Sunday, August 25, 2013

Fall 2013 training week 8. 8 weeks to go.

The last couple of weeks, I've been waiting, monitoring every itch and sneeze. It is time.

Ragweed, ugh. What a horrible plant. Excuse my while I attempt to claw out my eyes to get some relief from the itching, my god, the ITCHING.

(Really, thanks to the miracles of modern medicine, it's mostly under control. Bless you Big Pharma and your assorted side effect free antihistamines. I just wish when you say 24 hours on the box that it actually meant 24 hours, and not the 12-15 hours of relief I actually get)

Monday: Fourth day in a row where I didn't get up an ungodly hour to run! Weird. My glute, which caused me problems at Midsummer, felt OK, but my shins were really sore (I blame the boardwalk. I'm blaming everything on that boardwalk from now on). I rolled my legs out a few times in my lab at work, which helped a lot. I did not, however, think to roll my hips (FORESHADOWING!).

What? Doesn't everyone keep a travel sized foam roller next to their computer?

Monday night I went to a TRX class, where I got to play DJ. Fun for me, not sure how much everyone else appreciated my selections, but I did go heavy on the motivating pop music. For the record, TRX burpees are ridiculously hard.

Tuesday: 10k with 6k at tempo pace. Glad I got this out of the way early in the morning - I felt good when I woke up and during the run, but by the time I got to work and walked my kid across campus for her summer camp, I was feeling the after effects of that TRX class. So very very sore. Tara learned some evil new tricks at the CanFitPro conference, clearly!

The tempo was all over the place. I was thinking 5:20/km, and ended up with 5:35 (deliberately eased into it), 5:07 (oops), 5:12, 5:26, 5:20 (there it is), 5:10 (what?). I wanted to do the 6k continuous but poor planning had me at a stoplight after the first 2k, then back at the same stoplight 2k later. So it turned more into 3 sets of 2km. Whatever.

Wednesday: Easy 12k stupidly early. There were an unusual number of cop cars driving around, which I thought was a bit strange. I found out later they were looking for an elderly man who hadn't shown up to a BBQ the night before. Wish one of them had told me what was up, I'd have kept an eye out! He was found, thankfully. 

Serious delayed onset muscle soreness from the TRX and possibly the tempo, so I kept the pace on this one very slow.

Thursday: Hmmm, I'm short on pictures this week. What can I say, now that it's dark out when I run, all my pictures look like this:

So pretty!
 Annnnyway, I met Patty at the swanky Catholic high school track (no tripping hazards or holes! It's fancy!) to run some intervals. 2k warmup, 4 x 1k repeats, cool down. No idea on the splits because my watch was being insane - I started it in the wrong mode, then switched it to the right one without restarting the session, and I think that made it have a little hissy fit and refuse to record my intervals. They felt hard, so good enough.

Post early morning run recovery. Chocolate milk on the left, Cola Nuun on the right. I drink the Nuun entirely for the hit of caffeine.
I was supposed to do TRX Thursday night. But so very very tired and so very very comfortable sitting in my chair. Eventually I forced myself to do the short DVD Patty loaned me (which I should probably return to her at some point), which I have to say, is a pretty decent workout for a runner in 25 minutes. Certainly the leg exercises are tougher than you might think you'd be able to do without weights - one legged squats leave me so sore, no matter how often I do them.

Friday: Yay for rest days!

Saturday: Patty is the 2:15 pacer (doing 10&1s) for the Oakville half, and wanted to test run the course. So Amy and I decided to be her pace group and joined her. It's a very pleasant course. Lots of shade, which gives it an edge on the Milton Half, IMO, if I was going to rank the local fall half marathons. Milton, however, has a much better parking situation, which can be a pretty important aspect of a race! It was nice to get a feel for the course - although I'm running the 10k instead of the half, the 10k runs along a portion of the half route. Plus I talked Amy into running the 10k too, and we should hopefully be able to pace each other to a fast finish. Assuming I don't manage to trip her at some point to improve my age group placing. Watch your back, Amy!

Naturally we encountered a running group right as we hit a 1 minute walk break. I resisted the urge to tell them that normally we don't walk (like anyone cares).

Purdy picture because I got to the meeting spot early and wandered down to the lake to see the sunrise.
 I was thinking the run might feel super easy, with the slower than usual pace and the walk breaks, but man, I do not like 10&1s very much. I spend way too much time anticipating the walk breaks and then the breaks themselves seem way too short. My legs were every bit as tired at the end as they are when we run a more typical 5:50/km ish pace. Patty was happy because we got the pace pretty much bang on right, so yay to good pacing.

Sunday: Supposed to do an 8k recovery run, but my left hip was pretty sore Saturday afternoon. Sitting at a desk all week leaves my hips really tight, and every so often after a long run I'll have hip issues. I've really been slacking on using my foam roller - when I do preventative rolling a few times a week I'm a lot less likely to have issues.

My hip felt a lot better when I got up Sunday morning, so I really really really wanted to sneak in at least an easy 5k, but there was still some tightness and a touch of pain so I forced myself to sit my ass down and rest it. One missed 8k run is not a big deal in the larger scheme of things, and I'd rather have a healthy hip.

