Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Is that all you ever think about?"

"Is that all you ever think about?"

This was the text response that greeted me when I sent Shane a note on my way home one night and asked if he still wanted to go for a run when I got there. I think my very un-witty response at the time was something along the lines of, "no, not always", but in fact it should have been "Running? Nah, I think about swimming and biking too” [ba dum bum]

Seriously though, it is not all I ever think about, but triathlon (and fitness and health in general) do consume a good portion of my mind and thoughts. That said, lately, I’m finding it a bit difficult to get these thoughts on [virtual] paper. Maybe writing a ‘triathlon blog’ while in the triathlon off-season isn’t that easy? Perhaps, it’s the lack of races on the horizon; or maybe even the grey weather outside that seems to strip me of my desire to do anything but laze around in front of the wood stove and watch horrible television (oh, and workout and think about triathlon of course, haha).

That said, while my desire to write has been lacking, I have been keeping up with a pretty consistent training schedule in preparation for the Bear Mountain 10k on November 20.

Part of me dreads this race. Like a serious, full on, “why did I sign up for this” dread. The thought of ‘Baby Bear’ ‘Mama Bear’ and ‘Papa Bear’ make me cringe a little every time I think of them. But of course, another part of me remembers how fun it was last year. Sure, I took it really slow (treating it more as an easy training day than a race) and I even walked a little (which I plan NOT to do this year) but there is something about this race that really is appealing. Maybe it’s the challenge, or the thrill of competing in “Canada’s Hardest 10k” or even just the good old grass roots feel, or the fact that you get a Lululemon t-shirt this year. Whatever it is, I’ll be there. Ready to take it on as a race this year and not just an easy training day.

Watch out Papa Bear… I’m coming for you ;)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Race Report – Victoria Half Marathon

Well, where to begin….
I guess, in short, I felt like this past Sunday at the Goodlife Fitness [Royal] Victoria Marathon was a pretty solid race for me.

I had been feeling a different sense of nerves coming into this race. Maybe a bit of fear (a slight fear of a self-perceived “failure” perhaps?). I’m not 100% sure, but I suppose I really only say failure for lack of a better word. It’s more the sense that I know the day is going to come that I might not set a new PB, and even if it’s a great race, I think that part of me will be slightly disappointed. I guess I just always want every race to be better than the last – make sense? Anyway, I could be completely wrong about how I will feel when the day comes, but I obviously wasn’t ready to find out this week. Thankfully, I didn’t have to. I finished with a chip time (and a new PB) of 1:50:51.

I got up fairly early in order to partake in my regular pre-race ritual of cereal and a small cup of coffee. Following that, I headed down to my parent’s place to meet them and Kirsten for the drive into town. After a quick pit-stop at Mom’s office to use the loo it was time to join the thousands of other runners and wait for the starter's pistol.

As I stood silently among the masses, I saw an acquaintance/friend (future-training-partner?) a few feet away. I knew we ran a similar pace, and thought about having a chat and seeing if she wanted to run together, but then I remembered some of the horrible races I’ve had because I’ve tried to run someone else’s race (the 2010 TC 10k sure springs to mind). So with visions of my crappy TC 10k dancing in my head, I decided to stay put, be a bit unsocial and just run my own race.

[Of Note: After the race I checked out my acquaintance/friend’s time, and she finished about 30 seconds back from me, so we probably would have been great running partners for this race….].

I felt like I started out at a pretty good pace. I was comfortable and relaxed, but not too too relaxed. I had written some pace times on my hand as I usually do, but quickly realized I had written them down wrong (don’t ask), so after about 2k I decided to ignore my watch and just run. I’ve been doing a lot of my training on perceived effort lately, and right now, it seems to be working for me.

Down Cook Street I enjoyed listening to the people around me chat, and even had a few good chuckles from some girls behind me who were convinced it was “all down hill from here to the water” – I guess they forgot about that little loop through Beacon Hill.

Near Ross Bay Cemetery I got to see a full moon! Some poor woman didn’t make it to the porta-potty and squatted right on the side of the road. The guy beside me let out a loud grumbly “that’s disgusting” but I thought it was kinda funny – or maybe I was just thankful it wasn’t me. I also think she probably thought she was a little more hidden by the bushes than she actually was, haha. The things you see on race day!

From 10k through to the turn around I started to see more and more people that I know, which came as a nice distraction from the actual running. Back onto Dallas Road, I was a bit taken aback by the headwind that seemed to have come out of nowhere and I definitely had to re-check myself mentally and just remember to push through. I did a lot of training runs along Dallas Road this year compared to previous years and think it was quite helpful to know how long the “climbs” were and when the downs started, etc.

As I approached Ogden Point I saw my friend Robyn on the side of the road. She is a great cheerleader and definitely gave me a little boost. I knew it was just a few more corners and a couple more km’s and I would be at the end… happily finished for the day.

With about 500m to go I looked at my watch for the first time since the half way marker and noticed I was just under 1:50. (I will admit I kicked myself a little for not looking sooner – who knows, maybe I could have gone sub 1:50?). That said, I did try to pick it up a bit for the last little stretch past the crowds and made it across the line feeling pretty strong.

