Tag Archives: hills

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.

Marathon Training Week 4 Rewind

14 Aug

I love baking. Like, I REALLY love baking. I haven’t been baking lately because 1) it’s expensive; 2) I have no self control with baked goods in the house. But Mark is having a boys’ weekend in a few weeks so I decided to bake a few things for them to eat. I can’t have them eating cookies if they haven’t been tested, can I? What kind of girlfriend would I be?

Tonight I made Whiskey Oatmeal Raisin Cookies.

CookiesSorry about the quality of this photo. But trust me, this cookies are A-MA-ZING!

Now enough about cookies and onto running. Mark and I had a weekend up north for a wedding anniversary so I had a new 17km route planned. The small town where we were staying was so small that I had to run to the next town over to make the full run.

Instead of staying in a hotel, Mark and I stayed at my aunt’s house. When I woke up Saturday mentally preparing myself for that run but I just couldn’t will myself to finish the whole 17km. My cousin is just too cute and I didn’t want to stay away for long. I think I ran 5km… wah wah…

Having Mondays off is so awesome. It has saved me so many times before. That 17km route was covered and a new audiobook is on the iPod. I felt so good and I’m glad I didn’t sacrifice family time for a run.

My track workouts have been steadily climbing in distance and staying around 2:03min per 400 metre. I think by next week I’m going to have to kick it up and run a little faster.

14 Sideroad Hill
I’ve also added a new workout specifically for the Athens Marathon. It is going to be a mostly up-hill race so I should obviously start doing some uphill running. Thankfully the escarpment is right outside my door. So I started with two 500m uphill runs. My heart felt like it was going to explode! But worse than running uphill was the downhill. I don’t know the grade of the hill but it’s a pretty steep hill. The next day my shins were in quite a bit of pain; not to be confused with sore. I think I’m going to try just walking down the hill this week when I up the uphill runs to four. I’ll have to keep you updated on the hill runs.

Have you incorporated new workouts or training runs to complete a race? Or are you happy to just eat oatmeal cookies?

sneaking cookies

Marathon Training Week 2 Rewind

29 Jul

Another week has gone by and more miles were covered. This week’s training was pretty much the same except for the added miles on Sunday. I did one of my training runs in Georgetown during my lunch break. I knew I was spending my afternoon at my desk in the workroom which meant no customer interaction. This was a free ticket to  being gross and sweaty. I also want to do a lot of running in Georgetown because of the hilly terrain in the town will hopefully prepare me for the mountainous terrain in Greece.

I’ve been trying to stay motivated both mentally and physically. The problem I’ve had in the past is mainly staying focused and faithful to my training. I often tend to skip runs if the weather isn’t perfect or if I’m tired or if I don’t want to get up early. So in order to keep my mind on the prize, I’ve been reading up on running, races, and runners from all levels. One runner I came across is Orville Rogers – a 95 year-old track and field record holder. Orville has 5 key rules to stay focused and injury-free:

  1. As far as training goes, listen to your body. Don’t go too fast or too far.
  2. When you’re upping your training, increase your speed or distance, not both.
  3. Look at the records and then make a goal for yourself that you think you can do.
  4. Visualize, and when you visualize, picture yourself breaking those records.
  5. Never give up.

These rules can be applied to any runner training for any distance. After reading these rules, I find myself thinking of #2 often on my long runs – I need to remember to take it very slowly. I always want to run faster and at a pace that my legs cannot maintain. Then comes the blow  out…

I am determined to not let this happen during this training session. Here is my motto:

slow and steady

 

Peterborough Half Iron Race Report

11 Jul

I’ve had a few days to reflect on the Peterborough Half Iron while my muscles ached and my motivation was thin. Three days later I can say my muscles are feeling better and I am not as fatigued as earlier in the week. I had a great day, despite the overcast and rain. But in hindsight I’m glad for the rain and cloud coverage because it was still hot and humid.

DSC01158All packed and ready to go! My whole race needs fit in one bag (except for bike and wetsuit, of course).

I have to admit that I was not very nervous leading up to the day of the race. In fact, I was actually excited. I knew that all I had to do was get over the swim and then I’d be, basically, home free. I knew I could bike 90km and I certainly knew I could run 21km.

Race day came early on Sunday. Mark and I arrived at the race site around 6:30 and set up our transition zone. Once all set up, I squirmed into my wetsuit and went for a quick warm up swim. Mark’s parents and god parents made the trip to Peterborough to cheer us on. So after a quick hello, we waited on the beach for our start.

