Marathon Training!

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Hello hello!

Thought I would drop in for some updates. I have started training for the Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon which is in October. So far so good!

I accidentally missed the start of training but it was ok since I was building base anyways. I did the 15k farm run at the experimental farms as I usually do. It was a little slower than I had hoped, but still decent. I finished in about 1:31 and got a pretty cute cow medal.

2017-07-12 20.27.06So after this race, my training really started. I averaged about 20-25 miles per week for the first few weeks. Now that we are into August, the mileage has been picking up. I’m pretty proud to say that even though I’ve had busy weekends (family stuff, a birthday party weekend etc.) I haven’t missed a single run so far. I’ve ran 80 miles so far this month.

I also did the free 5 k on the first Saturday of August. It was a promising run! I finished in just under 27 minutes, which I haven’t done since last year. It wasn’t a PR but it was only 30 seconds slower. Not bad considering I was doing speed training when I got my PR. (Also love these little races because Ian Hunter, a run Ottawa member, always gets great pictures of everyone!).

Farm run Aug 2017Last week in my training plan, it called for a half marathon race. Given that it is summer time, I didn’t bother trying to find an actual race. So I set out Friday morning to do a solo race along one of my normal routes. I expected to come somewhere in between 2:10-2:15. Despite a sore tummy (I wasn’t smart and had a beer the night before) and tired legs (I played flag football the night before), I finished in 2:12. I’m happy with this time because I did it on tired legs on a super humid day. I never felt out of breath; my legs were definitely what slowed me down. So this is encouraging because on rested legs, I should be able to go much farther. Here are my splits (in km from Strava).

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I was very consistent and also only walked to eat (km 11) and because my leg was really itchy (km 19). I’m hoping this means I can come under 5 hours in my marathon.

As far as goals for the race go, I’m not sure yet. Marathons are just so much harder than the other, shorter races to be able to predict how you’ll do. Because they are longer, there is more time for something unexpected to happen. However, at the very least, I should do better than my previous marathons (5:45, 5:15). I have been way more consistent and my mileage is higher. Training through the summer is making that a lot easier. I’ve also been lucky that it’s been a cooler summer so I haven’t had to deal with extreme heat. The long run distances are starting to creep up and I have a 17 miler this weekend! I’m looking forward to it.

Also, other big news! I entered the first timers draw for the Big Sur Marathon (mostly as a pipe dream) and I actually got in. So looks like I’m going to California next year! I don’t have everything planned but I did get my hotel book in Carmel for the race and I’m officially signed up. It’s going to be an expensive trip but I’m treating myself for finishing my Master’s!

Hopefully I’ll check in again soon. Have a good week!

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Where I am at

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Hey! Is this thing still on?

My blog took the back burner while I’ve been finishing up my master’s. Good news is, most of my writing is done now so I actually feel like blogging again!

So when I last left you, I was training for Ottawa race weekend for the half marathon. Training went ok but as is tradition, the race was stinking hot. So about 40 minutes in, I decided it was safer and smarter to slow down and just enjoy the race. I had fun and didn’t PR, but I think I set a personal record for how many high fives I gave in one race! I finished in 2:21, which is not bad but not what I was hoping for.

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I am planning on doing a fall marathon this year. I’m glad I decided against doing the marathon at race weekend (I was worried it would be hot again!). Also I think it was the smart choice because I was injured so I gave myself some recovery time instead of jumping straight into marathon training.

I also did another race a few weeks later. This was a MEC race out in Carp. Of course, it was another hot day. I wasn’t expecting anything crazy because there is a pretty big hill on the course so I just ran my best. But damn, if that course was flat, I would have had a huge PR. The heat and the hill got to me but I still finished 10k in under an hour!

This was encouraging after a sub par half marathon. The training was there, the weather was not on my side. It was Father’s day also, so it was nice to get out there with my dad!

