Monday, August 2, 2010

2010 Willis Greenaway Half Marathon (Summerland, BC)

I know, it's been awhile since my last post, but it's summer in the beautiful Okanagan Valley so I've been spending a lot more time out playing in the sunshine than I have sitting in front of a computer. Rest assured, though, I have kept up my run training and I'm still on track for the Winthrop Marathon in September. In fact, after this weekend's Willis Greenaway Half Marathon, I'm feeling pretty good about where I'm at with my running.

Here's a re-cap of the race:
For once, I did a proper 15 minute warm-up and I definitely think it helped get my legs going. (I tend to be a bit sluggish at the beginning of a run.) I went out harder than I usually do but still within my HR zone (170-175). There was one girl ahead of me right from the start and she created a big enough gap that I never did see her again. I was comfortable as the second woman and settled in with a group of runners that kept a similar pace to mine. Around the 5k mark, I was passed by two women, one of whom I recognized from other races and know to be an amazing runner with lots of Canadian age-group records, which made me think: “shit, I went out too fast!” We chatted for a bit and then she and the other girl sped up. I held my pace with a 175-180 HR, but kept them in sight. Around the 10k mark, two men flew by me on a long downhill. (Note to self: Must practice practice downhill running because that’s often where I get passed.) This would be our order for the next 8k: 2nd place girl, boy, 3rd place girl, boy and then me and there was no one behind me as far as I could see.

I was still feeling pretty good at 18k, but wasn’t really motivated to kick it…until I simultaneously caught third place girl and she told me to “go for it” and then saw the 2nd place girl walk through an aid station. So, I decided to see what my legs had left in them and picked up the pace to close the gap with 2nd place girl. The final 2k of the course are flat or downhill and shaded, which gave me a mental boost and I passed the other guy with about 1k to go and didn’t let up until I crossed the line.

Overall, I'm very happy with how the race went. I finished in 1:35:14 — over two minutes faster than last year — and placed second amongst the women and tenth overall. I’m still a ways off of my half marathon PB (1:30:02), but this is a tough course so I think it’s a satisfactory result.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Game On!

Recovery time is over and it's now back into hardcore training mode. (Hmmm...does that mean giving up wine and chocolate?) The goal: Winthrop Marathon in WA on September 26th. I'm hoping to use it to qualify for Boston 2011 where I'd love, love, love to go...gulp, sub-3 hours. There it's out there. My BIG dream.

My best marathon effort to date is 3:18 at the Big Island Marathon in Hawaii way back in 2005. That was also my last marathon. I've been sidetracked by muscle tears, triathlons and cross-Canada bike trips since then, but now I'm injury-free and ready to get serious about running again. My plan is to, hopefully, have an amazing, PB run in Boston and then "retire" from road running, get a dog and focus on ultra running. I've decided that road running is too hard on my body with all its imbalances and deficiences, but trail/endurance running seems to agree with it so I might as well give ultras a go.

Today, I did a steady 45-minute run on roads and trails. I've just started training with a heart rate monitor so don't yet have a good idea as to what is "normal" for me, but it's fun to track. I'm going to record my rates for a couple of weeks and see what trends emerge. Based on my limited observations, they tend to run higher than average, which could mean dehydration or iron deficiency according to Dr. Dave. Both of which are entirely possible since I drink way too much coffee, not nearly enough water and eat no red meat. I am going to try increasing my iron supplement and water intake. (The coffee is non-negotiable; I must have it!)

Monday, June 28, 2010

Sun Mountain 50k

Well, not much to report yet because I'm still in recovery mode from the Sun Mountain 50k trail race in Winthrop, WA. Since it was my first ultra and I haven't even run a marathon since 2005, I expected it to be hard and it was. I got lost twice, which probably added about 5k to the distance, but it sounds like that happened to a lot of people. In fact, I was one of the lucky ones because I was able to get back on course and finish the race - not everyone did.

The course itself was fairly spectacular with plenty of challenging, scenic terrain. I have never walked so much during a race, which was disheartening. I'm usually pretty strong on the uphills, but my legs never loosened up for me. Oh well, at least it was cool and rainy - my favourite race day conditions!

I wore my new Nathan women's intensity race vest and it was amazing. It definitely lives up to the hype. I literally took it out of the package that morning and it didn't bother me once during the race. I barely knew I had it on. I was happy with my hydration and nutrition. I figure I took in about 3 litres of fluids (mainly water) and between 500-600 calories.

Even with a few wrong turns and a lot of walking, I still managed to finish in 5:19 (2nd woman, 10th overall). Dave did really well too. He was third overall at 4:27. My friends Jason and Kristen did the 25k race and both had strong races. Overall, a very good day.

I've done some swimming and biking this past week with lots of stretching thrown in. My legs feel good so I will probably try a few short and easy runs this week and maybe meet with my coach, Scott (Factor9), and figure out what the next phase of my training schedule looks like and what my next race will be.