Monday, April 30, 2012

TC 10k – Race Report

Well, judging from my Facebook newsfeed, just about everyone on my friends list participated in the TC 10k in some form or another on Sunday morning (ok, well maybe not everyone, but I would say 9 out of every 10 “status updates” on Sunday were dominated by stories of TC 10k glory).

The race for me was part of a bigger training day with 90’ of relatively easy biking both before and after the race. Kinda like an Oreo cookie, but instead of delicious chocolaty cookies surrounding sugary sweet icing, it was a bike-run-bike sandwich.

Shane and I rode down to the race from home, so the first 20(ish) minutes of the ride were predominantly downhill (which I quite enjoyed!). We then hit the Goose and cruised in. From the trail, we could glimpse the unusual amount of Sunday morning traffic heading toward downtown Victoria – presumably 99% of the cars were filled with race participants.

Unfortunately, the workout wasn’t a true "run off the bike", as we got into town about 7:20ish (so, 40' before race start). From there, we got changed from bike to run gear and then I just tried to keep moving - mainly to keep warm, but also to try and calm my nerves a bit. Lately, I’ve been getting super nervous before road races. I think it’s because I know that I want to push, and I know what I should be capable of, but I also know that pushing to my limits can hurt, and I sometimes have trouble embracing that hurt... but I’m working on it (and I do think getting better).

As for the 10k distance itself, over the last little while, whenever I have thought about running the 10k, my mind has gone to the number 46 – as in 46:00. During the bike into town I started questioning if that was possible as my legs were feeling a little heavy and it seemed like the bike was taking more effort than I expected it to. So, slowly I started thinking, “Well, 47:00 might be okay, or 48:00.” Then it got to “anything that starts with a ‘4’.”

Thankfully, my legs cooperated and were ready and willing to run when the gun went off.

When the race started, I tried to keep a somewhat comfortable pace for the first few km's, as I knew how much better I felt at the Boston 5k a couple of weeks ago than I did at the Bazan Bay 5k in March, and I think a large part of that had to do with my splits being so much more consistent in the Boston race. No sprinting for the first km and then slowly fading. That said, while it may have felt comfortable at the time, my first km was probably still a bit fast (oops).

Kirsten and Tyler went past me about the 2k mark and I resisted the urge to try and keep up with them. Instead, I just tried to keep them in my sights and focused on myself and my own pace. My mantra as of late when running has been something like “strong core, focus on your arms” as I tend to twist my shoulders when I run and have been really working hard on correcting this the last couple months. While sometimes it feels awkward, I think I am slowly improving and I really think this little mantra helped me a lot in yesterday’s effort.

As we made the turn onto Dallas Rd and up the little hill that I have run a million times, I began to struggle a little. The gradual uphill through Beacon Hill Park always gets me – you think it is flat, but oh-no, it is not. Thankfully, I knew the course well enough and was able to push through and embrace the hurt a little more than I normally do. I could also still see Kirsten and Tyler up ahead and I think trying to not let them get too far away was a good motivator.

Oh, and a funny moment around the "1 mile to go" marker. A woman on the sidelines yelled at her friend to "keep working those arms". I thought it was perfect timing because I was probably slacking on the whole arm thing a bit in that moment. Anyway, I have to say, once I started focusing on my arms again, it made that last stretch feel so much better. Also, I could still see Kirsten. Visions of chasing her down in the final stretch pushed me forward.

As I did finally turn onto that final homestretch, I tried to pick up the pace as much as I could, just repeating to myself “don’t give up, you’ll be mad if you do” (or something like that).

I crossed the finish line in 45:37 (a huge new PB) and couldn’t be happier about it!

Of course, my 45:37 has nothing on my Olympic-bound cousin Cam Levins. Last night he killed the 10,000m race at the Payton Jordan Invitational, taking the win in 27:27.96 and smashing the Olympic ‘A’ standard once again.

Canadian Running writes about it here.

Or, watch for yourself here. It may take a half hour, but it is totally worth it (or you know, just fast forward to the final few laps).

I guess you can tell who got all the speed in our family!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Weekend Review

Well, the weekend in the Capital Region turned out to be a pretty great one on the training and weather front... Not to mention some pretty exciting happenings for a kid from Black Creek!

Let’s discuss that first. That kid from Black Creek, BC; that butt-kicking cousin I’ve mentioned before ~ Cam Levins.

London’s calling!

Cam ran an amazing 13:18.47 in the 5000m on Friday at the Mt. Sac Relays, hitting the Canadian ‘A+’ Standard and pretty much solidifying himself a spot on the Canadian Olympic team!

Needless to say, everyone in the family is super proud and his Mom and Dad are freaking ecstatic! I'm pretty sure flights are being booked to London as we speak.

Canadian Running Magazine sums it up better here.

You can watch the race here. Take the 16mins or so and watch - it is totally worth it!
I think this photo says it all!
(shamelessly stolen from Cam’s Facebook page)
Other than that, my training this weekend was great – albeit very very slow in comparison, haha.

