Sunday, October 23, 2016

Two Marathons and a 5K

I was going to write a post for each race, but I don't feel like it, so..... here's three weeks of running all in one post.

Fall Colours Marathon - Sunday, October 9th, 2016.
I had no plans to run this one and didn't even have the thought of running it until maybe 3 days before the race. I had a 25ish mile run on the schedule, so it just seemed to make sense to jump into a marathon and have other people to run with and also have aid stations. I decided not to register until the morning of, though, in case I changed my mind or woke up not feeling well, etc.

Let's backtrack and give a little breakdown of the week. I'll do this for the other races in this post as well.

M - 7.5 miles easy pace.
T - 15x 1 min 5K effort w/ 1 min recovery jog. Total including warmup and cool-down: 8.5 miles.
W- 6.4 miles easy pace.
T - Workout with Steve. 3.5 mile tempo at 7:16/mi pace, which was right where I wanted to be, pace wise. It felt really good, smooth, almost easy. Total including warmup and cool-down 8.7 miles.
F - No run. Rest/driving day.
S - I ran from my sister's cottage to the nearest small town and back. 13.5 miles

Sunday - Fall Colours Marathon. 26.2 miles. As I mentioned, this was a last minute decision to run a marathon in Ottawa, while I was in the area for Thanksgiving (Canadian Thanksgiving). I decided that I should run it in a finish time of around 3:30 to 3:45. I started out nice and easy, feeling good. I looked down at my watch after a bit and was very surprised to see that the average pace so far was around 7:40/mi. It felt quite comfortable, so I didn't adjust and just kept running. I kept the effort feeling good, not pushing, and I surprised myself by finishing the marathon in a time of 3:24:04. It was a very small race, so I actually finished 2nd female and 4th overall. The course was a double out-and-back with several turns and was moderately hilly (nothing crazy, but not a "flat and fast" type course). My finish time is actually a new PR/PB for me, which I was not planning on, nor expecting, especially since I was going into this as a long run with aid stations, not a race. Needless to say, I was satisfied with the result. :)

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon - Sunday, October 16th, 2016.
This one, I WAS planning on running. :)

The week leading up to this planned marathon was a little different than the week leading up to the above marathon. I needed to recover and be ready to roll again... but I didn't want to slack off TOO much either... I decided no workouts.. just easy runs.

M -  5.6 flat miles around my parents' house. Felt a little stiff at first, but loosened up quickly and felt pretty good.
T - Super slow (ridiculously slow, really) 3.6 miles. Took this as a sign to take Wednesday off.
W - No run.
T - 5.4 miles with Steve and Payton, 8:47 ave pace. Felt normal. Phew. I was a little concerned after Tuesday, but all appeared to be well.
F - No run. I took the train into Toronto, worked, went to the race expo at lunch, worked some more, hung out with coworkers, then walked to my hotel, checked in, then walked again to go out for food.
S - Ran to the race start location just to get an idea for the next morning, then continued on to MEC where I did a bit of shopping. Walked around after that, went for breakfast, did more walking, etc. Turns out, I walked over 20K that day. I really have good marathon prep. :) (and I also apparently flip flop between miles and km)

Sunday - Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I ran to the start area, checked my bag, went to the hotel across the street to use the washroom, then headed toward the start area and did some more warming up inside my corral. I ran into some people that I know, which is always nice, so I had people to chat with before the start.

I was initially planning to run this one fairly hard, but then I randomly ran that other marathon last Sunday and unintentionally ran a PR, so I dialed back for this one and ran it more as a long run than a race. I walked through aid stations if I felt like it (and I did feel like it a lot because I was SO THIRSTY and wanted to actually drink, not just get a sip.. it was warm and humid and humidity seems to do that to me). I decided that taking it easy would end at by 35K and I would pick up the pace and run strong to the finish. Unfortunately, there was no 35km split in my results (I guess the mat/my chip didn't work when I passed over), so I don't know exactly how the 35-40K stretch went, but I do know that from 30km to the finish, I passed 199 runners, and in the last 2.2 km, 62. I don't take any joy in seeing others struggle, so I did offer words of encouragement as I could and as I felt appropriate, but it was definitely a confidence boost to run that last section at a quicker pace and feel strong. My official finish time was 3:35:31.

I don't have any photos from this race, but a guy from KW who introduced himself to me on the course did.... so, here's his tweet (with link to photo).

Fall Classic 5K - Sunday, October 23, 2016.
I registered for this one back in January. I do it every year because it was my first race back in 2006. The other reason I registered in January, was the series discount. :)

M - very short and slow run. I ran a whopping 1.83 miles and it took me 20 minutes.
T - Rest day. No time to run and a rest day made sense.
W - 4 miles easy pace.
T - a little under 7 miles with Steve, easy pace. It was raining, so it got super dark early and we didn't have headlamps, so we had to tread carefully in the trails on the way back.
F - 5 miles easy pace.
S - Not a fun run. I ran with Andrea (that part was good) and I was hoping to run 20-25 miles, but I needed to cut it short. I was feeling overall just not great... one of those days where your body just doesn't particularly want to run. I could deal with that, but then my right hip started tightening up around 7 miles. I stopped for a moment, did some stretching, etc, but it was still there.... it continued to bother me, so just before 9 miles, I decided that I needed to cut the run short and start heading home. After a bit I thought... I wonder if it's actually feeling like this because of running a long run slower than usual. I know I've had some other days where the body just gets angry if it's going at a not so normal pace... so I quickened my pace for a bit and the tightness/pain went away. But... at this point I was just a mile or two from my house and I still didn't feel great, so I was still quitting. I got in 16 miles.

