Training Recap Dec 4-10

This week was solid, my weekday easy runs were a bit longer and I pushed myself even more at the track. There will be more track workouts over the next couple of weeks, so I’m excited to see how I improve my times.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 50′ easy, I ran home for work soaking in the last bit of daylight. I also did a core workout.

Wednesday: Group WO, we went back to the track at PISE and did: 20′ easy, 2 x 2′ @threshold, 2 sets of: 400m, 300m, 200m, and finished with 3 x 200m, 15′ easy. This was hard, fast, and fun. The back side of the track was super icy which wasn’t ideal, but we still pulled off some quick laps. Following that, we had our team holiday dinner!

Thursday: 70′ easy, I ran out to the ocean and along the always scenic Dallas rd. Since the sunset is so friggin early, my run couldn’t have been timed better and I got to run through most of it. By the time I was back in my neighbourhood, it was totally dark and I regretted not bringing my headlamp. Some of the sidewalk is uneven and I was worried about falling. Shortly after that thought, I tripped, folded over at the waist heading straight for a pole. Somehow, I caught myself and carried on. Next time, I’ll wear the headlamp. I also did a core workout.

Friday: OFF. I did an arm workout.

Saturday: Group WO, we ran our warm-up to Mt. Doug, a beautiful park in my neighbourhood. The WO was: 20′ easy, 2 sets of: 3′, 2′, 1′ hills, 20′ easy, we ran down the hill too, so there wasn’t much of a break. It was TOUGH. I also did a strength workout.

Sunday: Long-run: 100′ easy with the last 10′ @4:45-4:50, I haven’t run solo on a Sunday in quite a while! I also switched up the route, I ran on roads for the first bit to get to Mt. Doug and ripped around the trails for most of the run, since I had a pick-up for the final 10′ I made sure I was on the road for that. I was feeling tired, but managed a 4:38 average for the last 10′ and was very happy with that. I also did some stretching later in the afternoon (which I never do, oops).

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.2 km

This week will be divided between the Island and Vancouver, I am looking forward to running there and being back in the big city!

Training Recap Nov 27-Dec 3

I was pleasantly surprised with how this week went. During both of the group WO’s I focused on running as quickly as I could rather than checking the pace on my Garmin. Upon reviewing the splits, I was very happy with what I saw at this point in my training. Here is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 30′ easy, 5 x 15” strides, I went out solo and then did the strides up and down this short stretch of paved trail near my house. I also did a core workout.

Wednesday: Group WO @ PISE, 20′ easy, 2 x 90” @temp, 3 x 15′ hill sprints, and then 200m, 400m, 600m, 400m, 200m on the track, 20′ easy. I enjoy the track because you can always see where your teammates are and push yourself to catch them (Binder).

Thursday: OFF. I did a core workout and an arm workout.

Friday: 30′ easy, I ran on my lunch, down to the ocean and back.

Saturday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 3 sets of 4′, 1′, 1′, 4′ @threshold, 20′ easy, we did this on a gravel loop just over 1km long. This was tough, but fun and I felt good about it after. I also did a core workout.

Sunday: 105′ easy, the long-runs are almost getting long again! Headed out with a friend towards Sidney for an out and back. The sun finally came out and warmed us up a bit. That was definitely the coldest run we’ve had so far, which I supposed is pretty lucky! I also did an arm workout and a core workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 55.1km

This week will be a little higher in mileage and we are heading back to the track on Wednesday, so I am excited for that. It is also our training groups’ holiday party, so any suggestions for a clever $10 gift are graciously accepted!

Training Recap November 20-26

This week involved a lot of climbing, in part from a hill workout, but mostly due to a last minute XC race at Thetis Lake Park. My legs are definitely tired, but switching up the routine was a lot of fun.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 45′ easy, I ran to meet a friend and we did a little out and back. I did an arm workout.

Wednesday: Group WO, as soon as we arrived it started pouring! We did 20′ easy, 3 sets of 2 x 1 min, 2 x 30 sec hill sprints, 20′ easy. I did a core workout too.

Thursday: OFF. I did a core workout.

Friday: 60′ easy, I ran down to the ocean on Dallas rd and then looped back.

