Wednesday, June 28, 2017

April, the month my blog has ignored.... until now. (Part 1 of.... I'm not sure yet)

Nothing eventful happened the first couple weeks of April, so I will start this mid-April. Actually... this post will likely be about one week. We'll call it "Boston Week."

Thursday, April 13th
I took this day off work. I had some things I needed to do before leaving for my trip, so I wanted to be sure I had time to get those done and then drive half way to Boston without feeling rushed. Starting a vacation week frantically is never fun, so I wanted to avoid it! It worked.

When I arrived at the border early evening, it took all of 5 minutes to get through (including my wait behind other cars), so that was a pleasant surprise! Quick and painless. Nice.

On the other side, I drove for a bit, then stopped to get some food and a coffee. Ate and drank the coffee while driving, and arrived at my hotel at a decent hour. I had some time to hang out and watch tv for a bit before hitting the hay.

Friday, April 14th
Got up, had some free breakfast at the hotel, and then hit the road. Almost ran out of gas.... (long stretch of highway with no gas, got off the highway, arrived at a gas station with my car saying "1km to empty" on the display.. talk about cutting it close!) got to Boston early afternoon.

Checked in to my hotel, turned around, walked toward the elevator, and someone I knew came out! I wasn't expecting to run into people I know so quickly! Talked to Lumi and her daughter for a few minutes, then threw my stuff in my room, and headed to the expo.

I was SO happy that I got there on the Friday because there were no lines. I walked straight up to get my number and the same for my shirt. I didn't have to wait behind a single person!
Obligatory number pick-up selfie (sent to the teammates)

The expo itself was great, too, it didn't take too long to check it all out because I could actually walk around freely. I got my Sam Adams 26.2 beer samples, and walked around with looking at merchandise that I was most likely not going to buy. I ended up buying some nuun since I forgot mine at home, and got a sweet Boston bottle from them. I did swing by the North Face booth for a very specific item, which I now know is called the "Stow and Go" bra. I just called it the bra with the pocket across the front. I bought one, then quickly looked around the rest of the expo and headed back to my hotel. On my way back, I ran into more people that I know. :)

Got to the hotel, changed into running clothes, and ran to the Runners' Choice pop-up shop where I was going to get my free gloves, watch the live show of Super Secret Mystery Meeting, run with them, and then eat pizza and drink beer. It was a lot of fun.

A post shared by Vicki Zandbergen (@vickizandbergen) on

Saturday, April 15th
Val arrived Saturday morning, so once she got to the hotel, we headed out to a coffee shop
for coffee (obviously) and a little something to eat. After caffeination had occurred, we walked over to Boylston where we watched the 1km and mile races. When Val went to get her number and go to the expo, I headed to the Strava pop-up for my free socks, then did some shopping for a visor at the New Balance store, since I only brought hats and the forecast was looking to be hotter than expected.

Once all of that was done, we headed to Rock Bottom for some beer and food.

In the evening, I wandered around and ended up at Harpoon where I had one beer and then walked back to the hotel.

Sunday, April 16th.
Coffee, then run with Val.
Post run sandwiches.
Post run. Pre-sandwiches.
Afternoon patio beer with Emily and Garret in shorts and a tank top... in April. I'm usually a jeans kind of girl unless it's really warm out... It was hot. 

We decided to check out the pasta dinner, but when we saw the line for the pasta party winding around the building outside, we walked past, went out for dinner, sitting on a patio, in the nice hot weather. Well... nice for sitting on a patio.... not so much for what the next day had in store.

On the "way back" (it was a little out of the way to find a store that was open), we shopped for some post-race beer, and headed back to the hotel to get to bed at a decent time.
The purchases.
The photo that happened when I was going to take the above photo, but accidentally had the phone on front-facing camera (I didn't accidentally take the photo, but laughed when it was on front-faced and then had to take the photo).

That's enough for this post... I'm going to stop here. There will be more coming soon. I will write a race day post, and then I'll write about the week post-race.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Niagara Ultra 50K - June 17, 2017

Well... the Niagara Ultra 50K happened. It wasn't pretty, but it happened.

As I mentioned in my last post.... I hurt my big toe on my left foot by stupidly kicking a stump (accidentally, of course, but I should have been paying more attention) while running at Chicopee. I had hoped it would be pain free by race day, but I was not so lucky. It's nothing super painful, but it's there. It's an annoyance, and it's something that makes the body try to adjust or compensate... and well, it's never a good thing when that happens.