Since then, I’ve been building up my base mileage again. I’ve also gone on a few bikes rides. I need to try and do more cross training to avoid the muscle imbalance I was dealing with last year. The weather hasn’t been great here in Ottawa (for summer weather), but in terms of running – it’s been nice. Although it’s been raining a lot, the temperature has been cooler than normal. Not good for summer vacations, but pretty decent for running!

I ran through downtown Ottawa on Canada Day. It was crazy, but it was fun to explore the crowds! We ended up doing about 5 miles but it felt short because we were having so much fun.

I ran 10 miles today which felt good. My shins wouldn’t warm up at the start but eventually, I got going. It was pretty cool out until the end of my run. But definitely nothing to complain about since it could be a lot hotter in July!

I am considering doing the farm race I’ve done a few times. I’m holding out a bit longer to get an idea of what the weather will look like. Last year, I signed up and then it was 34 degrees Celsisus, and was one of the hottest days of the whole summer. I’m hoping this isn’t the case this year. I need at least one decent weather race!

Lastly, my boyfriend and I adopted a kitten a few months ago. She is very cute and playful. Her name is Noelle and we adopted her from the Humane Society. They are doing a fundraising run for them in September! http://www.runottawa.ca/races-and-events/run-ottawa-races/run-for-the-animals

That’s all I’ve got for now. I will have more updates soon!

Half Marathon Training

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Happy Friday!

As mentioned before, my plan for this year is to do a half in the spring and hopefully crack the 2 hour mark. I spent January and February building my base up. It didn’t go as well as planned in February because I got a cold that knocked me out for about a week. However, I did 64 miles in January and 58 miles in February with cycling mixed in there too (141 minutes in January and 236 in February). It doesn’t seem like much but my mileage in December was a whopping 9 miles so I’ll take it.

I also did a 10k race in February to do a fitness check on my speed going into training. I obviously lost speed by not running much over the last few months but it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I finished in 58:30.

We lucked out in February and had about a week of beautiful weather. I ran in shorts!

Please note that there are people sledding on a hill behind me.

Anyways, now I am right into my training. I am using a modified version of the Hanson’s method for marathon training. I know I am not training for a marathon, so I’ve adjusted the workouts accordingly. I like how they have a well structured program with tempo and interval workouts. It also means I will be running 4-5 days a week. I am supplementing one of the recovery runs with a cycling/cross training day. I also jumped straight into the week where the interval and tempo days start. It’s an 18 week plan and I don’t need that much for a half.

Last week was the first week of training. Unlike in February, the weather has been quite brutal for the last two weeks. The temperature has dropped again and there’s been a lot of windy days. I still managed pretty decent interval and tempo runs.

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I should also mention that these runs were done at the tail end of my cold so I was very surprised I was able to keep up!

I did a short run last Saturday. It was probably one of the coldest days I’ve ever ran on. At least the sun was out.

I don’t have my sunglasses on because they froze.

Then I did an 8 mile long run last Sunday which also felt pretty decent. My knee has been holding up. Sometimes it gets stiff when I’ve been sitting for a while but honestly I can’t remember if it was always like that.

So the first week of training went pretty well. This week hasn’t been so successful. First, my schedule got thrown out the window because of freezing rain on Monday night. I knew it wouldn’t be smart to run Tuesday morning after it was so icy. I went to the hockey game on Monday night and it was pretty funny to see everyone scraping their cars off in the parking lot.

I cycled on Tuesday instead. That went really well but I’m afraid I overdid it. I did my interval run the next morning and just could not get moving. On top of that, my stomach was not feeling 100% and I was getting side stitches. I still finished the run but it was not as fun as last week.

I took a rest day yesterday because my legs still felt dead. Today was my tempo run. The same problem happened where I ended up with side stitches and my legs were dead. The weather also changed while I was out and went from running in the sun to running head first into a blizzard. That made things a little more difficult.

I’m trying to stay positive and not get discouraged by two mediocre runs. I feel I still put as much effort in this week as I did last week, I was just more tired. My school life was pretty busy and I had a lot of work to do which meant staying late some nights. I’m hoping my long run this weekend goes better and that my stomach will cooperate.

