Saturday, May 31, 2008

Marathon Recovery - Week 4 - "Run for Light"

I call this a "Fun Run Report" rather than a "Race Report" because the announcer specifically said "this is not a race, it's a fun run".
I think his point was this was meant to be a family-friendly, everyone-welcome, event for a very good cause (BC Blind Sports) not a chance for all of us to stick out our elbows and push the slower people out of our way....
Ok - so I reluctantly checked my elbows at the door.

I had to calm myself down a bit when we arrived because it was very rushed getting there. We had gone for dinner in the West End earlier that evening and spontaneously bought used bikes from one of the bike rental shops.
We rode them the long way home around Stanley Park and left the car to pick up later. It was amazing to ride a bike in the city after not having one for about 15 years! Anyway, it did mean we had to RACE back to get me to the start in time...
When we arrived we found a low-key, festive, friendly atmosphere as he sun set over the North Shore Mountains across Burrard Inlet. Tons of little kids with their parents, Grammas and Grampas, and even people in jeans.

It was so lovely to drive into the park at the edge of the downtown core, through the old-growth forest along the seashore. I am not sure how many people showed up but it was probably under 1000. I just thought the novelty of running around after dark with glow sticks was too much to pass up.

We started off by running across the park, past the petting zoo and down to the seawall on the Coal Harbour side (city side) of the park. One big loop around, past the nine o'clock gun, the lighthouse and back to the start area.

I actually forgot to look at my watch when we started and did not look at it while I ran. I just ran as fast as I thought I could sustain without feeling terrible. I even stopped after a couple of kilometers to take some pictures of the runners running around the curve of the seawall with their lightsticks. It looked so funny - but sadly the pictures didn't turn out. I haven't figured out how to get my crappy little old digital camera to take good night shots. It IS the camera's fault.

Anyway, I didn't feel awesome the last kilometer or so...I should have used the puffer because the air was quite cold and my lungs were feeling kind of stressed.

I passed a lot of people (once we were all spread out and I could do so without being an a$$hole). When I ran in for the finish I passed IB sitting on a bench and heard him shout as I passed "Almost there - run fast" - so I did.

IB says he only saw 2 or 3 women ahead of me which is nice if its true AND he said it took me about 21 minutes.

So what do you know...Maybe I'm in better shape now than I thought. No pain in the knees! Yay!
This week's training:
1 hr weight training
20 min reclined bike
30 min walking
5 mile (8K) easy run (10:36 pace)
30 min walking
4 mile easy run (11:24 pace)
50 min walking
1 hr weight training
30 min cardio
1 hr. 30 min. walking
30 min walking
4.3 K Race, "Run for Light"
60 minute run with IB

Monday, May 26, 2008

Marathon Recovery - Week 3 - Guest Blog

Introduction I thought it might be fun (-ny) to have someone else write my blog this week. This post was written by my SignifOth "IB" - whom I have mentioned many times in my previous posts. These views do not necessarily represent the views of Running Bébé or her affiliates. Guest Blog This marks the first outside contribution to RB and I am honored to do it! I am not much of a runner but living with one has started to rub off on me. Her gentle and not so gentle prodding has been a good influence and I am now training for a 5k race in June. Since spring is here and the weather is turning sunny I am now running a bit with RB. You may see me post additional blog entries for runs that take place on sunny days with a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees that are less than 6k in length. Here is the log from our runs last week: May 20 - Run in Pemberton Went for a 30-40 minute run with RB. I decided to run at the last minute with not much planning. As we ran up the back road RB suggested that we do an uphill run. We did 20 minutes uphill and it felt OK. Running downhill is not much fun on a gravel forest service road. One day maybe one of us will figure out where that road leads to... May 22 - Run on Seawall 5k or 6k depending on who you ask... We went for a nice 6k run on Wednesday along the seawall. The weather was beautiful and I felt great. RB is still suffering from PMSD (post marathon stress disorder) and was not feeling as good. At the halfway point I decided to run ahead and left RB behind. This was not a good idea for two reasons. First, its not polite to leave your running partner behind. Second, its not smart to separate when your partner has the only keys to the condo. RB cut her run short and I ended up walking around for 40 minutes waiting for her. Eventually I went home and waited for her to notice me standing out on the sidewalk (which she did). May 25 – 5k Run in Pemberton I felt like I got suckered on this one. I wanted to go for a run and get it done with before dinner so I set off in the blazing sun. RB gently suggested that I wait until the sun went down but the same voice that told me to run ahead on Wednesday told me to go now. I got my butt kicked. RB went at about 8 or 9 that evening and when I met her for the cool down she seemed to be suffering a lot less than I had earlier. Oh yeah – RB did a 60 minute run, not 5K. Not sure of the distance.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Marathon Recovery - Week 2