I did some foam rolling and my favourite yoga video to round out the week. It is unbelievable how much better my hip helped after the rolling. Why can't I manage to do that regularly?

Cousin It impression because I couldn't find a hair elastic. Where do hair elastics go, anyway? Every couple of months I buy like a hundred of them and they all gradually disappear.

Weekly summary: 52.2 km run in 5:19:46, 2 TRX workouts, and some yoga time. I wanted to hit 60k this week, but it is what it is. I'm pretty happy with how consistently I've been doing TRX over the summer; having straps at home means I really have no excuse not to get in at least some basic strength and core work a couple of times a week to support my running.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Fall 2013 training week 7. 9 weeks to go.

Don't ask me how many times I had to edit that title to get the numbers right. Sheesh. I think my brain is objecting to there being only single digit weeks left before the race, good lord. That's not many! CRAP.

Monday: TRX class! Been a couple of weeks since I've been able to make it to one. I like the classes because I always work harder than I do on my own and I get great ideas for stuff to do with my straps at home. Plus Tara is an awesome trainer. Heavy on the core work, which was great and painful at the same time.

I'm in the yellow planking. Good form. As I write this (on Tuesday morning) my upper body is SO FREAKING SORE.

Tuesday: I still can't quite believe there are people who are not just willing but eager to join me at 5 am to go running. Met up with Amy for a tempo run at my planned race pace for Saturday's Midsummer 15k. Plan was 2k warmup, 5k at 5:20/km, 1k cooldown. Paces were 5:21, 5:13, 5:19, 5:21, 5:16, so it went pretty well and I ended feeling good about my planned pace for the race.

I'd never run with someone else for speedwork before, so it was a new experience! I liked it, made it less likely that I'd stop for an unplanned break, even if it did initially feel a little weird to be running with someone and not talking. I think this was our entire conversation during the tempo:

Me: Lots of rabbits.
Amy: Yes.

Amy and I will need to do a long slow gossipy run soon, clearly.

Tuesday night pigs went flying past my windows, because I actually did a short yoga video! I just don't like yoga that much, but my legs and hips do feel amazing when I'm finished. I really have to try and do that more often.

Wednesday: Up early for an easy 10k. These early runs now take place before the sun is up, so I saw stars at the start, and no more beautiful sunrises, wah. Plus the darkness restricts where I'm comfortable running which means fewer route choices if I'm not meeting up with someone.

Skipped the planned TRX workout because my chest/arms were still sore from Monday, and with a race on Saturday I didn't want to do any leg stuff.

Thursday: Long day of meetings at work, so wanted to start the day with a short and easy run to clear my head and mentally prepare. Easy 6k in the dark. I miss the sun, although I have to admit the fall-like temperatures we are getting are amazing for running.

I could pretty much just post that picture of dark streets every morning for the next couple of months. And I'm busting out the butt-light from now on for visibility, although I do wonder if someday a half asleep driver will be so fixated on wondering what that light is that they'll plow right into me.
Friday: Rest day. Such a novelty to 'sleep in' until 6 am.

Saturday: Midsummer Night's Run 15k Race. Read all about it!

Sunday: The glute cramp that started randomly right before the Midsummer race decided to stick around. Really sore. So I rolled around for a bit on my foam roller, without much result. Then I realized I could use some handweights to really dig into the bad spot, and that did the trick nicely. My butt finally loosened up (tightass joke!) and felt almost normal again.

And I've finally found a use for that silly 3 pound weight! Self myofascial release. Worked better than a tennis ball.
However, I also developed some shin pain over the course of the day (I'm blaming the boardwalk from the Midsummer run). So I decided to forgo a recovery run and just rest. I did another yoga video for my hips/hamstrings/back, and that felt pretty good.

Weekly stats: 39.1km run in 3:44:51. 1 TRX class and two (TWO!) yoga sessions. A bit light on the mileage this week (I would have liked to have added an 8k recovery run on Sunday) but not a big deal.

Assuming my butt and shins cooperate, back to hardcore speedwork this week.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Run 15k Race Report

Oooooh boy do I have a lot to say about this race. Yikes.

The good thing about this being an evening race was that I got a good night's sleep because I wasn't waking up every 5 minutes in a panic about sleeping through my alarm and missing the race start.

The bad thing was I spent the whole morning wandering around on edge with nerves, which is dumb because I'm a mid pack runner who runs for fun (and t shirts) and what the heck do I have to be nervous about, really? Sheesh. And the nerves just got worse as the day went on.

Prepared for anything.

I got my stuff packed up, did some nervous house cleaning, choked down a bagel/cheese/tomato sandwich for lunch,  forced myself to drink a bunch of water to ensure I'd be well hydrated, and watched the clock obsessively until it was time to go meet Nicole and Sam.

Sam, where are you? In retrospect her difficulty finding the meeting place was possibly a sign...
I drove us into downtown Toronto without incident, and did the stressful Downtown Toronto Parking Hunt, which is always good times. It was kind of unfortunate it was such a beautiful day, because that meant a gazillion people everywhere.

