Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year's Running Resolutions

1. Wake up first thing every morning and go for a run before doing anything else and without complaining about it being early, dark, rainy, cold, or Sunday. 2. Do whatever it takes to get faster. Yes, even if it means shaving my legs and armpits. 3. No crying or saying "I can't" "It's too hard" "I'm too tired" or "I don't want to". Not during workouts OR, for that matter, before going work in the morning. 4. Keep this blog a secret from my (unnamed) employer. 5. Fully protect all electronic gadgets while out running in the rain. Seems obvious, but you'd be surprised... 5. No more using pastries as motivation to kick butt during training. 6. Do NOT gain weight while marathon training. Not sure how that happened.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Santa Brought Us a Puppy!

(UPDATE: The lost puppy was picked up by the local bylaw officer this morning, apparently the owners called looking for her - and she should be home by now...keeping this story posted because I think it's cute and I haven't got any more stories right now) Actually it was a guy named Jim. Last night (Sat. Dec.20) a guy dressed in a parka and barely keeping hold of a very squirmy black lab puppy (maybe a bit less than a year old) came knocking at our door. He was sure this puppy belonged to our next-door-neighbours and that they were probably out searching for her in the dark and blistering cold (about -20C with windchill). He was planning to tie her up outside their door (!) so we said, "No, no, we'll keep her until they come home". I left a note on their door stating their beloved little pet was warm and cozy at our house and please come get her. Well, as luck would have it - our neighbour came by to tell us that, no, that was not in fact their puppy. "Meadow" was safe at home and had been there all night. The rest of the evening was spent making signs and posting them around the town (it's actually a village), calling the local animal shelters, checking the "lost & found" ads online, and posting my very own on craigslist. There was one promising ad for a lost dog, and I phoned and left a message with them (still waiting). We also had to make sure the highly rambunctious pup did not test our 7-year old Rottweiler, Freddie's, patience too much. She's very cute, has a little bit of white on her chest, and seems well cared for. It would have helped if she'd had some tags, but she was wearing a collar. She's a very nice dog and I'm sure someone somewhere is missing her very much. If you know who's dog she is feel free to leave a comment here or contact the Whistler Animal Shelter, she will be there by noon today (Sun. Dec.21).

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top 10 Running Revelations in 2008

1. Never talk your boyfriend into letting you sign him up for a race. If he really wants to do one he'll sign himself up without any pleading from you. 2. It's easier to make friends with people who run than to try to convert your friends into runners. 3. A large bowl of strawberries and milk does not, I repeat, does not, make a good pre-race meal. 4. People you've never met or laid eyes on can be the best running buddies you've ever had. 5. Your enthusiasm for running is not necessarily contagious. 6. Keeping all of your race bibs posted at your cubicle at work can lead to surprising and informative responses from co-workers. 7. Talking to other people about their running is more interesting than talking about your own. 8. The PR's don't come as easily after a couple of years of running without a lot more hard work. 9. No matter how unfit you feel after tapering your running for 3 weeks before a marathon you can trust the training to take you where you want to go. 10. If running is part of your lifestyle you won't feel right if you stop. So don't even try.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Everyday Runner Interview 1

