Tag Archives: 5km

RunDisney Virtual Running Shorts 2017

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I’m not someone who partakes in “Virtual Races” much.  For those of you who don’t know what a virtual race is, it’s any event where you register to race the set distance but on your own course.  Some actual road races offer virtual options, which usually need to be completed and logged during a certain window of time.  And some companies put on virtual races just as events where people can log their times and earn a medal to commemorate the run.

The times I have done so was when I did a Digital Running Virtual Run to tack on to my RunDisney Dopey Challenge in 2014 (Hat Trick medal, Grand Slam medal), an “Interstate Challenge” (run a race in Canada and USA…easy!) which then led me to doing a “Time of the Season” challenge with them (run at least a km race in every month of 2014….HUGE four piece medal once done!)  I also did the Knotts Berry Farm Coaster Run 10km as a Virtual Race in 2015 solely for the Snoopy medal.  I mean, duh….

I would rather just be out running an actual race than doing a Virtual Race.  And a lot of the Virtual Races that I see people doing are through promoters in the USA, which then means its a US dollar registration fee, and since our exchange rate in Canada isn’t really that great at the moment it just gets pricey.  It has to be something special for me to consider a virtual event.

In Spring 2016, RunDisney announced their first “Virtual Running Shorts” which would take place in the summer.  There would be 3 different 5km virtual runs you could do, one for each month, with a different medal for each month plus a challenge medal if you did all three.  I was intrigued by this last year since I knew I couldn’t run that much distance in the summer, as my foot surgery was early June, but opted to not push myself post surgery with events (even if just a 5km virtual run).

This year, RunDisney offered the Virtual Shorts again and I jumped on board pretty quickly.  The price tag sort of made me contemplate if it was worth doing-each virtual race was either $40 a piece or you could pay $142 for all three plus the challenge medal and other goodies.  This was then when our Canadian dollar was really at its worse, so after the tax and fees and exchange rate, I did end up paying quite a bit for what is basically just appears to be 4 medals.  Would it be worth it?

I was impressed with that I received my package from RunDisney very early in June—even before some other people in the USA!  They mail you all four medals right away, each individually packed, plus the other goodies which was a collapsible dog bowl, dog tag, and cool towel.  The additional goodies were only for if you registered for the whole challenge, and are dog items since the mascot for the series was Pluto.  They are definitely not something on their own worth registering for, and if you don’t have a pet there really isn’t a use….but I have to say we used that dog bowl a lot this summer with all our travels to and from Calgary for Snoopy’s acupuncture!

 

I opted to keep all the medals in the box and would only remove each one as I completed a race.  What’s the point of hanging them all up right away?…I needed to earn them!


Since I wanted to be able to hang my medals early each month, I tend to chose early dates to complete my virtual run.  I also tried to choose days that were important to me, just to make them a bit more special.  I ran my June 5km on June 7th, which would have been the day of my dad’s 65th birthday.  I was 19 weeks pregnant at this point, and full of emotions, as Snoopy was not yet back to walking.  I finished this 5km in a time of 34:55.

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I opted to use the Canada Day Red Dress Run 5km event as my July digital run.  That event ended up being closer to 6km in length, but I made sure to stop my watch once I reached the 5km point so I had a time for my virtual run.  I had most fun doing this run as part of the RunDisney Virtual Running Shorts series mainly because I took the “Dress in Red & White for Canada Day” theme as the opportunity to wear my Minnie Mouse tutu!  It was also fun for it being during an event, as I pushed myself a bit more and ran a 31:45.  I was 22.5 weeks pregnant.

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I couldn’t wait any longer for my last medals, so once August 1st rolled around I went out and did my final event.  The whole month of July had been incredibly hot, but I had stuck with my 4 days a week training plan of running.  Honestly, having these little 5km virtual events each month helped keep me going through the heat and this pregnancy!  I was just shy of 27 weeks along in my pregnancy when I completed the final 5km, in a time of 35:41.

