Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A Hump Day Trio

1) I had a pretty good run this morning. After a 20’ warm up, I was set to do 2x 20’ at marathon effort with 5’ easy in between. There was a note in my calendar that went something like this “be honest with your marathon pace-this is your goal race pace, no faster”.

I’ve been struggling a little with hitting my goal marathon pace lately, not because it is too hard, but more because I keep going out a little fast. It feels good in the moment, but when I look at my pace after, I think it is probably a little quicker than what I can realistically run a marathon at.

While it feels great for 20’, will it feel that great for 42.2km???

Anyway, the first 20’ block was pretty great and I think pretty realistic. My pace wasn’t much faster than what I am hopeful marathon pace will be. The second 20’ however, the pace got a little quicker. My only justification is that I felt really good ~ I actually felt like I was running right around the same pace. Ooops. Obviously, my perception of my pace is just a bit off these days.

Regardless, I suppose it is nice to be feeling good while running. I’d say that is a win no matter what the pace.

2) I have been really hungry lately!

I recently subscribed to this website called The Fresh 20. I’m not the most creative in the kitchen and am not very good at planning what to buy when I go to the grocery store (yadda, yadda, yadda), so I often end up buying my lunch while at work and then eating some thrown together meal for dinner when I get home because I’m starving.

Anyway, they (The Fresh 20) had a Groupon and so I decided to give it a try. It was $24 for a year’s worth of weekly dinner meal plans. While it takes a little more planning and prep than just throwing the same old crap together, so far I’ve been quite enjoying the meals I’ve made - and *bonus* often have enough left over for lunch the following day.

Today however, I decided to buy my lunch (out of sheer laziness) and scarfed down a huge Burrito Clasico from Hernandez (fricken delicious as always) and a gigantic chocolate chip cookie from Pig (who knew a BBQ joint could make such delicious cookies!). It was a huge calorie bomb, but holy eff was it good!

And yet, I’m still hungry.

3) I finally spent my Lululemon gift cards yesterday that I got for Christmas and it felt oh-so-food (haha, typo, but I’m keeping it. Should say ‘good’ ~ told you I was hungry!).

I’ve had $190 burning a hole in my pocket since Christmas, but haven’t wanted to buy something just for the sake of buying something.

So, I went into the store yesterday at lunch just to look around and ended up walking out with a new set of run tights, a new long sleeved running top, and a new short sleeved Swiftly in an awesome green colour... and $15 left on my gift cards to boot.

Yay for sales and ‘R&D’ discounts!!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First Half ½ Marathon - Race Report

As mentioned in my previous post, I spent the past weekend [and a long weekend at that ~ yay for BC’s new Family Day] in Vancouver hanging out and catching up with friends, and watching many hours of ‘The Walking Dead’. Oh, and of course, I also ran the First Half Half Marathon on Sunday morning.

Let’s recap that, shall we?

The weather was absolutely perfect and it was a stunningly beautiful course. I’m not sure you could ask for a better day.

Anyway, as I said before, I didn’t really plan on going out and ‘racing’ this so much as I planned to work on pacing and hitting a nice even split. While it may not be quite as satisfying as smashing a PB, I did managed to achieve my pacing goals for this race, and you know, there is a nice little sense of accomplishment in that too.

I’m pretty sure I said I didn’t care what the pace was, but in the back of my mind, I wanted to be somewhere around 5:20/km. I knew 5:20/km could feel either challenging or super comfortable for me, just depending on the day. On top of that, this pace is right around the goal pace I’m looking at for the marathon in May, so I sort of figured if I could get through 21k feeling good at this pace then that would be a good sign. (Judge my na├»ve thoughts if you will, but remember, I’ve never really raced a marathon before).

The first 2k was definitely a bit fast. I’m going to blame this mostly on Kirsten, although in reality, she isn’t the only one who got a bit caught up in the excitement of the race start. She does tend to go by the ol’ “fade from the front” philosophy, but on Sunday, she was a good sport and settled into a pretty consistent and steady pace with me not long after that 2k mark.

Anyway, I don’t have a tonne of thoughts on the day. Sometimes I felt like I was running at my pace, and sometimes I felt like I was running at Kirsten’s pace (although, I’m sure she’ll deny that)… but for most of the time, I just felt good.