Saturday’s long(ish) bike was pretty uneventful, which was actually kind of nice. Only one flat tire (it is the 'year of the flat' in our household) for Shane, combined with a nice mix of rolling hills, pancake flat trails and sunshine and it was done in no time. Not to mention – no bonking! Yay!

The notable highlight of the weekend was encountering a couple of black bears on our long run on Sunday morning. It scared the crap out of me, but it was kind of neat at the same time, especially because we never really got closer than about 200m from them. I did however, try to stay a couple steps ahead of Shane for the rest of the run.

Look really really far in the distance. I swear there are two bears in this photo, haha.
After that, it was time to chill out on the deck in our “Zero Gravity Chairs” overlooking the pond with the newest issue of Canadian Running Magazine. Not bad, not bad at all.

Look closely and you can even see the start of the bike short tan line.
Does that mean spring has officially arrived?

Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Boston Photo Post

The Freedom Trail

Proof that Kirsten was sitting down at every opportunity to put her feet up.

Flashback to the basketball days.

A lobster roll for Shane.

Old Iron-side.


Heading to the start of the 5k.

Pre-race. The pants didn't stay on very long in the crazy heat.

Boston Marathon Qualifier turned Boston Marathon Finisher!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Wicked Fast Runnah, Bahston 2012

First, let me just say, I love a good Boston accent.
“Meet me at the pahk.” ~ “You’re wicked smaht.” ~ “Let’s go to Hahvad.” ~ “I don’t need a cah, I’m a wiched fast runnah.”
Ok, I’m done.

So, Boston… It was quite simply an awesome trip. We saw and did so much, and yet I feel like we barely scratched the surface of what the city had to offer. I feel like I could write and write and write about it, but that might get kind of boring. So the highlights then? Ok.

Well, some of the highlights were walking The Freedom Trail, visiting the USS Constitution, a Fenway Park tour and a Red Sox game (that had A LOT of home runs and a Red Sox win), running in the Boston Common and Public Garden, racing the BAA 5k, taking a marathon course tour, seeing Dick and Rick Hoyt (so inspiring), and of course the race expo and MARATHON MONDAY!

The race expo was amazing. I love a good expo, but the expos we have here in Victoria are nothing compared to the extravaganza of running awesomeness that was the Boston Marathon expo. I went a little sample happy (but I wasn't the only one) and I think we all came away with bags full of running goodies and tummy aches from all the samples of gels and shots and blocks and electrolyte beverages. Oh, it was good. I actually would have liked to have gone back a second time, but the days flew by and it just wasn’t meant to be.

The BAA 5k was a really fun race and a nice way to start a Sunday morning. How ‘bout a little race recap you say? Well, ok.

I think on Saturday afternoon I sort of decided that I was just going to try and run it at a decent tempo effort and not really try and kill it or go for a new PB. We had walked a lot and my legs were not feeling super fresh and I just wanted to have fun.

When Sunday morning rolled around I was still feeling the same. I had a decent warm up, got in some good strides and all that fun stuff, and took my place in the corrals with all the others. Tyler and I lined up at the 6min/mile pace sign and I was worried we were too far up, but when the gun went off I went out at what felt like a comfortable pace and was pleasantly surprised to be passing tonnes of people. Of course, there was a bit of weaving, but I never really felt frustrated by the crowds so that was nice.

I went through 1k around 4:20-4:25 and was happy with that. From there I just tried to maintain that effort and enjoy myself. There were a few times as it got later into the race that I kind of wanted to back off as the effort was becoming a little more challenging, but I still felt pretty good and solid, so I tried to keep pushing.

I ended up crossing the finish line in 20:06 (5 seconds slower than Bazan Bay in March and my PB at this distance) and was really happy with that. My splits were way more even than Bazan Bay and I just felt better at the end. Of course, I kicked myself a little for being that close to a new PB and not really going for it (as I definitely think I could have pushed a little harder and gone under 22:00) but it was what it was and I was really happy with the effort and the day.

Post 5k I had a baby wipe shower on Boylston St and we all headed out on a course tour. Our guide was John – an 8 time Boston finisher, sub 2:30 marathoner and course tour guide for the past 20 years. He had a wicked good accent so it wasn’t hard to listen to him for 3hours.

As for Marathon Monday, well, what can you say? It was pretty amazing to see the runners and the crowds of fans lining the streets and the organization that it takes to pull off such a massive event.

Of course, it was also disgustingly hot, but you knew that already. Kirsten conquered it like a trooper though, taking it all in stride. All things considered, she did absolutely amazing and I think she really embraced the experience and enjoyed herself.

We (her extraordinary fans) parked ourselves around the 30km mark (pretty much at the bottom of Heartbreak Hill) and when Kirsten came by, she actually stopped and gave us all hugs and had a drink and chatted for a minute or so – all the while with a huge smile of her face. This is not something that is typical of Kirsten when she is racing (I don’t mean the smile part, but the stopping part is not typical) so it was kind of special to get to share in her day in that way. Once she passed we hopped on the subway and headed back toward the finish line. We caught a glimpse of her as she turned onto Boylston from Heresford and raced toward the finish line and became a Boston Marathon finisher!

Yeah, it was wicked good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Boston Bound!

