apple juice and my Minnie Mouse tumbler of water. I plan to be done by 5:30am as we will leave for the start by 5:45-6am. I will carry a banana to the start line and eat it around 6:45-7am. Mint gum as always. Like each of my other two marathons, I will start with a throw away bottle of water so that I don't have to worry about water stations for the first 10-12k. I'm going to carry 5 gels. Maybe six. While I've only ever taken 4 in my past marathon's, I needed them sooner during Around the Bay this year and I don't want to be caught empty handed. After I get rid of my throw away bottle, I will be using the water stations for water and Gatorade. My goal is to only walk through every other station (I can run and drink at the same time and Mississauga has good, squeezable cups). I suspect that my past success in the marathon has been aided greatly by these short breaks, so I'm not going to worry about walking through stations at all. Peter's game with this plan as well.

Strategy: Pace
Stay with Peter.

We are going to take advantage of the early and easy parts and the downhills but won't allow ourselves to push more than 10s faster on the downhills.

Stay with Peter.

Strategy: Mental
Yes, I can.

Yes, I will.

I will have music. Yes. There will be an eclectic mix of tunes. I will take the early and easy parts in. I will smile. I will enjoy. I will embrace the suck. I will not get ahead of myself as I need to run the first 10k before I can worry about the last 10k. I will enjoy Southdown and look for friends and other runners during the out and back. I will take KM 30-35, one kilometer at a time.

Stay with Peter.

I will stay focused and enjoy the joy of running. I will pull on the strength of everyone near and far cheering for me and wishing me well. I will know that no matter what, I will disappoint no one.

I will run the very best race that I can on that day.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A confidence problem


Radio silence on this front for the past little while. Yes, I've been running including my last long run of the program (33k over the last 33k of the Mississauga Course). In my planned outfit of course

It didn't go well.

Peter showed up to run with me as he will be pacing me on Marathon day. The plan we came up with was to run the last 15k or so at pace (5:10/km). This meant starting the pace work after the turn around on Southdown Road at the Mississauga/Oakville boarder. So we (Yan was also with us), started and...

I. Just. Couldn't.

My legs were fine.

My breathing and head were a mess.

Peter gave me some good tips and motivation and him and Yan ran slightly ahead as I did my best to catch them.

Yan, Peter and me at the end of the run. Its never all bad with running friends!

I. Just. Couldn't.

It hasn't been good for my confidence at all.

I'm very afraid that I've bitten off more than I can chew. That I haven't put enough work into this to make the time. And at the same time... what does the time really matter? At the end of the day, I'm going to finish a third marathon. I'm very likely going to run it in a PR time. And?

I've raised $3,600 for Wishes for Olivia in support of Make A Wish Canada.

I think this marathon is already a success.

Regardless of what happens in 9 days.

I'd, um, just like a bit of mo-jo back.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 19!

Week 19!!! Four weeks to go! 26 days according to the marathon site. I knew this week would start difficultly with recovery from Around the Bay, but I also knew that I needed to ensure I was set up to gain some confidence along the way. After my non-race pace performance at Around the Bay, I'm worried about hitting the ultimate goal of this training plan.

Monday, March 31st: Rest. Man. It was a tough day of just general walking. Stairs? Killer.

Tuesday, April 1st: While I worked a long day on Monday and didn't get home until about 2130 that night, I still wanted to get some kind of run in to loosen my legs. I woke up before five AM with a goal of about 8k. That plan went out the window when I took my first step down the stairs and my quads were still screaming. I decided not to make the early wake up go to waste and slogged my way through 6k. 38:22 I then spent the day travelling to and from Ottawa with a 1.5 hr meeting in between. I took a fab photo out of the plane window as we were landing though:

Wednesday April 2nd: Poor Alasdair wasn't feeling well, so I stayed at home with him. He was quite surprised that being sick meant no computer time, but he was quiet and I got lots of work done. I was able to get out before dinner once my husband was home for an 8k that felt a whole lot better on my legs than the day before. 8.01k, 46:07

Thursday April 3rd: Running Room night! We just chatted randomly about everyone's Around the Bay before heading out for a nice 10k with two loops around the lake. This is one of my fave routes and I started really quickly with Chris, Gerald and Claudia and had to back off about 2.5k in. I spoke to Chris about my plans to add Marathon Pace work to Sunday's long runs and he agreed, though he cautioned me that, "if you can't run 5 minute kilometers for 30k right now, you likely won't get you Boston Marathon time." I've decided to ignore this. 10k 56:57

Friday April 4th: Rest day! I'm guessing I'm already in a mini taper as all of my peak weeks are done! This means only 5 days a week of running! WooHoo!