This is the first installment in a series of interviews I hope to do with other regular, everyday people like me who are trying to find a balance between the demands of life and the desire to stay active and healthy. My first willing candidate, Stephanie (which may or may not be her real name) sat down with me (virtually via MSN) on a Wednesday night in November to discuss life, fitness, and running over a glass of Pinot Noir. Name: Stephanie Age (or not, whatever): 30 Location: Vancouver Occupation (besides running of course): Intern Architect. Running Bébé says: Complete this sentence: What I'm excited about these days is... Stephanie says: Learning a new language, taking real steps in professional development...you know studying for my career, and getting back into shape. Running Bébé says: Is it hard to balance a busy career with staying fit? Stephanie says: Yes. Well, at least for me. I really like the job I have, but I work longer hours, so I find that at the end of the day I just want to go home and relax. But most of that difficulty in balancing career and exercise is because I'm pretty lazy. Running Bébé says: Haha. I'm sure that's not true. Running Bébé says: Well, maybe the recession has a bright side. If you're too busy at work its harder to fit in exercise right? Stephanie says: Well, I'm not necessarily lazy, but I am a home-body, so...I suppose that could be an upside of a slow-down. Running Bébé says: This is very interesting. Running Bébé says: Ok...Next one.... Running Bébé says: What I’m bummed about these days is... Stephanie says: My project at work is a little slow right now...and we're entering a recession...so I wish I could be a little bit more busy and productive work-wise. Also, I'm bummed about the depressing economic news (every day!) Running Bébé says: Word. Running Bébé says: When you're not being a home-body and work is not too crazy what do you do for fitness? Stephanie says: I was running for a while. And then there was a LONG lull. I walk a lot, and I took some sailing lessons in the summer, but really that only lasted two weekends. I also used to do Pilates once a week. Unfortunately I can't say that I have a healthy exercise regimen. Stephanie says: However, I'm happy to report that I started running again on Monday, but I don't think I can call it a regimen until I've been doing it consistently for a month. Running Bébé says: Congratulations! Running Bébé says: Smart move. Stephanie says: I bet you weren't expecting that! Running Bébé says: NO I wasn't Running Bébé says: So, would you say you do better with a more structured routine (as far as running goes)? Stephanie says: Structured how? Running Bébé says: I mean if you're following some sort of plan or have an end goal in mind like a race or being able to run a certain distance. Stephanie says: I think it helps, certainly. When I first started it helped that I had signed up for a class and I didn't want my money to go to waste. Having a goal like a race helped in that I had to complete a certain distance each week or I wouldn't be able to manage the week after. Stephanie says: But...now because of time-constraints, it gets harder. Because I want to keep challenging myself, because the challenge motivates me to go out and complete the runs, but I'm not able to commit the time to do longer training runs for longer-distance goals. Running Bébé says: Would you say it's a bit of a balancing act - trying to challenge yourself without stressing yourself out completely? You need goals and some structure but you also want it to be fun, right? Stephanie says: Yeah, I think there's some lee-way in always pushing yourself. Like maybe I don't have to train for a half-marathon, maybe I can just focus on doing a 10K faster than last year. That means I can try to do more hill training and speed runs, which are sometimes more fun. Stephanie says: Also, maybe I can try to be more flexible about when I'm doing my runs...I tend to do them in the morning or the evening...and I've thought about maybe doing a lunchtime run...to take advantage of the daylight and to have a break from work. Running Bébé says: That sounds very do-able. (I don't know how to spell that. Oh well.) Stephanie says: (there's a special word for that: feasible) Stephanie says: feasable? no that doesn't look right. Running Bébé says: feasible i think. Running Bébé says: If anyone out there knows how to spell feasable please email me at runningbebe@gmail.com Running Bébé says: (sorry, I digress) Running Bébé says: It sounds like you really want to make the running work in your life. Running Bébé says: So, can you imagine yourself running in 5 years? Stephanie says: Yes. But someone pointed out to me, that it's not my lifestyle yet...so it will feel like a chore for a while. I guess, I've come to the conclusion that it's a relatively easy way to stay in shape so I should continue trying to fit it into my life. Running Bébé says: Plus some of your bestest friends run Stephanie says: So 5 years from now...I'm not sure. I think I'll go through many more periods of not running for months at a time...but hopefully over time those periods will get shorter and shorter. Stephanie says: Sort of like conquering my innate laziness. Running Bébé says: Yes, ha. You may relapse a few times... And if the relapse gets out of hand I'll help to organize an intervention. Stephanie says: Actually a friend in Shanghai has started running...and has given up beer...he wants to get rid of his gut. Running Bébé says: Wow. That's crazy talk! Running Bébé says: Hold on, hold on...Lets not get carried away here! Stephanie says: So now he only has wine and liquor. It's a calories thing. Running Bébé says: So, what are YOU prepared to give up? In the name of running and health and all that? Stephanie says: I don't know... Stephanie says: I think I'm willing to give up tv. I know that sounds odd. But I love tv, and often I don't go for a run after work because there's something starting at 8 and I want to watch it... Running Bébé says: Maybe you just need one of those tivo things Stephanie says: But I read something today that although tv may make you happy in the short term...over a long period of time it prevents from going out and doing things socially and reading and such, so that people who watch a lot of tv, in the end are not happy. Running Bébé says: I'll buy that. Stephanie says: I can always just watch shows when they come out on dvd. A tv marathon. Running Bébé says: Thanks for playing along. I just have a couple more questions. Stephanie says: sure. shoot. Running Bébé says: Not to create stress or anxiety but do you plan on entering any running events in the near future? Or distant future, as it may be? Stephanie says: Well, I went out for a run this evening, and for the second one after 3 months it felt pretty good. And so then I started to have that happy glowy 'I can conquer the world'-feeling...and I thought maybe I'd do the Santa Shuffle...and then the Sun Run in April and maybe a half-marathon in May or June...and then we'll see... Running Bébé says: Wow. Stephanie says: You know, sometimes my brain gets carried away. Running Bébé says: Did that feeling go away after you got home and showered? Stephanie says: Well, it did until now...when you brought it up again. Running Bébé says: Well, lets see, you've done what now, a couple of 5Ks and a 10K race, right? Stephanie says: yes. Running Bébé says: Think you'll ever do a marathon (other than a TV one)? Stephanie says: Yes. Because I've found that no matter who you know, at some point conversation will turn to running and marathons and the question always comes up 'Have you done a marathon?' And, I'm always surprised by how many seemingly ordinary people have done one. So it makes it seem like a very real and achievable goal. Running Bébé says: Yes. Stephanie says: Plus there's when you watch a marathon there's always those old folks running, and if they can do it, I think I'd be okay. Stephanie says: (I know, that sounds awful.) Running Bébé says: No. Everyone who's ever done a marathon has gone thru that exact thought process I think. Running Bébé says: So I think we should do this again in a month or so and see how things evolve with you. Stephanie says: or devolve? Stephanie says: ok, we won't go there. Running Bébé says: No, stay away from the dark side. Stephanie says: I'll try my best. Running Bébé says: Is there anything I didn't ask that you really wanted to talk about? Stephanie says: Hmm...I know that I had some last words or parting thoughts or something...let me think for a moment... Running Bébé says: Ok. I'll fill my wine glass... Stephanie says: I guess my last words are actually a link to a blog...not your blog (sorry). It was the first time I read a race report, and it was this weird, foreign activity to read about (since I wasn't running at the time.) But the thing about it, is that it was still really entertaining, but now I go back and read it, and it's entertaining because now I'm also a runner. Running Bébé says: Cool! Lets have it! Stephanie says: I know I sent it to you a long time ago. It was my first introduction to the concept of bleeding nipples: http://www.idlewords.com/2003/11/the_new_york_city_marathon_now_it_can_be_told.htm Running Bébé says: Ah yes, I remember. Thanks for sharing! I'll end it there. Running Bébé says: Now you are off the record. Stephanie says: Ah, well it's been a pleasure. (you can put that in if you want...)

