Monday, March 31, 2014

Mississauga marathon training: week 10

Why did no one tell me Chai tea was so awesome? I have a new obsession now.

Monday: Home with sick kid. Rest day spent caring for sick child and washing my hands to attempt to avoid catching whatever hideous illness she might be carrying. The little germ vector is lucky she's so adorable.

Tuesday: Up stupidly early to get in 8k before my husband had to leave on a work trip. I am so out of the habit of early morning runs; this was really tough and I was so tired the rest of the day. Also, still f'in cold out. At least the sidewalks are now clear of ice/snow so I can start running in different places! So bored of my winter running routes.

Wednesday: Got to run at lunch, but it was INSANELY COLD AND WINDY again. I just cannot even with this weather. 9k with the wind in my face the entire time (not sure how that works).

Quick visit to the Around the Bay route to see if I could spot a road closure sign. I love seeing the road closure signs before a race. That's not weird, right?
Thursday: Squeezed in 5k after dropping the kids at school and before I had to go to a work conference. Last run before the race!

Friday: Rest day - and race expo! Usual pre-race burrito for lunch.

Trying on the ATB hat.

Saturday: Rest. It is so weird to sleep in on a Saturday.

Sunday: Around the Bay! Race report to come. It was a mixed bag in terms of outcome, some good, some bad.

Weekly summary: 52.5 km run. With no injuries, so I'm considering that a win, that the hip thing seems to have resolved. Especially since I'm now headed into the peak weeks before Mississauga. Whole lotta kms coming up next.

Runkeeper also informs me I ran the most km in a month ever, 245.4. Not bad.

So the pre-races are done. Nothing left now but the marathon...

Friday, March 28, 2014

Around the Bay: Pre race & goals!

Almost Around the Bay day!!! I seriously love this race. A little cranky that the C has been taken off Copps Colliseum, though. What am I going to aim for as we run down York??


This afternoon I went to the race expo to pick up my bib and browse the vendors. One of the many things I like about this race is the expo, which usually has a nice assortment of stuff for sale. Unfortunately, I ended up in a super sketchy parking lot where the machine to buy time was really confusing, and it wasn't until I'd paid for the parking that I realized I hadn't bought enough time to really enjoy the expo. And I won't be entirely surprised if my identity gets stolen soon (that parking machine was seriously questionable). I browsed a bit at the expo but didn't buy anything.

Kit pickup! Very efficiently set up as always. 

Finish line! Finishing inside Copps is a unique part of this race and one of the things that sets it apart. OK it's not called Copps anymore; I still call the Rogers Centre Skydome so clearly it will take a while for the new name to take (especially since I can't remember the new name).

It's the 120th anniversary of the race this year, and as a bonus the organizers included anniversary hats in the kits! I'm hoping it will be a good hat, I could use a new one.

Women's shirt is purple (yay, my favourite colour!), men's is grey.

There's a change to the race shirts this year. Traditionally the shirts say 'older than Boston' on the back, and the race is known for their shirts. So it's a bit weird that they don't say that this year. But on the other hand I like that they made them special for the anniversary race. I'm sure 'older than Boston' will be back on the back next year.

Back of the 2012, 2013, and this year's shirts.

This year ATB is a stepping stone to the Mississauga Marathon, so I've gone back and forth a few times on how to approach it. Training run? Race? Something in between? After a successful Chilly half, however, I think I want to go for it and really see what I can do over 30k. I definitely want a new PB (given that last year's 3:05 included 5 minutes standing around waiting for a train to cross the course, that shouldn't be a problem). 2:45 would be tremendous, but realistically I'll think I'll be between 2:45 and 2:50, since hills really aren't my strong suit and they mostly come later in this race. We'll see what happens. I'll start the race with Patty and my watch hidden, letting her set the pace per usual (I am such a mooch). I'll reevaluate how I'm feeling every 5k or so and adjust the pace as necessary. I also want to stay on top of my nutrition with this one - I tend to skip gels later in long races and I really need to get that right now, because screwing up the nutrition at Mississauga would be bad.

