Wednesday, August 16, 2017

ENDURrun Stage 3: 30K Cross Country

It's Wednesday morning, but today's stage isn't until evening, so I'm catching up on blogging about yesterday.

Yesterday was Stage 3, a 30K XC race at Bechtel Park. The course is a 5K loop, which is run 6 times. It's not very technical and there are no giant hills, but the hills that ARE there can wear you down.

My goal/plan for the stage was the same as it is every year: to run even times on my laps. The time I wanted to run each lap in may change each year, but the plan of even laps is always the same. Some times it goes to plan... some years it does not.

Here are my lap times from past years:
2011:  (1) 28:33  (2) 29:27  (3) 31:23  (4) 32:43  (5) 35:30  (6) 36:42
2012:  (1) 29:48  (2) 30:40  (3) 31:06  (4) 32:17  (5) 33:27  (6) 33:26
2013:  (1) 28:54  (2) 28:41  (3) 28:13  (4) 27:58  (5) 28:01  (6) 28:33
2014:  (1) 26:50  (2) 26:48  (3) 26:47  (4) 27:07  (5) 28:38  (6) 28:21
2015:  (1) 26:22  (2) 26:55  (3) 26:46  (4) 27:28  (5) 27:23  (6) 27:20
2016:  (1) 26:06  (2) 25:37  (3) 25:52  (4) 26:46  (5) 26:22  (6) 27:06

As you can see, my first year was pretty bad. I was more than 8 minutes slower on my last lap than I was on my first! 2012 was significantly better, but still an almost 4 minute differential. I started to figure things out in 2013, which, I guess you can say about a lot more than this stage, my times dropped across the board in 2013. I started running smarter at that point and it's evident in my pacing for stage 3. The difference between my slowest and fastest laps in 2013 was less than a minute.

2014 through 2016 weren't as consistent, but finish times were quicker. In fact, stage 3 is the only stage that I've improved on year after year.

Back to this year...
I ran with Merzi for almost 5 loops. We started out together and had the same idea as to what we wanted to do for lap times and finish time, so we stuck together. We are very close in the cumulative as well, so I figured we'd be running about the same this day. We chatted a fair bit as we ran, but not constantly. It did help to make the time (and loops) go by more quickly. Thaddeus was coming up behind us, so before the end of lap 5 Merzi picked it up a bit and Thaddeus followed, I stuck to my plan of being even and let them go. I ran the last loop mostly solo, and finished in 2:23:32, 40ish seconds behind Merzi and Thaddeus, and first female across the line.

My splits for this year's race:
(1) 23:56  (2) 23:51  (3) 24:03  (4) 23:44  (5) 24:00  (6) 23:58

The difference between my slowest lap and my fastest lap was only 19 seconds! I'm very happy with my consistency on this stage this year.

There were no changes in the top three on either side, but there were changes in the relays! I don't know exactly what happened right now, but you can certainly check things out on the results page and also on the H+P site, since the bulk of the relay teams are from the club!

After the stage was complete, I had a nice lazy afternoon in the hammock until it was time to get ready to meet up with some of the other runners for sushi and then out for a drink. It was a great evening with good friends. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

ENDURrun 2017 - Stage 2: 15K Time Trial

Today's race was the first of the two time trial stages, where the runners start one minute apart based on the Stage 1 finish times. Today was 15K and Saturday's TT is 10K.

I started my race this morning at 8:48am, one minute after Catherine, two minutes after Val. In order to keep the gold jersey for another day, I had to stay in the female lead cumulatively, so the pressure was on. I have never been more nervous at the start of a race!

When it was my turn to start, I headed down Sawmill Rd, seeing both women in the distance in front of me. The course is on three roads, all long and straight sections, which is great for keeping on eye on where everyone is.

I wanted to close the gap a bit, but didn't want to do anything too crazy and potentially wreck tomorrow's race. 30K is a long stage and a lot can happen there.