We encountered our first line of the day waiting for the ferry across to the Toronto Islands (seriously, how is there no pedestrian bridge or tunnel or something?), but things moved quickly and it wasn't long before we were on the boat.

Maybe if everyone starts pushing it will go faster!
 Got to the island, attempted to find some other Daily Milers for a meetup but most people had ferry issues (or possibly we were in the wrong place) because we only found Roxane and Heather. Nice to meet you, guys! Lounged around on the grass, attempting to avoid the goose shit, and killed time until the race start.

The islands are quite pretty. I wouldn't mind spending some time over there, if it weren't for the hordes of people everywhere. People are the worst.
 Waited in the second line of the day, to check our bags. For some reason my left glute cramped up horribly at this point. I stretched it out, but it was clearly determined to stay cramped.
Bag check line. I'm really not entirely sure why this took so long, they were just tossing the bags indiscriminately into trucks.
It was around this point we realized we had no idea where the start was. Turns out not at the Sports Stats timing mats we had walked past on our way to the general starting area, but in a different spot with nothing marking that it was the start! Mass confusion. Nicole got herself organized to start her 30k pacing gig, and we wished her luck. Then Sam and I ran into Mari and chatted for a few minutes before the 30k started and she had to go run.

30k runners waiting to start. With no defined start corral? More mass confusion!
Sam disappeared to go to the bathroom, and the start area (such as it was) started to get crowded, so I wedged myself in next to the 1:30 pacer and hoped for the best. Then I noticed that for some inexplicable reason the 1:40 pacer was ahead of us and I knew the first km was going to be a clusterfuck of too slow people ahead of me. Especially when a couple of women in front of me started asking if the walkers were supposed to be mixed in with the runners. START AT THE BACK, WALKERS! GOD!

This guy was wearing two different shoes. Fashion choice or mistake? You decide!
My glute was still not happy, so I crossed my fingers it would loosen up with some running. The horn sounded for the start, and as soon as we crossed the mat it was clear I was waaaaay too far back. Very narrow paths made the first km a mess as I kept having to slide over to the side of the path and sprint around slower runners (and WALKERS. GOD.). The 1:30 and 1:40 pacers were yelling at each other ("1:30 speed up!" "No, 1:40 slow down!") as I managed to get around both of them and leave them to figure out WTF they were doing on their own.

My glute felt OK so I focused on just running, and catching up to (and then passing ) the 1:25 pacer. The crowd thinned out after the first km and I was able to settle into a relatively comfortable pace, although I quickly had three major problems: I was hungry, I had a side stitch, and it was really f'in hot. In retrospect I should have taken a gel immediately because the energy would have been helpful later in the race, but at the time I wasn't sure if that would help or hurt the side stitch.

The course was confusing (an aid station 500m in? what? and we looped back around through the start again? ok...), and at one point was over sand (WORST). I did spot Nicole on one of the loopy switchback things and she looked good. I also yelled 'GO SAM!' at a girl who was most definitely not Sam. Hope she enjoyed the encouragement. There were some great views of the CN tower, but mostly it was hot and there were a lot of random people walking and biking getting in the way. The perils of races on paths. I was grateful when we turned around and the sun was at our backs, but still, too damn hot. And my glute was threatening to cramp with every step (seriously, I have no idea what was up with that). It was clear within the first couple of km that a 5:20 pace was not happening, but my watch wasn't set to display pace and I was avoiding looking at it, so I really had no idea how fast I was going, except I was ahead of the 1:25 pacer.

I look like I'm practicing 'smell the fart' acting. Totally didn't see this photographer until it was too late to flash my traditional thumbs up.
The km markers were in some cases hilariously wrong (when I passed the 9k marker I was like NO WAY and checked my watch - 8.5k. And then I'm pretty sure the 10k marker was long, making that the longest km of all time). And there was a lengthy section, maybe 2k, over a terrible boardwalk that filled me with hate and loathing (although at least we only had to run it once - 30k suckers had to run it 3 times). By the time I (finally) got to 10k I just wanted the stupid race to be over. I was still hot, my glute was now full on cramping, I was hungry, and everything was stupid. Especially when we had to run over grass. Bah. I could tell I was slowing down a lot but didn't really care. I did talk myself out of stopping to walk, though, so that's a win.

With 2k or so left the 1:25 pacer passed me. Crap. But I couldn't work up the gumption to keep up with him, so I let him go. Over a stupid bridge, across more stupid grass, WHERE THE FUCK IS THE FINISH, oh there's Patty and Sam! I yelled at them that my ass hurt (I'm sure they cared) and sprinted to the finish.

The expression on that guy's face in the background is cracking me up. Maybe he could tell my glute was KILLING ME.

I crossed the finish with a final chip time of 1:25.01. FUCK. If I'd realized I was that close to 1:25, augh. I assumed I was way off because the pacer had passed me, but he did cross the start line well before I did.