Saturday April 5th: Ken had to work, and my dad was sick, so both kids joined me at the gym and went to the daycare ($7 for two hours for two kids! Amazing), where I ran 5k easy warm up and 7k a bit faster. It was a good run. 12k, 1:09:59

Sunday April 6th: Showed up for the Running Room group run and learned that the route was 32.7k. I had already decided to run the middle 10k at marathon race pace, but wanted to start slower. So I started with Erika and Claudia and we hit 10k in an hour. Then I ran 10k in 51:30 which is a 5:09/km or 8:18/mi pace which will get me my Boston Qualifying time. I was alone for the last 23km, battling headwinds and some long, slow rises, but I toughed it out and only allowed myself to "walk with purpose." This meant that I only walked if I need to shove my bottle back in my belt, or if a light was changing, I'd slow/walk in order to avoid being stopped. We ran near the marathon route, so it was exciting to see that the signs are now up telling of road closures! All in all, a beauty day, despite the headwinds and one of those runs which make me recall how much I just LOVE to run. 33.01k, 3:09:40

Total KM: 69.02 (42.89 miles), Total Time: 6:41:05, Average Pace per KM: 0:05:45 (0:09:21/mi)

Next week is more of the same, but with more marathon pace work and we'll run the last 33km of the marathon route! Then: TAPER!!! So close now!!! I hope you had a fab week!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Mississauga Marathon Training Weeks 17 & 18

Somehow I missed these updates! Whoops! Work has been insanely busy. Like, 14 hour days. Oh well, still moving right along and into the marathon plan

Week 17: I decided to swap this and week 18 around to allow for a semi taper before Around the Bay. This meant another 85, er 82k week.

Monday: Rest, sweet rest.

Tuesday March 18th: Tuesday Treadmill Tempo run! I did 3k warm up, then 20 minutes of tempo at 4:46/km pace, 2k easy and 10 minutes of tempo, with the rest easy. I had no pain in my foot! WooHoo! I wore the new PUMA tank top my client gave to me and it looks and feels good, but I totally forgot to vaseline up my arm pits and got bad chafe. Oh well, live and learn. 14k, 1:15:59

Wednesday March 19th: I worked 14 hours with an asshole stomach and couldn't get any kind of run in.

Thursday March 20th: My last day of being 36, so I ran 3.6 miles. 5.79k, 33:50

Friday March 21st: I turn 37! I run 19.77 (year of birth) in the morning as I have the day off. Time:  1:58:47. Then we went and bought this! I can't wait for camping season! We've booked four trips so far!

Saturday March 22nd: Beauty run with Bridgett who is also running the 25k at Sulphur Springs. 10.1k, 59:33

Sunday March 23rd: I had 32k on the plan, but the running room only had 23k. So I drove out to the store early, put in 9k on my own and joined the group for our now typical group run to Brampton and back. The route is challenging and I wanted to take it slower. This worked out as Erika joined me as she was a bit hungover and not feeling like pushing pace. We were able to maintain a decent pace, but walked for gels and for some bad ice patches. The weather felt like it was finally going to turn! 32k, 3:13:06.

Total KM: 81.67 (50.75 mi), Total Time: 8:01:15, Average pace per KM: 0:05:54 (0:09:29/mi)

Week 18: Around the Bay week! I was feeling pretty good going into this week. My confidence wasn't quite there but my PF wasn't acting up and otherwise I was feeling great. Maybe those thyroid pills are also working?

Monday March 24: Rest

Tuesday March 25th: Town Camp registration day!!! I got up at 0430 and took a run outside!!!! I didn't bother with tempo or speedwork and just ran. My legs were cold despite the winter tights I had on. Is the winter EVER going to end? 10k, 58:21, kids got into their camps!

Wednesday March 26th: I ended up with another 14 hour day on Tuesday. I slept in on Wednesday and then just couldn't fit the run in. It happens; you gotta roll with it at times.