Sunday - Fall Classic 5K.
I had very low expectations today.
When I started my warmup my legs felt like lead. I was running VERY slowly and could not seem to get the legs to go any quicker.. I hopped onto the track (the race started at a high school) and tried to stride the straights... I was getting down to half marathon pace... then closer to 5K pace, so things were feeling a bit better, but still slow since I was only maintaining those paces for 100m or less. I went back out onto the roads, and by the time I was finished my warmup, I was comfortably running a little over 8 min pace. Good... the legs seem to be working again. I ditched my extra clothes in my car, then headed back to the start area. I went inside for a bit, since it was still a little early.. then when I went back out, I was talking with a runner and just about to get into the starting area when the horn blew! Whoops! I thought I still had a few minutes! So... I jumped in, and got through the start, successfully and surprisingly not tripping over anyone or causing anyone else to trip. The race happened and was pretty uneventful, which I guess is a good thing. My km splits were the most even I have ever run in a 5K and I came out of it with a new PB! My finish time was 20:46, which is 30 seconds better than this race last year.

I really needed this today, after yesterday's run.

If you would have asked me before the race what I was expecting to run.... I honestly would have said 23+. I did NOT think my legs had sub-21 in them today, but I guess they did!
Total mileage for the day: 12.1.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Run for the Toad 50K Relay

A few months ago, I received a facebook message asking if I had any interest in being part of a relay team at the Run for the Toad 50K. I knew I had a wedding to attend that day, so I said that I wasn't sure if that would work out. After I checked the invitation, I noticed that the wedding was at 7pm, so there was no reason I could not be at the race in the morning, since it's only approximately a half hour drive from here. I agreed to be part of the team and it was determined that I would run either the 2nd or 3rd leg. As the day got closer, 3rd leg became mine.

Saturday, October 1st, 2016.

Got up, got ready, started driving. I was going to stop on the way and get coffee and a bagel, but decided to just drive straight there. I knew there was coffee at the race and I believed there was also something to eat.

I arrived at the entrance to the park in good time, but unfortunately, arrived around the same time as many others and had to sit in a long line of cars, waiting to get in and park. It took over 20 minutes from when I started my turn signal until I was parked. I had arrived in plenty of time, and Bryan had already picked up our teams' numbers and bags the day before, so all was well, but I did think about those behind me. I imagine they were a little stressed.

I walked over to the big event tent, grabbed a coffee and an apple fritter (breakfast of champions!) and talked to some people. Found the team members, saw Brendan off for the start of the race and then headed out for a short warmup with Bryan, who was running 2nd for the team.

Brendan finished the first leg in 3rd place, which was 1st of the open relay (There's a Team Canada vs Team USA that is separate).

Bryan started leg #2 and I headed back out for more of a warmup with Steve, who was spectating and also working at a booth in expo type area.

I tried to keep moving after my warmup so that I wouldn't get too cold before I was tagged in. It was chilly out, but I didn't want to have too much clothes on in case he suddenly came in and it was time to run. I had a long sleeved shirt with me, which really didn't keep me very warm at all, but I knew it was only going to be for a short time.

Bryan came in, tagged me, and off I went.... faster than 5K pace.... whoops! I noticed this before the first turn and slowed down, I have no idea what I was thinking... I obviously wasn't thinking at all. Brendan ran the first 5K with me (or mostly just ahead of me), which was great. It was good to have someone to follow/chase since the relay is spread out by this point, so all you have around you are 25K and 50K runners who are going much slower. It's just passing passing passing.... He jumped out when we got to 5K and I was on my own... trying not to slow down. My first km after he left concerned me because it was around 5:30! but then the next was 4:30ish, so I guess it was a slow section of the course, or I hit the button at the wrong time or whatever. I wanted the watch to show an average of around 8 min/mile, preferably slightly under, but I knew the watch wouldn't be overly accurate in the trails.

When I hit 9K, Brendan jumped back in. I wasn't expecting this, so it was a pleasant surprise! I finished up my leg and tagged in our final runner. I maintained our position from when Bryan was running, which was what I was hoping to do.

I did a short and very slow cool down when Derek was running and then walked with Brendan to find him on the course, and then headed to the finish area with the rest of the team. Derek crossed the line as the 3rd open relay team.

Here's how we did for our laps:

Brendan: 48:56
Bryan: 55:30
Me: 61:07
Derek: 51:11
Total time: 3:36:44