The outfit

The race outfit is really important. There's practical concerns like comfortable, weather appropriate, and enough pockets to carry everything I need for a 30k race: ID, gels, gum, emergency chapstick (in case of bodyglide failure), etc. And the incredibly important question: does it look good? I'm pretty sure wearing cute coordinated running clothes makes me run faster. Really.

Picking my outfit this year has been a pain. You just never know with late March weather, and I have several new skirts and keep changing my mind about which one I want to wear. I think I have it narrowed down to something in this pile, but the damn forecast has changed again to colder temperatures. Gah!

Too many options!

So, other than final outfit decision, that's it. Time for another run Around the Bay - I can't wait!!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 9

So this week involved hip pain. Yay.

Before I get to the recap, I added an About Me page over on the sidebar there. Check it out! At some point I'll add a race results page, too, because why not.

Monday: TRX. Lots of ab work.

Tuesday: Easy 9k at lunch. The Osler hill remains a pain in the ass calves, but I guess it's a sign of progress that it doesn't seem as big anymore.

The run felt great - sun shining, not unbearably cold, etc. Afterwards, though, my left hip was kinda sore. Hmmmmmmm. Felt fine by the evening.

Wednesday: Hip wasn't hurting, so I set out to run 5 x 1k intervals. By the end of the third interval, though, I could tell something was wrong, and my times on the intervals were a bit slower than they should have been (5:00/km instead of the 4:50 I was aiming for and should have been able to hit relatively easily). So I packed it in at 7k done and retreated to my office with an ice pack. Did a yoga video in the evening to see if that would help. Maybe? A bit? Hard to say?

Thursday: Woke up to sharp pains in my hip while walking, although that loosened up fairly quickly and went away. But my hip flexor was also really stiff and just the whole thing felt Wrong. So, unscheduled rest day.

Friday: Woke up to mild pain, and a lot of stiffness. Off to physiotherapy, where the therapist worked her physio voodoo to determine the problem wasn't even in my hip at all, but my low back. I would not have guessed that, although given my off and on sciatica problem, it makes sense. Thanks for that, kids - I first got sciatica while pregnant and it's come and gone ever since. After a half hour of stretching and prodding and locating painful release points, she got me back into alignment and feeling great; I felt like I could have thrown on running shoes and gone for a run right there. But I didn't, because that would have been dumb. A rest day now to hopefully avoid too many more of them later! She also gave me a series of stretches to do to help keep things orderly back there. Best part is they are lying down stretches. Lying down is great.

Saturday: Usually I do my long run Saturday, but I didn't want to jump straight back to a long run without a shorter test run first. The day started well - hip and back felt great, and I got an email from lululemon with the shipping information for the skirt I bought as my half marathon PB reward. And another email from them with a $25 apology gift card (they had a whole shipping delay disaster this week). Which was a nice surprise! The shipping delay didn't bug me much because it's not exactly skirt weather here yet anyway, but I'll happily spend that $25!

My new skirt - black camo pacesetter. My legs have more stretch marks than the model. Might wear it for Around the Bay, haven't decided yet.
Ran 8k and it felt pretty good. The hip was definitely stiff but felt fine to run.

Sunday: Plan called for a 16k run. This is why I like to get up early and run by the lake:

I never get tired of this.
Hip still stiff, but manageable and better than the day before, so no trouble running the 16k. By the end of the day it felt perfectly fine, in fact. I may make another physiotherapy appointment, depending on how Tuesday's run goes, but as of now, it feels back to normal.

Weekly summary: 41k run, 1 TRX class, and back to physiotherapy. Not exactly what I wanted, but it'll do.