The race may not have gone all that well, but overall, it was fun weekend in Niagara-on-the-Lake with Heather and Andrew.

They picked me up on Friday after work and we headed straight to number pickup to get our numbers and sweatshirts. This race always has nice hoodies, with a different colour each year. This year was black.

After we picked up our stuff, we checked in, then headed out for dinner. Well, "out"... we were eating in the same building where we were staying.

After dinner and a couple drinks, it was time to think about sleeping. Morning was going to come quick. I got into bed, set my alarm for 4:50am and went to sleep. I slept not badly. I only remember waking up once, so that's not bad at all. Got up with my alarm, and headed out the door to walk to Tim Horton's for a coffee and bagel. I was walking back (it was about a km walk each way), trying to eat my bagel and spilled coffee all over my arm. haha. Whoops! At least I didn't spill TOO much and still had more to drink. :)

Got back to my room, showered quick, got ready for the race and headed out. As soon as I put on my running shoes, I knew things were not going to be great. I had discomfort just with wearing shoes. I hoped this would go away quickly, but as I walked to the race, it just remained.

I arrived at the race with enough time to eat a couple of tim bits, hit the port-a-potties, say hi to Dave, and get lined up.

The race itself:
  • I felt the toe with pretty much every running step
  • I was able to mostly ignore it for about an hour
  • The side of my foot started to hurt.. crap.. I've altered my gait
  • Walked some to try to "reset" my running gait
  • The toe felt ok when I walked
  • I walked too much because of the above
  • Thought maybe I'll drop when I get to 30K. That's still a solid long run.
  • Spent too much time at aid stations in the shade, but had fun chatting with the volunteers, who were amazing!
  • Decided at 30K that I'd finish the race. I could walk the last 20K and be under the time cut-off.
  • It was hot
  • It was humid
  • I was drenched in sweat
  • Finished 5th woman in 4:53, my 2nd slowest 50K.
I guess I need to come back again for a revenge run. :) It is a great race. Super well organized and a great course.

Now... some photos. The first two are from Dave and the 3rd is what I posted on Instagram on Saturday:

Since the race, I haven't run. I want this toe to heal completely, but it's driving me nuts how long it's taking. It's not like I truly injured myself (well, I guess maybe I did.... ), all I did was kick a small stump when running.... that's all! How many times have I tripped on a rock or a root or even a sidewalk or curb and been fine? So many. Oh well. It will get better. Hopefully very soon.

Next up race wise.... I'm not sure. Possibly Limberlost, but I'm not going to sign up just yet. I have a mile race next month and then ENDURrun in August.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Catching Up: May and the first half of June

I started a post a while back.... like over a month ago.... about Boston and April in general, but still haven't finished it, so I'll put that one on the backburner for now and move on. It will be here at some point, but not today. In the meantime, I don't want this blog to sit idle.

So.... let's pretend April didn't happen for now. I'll give a May and first half of June recap here and then maybe just maybe be a little more regular at writing stuff going forward.

I ran one race in May, but I wasn't actually racing it. I was never planning to race it. I signed up for the Ottawa Marathon maybe two weeks before the event, with plans of running it as a long run leading up to the 50K in June (which is coming up this weekend). It was 3 weeks before race day, so it seemed like an excellent time to jump into a marathon and with family in Ottawa, it would be an inexpensive weekend away. Plus, it's Canada 150 this year, so I figured it would be a good year to take part in the fun that is Race Weekend in Ottawa!

But... let's back it up a bit and talk about all of May.

The first three weeks of May were solid training weeks. I got some decent long runs in, and some solid workouts. Mileage was where I wanted it to be as well. I was feeling good. Actually, that statement is untrue. They were great and I felt good until the second last day of week three.

I was running my long run, which also included a workout component and.. around 9 or 10 miles in, my foot started to hurt a bit. Not so much that I needed to stop, but it was *something* and I didn't like it. I had this dull pain in the side of the ball of my left foot. I had done my run with a large out and back section and this started around the turnaround, so it's not like I could really just stop anyway... I had to get back on foot whether it was running or walking... and well... running is a lot quicker. So, I continued and the pain went away after a while, so I didn't need to take a shortcut back to my car. I finished up my 22 miles and headed home.

