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

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.
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.
-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
-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
-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.