Monday, November 3, 2008

Post-Marathon Week 3: A Peek at the Peak-to Peak

I’m still avoiding any hard running, but I’m happy to report I’ve been getting out there three times a week for my lunch-hour 3 milers.

Peak-to-Peak Gondola Car (Plan & Elevation)

On the skiing front, Ian & I have started our self-guided Pre-Ski Training Camp which is pretty hardcore. Ian’s the trainer and I do what I’m told, which is highly unusual. We’re doing agility drills and a lot of core strengthening using silly looking props like the Swiss Ball, Medicine Ball, and Rubber Band. They look like toys but are, in fact, modern-day tools of torture. My abs are finally feeling normal again after a couple of weeks of complaining from the strain. Ian assures me all of this hard work will make skiing easier AND more fun. Last weekend driving past Whistler we saw the new Peak-to-Peak Gondola running for the first time. It’s quite a sight. Little black blobs in the distance gliding perilously along a thin line stretched over an unfathomable gap. Apparently it is the first horizontal gondola in North America to link two mountain tops. Imagine standing in a little car, holding on for dear life while dangling over the abyss. Sound fun? It is now the highest and longest unsupported horizontal lift span AND the longest continuous lift system in the world. All of this engineering genius just so you and I will can ski both mountains on the same day.

Here are some facts on the P2P: Speed 7.5 meters per second. Ride Time approximately 11 min. Whistler Mountain to Blackcomb Mountain Frequency one cabin departs every 49 seconds Total Distance 4.4km/2.73miles (straight line) Length of Unsupported Span 3.024km/1.88 miles (straight line between the two towers that are furthest apart) Highest Point above the ground is 436m/1427 feet over Fitzsimmons Creek

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Post-Marathon Week 2: What the Plan Is

So, 2 weeks post-marathon and time for a bit of an update. I am still recovering from the Victoria Marathon (which I ran on Oct.12th) and haven't been doing any hard running lately. I don't have any injuries to worry about, which is great, but my knees and ankles are not 100% back to normal yet. My rule of thumb is generally a month of very easy running after a marathon, so I am on track. So what's this map of Whistler Mountain doing up here you may ask? Well, my friends, you see last winter I braved ice & snow, polar winds, snowploughs, blizzards, incessant rain, and perpetual darkness to get in my long runs while marathon training.... ...After that splendid experience I decided there was no way in hell I would train for a spring marathon again unless I qualified for Boston. So, this winter I've got a season's pass to Whistler & I plan to ski my ass off through the months of December, January, February, March, and April.
You can expect to see a lot more pictures like this one (above) in the coming months....

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Post-Marathon Week 1: Why I Hate the Gym

I used to enjoy going to the gym. Long before I became a runner I spent years doing a combination of cardio and strength training. I had upper body strength. Now I'm built like a frog - all my power is concentrated in my legs and my arms have become darn near obsolete. So I decided to start working out a couple of days a week and see if I can't regain the use of the top half of my body. I've made two visits to a fitness center a block away from my apartment and am not impressed so far.

There are a lot of 20-something men walking around like peacocks. That, combined with the constant thumping hip-hop music gives the place a cheesy nightclub feeling. Maybe I'm too demanding, but I like to control what I'm listening to. In this day and age when almost everyone has a personal music device why can't the gym be quiet? I guess I've gotten spoiled by the peace and solitude of road running.

Last time I was there I even gave the receptionist/personal trainer/male model and his little punk sidekick a piece of my mind. I'm pretty sure it just amused them...

Anyway, whatever - their loss. I'm revising my plan. I think I'll join the yoga studio instead of the gym and use that for cross-training. Might not have the same effect on my upper body strength, but any increased flexibility will probably help my running. And its good for anger management...

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Race Report - Royal Victoria Marathon

Sunday October 12th started very cool, crisp, and dark. The weatherman predicted a temperature of around 10C (50F) with a sun and cloud mix. Perfect! At 7 am, sporting my new $12 dollar green and black thrift-store fleece I headed out for a 15 minute walk to the race. When I arrived I was lucky enough to watch the start of the Half-Marathon, and saw the leaders run by, preceded by a motorcade - lights flashing. That got my heart pumping.

Pretty soon it was time to line up behind the start line and I spent the last few seconds before the gun listening to Cypress Hill's "Rock Superstar" - which made me feel really tough. The gun fired, off came the ugly warm-up clothes...and we were underway.

video

(I'm in the red top and black tights - don't blink!) video

The first few miles took us on a meandering tour through downtown Victoria. The twists, turns, and gentle hills kept my interest. We passed the Empress Hotel, the harbour, and the stately legislative buildings.

At mile 5, I passed Ian and my Dad and found myself in the green and gold foliage of Beacon Hill Park. The clouds parted and warm, golden light spread out across the sky.
The next phase took us into the established residential streets of Oak Bay. Quite a few local neighbourhood folks were encamped on the ends of their driveways and in their front yards with noisemakers, signs, and refreshments. What the crowds lacked in numbers they certainly made up for in sincerity.
After we left the residential section we settled in for a long march along the Pacific on Dallas Road from mile 11 to 16 and back. Here, as well as throughout the rest of the race, there were evenly spaced gentle hills to keep things interesting. The spectators thinned out even more and for the most part it was just the runners, the road, and the shore. It was a very peaceful atmosphere with the wide expanse of the ocean spreading out on one side and a winding road unfolding beneath our feet.

After all that solitude I was very happy to find my friend Stephanie and her Mom enthusiastically waving and cheering as I went by mile 17 and then again at 29.