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All four medals are hanging proudly on my medal hanger, and I even made sure to hang them right by all my other RunDisney bling!  Participating in this virtual event was perfect for me, given that my last half marathon was end of May and that I wouldn’t be doing any other long races this summer during my pregnancy.  It helped keep me accountable this summer, when otherwise I may have just gotten frustrated that I wasn’t registered for any summer time 10km or half marathons.  If someone needs a little extra push, this race series may be a good option for you.  While I most likely won’t do it again next year (I’m doing Start Wars-The Dark Side and Disneyland Half Weekend, so I get the real deal!) I am happy that I registered for it this summer!

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Lakeview Superhero 5km Recap

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The 2nd running of the Lakeview School Superhero 2km and 5km race occured on Wednesday, May 10th.  I participated in the event last year, which was started as a fundraiser for their new playground.  You can read about last year’s run here.  This post also had some other May recaps in it, which are interesting to look back at!  Crazy how things change in a year!


My husband and I both ran in the 5km event this year.  They had the 5km runners begin before the 2km event this year, which was a welcomed change from last year’s order.  I had just made it ‘public’ that I was pregnant, so I was at ease knowing my slower pace was warranted.  I know, I shouldn’t care what people think…but it’s a runner’s mentality.

It was very busy at the start of the race.  This wasn’t necessarily due to the amount of runners in the 5km, but all the families waiting around for their children to do the 2km.  With all the 2km participants, the number of spectators was ridiculous.  I was happy for the race to start and get away from the chaos of strollers and families.  The route takes you from Lakeview School to Henderson Lake, and you loop over the bridge by the concessions area and head back to the school.  I started off strong, but knew I should probably take it back a bit.  My first mile was an 8:02.

As I got into the park, I could see the lead bicyclist.  And my husband….right behind them!  It was very exciting to see Dan in the lead.  He was able to hold this lead the rest of the race and he finished 1st overall with a time of 20:28 (Which beat my own 5km personal best…I’m not mad…really).  By mile 2 I had slowed down considerably.  It was a bit humid out and it was getting to me.  I was also watching my heart rate and wanted it to lower some.  I ran an 8:39 for that mile.


My last mile I kicked it in to gear a bit and ran an 8:23.  I was able to finish with a respectable time of 25:57.  This was a far cry from my 22:16 the year before, but for being 15 weeks pregnant I’ll take it!  I just missed out on an age group award, as I finished 4th.

This was a great little local event and if they keep having it each year I will keep supporting it!  

2016 in Review

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I like doing my ‘recap’ on the year of running events at the end of each calendar year.  Just a little summary of what my main take-a-ways are from the events I participated in.  I know I wrote a recap for each after they originally occurred, and I have all the stats and details on how I did on my Race Results 2016 link, but now that it has been a couple months since some of these events occurred I thought it would be fun to see what I think of when I reflect on what I did this year!

The Hypothermic Half Marathon was my first event of 2016.  I really have nothing to say about this event, other than I know I signed up for it to include it as part of a training run.  I really just remember being done and at brunch with Zita, Aimee and others, and us just talking about how unimpressed we were with the event.  I had a good time hanging out with them, I got a training run in, and I will not be running this event in 2017.

Moonlight Run 10km in March.  Always my first ‘race’ of the year.  I always get nervous for it too!  This was an exciting year as I got to wear my “Run Red Deer” shirt from the Woody’s RV Marathon, as I won “Runner of the Month” and was going to promote the Red Deer event at our local event!  I also was able to finally win some prize money at the Moonlight Run!  I always love this event not only because of how many people come out from the city to participate, but because of all the volunteers who are from Winston Churchill High School (where I teach).

