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 December 11-17

Taking the new team gear (and new shoes) our for a spin because I was too excited not to! We got lululemon kits this year in 3 options: tank, t-shirt and long sleeve. I went for a tank and long-sleeve, so both seasons are covered. I am extra excited about this gear because I designed the logo!

This week was half in Victoria and half in Vancouver. Here is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 60′ easy, departed from home which is a rarity on weekdays. Sometime shortly after my out-and-back turn-around, my GPS went wild and my paces began to “triple”. This was odd and continued for the rest of the run, fortunately I knew exactly how long it was. I also did an arm workout.

Wednesday: WO for 1, at the track: 20′ easy, 5’@4:14 (supposed to be 4:35-4:40), 3’@4:45, strides and ABC’s, then: 3 x 400 m, 4 x 100m, 3 x 400m, 20′ easy. This was tough! It’s definitely much more motivating and FUN to do track workouts in a group.

Thursday: 80′ easy, ran from east van to the sea wall and along beach drive, it was so dark I was freaked out by the sea walk at sunset beach, so I went up to the sidewalk. I also did a core workout.

Friday: OFF. Woke up sicker than ever. Food poisoning, enough said. Luckily no run home as scheduled.

Saturday: Supposed to have been a hill workout at Mt. Doug but on account of the previous days’ stomach trouble and inability to eat at all I missed the WO. I did go for a slow walk to say hi to everyone and grab my new team gear!

Sunday: Supposed to be 90′ but I did 60′ just to be safe. Fortunately by the end of the day I was feeling pretty well back to 100%. My running buddy and I also stopped by the Lululemon Victoria grand reopening later on. There were cookies from the cookie guy and 25% off the whole store, which looks great by the way. Now that’s a solid Sunday.

Total Weekly Mileage: 47.1km

This week I have 3 runs in Victoria before heading home to Toronto for the holidays! Time to dig out my winter running layers I guess.

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

IMG_2235.JPG

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!