Race Recap: Comox Half-Marathon

I arrive at the Florence Filberg Centre just over half an hour before the start time. The room is buzzing with runners. I grab my bib, listen patiently to the instructions I am given about not folding it and ruining the chip, and attach it to my shirt. I begin looking for a place to leave my bag of clothes for after the race, people are putting theirs on chairs, reserving places for the awards. I find a spot in the corner, I am not expecting any awards today. I stow my gels away in pockets, and overhear a conversation about applying more vaseline before the race, old-school.

I head outside to do my warm-up, only 10 minutes today, lots of other runners are doing the same near the beginning of the course. The course is totally new to me, I have heard rumours of rolling hills, and downhill, but overall a “fast” course, great for Boston training. We line up and someone says, “5 minutes to the start”. I take a gel while we wait. There is no gun or horn, and after 5-minutes we here a quiet “GO!” I love the start of a race, everyone is excited, very high-energy and take off like it’s a 100-m event regardless of the actual distance.

I settle into my pace and observe who is around me, I can stay with them to keep me on pace and from going faster than I should. At the 2km marker a volunteer says, “great job, see you on the way back!” A guy turns to me and says, “that’s not very encouraging, when we’re just starting!” I say “she just means see you soon”. 21km is hardly daunting when your goal race is double the distance. Shortly thereafter, I notice a figure standing on the side in cycling gear, waving and cheering, a teammate who lives in the area. He congratulates everyone, snaps a few photos and hops back on his bike. I move in behind two girls in matching outfits, I-Pods strapped to their arms. This is 3km in and I feel like I’m walking, the pace is so comfortable. Every so often one will say to the other something like “we could be drinking wine right now” or “mimosas at brunch!” Unfortunately, our paces don’t match and I can’t hang out to hear the rest of this.

I begin to wonder where these rumoured hills are because, from what we’ve seen so far it’s pretty flat, making the finish the same. I am holding marathon pace easily and pleased with it. Then I notice the upcoming hills, nothing too steep, but enough to feel the lactic acid. I focus on effort each time rather than pace, knowing I will naturally increase speed on the downhill. This is around the point where I notice everyone I started with is gone, oh well, time to find a new group. This works for a while, but before long they are gone too, hills are hard. At the top of one of the hills, lays a pig and cow farm, the smell is so bad it makes my stomach turn. I can tell everyone around me agrees by their faces and sounds they make. I feel like speeding up just to get to fresh air faster.

Around km 8 I start to feel tired, which worries me. I have not been going faster than my pace, but suddenly feel tired. Some of my km show as being slower than I planned. It is hilly and also I notice my Garmin’s km are not matching the courses km. I try not to think about it and instead look ahead. Fortunately this doesn’t last long, and before I know it we are at the half-way turnaround point. As we turn around I begin to feel more energized, we are already half-way done! Since we just have to retrace our steps I know the course, and that the uphills are mostly over. I embrace the downhill and when I see 4:29, and 4:35 km’s flash across my screen, I know I have made up for those slower uphills. I focus in on 2 women in the distance and wonder if I’ll end up running with them. The downhill allows for this and I am excited when I catch up with them. However, once we get to the flat one of them falls behind. With 2-3 km to go, so does the other. I am feeling strong at this point. The finish is fast and flat and my final km is 4:29, sprint to the finish at a sub 4:00 pace. I’ve said it before, I can’t not sprint to the finish, it’s too much fun.

I finish in 1:41:44, right on track. I grab a cup of water, remove my bib and head back out on the course for my cool-down, 45 minutes easy. I see a woman I ran with at the beginning walking towards the finish, when suddenly, a friend runs up to her, puts her arm around her and helps her run to the finish. As I pass the 2km, a volunteer smiles at me, and says, “aren’t you already done!?”I respond with something like, “just a bit extra”, and carry on. Further down the road, another volunteer says, “you’re back!”, “round two”, I say. Around the 3km mark, I see the final runner and support cyclist, I am trying to encourage her, but somehow trip, maybe over a pylon. That feeling when you know you are going to fall, and hurt yourself flashes through my head and how awkward this would be in front of other people. Somehow, I stumble instead, double over, and recover without ever actually falling. This is still awkward, but far less so than actually falling to the ground. I give them a thumbs up and carry on.