Throughout the journey I did have a lot of work to do. I phoned Ian every 5 or 6 miles and filed a report. I walked and drank at all of the water stops and ate 3 cliff shot bloks every hour. I kept scanning the sidewalks for Ian and my Dad, who might appear at any moment from behind a large tree or parked car. Finally, and most importantly I had to remember my mission: Make it to mile 20 feeling great and ready to start the marathon!

(Here I am at mile 20 getting a last drink from Ian)

It's safe to say my strategy worked. I ended up seeing Ian and my Dad at least 5 times and I think each time they were surprised to see a smile on my face. Aside from one episode of aching toes (which was quickly remedied with Advil) and a couple of breaks to stretch stiff legs - I did arrive at Mile 20 feeling pretty great. Around mile 21 I accepted a tiny cup of beer from one of the Oak Bay folks and dug in.

In the end I did feel pretty crappy the last 3 or 4 miles but I kept reminding myself that this was going to be my last really long run for a loooong time, and that helped keep my pace up.

I crossed the finish with a chip time of 4:10:41, beating my previous record by 10 minutes and blowing my "best case sceneario" goal of 4:15 out of the water. Thanks to all my supporters and I'll keep you posted on the recovery...

Monday, October 6, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 17 - GUEST BLOG by Ian A.

Running Bébé is busy winding down her training this week and thought it may be a good idea for a guest blog. This is my second guest blog entry – I wrote one a few months ago about a run we did together that didn’t go so well. Anyways, I thought I'd recap some of the highlights and lowlights of RB’s training for the Victoria marathon on Oct. 12.

Highlights:

1. The Lands End Half Marathon – This was a training run in early September. It was run in a rural part of Victoria and although RB didn’t have a great time, I had a fun time watching the race with RB’s dad and his dog. It was a beautiful Sunday morning and John, Reilly and I bombed around the countryside in his Jeep following the course. We probably stopped on the roadside 7 or 8 times to take pictures. The runners started to recognize us after a couple of stops which was fun.

2. Last 20 Mile Training Run – RB and I went on her last 20 mile run a couple of weeks ago in Pemberton. I was on my bike for 20 miles and she ran. We saw all of the sights – the mountains, streams and had a very nice day. My butt was sore from close to four hours on the saddle but I’d definitely do that again.

3. Podcasts – I am not sure if all runners are into podcasts but RB certainly is. Most weekends we drive from Vancouver up to Pemberton and our main forms of entertainment are listening to running podcasts and singing along to RB’s bad selection of songs on her iPod. She is the only person I know that only keeps 15-20 songs on her iPod so there is never much selection – I tried explaining that most people keep all of their songs on the ipod but I think she is very storage conscious. In any case, I am probably one of the only non-runners who listen to the likes of 4 Feet Running, Pheddipidations and Another Runner. I have been enjoying all of them and look forward to new episodes each week.

4. Longest Day 5K – I am not sure if this was during the actual training period but this was my first race ever and we had a nice time. Fun race followed by free BBQ – what could be better than that?

5. Blog Comments – The comments that readers have left are great motivation. Its nice to know others are in the same boat and have experienced the same things. Don’t be shy, leave comments!

Lowlights:

1. Pre-Marathon Nervousness – After RB had finished all of her long runs she had a bout of anxiety about the marathon. Its funny that it seems to happen after all of the hard work is done.

2. Land End Half Marathon – While this was a highlight of mine, it was a bit rough for RB. She had a bit of an asthma attack during the last 3 kms of the race. We couldn’t see her during this time and waited at the finish for her. She was on pace for a great time to that point so it was a little bit disappointing for her.

3. Running in Rain – we live in Vancouver, if you don’t run in the rain you will never run.

Its been a fun few months of training. It looks like RB is not planning to run a spring marathon so she will be doing other activities this winter (bring on the snow!!). I am looking forward to the marathon this Sunday and will try to update her Twitter if I can figure it out. Be sure to send her your best wishes for the race this Sunday!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 16

As I write this, the Victoria Marathon is two weeks away. I have NOT had a good week of running and today I started seriously considering bailing out of the race. What went wrong this week? Why the sudden (or not so sudden) lack of confidence? 1. I only ran 2 days this week, 5 & 6 miles respectively mainly because I didn't feel like running. 2. I found myself procrastinating a lot about going for runs, a couple of times I procrastinated until it was too dark outside to go. 3. One mile into my Sunday long run (a planned 15 miles) I couldn't make myself do it any more and walked home. Part of it was due to a lot of aches & pains (a recurring theme lately) in my legs and feet. This time it was primarily my right knee. I also tired after an active day of cleaning and doing errands and hadn't eaten for 4 hours....But there was a more powerful factor. It was a lack of will. An complete and utter absence of any desire to run one more step. I have had some feelings of ambivalence since the Half-Marathon, which I ran on Sept.14th. That race was pretty gruelling for me and during the last few miles I found comfort in the idea of NOT doing the marathon.... Going forward, I am afraid that even if I get right back to my training schedule this week it will be too late to make up for the missed runs. I also fear the aches and pains will come back to haunt me during the marathon, making it extremely unpleasant and resulting in an embarrassing finish time (or a DNF)....which would be harsh. So, where does this all leave me? Should I just get back on track and stick to the plan of aiming for a 4:15 finish time? Should I just go and do my best and be happy to finish at all? Should I heed the warnings from my knees, hips, ankles, and tendons and take a little break from training? Should I flip a coin? I'm not sure what to do, to be honest...and would definitely appreciate some feedback...

