Wednesday, August 22, 2012
It appears that many people are suffering from PES this year and have taken to social media to get at least a small fix of the camaraderie that is part of the ENDURrun. There are stories being swapped, “thank you”s being said, and photos shared, along with general comments of missing the event or feeling as though something is missing this week.
This event is so unique in that the contenders, even though they are competitors, become close and genuinely do become friends. The encouragement throughout the week between runners and from volunteers is phenomenal. Everyone truly wants the best of everyone else.
As was also mentioned at the beginning of ENDURweek, the ENDURrun is like summer camp for runners. And now that we’re all back at home (even if home is not far away), we’re missing camp and the friends that we’ve made.
Sunday, August 19, 2012
The marathon is the 7th and final stage of the ENDURrun. It starts at the same park in Conestogo where the half marathon started last Sunday, but is a different courses. It’s a 2 loop course, so on the second lap, you know exactly where you are in relation to finishing, which can be both a good thing and a bad thing.
I had set out to run a 4:05 marathon today. At the 32 km mark, it was still a possibility, but when I had 8 km left in the race I knew it was no longer going to happen. I figured at that point that I’d be around 4:15. I felt a little sorry for myself, but then quickly realized that I was being silly. I had already run over 150 km since Sunday and only had less than 8 more to go. I was doing something that most people would never dream of doing and I was doing it well. My finish time would still be a good time and I should feel proud and thankful that I’m able to do this.
I plugged away at it and finished my marathon in a time of 4:12 and change.
I came. I ran. I finished. I'm very proud to say that in 2012, I am still One Tough Runner!
This was a fantastic week and I got to spend it with an amazing group of people. The runners and the volunteers are among the best in the world. Thanks to you all for another successful ENDURrun!
Saturday, August 18, 2012
After a good night’s sleep, I felt ready to face the next stage of the ENDURrun today. I actually woke up about 5 minutes before my alarm was supposed to go off; it was nice to wake up naturally. I got up, made coffee, and breakfast, which today was a whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana.
As I was eating my breakfast, I took a look at the cumulative results to this point. My cumulative time was 11:03:40 for the first 5 stages. Many months ago, I decided that my goal for this whole week would be sub 16 hours. Taking this into consideration, I had 4:56:20 to complete the final 2 stages (a 10K and a marathon) and still meet my goal. With this information, I decided that if I ran a 50 minute 10K today, I would still have 4:06:20 for the marathon, which is still possible. Last year I did the marathon in 4:08:41. My best marathon is 3:51:28 (Mississauga Marathon 2011) and I ran the Waterloo Marathon in 4:03:09 this spring. Hopefully, I have enough left in me to run a decent marathon tomorrow.
We left the house, stopped by Lloyd’s house in Conestogo briefly to see if anyone needed a ride to the start line in Elmira and we were on our way. This race is a point to point course, so it starts at a park in Elmira and finishes right in front of the race director’s house. The post-race food, massage tables, etc are set up in his backyard, waiting for us upon our return from the race route.
This stage was another time trial, so the runners all start at different times and then came in to the finish area fairly close together. Today, I was passed by 3 runners and I passed 3 as well.
I finished today’s stage in 50:48, so I was a bit slower than I wanted to be and well over a minute slower than last year, but this still leaves me with 4:05:32 to run tomorrow’s marathon and meet my goal of sub 16. It’ll be tough to do and I’m not 100% confident that I’ll be able to do it, but I will certainly try. My concern at this point is the fact that I’ve run all the road stages in more time than last year and this final stage is road. But, as I was discussing this with a fellow ENDURrunner today, it was pointed out to me that the trail stages were also the longest stages so far, so I’ve actually run the longer stages faster than last year and tomorrow’s stage is the longest of them all. Perhaps I have a chance after all.
My food photo looks a little sad today, but the food was quite good! In this photo there is orange hummus on a slice of bread, a piece of cantaloupe, a fruit pancake, a tuna sandwich, and some fruit salad.