So I'm LOOSELY following Hal Higdon's Post-Marathon training program for Novice Runners with CONSIDERABLE modifications. I have had some difficulty with my right knee following May 4th's marathon effort, so I'm listening to my body and taking extra precautions. I have been going to the local rec center to do some much-needed weight training and cross-training on the bike, which has been good. I also started myself on a Glucosamine with Chondroitin regime, which I've read might help with my joint issues....And of course I've also been icing daily and taking hot baths in an epsom salt solution. Sunday I went for a 30 minute run with NO pain, which was quite a breakthrough. It was a nice, easy jog on a path in the woods (accompanied by my sister who was happy to provide bear protection). Then again on Monday (which was a holiday in Canada) I went on another trail run - which was 20 minutes of steep uphill running at a slow pace followed by about 18 minutes downhill (both directions interspersed with some walk breaks). My Signif Oth, IB, joined me and was QUITE impressive in his uphill running ability! I think he might actually KICK MY A$$ at his first 5K race on June 13th!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Marathon Recovery - Week 1

OK - I have recovered emotionally from the utter devastation of being DENIED my chance to run the New York Marathon on November 2nd.

Actually - I wasn't THAT disappointed. While I really want to run in the Big Apple eventually, I wasn't that married to the idea of doing it this year. For one thing I have a lot of people to visit in New York, since I lived there for 2 years and haven't been back since '06....And in a way it will be more fun to go and have fun and not be totally focused on the marathon.

Another reason to look on the bright side is that after a very challenging and HILLY Vancouver effort on May 4th, I'm kinda thinkin I deserve to run somewhere FLAT in the fall....

SOoooo....I am looking seriously at the Royal Victoria Marathon - just a short hop across the Georgia Straight to Vancouver Island (YES Victoria is a city located on VANCOUVER ISLAND and Vancouver is a city NOT located on said island - and there is no Victoria Island in B.C.). Not only is it fast, flat and conveniently located, but my Dad lives there and will be able to provide some excellent acommodations and curbside support.

I'm in marathon recovery mode right now, mixing some light running with cross-training and lots of stretching in anticipation of ramping up the running in June. Not sure which program I'll follow this time but I think I'm ready to take it up a notch from Hal Higdon's Novice I.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Vancouver Marathon - Race Report (42K/26.2m)

Well, Marathon Sunday has come and gone and I've finally recovered enough to gather my thoughts. There were two big advantages to running a marathon in my hometown. One, was of course the familiarity factor - although I wasn't as familiar as I thought with some of the hills. The other, and more important advantage was having so much support from friends and family along the way.

I ended up with one more supporter when another runner, S, picked me to run beside at around Mile 2 and we discovered we were both trying for a 4:15 finish. We ran together off and on until around the half-way mark then I didn't see her again until she was about 100 ft. in front around Mile 20. She had a GPS Garmin thingy so it was easy to stay on pace (even tho I kept missing the mile markers)...

I saw my friend MI and her little girls around Mile 9 (altho I heard them and their noisemakers first so they must have spotted me). Somewhere after that between 9 & 10 I actually stopped THREE TIMES to fix my left shoelaces (too tight / too loose / too tight ). Then, out of the blue my Dad & Sister appeared with big signs at 10 - in the middle of the 'hood.

Nice scenery, thru Gastown, past Coal Harbour, around the Lighthouse at Brockton Point, through the second growth rainforest of Stanley Park, around Lost Lagoon...Then there was Mom at 16 in the park waving a big Canada flag (which made her easy to spot). There was only one other person the whole race with such a flag, so it was quite unique.