Gun time: 1:25:42
Chip time: 1:25.01
Overall place: 354/1314
Gender place: 141/860
Age group place:  54/279

One thing I did really like about this race was the reusable water bottle they hand out at the finish. I can always use more of those, since my kids take them to camp and lose them.
This race also has awesome shirts. Can't wait for cooler weather so I can try this one out! Top pic is the front of the shirt (plus the water bottle) and bottom pic is the back.

Met up with Patty and Sam, rapidly started getting cold, discovered the line to pick up checked bags was insane. I always use a very distinctive bag if I'm checking baggage at a race, so I said to hell with this and just went and grabbed my own bag. Made more sense to me than standing in line, even if some guy with a headset was yelling at people to let the volunteers find their bags for them. I am so rebellious.
Thank god that's over.
 We had some time before Nicole would be coming in (nice thing about waiting for a pacer - you know exactly when they are supposed to show up at the finish!), so got our food. The pulled pork was good, and they gave me double potatoes instead of icky coleslaw, score (then they tried to give Sam double coleslaw, HA).

Yum. I heard that later on they ran out of sides and veggie burgers, though, which really sucks for the 30k people who were probably way hungrier than the 15kers.

We cheered Nicole in to the finish (she did awesome), then she got her bags and her beer and stretched out a bit. By this point I was sweaty, sticky, thirsty, and cold.

Patty, Sam, me, Nicole the pace fairy. My running friends make me feel tall.

And then it was time for the worst line of the day. The ferry line. Judging by the time stamps on the increasingly irrational texts I sent my husband ("Maybe we can just swim across, it doesn't look THAT far..."), we had to wait well over an hour for the stupid ferry.

Small part of the ferry line. A very small part.
I felt a little bad for the various families and non-runners in the line, because I'm sure all the runners smelled positively delightful.

Nice view of the CN tower and skydome. And then back to waiting. I was sore and tired after 15k, I can't imagine how the 30k runners felt about this lineup and wait!

And we waited. And waited. And complained. And waited.

I look way too cheerful in this picture. Nicole's expression captures it so much better.

Finally we got on a boat, got back to the car, and headed home. I dropped the girls off at their cars ("Thanks guys, that was fun!" "NO IT WASN'T"), got home, and went to bed for some sweet sweet sleep.

Would I do the Midsummer Night's Run again? Not if it's on the islands, that's for sure. 11 hour day for a 15k race? Jesus. I didn't get home until midnight!! And I think that evening racing really doesn't agree with me; I'd much rather run in the morning. I'm OK with my time (would definitely have liked to be faster) and I think I may need to revise my Scotia half goals, but I'm not going to worry about that right now. I've got some serious training planned over the next few weeks and will hold off setting any Scotia goals until after I run the Oakville 10k.

Now if I could just get my damn glute to loosen up! Some self myofascial release is helping, but I think I might need a trip to the physio this week if it stays sore.

Sam's race experience:
Nicole's race experience:

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Midsummer Night's Run 15k race plan and goals

Pacing. I've been pondering something for a while, since I read this blog post by Cody Beals. Cody is an elite triathlete who wins races, including a recent half ironman, so obviously we are very similar (*insert hysterical laughter here* I did babysit him once when he was a baby - my parents are friends with his parents - so clearly that is the source of his athletic gifts). From his post:

Even with a good grasp of your fitness, a rigid pacing plan based on numbers can only lead to under-performance. In reality, you have good days and bad days, rough patches and second winds and short distance markers and long ones. In my opinion, all that digital feedback only distracts from the feedback coming from your body. Which do you think is more important?

After last weekend's not so great 5k race, I'm really seeing the potential value in racing without pace feedback. It goes against all my data-loving instincts (how can data be unhelpful? MORE DATA! MORE!), but psychologically there are just so many ways pace data can screw with your head during a race. Oh no, I'm running too fast! I'm sure to blow up late in the race! Hello, self-fulfilling prophecy. Or what happened to me last weekend, where one sucky kilometer just mentally ruined me. If I hadn't known my pace, could I have held it together better? I suspect I could have.

And if I look at the data (sweet sweet data), what to do seems clear:

Moon in June, no pace feedback, 24:52 (PB at the time)
Canada Day, no pace feedback, 24:32 (new PB)
Colleen Lantz, used pace feedback, 25:52. (Wah-wah *sad trombone*)

In the back of my mind I've been considering going pace-less (kind of like pants-less but with less possibility of being arrested) for a while now. For races. I don't think I can bear to give up pace information on training runs (have I mentioned I like data?). I was chatting with Nicole and Sam about our goals for Midsummer, and Nicole flat out said I should consider shutting the watch down and just running. And I thought, why the hell not? I won't know if the no-pace thing will work in a longer race if I never try it. And why stop at Midsummer? Why not give this a fair shot and commit to going pace-less for my next few races and see what happens?

So, for my next few races, I'm going to run without pace feedback. I'll still wear my watch so I can review the split data post-race, but I'll set it to display something else, like total time or calories burned or something. Just typing that makes me feel weirdly nervous!

Check out my mad photoshop skillz. Would you believe I do graphic design sometimes as part of my job?
Goals for Midsummer? With this paceless approach, I don't really know! Before committing to this I was thinking I'd aim for a 5:20/km pace, which would mean a 1:20 finish. I'd be very happy with that, but I think I'll be happiest if I finish the race knowing I ran a well-paced race where I didn't blow up 3/4 of the way through and finished as strong as possible.