Next up is Around the Bay. The tentative plan is to run with Patty and possibly my brother, aiming for a 2:45 finish. However, that assumes I'm fully healthy. If there are any further issues with my hip/back I will treat ATB as a training run. But I won't be making any decisions on that until later this week.

And there's also the incredibly important decision of what to wear for the race! I have about 4 potential outfits in mind, but a lot depends on the weather.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 8

This week featured Mother Nature having a massive hissy fit and my longest run ever. Let's do this thing.

Thanks for letting me know, Runkeeper!

Monday: TRX class. Leg focus. Ouch.

Tuesday: SPRING! Easy 8k at lunch with Jennifer, which was really fun! I enjoyed showing her some of the great lunch run spots near work, and hopefully she will join me again soon. Her blog name makes me think we should be talking about sewing, which I used to do a lot once upon a time and hope to get back to soon, if I ever get around to setting up a sewing space in our house. There's just not enough time in the day.

Sun shining, snow melting, glorious day!
Wednesday: Snowmageddon Part XXIV or whatever we are up to now. How the hell did it go from totally spring on Tuesday to ridiculous snowstorm on Wednesday? I attempted a lunch run fairly early on, when the snow hadn't accumulated too much, and was kind of enjoying myself, but then 2k in got a call that the kid's March break camp would be closing early so I had to cut it short to go pick them up. Managed 4k, so it wasn't a totally lost cause. And the hour I had to spend shoveling our driveway was also a decent workout.

Yeah, so that sucked.
Thursday:  Really wasn't sure if this one was going to happen at all, what with all the snow everywhere, but it turned out that the multi use trails were in good shape, so I managed an easy 10k on my lunch hour. 12 would have been better, but between March break for the kids and mother nature's snowy hissy fit, this week was all about just fitting in whatever I can.

Friday: Rest day! Last day of March break for the kids. Thank god we're back to the school routine next week. Also a super warm day which melted a lot of the snow from Wednesday. Which is good, because doing Saturday's long run over snow would have sucked.

Saturday: Met up with Patty for 32k. My longest run ever and first 20 miler. It was pretty awesome, even running out and back on Northshore and hitting all those hills in both directions. Felt good and finished feeling like I could have run more (although admittedly, when we stopped at a stoplight at 31k my legs were not real happy about having to start back up for the last km).

20 miles and still smiling!
We did run through squirrel alley again. This time it was just one really large mangy grey squirrel eyeing us up:

Clearly dangerous.
Sunday: 10k very easy. Amy joined me and although it was cold again, it was a pretty good run. I was extra happy when she agreed to run with me because if I'd been alone I'd have spent the entire 10k humming that damn song from Frozen. Every time I succeed in getting it out of my head one of my kids wanders by singing it and it's stuck right back in there again.

Looks cold, right? Dare I say....FROZEN?
Sunday afternoon I made a lemon cranberry poppyseed cake for tea time, and one bite of that stuff set off the Runger big time (running + hunger = runger). My stomach suddenly realized I'd run 42km over two days and decided that all those calories must be made up immediately.

Let's just say there's no cake left.

Weekly summary: 64.9 km (what is with me and the .9s lately??), 1 TRX class. About 6k short of where I wanted to be this week, but it is what it is. Sometimes life happens.

This week will start the taper for Around the Bay. Is it weird that I'm looking forward to having the time and energy on Saturday morning to do some spring cleaning, since I don't have to run for 3 hours?

Monday, March 10, 2014

Around the Bay course guide 2014: The first 10k

Update March 17th: Canadian Running posted a nice video of the entire course (although note they went the wrong way at the first Burlington St. overpass - I'm almost positive the race will be going over the overpass, not underneath/beside it). Check it out here: The video kind of flattens out the hills - some of them are bigger than it makes them look!

