Run quietly

Run quietly

Monday, March 30, 2015

Around the Bay 30km Recap!

What a day!

The week going into the race, my main concern was the weather. Obsessively checking each morning and evening, and it didn't give me what I wanted until the night before the race! -4 by 10am (race start was 9:30), and 20km/hr winds. SHORTS MY FRIENDS! You can do all you can to train for a race, but then having something you can't control ruin it, like the weather conditions?! Ugh. With the last piece of the day that had been causing me anxiety resolved, I was feeling confident on the ride to Hamilton.

I completed bathroom trip #3 (who wants to have to stop running to use a washroom?!), and dashed to Corral A with 3 minutes to spare. A warm up should have occurred, but washroom lineups are brutal. I considered my running back and forth a pathetic attempt at what should have been a 5-10 min warm up. Oops!

When the gun went off and the fun began, my watch still had not found a GPS. I programmed it to only give me 1km splits, and elapsed time. Looking down and seeing a pace stresses me out, and wastes my mental energy. As usual, I went out too fast. (oops #2) My watch picked up GPS maybe 400-600 metres into the race, and says I ran the first km in 4:01. I think it was probably 3:xx if it had started at the beginning. Too fast! I intended a 4:20/km pace until 10km then pick it up a bit. In every race, going out too hard is something I have to work on!

Fellow GRE teammate Mike Thornton found me about 1km in. I knew he was aiming for a 4:02/km, so I stayed with him briefly and then fell back to my 4:15-4:20 pace. I wish I knew I could have kept up with him. Having a teammate beside me, even only briefly was a great kick of energy.

I felt great until about 18km, when I felt some strange spasm/burning in my left foot. It seemed aggravated by the inclines. It became too much, and for the first time EVER, I stopped in a race. I whipped my shoe off, and had to massage it out. The pain gave me a 4:42km, and the stop gave me a 5:06km. It came back again around 22km. I stopped for a 2nd time, massaged it out. This gave me a 4:44km. I had to stop one more time at 25km, did the same thing again, and ended up with a 5:14/km. Precious seconds were adding up!

Once the rolling hills were over, it was mostly downhill to the finish, and the foot didn't seem too bad on the downhill.  I was able to pick up the pace and book it to the finish in the last 2km. This makes me SO HAPPY, as in past races I have never had a finishing kick. Always just tired. So after 28km of running, I still had a 4:17km and a 4: 20km in me makes me feel great!

At about 29km my husband and fellow GRE teammates Mike, Josh, and Tanis were all there cheering me on. Words cannot describe how grateful I am for this support, and the feeling you get when you know others are sending you some energy to finish strong! They snapped this picture of me, and at one glance it is screaming BAD FORM! I know I was tired as it was the end of the race. But this is very poor running form. I have made an appointment for a gait assessment at a friends recommendation. He believes with a few small tweaks to my form that I can reach a whole new level. Hoping that the foot issues can be resolved by this as well.

My chest should be forward, my shoulders back. I should also be landing softly under a bent knee, not overstriding (like above). I still have not mastered avoiding a heel strike as well.
Despite my stops, I still managed to finish strongly in 2:13:22. The Bay awards medals based on time. Women who cross the finish line under 2:15 are awarded a gold medal. So for my first crack at  a distance longer than a half marathon, 3 separate stops, and some strange foot pain, I am beyond happy and pleased with my result. Hard work really does pay off. If you had asked me last year if I thought an average pace of 4:26/km for 30km was possible for me, I would have laughed!
Averages for the last 3-4 months
75-80km a week
5 days per week running
1 spin day
1 complete day of rest with yoga for recovery
2 easy runs per week
1-2 speed workouts (tempos, 1km repeats, etc)
1 long run each week of 28-32km
I lost 9 days early February due to an ankle sprain that thankfully has not given me trouble since. I don't believe that I could have  gained any more fitness in those 9 days.
It is strange that it is over now. I have never ran this type of mileage, or completed numerous long runs of this length before. AND made it to the start line with a healthy, injury free body. I did not have a goal time for this race, simply to feel good throughout, and finish strongly. I am happy to say both those wishes were fulfilled!  This week I will focus on recovery. Even though I am sore and tired (stairs?!), I am still very excited to become stronger. After Toronto Yonge Street 10km recovery, I am already planning the build to a strong fall half marathon.

The support and inspiration these 3 give me is unbelievable. Our first (definitely not last!) photo all together! Mike finished with an 8min PB in 2:03! Josh placed 4th in the 5km amongst a very competitive field. Tanis would have torn through the Bay, but is coming off an injury. Mississauga half will see her!  
Congrats to all the fellow ATB racers! 


Monday, March 23, 2015

Race week nerves!

You are going through the training plan, things are going well, you are feeling confident, then you look at the calendar. Race week. EEEKKKK! How did this happen so quickly?!

I signed up for Around the Bay way back in November. It's very easy to register for a race. "first 30km race, surrreeeee, no problem!" Point, click, credit card info, voila! 30km here I come. It is quite a different feeling when it is looming around the corner, and not just in your computer.

A lot of firsts for me at this race. First time racing 30km, first time wearing my Grand River Endurance singlet, and my first race representing Altra Running. In past pressure has crushed me. Something like this list of firsts would nearly debilitate me, and keep me up at night. Too many expectations (self imposed), and not running a good race is NOT an option. (concocted in my type A mind only).