So, it’s finally here. Tomorrow morning, bright and early, we (me, Kirsten, Ty, Mom and Dad) board a plane to Boston while Shane stays home and trains for Ironman all on his lonesome (lucky guy, haha). Although, I was perhaps a bit of a whiner on our 4hr ride this weekend, so he might actually be happy to be rid of me for a bit.

That said, let’s not focus on me being a whiny baby who perhaps bonked slightly 3hrs into our 4hr ride and perhaps had a minor internal/mental meltdown when I didn’t want to climb any more mammoth hills…

It’s BOSTON MARATHON time ~ and that’s all that should really matter.

I know the Kik-ster is uber-excited, but also pretty nervous for the big event, whereas, I think the rest of us just get to be excited (although, my Mom is probably nervous too – it’s a Mom thing right?).

I’m fully expecting Boston to be like one big running carnival and aside from a fun little 5k on Sunday; my main purpose of this trip is to be the ultimate race spectator. The cowbell is packed.

Other than that, I don’t have much to say really. The past weekend was great (but I think any 4 day weekend is bound to be pretty magnificent). I had an absolutely amazing tempo run on Friday, 3/4 of a good ride on Saturday (see above), a decent long(ish) run on Sunday around the Lakes and a very nice day off from work and training on Monday… and now it is Boston time. What’s not to love?

Happy Boston Week!

Oh, and one other random thing… as I was searching for swimming pools near our hotel in Boston (so I can continue to get some training in), I came across this article.
How the heck does that happen? Two days?!  And I thought the lifeguards at JdF were slightly negligent at times. Wowza.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Season Schedule and Other Tuesday Tidbits

This weekend I sat down with Kelly and discussed what races I’d like to do, as well as how many training weekends in Penticton are realistic, and how these will all fit in the ol’ season schedule.

Here is what we’ve come up with:

May 27 – Shawnigan Sprint

June 2/3/4 – Penticton Mini Camp

June 17 – Victoria Half

June 24 – Tour de Victoria 100km

July 27/28/29 – Penticton Mini Camp 2

August 5 – Self Transcendence Olympic


October 22 – Age Group Sprint World Champs, Auckland, NZ

It didn’t seem like that much as we were simply talking about it, but once we started laying it out on the calendar, it does seem like a pretty jam-packed season, non? I think it is a good mix though, racing + big volume weekends, with enough weeks between for the training to ebb and flow somewhat naturally.

I’m also really excited to do the Tour de Victoria 100km ride. Not so much for the whole “mass participation cycling event” experience, but more because I am going to do it with my Dad. I think it will be a fun day together. Now I just need to get over my fear of riding in such a huge group (which I didn’t actually realize was a fear until after I’d signed up on Monday morning and started thinking about how many people there would be) as well as my fear of Munns Rd and Millstream Lake Rd. I may need to get out and start practicing my hill climbing abilities.

As for my Other Tuesday Tidbits. Well, let’s see...
Training this weekend saw one very bad day and one pretty good day, so I guess it balanced out.

Saturday was rainy and cold and overall pretty ugly out, but Shane and I layered up and headed out for our ride anyway. About 20' in, Shane got his first flat tire. So, there we stood on the side of Wallace Rd, getting drenched and cold while he changed it. Once that was done, we were back on our way and encountered a few little climbs to help warm us back up. Unfortunately, about another 25-30' down the road (just as we were both finally warmed back up) he got his second flat tire. Again, we stood on the side of the road getting drenched and colder and colder. We were now out of spares but figured we'd just keep going and that if we got another flat we'd just call my parents (they were borrowing our truck, so it’s only fair right?). Unfortunately, neither of us could really get warm again and when at one point I looked back and saw Shane visibly shaking and blowing on his hands we decided to pack it in for the day and rode back to our start point (aka. Kirsten and Ty’s house). So, we only got to ride for about 90' when we were supposed to do 3hrs. We planned to go home and finish the ride on the trainers, but the day got away from us and before we knew it we had barely enough time to get home and get showered before heading down to our friend’s place for dinner. C'est la vie.

Sunday turned out to be a pretty decent day weather-wise and we tackled a nice 20km out and back run along the Trans Canada Trail. I felt really good the whole way (probably because my legs were nice and fresh after such a short ride on Saturday, haha) and it was over before we knew it. Surprisingly, I even enjoyed the pickups at the end! Although, I’d say running over the newly rebuilt Kinsol Trestle was the highlight.

Monday was a day off. I didn't really feel like I needed it in the same way that I had needed a rest day the week prior, but I took it anyway, and enjoyed it.

This morning I sucked at swimming again and am having a hard time getting over it. In fact, I’m not sure I’m ready to “talk” about it quite yet. Let’s just say, DISASTROUS is the only word that comes to mind. Le sigh.

Of course, I can’t end on that, so something more positive. I’m getting a massage after work!!!! Lysanne will make me feel better.

Oh, also, I saw this photo/quote the other day...


I need to start listening to my heart more and tell pride, experience and reason to piss off – not all the time, but maybe in the pool.

Happy Tuesday and Happy Short Work Week!