Original post:

Around the Bay is one of my favourite races. Lots of history, a challenging 30k distance, nice shirts, and best of all, ATB means SPRING. Last year's race, however, had a bit of a snag for some of us:

For 2014 the route has been changed to avoid the rail crossing, and eliminate the chances of another train delay. I'm not going to write a whole ATB guide here because Kenny's already written the definitive guides to ATB (go read them, especially Elevation and hills and ATB frequently asked questions), but the first 10k are now different, and after driving the new section of the course today I think it warrants a detailed post. And since Kenny doesn't live near Hamilton and I do, you get my version!

The new section of the route. It rejoins the old route at the 10k mark.

The race still starts on York, but now turns onto James Street. Initially James is lined with stores and is fairly narrow, and I suspect there may be parked cars to avoid. This is likely to be crowded as people settle into their paces. This felt slightly downhill while driving, but I'm not making any promises on that. At around the 1k mark it turns into a more residential neighbourhood. A couple of interesting landmarks along here, like a very imposing looking CN Rail building. Those of us who were delayed by the train last year can shake our fists at it as we pass.

Bit of the commercial strip from Google Maps. The trees won't look like that on race day...
At the end of James you catch a glimpse of the bay, which is kind of nice - on the old route you didn't really see the bay until much later in the race. Then the route goes through some side streets, past a shipyard and some sort of Army Reserve compound. Then up to Burlington St.

Approaching the turn off James.
At 3k we turn onto Burlington St. Burlington St. is...not the most scenic place in the world. There are some interesting industrial looking monstrosities, but there's also a lot of very boring, nothing to see here industrial wasteland.

For anyone planning to test run the course, I've highlighted what I think is the one bathroom along this stretch.
Next up are the Burlington St overpasses. The first one is roughly at the 5k mark. On race day the road will be closed to traffic and the race will go on the overpass pictured here, where it says 'through traffic':

from Google maps

If you are planning to test run the course, you cannot run on the overpass. It has no shoulder, and would be sort of like trying to go for a run on the Gardiner Expressway. You can run on the lower ground level, however, there is a sidewalk there. You won't be able to test out the elevation change, but you can at least look at it! This first overpass goes up and then almost immediately back down again.

Just before Kenilworth St. is the second overpass. This one goes up and then the road stays elevated for quite a while - at least 2 km if I'm remembering right, which means if it's a windy day it could be pretty unpleasant up there. Again, you cannot run on the overpass. There's no shoulder or sidewalk up there. The sidewalk at ground level on the left of the below picture does continue.

Google maps: approaching the second overpass - the road stays elevated for a while at this point.
If you are planning to test run the course, this is where you run into a big problem. The intersection between the lower level of Burlington Street (which has the sidewalk) and Kenilworth is currently closed for construction, and may be impassable at this point. It's definitely closed to cars, and from what I could tell looked pretty inhospitable for pedestrians. I've prepared a map of the intersection (grey star) with a possible alternate route highlighted in yellow, but I did NOT test drive this, so I have no idea if it will work. It's also possible you can get around the construction site by crossing to the other side of the lower level of Burlington St (it's only closed in one direction), but I did not explore this area so I'm not sure.

Back to the race route. Eventually the road dips back down again, and then I think there's a third climb. But looking at Google Streetview I can't figure out exactly where that was. And now I'm not entirely certain about the existence of that 3rd hill (I couldn't exactly take notes while driving on a busy road!). So there's possibly a third hill along here.

The section immediately after Parkdale is also not possible to test run. Burlington St essentially turns into a highway at this point, there is no sidewalk, and running there would be like trying to run on the side of a 400 series road, only without a shoulder. I suspect attempting it would also be a good way to draw attention from local law enforcement. I've mapped out a way around that section here, where you essentially detour over to Woodward and pick up the old Around the Bay route:

After you exit Burlington St, it's around the off ramp and back onto the route we know and love.

From Google maps, off ramp from Burlington St and onto Woodward.
TL;DR summary:

1. The new section of the ATB course features 3 climbs, none of which are big hills but they will require effort (bearing in mind that's from the perspective of driving over them - if they turn out to suck rocks, rest assured I'll be cursing up a storm too).

