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!

1st Half (marathon) Race Recap

This was my second time running the 1st Half in Vancouver. It would have been my third, but last year the race got cancelled due to inclement weather! Vancouver got a shocking amount of snow last year, normally not an issue. I kept my eye on the weather all week because this race is notorious for having crazy weather. The first time I did it, in 2016, it was a full-on monsoon. I remember a guy saying to me, “theres water in my shoes” around the 18km mark last time and thinking yeah man everyone’s in the same position.

In spite of all of this, we were very lucky with the weather this year. It was a crisp day for sure, but the sun was out, and the views were spectacular as ever. When it’s good it’s good. The race started at 8:30am, and our hotel was under 1km from the start, so we planned to run over at 8am. Breakfast was coffee, water and oats from Starbucks. The oats were very dry, so Jo and I poured an Endurance Tap on them, this made them so good!

Our warm-up was only 10 minutes, so we ran around Yaletown, ending up by the start to do our strides and then line-up in the corrals and take our pre-race gel. My focus was to stay on pace and in control to avoid burn-out later on in the race. The start of a race always feels amazing, especially when you have a full taper. The sun was shining, I was running alongside 1500 others in Vancouver and I never felt better. This was definitely reflected on my first 2 km, my pace was showing me running slow, I knew I wasn’t, but, I didn’t feel like I was going too fast.

The first 2km were 4:25 and 4:22, 10-13 seconds faster than my target pace. Km 3 and 4 were 4:50 and 4:30, there was an incline on km 3. Km 5 and 6 were both 4:38. My 5km split was 23:13 according to the race timing, a 4:38 average (this is 32 seconds faster than the sum of the 5km according to my watch). At some point early on the mileage on my watch stopped matching the km markers, and my current pace was never accurate for the duration of the race. I was essentially running on feel. Not what I wanted to do, but the only option. I knew there was a signal issue when I looked at my pace on the first km and it never got better.

Km 7 and 8 were both 4:45. I took my second gel at km 7. Km 9 and 10 were 4:43 and 4:29. My 10km split was 46:29, still a 4:38 pace. I was feeling great at this point. 11 and 12 were 4:40 and 4:32. 13 and 14 were 4:37 and 4:40 as per my Garmin. I knew the last few km of the race were hilly so I was mentally preparing for that.

At the 15km mark I was planning to take my final gel. That was around the time a wave of fatigue hit. I decided not to focus on it and power through. Having a wave of fatigue in a half with only 6km left is preferable to having it happen in a marathon because there is often double the distance left when the pain starts. Km 15 was 5:00! My 15km split was 1:09:56, average pace 4:39.

Km 16 and 17 were 4:41. 18 and 19 were apparently 5:20 and 5:17. This is the hilly portion. Just before the last climb between 19-20km, and as we began to climb a guy yelled, “I’m so excited!” As he picked up the pace, another guy beside me said, “wow, he’s got some pep”. I responded with, “yeah, let’s catch him”. He said, “you go for it”, so I began chasing him. Km 20 was the last bit of hill and 5:23? The last km is flat and then turns into downhill. I zeroed I’m on the peppy guy and caught him just before the finish. Due to the watch error km 21 shows up as only 560m and 2:48. My average pace for the last 6.1km was 4:32, so not quite the splits my watch said!

My finish time was 1:37:45, average pace 4:37.8/km. I was the 85th woman out of 777, and 21/80 for my category. I was happy with how this went, but I know I have more to give, sub 1:35 I’m coming for you!

Training Recap Feb 5-11

This week was pretty relaxed since I was preparing to race. That meant cutting down from running 6 days to 5, and my Saturday run was only 20 minutes long. I also cut down my strength training from 2 days to 1. I take the week before a race pretty seriously, so if I’m cutting mileage, I cut strength as well to really let my body recover in order to race well.

Here is how the week went:

Monday: OFF. I did strength training and core.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, I ran home from work.

Wednesday: Group WO, 15′ easy, 2km@HMP, 4×90”@10km pace, 15′ easy. I hit the HMP about 12 seconds faster than my goal pace, but I knew in the race, I would have to make sure to stick to the true pace or risk burnout. I also did core.

Thursday: 40′ easy, snuck this run in before work with my buddy. It was nice to see the sun rising earlier for a change, spring is coming! I also did an arm and core workout.

Friday: OFF. Really, I didn’t do anything.

Saturday: 20′ easy, and strides. Did this pretty early as we had planned to catch the 9am ferry to Van.

Sunday: 10′ easy, Van 1st Half, 20′ easy, for a total of 26km, haven’t seen that number in a while.

Total Weekly Mileage: 54.2 km

Stayed tuned for a race recap later this week!