I demand a participant ribbon!

Fueling strategy. The big challenge with this race is how the hell to fuel for it. The race starts at 5:45 pm, which has me decidedly confused about what to do. I don't want to overeat during the day and then feel sluggish and gross, but I also don't want to be hungry and run out of energy during the run! And there's the pre-race nerves to consider, too, which always make it hard for me to eat. After consulting with Sam, I'm thinking I'll probably have a carb heavy but easily digested lunch of some sort and then eat a bagel and a banana late in the afternoon. I'll bring a granola bar to the race with me as an emergency snack, just in case; I often eat a granola bar before my LSD, so I know my stomach can deal with that.

I wouldn't normally take in calories during a 15k run, but I'm going to follow the scout motto and Be Prepared by bringing a gel as an emergency backup. I might need the psychological boost of SUGAR at some point during the race. And of course I will have my trusty Simple Hydration water bottle tucked in my spibelt so that I don't have to rely on the aid stations.

Outfit. Clearly the moment everyone has been waiting for! Since I want to run this race fast I've decided to forgo a costume (I know, booooo. I'm sad about it too). But I don't want things chafing or causing problems. I might dye a funky streak in my hair or something. We'll see. The outfit:

Top is Moving Comfort, found at Marshalls for $19. Score! It's a perfect tank for me - the built in bra is good quality, and it's not too tight or too loose through the torso. Skirt is an athletic style skort by Running Skirts that I got on sale. Compression socks are plain white, also from Running Skirts (and those were free, for some reason the first time I ordered from RS they included the socks in the package!). It's the perfect outfit for me, marrying my love of running fashion with my love of good deals and bargain hunting.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Fall 2013 training week 6. 10 weeks to go.

This is the most aggressively I've ever trained, so I was happy to get to this cutback week with no major issues. My calves have been somewhat sore, however, and there's also been a bit of nagging stiffness in my hips, so a bit of a rest week was definitely in order.

Monday: Holiday Monday! Technically Joseph Brant Day here in Burlington. Took advantage of the day off to give my long neglected bike a spin, and followed up with a TRX DVD Patty loaned me. Between the hills I tackled on the bike and the one-legged TRX squats, my glutes were so mad at me.

Someday I will get a proper road bike, but for now my heavy beast of a commuter bike does the job. When the Tour Wannabes go sprinting past me on their road bikes I figure I'm getting a better workout from the extra bike weight I'm hauling around. Or something.
Tuesday: Back to work, back to getting up early to get in an easy 8k. Patty wanted to run 10k, so we split the difference and made it an easy 9. Legs were tired from the day before so it wasn't the greatest feeling run, but got it done. Best part was seeing that they've paved the track at the new high school near me, which will hopefully give me another track option that isn't full of holes and tripping hazards. Assuming they don't keep it locked up to keep the riff-raff off of it.

Wednesday: Planned a bike ride, but I was pretty tired so decided to sleep in instead. Well, it is a cutback week, and it's not like I did something crazy like skip a run.

In the evening I did a TRX youtube video which was tough! You can find it here: I'll use that one again, even if the very first move was hilariously impossible for me (Suspended Incline Press = probably easier for guys, I expect). I settled for getting myself roughly into position and making almost invisible tiny handstand pushup-eque motions.

It really felt like my legs were higher in the air than that! And yes I use my daughter's room for TRX. Only place in the house with a suitable door for the chin up bar and room to exercise.

Thursday: Easy 8k. Turned into 7k because THIS RUN SUCKED. I could tell it was going to be bad when I walked out the door and the humidity was like a damp wall. Me and humidity don't get along. Legs were heavy, couldn't focus, had to keep stopping to take breaks. This run is best forgotten.

Terrible run = McD's for breakfast. The logic makes sense in my head
Friday: Rest day. Drove to my parent's house to spend the night before Saturday's race.

Pretty drive at least, although admittedly after 2 hours I can't work up much enthusiasm for yet another corn field.

Saturday: Colleen Lantz Memorial 5k. Read all about it! And if you catch me contemplating signing up for another 5k, please smack me in the head and take my credit card away. No more 5k races until next spring.

Sunday: 15k LSD. I woke up earlier than I planned and decided I might as well get the run over with. I'm glad I did! The temperature was perfect (just a touch on the cool side). When I parked my car by the lake I saw that off in the distance there was a freighter, clearly heading towards Hamilton harbour and the lift bridge, and I figured I would probably get to the lift bridge at about the same time as the ship. I find watching boats go under the lift bridge weirdly fascinating (I'm an 8 year old boy at heart?), so I was pleased when I arrived at the bridge at almost the exact same time as the freighter. I was able to run along the pier as the boat was passing and it was really cool.

Running by the lake early in the morning is just awesome.
The rest of the run felt great, too. Easy pace, stopped to take pictures a few times, and enjoyed the views. One of those runs that reminds me why I love running (and why I love Burlington). Even the stench of fresh garbage on the Hamilton side of the liftbridge couldn't wipe the smile off my face. A great end to the week!

