I ran a marathon this past weekend that I didn’t train for. Ok, YES, I know, I’ve been running a crap-ton all summer. So you’re probably wondering, how could this be defined as NOT training. Yes, I’ve been training, I trained all summer for the Grizzly 50k, but I did not train for this marathon. Same thing/close enough/ etc? Right? Perhaps, and I wondered going in if the two might be close enough. After all, I’ve been working my tail off to get in pretty good shape this summer, and I think I AM in pretty good shape, in many ways, the best shape of my life. So I thought an experiment was in order, I ran my PB (Personal-Best) marathon last fall, after training really hard for that marathon, and doing all the typical runs and volume building that a typical marathon training plan has in it. I ended up having the flu on race day, I woke up with a fever, popped some drugs and ran the race anyway. I felt pretty horrible during the race, but I survived, and ended with a pretty damn good time, one that I would have been happy with on a healthy day. So this fall after the Grizzly 50k, I wondered to myself, could I run a marathon as fast, could I run faster? I feel stronger, I know I’m stronger, but how will that translate in a race? So what better to do than to put myself to the test, right? Right… (Note: it was a very painful test, next time I’m finding someone else to actually RUN the test 😉 )
This one is a long time in coming, I’ve been a total slacker blogger lately, and as usual, my “excuse” is running, and family, so no apologies here! Our family vacation in February was a trip to Phoenix for 10 days. To say that I was excited to have a week and a half of warm desert running and family time is a bit of an understatement! Continue reading “Elephant Mountain Race Report (and Phoenix Vacay)”
We all have some sort of superpower don’t we? Something that we are really good at. My daughter Maiya has an amazing imagination, not just a typical 4 year old imagination, but a super fantastic, amazing imagination. One of my friend’s sons’ superpower is empathy, he feels really deeply for others. Well mine is stubbornness. Is this a good quality? Well, it worked out in my favor this past weekend… Continue reading “Stubborness is my Superpower (my Okanagan Marathon Race Report)”
Well I’m officially ready to admit it… I’m marathon training! My hubby and I are training for the Seattle Marathon on December 1st. I last tried training for a marathon in 2011 when my first daughter was a year old. When I got my mileage up into the 60’s (km’s) or so my achilles started to scream at me (again – an injury from my first and only marathon completed in Vancouver in 2005). I DNF’ed the 2011 marathon. This time I was a bit worried/cautious about going back into marathon training. I think (HOPE), I’m being smarter this time around…. and since I have had a couple mid 60 km/week weeks over the last couple months, I’m hoping that I’ve kicked this injury and can make it to the start line healthy and ready this time!
Last week went pretty well for me. I took things pretty easy after SeaWheeze, as my calves were really tight going into and coming out of it. I have spent a lot of time rolling them, and in compression socks/sleeves. I’m pretty happy to say that my calves are feeling great! Lori, Danielle and I ran 23 km’s on Saturday morning, my calves and ankles felt great! We ran a pretty hilly route, and our pace was dead on what I’m hoping to have our long runs at. It was about a 6:15/km pace. This is on the slow end of what McMillian would recommend for my long runs, but I’m trying a bastardized version of MAF (Maximum Aerobic Function) training. In actuality, MAF training is meant to be done with a heart rate monitor, but I’m not going to bother with this as I’d have to find out my actual max, and then wear a HRM on training runs. I also think you’re supposed to keep your HR under a certain number for all your runs during base building. I’m not doing this either. I am hoping that by running my long runs nice and slow, that my body learns to burn fat and not glycogen for fuel during these long runs – after all that is the point of long runs – and the point of MAF training. It also seems like a pretty good excuse to not pressure myself to push my pace at all on long runs! 🙂
This week has me doing a hill run tomorrow (8 repeats!). On Wednesday, Lori and I are going to split our run in two so that we will have time to do a brick in the evening. We’ll do some distance on the treadmills at the gym in the morning, and then in the evening we’re going to bike for hopefully 20 km’s or so, then finish off our run distance (hopefully 12 km’s for the day). Thursday I’m taking a rest day! YAY 🙂 Then Friday will be our long run of 25 km’s. I’ll just have to do one more run at some point during the weekend.
In other news, I signed up for Instagram this past week, so if you’re interested in following me, I’m @terryruns.
My hubby and I took my oldest daughter camping last night for just one night. We had so much fun, as did she. We tried to cram all the best parts of camping into one night, we roasted hotdogs for dinner, made s’mores, had a campfire, played at the playground, rode her bike, went for a hike (walk)… I can’t wait for next summer when both girls will be older, and we can get out for a few nights. I also feel incredibly grateful that I live so close to the mountains, and some fantastic camping!