I promise I will check back in soon! Have a good weekend!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MEC Race Below Zero

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Hey! Is this thing still on?

I’ve had a crazy month or so and I haven’t posted! I’ve been tweeting about running though, so you can catch up on my twitter. You may remember that I was planning on doing a winter race. I did it last year and lucked out with really warm weather!

Let’s take a step back here and talk about the race. MEC always does a great job of organizing cheap, and fun races. This time, it was a 5k or 10k race out by the Rideau-Carleton raceway. It’s kind of out of the way, but the start and finish was on the race track!

We had kind of a crazy race morning. My dad was also doing the race and we had to go pick him up. Since my parents’ house is so far away from the race, we stayed there the night before and had a 30 minute drive to the start. There was also a bit of a snow storm the night before which made things slow. We still got to the race with plenty of time before the start.

The weather wasn’t as nice as last year. It was -11 with some wind and it was cloudy. It even snowed a bit. However, the weather was so warm last year that we weren’t allowed to run on the track because they thought we would damage it. This year, we would finish on the track! This also made it easy for my faithful cheering squad/ driver (Alex) watch from inside.

I wasn’t sure what to expect because I was still building up my base and had done no speed work. I decided to shoot for under an hour and just see where that took me. Here I am along the course!

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It was an out and back course with two loops. It was fairly flat but there were some small inclines. Also there was a slippery section around where we made the transition back onto the race track.

For the first half of the race, I felt pretty good. My hands were a bit cold but other than that, I felt good. I kept playing leap frog with this very tall girl and her friend. It was kind of helpful though because she was blocking the wind for me! Most of the time I was kind of annoyed by it though. Not because we were trading places but because she was so tall that she kept blocking me from being in the pictures that the camera man was taking.

After the first lap was done, I was still feeling pretty good. I tried to increase my pace a bit because I really wanted to try to come in under 58 minutes. Unfortunately, this was just as pipe dream for my fitness level.

Halfway through the second lap, I just had no kick left. Not having any speed work before the race and limited runs in generally definitely killed me. I just tried to grit through and get the race done. I did manage to pick it up once I got back on the race track and I did my best impression of a race horse. I did just that and finished in 58:22. I think this is technically a PR, but it was only by a few seconds. I’ll take it!

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I got a really cool finish picture too! And after that happened, my friend who happened to be at the race accidentally took my picture. He was getting a picture of the course and he happened to take it right as I was walking inside.

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Here are my splits.

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I had a decent race considering my light training. I wanted to use this race as a gauge of my fitness and I was happy with the results. Now I have a baseline for where I’m at and can only get faster from here. My goal is to finally crack 2 hours in a half marathon. I think as long as I can stay healthy (as in my knee issue that I was having) I can definitely do it.

I will be better about posting again soon!

 

Building Base and Other Updates

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Good afternoon everyone!

I’m having myself a productive day and wanted to write a blog while I was at it. If you recall from my last couple of posts, I am currently building base before training for any more races. I’ve worked up to 19 miles this week. It’s not where I’d like to be but it’s a start and it beats being injured. I’m also still doing at least one bike ride a week along with some strength training. It feels good to get back into the swing of things.

We’ve had some crazy weather here the past couple of weeks. It went from freezing cold (which was just enough to freeze the canal over) to about a week and a half of above freezing temperatures. Here’s me when the canal was open. 2017-01-15-15-31-43

Here I am four days later with no gloves or coat on.

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I really don’t mind running in the cold but it’s been such a treat to not have to layer up so much. The warm weather also helped to clear off the paths and sidewalks which helps a lot. Lots of puddles to dodge, but it’s better than running over uneven ice. I know there are some people who absolutely love winter and are bummed out by the warm weather, but I’m sure it’ll cool down again soon enough!  In the mean time, I will not be wearing full pants while I run.