Run the Trailbreaker Half Marathon back in Waukesha, Wisconsin, was a race to remember….as it was almost a blizzard the morning of the race!  In early April!  Weather was AWFUL but it made it fun for running.  Again, I used this race as a training run for Boston, and it was helpful to have the race while I was home visiting family for Easter.  Otherwise, I would have not wanted to go outside and run in that weather!

10 Mile Road Race was great this year, as I ran my personal best time for the event.  I also was excited to win some prize money that would be taken to Boston!  What I remember most from this day is that I locked my keys in my car 10 minutes before race start!  When I finished the race, I borrowed Dennene’s phone to call AMA.  They came and unlocked my car in time for the 10 mile awards!


BOSTON MARATHON….well, if this list wasn’t in chronological order and in an order where the best event of the year was talked about last….this would be it.  I still can’t even wrap my head completely around this experience.  Really, it wasn’t about just race day.  It was about the years I have spent running full and half marathons….the times I failed to qualify….all the training it took to qualify….the waiting to race day….It was a process!  My husband and I had a fantastic time in the city, touring it via public transit and my foot.  We saw a baseball game, went on a brewery tour, ate awesome seafood, drank a lot of beer, and even ran the B.A.A. 5 km together.  The trip will go down as one of my most memorable trips (in general).  My proudest running accomplishment was qualifying for Boston…being able to run in Boston was the reward.


I did only one Spartan Race this year, and it was the Montana Spartan Beast.  This was the first year I did not do the Montana race weekend with my husband Dan.  But, I got to do it with my best friend Ali!  She flew in from Redondo Beach, California, to deal with this crazy 14 mile course.  She has continued to stand by her statement that this was the toughest Spartan Race she has ever done…even a harder course than the World Championship Course in Tahoe!

A local Lethbridge 51 elementary school put on a little 2km/5km event in May.  The Lakeview Superhero 5km was a great event that the school did as a fundraiser for their new playground.  Lots of kids were out there doing the 2km.  It honestly was a bigger turnout than I expected!  Having a local elementary school do an event like this helps get the kids interested in running at a young age, and that’s awesome!

I’ve done the Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon before.  This was my 5th time running in it.  But it was definitely the nastiest weather I have had to deal with at it!  My husband also ran it (hadn’t trained at all) and of course….he did just fine.  I still beat him, but my time was not that impressive.  I was most impressed with him running while wearing a garbage bag as a poncho the whole time!  The downpour was ridiculous!

I had sworn I wasn’t going to do this race again….and then I  registered for it…again.  The Calgary Marathon Weekend 50km Ultra was being held for the 3rd time, in conjunction with marathon weekend.  I figured that since I had done Boston at end of April, and this was at end of May, my legs would still be primed for it.  I also wanted to prove to myself that I could run it faster than I did the year before, as the heat was pretty nasty the first time I did it.  It was again a tough race, but I felt more confident during it this time around.  I cut off a bunch of time from my first year  I ran it, and even walked away with 1st place in the female 30-34 category!  I now have two trophies in my race bling collection, and they are both from the Calgary 50km Ultras!  This race was also monumental as it was my little ‘farewell’ from running for a bit, as I would be going under the knife two weeks later for my foot surgery.  Figured my foot was already messed up, nothing that a 50km road race couldn’t do to make it any worse!


Lethbridge Police Services Run is an event I’ve been enjoying every year.  This year, I wouldn’t be participating in the half marathon, as my foot was not ready post-surgery.  I did join our cross country runners as they ran in the 5km.  It was a great event to be a part of, and I really enjoyed being able to see the kids out there.  It was also my 32nd birthday, so that marked for a fun way to spend it!

 

The first event post-surgery that I attempted to “race” was the Bare Bones 9km.  They have had a half marathon in the previous years, but this year it wasn’t an option.  So, I chose the odd 9km distance.  I pushed as hard as I could, and I felt completely beat afterwards, but I was pleased with how I finished and how my foot held up.  It was far off my times I was hitting the year before, but it was a good start and a great sign of things to come post-surgery.