Around 11ish? maybe km. High 5 with Joanne on her birthday.
As I watched what was going on ahead, I saw that Catherine and Val were very close together, but they weren't pulling away, so this seemed ok to me. As they passed by a sign, I checked my watch, then checked as I passed the same sign. It was 30ish seconds, so from here on in, I tried to keep the gap about the same, knowing this would mean that I would increase my lead by at least a little bit.

I finished the stage in 1:02:00, first Ultimate female, 3rd female including guests and relay.

I am still in the gold for tomorrow. There was no change on the men's side, either.

Today's Stage
Cumulative: Ultimate Females , Ultimate Males

Sunday, August 13, 2017

ENDURrun 2017 - Stage 1: Half Marathon

ENDURrun is now in full swing!

This morning, stage 1 happened: the half marathon.

My alarm went off at 6am after waking up numerous times in the night. I got out of bed, made coffee and toasted an English muffin, couldn't find the shoes that I wanted to wear (turns out they were in the trunk of my car the whole time), so I grabbed my slightly older pair of the same model of shoe. I drove to the race site and was super excited to get this event started! I said hi to people, signed in, ran a very short warm-up, did some last minute prep and got to the start line.

Ten minutes before the start, we took a "class photo" so to speak. A photo of all of the Ultimate contenders before the race begins. A second photo will be taken next Sunday, after the marathon, of all of the Ultimate finishers.

The race began at 8am, and I found myself running next to Vicky S. We soon realized that we were hoping/planning to run right around the same time today, so we stuck together. Vicky was running Stage 1 for the H+P relay team that I am also part of, so it was nice to share the stage today.

For the first 10ish K, we had company, with Catherine D just behind us, but for the remainder of the stage, we were mostly on our own. We crossed the start/finish at the end of the first loop (~13 km) in just over 56 minutes, and finished the race in 1:32:02. We were the first females across the line.

One stage down.... six to go.

After eating a bunch of delicious food, the results were read and gold jerseys were awarded. Today, for the first time in my life, I was awarded with the gold! I have the privilege of wearing it tomorrow for the 15K time trial. Rob B. is in the gold for the men.

The gold is worn by the male and female who are in the lead cumulatively. As of right now, I have a 1:32 lead over 2nd place, 1:35 over 3rd. It's close right now.. and it's a long week. Anything can happen.

Cumulative results can be found here: Ultimate 2017

After the race today, I headed over to the Schmidt house (race director) to hang out with a few other runners in the pool. It was great to catch up, share stories, enjoy a beverage, and soak the legs in the cool water.

Once I was back at home, I got my stuff ready for tomorrow, did a few other little things around the house, and then made my way to the hammock for some lounging.

A post shared by Vicki Zandbergen (@vickizandbergen) on

Tomorrow's stage is a staggered start, with runners starting one minute apart, based on today's finish times. The final finisher from today starts first tomorrow, and the first finisher from today starts last. My estimated start time tomorrow is 8:47am. But... I'm not going to think about that right now. Right now I'm recovering and soon I will go to bed.

Good night everyone, and for those who are here... see you in the morning!

Saturday, August 12, 2017

ENDURrun 2017: Pre-Race Meeting

It's that time of year again.... ENDURrun is here again!
(I had the Oktoberfest song in my head for that.... if you live in KW, you know what I'm talking about.. you kind of have to stretch out ENDURrun, but it kind of works....)

Today.... Saturday, August 12, 2017... is pre-race meeting day! Right now it's 3ish pm and I'm at home, getting some stuff ready for the week, but soon, I'll head to Conestogo to meet up with runners and volunteers at the RD's house. It's always a bit of a reunion, since there are people who come to this event year after year (both runners and volunteers), those who are returning for the first time in a few years, and those who are new to the event, who will soon feel like they've known everyone forever.

At the meeting, we pick up our numbers and swag bag, eat some fruit and maybe some chips, mingle, and then it's time to get down to business. The details of the week are outlined, along with any course changes, etc. It's a great opportunity to get a good feel for the event and all of the hard work that goes into putting on this week. The head volunteers explain their roles and provide any instructions to the runners, such as what to do with garbage, recycling, and organics, what types of signs to look out for on the courses, etc.