Saturday: I made a last minute decision to register for an XC race to switch it up. It featured lots of mud, and deep water, but it was really fun.

Sunday: 100′ easy, met up with 2 friends and we headed downtown and then west along the ocean. I also a did an arm workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 58.3 km

Rock’n’Roll Vegas Part 2: Race Recap

Day 3: Sunday, the race

We head south on the strip, away from New York, New York towards the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. The crowd thins out faster than I expect, and my anxieties about being tripped and falling fade. The desert sunset is visible on the right side, illuminating the sky in neon pink and orange. Since this is Sky’s first time running a half-marathon I am in charge of the pace. As far as I am aware, the goal is to finish. She tells me she doesn’t know the ball-park time, maybe 2:30, maybe longer. I try to keep us at a 5:45-6ish min/km pace, to avoid hitting the wall later in the race and walking. This proves to be challenging due to a few factors, 1) it’s a race 2) there are a lot of people 3) there is live music 4) Sky is a fairly competitive person by nature. I keep trying to reel her in, though I can tell she just wants to let loose and pass people.

Our first 5km are: 6:08, 6:04, 5:49, 5:46, 5:46. This takes us to the Vegas sign and back to Mandalay Bay. It is dark now, and the temperature is perfect. A loud fellow runner starts yelling, “If you’re not yelling, CHEER” to spectators, he continues this and waves his arms madly. It is obnoxious. Km’s 6-10 are: 5:48, 5:48, 5:22, 5:29, 5:48. There are a lot of people cheering in the middle part of this stretch taking us past Paris and the fake Eiffel Tower. Just before km 8, I decide to take a video of Sky running past the Eiffel Tower, once I upload the video, I face-plant and both hands, my right elbow and knee are scraped and bloody. I continue running as a fellow runner tells me “no one saw”, which I think is funny. At the 10km mark we have passed The Wynn and most of the landmarks on The Strip. I tell Sky whenever I think we have done a km too fast and she asks when we can pick it up. I tell her we have to wait until 16km in, the length of her longest run leading up to the event. She is feeling good and I know it is hard to hold back, but I still want to remain conservative.

Km 11-15 are: 5:45, 5:38, 5:49, 5:37, 5:40. We pass Circus, Circus, one of the oldest casinos and hotels, the Stratosphere and then the wedding chapels start popping up. We pass a few houses with people on the lawn having a party and cheering, they offer little cups of wine and beer. No one seems to accept it except our loud friend from earlier, who immediately starts spitting and yelling, “JESUS CHRIST, they’re giving out vodka” and then tells the police to “do something about them”.

By now we are in downtown Vegas and Sky announces that she will be “very mad if we don’t finish in under 2 hours”. Classic. This is the first mention of a time goal. I see the wheels turning as she calculates our pace in order to do that, and then the disappointment in her voice as she says, “I don’t know if we can do that, it’s 8:30/mile (5:17/km)”. I tell her, “it’s up to you and I will do whatever you decide”. Her outlook quickly changes and she says, “we may as well try”. Game on.

We take off and I keep my eye on the pace. Km 16 is 5:18. 17 is 5:14. 18 is 5:16. We begin weaving through dozens of people who are trudging along, maybe they didn’t start as conservatively as we did. We begin to pick it up and km 19 is 4:57. Sky says she is using the mall as a landmark, it looks like a spaceship. She knows the finish is straight down the street from there, only a km away from the mall and I wonder if things are starting to get tough. Km 20 is 4:54, she’s still strong. We continue weaving through people, not ideal, but we are running for time now. For a moment I don’t see Sky beside me anymore and I worry, but a second later she says, “I’m here!” She was just stuck maneuvering around other runners. Km 21 is 5:02. We pick it up over the last couple hundred metres and cross the line in 1:58:47. We did it. So much for a 2:30 finish.

Training Recap November 13-19

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I was still in Vegas for the first half of the week, arriving back on the island on Wednesday and was able to make the group run. This week marked the start of getting back into workouts, for the last month I have just been doing easy running.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 20′ easy, Sky and I ran up the strip towards the north end, we only had to go up and down one over-pass, so that’s a win. I actually enjoy the challenge of running the strip because of all the stairs to avoid crossing the street, but our legs were pretty sore that day.