After 4km out, it’s time to turn back. The course is being torn down, I get asked if I missed the race. Everyone is friendly and encouraging though. I finish up my cool-down for a total of 31.5 km for the day. I head inside to grab my stuff, and quickly check the results, realizing I have come in 3rd in my AG. That means I get a medal, not bad for a training run.

Training Recap March 12-18, 2018

This week was pretty BIG. In spite of it finishing with a half-marathon, I had no taper leading up to it. This is marathon training after all! The final push of this training cycle in fact, I feel like it flew by!

This is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: Double run, AM: 30′ easy, PM: 50′ easy, this covered my commute to AND from work.

Wednesday: WO for 1, headed down to this park by the ocean where there is a 1 mile loop. My WO was: 20′ easy, 3km@4:34, 2x1km@4:21/4:19, 2km@4:29, 40′ easy. I also did core.

Thursday: 50′ easy, met up with my running buddy before work to get ‘er done early. I did strength training and core in the afternoon.

Friday: Double run, AM: 40′ easy, PM: 40′ easy, I ran to and from work again.

Saturday: 40′ easy + strides, headed out on Lochside, where I normally run on Saturdays, no WO though, but a beautiful day. I also did core.

Sunday: My WU was 10′ easy, I did a few strides and then ran the Comox Half-Marathon as a marathon pace training run, it was a great course for Boston training and it went well, I finished it off with 45′ easy for a total of 31.5km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 94.1

I’ll be posting a race recap early this week!

Training Recap March 5-11, 2018

This week was a bit smaller than the previous one, though it didn’t feel much smaller, and my legs are telling me they are working hard. With only 5 more weeks until Boston, it’s starting to get more real. At the same time, I cannot believe how fast it is coming up! Here is what I did this week:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: 40′ easy, I ran home from work. I also did core.

Wednesday: Double run day, I did 40′ in the morning, and my WO was: 20′ easy, 2 sets of: 10′ alternating between 1’@4:50, and 1’@4;40, 20′ easy.

Thursday: 40′ easy, I ran to work. In the afternoon, I did core and strength training.

Friday: 40′ easy, I did an out and back before work.

Saturday: WO, 20′ easy, 4x4km, sets 1&3: 4:35/4:50/4:25/4:50, sets 2/4: @MP, 20′ easy.

Sunday: 120′ easy, ran to my friends house and we a mix of trail and road and HILLS, I added on more hills at the end too. My legs are feeling this one!

Total Weekly Mileage: 86km

Happy rest day!

Training Recap Feb 26-Mar 4

The notes for this week were, “Big week, buckle up”. With that in mind, and the 3 double run days on my schedule, I knew I was in for some hard work. Seeing 3 double run days might seem daunting, but I enjoyed them. The morning run wakes you up before work and I swear it leads to a better day. Normally, I run in the afternoon/early evening, so the second run was around the regular time.

Monday: OFF. Did some upper body stuff and core.

Tuesday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: 60, I also did core work.

Wednesday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: Group WO: 20′ easy, 5’@tempo, and then alternating between 5km and 3km pace with 30 seconds rest between, the 5km bouts started at 2 minutes and went up to 5, and the 3km bouts were always 1 minute, 20′ easy. After this we had a team dinner to celebrate our coach’s birthday.

Thursday: Double run, AM: 30, PM: 45. I also did strength training and core.

Friday: 40′ easy, ran this one in the morning before work as I had a massage in the afternoon.

Saturday: WO, 30′ easy, 6km@5:01/km, 3km@4:48/km, 4km@4:42/km, 1km@4:50, 4km@4:59/km, 20′ easy. The route for this was chosen to incorporate some rolling hills, and while the majority of it was done alone, I “ran into” my coach after the 3km bout, and she paced me for the 4km and 1km, and then waited for me during the final 4km. This was very helpful because she gave me tips about how to approach the hills at Boston, and how to run to conserve energy and preserve my legs.

Sunday: 2:30 easy, after the longer workout the day before, I was worried my legs would be shot. I had spent the remainder of Saturday recovering and eating well. I even had a hot bath (which I do not enjoy, but know is good to do), wore compression socks and slept in them. It seems all that helped a lot because my Sunday run felt great, and it was a rolling course. I met up with some friends in the middle portion, which was great, and a different route is always awesome, this was along the water.

Total Weekly Mileage: 107.8 km

I am happy with how this week went, and feeling great about how training is going during this marathon training cycle!