Thursday March 27th: Hit the treadmill before work and wanted to get at least 6k at race pace in. But I was tired. and sluggish. I managed to run 3k at race pace (5:06/km) and was happy to just finish the run. 10k, 56:20

Friday, Saturday: Strategic rest for Around the Bay.

Sunday March 30th: Around the Bay Race. 30k, 2:42:09 and an 11 minute PB

Total KM: 50.32 (31.27 mi), Total Time: 4:36:50, Average Pace per KM: 0:05:30 (0:08:51)

All in all, not bad for the past two weeks despite some work challenges. Now, the next month is about the confidence build. Its not there right now, but I'm committed to putting in the work to get there.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Around The Bay Race Report

This past Sunday, I was able to take part in the 120th anniversary run of the oldest road race in North America, The Around the Bay 30k Race. As you may know, I had goals. As you'll learn, those to do with time, didn't work out.

I got to Copps (er, First Canadian Place) in plenty of time and secured parking around the 29k mark, paying the $20 fee without complaint. I liked the fact that I could get out right away if I needed too as Alasdair was playing his semi-final hockey tourney game that morning and if they won, the final would be at 1:45 and I would do my best to make the game (they made it to the final, but lost 5-2 with Alasdair scoring both goals). The lot wasn't the best as they blocked in cars without taking keys, but I got lucky and the car behind me had someone in it when  I went to leave so I was able to get out and enjoy the game:
Anyway. I met up with everyone at the assigned section. There were blogger friends, DailyMile friends, Running Room friends etc. It the race that seemingly EVERYONE runs if they can. Before long, it was time to hit the final potty stop and head to my corral. The green one.

KM 1-10. OH-EM-Gssss. This isn't like the old course.

Right away upon getting outside, I knew I had made a an outfit error.
I ended up in the first outfit except with my Nike base layer (which is really light fleece) instead of my super light lulu grey shirt. Total mistake, but nothing I could do about it. I should have even wore the skirt, even if it only meant that I could get in on the #burlingtonskirtbrigade photos for a group whose group name I coined. So, I mill around at the top of the corral and then they pull the dividers and start to count it down so I put on my music as I'm racing alone and get ready to pace myself. 
Finally the race does start and we're over the line about a minute after the gun time. This is good to know if I ever try to go for the silver medal which is awarded to females who finish the race in 2:30 gun time or less. We get going and I'm happy that its not crowded and I'm speeding along. WAIT. I'm speeding along. WAY. TOO. FAST. I just can't reel myself in though and I have flashes of Kenny's race strategy where the specifically says not to get caught up and go out too fast too early. Which I'm totally doing!!! OH-EM-GEE! Wait! There's Chris, my Running Room leader and 2:30 pacer. Okay, let him get ahead. I take my time and yell at him, "Chhhrrrrrissss Chivers!!! Looking good, 2:30 pacer! Hey! Hey pacer group, ask that Bunny about tacos! He loves tacos! He will talk about them all day. And coffee!!! MMMM.... it'll sound great at 28k!" So that works to slow me down finally and then I decide that at the next station I'll take water and a gel. I figure the next station will be at 8-9k, but it comes up at 7k and I take the gel even though its pretty early. I figure it won't hurt because I shared my pre-race banana with Sam (even though she didn't ask me to join the brigade photo. :-/). ANYWAY. This new part is where we start to go over the new highway overpasses (three in total) which bring us some... rollers! WooHoo!!! Just what this race needs, hills at the start, hills at the end!!! We run along a highway like road for a while but its no where near as fun as Road2Hope. And its windy! The new awesomeness of this 10k never ends.

5:04-5:00-4:59-5:07-5:17-5:09-5:27 (GU)-5:17-5:11-5:07, Total: 51:38, Pace Band (2:35): 51:40

KM 11-20: Just get to 15k. I like water.

I'm not really sure what happened at this part of the race. You know, the part which is now the easiest part of the race EVER!!! Something just slowly came apart. I felt okay; my legs were pretty tired which makes sense considering the first part and the fact that I had run 82k the week prior. My mind was fine, no repeat of Scotia, but then I truly LOVE Around the Bay. But things just started getting tough. I was mad that I hadn't brought my own water. When I saw people drink, I was jealous. I thought a lot about water. Mmm. It tastes so good. I wonder where the next station is.... That's a nice water belt. HEY! Someone lost a 6oz bottle, I should pick it up and use... that's disgusting and I'm past now anyway. Whew! There is measles going around, macnic. Water. Wait! There will be water around 15k, right? Yes!!! And I'll take a gel! Good good! 15k is the lift bridge, sweet!!! Just get to 15k. I could really use a gel. And water. Any my legs are so tired.