 

The Claus Cause 10km is another local event that I have participated in quite a few times.  It was held in November, and we weren’t having November weather yet.  I wore shorts during this run!  It was still another test for my foot, and my foot did well.  And of course, the gingerbread men ‘medals’ were handed out for top category runners.  My gingerbread man had a bit of a foot issue….coincidence?  I have said in the past and I’ll say it again—I love the events that Runners Soul puts on in town.  It’s such a great ‘get-together’ at any of their events, because there are so many familiar faces!

My last ‘event’ of 2016 was the Santa Shuffle.  Put on by Running Room Canada, this is a small  casual 5km fun run.  I signed up for this for the sole purpose of adding mileage to my daily training run, as  I was right in the thick of things for my Goofy Challenge training by this first week in December.


So that was my 2016.  14 events over the course of 12 months.  And considering I was out of commission for two of the months, I’ll take it.  2016 will always be the year I ran Boston….that’s for sure.  That’s obviously what I’ll think of first.  But, all these other events that surrounded it have a special place too.  All the events I have ran since my first half marathon in 2004 have a special place.  Sure, the medals I receive for finishing a race or placing in a race don’t have much monetary value….but they have value to me.  Every.  Last.  One.

On to 2017!  What will it bring……?!?!?!?!??!?!

 

August 2016—All in One Post!

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So, I did around 3,500 miles this month!….

In my car.

I haven’t been active here lately, partly due to my roadtrip!  On July 31st, I packed up my trusty 2009 Pontiac Vibe and hit the road.  Along with the essential clothing, toiletries and podcasts to entertain, I also packed my 9 year old beagle, Snoopy.  Where were we heading?  We were going across the border south east to my hometown of Franklin, Wisconsin.  We had stopovers planned in Longville, Minnesota (my aunt and uncle live there).  Snoopy is an excellent travel companion; I honestly cannot say that enough.  He just curls up and sleeps the whole time, does not fuss, and is excited to arrive to any destination.  So I kept myself occupied by listening to a variety of podcasts and when I really started losing it I would talk to Snoopy.

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All packed and ready to hit the road!

 

We made it to my mom’s on August 4th, and we stayed until August 22nd.  During that time, I was able to see all of my family that lives in the area, attend a closing day of Badgerette Pom Pon camp (I worked for Badgerette for 5 summers), watch the State Distinguished Young Woman show with my friend Maureen (I won 2nd alternate back in it’s Junior Miss hey day), go to two travelling beer gardens, see a bunch of my friends back home, eat and drink my way through both Wisconsin State Fair & Zoo Ala Carte, go to my favourite Mexican restaurant 3 times, play in a bag toss tournament, and so much more.

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“Swimming” with Snoopy in Lake Wabedo in Northern Minnesota

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When you are in Longville, MN, you go to the Meat Raffle at the bar….and win!

 

The main reason I drove was so I would be able to bring back the remains of my childhood that was still housed at my moms.  It wasn’t that she was forcing me to take it, but I have been gone since 2008, so I figured it was time.  Yearbooks, photos, games, puzzles, Barbies, Littlest Pet Shop, etc, etc, etc….It is now all back in Alberta.  I also packed up some New Glarus Beer, a ton of Wisconsin cheese, 32 bottles of Sprecher soda, and who knows what else.  Snoopy and I arrived back in Lethbridge on August 24th.  Wow, it felt good to get back!  We both missed his daddy Dan and his brothers Woodstock and Faron.

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That’s for DAMN sure!