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I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet, but I’ve signed up for my big races for the year. I wanted to get in before the prices went up because, after all, I am still a student. I signed up for Ottawa race weekend (the half marathon), the Army run (10 k – new this year) and the Toronto Waterfront Marathon (marathon). I’m completely changing my racing strategy for the year based on weather and my injury.

I figured I could not get enough training in to run the race weekend marathon at full capacity. I also do not want a repeat of last year where the weather was smoking hot. I figure with a late fall marathon, I will have a better chance with cool temperatures. This will mean training long through the summer but I’m ok with getting up really early as long as the sun is up. It’s harder to do that in the winter. Also, with my master’s degree starting to wrap up, I didn’t want to over commit myself and regret it.

I don’t think I will run Around the Bay this year. I am bummed by this but it makes sense. Unless my training is perfect from here on out, I will barely be able to cover the distance. And school is hella busy so it’s all good.

I decided to try to 10 k at the Army Run because I never do well at the half marathon anyways, and it always seems to be hot too. At least I won’t have to run for as long if it does end up being toasty again.

I’ve heard good things about the waterfront marathon, and it’s always been a marathon that I would sit down and watch the coverage for. Now this year, I’ll be in it! Funny story – this may end up falling on the same day as my graduation…. I’ll deal with that as it happens.

That’s all for running news. In other news, I got a new bed. I’m super excited about it and it looks really nice! And it’s really comfy!

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Lastly, my friend got a really cute dog and I’m really jealous. I got to play with him on the weekend. His name is Rocky, aka Mr. Fluffy.

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That’s all for now!

If you don’t follow me on twitter, you can @Aouzas05!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Layering for cold runs

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It’s the time of year when you can be 20 degrees too hot and 20 degrees too cold on the same run if you don’t dress right. I thought I would give a quick guide on how I dress for the chilly weather!

It can be tough because the days are still short. You can leave in gleaming sunshine and come back in the dark. The key to dressing properly in this case is to have a certain amount of adjustability in your outfit. 

First, I’ll show you how to keep warm when it’s below -10 C and windy. The key to staying warm is layering. I like to put capris with compression socks on and a long sleeve shirt. 

  
Next, I layer up with my winter running pants. I do the layer on my legs because I find they get too cold when it’s windy. 

  
Unless it’s really cold, I just throw a jacket on top. I also put on a buff, a headband and gloves. 

  
This is where the “adjustability” comes in. I like having the buff because you can pull it over your face when you’re running into the wind, but pull it down if you’re in the sun or just too hot. 

  
Another thing I do is layer thinner gloves (just two pairs). This way, once my hands heat up, I can remove the second pair so they aren’t getting really sweaty. And I can just put them in my pockets and hold them if I want to put them back on. If it’s really cold (-15 or lower) I will just wear thicker gloves. 

Also (not pictured from my run today) I have a coat with a hood which allows for even more in-run adjusting if necessary. This is great for if it starts snowing and you don’t want a wet head!

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Other tips to avoid being all sorts of temperatures on your winter run are to:

  1. Avoid out and back routes.
  2. Try and go out in the middle of the day, if possible. Then you will get the full force of the sun. 
  3. Don’t get discouraged if you can’t get your outfit right. It takes practice!

Those are all my tips for now. Feel free to ask any questions. In Ottawa, we are blessed with hot summers and brutal winters. 

  

Looking back and looking forward

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Happy New Year!

I’ve been spending a lot of time with my family and friends and now I’m playing catch up with my blog. This post will be a look back at my running last year and a look forward to what I’m thinking for this year.

January

In January, I was building up base to train for Around the Bay and Race Weekend and I ran my first race of the year.

Race 1: Race below zero with Mec 10 km

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Total distance: 71.7 miles

February 

I was sick for a good portion of February but still managed to keep my mileage up. I didn’t do any races this month.

Total distance: 89.03 miles

March

I did one race a managed a new PR for the half marathon distance (2:03:29).