I have a feeling this is going to be a long post… it’s going to be both a race report, and a ‘fun, girls weekend in Vancouver’ report. Let’s start with the race… actually, no, I’ll start at the beginning of the weekend.
Lori and I flew into Vancouver on Friday afternoon. It was a quick, uneventful flight. We took the SkyTrain from the airport to Downtown Vancouver – which by the way is awesome. I haven’t been to Vancouver in a long time, and the train is fantastic, it’s super fast and easy. The station was about a km away from our hotel, so we just walked down Robson to get to our hotel. After we got checked in, we walked over to the Race expo and package pickup. We had heard that there were some huge lineups earlier in the day, so we were a little worried about how long it would take. It turned out to be super fast, there was no line up at all when we got there. We also quickly checked out the Lulu exclusive SeaWheeze store – there looked to be some nice stuff, but it was pretty picked over, and neither Lori or I were feeling super spendy, so we didn’t shop long.
Friday night, we met a bunch of mom friends that I’ve met online through some running forums. It was super fun and exciting to meet these ladies, some of whom I have ‘known’ since I was pregnant with Maiya. We got a great picture of the group of us.
Lori and I got back to the hotel around 9pm. We both had to pump before bed (we’re both still nursing babies), and get all our clothes and gear for the race laid out. I think we had our lights out shortly after 10pm (11pm Calgary time). It was a strange night. I lied down, and did not feel tired at all. I wasn’t nervous for the race, or thinking about it, I just was wide awake. I did not sleep much at all that night, and every time that I rolled over Lori seemed to be awake also. I drifted on and off between 3am and 5am when our alarm was going to go off, and got out of bed just before 5. The race started at 7 am. We both pumped again… a bit of a pain, but totally worth it for our babies! We got dressed and were out of the hotel around 5:30 ish. We relaxed in Starbucks, drinking some coffee and having a bite to eat before the race. At around 6:30 we wandered down to the start, used the porta potties and seeded ourselves. We had a choice between 1:00-1:45 and 1:45-2:00. We decided to seed at the very back of the 1:00-1:45 group because we didn’t want to be dodging slower runners who hadn’t seeded themselves correctly. It worked out really well as I didn’t really feel like I was having to dodge runners at any point.
Here is Lori and I before the race. It was crazy how many people were decked out in lulu gear – I guess not super surprising since it was put on by lulu, but Lori and I were rocking our InkNBurn instead 🙂
KM’s 1-6 (Splits: 4:52, 4:56, 4:54, 4:55, 4:45, 5:03)
In retrospect, I went out WAY too fast. The first 10-11 km’s had a lot of rolling hills, nothing huge (other than the Burrard Bridge – which I was cursing), but just a lot of rolling. I was running along with the 1:45 pacer quite a bit of the time, but he was going out pretty fast IMO. I felt good to begin with, and just let my legs take me. I think I should have held the pace back a bit during the first half-2/3rds of the race. That WAS my plan, but I also wondered if I was capable of running a 1:44 ish type time, and thought if I ran a bit faster maybe magic would happen and I’d have a PR that day.
KM’s 7-14 (Splits: 5:11 (up the bridge), 5:09, 4:58, 5:04, 5:26 (back up the bridge), 5:03, 5:01, 5:01)
We crossed over the Burrard bridge during the 7th km. The bridge going this way isn’t too bad, it’s a bit of an up, but totally doable. I was starting to tire, but feeling ok during this section. There was lots to see all along the race route, they had people doing fun yoga poses on rocks, balancing. There was also people dressed in drag cheering – which is VERY Vancouver 🙂 . We ran up towards UBC, but not too far, and just a bit uphill, then turned back around and ran back towards Burrard again. The hill back over the bridge suuuucks. I ran the Vancouver marathon in 2005, and the route went up and over the same bridge. We had to run back over it during the last 7-8 km’s of the marathon and I remember it being very difficult. I had always wondered if it was the marathon that made it difficult, or if the bridge really sucked that much. It really kicked my ass during this half as well. Here is the bridge – and yes I did take a picture during the race… what else did I have to do anyway 🙂
KM’s 15-21 (Splits 5:10, 5:13, 5:12, 5:16, 5:19, 5:03, 4:52, 4:17 (last 300m’s)
It’s pretty obvious from my splits that this is where I started to fade. From the course profile, this is where I should have been turning it on, but there was no ‘it’ left. I started to contemplate taking a gel at this point – and also should have done so as soon as the thought entered my mind. I don’t know if I’ve ever used a gel in a half before, but I carry them with me in case I need one. I did take a gel – somewhere after km 15, and in doing so so managed to drop a water bottle and lose my headband :(. I don’t really know if the gel made much of a difference. The km’s seemed long and difficult from here out. I was battling a lot of mental demons here. Lori was running behind me at this point but I wasn’t sure exactly where and I kept expecting her to pass me. I had seen her at the turn around and she was very close behind at that point. It was during the slow km 19 that she passed me. I let her go for a few hundred meters, and just kept plodding away in pain. Then I gave myself a pep talk, said to stop my whining and step it up. I tried to ignore the lactic acid and pain in my legs and turned my toughness back on. I made it into a contest with Lori and pushed hard to catch up, I passed her at one point, and then she passed me, and then we were side by side until the very finish. She pushed hard at the end, I didn’t have quite as much kick as she did, but we crossed the finish line within 2 seconds of each other.