I have already second guessed what shoes I will wear, and what fuel to bring with me on the course. Never try anything new race day is a golden rule. I have to know that I have put in the work, and the miles are in my legs. Unfortunately, bubble wrapping myself until Sunday morning is not a realistic option. At this point there is not anymore fitness to be gained. Worrying that I have not done enough, or not trained properly is wasted energy. What I can do this week is work on my mental game, which is a weak spot for me. I need to arrive at the start line feeling confident, strong and able. And with a mind set that refuses to settle. The later kilometres of this race, I know I will have to dig deep. If I can arrive in Hamilton Sunday morning with a clear mind, and strong legs, I will be happy!

Can you believe this is my (at least) 40 something-ish race? I should probably count one day. You would think this would be WAY easier by now and these kind of things wouldn't even phase me. Just know that all your "why am I breathing so heavily during this easy run?", "is my nose getting stuffy?", "is this enough carbs?", "maybe I should google this, it may be a fracture.". Or my favourite, (and one I seem to do the week before every race) , nearly lunging away from anyone who emits even the smallest cough. Wanting to run screaming for the hills if someone close by sneezes. Why do we do this to ourselves again?! ;)

I'm sure most, if not all runners can relate! What crazy thoughts have you had the week before a race? I apologize in advance if you see me this week, and I seem "off", or just plain odd. :D I have rambled A LOT in this post. My nerves spilling out everywhere !

                                   EXCITED FOR AROUND THE BAY! 6 DAYS TO GO!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Work hard, but stay humble

I got some fantastic news the other day. It was via e-mail, and I read it while at the library with my kids. On our way out to the car, my daughter tripped and fell. I was so busy day dreaming about the news in the e-mail, that I totally missed the fall (even though she was right beside me), and I stepped on her arm. That's right, I stepped on my 2 year old. I also dropped all the books, but thankfully not on her!

Small things in life will pop up to teach us lessons. Sometimes they are big things. If we learn to be intuitive enough to catch the smaller things, I like to think that the catastrophic lessons can be minimized or avoided. Or that's what I tell myself at least to feel better ;).  When I was younger there were times I used to think "why does this keep happening?" or "why is this not changing?". As an adult thankfully I have learned that things never go away until they have taught us the lesson we need to learn. The paradox here is that you won't learn the lesson until you are ready and willing to.

Running has taught me a great deal about myself, about life, humility, and hard work. While it would be easy for me to prescribe running to the world as a "natural anti-depressant", a perfect "find yourself" pathway, or an easy feat in any aspect, I won't be so na├»ve. Everyone has a different path. Like any workplace or group of friends, there are always a few who will abuse the system. Or miss the mark entirely.

 I was excited when I completed my last 30km run of my Around the Bay training cycle. The plan that has led me to this point (without injury!) calls for a 2 week taper. This simply means reduced volume. Letting my body repair, gain strength, and feel fresh on race day. I received some backlash online regarding a taper period. I was taken back at first, as generally the running community is the most supportive group I have come across. Have they not started somewhere once too? Is there something wrong with me wanting to do well at something I have dedicated this amount of time to? It got me thinking about the downsides of running and racing. Sometimes people forget where they have come from. They forget that not everyone is a marathoner, an ironman,  runs a 4:10 kilometre, or is even thinking about the "prizes" available at the finish line. Some have a goal simply to finish, and this will be life changing for them. Some compete in the races for the fun and camaraderie of the sport. Some have raised money for a charity or cause that is close to their heart. So when I come across those who seem to have forgotten these simple things, it makes me sad. What happened to being humble? Humility? Even transparency?

The e-mail I read at the library that day informed me that I was accepted into the Toronto Yonge Street 10km Sub-Elite category. I then stepped on my 2 year old while thinking about it. Brutal. If that wasn't a perfect sign shot at me to KEEP IT REAL! Or STAY HUMBLE!? Or maybe it was just an accident. Either way, It certainty made me immediately think about what really is most important at that moment.

I am continuously learning that whatever I do, work HARD, but always remember how far I have come. Not everything has been or will always be easy. And the best things will come after you have tackled many, many obstacles. The key is to stay humble, choose happiness, and keep going.


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

So many thoughts, a single way to express....

More times than not, not all of your Facebook friends actually care about your analytical thoughts. While some may be inspired, it is probably safe to say that the majority probably don't know what you mean when you speak in the language of miles, kilometres, splits, and elevation grades. While I do have a Facebook account, and use it regularly, I mainly use it for friends and family only.

I'm not entirely sure just how many thoughts go through the average human brain per minute, but I'm sure with each child you have, it can be multiplied by 5. Twitter limits my thought to 140 characters, which is why I don't find myself using Twitter much. How can one possibly shrink thoughts down to that size!?

Instagram is by far my favourite way to share. But in all honesty, I feel if I write more than a few sentences in my caption, it becomes redundant, and many don't have the time to read it all.

Being a wife, a stay at home mom of two by day, a working mom in the evenings/weekends, and a pre-dawn runner, way too many thoughts, and way too many ideas pass through my brain at any given moment. I know some thrive being busy, and living a fast paced life. Personally, I need solitude to recharge. I enjoy being productive, but I crave down time, and self care. As of late I have also found myself craving a single place to write it all down. I have attempted blogging before, and it felt forced, so I shut it down.

So here it goes! My second attempt at blogging. My second attempt at creating a single platform to organize my thoughts, ideas, and share about the things I find interesting helpful in my life. I hope I can inspire some, or spark a new thought process for an individual looking for change, or even just provide some entertainment!