All the way up and through about 14/15km I felt like I could have been running a bit faster, but admittedly, I was a bit worried about fading toward the end, so I definitely played it a bit safe (especially since my longest run in months has been just shy of 16k).

About the 15km/16km I was pretty aware that I was starting to have to work harder to maintain the same pace (and mentally, about this time, I hit the point where I was just ready to be finished), but I still didn’t feel like I was necessarily slowing or falling off the pace too much.

Unfortunately the only real issue was about the 18k mark when “nature called” and well, my guts just got very unhappy, very suddenly.

Kirsten urged me to pick up the pace and my grumbling response was “if I pick up the pace, I’m going to crap my pants!” I may have said this a little louder than I intended, so apologies to anyone who was running around me at that point, haha.

(Side note: because I didn’t actually end up messing myself, I obviously find this moment in the race to be quite hilarious, but have found my non-runner friends really don’t enjoy a good poo story as much as I do - what up with that?).

Anyway, needless to say, the “poo butt clench” that was happening made those final few km a little uncomfortable and a bit of a slog (and may have even made my form a little awkward). I know in a longer race that a quick pit stop would hopefully make things better, but obviously at that moment on Sunday, there was no point in stopping.

So yeah, overall the pace/km may have jumped around a little, but not too wildly – and the first half of the race was almost identical to the second half for overall time, so I can’t complain about that.

Of course, I still do truly believe I can run a faster half, because really, other than the upset guts, I did feel pretty great when this was all over. My body and legs were obviously tired after, but I feel like I bounced back (or am bouncing back) pretty well.

All that said, I do feel like I need to stop saying “I think I can run a faster half” and actually go out and prove it at some point in the near future. Stay tuned for that.

Info for the stat junkies…
Gun Time = 1:51:23
Chip Time = 1:51:01
Average pace/km = 5:16 (or 5:14 according to Garmin, as I apparently ran 21.21km)  

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Steady As She Goes

So, I’m racing – no wait, scratch that – running a half marathon on Sunday.

Sometime back in October my friend Laura suggested we sign up for the First Half Half. She had just come off the high of completing the Victoria Half Marathon, and I was all stoked about heading to New Zealand, and at the time, it sounded like a super-great-wonderful idea. I was all in! (Oh, and we roped Kirsten in too).

I figured it would give me something to focus on post-NZ and would be a good little tune up into the 2013 season (2013, for me, is going to be “the year of the run” after all).

I also thought, given that it’d be early in the year, I would be fresh and could potentially go for a new PB.

One of the reasons I was even thinking about a PB was because Shane had told me after the 2012 Victoria Half (which he completed in 1:37:22) that he was retiring from the half marathon distance until I beat him. So, you know, that is just a little bit of an incentive to run hard, right?

Anyway, my current half PB is from a few years ago and is a bit outdated at 1:50:51. While I have yet to prove it, I know whole-heartedly that I can cover that distance faster (perhaps not 1:37 fast, but deffo into the 1:40s).

Of course, things don’t always go as planned and my grand plans for a new PB have been put aside (for this race at least).

I spent much of my time in November and December doing whatever the hell I felt like. I was exercising, but without any structure. I wasn’t really training. I definitely wasn’t prepping myself to run a ‘fast’ half marathon.

I got rolling again in January, perhaps a little later than I had originally expected, and have been enjoying the stability of an actual training routine, but I don’t feel ready to go out and race hard – and, you know, I don’t really want to.

Don’t get me wrong, I am actually looking forward to the race this weekend, just for different reasons than I originally thought I would be.

I’m excited for this race because it is an excuse to head to the big city and hang out with someone I don’t get to see nearly enough. I’m excited to run a race on unfamiliar roads. I’m excited to try out some pacing for the marathon and use this as a building block for the bigger things to come this year.

So, what is my goal for this race then?

To run strong, but also to run steady. To run an even pace for the whole 21.1k – be it 4:47/km or 5:47/km. Oh, and if the pace isn’t even, then it sure as hell better be a negative split.

One other fun goal for the day will be keeping Kirsten reigned in, haha. She has informed me that "my pace is her pace" for this outing. We need to start really learning to run as a team and I think one of the bigger contributions I can bring to our team for TRR is pacing, whereas her strength will be keeping me pushing when the pain sets in. So, perhaps I’ll keep us steady for 16k or then Kirsten can make me dig deep for those last 5k?

I like it. Negative split here we come!!!