Weekly stats: Ran 36.6 km in 3:35:24. Biked 16k. Two TRX workouts. Yoga: Fail again. Maybe next week.

This week, I have the 15k Midsummer Night's Run on Saturday. I don't want to treat this as another cutback week, but I also want to be in good shape for the run on Saturday. My current plan is to run a tempo at race pace on Tuesday and then do easy runs Wednesday and Thursday so that my mileage for the week will be higher but leave enough in the tank to run a good race. So it does kind of wind up being two relatively easy weeks in a row, but I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing as I move into the next stage of Scotia training. Lots of quality speedwork coming and it's time to take the tempos longer - if I want to hold a fast pace over 21.1k, I have some work to do.

Song of the week: Radioactive - Imagine Dragons. My husband says Imagine Dragons are the good version of Coldplay, hahaha. I cannot get this song out of my head!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Colleen Lantz Memorial 5k Race Report

I spent an inordinate amount of time checking that I had packed everything I needed for this race. After my Spibelt fail on Canada Day I wasn't taking chances! Add in the complication of spending the night before at my parent's house and I was super paranoid about forgetting something important. Like shoes. Or one of the kids.

Didn't forget a thing. Whew. Kind of wish I had a pink Hello Kitty bag, though.
On top of getting my stuff together, I had to make sure the kids were prepared for their race, too! Freaking exhausting, especially when I checked their bags and they'd both packed approximately 75 stuffed animals and skipped packing minor things like toothbrushes and socks.

Fortunately it was a beautiful day to enjoy the long drive, reminding me that rural Southern Ontario isn't half bad. 

Pretty clouds and endless fields. And Bruster the Rooster. Can't forget Bruster, my favourite oversized fiberglass chicken. (Bruce County = Bruce-ter = Bruster? Oh nevermind)
Had a lovely dinner with my parents, and saw that my old public school is being torn down (waaaaaah) because there just aren't enough kids in town anymore. Probably because so many of us go away to school and then never come back. Small town Ontario: nice to visit, but not really where I want to live long term.

After a terrible night's sleep (just couldn't get comfortable and my husband was tossing and turning all night too, so sleep fail all around), I was up at 6 for tea and toast and to start my pre-race prep. Everyone got out the door in good time to drive to Neustadt to pick up our race kits.

The kit featured a massive pile of pamphlets from local organizations, the t-shirt (cotton - you could pay extra for a tech shirt but I chose not to), and a cooling bandana that will come in handy next time I need to look like I'm in a Kung Fu movie.
This race features a bunch of activities for kids, and of course all mine wanted to do was play in the bouncy house, so that helped pass the time before their race, a 1k fun run. After a short warmup, they were off. I ran with my 4 year old, which was pretty much her all out sprinting for 30 seconds and then stopping and asking for water. Later, rinse, repeat. They both enjoyed themselves and loved getting their medals.

Then I did a proper warmup, jogging about a km with a couple of strides thrown in, and got my first inkling that it maybe wasn't going to be my day. My ankle was twinging kind of funny and I just felt sluggish overall.

I waited around while the 10k race got started, and made a last minute washroom visit - you know you are at a small race when there are no bathroom line ups! Score! Gave myself a last minute pep talk and we were off.

I'm in the purple. Photo courtesy my parents (thanks mom and dad!).  At least I looked good 10m in.
The first km ticked by quickly. For a tiny race, there were a ton of big-race style amenities, like a lady calling out the time at the 1k mark! First km in 4:39. Considering that included a small hill, an excellent start.

And then came the second km. And things got ugly real fast. We turned onto the local rail trail, which turned out to be grass and gravel, and it seriously slowed my pace. I made a massive tactical mistake with this race, which was that I left my watch running in its usual mode, showing my pace. So when we turned onto the trail and my pace dropped, I could see it on my watch and it totally got into my head. The section of the race on the trail lasted about a km, but the effects lingered for the rest of the race. Mentally I was done and I just couldn't hold a fast pace. 5ks are all about running through the pain of going just that little bit too fast, and I couldn't do it.

Not the actual trail, just a similar one. The actual trail had significantly more grass on it and was not a great running surface.
In retrospect, if I hadn't been able to see my paces, I think I would have been able to pick things back up after the rail trail section ended. Note to self: leave the watch at home for 5ks!

2nd km - 5:18

The 3rd and 4th km felt like an eternity. I kept trying to speed up and was not able to do it. My legs were dead and I couldn't make them move faster. Plus, the sun had come out from behind the clouds and it was getting uncomfortably hot.
3rd km - 5:20
4th km - 5:20 (at least I was consistent? bright side!)

Finally, the last km. Entering the homestretch. A bit of a downhill and I took advantage to finally pass a girl in a pink tanktop I'd been trailing forever. I was feeling OK and seeing sub 5 km paces!

And then, with about 500m to go, the inevitable uphill to the finish line (WTF RACE DIRECTORS WHY DO YOU ALWAYS DO THAT???). And I started cramping up. Really badly. Pink tanktop went blasting back past me (DAMN IT) and I struggled my way to the finish. I did (sort of ) manage a smile when I saw my mom taking a picture!