Wednesday: My first post-marathon work-out! 20′ easy, 15′ hills, 20′ easy. We were given an amount of time and then ran up and down a hill to different points for the duration.

Thursday: OFF. I did an upper-body workout.

Friday: 45′ easy, ran down to the ocean after work.

Saturday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 4 x 1 mile (7:06, 7:18 ,7:26, 7:23), 20′ easy. I also did core work.

Sunday: Long-run, met up with my friend Binder and ran for 90′, we did a mix of trail and road. I also did an upper-body workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 55.2 km

I have started to plan out my 2018 race calendar and so far I am thinking of:

January: Pioneer 8km

February: First-Half (registered)

March: Bazan Bay 5km

April: Boston Marathon (registered)

October: Chicago Marathon (registered)

There will definitely be more races added in, hoping to do Seawheeze again for example, but registration details are not yet released!

 

Rock’n’Roll Vegas Part 1

Day 1: Friday, travel

Friday morning I get up and go for my 30-minute easy run, I also do a core workout. My bag is packed and my flight isn’t until late morning, so I have time to spare. I grab a cab to the airport and before I know it, I am in Vancouver having lunch on my layover. After my second short flight, I arrive in Vegas and 20 minutes later,  my friend Sky arrives. We make our way outside and look for the ride-share pick-up. In Vegas, Uber can only pick up passengers in specific locations, it’s a bit of annoying. We arrive at the LINQ and check-in via a kiosk, when we get to our floor we wonder how it’s possible to not get lost, but at the end of the trip we realize we never did.

We go for a walk on the strip and stop at Walgreens and buy beer for the walk. We end up on the south part of the strip, shopping at the Miracle Mile shops. We decide to go for a beer on a patio, and head up to Beer Park, which I read was good. While, the patio and view are on point, the beer list has something to be desired, many of the options are Budweiser or worse and the bill for our 2 beers is north of $30 USD. Dinner is In-N-Out and then we walk some more before heading to bed.

Day 2: Saturday, the expo etc.

On Saturday, I wake up at 5am, sans alarm, no sleeping in for me. We go to Starbucks for coffee (not many independent cafes on the strip), and slowly walk towards the north part of the strip while eating a banana. I have a 20 minute easy run, so I get that done before too many people are out on the strip. Post-run, we head to the Cosmopolitan for breakfast at Eggslut, we have not beat the line and it snakes around the restaurant into a dark hallway. We also grab cold-press juices from nearby Juice Standard, while we wait our turn. We have our breakfast and then head outside to meet our Uber to go to the race expo. The sun is out and it is HOT, we are happy the race is at night.

The expo is bustling with people, sequin-adorned skirts and other strange vendors offering teeth-whitening, hair extensions and cosmetic procedures. It is definitely the strangest race expo I have attended. We get our race kits and wander through, but not much catches our attention, so we line up to take a photo and then head out. We get another Uber and head to the mall for some shopping, we figure this will limit the amount we can walk rather than aimlessly wandering the strip, though we end up walking a lot anyway. We get chipotle for lunch and shop all afternoon. We stop for a brief rest at the hotel and then go to Flour and Barley for dinner which is pizza.

Day 3: Sunday, race-day

We wake up early, and grab coffee and breakfast at The Nook, a cafe in the LINQ. After that, we walk across the street to Caesars Palace in search of Lululemon. We have registered for a pre-race yoga and meditation class. We are some of the first people to arrive and are greeted warmly and given Perrier, we settle in near the back, and the class quickly grows. It is clear a lot of the attendants are new to yoga, but the class is not as easy as one would expect pre-race. There are far too many vinyasa which I regret the next day. After the meditation portion, we roll up our mats and the shop opens. They have screen printing to celebrate the race and we settle on the extra mile long sleeve, with the print on the lower back.