So I get to the water station and drink water and walk and get two more cups to take with my gel. Which I pretty much almost throw up, but force it down because my legs are oh-so-tired. It was orange this time which was way better than my first of mint-chocolate. Sam's totally right; chocolate is a winter flavour. Which makes sense considering the outfit I'm wearing, but not the weather. That the weather network lied about causing me to over dress and then to need more water. WHICH I HAVE RIGHT HERE!!! Glug, glug. Hit the lift bridge and the footing - yep still sucks. I think about Peter and wonder if he's running in his vibrams and hey! There's a photographer:

Alright! Time to make that turn onto Northshore and there is more glorious water (and I'm taking advantage and walking through all the stations, which I shouldn't have done - I didn't need too) and then we're into the rolling hills of the Burlington Golf Course and I'm hanging on to get to 20k and begin the single digit countdown to the end.

5:13-5:22-5:12-5:15-5:39 (GU)-5:17-5:27-5:29-5:17-5:18, split: 53:29, Total: 1:45:07, Pace Band: 1:43:20

KM 21-30. No matter what, I LOVE Around the Bay!!!

So, something happened here. I just stopped full out looking at my watch. I had the pace band for a 3:40 marathon (5:12 pace - I was aiming for a 5:10), but I stopped looking at that. In fact, I think I only looked at it once during the race. Somehow, I had decided to run by feel! I promised myself that I wouldn't walk up any hills as I was walking all water stations and I could actually feel the energy leaving my legs around 23k. Good thing there was a water station and good thing I had the foresight to bring a third gel, because I took it and got ready for the Valley Inn Hill. I made it down to the valley and decided way too late to try and high five the little guy who sits at the bottom playing we will rock you so I missed. At this point, my running room friend Yan caught me and I said I wasn't having the best race; the first 10k were a bit killer. He agreed and said, "As long as I stay in front of the 2:40 pacer." I was hopeful for the same but had only just passed the pacer and wasn't sure I'd be able to hold on. I told Yan to go on ahead and the pacer paced me going up Valley Inn. I held on with everything I had and forced myself up that hill (looking at my watch, expecting to see 7min something and seeing 6:30 pace which is great) and promised that I'd let myself walk the turn onto York street. Which I did. HA! I only walked for about 30 seconds to catch my breath and then began running again. Run, run, run! Hold on, 4k left and "Its LITERALLY all down hill from here people." I scream to those around me. I'm just looking for the Reaper and his signs and I see him and try to get in a good photo-op with him without stopping but it doesn't work. And then... the 2:45 pacer pulls up to me.

And so I BOOK it to get the hell outta there. I've got the downhill in my favour and my quads may hurt like... well like hell, but ain't nobody got time to fall apart that badly. 

But then I walk through the 28k water station.

No matter! My next target is the 29k sign which I hit with as much force as I can (that slowed me down as well) and then its all about ripping down York, getting a clear shot from the photographers before the turn
And enjoying the very best part of this challenging and fun, fun race: The stadium end:
That's a smile that says, "ELEVEN MINUTE PB!!!"

5:24-5:52-5:29-5:48 (GU)-5:33-5:13-5:53-5:26-5:40-5:04-1:45 (320m), split: 57:07, Total: 2:42:14, Pace Band: 2:35

Gun: 2:43:15
Chip: 2:42:09 - 10:51 PB!!!
Place: 1755/6764
Females: 504/3307
F35-39: 93/491

So, I didn't do the best,  but I still love this race so much! I also am glad to run it because it really points out what I need to do for the marathon. The Mississauga Marathon course is no where near as difficult as this one, but I need to get some longer stints in at Mpace while fatigued. This is not part of the  Daniel's plan, but I really feel I need it for confidence and to be sure I'm ready for race day. I've got five weeks to work on maintaining pace and I've got to look at redefining some goals as well. Let's hope I don't have to re-write those goals altogether and that the next five weeks builds confidence along with everything else.

Until next time, remember always celebrate at the end of the run! You've earned it