Tonight, we will attend the barbeque to celebrate the last night before the final stage. I am looking forward to our wonderful dinner with the amazing company of the other runners, the volunteers, as well as their family and friends.
Friday, August 17, 2012
Last night, I was attempting to get a good night’s sleep, I woke up to hear rain. It sounded like fairly heavy rain as well. I thought to myself, “I hope this stops soon” and went back to sleep. A couple of hours later, I woke up again and heard the familiar sound of rain once more. Crap. Well.. it still wasn’t morning, so there was still hope. When my alarm went off at 5:55am, it was no longer raining. I was glad that we would not have to run in the rain today, but was still a little concerned that the trails and ski hills might be slippery.
For breakfast today, I wanted to be sure to have something that has worked well for me in the past (of course, I never have anything new before a race, but I wanted something that I could count on). Since I only ran faster than last year on one stage so far this week, I decided to eat the same breakfast today that I had on Tuesday: Quaker lightly sweetened apple cinnamon oatmeal with a bit of regular oats mixed in, yogurt, granola, coffee, and water.
We arrived at Chicopee Ski Hill about 30 minutes before race start. I found a chair to put my bag on, used the washroom one last time, put on my race bib, removed my sweater, chatted with some other runners and then we all gathered ourselves at the start line for roll call and final instructions. Lloyd mentioned that the trails did have some slippery sections, so we should be careful out there. I hoped that I would not slip and fall today.
Stage 5 of the ENDURrun involves trail running along with running up and down a ski hill. It’s a tough one, but the trail sections are very enjoyable and it’s one less loop tan Bechtel, so it’s nice to know that once you’re done your third lab you *actually* only have 2 more to go (unlike the brief moment where I thought I only had 2 more loops at Bechtel, but actually had 3).
I found that the 3rd lap was actually fun today (except for running up the big hill). Perhaps it’s because it’s the middle lap and after you’re done that one, you just have 2 more to go. After each lap, I checked the clock to see how consistent I was being and to do a quick mental calculation of the time I wanted to pass through after the next lap. When I started my final lap, I realized that unless something went horribly wrong, I should have no trouble beating last year’s time. I ran the course, and when I crossed the finish line, I had done it!
Last year’s time: 3:12:08
This year’s time. 3:01:37 (I think)
I beat last year’s time by 10.5 minutes! I came out here today to make up some time and I did what I came out to do. And as an added bonus, I didn’t fall.
After eating the wonderful post-race food, getting a massage, listening to the results (I placed 5th of the female ultimates today, and I think I may have moved up to 5th in the cumulative as well, but I’ll have to check the results later), chatting with the other runners, and then some more socializing this afternoon by the pool, it is now time to sit and rest up at home for a bit before making some supper and preparing for tomorrow’s stage.
5 stages down and 2 to go. I’m looking forward to (and dreading at the same time) the 10K time trial tomorrow morning!
Thursday, August 16, 2012
After last night’s “mountain stage” it is time for the mandatory rest day. I decided to skip going out for breakfast with the other ENDURrunners this morning so that I could stay in bed a little longer and also because I had a massage therapy appointment this morning at 10am and didn’t want to have to rush around this morning.
I made myself a smoothie with banana, blueberries, orange juice, and vanilla Greek yogurt before heading out to my appointment. On my way back from massage, I stopped at Tim Horton’s to grab a coffee (I was feeling lazy and didn’t want to make my own when I got home) and then made myself a late breakfast of a slight variation on eggs benedict and some roasted sweet potatoes with green peppers and onions that I had left over from the dinner I made a couple of nights ago.
This afternoon, Paul picked me up so that we could go for a swim at the race director’s house before meeting up with some others at the Huether for a late lunch and some beer floats. I tried to like the beer float, I really did.. but I couldn’t finish it. Is it an acquired taste?