We grab another coffee and then head back to the room for a bit to figure out what to have for lunch. We decide on the earl of sandwich as well want to stay nearby, and end up back in the room afterwards. We lay out our race-kits snap and few photos and gather our fuel. The race begins at 4:30pm, shortly before sunset, but we need to be there early.  This is the first race I have done with so many people and we want to be ready in our corral with extra time. The roads are already closed so we walk there to avoid the traffic, so we arrive quickly, in spite of our washroom stop. When we get to the corral there are not too many people there yet, but the sidewalks are lined with runners and spectators since there are multiple waves. We have an hour until go-time and sit on the ground to preserve our legs.

The corrals begin to fill up and we are forced to stand up to avoid getting trampled. We notice a skyjack with snipers on top, the police presence is undeniable, there are even helicopters circling overhead. We see a few couples dress in wedding attire, this event offers a “run through wedding” option. There are a few Elvis’s and other costumes as well. After the national anthem and fire display, we are off.

Training Recap Nov 6-12

This week was pretty light because of the Rock’n’roll half. I was happy about that because last Sunday, I made a mistake on my 10km easy run. For some reason, I decided to run on my forefoot for the entire time, which felt good at the time. However, shortly after the run, my calves felt terrible. They were super tight and painful, and that continued through the week. Lesson learned!

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 40’ easy, I met up with my friend and we ran on Lochside. I also did a Core workout.

Wednesday: Met the group and they did a WO, I just ran easy with coach. I also did an arm workout.

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: 30’ easy, nice, little pre-flight run. I also did a core workout.

Saturday: 20’ minutes easy, I ran the strip while most people were still asleep, I always make a point to do this in Vegas even when I’m not there to run the strip at night. It is fun and challenging due to lots of stairs and escalators.

Sunday: Rock’n’roll Las Vegas, run the strip at night, my first “night race” and Sky’s first half-marathon. It was a lot of fun!

Total Weekly Mileage: 44.3km

I will post a full recap of my time in Vegas and the race later this week!

Training Recap Oct 30-Nov 5

Back at it last week after 7 days of no running. The week was still quite relaxed, but I was happy to be back to running.

Monday: 20’ easy, the shortest run I ever get. Just ran around Swan Lake. I also did a core workout.

Tuesday: OFF. I did an arm workout and a core workout.

Wednesday: 45’ easy, went to the group-workout, but ran easy with coach instead of the WO.

Thursday: 35’ easy, I ran home from work. I also did an arm workout.

Friday: OFF.

Saturday: 60’ easy, went to the group-workout, but just ran instead of the pyramid they were doing. I also did core work.

Sunday: 55’ easy, headed out solo and had a great run in the sun. I did some core as well.

Total Weekly Mileage: 38.2km

This week can’t go by fast enough because I am heading to Vegas on Friday for the RnR weekend!

STWM Recap Part 2 (the race)

I wake up shortly after 6am EST, beating my alarm by a few minutes. I head down to the kitchen to make coffee and breakfast, peanut butter toast and a banana. Eating is hard because my stomach feels nervous and I struggle through it while I re-count out my fuel and make a bottle of Nuun. I get dressed and then it’s time to drive downtown to the start-line. I get out a block away and follow the crowd to the start-line while doing my warm-up. It is loud and there is an undeniable excitement in the air, the 5km runners are crossing the finish as we wait in our corrals. I note how warm it feels, I am sweating just standing here surrounded by other warm bodies. I take a gel while Alan, the race director hypes everyone up, sharing a quote from Ed Whitlock.

The gun goes off and so do we, the pack is thick and it is difficult to find space. We head up towards Bloor St. I notice there are a surprising number of people running in full-on costumes. There is a cowboy running alongside me wearing denim jeans and a denim shirt, as well as accessories, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable he must be. I hear two guys behind me commenting on another costumed runner, guy 1: “Hey there goes a clown! He’s probably going for The Guinness World Record for fastest half in a clown costume”, guy 2: “His mom must be so proud.” This was funny, and also mean, but the best part is that guy in the full, polyester clown outfit, and wig ran the half in about 90 minutes, who’s laughing now?