Monday, September 22, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 15

Here are some photos from my last really long run before the marathon. They were taken in the Village of Pemberton, which happens to be at an altitude of about 2300 feet.
This one's for the Bad Girls of Running (a Runner+ Challenge). I was extra bad: I only ran 19 miles when I was scheduled to do 20.
The running tights are new, and I like them. No chafing and I think I might even wear them for the marathon.
Speaking of which, the marathon is in 3 weeks and here are my finish time predictions based on recent performances.
-Based on a 2:04:38 Half-Marathon (Landsend Half, Sept.14/08), Runner's World predicts a: -4:19:51 Marathon
-Based on a 56:38 10K (Human Race, Aug.31/08): 4:20:30 Marathon
-Based on a 27:15 5K (Delta 5K, ) : 4:20:53 Marathon
-Based on my last Yasso 800's session: 4:04:00 Marathon
-If I take the average of all these predictors, the most realistic marathon time I come up with is: 4:16:19
Working plan is to follow the 4:15 pace team. We'll see how that goes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 14

RACE REPORT - LANDSEND HALF-MARATHON
When I heard the weather forecast Saturday night for race day I had some apprehensions. By all accounts it was shaping up to be a hot day. Sunny and a high of 29C - much warmer than the previous couple of weeks.
Nevertheless, I put my reservations aside and headed over to Vancouver Island for the Landsend Half-Marathon. A beautiful rural setting for a road race awaited with winding roads and rolling hills shaded by a canopy of evergreens. The route is lined with secret coves, pastoral farms, and quaint cottages. I had run the route 2 weeks prior (see Week 10) and knew what to expect. My goal was to maintain a 9:05 pace and finish the race just under 2 hours.
At 9am sharp 178 runners headed off into the countryside. We passed by horses, cows, sheep, and other curious onlookers. Most of the way I managed to stay on schedule, though my speed fluctuated wildly with the numerous climbs and descents.
My Dad and my boyfriend, Ian, raced all around hell's half acre in a green Jeep to shout words of encouragement, Dad furiously snapping away with his fancy camera. The last time I saw them was near the last water stop, at the 18K mark. I took off my fuel belt and handed it off after one more swig of Gatorade. I had decided to run the last 3K unencumbered.
Things deteriorated pretty quickly after that. Those last few kilometres turned out to be a gradual uphill all the way to the finish. There was no shade and no more aid stations. Then out of nowhere I started having trouble breathing: I was having an asthma attack.
I stopped to walk and suck air for a few minutes, trying to calm down and keep myself conscious long enough to gulp some shallow breaths. The whole episode was worsened by a growing sense of panic. My over-developed imagination took hold and I had a terrible vision of myself collapsing and no one finding me in the long grass....
After a couple of minutes walking and calming myself I manged to start a slow jog. My mind started functioning normally again and one thought entered it: I don't want to do no stinking marathon.
With 1K to go I started running in earnest, just wanting it to be over, and made for a strong finish. I passed two old ladies in the final stretch and heard the announcer calling my name out. A few more strides and I was home. video
I guess I didn't look as strong as I thought, because as soon as I was through the line and my number was taken I was whisked off to the aid station against my will. The volunteers had me sit and lower my head. Ice was placed on the back of my neck while one of the ladies checked my pulse.
An elderly runner, who had finished the race about an hour or so before me, asked if I'd ever run a half-marathon before. Humiliation set in. I struggled to breathe for a few minutes and saw the worried look on my Dad's face.
About 5 minutes later I was walking around and my father was plying me with chocolate chip cookies and watermelon slices. I was not pleased with my time in the end (2:04:39), but it was just one of those events you are just happy to finish.
Notes:
-had 2 packages of instant oatmeal with some walnut crumbs on top + one coffee 2 hours before race
-drank 4 small bottles gatorade mixed with water (2 scoops gatorade in total)
-asthma problems occurred 2 hours into the run, so I need to keep my inhaler AND PHONE handy
-no significant stomach problems -no significant aches or pains (except mental)
-preferred the new fuel belt with 4 small bottles to the 1 bottle version

Monday, September 8, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 13

This is my cubicle. As you can see I'm working on wallpapering it with race bibs. These ones are all from 2008 races, so far I have 8 (not including the photocopy of my Nike+ 10K shirt , which is coming). The collection is a good conversation starter. Whenever someone comes by my desk and sees the display for the first time they usually start asking me about running....which is, of course, part of my evil plan. Speaking of evil plans....I finished the first 20 mile run of the training regimen I'm following (a cross between Hal Higdon Novice II & Intermediate I). It became rather difficult after about 13 miles, but I survived and rewarded myself with a 10 minute ice bath and a movie later in the evening. I had to hobble home from the movie, my left knee was bothering me. I plan to keep icing it and take it easy this week. Hopefully I'll be ok for the upcoming Landsend Half-Marathon on Sunday, Sept.14th....