 

During that trip, I also started running.  I had done my first 5km run prior to the trip in a numbing time of 33:43.  I had walked and jogged a bunch during it.  That was on July 28th.  Remember, my foot surgery was on June 10th.  I had been given the clear I could start running after my 6 week post op on July 21st.  I did my first humid (SO HUMID AND HOT) Wisconsin run on August 7th.  It was a little 20 minute jaunt that average 9:40 per mile.  Oww.  On August 11th, I went out to try and beat my July 28th 5km time.  I did so handedly, running a 30:02!  So close to that sub 30!  I did a couple other 1-2 mile runs during my time in Wisconsin, but I wanted to try and get under 30 minutes.  On August 16th, I set out to do that.  I ran that 5km in 28:20!  These gains I have made in less than a month since coming back into running are huge.  I was going nuts not running for over 6 weeks, and taking this time to get my newly fixed foot used to running (and running properly) has been great.

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5km well under 30 minutes!

 

Since returning to Lethbridge, I am happy that the humidity is gone.  I have ran on August 25th, 26th and 27th, and the weather has been glorious.  The biggest highlight was yesterday, the 27th.  I went out to run a sole mile with the goal of getting between 8:00-8:15, a pace I was always easily able to obtain on my runs, and my sweet spot for my Boston qualifying pace.  I finished that mile in 8:14!  Guess what world…LAMMERS IS BACK!

And guess what today is?  Today marks the start of WEEK 1 of my GOOFY CHALLENGE training plan.  I have put together a very non-aggressive 19 week training plan with the goal of “comfortable completion” of the 2017 Walt Disney World Goofy Challenge, which is a half marathon on Saturday, January 7th followed by a full marathon on Sunday, January 8th.  The even more special thing about this race is that I will be running my 2nd WDW full marathon alongside my best friend Ali.  It will be her very first full marathon!  I will be there to support her through those dark moments (especially between miles 15-23!!!)  She has run half marathons before, and I have set her up with a training plan to coincides with her Spartan Race and Crossfit schedule.  It will be a weekend to remember!

 

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The original “Pottage Pose” from the marathon portion of the 2014 Dopey Challenge in WDW

 

 

19 weeks is a LONG training plan.  When I ran the Vancouver Marathon in 2015 and Boston in 2016, I had an intense 16 week plan.  This plan does not include speedwork.  It just has two easy runs a week plus a long run on the Saturday.  Then, in late October, I add another mid distance run on Friday, which will help prepare me for the two day challenge that Goofy presents.  I am not going for any speed records at this race; I want to get my body back into running shape so I can begin to push myself again come the new year!

I have updated my 2016 race schedule, as I have a few local events in October and November.  I will be recapping those after they occur, and I will definitely be keeping you posted on how my Goofy training goes.  Until then, I need to get ready for my first day back at work tomorrow….Teachers start this week, with students coming in the day after Labour Day.  For teachers, this is our “New Year”.  Happy New Year to all the teachers, students and parents out there! 

Boston Marathon, Part 2 of 4-Saturday

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I wrote my first post on my Boston Marathon experience here, and now I am moving on to the events that occurred on Saturday (Day 2)

Day 2 started early…earlier than we needed it to be actually!  I had signed Dan and I up for the B.A.A. 5 km event that morning.  The B.A.A. 5km is the first event of the year for the B.A.A. Distance Medley (5km, 10km, and half marathon).  If you register for the medley (which I heard from a local sold out in 20 minutes) you get a special medal upon completion.  Since we aren’t local, we just chose to sign up for the 5 km, which filled up in 24 hours!

We had to take transit to Boston Common that morning, and since there would be 10,000 runners in the event, I really had no clue how busy it would be.  Turns out we left a bit earlier than we needed to, and I didn’t really think ahead in terms of preparing us weather wise.  My one gripe is that international runners had to pick up their race packages morning of.  This is hwy I had us leave so early, since I wasn’t sure what it would be like.  It was seamless and easy, however, if we had been able to have our stuff mailed to us ahead (like those in the US had) it would have been one less thing to worry about.