My Garmin time was 1:47:40, about two minutes off my PR time, and about a minute faster than the Calgary Half from the end of May. I’ve been thinking about the race a lot since I finished, and I was feeling down about it right afterwards, but the more I think, the happier I am with it. We are all our worst critics I think, or at least I sure am. I think I could have executed the race WAAAAY better, but all things considered that is a GREAT time. I had surgery just 2 months ago, and have been fighting my way back ever since. I also had a baby just 11 months ago. I know I have another PR in me, and will beat that time, but it won’t be this year. I’m excited to keep training this fall, and hopefully have a great race in Seattle in December.
I haven’t posted my official results from the timing chip because they somehow got messed up. According to their results my time was 1:48:33, which is still a great time I know, but I also know that my garmin was accurate because Lori’s official time was 1:47:38 and I crossed the start and finish lines with her. I emailed the race organizers (because I’m anal like that), and it doesn’t sound like they are going to change the results – though they are contacting Sports Stats, the company that did the timing, to see if they can figure out where the mistake was. I’m ok with it, and will just use my garmin results. I would have been much more annoyed if I had PR’ed the race.
The race itself was amazing. The scenery was beautiful – I love the seawall in Vancouver, it’s beautiful. There was a ton of crowd support, lots of fun things going on around the course. I didn’t use the water stations, and just carried my own gatorade – I wasn’t sure how crowded things would be with a race this large (10,000+). The swag at the end was amazing, there were cool moist towels for us to wipe our faces with, a water bottle handed to us right away (this should be a given but doesn’t seem to be…), a set of aromatherapy pain relief bottles, and a pair of skull candy ear buds! The food was also amazing, it was like a brunch with muffins, mini quiche, and a waffle with blueberry compote!
As promised, this post is getting very long! I’ve only made it to approx 9am on Saturday, and we spent the whole weekend there 🙂 I’ll just do a quick wrap up of the rest of the weekend though. I had a blast on Saturday, we spent most of it eating and drinking. Lunch was sushi, then we went to the beach and dipped our legs in. I was wishing that the water was colder so I could count it as post-race icing, but it was still nice to stand in the ocean! We had a drink and some appies next to the beach, it was glorious to sit in the sun and just relax. That evening we had a pre dinner snack of Oysters and another drink, YUM! Then we went for dinner at a great restaurant called Joe Fortes. It was a bit unassuming, I had even eaten there before, but didn’t realize how good it was. There were no tables when we first arrived, so we wandered up to the rooftop patio/bar to see if there was room for a drink, as Lori walked up she looked over and saw Tim Burton and Helana Bonham Carter eating!! THAT was pretty cool 🙂 We plotted ways to get pics of them, but also didn’t want to be annoying pestering jerks and interrupt their dinner, so no pics. They were sitting about 5 ft to the left of us in the pic below – with a wall between us.
The next morning Lori and I were complete loser moms and couldn’t sleep past 6am (7 Calgary time), so we got out of bed, threw on our running clothes and headed out for a recovery run. Our legs were pretty tired and sore, so we walked down to the sea wall, and then ran just 4k. Afterwards we sat and enjoyed a Starbucks.
Overall, it was an amazing weekend. I had a lot of fun, and it was a great break from the craziness of home. My hubby did a great job with the girls, and they both were good for him this weekend. He is away for business this coming weekend, so I get the returned favor of single parenting this coming weekend 🙂
I’m not sure what I want to say here, or even if I’m ready to say anything. I guess I can’t post goals from the start line though, and that may be where I actually decide what they are.