2. Test running the course will be a pain in the ass because parts of it aren't pedestrian accessible. If you do test run it, make sure someone in your group has a smartphone so you can look up alternate routes or figure out where the hell you are if you get lost.

3. Cross your fingers race day isn't windy.

Anyone out there familiar with Burlington St. and want to confirm/correct anything? Does that third hill exist or am I imagining things?

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: Week 7

Could it finally be almost maybe sort of a little bit spring? The week started out freezing and horrible, as has been usual, but by Friday it was above freezing and I was ready to break out the bikini and the frozen drinks. Then it all sort of fell apart again on Sunday, but hey, at least there was a taste of spring.

Monday: Rest. After leaving it all out on the course at the Chilly half, my legs were sore.

This is a totally normal thing to do on your lunch break at work.

Tuesday: Still sore. Very easy 6k at lunch. Weather = cold. What else is new. Why has it been January for like 12 weeks? Mother Nature, can we get another month happening over here?

On the plus side, PANCAKES! Chocolate swirl, no less.

Wednesday: Worked at home in the morning and built some time in for a run - easy 11k on a super boring route near my house. The DOMS from the race was gone, so I also started back up with my physio exercises. Unfortunately that left calf remained a problem - back to being stiff, although it felt fine after warming up for a few minutes, and wasn't an issue at all during the run.

The afternoon was spent getting a root canal. In a tooth that had already been root canal-ed about 6 years ago - did you know they could fail and have to be re-done? GOOD TIMES. My life right now consists of 1) kids 2) work 3) running 4) dentist appointments. At least I enjoy 3 out of those 4 things? Although all things considered, the actual procedure was fine (I've had cleanings I found worse). It's the sore tooth for a few days after that is annoying.

Thursday: Unscheduled rest day due to a combination of work events and my husband's travel schedule. Probably a good thing to give that calf a break anyway. In downer news, my husband took one of my Simple Hydration bottles on his trip with him and managed to lose it going through airport security. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! Now we have to share the one we have left? That's not going to work at all.

Friday: Physio in the morning. Massage, ultrasound, and hydrotherapy (fancy). Leg felt great, although it felt great before I even went to the appointment, possibly due to the pain medication I was taking for the aftereffects of the root canal.

11k at lunch, where the temperature was above freezing! Best day ever!

Look at me, all wearing a vest and not a jacket. WARMTH!
Although the run overall was fine, I did feel a bit sluggish. And my legs were pretty tired in the evening. I always forget how a hard race effort really does linger with you for a while, even once the DOMS is gone.

Saturday: 30k long slow run. Emphasis on the slow part. Met Patty and Sam and the run was, somewhat surprisingly, great. As great as 30k can feel, anyway. My problem calf felt fine, even on the uphill sections, so that was a good thing. My longest training run ever - I've run 30k at Around the Bay before, but never reached 30k in training before.

At one point we stopped for a break/nutrition and got surrounded by squirrels. It was very weird - they almost looked like dogs begging for food. It sort of felt like a horror movie, where the ominous music starts playing in the background and the audience is yelling "RUN AWAY BEFORE THEY BITE YOUR FACES OFF" while the clueless runners are all 'oh look at the cute little* squirrels!'. Fortunately we escaped before any face-ripping could occur.

*they weren't little. Clearly they beg for food a lot because those were some fatass squirrels, yo.

Sunday: 8k recovery run. Man I hate the spring forward time change, this day sort of disappeared on me. And it takes a week for the kids to sort out the new schedule. Run was alright, even though it was all stupid cold again. At least the sun was shining!

Ice at the edge of the lake. Pretty cool!

Weekly Summary: 65.9 km. Damn it, I couldn't have added on another 100m somewhere? D'oh.

