Archive | Running RSS feed for this section

Epic Tour – A not so Epic Fail

11 Sep

I’m  back and I have good news regarding the Epic Tour of Halton. I had to transfer from the 140k tour to the 80km ride because of lack of training – I know, shame on me! But I’m glad I swallowed my pride and opted for the shorter distance. I had a great time despite waiting in the cold at the start. I was literally shivering until about 5km into the ride. 

Making my way to the start line

Making my way to the start line

The whole day, ride included, was really well organize. For my first tour, it could not have gone smoother. There was plenty of parking, coffee at the start line, well marked course directions and aid stations stocked full of food. After the ride, the riders were able to enjoy free food and craft beer. I had a green apple beer that was real tasty. 

Food and beer after the ride

Food and beer after the ride

The marathon training continues. I did not do a long run this week because of the ride but the week before I ran 25km. It was a good run but I started to chaff under one arm around half way. It was the worst chaff I’ve had in a long time. 

Mark and I have started running together on some mornings to get used to each other’s pace.  Thankfully Mark was with me on Tuesday morning when I had to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty. It was still dark out when nature called. We came across a port-a-potty but, of course, there are no lights in them so Mark had to hold the door open a little while I unfortunately had to use the facilities. True love, ain’t it? 

Our region is going through, what I hope, is our last heat wave. Thankfully it looks like it’s only last two days but the mercury has been hovering over 40C (or 104F). I’ve been trying to drink as much water as possible before and after our runs and running before the sun has risen.

Do you have any tips on staying cool when running in the heat? When it’s really hot, do you prefer to run on a treadmill to avoid the sun and humidity completely?

 

Advertisements

Marathon Training Week 5 Rewind: Uphill Battle

19 Aug

Wow! My 20km run kicked my butt! Long straight stretches in the sun with minimal shade – I was really beat when I finished.  Although I was able to control the choice of the course, I purposefully made it hard to try to mimic Athens as much as possible. It was a tough run and it really pushed me out of my comfort zone. I was so focused at one point that I almost missed this guy starring right at me:
Horsy
I’m sorry this photo is blurry. I was standing across the street when I snapped it. And, of course, he turned his head right as the flash went off. Oh well… The look in his face was pretty clear: “Silly human.”

But back to running. This week I added a hill repeat to my Thursday morning hill repeats.  Honestly, they are friggin hard! Every time I’m running up that hill I feel like my heart is going to explode out of my chest. I was just reading an article on uphill running and the author’s advise: Keep your breathing under control. Yeah, easier said than done!  I’ve tried shortening and quickening my arm swing motion and taking shorter strides. I even stay focused to maintain good running form but it’s still not any easier.

Do you have any uphill running advice?

I know I haven’t been talking about the Gran Fondo that I’m doing in September. Truth is, I haven’t been riding my bike as often as I should. I did a short 30km bike ride this morning just to get back into it. I practiced my uphills and concentrated on making nice, round circles with my feet while pedaling. When I got home after my ride, I had received this in the mail:

Epic TourAs far as cycling jerseys go this one is pretty comfortable and I must say, it was actually pretty neat receiving my race kit in the mail as opposed to picking it up the day before the race. What service! Now this ride is real. I should really get on that saddle and add some miles to my Giant.

Epic Ride, Epic Run

16 Jul

I spent the last six days doing nothing, or resting. After the Peterborough Half Iron I was exhausted. Surprisingly my muscles were sore for only two days. While I was no longer sore, it took me the rest of the week to actually feel rested. I was so tired! Luckily I mostly work half days which gave me the opportunity to take many naps. Jeff the cat approved and supported me by napping with me. Although I enjoyed my rest days, I felt as though I was not accomplishing anything – and of course I was not. I spent my time coming up with my training schedule for my last two events of the year.

The first event is a tour called Epic Tour and it is in the Halton Region. The starting line and the after party is only minutes from my house. I think I may ask Mark to drive and pick me up though. My bottom may be a little sore after 140km. The tour is my first ever bike tour. It’s not a race and drafting is definitely allowed and encouraged – yay!