That being said, I should have thought about a drop bag.  We just showed up to the race ready to go, and it was a little cold.  Dan even had to borrow my throw-away shirt I had brought for Marathon morning to wear and race in.  I wish we had worn sweats and layers prior to the 5 km, and then gear checked them, but I didn’t even think of that.  Since we didn’t have our race package when we left the hotel the thought didn’t cross my mind.  Instead, we just found a spot in the sun and blocked from the wind and waited it out.

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We did end up getting a bag to check, however, as we were allowed to pick up our race shirts before running the event.  I liked being able to do this, as the shirts were unisex sizing, and I wanted to make sure to get an extra small.  The shirts are a nice Adidas short-sleeve tech shirt.  They had the price tags attached still ($35).

The race itself was not going to be a ‘race’ but a nice shakeout for myself and a fun experience for us as a couple.  We made our way to the front 20% of people in the mass corral…there were A LOT of people!  I tried getting a photo of those behind us.  They seemed to start the race in spurts of groups, so when we did cross the start line it actually did spread out nicely within about half a mile.  At around mile 1.5 we even ran by Dick & Rick Hoyt, the famed father and son of Team Hoyt!  That was awesome!

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We finished in under 30 minutes, and had a lot of fun.  I would definitely consider doing this event again, especially if it was with another person I was travelling with.  The $75 is steep for a 5 km, especially since when I registered for it the Canadian Dollar was at rock bottom.  However, the organization, swag, course and experience make up for it.  Comparing it to a $65 Disney 5 km….this was a better value in my opinion.  The course was less congested, even though there was more people.  The shirt is of higher quality (tech vs. cotton) and the medal was a real medal (at Disney 5km races its a rubber medal).

We made it back to the hotel and then had a full day of touring ahead.  After cleaning up, we headed back on transit but this time all the way down to the Fanueil Hall area.  We went through the Holocaust Memorial, toured through the marketplace, and then ventured to a pub so Dan could watch the Toronto Raptors vs. Indiana Pacers.  I had my 2nd cup of clam chowder for the trip here (delicious!)  We stayed here until halftime of the game, and then ventured down to Fenway Park area so Dan could watch the rest of the game at a pub closer to the ball park.  We had tickets to the 4:05 pm game, so I wanted to make sure we weren’t late!

Dan saw the rest of his game (which they lost) and we got to Fenway on time.  We had awesome seats and the vibe was fantastic.  I unknowingly bought us tickets in an area that was already in the shade, so it was quite cold.  Brr!  It was The Red Sox vs the Blue Jays, so we were cheering on our national team.  They started off strong, even with a Donaldson triple!  But they fizzled later on, making it the second Toronto pro sports team to lose that day.  Sigh!

Instead of going back to the hotel like normal people, we wandered around to see where we could go after the game (It was still ‘early’).  We eventually made it back to Brookline near our hotel and went to a sports bar in Coolidge Corner, where I had my third cup of clam chowder for the trip and my second in that day.  We ended up back to the hotel and in bed still by 10 pm, but man, it was a full day!  Neither of us want to miss a moment while we are here!

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Claus Cause 5km, foot issues, and getting back in the swing of things…

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Long overdue for a post. Long overdue.  I have been meaning to do my Claus Cause 5km recap for a few weekends, but never got around to it. Also wanted to touch on some of the other running-related things going on with me.

On Saturday, November 21st, I ran in the Runner’s Soul Claus Cause 5km. This is now the third year in a row doing this event, but the first time doing the 10km. I knew I wouldn’t be in 10km racing form by this time, so I was playing it smart picking the 5km. Thing is, I wasn’t in any distance racing form…and while I knew this in the back of my head, it wouldn’t be clear to me until after this race.

The weather was the nicest for any Claus Cause I’ve been a part of. With a 9 am start, I was able to get a normal amount of sleep and get down to Indian Battle Park with plenty of time. I lined up at the front next to my friend Bob all set to go. To say I was a bit anxious is an understatement-I went out with a ridiculous pace that there was no hope in holding. It had been a long time since doing a road race (Disneyland half marathon was my last traditional race, and that was Labour Day weekend) so I had a lot of pent up energy. When my first mile clocked in at 6:34, I actually think I started laughing, as this was my goal pace I tried training for all summer for the Disneyland 10km. My ass was burning, my legs were already yelling obscenities at me….this was not going to be a pretty two miles to follow.