Next week, peak miles before the Around the Bay taper. Will be interesting to attempt to fit everything in around work and the kid's March break, but at least the weather forecast is promising.

I'm pretending Thursday doesn't exist.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Chilly half marathon 2014 race report

The Burlington Chilly half marathon, the unofficial start of spring race reason in our little corner of Ontario. I have a soft spot for this race - it was my first half marathon ever. Last year I ran it as a training run because I was coming off a sprained foot and hadn't had time to build any speed yet. This year, I mostly decided to run it because a) tradition and b) my husband selected it as his first half marathon. I like the course (familiar!) and the double out and back that lets you see the leaders and your friends twice.

Picked up kits for various people (including Janice, who was my training partner for my first Chilly half), and bought irregular socks from the Running Room expo booth. I'm not entirely sure what makes them irregular, but for $3 I was willing to take a chance. This race comes with a jacket, which is unusual and in theory better than a t-shirt. I really like how this jacket looks, but last year's jacket is an unbreathable nightmare to actually try and wear while running, and this one seems to be the same fabric/design, so I'm not sure how useful it will be.
Usual pile 'o paper stuff in the kit.

Awkward bathroom mirror selfie.
Race morning had potential disaster written all over it. I'd decided earlier in the week to take Nicole up on her offer of making an attempt at 1:50, with her as my personal pacer, which would be a PB  by over a minute for me (and, since my old PB was set on a net downhill course and the Chilly is relatively flat, hitting 1:50 would be a significant challenge). Going for a new PB with virtually no recent speed training and a possible calf injury? On paper, not necessarily a smart choice. Then the weather decided to go into ultra-cold polar vortex mode, with the added bonus of fresh snow. As I spent 10 minutes scraping the ice off my car on race morning, I was figuring this was going to be an Epic Fail.

Not so much what you want to see on a race morning.
Pre race we met up with various Daily Mile friends (my husband: who are all these people?), and attempted to keep warm before the race start. Bringing some instant hand warmers turned out to be a brilliant move, so that I only had to deal with frozen toes, and not frozen hands and toes at the start line. We huddled up to keep warm and sang along to the rather odd choice of start music.

The plan was to run with Nicole, Sam, and the 1:50 pacer. But everyone was hemming and hawing about the road conditions (which didn't look great at the start) and our various ongoing injury issues (strained calf muscle for me, plantar fasciitis for them). Pretty much we agreed to play it by ear and if anyone had to drop back based on injury or road conditions, then they would do so.

Looking kind of grim at the start line.
First 5k: 25:49


This was the usual sorting out positioning in the crowd deal. Not too bad, though, people seeded themselves well in the informal corrals. The roads turned out to be in much better shape than I'd originally feared, although my feet did get wet. It took until about 3k for my toes to thaw out, but my calf was fine, which was the main worry. We settled in with the 1:50 pacer and then eventually passed him. The first 5k felt good. I had my watch under my jacket sleeve so I couldn't actually see the pace, which I really like in races. It's a lot easier to zone out and focus on effort when I'm not glancing at my watch every 20 seconds.

10k: 51:52


Just rolling along. Even started to overheat a bit, which given the ultra cold temperature was a surprise! Fortunately that didn't last long as the occasional cold breeze would come along to chill me down again. At some point here Sam disappeared behind me, and Nicole disappeared ahead of me. The 1:50 pacer caught up and I chilled with his group, letting him set the pace and just keeping on. I was getting the first inkling that I wouldn't be able to hold the pace, but decided to just keep at it until 10k and then see how I felt.

15k: 1:17:57


By 12k the pacer was starting to pull ahead of me - and another 1:50 pacer appeared from behind me? What? OK. I hung with him for a bit but I could tell I was going to need to slow the pace a touch if I wanted to finish the race. 13k was the turnaround. I was still in contact with the 1:50 pace groups, but the gap was ever so slowly starting to widen. I could see Nicole up ahead with the first pace group and waved at her as she passed going the other direction, and she yelled that she would wait for me. Part of me wanted to tell her no, go ahead, run your own race, but mostly I was grateful for the company, because I was starting to get into the dark mental place. You can see by the paces how I started slowing down.