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Total distance: 73.32 miles

April

I did two races in April and got another PR at the 10 mile distance (1:33:43). I also did Around the Bay and beat my time from last year (another PR!) 3:20:49

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I also came up with a fun idea for race bibs:

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Total Distance:82.23 miles

May

I braced myself for my second marathon in scorching conditions. I PRed here too with a 5:14

Total distance: 78.56 miles

June

June was a recovery month but I still did a 10 k race. It was another hot one. This was another race where the times were adjusted to account for the heat so no one would die.

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Total distance: 24.29 miles

July

My luck of scorching hot races continues and raced on what was probably the hottest day of the year. Luckily, it was just a 5k.

Total distance: 71.55 miles

August

No races this month except for the free 5k at the experimental farms. This was also a PR (27:15). It was also the highest training mileage month I’ve ever done and I had gone on vacation too.

Total distance: 104.81 miles

September

September was a month of highs and lows. I started the month off at the free 5k and crushed my PR from the month before by 50 seconds (26:25). A few weeks later, I got destroyed at the Army Run (Commander’s challenge) where, once again, it was hot and humid.

Total distance: 70.02 miles

October

October had the last couple races I was planning on running. I also was playing soccer twice a week and may have over done it there. Both races I did were half marathons where I felt like my legs had no gas in them. I did run my second fastest half at the 9runrun race (2:06). I also beat my course record for the Gatineau half (2:22:13). I also race my “fastest” 10k in the 9run run race according to my Garmin (58:56) although I’m sure I ran a faster one in the hypothermic half. I believe that Garmin isn’t sophisticated enough to find the fastest 10k within a longer distance. It will just look at the first 10k of that run.

Total distance: 67.38 miles

November and December

Not much running was done the last two months because of knee pain. Eventually, I went to the doctor and found out that I’m just an overpronator who needs a little more support to get my leg to stay straight. I still played soccer through these months and biked a little bit. It was recommended by my doctor to bike but push harder with my left leg to equal out the muscle imbalances I have.

Total distance: 18.72 miles

Yearly Distance: 751 miles

I believe this is slightly more than last year. Considering that I barely ran for the last two months, this is showing there is an improvement in my training. Also, I PRd at every distance I ran this year which means I am definitely progressing a lot.

Looking ahead…

This month, I am just going to focus on building my base back up because I’ve probably lost a lot of fitness. I will also make sure to ride the bike more to get my legs more balanced. I won’t be doing any races this month. I am thinking about doing a 5k in February just to see where my fitness is at/ how much work I have to do to get where I was.

I am on the fence about doing Around the Bay this year. I will need to have an exceptional couple of months of training to be in shape for it. I’m not sure it’s realistic because I should have started training already and I’m unsure how much running my knee can handle yet. I have insoles in my shoes to help, but I’m sure there is a limit to how much they can handle.

Since I had such terrible luck with hot races last year, I’m trying a new plan for which ones I will run. At race weekend, I will only do the half marathon. My plan is to try and crack 2 hours. I think will a solid training session, I should be able to. I was only off by 3 minutes last year and that was without any speed/ tempo work.

The Army run has added a 10 k to their races this year and I think I will do that instead of the half. I have never performed well at the army run (except my very first race). It’s also been very hot most years because they’ve shifted the race towards the start of September.

I will still do a marathon this year, but I am targeting a late fall marathon. I think I will do the waterfront marathon in Toronto.

Other than that, I will probably just sign up for some races on a whim if I feel like doing them.

That’s all for now! I hope the first few days of the new year have treated you well!

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I’m Alive!

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Hello all, I hope the holiday season has been treating you all well.

Sorry for the lapse in writing again. As I mentioned last time, I was dealing with an injury so I haven’t been running too much. And with not running too much also comes not having much to write about, so my bad!

I had mentioned that I was going to do the free 5K offered by Run Ottawa but I ended up having a really terrible cold and ended up staying home. This was probably for the best anyways as I needed more rest for my legs too. I received this cute postcard from Ottawa Race Weekend.