I won’t even go in to detail, but my second mile slowed to a 7:14, and third even slower to a 7:22. Maybe if I hadn’t been so stubborn I could have gone out with an even 7 minute mile and hold that comfortably for the whole race. But no, I decided to take my out of shape self to the limit and feel like crap. I finished with a time of 22:04; a time I would have been really excited about a year ago. In April, I ran a 20:42 in the Coaldale 5km. But, that was at the peak of my BMO Vancouver a marathon training. I was in the best shape of my life, so for me to go out there at the Claus Cause and expect anything even close to that was asinine.

My 22:04 was good enough for 2nd female overall and 2nd in my age group. I hung around for a bit chatting with people, and when I got home I immediately felt like garbage. My body ached, I was sneezing, sniffling and had the chills. I took a shower and then bundled up in sweats, curled in a ball, and was a complete pile of shit the rest of the day. You would have thought I had just completed a full marathon.

What have I learned from this? That I am out of shape. But…I knew that. I had been taking it really easy since my Spartan Ultra Beast, and been just getting back into daily cardio. My body needed the rest this fall, as I pushed it to the limits earlier this year. I am now dealing with trying to handle my foot issues-a bone spur is prominently taking over my right foot, and surgery is tentatively being looked at for in June. It hurts on a daily basis. I also had a Gait-Analysis completed at FIT Physiotherapy, and had some startling results. The main issue is that my gait is considered a “cross-over gait.” I am working at trying to correct this slowly, also while using my custom orthotics. I have a lot to work on as I start getting ready to begin my Boston Marathon training (which will start the last week in December.)

One very positive thing that has happened since the 5km blunders and foot/gait issues is that I have been streaking since December 1st....Our local store Runner’s Soul has their annual RunStreak going on. You just need to run at least a mile a day, every day in December. If you do, you submit your run each day to their Facebook page to get entered in for a daily prize. I have done that mile a day, and many other days have gone farther. Friday, I went for a solid 4 mile run and felt great. Getting my cardio back up to a basic level has been my goal this whole month, as when I start following my training plan I will need to be set to push. This RunStreak has gotten me excited and motivated to get back at consistent training, with my training ending at the race of my life, The 120th Boston Marathon.

I hope to do one more post before the end of 2015. So keep a watch out for that. I need to do a reflection on the year-what was good, bad and ugly. Thanks for reading!

Spartan Ultra Beast 2015-A Race Like No Other…

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Since January 1st, 2014, I have participated in one 5 km race, four 10 km races, three half marathons, one full marathon, one 50 km ultra-marathon.  In addition to these traditional races, I also did two Spartan Sprints (5 km each), 2 Spartan Supers (14 km each) and 1 Spartan Beast (21 km).  I was in the shape of my life when I ran the Vancouver Marathon in May and qualified for Boston.  I placed in my 50 km race in Calgary in my age group and won a trophy!  I won other races, made personal bests in all the standard race distances:  a 20:42 for a 5km, 41:30 for a 10km, 1:35.41 for a half marathon, 3:24.56 for a full marathon.  So I naturally thought signing up for the Spartan Ultra Beast in Sun Peaks, to be held on September 26th, 2015, would be a logical next challenge.

I just did not know that this challenge would be my first ever DNF.

DNF is a running term for “Did Not Finish.”  No one plans to run a DNF.  No one wants to run a DNF.  Many people have, and for those people that race will always hold a sour note in their mind.  Sure, it will be a learning experience, and everyone’s reasons for DNF’ing will vary, but it’ll still hurt.  Even if it was the right thing to do.