Now.. some photos from the afternoon/early evening:
Wednesday, August 15, 2012
Since today’s stage started at 6:00 pm, there was an opportunity to sleep in. I was able to enjoy at least 8 hours of sleep last night (without going to bed really early), which was wonderful. I got out of bed shortly before Ryan wanted to leave for work so that I could give him a ride. I dropped him off at work and then I headed to Williams Fresh Cafe with a book to enjoy a leisurely breakfast. I enjoyed having the opportunity to sit and take my time eating my breakfast, sipping my coffee, and reading my book.
Back at home, I enjoyed a quiet day of lounging, reading, watching a little TV, and doing minimal housework. Even though today’s stage is a strenuous one, I still consider Day 4 a relative rest day.
After getting ready for tonight’s race, I drove up to Ryan’s work to pick him up and head to the starting area at Camp Heidelberg. On the way to the start, I realized that I forgot to bring my shot blocks and didn’t have any gels, either. I knew that the race director normally has boxes of them for the aid stations, so I wasn’t too worried, but it was still a little frustrating to not use what I’m used to. I asked if they had any, and yes, they did, so I took two (one for 15 minutes before the start and another for the half-way point).
Just before the start of the race, all of the competitors walked down the hill so that the race both starts and finishes on an uphill (just to torture us, I’m sure). After the first uphill, we turn left for a bit of a detour, then back onto the hilly road we started on. We continue up and down, up and down the hills and then arrive at a turn-around point, which is a little more than half-way through the whole course. I really like the fact that it’s past the half point because it makes the second “half” of the race seem much shorter.
I was running fairly well today, but I felt tired, and as I passed the 10K marker, I knew there was no way I was going to meet or beat last year’s time on this course. I finished in 1:25:39 last year and at the 10K mark I was at 56 minutes, which meant I had to run the last 6 K in less than 30 minutes. On a flat course, sure, but on this hilly course that was not going to happen. I ended up coming in at 1:30 and change (not sure of the official time right now).
If I want to have a chance at beating my 2011 time and potentially coming in under 16 hours for the week, I have my work cut out for me. Let’s see what Chicopee has in store.
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
I went to bed at a decent time last night, but was awake by 2am and not really sleeping again until almost 3am because I could hear a mouse scratching in the wall. It seemed to quiet down after Ryan banged on the wall, so I was able to get another 3 hours of sleep. You gotta love old houses where you can hear mice scratching around in the wall every so often.
Today’s Breakfast: Quaker lightly sweetened apple cinnamon oatmeal with a bit of regular oats mixed in, yogurt, granola, coffee, and water.
When I arrived at Bechtel Park, the skies were grey and cloudy, but it looked like maybe, just maybe, the rain would hold off. The race started at 8am and I ran smarter this year and didn’t go out too quick. I was hoping to be relatively consistent on each lap, so I wanted to be sure that I chose a pace that I could maintain for the whole 30K.
Lap 1: I rolled my ankle around 2.5 km into the lap, which hurt and I wasn’t sure if it was going to be an actual injury or something that just hurt for a minute or two. Luckily, it seemed to be the latter.
Lap 2: This was a pretty uneventful lap. I ran around the course without any incidents or injuries, and finished this lap a bit slower than lap 1.
Lap 3: The rain started. It wasn’t raining too hard and it was actually kind of nice. I believe I ran this lap in a time between the times for the first and second laps, closer to that of lap 2.
Lap 4: The rain picked up. The lap was going well and I was catching up to David (another ultimate competitor) until just before the 4 km marker, where I managed to trip and slide down a muddy hill head (or shoulder) first. I gathered myself, put my muddy hat back on my head, and continued on my way with a very dirty (and a little bloody) left side of my body. I really didn’t pay attention to the clock at the end of this lap, instead I headed to the aid station for some water and electrolyte drink and had the wonderful volunteers offer to clean off my knee for me (it was both bloody and muddy). What service! This event definitely wouldn’t be the same without the volunteers!
Lap 5: The rain continued, but wasn’t heavy enough to wash the mud off my body.
Lap 6: This was the final lap; It was pouring, but still, I had mud.
Now that I was done, it was time to drink something, eat something, get changed out of my wet clothes, get a massage, eat some more, and then listen to the results.