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When I received it, I was like “Yeah I had a ‘great’ time… Don’t patronize me” haha. I like that send little custom ones out to everyone who ran as a reminder to sign up for next year.

Now, more about this “injury”. I rested for almost two weeks and just rode my bike and played soccer. So I figured I would be good to go again and I headed out on a run.

Nothing hurt during my run but that nagging pain returned once I was done and at school for the day. I decided that enough was enough, and that I would go to the doctor to finally figure out what was wrong. In the meantime, I road my bike.

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Basically, I knew something was up when I was just finishing my Christmas shopping and still felt like something was off. Here’s my tree and some fun decorations in the mall!

I got to the doctor’s on Tuesday this week. I knew he would know what was up because he helped my dad a lot to rehab his knee problems. It’s nice to know I have a doctor who’s reaction was “Oh well you haven’t been running? We’ve got to get you back at it!” instead of “You’ll wreck your knees, stop running”. After describing to him what happened, and him checking out how I walk, my feet, and doing the test for tears (they twist your leg and see if it pops or hurts), he came up with the problem. I am an over pronator!

Now, I’ve known this since almost when I started running but it never occurred to me that it can get worse and cause problems. My left leg has a larger q-angle than my right leg which is putting stress on my knee. This is also brought on by a stronger right leg. So all I need are some insoles to help with pronation, and to strengthen my leg.

I bought some insoles as soon as I left the doctor. They are called “superfeet”. I’ve worn them one for running and walked around in them too to try and break them in. So far, they are comfortable and my knee did not bother me at all during my run!

I will right more about my running plans for next year, but I just thought I’d update you all that I am alive and I am running again! I’ll leave you with what I thought the worst case scenario was for my appointment.

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Injured? And Other Updates

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Hey everyone. Sorry about the long hiatus. I’ve been dealing with an injury and blogging about running while I wasn’t actually running wasn’t on my mind.

So long story short, after the Gatineau Half, I had a sore knee. I rested and played a few soccer games and I could still sort of feel that something wasn’t right. I have very specific pain on the inside of my left knee below the knee cap. From what I can tell, this is just a tight hamstring problem, or I’ve damaged my meniscus.

Taking this back, I could tell I was having some tight legs around the 9runrun race. I assumed it was normal wear and tear but I could feel it. So I knew when I did the Gatineau race, I’d probably feel it again. I was hoping that a few weeks of rest would help. After a lot of icing and anti-inflammatories, and stretching I think I’ve finally got it under control. I played soccer on Friday and today and I can feel it’s a little tight but no pain. I don’t believe I’ve damaged my meniscus because typically (from what I understand) you can pin point a specific moment where it feels like something has snapped or popped. My pain happened more gradually.

Luckily I am done racing for the year but this has made me weary to sign up for any spring races. I know for sure that I won’t be doing the hypothermic half I did this year because it would be too close to Around the Bay. Ideally, I would like to do Around the Bay but I want to make sure I can do the training first before spending the money. I think I will finally be able to start running more regularly next week and will need a few weeks to build my base back up.

I have gone on some runs and I’ve seen an improvement in my knee. I’ve just been doing an almost 5k route near my place so I can easily walk home if I need to. We finally got snow last week (as some of you may have seen from last weekend’s RedBlacks game).

I’ve been struggling with not being able to run and I’ve rode our bike training a few times. I never realized how much I rely on running to clear my mind until I can’t do it. I guess I use it a lot to sort out my over-imaginative mind and it’s been really hard to not have that outlet. So I’ve probably seemed off lately because of it. I’m hoping things will get better when I can get going again. Basically this is how I’ve been doing:

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This will be the end of a kind of grumpy post; I’m hoping I can update more next time about which races I’ll be doing next year. I’m bummed I’ll be missing the run streak this year but I know it’s for the best and that I’m risking injury to try. I want to wish all of my American followers a Happy Thanksgiving and for those watching the Grey Cup, go Redblacks!