20k: 1:44:34


Ah, the long dark miles. 15-20k is the worst part of every half marathon for me. Technically it's not that far but it's STILL SO FAR. The legs are hurting and the brain is wondering why the hell you do this, anyway. At one point I started to look under my sleeve at my watch and Nicole told me to leave it, let her handle it. OK, boss! I appreciate my pacer telling me what to do in races. Not so much the spectator who yelled at us to go catch the 1:50 pacers. Shut up, dude. I focused on my music and tried to zone out and not think about how much my legs hurt and how nice it would be to stop and walk. Nicole yelled many encouraging things at me, only about 50% of which I heard because of my music, but I appreciated the sentiment. Even if I kind of wanted to trip her so I'd have an excuse to stop. I felt through most of this section like I was running through molasses, so the fact only two of those km were over 5:20 is nice to see. Holding those paces was rough. I made many decisions in my mind about never racing again and never running again, as is usual for the late stages of a race.

Me: fucking hell, I have to smile for the damn cameras too? Racing is just the worst.
Last 1.1k: 1:51:19

5:16; pace for last bit 4:49.

The 20km sign was a very welcome sight. I was really, really, REALLY focused on the # of minutes left to run. Less than 6 minutes? I can do that. Even if it is so painful. Nicole was yelling encouragement (much of it laced with profanities, which seemed to amuse the spectators to no end), and I only had eyes for the finish line. Good lord that last little bit running up Brant to the finish takes forever. The pain! I crossed the finish and then had to dig around inside my sleeve to stop my watch.

Crossing the finish with my super pacer - she even made sure to drop back so I was ahead of her. Nicole rocks.

Nicole said we were around 1:51:22, and I could not remember my exact Road 2 Hope time! Frankly, given that Chilly is a flat course I was prepared to consider the Chilly time my real PB even if it was a few seconds longer, since R2H was downhill assisted, but it wasn't until I got home that I found out that 1:51:24 up there on my watch was exactly the same as my R2H time. Eventually the race results were posted and I confirmed my chip time was lower, for a new PB of 5 whole seconds - but given the different courses, it feels like a significant PB. A fairer comparison is probably my Scotiabank time from October, which was 1:53:57. Making great progress.

With Nicole and Peter, who must have waited around for about 15 minutes for us to finish and been mostly frozen by this point. Peter is good people. I'm in post-race 'I LOVE RUNNING!!!' mode.
Chip time: 1:51:19
Gun time: 1:52:13.4
Overall place: 683/2172
Category place: 32/179

I'm extremely happy with this result. No, it wasn't 1:50, but I knew going in that 1:50 was a long shot. I'm pretty comfortable saying I left it all out on the course in this race. It wasn't a negative split, but that time feels like the best one I had in me on that day, and I wouldn't change anything about the race. Not bad considering my complete lack of speed training! Some well targeted tempo work and that sub 1:50 should be mine.

A great day and a very pleasing result. And it wouldn't have happened without huge support from Nicole. I'm quite liking this personal pacer deal, I really do run so much better with another person worrying about the pace. Maybe I'm just lazy. I mean, as lazy as someone who runs half marathons can be! But seriously, Nicole was awesome and played a huge role in not letting me fade out completely in the last 5k.

Cute medal!
After the race my husband (who did successfully finish his first half, although he was fighting an injury the whole way) and I decided not to hang around for the chili and beer, what with having to go get our children (such a drag). But we did stop for donuts!