I was feeling pretty good during this time, getting into the groove and enjoying running in Toronto. My first 5km were: 4:48, 4:56, 4:47, 4:45, 4:48. I was supposed to be closer to 5:00/km but hey. I took my first gel 20 minutes in, and looked forward to the Saucony/Black Toe cheer-station on Bathurst, about 7km in. What an epic cheer-station it was, music, a bunch of happy people and confetti canons!  Km’s 6-10 were: 4:43, 4:47, 4:53, 4:53, 4:54. I was still feeling good. As we turned onto Lakeshore, the heat became more apparent. It was shady at first, but the further west we went, the hotter the sun became. I kept up with my gels, about every 20 minutes, and taking water at each station. I started taking 2 cups and pouring one on my head, it felt so hot, I didn’t know what else to do. I noticed lines outside all port-o-lets on the course which I found surprising, seems like there should have been more. If stopping for the washroom isn’t bad enough, waiting for one makes it that much worse!

Shortly after we rounded the turn to head east, I remember two women commenting on another runners’ outfit, “Hey look that lady is running in barefoot”, funny, they focused on his bare feet when he also wore an 80’s exercise outfit, totally rocking a patterned crop top and matching high waisted shorts. I kept up double-fisting waters, as much as I could, though on many times when I reached for the water the hand moved further away, making it very difficult to retrieve. The next 5km went as follows: 4:53, 4:55, 4:58, 4:52, 5:02. My stomach was feeling full and I had started to feel sick. I knew I would need to stop to pee, so I decided to wait until I found vacant port-o-lets and accept the lost time.

The next 2 kms #16-17, were fine: 4:54, 5:03, but after 17 is when I knew my race was not going to go as planned. I felt like all the sudden my energy was gone, and I also was incredibly nauseous. Being only 17km in and feeling this bad was a pretty awful feeling, if it were twice as far in, it would have been understandable. Km 18 is when things started to slow down it was a 5:12, and then during km 19 I stopped to pee which made it a 5:50km. I thought that after that I might feel a bit better, but no such luck. We passed the PDRR/Lululemon cheer station which was amazing, we were under the Gardiner Expressway and it sounded like what I imagine to Wellesley Scream Tunnel to be like, so loud, so hype, but with confetti cannons. It was so much fun, but I would have enjoyed it more if I felt better. When I saw the inflatable archway separating the half and full-marathoners, I seriously considered taking the half-route and bailing out early. I did not know how I could possibly finish the race, that is how bad I felt. 20-21 were: 5:12, and 4:15 (Garmin fail). My split for the first half was: 1:45:20.

We headed towards the Distillery and all I could think about was DNF’ing. This is where things really began to fall apart, it was so hot and this is a strange out and back loop where you can see the turn-around point the entire time, but it feels like forever before you arrive. Km 22-25 were: 5:26, 5:53, 6:06, 5:57. I knew that the next 5km would bring me to the Beach where I could count on family and friends cheering. I also thought that would be another great time to bail out. I could wave to them, they would see me run, and then I would defer from the course, run up the street and DNF.

Once we got onto Eastern Ave towards the beach, the heat subsided a bit. I was still energy-less and wondered if maybe someone would be waiting to pick me up and say, “let’s go, this isn’t your day, you can try again another time”. I really did think this might happen, because those who were tracking me would have already determined something had gone very wrong. Just shortly before we left Eastern, I saw a figure on the side of the road with a camera, my dad. As I approached him, I was excited, he HAS come to pick me up I thought, no more of this misery. However, when I told him, “I do not want to finish”, he simply said, “now it’s just a training run”, no luck, no bail-out, continue on it was. Run or die.

Km 26-30 were 7:17, 6:48, 6:47, 5:52, 7:43. I actually started walking during this stretch and then I would pick a point at which I had to try running again. I think km 29 must have been where my cheering angel, Shelley found me. She had biked down from the beach, and carried a sign, she ran along the grass beside me and pumped me up. I was really struggling at this point. We continued on along Lakeshore towards Woodbine, which was incredibly hot, the sun was relentless. There were large cheer-stations with music and lots of people though.

Once we turned from Woodbine onto Queen St the crowd support increased even more, the street was full of people on both sides of the course. Once we got to the middle of the Beach, I spotted Shelley, my cheer angel again. On the other side of the street was my mom and neighbours waving frantically. I waved back and somehow smiled, and continue trekking along to the turn-around point further east. The crowd support was incredibly strong for this whole part of the race, people were calling out your name and screaming for you. It felt like everyone knew you, again if I had felt better, I would have enjoyed this even more. As I reached my mom again she passed me the gels I had asked, but I only accepted 1. I had taken a long break from gels because I felt too sick to take them, and still had some left.