Oh and Christmas decorating has started.2016-11-22-20-36-25

One more thing. This weekend, Run Ottawa will be having their last free 5K of the year. I would normally skip out on this, but will be going because they are raising money for a good cause. I will just go slow and not race. They are raising money for a local kid named Jonathon Pitre. If you haven’t heard of him, he has Recessive Dystrophic Epidermolysis Bullosa which causes terrible, painful blisters all over his body. This kid has been through so much and always remains so positive despite all of the pain he’s endured. He recently went to the US for experimental treatment to try and ease some of the symptoms. They are raising money to help cover some of the medical costs, and to help out his mom who has gone there with him. If you’d like to read more, or make a donation, there is a go fund me page set up here https://www.gofundme.com/2jxyu6qc

We can all learn something from his positive attitude (including myself for feeling so down lately)!

Gatineau Park Half Marathon Recap

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Happy Friday!

Good news- I survived my (probably) last race of the year. The Gatineau race is always the hardest race I do and it’s nice to do it last. For those of you not familiar with the Ottawa region, there is an area just across the river in Quebec called “Gatineau”. They have some big hills that are fun to run in and it’s a big park with hiking trails and lakes. Because of the nature of the area (hilly) they close a lot of the roads for the winter because it wouldn’t make sense to plow them. People in this area are crazy about cross country skiing so it’s also popular in the winter.

It’s a big tourist attraction to see all the fall leaves in the park. However, a few weeks into October is when they close the roads in preparation for winter. So some smart people at MEC decided that they should do a race there once the roads are closed. Very smart actually because they probably don’t have to pay nearly as much for the race to happen there.

This was the last race in my cheap race pack I got at the beginning of the year. I think in total I did 4 races for $50. There’s no finishing medals but they were all timed and closed courses.

This year, Alex decided to sign up for the 5k (which was new) with his friend. It meant that I had a ride there so I met my dad at the race head quarters. Everything happens in the chalet for Camp Fortune and then you head down to the start like which is about 2 km down the road.

Before I get into my race, let me show you Alex’s. He bet his friend about who would win the race and whoever was slowed had to buy the faster one a 6 pack of beer. So his plan was to stick with him the whole race and just try to out sprint him at the end. He was worried he would go out too hard otherwise. They were lucky because their out and back route was too short to hit any of the serious hills. Look at his splits and the profile (he used my old watch for the run).

I laughed when I saw how much he sped up at the end. He was sprinting so much faster than he ran the whole race. He could have easily gone faster over the whole thing. He ended up beating his friend by 2 seconds and won the beer!

Back to my race. The course is nasty and full of hills (obviously). There is also a marathon option for the truly insane. Unfortunately, they had to cancel it this year because it snowed a few days before. The snow melted in the city pretty quickly but it’s a lot cooler up there. And since the roads are closed, nothing would make it melt. Everyone who signed up for the marathon got downgraded to the half. At first, it seemed silly to me but once we hit some parts in the course, it made sense. It seemed like MEC must have gotten someone to plow the half course but I guess they couldn’t do it for the full.

Going into the race, I knew I had been having some issues. I wouldn’t say I had knee pain but I noticed my left knee getting stiff and generally feeling more inflamed. I told myself I would take it easy if it started to hurt.

As I mentioned, the start line is a ways down from where you park and I actually ended up being late for the start. I was looking for the baggage drop off but apparently it was at the start line so I had to throw my bag to them and then get going. We jogged down to the line and I took off once I was ready. The first 5k of the course are relatively “flat” in comparison to the rest of the course. It’s not usually a good idea to try and bank time at the beginning of the race but given how this course is laid out, I think it was okay. I wasn’t going super fast, just faster than I knew I would be going up the hills. I actually felt pretty good. It was also a big confidence booster to start late because I passed a lot of slower people!