The next day (Sunday), I went out to run what was supposed to be 12 miles. It became 4 miserable miles. I had heel pain, foot pain, ball of foot pain. You name it. Not fun. I took Monday and Tuesday off running completely and went to see my chiro on Wednesday (she's fantastic, by the way). She worked on my calf and my foot and gave me some exercises to do at home. I ran a short easy run that day and a short workout the next, and by Saturday I felt great again! I'm continuing to do my exercises to make sure this doesn't happen again!

I drove to Ottawa straight from work on the Friday. Traffic wasn't too bad getting out of Toronto for once, so that was good. I arrived Friday evening around 8pm and my sister had already picked up my number and shirt for me. Thanks Andrea!

Saturday morning, we took a lazy coffee drinking morning for a few hours before I headed out for a run and was pleasantly surprised to see how good I felt. It was great! No pain.

Got back, went out and about with Andrea and the dog, then it was off to watch the 10K! The 10K was the Canadian Championships and is always a fun race to watch. This year, I knew a lot of people with Elite status in the race, so it was even more fun to be able to watch them warming up in front of the line, and starting ahead of the pack. My sis and I watched just around the corner from the start, then headed toward the finish, to watch from the VIP tent. Oh the perks of having a sister who works at City Hall. :) Cheering from the tent with open bar and food was a lot of fun. Andrea sent me some photos that she took:

It was great to not have to be concerned about what I was eating or drinking or the fact that I was on my feet for several hours the night before the marathon! I was already enjoying this not racing the marathon thing and it wasn't even race day yet. :)

Sunday morning, got up at 5, got ready, headed downtown. No warmup before this one, since I was planning to start out nice and easy anyway. The "plan" (which really wasn't much of a plan at all since I hadn't come up with a real one)... so the loose plan, was to run the first half nice and easy and then run around goal 50K pace for the second half.

I started running, and found myself just behind the 3:30 pace group, which was where I kind of wanted to be, but there were too many people and it was frustrating so, I passed them after a bit and planned to just stay a little in front of them where there was more room. I was running along, enjoying the sights and the spectators, giving high fives to kids on the street, etc. I was having fun! Around 8 miles I glanced at my watch and noticed that my average pace was quicker than I intended it to be. Whoops! So at this point any loose plan that I had went out the window. I was still enjoying myself and it still felt easy, so I just kept doing whatever. When I was crossing a bridge a while later, I thought maybe I should back off a bit until I get to 20 miles and then try to pick it up and run the final 10K strong. Well.... that's when the temperature really started to rise. It got hotter and hotter and the sun was beating down in full force. I made full use of aid stations and had fun along the way. I wasn't suffering or anything, but I wasn't going to try to push things too much, either. I had a freezie incident at one point... a very nice person who was handing out freezies happened to cut both ends.... so I was dripping red sticky liquid all over my legs. I actually ended up pulling off to the side to eat my freezie and then start running again! haha. I didn't want to give up my freezie, but I didn't want it to keep dripping on me! :)

I finished the marathon in 3:31, which I was perfectly ok with. I wasn't trying to hit any goal times, I had a solid long run, and an enjoyable one at that!

Afterward, it was back to the VIP tent. :) I spent a few hours there, which was fun.
Ottawa knows how to put on a good race weekend!

After my mini-vacation was over (I took Monday off work to drive back), it was now June and I was having a decent week of running, but.... I ended up getting sick less than a week later, so no workouts and no long run for me. At least it was only 2 weeks from race day, so the timing wasn't horrible. Close enough that I'm not missing out on gaining more fitness before race day, but also far enough out that I'd be fully recovered from the virus going into the race. I figured this would be the last of my "bad luck" heading toward the 50K.... but... I'm me.....

Last weekend, I had a good 12 mile run on Saturday, then Sunday morning met up with some people to run at Chicopee. All was going well until I managed to kick the same little stump that I've kicked in the past (it's maybe 2" tall and not painted or anything, in a section where there may even be some woodchips.... not overly visible, but still my fault for not seeing it).... this time I kicked it harder than I ever have before... I went down, but that wasn't the painful part.. it was my big toe. It's now 4 days later and it's still a bit swollen and still causes discomfort. Fingers crossed that it's 100% better Saturday morning. It's certainly nothing to be concerned about injury wise or anything.. there's no discolouration and movements don't hurt, but I'm guessing there's just some swelling pushing against the nail, that with pressure against my toe when I toe off, there's a bit of pain. I'm just taking it easy this week to hopefully aid in as quick a deswelling as possible. :)

And.... now I'm caught up! (except for missing April)