Monday, September 1, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 12

This was a pretty low-mileage week for me since I decided to focus on a 10K race on Sunday. I was hoping to set a new personal record, but in the end I missed it by 39 seconds, finishing in 56:38...The event was the Nike+ Human Race 10K in Vancouver and here are my thoughts on the event:
Nike+ Human Race 10K
Positives:
-amazing spectacle to behold: a red ribbon of thousands running through the city
-good shirt (red micro-fibre, good fit for women, printed on front AND back)
-gift at the end (bracelet) was a nice touch
-choice of 3 charities to run for (choice=good)
-personally, I liked the location (10 minute walk from my apartment, directly in front of my office, pictured below)
-ability to try on race shirt and get the right size
-lots of days before the race to pick up package
-video montage on big screens of race going on in other world cities earlier in the day
-number of porta-potties (enough)
-unique idea of having your number printed on your shirt
-generally a good route
-good weather
-great turnout (a few thousand)
-results uploaded to internet quite fast and with splits at a couple of points on the route
Negatives:
-long lines at the bag check (especially if your last name started with 'A' or 'B')
-late start (at least 20 minutes)
-high cost of entry fee ($50 in Vancouver)
-no entry into the post-race festival area except for registered runners or volunteers, and you couldn't even buy a ticket for your loved-ones (this was not publicized very well)
-jacquizzis on site (though I didn't actually see them) - not sure how that is supposed to help anyone after a race (ice baths would have been more appropriate of course - though less popular)
-only 10% of entry fee to charity
-location of porta-potties (not near bag-check=not convenient)
-no race bib to stick in the collection
-map of start/finish site should've been included in race package (a big area!)
-only 3 water stations as far as I could tell, that were under-staffed & too small (cups too small too)
-one spot there was confusion about which way to go, half the people went too far around and the other half had to stop at a bottleneck crossing a pedestrian bridge
-not much crowd support most of the way
-strange disembodied female voice recording on a loop repeating words of encouragement at a few points (may have been a positive for some, for me it was weird)
-last 2K uphill=not nice
-being handed a gift (bracelet) at the finish - when what I wanted at that point was a drink or a snack
-very limited or no free food or drinks as far as I could tell becuase the beer garden and BBQ required payment
Final conclusion: Glad to have done it for research purposes - but once was enough.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 11

Week 11 down - I can't believe it. I kind of messed up this week and ran less than I was supposed to (according to my schedule) because I was looking at Week 12. Oh well, what can you do? Long run on Sunday was 15 miles around the entire downtown Vancouver peninsula (including Stanley Park).

It was POURING rain...which I can't really complain about because I've been so lucky with the weather all summer and it was more pleasant than being too warm. I couldn't have been more sopping wet by the end if I'd jumped into the drink - but it's all good. The iPod and Garmin survived as well. Rain or no rain, you can't beat running around the Stanley Park seawall on a Sunday morning. At least it wasn't crowded...

Current Marathon Training Playlist:

1. Don't Bring Me Down - Electric Light Orchestra 2. Vanished - Crystal Castles 3. I Like the Way (Radio Edit) - Bodyrockers 4. Just Dance - Lady GaGa 5. Dangerous (feat. Akon) - Kardinal Offishall 6. We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time) - Trooper 7. Shut Up and Let Me Go - The Ting Tings 8. Cry for You (USA Radio Edit) - September 9. Waterloo (English Version) - ABBA 10. Call on Me (Eric Prydz vs. Retarded Funk Remix) - Eric Prydz 11. Just What I Needed - The Cars 12. Disturbia - Rihanna I need more songs - but I have a hard time finding the exact right ones...any tips would be great.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 10

Another pretty good week of running. Sunday I ran the longest distance so far in this training cycle - 17 miles - in the beautiful, rural town of Sidney, BC, just outside of Victoria. My Dad has a house there and it's also the location of my fall primer half-marathon, the Landsend Half Marathon on September 14th. So I decided to run the race route and my Dad came for half the distance on his bike.
The route is very scenic and interesting. There's a fair amount of agriculture in the area...
...and plenty of big hills! I did notice most of the big ones were during the first half of the course. There was one in particular around mile 4 which was about a mile long. Another important hill occurs around mile 8 and is very steep but short. It was very nice to run alongside the ocean at Patricia Bay and feel the breeze. I think the gorgeous surroundings will make the race more fun even though the hills present a bit of a challenge.

After an hour and a half with me my Dad changed places with my boyfriend Ian, who drove by to meet us. I didn't take any pictures of the biggest hills, I guess I was too busy just trying to either make it up or run down as fast as I could! A few notes about this first really long run:

-total time: 3:02:19 -Ate a lot of pizza the night before (veggie) & 2 packages of instant oatmeal 3 hours before the run -I drank a total of 2 litres of water mixed with gatorade (1/2 a scoop per 500 mL) and ate 3 Clif Shot Bloks during the run -I did not run out of energy, but my legs , feet, & hip joints became very sore and tired by around mile 13 -No stomach issues during the run -I TOTALLY crashed (mentally) about 2-3 hours after the run and needed to eat a date square to get myself functioning again -I had some GI issues later in the day

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 9

This week extra nice because we got to spend it at our hidaway in Pemberton. We did a lot of napping and reading newspapers. We don't have cable or internet up there so what else does one do? Oh, yeah, we also did some outdoor activities like running, golfing (Ian, not me), mountain biking (again, Ian, not me), barbequing, hiking, and our new fun activitiy - looking for Geocaches. The highlight was our "big" hike - 4 miles at the peak of Whistler. If you look closely at the picture of my handy-dandy GPS Garmin thing-a-ma-bob you can see the elevation reading of 6024 feet. The terrain was not super easy, but interesting. We were walking around on the black diamond ski runs (for non-skiers that means Advanced). Funny to see those familiar slopes in the summer. We did not find any lost gloves, goggles or ski poles. We did however, see a grand total of 4 brown bears (from the safety of the gondola thank goodness). I think our dog Freddie had a nice vacation. He likes to hang around and be lazy (kind of like us), here's a clip of him doing just that on our deck.

video

Wrapped up the week with a 5K race back in Greater Vancouver (Ladner to be precise, which is part of Delta I think). I was fighting a head cold so I almost flaked out - Ian stayed home and slept in even though he was registered.

Happily all the 5K finishers got medals. I came in 11th overall and 5th among the ladies. My official chip time was 27:25. First time I had the Garmin for a race, big help to see real time info on pace. I think I can still improve, but I need to do more speed training. Back to the track on Tuesday I think....