While the meeting is not mandatory, it's definitely beneficial to attend.

9:26pm and I'm back home from the meeting, going out for food and a quick shopping trip for some food for in the house.

Revealing the new Volunteer Shirts

Lots of food at East Sides

There are no major changes to be aware of so far, but it has been noted that there is a tree down on the course for tomorrow's stage. I guess we'll find out just how much of an obstacle it is in the morning.

And now.... the swag bag.

I should stop writing in here now and actually get my stuff together for morning and get to bed at a decent time. Racing requires sleep!

Good luck to everyone running this week, and a giant thank you the Schmidts and all of the volunteers for making this week possible!

Good night!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

The rest of the April road trip

I dropped the ball on continuing with the posts in a timely manor. So, instead of trying to write anything decent, I'll pretty much just make this a post of unedited cell phone photos with very minimal writing. Once I actually work on the SLR photos, I'll put them up on flickr.

Boston, Massachusetts 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The day after the Boston Marathon, my friends & teammates were heading out of Boston, so I was now on my solo vacation. I had no actual plans at this point. I had to be out of my hotel by 11 or noon or whatever checkout time was and didn't know if I was going to stay in Boston or travel elsewhere, but was leaning toward elsewhere. I had just spent a few days in Boston, it was time to explore some more.

In the morning, I went out for a run with my phone in hand, to take a few photos along the way.

It was the perfect morning for a run. It was cool and there was no humidity... why couldn't it have been like this the day before? Oh well.. 

I took one more photo on this run, in the middle of the above photos. I somehow caught this out of the corner of my eye while running. I'm not sure how or why I saw it, but I'm glad I did. 

A post shared by Vicki Zandbergen (@vickizandbergen) on

After my run, I packed up and checked out, put my stuff in my car, which was booked to stay in the garage all day, so I set out to wander and explore. And.... it got cold... cloudy... windy. 

I checked out Faneuil Hall

Then headed out for more wandering/exploring.

I considered getting a cannoli from Mike's since it's apparently the thing to do.... then I saw this line:

I guess it IS the thing to do... but I didn't want to wait.

So... I went to Boston Public Market, where I got a coffee and a delicious vanilla bean donut,
sat and contemplated where to go next.

I decided on heading to the White Mountains. Checked for some options of places to stay, figured out a rough game plan, and then did some beer shopping (also in the market).

** ok.. interjecting here with something sort of funny that just happened. The mail just came, so I went to get it out of the box and in it was this:
That makes me feel slightly better about taking so long to finish up writing about April! haha **

New Hampshire

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

I arrived in Lincoln, NH at some point late afternoon or early evening. Checked into the Holiday Inn Express, was upgraded to a larger room since there weren't many people staying during the off season. Brought my stuff to my room, and walked to Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery to get some dinner and beer. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

This was a day of hiking at Greely Ponds Trail and Hancock Notch (with a bit of post-holing... post-holing to mid-thigh!) and just enjoying being outdoors.. until it started raining. At that point, I headed to a One Love Brewery for some food (and a beer) and then called it a day. 

In a shop window.

Wednesday, April 20, 2017

I went out for a short little run from the hotel around Lincoln in the morning and took a few photos. It was such a pretty morning!

My plan for this day was pretty loose. I would most likely cross into Canada at some point, but planned to stop several places on the way to do more exploring.

First stop: Franconia Ridge, Falling Waters Trail.

2nd stop: Littleton (for no real reason, just wanted to wander around a town with my camera)

3rd Stop: a lake in Vermont that looked pretty from the road. 

4th and final stop before Canada: Newport, VT.

I walked around by the beach for a bit and then to the East Side Restaurant for some food, since I hadn't had anything since breakfast. After this, it was time to head to my parents' house where I would stay for the night before driving back home to Kitchener. Actually, I think I stayed two nights. 

So there you have it. I can now get back to more recent/current posts... just in time for ENDURrun to start this weekend, the one time of year when I consistently blog. :)