When we turned from Queen st onto Woodbine, I overheard a girl on the side say to her mom, “I hope I never have to do one of these”. It made me laugh a little and then remember I used to think the same way. Shortly after that, and even younger girl said to her mom, “does cheering make them keep going?” as they stopped cheering and walked home. The mom looked at me apologetically as I was the first runner to pass since they had stopped cheering and said “good job”. Kms 31-35 were: 5:33, 5:45, 6:10, 5:59, 6:35. At this point, Shelley resurfaced for a third time and cheered me on as I turned off the Lakeshore for the last time. “You are so strong”, she said, I didn’t feel strong, but with only 7 km to go I knew I wasn’t weak even to DNF.

We got to the Corktown area and the streets became full again. There were just 3 more kms to go. Km 36-40 were 6:46, 6:30, 5:59, 7:33, 6:29. I just wanted to be finished with this and move on. The crowds grew, the closer we got to the finish line. Once we turned onto Bay, I noticed the sheer amount of people, blurred faces, bodies, so many people. It was dizzying, but amazing at the same time. The crowd support for this event was incredible. Km 41 was 5:41. During the final km I started to feel super weak, there were signs counting down every 100m for the last half km. I honestly didn’t know if I would cross the finish line, I felt like I was going to pass out. I didn’t and km 42 was 5:30. Official time 3:58:47. My 3rd marathon in a 1 year and 2 weeks. My slowest marathon by about 24 minutes.

STWM Weekend Part 1

It’s Friday, I wake up at 3am to get ready to go to the airport, just enough time to have some toast with peanut butter and a coffee. I arrive at the airport too early, Air Canada staff haven’t even arrived yet, so I cannot check my bag. After about 15 minutes they arrive and I proceed to security which is similarly empty, quickly passing through. I start listening to the podcast “My Dad Wrote a Porno” and try not to succumb to laughter in public as I am alone. A short flight later, I arrive at YVR with some time to spend before my next flight. I join the line at Starbucks for another coffee since it’s already been 3 hours since my first one, and a bagel for later. I find the gate for my next flight and continue listening to the podcast.

Before long I arrive in Toronto, grab my bag and head downtown to the race expo. It is much bigger than most expos in BC, but still small compared to an American one. We wander around for a while. I am not tempted by anything, and instead, take a few pictures with one of the photos of Ed Whitlock. We decide to head down to Ossington as we have a dinner reservation there later, and stop in at my favourite brewery, Bellwoods. I always stop here when in Toronto to fill my suitcase with beer to bring back to BC. For dinner, we go to La Banane, a french bistro. They start by bringing a warm pretzel instead of bread (I like this place already). I order fish, the meal is very good, and I would definitely return.

Saturday I wake up early, already adjusted to the time change after a week of waking up at between 3-4am Pacific time. I have coffee and breakfast, and head out for my short shake-out run. I run down to the beach, just a block from where I grew up, where I began my journey as a runner. There are lots of other runners and cyclists out, I feel overdressed in my shorts and t-shirt, it is way too hot for late October. I head home, and shower before heading downtown. My mom has an appointment to get her hair done, so I have time to spend, and end up getting my nails done, so I don’t walk too much, having a bagel for lunch and a mint tea. We head home and I lay down for a bit.

After a while, we head downtown to visit my brother at work. I have a kombucha and some pita and dips for a pre-dinner snack. We don’t stay long as I have dinner plans. Saucony had invited me to a pre-race dinner at Terroni. It was a fairly small group made up of a few Saucony employees, influencers, athletes (Krista Duchene!) and friends from Blacktoe Running. I had bread, pizza, salad and eggplant parmesan, Terroni is always a good idea. We had some great conversations about…all things running (surprise, surprise), my kind of night for sure! I almost forgot I had a marathon to run the next day, almost.  It was especially good to meet some people I have had only IG relationships with in real life finally! This group and the running community in Toronto is top notch and really made me think about moving back.