Just a little housekeeping...I seem to have lost track of my weeks at some point so I have gone from Week 7 to Week 9. Think I'm on track now.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 7

Pretty good week of training, I managed to get all my scheduled runs in and equipped with my brand, spakin' new GPS thingy (a GARMIN FORERUNNER 405) was able to gauge my paces accurately for a change. Novel idea.


Sunday I used the Garmin for an entirely different (more fun) purpose - Geocaching. A super fun activity defined on Wikipedia as:

"...an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world."


So off my Dad & I went to find our first caches in the idyllic seaside community of North Saanich on Vancouver Island . We were thrilled to find the first 2 in a series called the "String of Pearls" caches all located at secluded little beaches around the peninsula.

Later that evening, back in Vancouver, IB followed me on his bike as I went my the longest run since the marathon in May (14 miles). IB wore the Garmin and fed me stats on distance, pace, and heart rate only as I demanded them.

Most of the way I found it better not to know how far I had left to go. It was a bit rough. I felt worse and worse until I was basically sobbing uncontrollably the last 200m or so. Not totally sure why - but I haven't ruled out hormones. I did have an audience. Don't think the tears would have flowed as freely had I been alone.

Anyway, I survived and managed to keep a 10:43 average pace. IB says I need to push myself more if I'm going to meet my time goals but I'm thinking it might be easier just to change the time goals.....


This Week's Training:
Monday

Rest
Tuesday
Yasso 800s - 4 x 800m with 400m jogs between
R1: 3:55
R2: 4:15
R3: 4:11
R4: 4:11
R5: 4:22
R6: 4:28
Wednesday
7 mi / 11K Easy (9:45 /mi)
Thursday
7 mi / 11K Pace (9:41 /mi Pace)
Friday
Rest
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
14 mi / 23K LSD (10:43/mi Pace)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 6 (26K/16m)

Race Report - Divas Only 5K

At about 7:50am a rather intimate group of 24 women started assembling at the start line on the pebble path at Spanish Banks. Wearing my lucky number '3' on my race bib -I was feeling especially optimistic about achieving my 25 minute time goal .

At exactly 8am the horn signalled the start and we were off. Felt good, felt strong, looked like a winner - then at about 8:07am I came to the unfortunate realization that there were NO kilometer markers of any kind. This was not a happy surprise. Not in possession of an electronic pace-management device I did my best to keep a quick but sustainable tempo...

We were told there was only one water stop, at the 2.5K mark (which was also the turn-around point for the out-and back course). Imagine my surprise when I arrived at said water stop in roughly 10 minutes. Right about here is where I started feeling like the pace might not actually be so sustainable. So, I took a short breather of walking and then jogging, and tried to get rid of the sick feeling in my gut. I then set my sights on a lady with the pink top and a bouncing, brown pony-tail about 500m ahead and decided to try to "pick her off"...Almost caught her but then slowed down again (or she sped up) - and I slipped back in the pack.

The worst was yet to come however. I knew that the start and finish where at the exact same spot. I also knew that we had to run a little bit past the finish and then come back after one final turn around. What I didn't realize at all was how far past. Just when I thought I was on pace for a 25 minute finish, I looked up and saw fellow racers running WAY the hell up ahead and around the bend. Sick feeling came back.

Ok, so needless to say I did eventually finish, although not in 25 minutes or less. I DID, however, get my first ever age group win (first out of three in my division) and finished 12th overall (out of only 24 mind you)....in 27:05. Will try again - stay tuned!

This Week's Training:
Monday
50 min. walking
Tuesday
Yasso 800s - 4 x 800m with 400m jogs between
R1: 3:47
R2: 3:52
R3: 4:04
R4: 4:34
R5: 4:03
R6: 3:49
Biking 20 min
Wednesday
9 mi / 14K (11:30 / 7:30 Pace) - BUT there were BIG HILLS!
1 1/2 hours walking
Thursday
Grouse Grind in 1 hr. 25 min.
30 minutes biking
Friday
Rest
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
5K Race - 27:05, 1st in Division!
4 hours walking (and Shopping)

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 5 (22.5K/14m)

This was an unplanned "recovery week" due to my big night out on Friday, July 4th in New York City which (if you didn't read last week's post) resulted in something worse than a hangover.

So, yeah, Tuesday's track workout (at Brockton Oval, pictured) was pretty lame. The other runs were just so-so. My long run on Sunday was very nearly a complete write-off. I tried to go out at 9am in Pemberton when it was way hotter than hell outside, which only lasted 17 minutes before I totally gave up feeling defeated. A little panic session followed which involved me questioning my motives...in running, and in life to be honest. Thank goodness, my saintly boyfriend, IB, managed to talk me off the ledge. In the end, I managed to do my 12 mile long run at dusk in Vancouver, which took me all the way around Stanley Park. It was funny to see so many people lining the beaches - sitting on park benches or blankets, or just standing and staring at the sunset. I can't seem to do that - just sit down on the beach and enjoy the view...

Run turned out pretty well - I was even able to run the last mile in about 7 minutes, and my hope is that skill will come in handy in October when I attempt a sub-4-hour marathon.
This week's training:
Monday
1 hr. 15 Hatha Yoga
30 min. walking
Tuesday
Yasso 800s - 4 x 800m with 400m jogs between
R1 3:59
R2 4:09
R3 3:55
R4 4:01 - Not a great workout :(
Walking 30 min
Wednesday
6.5K run/walk - Not a good run :(
Walking 50 min
Thursday
30 min hill workout (ran up E.33rd bet. Main & Mackie 3 times)
Walking 50 min
Friday
Rest
30 min. walking
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
12 mi (19K) LSD, 2:06


Monday, July 7, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 4 (19K/12m)


NEW YORK CITY, June 29th-July 6th, 2008

I arrived in New York late Sunday night, after a surprisingly long and harrowing journey. After closing my apartment door behind me in Vancouver I spent approximately 12 hours being driven to the airport, checking in, clearing security, losing all my travel documents including passport at the airport, finding them collecting myself and chugging a martini before boarding, taxiing, taking off, cruising, circling the airport, landing, taxiing, clearing customs, collecting baggage, getting in the taxi line, riding in a cab from JFK to Manhattan, checking in, and collapsing into a strange bed.