I see the finish! A few more feet and I can stop! YAY!!!!!!

5th km - 4:52
extra bit - :24

Final results:
Chip time: 25:52
Gun time: 25:55.9
Overall place: 37/181
Gender place: 13/???
Age group place: 2/15

So placing second for my age group certainly takes the sting out of having an overall not that great run! Woo hoo! Go me!

Did I mention the medals were all cowbells? Those got confiscated from the kids SO FAST before the drive home.
Overall, it was a good day. The kids had a fantastic time: bouncy house, face painting, crafts, puppet show, and the post race food included popsicles, jello, and pudding - what's not to love? For a tiny race, the organization of this event is absolutely top notch, and I won't hesitate to sign up for it again next year, rail trail and all. While my race didn't go the way I hoped, we had a really fun time as a family, and that was my main goal going in. Success! And hey, sub 26 is still nothing to be ashamed of.

For those who enjoy knowing these things, the skirt is my absolute favourite skirt, a Running Skirts athletic skirt in one of the variations of the Mums pattern, and the tank is from Old Navy (no longer on the website, or I'd link it). If it hadn't been hot out I would have also worn my purple pro compression socks, just to complete the look. But it was warm enough out that I stuck with my Wright socks.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Colleen Lantz Memorial 5k goals

Saturday morning I will be running a 5k race.

I hate 5ks, and this will be my third one this year! Why am I doing this??

I wanted to run this race because it was a lot of fun last year, it's a handy excuse to go visit my parents (who live in the area), and I have a goal of running 13 races in 2013 and needed another race this month. Last year I ran the 10k, and I would have done the 10k again just to try and better my time, but the Midsummer 15k is the next weekend and I definitely don't want to race a 10k so close to that. So, the 5k makes the most sense since I should have time to recover and put forth my best effort at Midsummer.

The best part of last year's race was definitely the kid's run and all the activities the race organizers had set up to keep the kids entertained.

There was a musician, bouncy house, face painting, crafts - when I finished my race my kids were nowhere near ready to leave!
This year I'll join my kids for their 1k, and have a nice enjoyable little easy 5k jog.

HA HA HA. Oh, who am I kidding, as soon as I'm on that starting line I'm going to want to run fast. The 10k route last year had a couple of nasty hills, but looking at the 5k route map I think it avoids them. Assuming it's relatively flat and the weather is cooperative, I'd really like to shave a few seconds off my 5k PB.

Weather forecast looks to be decent enough.
There's a lot of stuff in my favour for this race: it's a cutback week so I haven't been running much and will be well rested, I've done some quality speedwork over the last month, and I'll have my family cheering me to the finish. So I'll run like hell and see how things go.

Finishing the 10k last year. It was SO HOT and hilly and at the time, the 59:01 finish was a pretty decent time for me. My paces have come a long way since then.

AAA goal: have fun with my family
A goal: what the hell, I'm going for a new PB (current is 24:32)
B goal: 25 or under
C goal: under 26
D goal: finish with a smile on my face

Go big or go home!

This still, of course, leaves the all important question of what I'm going to wear. My times aren't the only thing that's gotten better over the last year - my running wardrobe is lot nicer. I'm looking at that picture from the 10k and I think I wore that same outfit for three races in a row last year! *Gasp* So I definitely won't be busting out the black shorts and blue tank.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Fall 2013 training - week 5. 11 weeks to go.

The early morning weather this week felt like it was already October! From heatwave directly into fall? Sometimes I wish I lived in one those places where the weather is basically the same for months on end, but maybe that gets tedious after a while.

(REDACTED: Tedious ramblings about my kid's camp schedules for this week. Trust me, it was boring. NEWSFLASH: A mom sometimes has trouble balancing the demands of work and family! Film at 11!)

A clone would help. But then there would be the inevitable Evil Clone shenanigans, and I so do not have time to hunt down an evil version of me.
Running wise, this was the final hard week before a cut back week. Featuring my first trip to the track in a while, more tempo, and a 21k long run.

Monday: The problem with not running on Mondays is that damn Daily Mile 0. Stuck with it until Tuesday!

Every Monday morning it mocks me.
Home TRX routine in the evening. Not my best effort. Moving on.

Tuesday: 8k Speedwork. 4x1km repeats, with 2 minutes rest in between. The big decision of the day: go to the Good Track, and risk finding it locked, or just go straight to the Bad Track? I went with Bad Track because my husband said Good Track was locked up last week, and who wants to waste time driving between tracks at 5 am?

Bad track has big chunks of the surface missing. Pick your lane carefully at Bad Track.
Warmed up, then ran the intervals in 4:39, 4:47, 4:38, 4:44, cooled down. I stupidly forgot to check what the goal paces were for this workout, and somehow it completely escaped me that, duh, I have a smartphone and could have looked them up before I started. At 5 am my brain takes a while to process anything more complicated than tying my shoes. And that doesn't even go smoothly - had to stop and re-tie them during the warmup. LOSER.