I finished today’s 30K stage in 3:10:45 (per Garmin).
Last year’s time: 3:14:18
I finally ran a stage faster this year than I did last year! I’m pretty sure I moved up at least 1 spot in the standings today as well. Perhaps my goal of beating last year’s time is still possible. I still need to make up at least 5 more minutes to do so, but I also have 4 more stages coming up. I hope to run those 4 without sliding down any more hills because the upcoming hills are pretty darn big!
Now it is time to rest up, ice my knee, re-fuel, rejuvenate, and get mentally prepared for the first of the mountain stages tomorrow: Horror Hill.
* I don’t have a photo of me after the slide down the hill, but if and when I find one, I will post it *
Monday, August 13, 2012
After yesterday’s stage, I did not get to rest and relax as much as I would have liked. Ryan and I attended a wedding on Friday afternoon, so I only worked a half day that day. Since I’m off this week for the ENDURrun, I wanted to get caught up on some of the work I didn’t finish up on Friday. I ended up working for a good chunk of the afternoon, into the evening last night. At least now, I feel like I’ve finished up the work that I wanted to before going on vacation.
I packed up the few things I need for today (including a bathing suit for a post-race swim) and heated up my leftovers from last night’s supper, ate my dinner, watched a bit of TV, rolled out my legs on the foam roller, and then headed off to bed around 10:30.
At 5:55am my alarm woke me up. I was a bit more tired this morning than yesterday morning, but that quickly passed as I got up, made some coffee and got my breakfast ready. Breakfast today was a toasted whole wheat bagel with peanut butter and banana, coffee, and water.
I arrived at the race start (across from the race director’s house) about 20 minutes before 8am today, which was a bit later than I’d hoped, but since today was a time trial, it’s a staggered start, so I still had some time to get prepared for today’s stage.
For the time trial, each runner starts one at a time and one minute apart, starting with the person who had the slowest time in Stage 1 and finishing with the person with the fastest time from Stage 1. Since there are also guest runners and relay times, estimated finishing times provided at the time of registration allowed for an estimate in the placing for these people as well. The name of the game in the time trial is to try and catch those in front of you and to try not to be passed (or at least to not be passed by too many people).
I ran this stage quite well last year, so I knew going into today’s race that it would be difficult to beat last year’s time. I had a couple of issues with side stitches today, which kind of cramped my pace (pun intended) at certain points in the run, but they resolved and I was able to maintain a relatively steady pace throughout the stage, but I didn’t even come near to beating last year’s time. Once again, I came in 4 minutes slower than last year. Hopefully, I’ll kick my butt into gear and make up some time tomorrow at Bechtel.
The post-race action took place in Lloyd’s back yard, which has a fantastic pool and a lot of space for all of us runners to stretch out, get massages, grab some food from the food tent, etc.
When I first stepped back into the yard, I noticed that the cover was on the pool. I was a little disappointed, because I was hoping to jump right in after this stage, but then I noticed that Keenan (Lloyd’s son) had just walked into the yard and was heading over to the pool! As he was removing the cover, I was removing my shoes, getting ready to head straight over there. As soon as the cover was completely off the pool, I dove into the pool. Refreshing! After 15 or so minutes of hanging out in the pool, I went and grabbed some food. Shortly after I filled my platter, it was time for my post race massage, which really helps in the recovery. Thanks again to KW Health Connection for their continued support of this event!
When I went back to my platter of delicious food, I noticed that a wasp kept coming near, flying around, and checking out my food. It was quite interested in my slice of turkey and when I watched closer, I could see that it was actually working away, cutting out a chunk of the deli meat. The wasp flew away with its new found protein-rich meal and it was not long at all before another wasp was doing the same. The slice ended up with about 6 holes in it from the wasps.
After all of the runners had a chance to eat and most had a chance to get a massage, it was time for the results and announcements. There was no change in the gold jerseys today, so Bob and Jackie will be wearing them again tomorrow for Stage 3: 30K trail at Bechtel Park.