Cobble Hill 10km 2018 Recap

This was my second year racing the Cobble Hill 10km. The plan was to run at a hard effort, no expectations to run a fast time or anything. The course is known to be hilly. The week leading up to the race wasn’t very high in mileage, and the Wednesday workout leading up to it was short and fast. I wasn’t feeling very fast during that workout though, which furthered the idea that Sunday’s race would just be a hard effort.

There was a wind warning the night before the race, due to 100km/hr winds, and it was insanely loud. We weren’t sure if the race would be impacted, but it was not. That being said, it did not look like a great day for a race, still windy, grey and cold. We headed out to Cobble Hill around 9:30am, it’s a bit out of town, and we had to get organized and do our warm-up before the 11am start-time.

When we arrived in Cobble Hill it was raining, and we were wishing the race was cancelled. We got organized, and once we came back out for the warm-up the sun had come out. It had turned into a beautiful afternoon. We ran our required 20′ easy and strides, and hung out by the start waiting. One of my running buddies suggested I should try and beat another competitor in my category who is typically a bit faster than me, I said I wasn’t sure it was in the cards today. As the countdown happened, she said, “you know what you have to do”. I laughed and off we went.

The couple km’s felt easy, I wasn’t looking at my Garmin, though when I saw the pace was hovering around 4:10/km, I realized this was significantly faster than my 10km pace. As we rounded the bend of an out and back, I noticed how close I was behind one of our faster team-mates. Shortly thereafter, we began ascending a hill and that brought my pace under control. Still, as I hit the 3rd km, someone yelled out the time and it was under 13 minutes, which surprised me as I rounded the corner. Another hill. I settled in and began climbing, again focusing on looking up and not at my Garmin. The 4th and 5th km’s clocked in at 4:33. It was hard work, but I was happy to be half-way done. Since this was my second time on this course, I remembered the second half of the race was “faster” than the first.

Km 6 was 4:30, at this point the runners were pretty spread out, I was close to a girl from another local team, and made sure to keep her in my sight. Her coach kept showing up on his bike and offering tips and encouragement, I decided to listen to what he had to say too, and we ended up running together for the second half of the race. This was also around the time, I realized I was likely going to PB if I kept running strong. Km 7 was 4:15, at which point her coach said something like, “now it’s time to go, this is when the race starts”. We began climbing the final incline during km 8 which was 4:26. I missed the marker for that km, so when I saw the sign for km 9, I was very happy. Km 9 was 4:21, and then I knew it was a flat, fast finish. I buckled down, and passed her. We exchanged a quick “good job”, and I continued on. With the finish line in sight she said, “lets get ‘er done, girl” and we sprinted to the finish. This is why I love the running community.

The sun was shining as I crossed that line, I stopped my watch, a PB. Grabbed some water and watched the other runners come in. I could hardly believe I took a whole minute of my previous best, with my 43:25 finish. This was my first PB since May at The Eugene Marathon and I will work to continue improving my times throughout this season.

Race Recap: Pioneer 8km

Only 1-week into 2018, and I have already raced. This was my second year running the pioneer 8km, it is the first race of the Island Race series. This year had a brand new course, said to be flat and fast. It also had horrendous West Coast January weather, it was dark, pouring rain, and windy. It may not be a polar vortex, but in contrast to the day before, 8C and sunny, it was pretty brutal. Poor weather or not, we had committed and had a race to run.

The races in this series start pretty late, at 11am, to give people from out of town a chance to get there. We arrived just after 10am, we had to grab our bibs, one of us still needed to register, and of course we had to do our warm-up. After some moaning and groaning, we left the warm school and began our 20-minute warm-up. The start was about 1km from the school, so we did get to see a bit of the course, enough to see that it was not totally flat. After a few strides, we stood under some trees with our team-mates waiting to line up.

We threw off our jackets at the last second and huddled together just behind the mat, waiting to go. In spite of being close to the front, it was quite congested for the first km. We were running down a country road, but it wasn’t very wide. My plan was to start off between 4:20-30. The first km was just under 4:20, fine, but I decided to pull back a little. Unfortunately, the km markers weren’t matching my watches’ km’s, I would pass the markers and a few m later, my watch would show completing another km. Not my favourite, but what do you do?

The second km was about 4:30, this included some incline. The third km was about 4:40, not good, more incline and wind. Finally there was some downhill taking us to the turn-around point, km four was about 4:23, back on track. Except then, there was the largest incline of the whole race and it was tiring. So, the fifth km was just under 5:00. Not good, but I knew I could make it up. I did just that and the sixth km was under 4:15. The seventh was about 4:25. The final km was 4:02. I was very happy to cross that mat and be done! Be done with the race that is, there was still the cool-down to do.

My overall pace was 4:29, and time was 35:50. Not bad. This has reinforced the idea that I need to do hill-training in preparation for Boston!! A necessary evil.

Next-up: Cobble Hill 10km on January 21.

 

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 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!