EpicTour
The last event is the Athens Marathon in Athens, Greece. I can’t wait to run in Greece! As much as this word is over used, I think it is appropriate in this case. The run in Greece will be epic! All the runners are bused out to Marathon where we proceed to run back to Athens. We finish in the Panathenaic Stadium to a crowd of cheering spectators. The run will be tough but Mark has promised to run the entire 42km with me. From 10km onwards, the race course is mostly uphill. Luckily the marathon is in November so hopefully the weather will be hovering anywhere between 15C – 20C.

Today was the first day of marathon training. It’s a new style of training that I’m hoping will be successful. The training is based on time instead of distance – although, the long runs on Saturday will still be measured in distance. The thirty minute run today was awful with the humidity and heat. With another stinking hot day I might spend my day at the outdoor pool – I think I deserve it!

Chocolate Race Recap

13 May

The day of the Chocolate Race started early. Mark hopped on his bike to ride to St Catherines and left shortly after six. His ride was supposed to take him just over two hours. I resolved to leave shortly after seven which would put me in St Catherines around the same time Mark was expected to arrive. The morning was exceptionally windy. I was praying that the wind would die down at the start line. The race started at 10 which meant I had to carefully plan out my eating schedule. I ate half of a banana around 6:30 and prepared a bagel with peanut butter and jam which I would eat around 8.

I packed all my stuff and jumped in the car. This was my first drive by myself down the 403. Thankfully, it was Sunday morning and there wasn’t too much traffic. I arrived at the expo shortly after eight and picked mine and Mark’s race kits and waited. And waited. And waited. The time was now 9:15 and Mark was still nowhere to be found. He hadn’t called or texted which meant he was still on the road. I was starting to get anxious. I really did not want him to miss the race. I waited as long as I could. At 9:43 I started to walk towards the start line. I left his race kit in the car and texted him the directions to find the car. Hopefully he would get there in time. As fate would have it, as I walked towards the start line, I decided to take one last look behind me. There he was. A cyclist all in black with a white helmet. I dashed towards him and pointed to turn around. I directed him to the car. Mark quickly got changed while I placed his bike in the car. It was a made dash. When he was all ready we ran back to the start. With four minutes to spare, we made it! Mark made his way to the front while I stayed behind him a few rows. I was expecting to do well but I didn’t want to be at the front.

The gun went off and I started passing people like it was nobody’s business. The terrain was half trail and half road with minor inclinations. We ran along the Lake Ontario with a head wind.  This was no minor head wind. They were wind gusts of over 30km/hr. I was not expecting stellar results at that point. But, I stayed positive. No one was passing me and I was gaining on the person ahead of me. Thankfully at the turn around, the wind was now at my back. I gained speed and I felt like I was flying. I definitely flew through the finish line. I did not have a personal best but I finished 2nd in my age category and 15th overall! My time was 50min and 44seconds.

DSC01006Pink champagne at the finish line. I really could have had a few more glasses to keep me warm (it was freezing!)

As we waited for the award ceremony, we had chocolate croissants and truffles. Everything was so rich and delicious. I was surprised to find out that I finished 2nd. I wasn’t expecting to top my age group. Especially in this race as the age group was between 20 and 29. But we also had to wait for medals because Mark won his first race. He left everyone behind him in his dust. We both could not believe his incredible race.

DSC01011Here we are with our finisher’s medals and our winner’s medals.

Thankfully Mark did not want to ride his bike back home so he drove and I was able to relax in the passenger’s seat. Of course, training really paid off. But I think for my next race I’m going for another pedicure and will definitely stick to homemade pizza for supper. This might be the beginning of a great tradition.

Personal Best vs. Chocolate

11 May

Really? Should there even be a competition here? Chocolate and I get along together very well. Sometimes a little too well. But when you work hard at something and you have the chance to see your effort come to fruition, sometimes you just have to tell chocolate “I’m sorry, but I think it’s best if we see other people.” On Sunday I have the chance to place in my age group. The only thing keeping me back is the fact that the Chocolate Race features chocolate along the course! In anticipation of this dilemma the organizers of the Chocolate Race have a whole chocolate after party. So the solution to my problem: bring on the pain for the P.R.  I will enjoy all the chocolate I can handle after the race. Which, I think, may be the best way. Besides, chocolate in my tummy while running may not be too productive.