Once I grabbed some food and chocolate milk, my parent’s and I headed out toward Oak Bay to see Kirsten on the marathon route. It was a lot of fun cheering on all the runners (my Dad is the best cheer-er out there, without question). We managed to see Kirsten 3 times before heading back to the finish line. She looked really strong each time we saw her, and the finish was no different. She finished in 3:50:57.

So, big congratulations to everyone who raced and of course, thank you to all the many volunteers who helped make the day a great one. Oh, and the weather – thank you for not raining on us!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Everybody Poops

Anyone who knows me, knows I love a good poo story. Not to mention the fact that, well, I have had my fair share of "close calls". Needless to say, when I read this article, I just couldn't resist re-posting.

It happens
"Uh-oh" moments are more frequent in sports than fans realize

AFTER RACING NEARLY 140 miles, first through the ocean, then across the blackened lava fields of Kona, Hawaii, Julie Moss crested the final hill of the 1982 Ironman Triathlon alone in front, hovering near delirium. She was also about 45 seconds from becoming, as she remembers it, "the ultimate, giant, chocolate mess."

Since the 16-mile mark of the marathon, Moss, a vivacious 23-year-old with a shock of red hair, had managed to hold back the field as well as the considerable contents of her intestines. Suddenly, like a beacon in the Pacific twilight, a Sizzler steak house appeared, cool and inviting, atop the hill on Palani Road. Almost a half mile from the finish, Moss had a gastronomical gamble to make. She gazed back and forth, evaluating her options -- relief by way of the Sizzler bathroom in front, an evaporating lead in the inky darkness behind -- all the while contemplating the ultimate unspeakable taboo almost every elite athlete faces at some point.

Do I stop? Or go?

Continue reading here.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Mixed Bag

I feel like I’ve had lots of thoughts and ideas for my “next great blog post” running through my mind lately, and yet, I can’t seem to develop these ideas into anything more than a brief thought. So, I’ve decided it’s time for a bit of a mixed-bag, a quick and random update on a few things that have been sharing space in my head (in no particular order of course).

1) Crazy is as Crazy Does…. As I prep for the half marathon this weekend, Kirsten has been busily preparing for an even bigger challenge – she is set to take on the FULL marathon again this Sunday. While we haven’t been doing a lot of training together, we have managed to get in a few long runs on the weekends. I realized the other day that I had repeatedly been telling her she’s crazy for wanting to run the marathon. Of course, I was joking, but then it hit me – what a mean “joke”. So, no more of that. I have decided to stop telling her she’s crazy – because she is far from it. She’s an amazing runner who has an incredible drive to push her limits. She’s ambitious and talented, and far from crazy. I have good feelings about this race for her and can’t wait to cheer her on at the finish line. Her goals will be met. I’ve no doubt.

2) I have good co-workers…. As I was leaving work the other night to “run home” [in actuality, I run from my office to Colwood where I meet my Mom and get a ride the rest of the way – I do not run up the Malahat] I realized I’m pretty lucky to have co-workers who are actually kind of interested in hearing about my training and don’t think I’m a freak for liking endurance sports. While I may have gotten a few strange looks the first time I mentioned I was “running home” they don’t judge me for going for a run on my lunch break or any of the other “strange” things I do. I’m not sure this would be the same in every office environment and I appreciate it.

3) Race Week = Race Jitters…. I’ve still been up and down, back and forth about how this weekend’s race will go. More and more each day I’m starting to think I can beat my PB, so well, fingers crossed. In the meantime, I’m enjoying a bit of a taper and can’t wait for some carbo-loading, haha.

4) A Glorious Return to the Pool…. Just over 2 weeks ago, Kirsten and I got inked. That’s right, Ironman tattoos. I know some people think its a little cliché, and well, maybe it is, but I don’t care. I’m loving my new little mark. I feel like it will be a good reminder of the accomplishment - an icon of my epic journey. Also, I figure it will be a good motivator to stay in shape as I'd be really embarrassed walking around with it on my body if I totally let myself go. Anyway, because of the tattoo, I had to stay out of the water for 2 whole weeks! For someone who loves epsom salts baths tremendously, and well, loves swimming too, it was torture. Thankfully, I made it through and yesterday I had my first swim in far too long. The pool was surprisingly busy, and yet, it didn’t really matter. Swimming is the best!

5) Speed Demon in the making…. I had a chat with Kelly recently to discuss the coming months and my goals for next season. I’d been feeling really wishy-washy about “the off-season” but knew I wanted a little less structure, while still maintaining fitness and preparing for whatever comes next. As for what comes next, in short, I've decided next season I want to get fast! Well, faster than I currently am at least. Initially I felt like this was kind of a broad and maybe somewhat immeasurable goal, but after talking to Kelly, I think we’ve got a game plan. I’m going to be focusing on shorter distances (mainly sprints) and really pushing myself to see where my limits are. I’ve never loved speed work as much as longer, slower, endurance blocks, so I think it’s going to be a really great challenge and will give me a new push in a different direction. Times trials will become my friend :)

Well, I'm sure there is more, but I figure that is all that is fit to print at the moment.

Thanks for reading.