Swim

I was concerned about the swim but it went very well. The swim consisted of two 1km loops with a short run on the beach between loops. The water was warm and a little murky. There was a bit of seaweed near the shore but that did not stop me! The start was a mass start, but racers were grouped by estimated finish times with different coloured swim caps. I was in the last group – the navy blues. When I came out of the water the final time and my watch was at 38min, I looked around for other navy blue caps but I was the only one. I couldn’t believe it! My day was starting out great. After a short run into transition, I stripped the wetsuit off, tried to dry my feet and got ready for the bike.
Total swim time (incl. run to transition): 40:56

Bike

The bike course was fairly tough. There were almost continuous rolling hills with one big hill one the way out. On the way back, that hill was not as bad, but a little longer. I had tried to stick to my nutrition plan but it was tough to have a long enough flat stretch to eat. I ate bites of my sandwich every once and a while and about an hour later I ate a Clif Bar. Shortly before getting off the bike, I ate a gel for one last boost of energy. I was feeling pretty good all through out the bike. Although I was cursing the hills and couldn’t wait to hit the turn around, my average speed was 28km/hr. I think that’s a pretty fair speed for a headwind for most of the ride with quite a bit of hills.
Total bike time: 3hr:04mins

Run

By this point, I just couldn’t wait to be finished. My plan was to run to every aid station and give myself a walking break when I reached one. I stayed pretty true to that plan but there was a bit of walking between aid stations too. The run course, much like the bike course, was hilly. I began drinking Pepsi at 5k which did help me to continue mentally. This was what I found the biggest hurdle. My legs were not so much ready to give up as much as my mind was willing to go no further. I found the Pepsi gave me a big enough caffeine jolt to run about half way up a hill which allowed me to walk up the rest. Once at the top, I would run down and carry that momentum through to half way up the next hill. This was my plan and it seemed to be working quite well. The last 2km were the easiest. We were off the country roads and into town. Things seemed to be moving faster and more efficiently. I ran into Beavermead Park and spectators were saying “This is the last 100metres!” I was so elated, I couldn’t wait to cross that finish line. The final turn I spotted the finish line and the time. Mark, his parents, god parents and the crowd cheered me through the chute and I know I had the biggest smile. But I also had the biggest burst of emotion. I hobbled to get my medal and to have my timing chip removed and I couldn’t contain the tears. I know, what a sap!
Total run time: 2hr:09mins

Total race time: 6:00:51

DSC01175Sitting down to pack up my T-zone. Getting back up was tough.

I had a great day out on the race course. It was tough, but not insurmountable. I do see myself completing an other half Iron distance in the future but I don’t think it will be for an other few years. For this race in particular, I don’t think I would change anything to my training. Although I will approach training a little differently for my next half Iron.

Beautiful British Columbia

25 Aug

The license plate motto does not lie. British Columbia truly is beautiful. We are staying in the centre of Penticton which is surrounded by  mountains. They are a mix of lush and full of florae and dry and semi-arid mountains. It is quite spectacular and made for a very scenic run this morning. I ran just over half of Sunday’s marathon course and part of the bike course. It is a 21.1km out and back course. I ran 14km out and back. Kilometres 8-12 are very up hill with little flat or downhill for rest. It was tough and the sun was scorching at 9am!


This is the false flat portion where after that bend became an all-out hill.

On my way back, however, I was struck with such beauty that the pain was barely felt. But while I was awe-struck, I didn’t take any pictures. It was a view, while running downhill, of Skaha Lake with vineyards along the water and running up the mountain. The city of Penticton was in the background and I had a descent for 4 kms. Although it was welcomed, it was hard on the feet.

I must admit that although this run was one of the most difficult I’ve ever done (rolling hills and distance: 28km), my body/joints did not feel as taxed as they do during a run in Milton where the route is flat.

As for news on the Ironman and how Mark is feeling: the event and everything so far as been well organized and there such a great feeling in the air. The local community is friendly and the race is pretty much what everyone talks about. Mark is feeling good but he did not sleep very well or long enough last night. Mainly this afternoon will consist of a good and nutritious lunch, lots of rest, and homemade pizza (topped with veggies and a bit of salted ham) for dinner. This hotel room will be calling a lights out around 8pm as we hit the road for the start at 4:45am.