The weather was cool but the sun was out at the start of the race. I had a long sleeve shirt with a short sleeve on top and capris. I wore gloves at the start but took them off and never ended up putting them back on. I was worried I had overdressed, but eventually the sun went away and it got cooler. It was about 5 degrees celsius which I would say is some of my favorite (and more successful) racing weather.

I should premise this post by saying that I did almost no hill training at all this year. I did one session down by the locks and then had turf toe from soccer so I didn’t run at all for a little while. I wasn’t really sure how I would handle the hills but I had found my one hill session a lot easier than I had the previous year.

We hit our first hill and it was hard but I made it a goal to try and run up the whole thing. I wanted to try and crack 2:20 on this course as an A goal, or beat my previous time (2:28). That would mean running an average of 10:40/mile. I am not a great hill runner but I knew I could average the slower uphill with a faster downhill. I made it up the first hill without walking and felt really good! I had some mental push in me to keep going.

This is about the point in the race where I realized I am either a great downhill runner or just a really awful uphill runner. Every time we would go up a hill, people would pass me. But once we hit the downhill, I would fly by everyone. I think I was generally a stronger runner but not as consistent on the hills. I found that a lot of people were killing themselves to run up the hill but then would walk once they were at the top. In my experience, you will go faster overall if you power walk up the hill and then run once you’re at the top.

There is a really long and winding hill where it never seems like it will end. I walked up parts of this one because I wasn’t running much faster than I was walking. I ran as much as I could and knew that once I got to the top, I would fly through the rest of the course.

It was about this point in the race when I noticed that there kilometer markers were not in the right spot. I hit what was marked at 16 km (10 miles) in 1:43. This would mean a 10:18/mile pace which I knew did not make sense. I did 1:35 in the 9 runrun race but I know I lost more than 8 minutes walking up those hills. My watch said I was at 9.55 miles which meant the markers were almost off by an entire kilometer. This was the same thing as last year too so I’m surprised they have not sorted this out. I actually hit the 10 mile mark in 1:47 (granted my watch could have been slightly off too).

I knew I would be close to my goal of 2:20 at this point but I would have to gun it down the hills. I was flying but my knee started to feel off and I had to slow down. I didn’t want to injure myself just to meet an insignificant time goal in my last race of the year. I shuffled along and was just ready for the race to be done.

There is a very nasty climb at the end up to the finish. Again, the kilometer markers were off here so it was kind of silly. You would see the 20 km sign, run for another couple minutes, make the turn up to camp fortune (the finish) and it says 1 km to camp fortune on the road sign. So you think you’re only a kilometer away, but you are not. Therefore it makes you feel like you’re running the slowest 1.1 kilometers of your life. I trucked up the hill as best as I could. I hit the turn for the hill and thought “I have 8 minutes to get up to the finish” (keep in mind I should have had less than a kilometer left at this point). It seemed reasonable even if I walked part of it.

I ran up most of it but saw my watch click over to 2:20 and I took a short break. Then I could hear someone coming up behind me with their friends cheering them on so I ran hard to the finish. I finished in 2:22! I still beat my time from last year by 6 minutes despite having zero hill training and slowing down for precaution, not because I was tired. Here are my splits.

It’s too bad, I bet if this was a flat race I would have been pretty close to my PR or at least my 9 run run time. I didn’t get any pictures of me in my race gear but I did take this picture while I waited for my dad to finish.

2016-10-30-12-10-12

See, there is snow on the ground!

Another benefit to the head quarters being in the chalet is that they open the kitchen. So I had a nice warm poutine while I waited for my dad. Yum!

Here I am once I made it home when I realized I didn’t have a picture of myself.

2016-10-30-13-01-14Still smiling!

So the plan for the next two weeks is to not run at all and try and give my legs a bit of a break. I’m still going to play soccer but I can take it easy if anything is acting up. Taking a break, and factoring in my lack of mileage from October, means I won’t come close to 1000 miles this year. I am okay with that though. I don’t want to kill myself to meet a mileage goal and not start the next training session healthy.

I’ll probably give you an update about potential races for next year soon once I finalize a few things!

Cya!