Mark is working afternoons and into the evening this week. That means I had the night to myself last night and decided a little pampering was in order for Sunday’s race. I went for a mani and pedi and chose a color that would match my outfit. I know, how vain. The mani and pedi felt really nice. The calf massage helped relax my muscles. I felt really good on my brick this afternoon.

DSC01004

Tonight’s meal is a pizza, loaded with veggies and olives that provide a good dose of salt. I really believe that a few slices of homemade pizza are a great carb-load meal before a race. Depending on the distance, I will eat either more or less of the pizza. I don’t feel completely bloated after the pizza as I do with pasta. I also find that a creamy pasta sauce doesn’t sit well with me. Besides, pizza is fun and you can add whatever topping you’d like.

DSC01000Yum!

Runners in Bloom

5 May

Runners in Canada are sort of like flowers in the spring. They start to sprout out of their homes, slowly at first, testing the weather, and when it has been gauged fair enough, they are out in full bloom. Of course, not all Canadian runners hibernate during the winter. But there does seem to be a greater number of runners when the sun brings some warm weather.

daffodil

That being said, I am very happy to be wearing less layers on my runs. I feel lighter as though I am running faster. Oh wait, I think I am running faster. All that winter training totally paid off. I ran a 23 minute 5k on Wednesday and a 50 minute 10km this morning. I am so ready for the Chocolate Race next Sunday.

What is the Chocolate Race, you ask? It is a 5k, 10k or 10m race with chocolate along the course at different station. They have chocolate covered strawberries and marshmallows. And for the souls running the 10miler, they get a chocolate shot at the turn around. The Chocolate Race also boasts a pretty awesome chocolate party at the end – which is why I am running. Mark is also going to run and I can’t wait to indulge in the chocolate. I think it’s a pretty great way to spend a Sunday.

https://i1.wp.com/www.thechocolaterace.com/images/logo-choco-web-2013.jpg

I’m pretty sure there is still room for late registrations. Even if you can’t run or walk it, it’s worth a drive to St Catherines for the chocolate after-party. I will be sure to post plenty of pictures.

In other training news, half-Iron training is ever consistent. I had a panic moment in the pool last Monday and refused to finish my work out. Mark suggested the noon swim, instead of my usual 6am swim. I said ‘ok’ because a swim buddy is always nice. But for whatever reason, or maybe the noon swim is always like that, the pool was the place to be. We started our pyramid work out just great and had one other person join us. Soon after, our lane had six swimmers including us. It wasn’t just our lane that was busy, they were all busy! I dislike sharing a lane with more than four people. It gets too crowded, I feel pressure to swim fast than I can, and I start to panic. Then comes the anxiety.  Needless to say, I couldn’t exit the pool fast enough and hit the gym. At least my day wasn’t a complete waste. I’m looking forward to my regular swim time with my regular lane buddies.

Toronto Yonge Street 10k Race Recap

25 Apr

On Sunday I ran the very fast and crowded Toronto Yonge Street 10k. I had no idea what to expect. I don’t know Toronto very well so I did not go into this race with high expectations. The more was bright and sunny but brisk. The expected high for the day was 7C so at the start line I think the temperature was hovering only around 2C. Needless to say, I was cold. Luckily the body heat of the other races around me at the start line was enough to keep me warm.

This was the first race I had ever run while listening to my iPod. I’m in the middle of reading a really good book (The Song of Achilles) and, by chance, I was able to find an audiobook copy. The Song of Achilles is about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus and the Trojan War. As the starting gun went off, the narrator of the book began the telling of the first attack on the Trojans by the Greeks. It was the perfect. I felt like a Greek warrior incarnate. I know, how nerdy am I? But that push was just enough to get me through those 10 kilometres in 49 minutes.

DSC00993

The course was mostly downhill. Unfortunately there were not many cheering crowds/stations but there were three bands at different points along the course that were playing music. All three bands sounded awesome and it was a great momentary distraction.

I managed a negative split which is strange because I didn’t feel as strong in the second half of the race but I was obviously wrong. The overall organization during and after the race was great. There was a large finishing expo with lots of food, extra t-shirts or hats, and live music.