I’ve had some really good weeks of training the last month or so. I’ve pasted in my weekly totals for the last 26 weeks. I’ve run 2 halves already this year, The Police Half was back in April (Week 17) and the Calgary Half was in June (Week 21). I’ve linked in my race reports for each.
After the Calgary Half, I had surgery to remove an Ovarian Cyst. That was back in Week 22, and explains the big fat 0 in mileage. I’ve ramped up really quickly since then, peaking at 65 km’s (those are all metric distances – km’s). The last week or two I have had some tightness and have been skirting with injury in my calves. I’m sure I should have taken a cutback week in there somewhere, but I had a schedule to keep darn it!
I did tempo last week at an average pace of 4:37 / km. If calculating backwards from this pace to a HM goal works, it would indicate a sub 1:45 (in other words a PR) half! I’m trying to decide if I feel ‘fitter’ than I did when I ran my PR half. Honestly I have no idea, and I’m probably just going to decide once I’m out and running. I’m pretty good at feeling out my paces, and have a good amount of confidence that I can do that again.
All this said, I still have a few goals that I’m going to write out:
Non time related: Have fun! I’ve been planning this race for a long time. I’m excited to get to meet a number of running mom friends that I know via Facebook, and the old Runnersworld forums. I’ve also never run in a race this large, I think the entries were capped at 14,000!!! That’s crazy. I also don’t know if this huge race size will slow me down, or if it will be well organized and seeded.
Base: Beat my Calgary half time, and get a sub 1:48. This should be fairly easily doable. I am in better shape than I was for the Calgary half, plus I was sick at the Calgary half. So unless I crash and burn, I think this is an easy goal.
Reach: PR. I really would like to go sub 1:45. This seems crazy fast to me, but I know I’m capable of it, and I’ve never trained as hard for a race as I have the last month.
My race strategy will be similar to how I raced the Police and Calgary halves. I am planning on running the first 15 km’s at a fast but not too uncomfortable pace (I’m hoping at a 5:00 / km pace or so), and then for the last 5-6 km’s turn on the speed, if there is any speed left 🙂
No matter what happens in the race, it’s going to be a fun girls weekend, so it’s a win win win!
This weekend’s scheduled long run was 22 km’s. The girls and I drove to my parents house in Saskatoon on Friday. Lori and Danielle were long running on Friday morning, but I didn’t see how it was feasible to run for 2.5 hrs and then sit in a car with two kids for 7 or more hours. I decided that a solo long run in Saskatoon would be the best plan. I also decided to get it done on Saturday, mostly so I wouldn’t have to think about it for an extra 24 hrs.
This morning, once my girls were up and fed, I got ready. I had forgotten to bring any electrolyte drink with me and had made a quick last minute trip to The Running Room the night before and bought a tube of Cherry Limeade Nuun. Umm, YUM! I also had downloaded the second half of my current audiobook that I’m listening to. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I will talk more about this in another post, but two thumbs way up for this book!
I had mapped out an approximate route on gmaps the night before but also decided to play it by ear as I went. I ran south along the west side of the river for the first half. Luckily Saskatoon is a great place to run. Much like Calgary, there is a great pathway system along the river. I took the river pathway all the way up to Diefenbaker park, and the location where they’ve built a brand new bridge. This is the far south end of the city, basically the opposite end of the city from where my parents live. This picture looks north towards uptown and past that the neighborhood where my parents live.
I headed back, for the second half I stayed on the east side of the river. The pathway here goes right by the University of Saskatchewan. You also get a really nice view of uptown and the Bessborough hotel.
As I got closer to my parents I was realizing that my distance estimate was going to be a bit off. The east side of the river is on the outside of a curve in the river and is much longer than the west. I was still a little ways away from my parents at the 22 km mark. I decided to just keep running as that way I’d get credit for the distance and get home quicker 🙂
My legs were pretty tired for this run. I’ve had a few weeks of reasonably high mileage, and have ramped back up with running and strength training very quickly post surgery. I feel good about it all in all though. My average pace was sub 6:00/km, which is a good long run pace for me. McMillan would have my long run pace at 5:22-6:12 and I’m feeling pretty comfortable with the low 6:00’s but anything lower seems really fast for a long run for me. I have an 8 km run scheduled tomorrow, which will get me to about 63 km’s for the week! Every week that I go up is another post Olivia milestone! I’m going to try to keep my runs easy this week as my legs are starting to feel the strains of training hard for the last month. I want to get one last hard tempo run next week, and then I’ll be tapering for SeaWheeze in Vancouver!
How do you get through long runs in new cities? How fast do you run your long runs, are they in the McMillan ranges for you?