I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday - mostly in Central Park (pictured, left). The surroundings were not totally unfamiliar, since I did, after all, live just a couple of blocks from the park for 2 years between 2003 & 2005...But I didn't run very much back then and when I did it was more often than not on a treadmill at the West Side Y. The rest of the week went like this:

Monday
Met girlfriend JC for lunch in Soho, spent about 4 hours walking around. Met a few friends in Bryant Park for an outdoor film screening, but we were rained out before it even got started and went to rooftop bar at Metro Hotel instead.
Tuesday

Approx. 2 1/2 hour walking today. Did the 6 mile loop in Central park in just over an hour. Found it very challenging (hilly, hot & humid) - but quite interesting and different from my typical routes in Vancouver. Met a couple of girlfriends for lunch in Midtown. Treked up to Harlem to meet another gf and new baby, and checked out the Highline exhibit at the Museum of the City of New York. Met friends B & T for dinner at Regional (Italian in UWS @ Bwy & W.99th).
Wednesday
Approx. 2 hours walking. Did 30 minute run including one lap of the Resevoir. Took a day off from visiting and touristing. Went to see "Mongol" at the Lincoln Plaza Cinemas.
Thursday
Approx. 3 1/2 hours walking. Did a 30 minute run in Central Park. Spent a few hours at the Metropolitain Museum of Art, including the Jeff Koons exhibit on the roof. Met my former coworkers at old office & went for Happy Hour, then went for dinner with old friend SR at a Greek place in Tribeca on Franklin Street. Saw World Trade Site, it has changed a little.
Friday
Went for breakfast in UES at the Tramway Diner, E.60th @ 2nd Ave. Headed up to the Bronx to catch a game at Yankee Stadium (Red Sox). AMAZING seats in lower bowl near 1st baseline. Left after 7th inning rain delay. Never did find out who won (Doesn't matter).

Great dinner at a cute Cuban place in the East Village. Missed fireworks (sort of saw the tops of them from 2nd Ave).

Began night of debauchery and poor judgement (bar hopping in East Village, supposed to be the night of 10 bars - we only made it to 7). Great fun descended into reckless behaviour which soon developed into a sorority night gone horribly wrong. It all took a turn for the worse at the Karaoke bar - picture 3 women in their 30s stupid drunk and vomiting in public...not good.
Saturday
What was supposed to be a lovely last day in New York among girlfriends turned into mere survival. Checked into rehab, then somehow made it to the airport for a long flight home.
Sunday
Felt human again, but I had to concede a missed long run this week. No way, no how - nothing doing.

Back to the training schedule Monday...

Monday, June 30, 2008

Victoria Marathon Training - Week 3 (16K/10m)

This week was meant to be a sort-of recovery week. I figure if I train really hard for 2 weeks in a row that every 3rd week should be a little less intense. I really, really want to achieve my goal of a sub-4-hour marathon in October, but getting injured (or sick, or burned out...) isn't going to help my cause.

Funny, now that I'm looking at my log it doesn't really appear I took it easy, but it did feel more relaxed and that's what matters. Tuesday's track workout, my weekly "Yasso 800's" was the toughest of the week by far. Running fast is hard, and this week I made the jump from doing 4 800m repeats to doing 5. The promise of a cold beer for finishing 4 800s and a tasty treat for finishing 5 kept me going. This strategy, although highly effective, is the reason I haven't lost any weight during a year of marathon training. I need to find another reward that works just as well...(unlikely).

I started hill training in earnest this week, although instead of running hills I was walking straight up a mountainside (view from the top, above). I'm sure it doesn't translate perfectly. In any case, IB & I did the "Grouse Grind" here in Vancouver, which is described on the park's website as:
"an extremely steep and mountainous trail that begins at the 300-metre-elevation and climbs to 1,100 metres over a distance of approximately 2.9 kilometres"

People here in Vancouver use this trail as a kind of extreme stairclimber and you can even get a timing chip that automatically keeps track of your times so you can see your improvement over the summer. The nice thing is it takes less than 30 min. to drive to the mountain from downtown and there is a nice patio on top where you can have a drink and some food after you're done. You also get a nice view and an exciting ride down on the gondola.

Sunday I squeezed in my weekly long run, only 6 miles, before flying out to New York City for a week. It was a gorgeous morning, I've included some snapshots taken on the run...there were more but Blogger wasn't letting me upload them :(
Above, right, that concrete line on the seawall is where 99% of my runs start and finish....Right, view of the West End from seawall on English Bay...
This week's training:
Monday
Rest
Tuesday
Yasso 800s - 4 x 800m with 400m jogs between
R1 3:51
R2 3:50
R3 3:53
R4 4:01
R5 3:39
Walking 30 min
Wednesday
5 mi/8K easy (roughly 10:00/6:18 pace)
Walking 30 min
Thursday
The Grouse Grind (for hill training) - 1:13
Friday
Rest
Saturday
Rest
Sunday
6 mi / 10K Long Slow Distance (L.S.D.) - 1:07
Travel to New York City!
Next posting: Running in the Big Apple!