Big crowds on Beach Avenue after the quiet bit in the park....My friend DS and I nearly bumped into each other at around Mile 17 (at Denman & Davie) - which was our planned meeting point - and then he had to run ahead to get a pic with his goofy Polaroid. Super hilarious!

After that...a big mother of a hill running up Pacific Avenue...partway up I spotted my Signif-Oth. IB standing quietly and looking slightly concerned around Mile 18. Then it was up and over the Burrard Bridge to Kits.
Lots of crowd support after that, and it was definitely needed. Things became exponentially more difficult. Spotted a coworker at 19 & then again at 22, who took a couple of pics. Made it up Cornwall/Pointe Grey Road (big hill) because I had an appointment with my gf's SC & AS, but instead found my Dad & sis again (surprisingly) at Mile 20 & then 21 on the way back. They had to have driven all the way over from the bad part of town, so it was a great bonus to see them again.
The next few miles are a bit of a blur. I threw out my time goals and went into "just finish the thing" mode. Many hills, some walking, wondering who's idea this was...I stopped taking my Cliff Shot Bloks around Mile 21 (which was OK because I had already taken 7 of my planned 8 blocks). I was somehow able to avoid doing the "survivor shuffle" and managed to at least LOOK like I was still feeling good.

Corner after corner revealed one hill after another...Each one seemingly bigger and longer than the previous. Pulled out my nearly full 4th bottle of Gatorade and tossed it onto the grass near the Planetarium. Somehow it just seemed way too heavy to bear.

Finally made it ack over the bridge into downtown, buoyed by the increasingly noticable crowds. Made the last turn on Pacific Boulevard and found my sister with the silly sign again around Mile 25.2 (the home stretch). She ran behind me yelling until she hit a gate and crashed (this all happened out of my view range)...

Last 100m was ABSOLUTELY INSANE...LINED with spectators yelling and I spotted my Dad & IB again. I think I went deaf around that time because all I could hear was myself breathing like a freight train coming down the track. AS & SC (and mom) were there too and saw me finish - but I was "in the zone" (more like in survival mode) and missed them.
Time on the clock read: "4:22:59" and I was happy to have made it under my middle goal (between good enough and fabulous).
All in all a very interesting experience, though I don't recommend it. Too many hills (esp. at the end).

Thanks again to all my supporters out on the course and in cyberspace!! Someone else will have to do it next time...

P.S. I was pleasantly surprised to find out my official time was 4:20:56

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Vancouver Marathon Training - Week 18-E (0K/0m)

Friday - Rest Not really rest in the true sense since I was at work. Definitely should have taken Friday off. But at least I have a sitting job, and am not running around hauling buckets of bricks all day... Saturday - Rest Got my hair done and didn't sit around doing nothing as much as I hoped. Did go grocery-ing - which I hadn't really planned...And helped my sister, TM, mark grade 7 math. I think it was good to keep myself busy - no butterflies today! Boring spaghetti and a tiny bit of wine to take the edge off...Well, lets hope for the best!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Vancouver Marathon Training Week 18-D

Thursday - Rest
I was actually meant to run 3K (2 mi) today but I went to the Marathon Expo instead. It was surprisingly busy for Thursday evening, I imagine Saturday will be a zoo. Picked up my number and discovered its a SUPER CUTE bib with a photo of the Vancouver Skyline in the background (including a cruise ship gliding past Stanley Park) and - wait for it - MY NAME in bold letters!!!

Wow. I had been wondering how I was going to get my name on my shirt!

The expo was ok, but I couldn't by Cliff Shot Bloks and I didn't like ANY of the merchandise! All the women's stuff was super ugly and they didn't have coffee mugs!

Did some light stretching, drank lots of water, and ate lots of carbs today.

Mild butterflies - to be expected.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Vancouver Marathon Training Week 18-C

Wednesday - 6K (4 mi) Wanted to practice running the last bit of the marathon, so I started from the finish line, ran over the bridge and past the brewery and then ran back toward the finish. Tried running at a fairly conservative pace until about the last mile, then stepped it up a notch and saved enough energy for a fast sprint to the finish the last 50 meters or so. I think in many ways running in my own backyard on Sunday will be quite a bonus - especially since most of the route I've run at one time or another (or hundreds of times for a few parts). I just wish my backyard was a bit flatter...