Most of the group disbursed after the announcements were completed, but I (and a few others) headed back to the pool, where I went for a quick swim and then relaxed, sitting on the pool stairs, letting my legs rest in the cool water, while I enjoyed the sunshine and a nice cold Mill Street Organic. It was a great way to end Stage 2.
My time for Stage 2 (as per my Garmin): 1:23:38
Sunday, August 12, 2012
My plan was to be in bed by 11pm past night, but of course, I didn’t have everything quite ready for race day, so it got stretched a little. I was still in bed shortly after 11:30, so I had time to read a story from my Canadian Marathon Stories book (I read one before every half or full) and still get over 6 hours of sleep. Hopefully, I’ll be getting more than 6 hours per night for the rest of this week, but for today, I feel good with it.
Breakfast: steel cut oats with banana and a bit of peanut butter, coffee, and water.
When I arrived at the park, I noticed that Paul Mora was on the swings, so I ran over to join him. What a great way to have some fun and de-stress before a race.
After a quick look at the computer that was set up, streaming the Men’s Olympic Marathon, it was time to head over to the start line. Roll call was done and after a couple of last minute instructions, we were off, with a note of “Good Luck” on the start line.
Last year, I ran a half marathon PB on this stage. I realize now that it probably wasn’t the best way to start a week-long event, so I slowed it down a wee bit today, took a few walk breaks, enjoyed the run and came in at 1:56:30 (time on my Garmin, I haven’t seen the official time yet). Last year, my time was 1:52:38, so just under 4 minutes slower than last year, but I was happy with my time today. I hope to make up that time over the week; I’d like to try and beat my overall time from last year.
After finishing the race, it was time to sign up for massage, grab my recovery drink, and also get some food.
First I had a delicious smoothie which was made with chocolate milk, banana, berries, kiwi, and plain yogurt and then I grabbed a plate (or platter) and selected some of the amazing food that is always a great part of this race week. As you can see below, I had several items on my plate including some fruits and veggies, cheese, egg, nachos, pasta salad, sweet potato salad, and Caribbean rice. There was also burgers, candy, chips, chicken, salad, and more.
The results were announced after all of the runners had come in and the gold jerseys were awarded to Bob Jackman for the men and to Jackie Jackman for the women. They’ve both won this event multiple times in the past. Tomorrow, they will wear the gold jerseys and will start last in the time trial.
It will be interesting to see how the order changes throughout the week. A lot can happen over 7 stages of running!
Now that I am back at home, it’s time to to rest up and get ready for stage 2 tomorrow – the 15K time trial. Tomorrow’s stage is being held at a different location this year than it was in past years, so it’ll be interesting to see if this affects my time (and other’s times) at all. I guess we’ll have to find that out tomorrow.
Great run today, everyone! Let’s do it again sometime.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
It’s Saturday night, I’ve enjoyed a day of sleeping in, having a leisurely breakfast, shopping for produce at the Kitchener Market, watching the Olympics, washing a load of running clothes, all before the most important parts of the day, attending the ENDURrun Pre-Race Meeting, and going out for dinner for some yummy pasta.
The pre-race meeting was held at the race director’s house. After walking into the yard, I quickly picked up my race kit and head over to set up a chair for the meeting.
Lloyd (the race director) welcomed everyone and the important announcements were made, along with some instructions from the fantastic volunteers about the upcoming week: info on marshalling & road signs, food & dietary needs, how to keep this a green race, among other details.
After the formal part of the evening was complete, there was time to socialize with the other runners while enjoying some refreshments. It was a reunion for many and a chance to meet some new people, who I’m sure will become new friends as well.
From Lloyd’s house, Ryan and I were off to East Side Mario’s for some dinner, where we actually ran into a couple of other runners who had come in from Rhode Island today for the event.
Now that I’m back at home for the evening, I took a look through my race kit… and what a race kit! Here are the contents:
I’m looking forward to a wonderful week of running, socializing, competing, and just generally having a good time.
It was great to see everyone tonight, rest up for Stage 1 tomorrow morning!