You know what's awesome after a race? Timbits.
So, Chilly half again next year? Most likely. I like having it as motivation to keep running through the misery of January/February (especially this year, which has been horrible), it's close to home so no getting up at some stupidly early hour to get to the race start, and I like the course. I know there were some logistical issues this year - from the race Facebook page it appears the timing company messed up quite a few people's results. And they used my least favourite photography company; one that's incredibly overpriced even for race photos, which is saying something. But it's a tradition at this point, so it would be hard not to run it - plus it's a great course for setting a new personal best early in the season!

Next race, Around the Bay!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Mississauga Marathon training: week 6, Chilly half week!

If this isn't the last week of ultra-cold temperatures, I may have to throw an epic tantrum.

Monday: TRX class in the evening. It turns out when you don't go to TRX for a few weeks, it gets REALLY REALLY HARD. That's so unfair.

Tuesday: Easy run at lunch. Core was so sore from TRX the night before. Stupid planks and mountain climbers. As soon as I started running my left achilles/calf felt really tight, so I took things slow and cut it a bit short (6.5k instead of 8k). Also it was stupid cold again, and I am just so over that.

Wednesday: Still super cold! Screw you, weather! 8k easy at lunch. Achilles the same. Just stiff enough to make me worried about it. A few minutes doing calf stretches and then using the foam roller I keep in my office seemed to sort it out after the run and make it feel pretty close to normal.

Also, made the decision to go for 1:50 at the Chilly half, because that's a smart thing to do when you aren't very confident, have done a grand total of one tempo run, and your leg is acting weird. Nicole pretty much decided for me, and since I tend to run well when other people tell me what to do, why the hell not. My theory was, even if I flamed out spectacularly, my time would still be reasonably decent.

Thursday: Skipped running in favour of a visit to the physiotherapist. Hey, look at me being all sensible and shit. After a tentative diagnosis of calf muscle strain, massage, ultrasound, and application of KT tape, the problem area felt fantastic. Physio gave me permission to run the Chilly half if I took Friday and Saturday as rest days first, and promised to come back after the race so she can see how things are healing. Also she wants me to do some rehab exercises to work on muscle imbalances in my hips.

Sexxxy KT tape job. Can't believe they didn't offer me a choice of colours! Black, so boring.
Did my first round of PT mandated therapy exercises in the evening. Clamshells are really not the most attractive exercise.

Friday: Still really cold out. There's a joke about Frozen* to be made here but I'm far too cold to think of it. Just the walk from my car to the office I thought I was going to get frostbite on my face. This winter sucks.

*I can't get that song out of my head. You know the one. Let it go, let it go...

Fitness wise, rest, as ordered. Let's call it a taper, that's mentally much more manageable than 'resting due to injury'. I picked up a new pair of my usual shoe, since I suspect part of the calf problem was wearing old shoes for too many runs.
And of course the traditional Friday pre-race burrito the size of my head. Yum.
Saturday: Rest Taper, as ordered. Did my PT exercises. Sam and I both agree that one of the best things about a race weekend is spending Saturday morning in your pajamas like the regular people do, instead of getting up at the crack 'o early and running 20+ km in the dark and cold. The normals might be on to something with this.

The Hello Kitty bathrobe is optional. Shut up, I'm totally cool.
Also, March 1st! February stats ended up being 210.5 km run, for my first 200+ month since September. Really glad I made it over 200k before I took the days off for my calf issue.

Sunday: Chilly half! Race report to come. Spoiler: I need to update my PB list in the sidebar...

Weekly total: 36.1 km run, 1 physical therapy visit.

Originally this was going to be a cut week, but it ended up being a bigger cutback than I'd planned (I missed about 12k of planned running). Probably for the best - obviously I'd much rather take a few days now to heal up a potential trouble spot, then possibly have bigger issues during the peak training weeks. I'll be doing weekly/biweekly visits to my PT for the next little while to keep everything running smoothly. The good news is my calf felt fine during the Chilly half, so hopefully that problem is taken care of.

Now, hopefully, back to increasing mileage, and on to the next race, Around the Bay.