It turns out the goal range was 4:39-4:52, so km 3 was even a second too fast! I'm really happy with how this went - my km repeat times back in April were in the 4:50-5:05 range, so I've definitely gotten faster.
I had to share the track (what the hell!! who runs on the track at 5:30 am?) with a kid in baggy basketball shorts who showed up when I was about half done. Kids in baggy shorts (or, god forbid, denim shorts) always turn out to be obnoxiously fast. That's where that 4:38 came from, I was trying to catch up to him before the interval ended. Didn't quite make it.

Wednesday: Midweek mid distance run. 12k mid-easy. Mid. (I am easily amused). Did not see a single other runner or walker or even a pot smoking teenager. Did I miss a memo? Was it some sort of city-wide sleep in day or something?

Just me and the bunny rabbits. So very many rabbits.

And with this run, July officially becomes the record holder for most km run in a month (238.7), edging out out March (235.7). Huh. It seems when you increase the distances on your weeday runs the numbers start to add up! Nice to see my average pace has dropped, too - March was 6:06/km and July was 5:54/km. #numbersgeek #progress

Pretty good month - new 5k PR and an overall distance record. Glad Runkeeper is letting me know about these things.
Thursday: Tempo day. Got up, pouring rain. No matter, I don't mind running in the rain. Get changed, walk outside...see lightening.

Nope. Nope nope nope. Thunderstorms are one thing I won't run in (others being blizzards, ice storms, and storms with really high winds). It was basically already passed over and to be honest I would have been fine to run, but I decided to watch an episode of Orange Is the New Black instead (OMG SO ADDICTED TO THIS SHOW). Packed all my stuff up and took it to work for my first lunch run in months.

And holy crap am I ever glad I did! I hadn't realized how much the 'I'm still half asleep when I start running' thing affects effects slows down my pace on those early morning runs. Even though it was edging into uncomfortably hot out, everything about this run felt way easier, including hitting the tempo paces.

I saw deer and a very nice lady on a recumbent trike I chatted with for a bit because my dad just got a similar trike and I was wondering how she found the rail trail for riding. Interrupted my second km of tempo to talk with her but it was worth it. Goal pace 5:03-5:13, actual 5:07, 5:14 (interrupted to watch the deer and talk to the tricyclist), 5:09, 5:09, 5:07.
Super classy promotional Buff because I managed to forget to pack any of my visors, hats, hairbands, or nice buffs. You are welcome for the free advertising, Polar.
I really wanted to get in a TRX workout, but was feeling unmotivated so searched around on YouTube for a bit and found this TRX workout, which I decided to try entirely because it's only 24 minutes long and 24 minutes is better than none. It wasn't bad! And I learned a new move I'll probably incorporate into my routine, the one-legged plank with leg raise (ouch). Glad I hoisted myself off the couch and got it done.

Friday: Rest day, yay! I know I'm due for a cutback week because I actually enjoyed a full rest day, instead of getting antsy late in the day and wanting to run.

Saturday: Long run day. Met up with Patty to do a 9k run on a trail we wanted to explore. Unfortunately we didn't get very far before it turned into a puddle and grass filled mess, so we had to turn around and then attempt to do complicated math to figure out how far to run to get the distance right.

This will be fun to explore sometime, but not when trying to do a long run and hoping for paved trail!
Then we joined Nicole and Sam to do another 12k. We hassled Nicole about being the only one not wearing a skirt + compression socks (SHUN!!). I don't usually wear compression socks on long runs (I worry about blisters when I'm not wearing my trusty double layered Wright socks), but my calves have been really tight this week so compression seemed like a good idea.

Sam got attacked by a burr bush and I got collateral damage, so that was exciting. I swear that bush jumped onto the sidewalk. It was nice to run on York Blvd when it isn't winter - I'd never done that before, since I've always run York as part of Around the Bay training. It's rather pretty when you aren't constantly having to watch for ice patches.

View from York across the bay. I look at this and can't quite believe I've actually run around that bay!

Nicole wondered at one point why I'm already running 20k+ runs at this point in the training, and I didn't get a chance to answer her on the run. Basically I always, always have issues (largely mental) at the 17k or so point of the half marathon, and I'm hoping by doing lots of half distance long runs I'll have the confidence to run through the 17k suck at Scotia. It's really more of a psychological benefit thing for me right now. Do I need to be doing these sort of LSD distances at this point? Probably not. But I feel better doing them. Plus there's just something very satisfying about a 20k+ run.

Sunday: Easy 8k just to shake things out. Ran it a little fast for an easy run, but it felt good.

When you see a runner standing staring at their watch for no apparent reason, they are probably searching for satellites.

Weekly summary: 58.8km run in 5:40:18. Got in both TRX workouts. This is where I confess I've had a yoga workout in my schedule every week for the last 5 weeks and haven't managed to do a single one. Oops. No wonder my calves and hips are feeling stiff!

Looking forward to getting out on my bike this week - since it's a cutback week I'll replace a run with a bike and keep things easy. I do have a 5k race on Saturday; still considering my goals for that one. I'll put up a post later this week once I figure that out.