My husband Dan and I drove out to this race on Friday, September 25th.  It is a 10 hour drive from Lethbridge.  We left early, made good time, and I felt excited at packet pickup.  I had been feeling a bit sick earlier in the week, so I have been going to bed quite early.  Like 8:00 pm early.  But I felt ready.  It was very exciting to be back at Sun Peaks-I not only ran the Sun Peaks Beast in 2013, but Dan and I celebrated our honeymoon here in January 2011 while attending the Winter Wine Festival.  I got my bags set for the morning and headed to bed.

Sun Peaks Village

The morning weather was a lot better than the “Snow Fest” that was 2013.  It was cool and overcast at 7:15 am when I headed to festival grounds.  My heat of the Ultra Beast began at 7:45 am.  All 175 of us crazy enough to register for this event that would be double the length of the Beast (two loops) began at once.  I was geared up with supplies and ready to go.  The first hour of the race was a lot of switch back climbing through single track trails, which eventually brought us up to where the chairlift let spectators off at.  There were a few obstacles during this time: a wall, Hercules hoist, log carry.  Once hitting the chairlift (an important spot for me) you did the monkey bars.  Nailed it!  A few more obstacles later and we kept climbing.  And climbing.  To a section I never was at before.  “The Top of the World” was closed to us in 2013 due to the blizzard.  But I made it here this year!

Top of the World

Top of the World

It was after this section that I really started to have fun.  There was a lot of downhill running in open areas and on single track trails.  The main thing was I actually could run.  I was staying hydrated with my water that had Nuun, fueling myself with carbs in the form of HoneyStingers…Feeling great.  I got to obstacle 16, the Wall of Sparta, and still felt like a million bucks.  I was the 2nd place Ultra Beast female at this point in the race, and I even asked a volunteer what kilometer we were approximately at.  She said 17km….alright, if this is a double Beast (21 km) I am getting really close to my first loop!  Podium dreams danced through my brain.

But then a close to 1.5 km hill climb came.  Wow, that burned.  Straight on up.  Forever and ever it seemed.  Eventually we got to a tire flip at the way top and then there was a split off point-The Ultra Beast Runners had to go to the left and the regular Beast runners went right.  Apparently the regular Beast runners had the rest downhill.  We had a teaser of downhill for about 4 minutes and then hit our extra obstacle:  a burlap sack carry.  This in itself was not too hard, but we had to go up a stretch of ski hill and back down.  And then had to run (or barely walk) back up another stretch of hill (MOUNTAIN) to get on back with the main course.

sandbag

While I was still feeling positive, as I still held 2nd position, I was getting weak.  I failed the parallel bar obstacle, I fell off the stupid balance beam (which I NEVER fall off of), missed my one-chance spear throw and then just didn’t even attempt the rope climb.  120 burpees total.

I came in after loop 1 under the cut off time, with the 3rd place woman coming right in with me. No 4th place female in sight at all.  We got in to the transition area somewhere between 4 hour 30 minutes and 4 hour 40 minutes.  Dan was waiting with some now luke-warm soup for me.  He was almost laughing in disbelief at how long it was taking me, considering I guessed a first loop of 3-3:30, based on how it was 2 years prior and the better shape I was in.  Holy shit this was a hard course.  I ate my soup, had a fruit bar, refilled my water, and checked out of transition.

That’s when it started to crumble.

In retrospect, I should have spent more time fueling and getting mentally prepared while in the transition area.  Maybe finding someone else leaving transition who seemed to be in a good place mentally and physically and sticking with them.  I ran off and before I knew it I was on these ski and mountain bike trails alone.  No other runners around me.  Just the forest.  And bear poop.

Other runners would catch up and fall back, but we all looked worse for wear.  Looked like we were part of a zombie apocalypse.  My foot was burning with pain where my bone spur is.  Any time I went downhill and landed on even the smallest of rock, if it was on the ball of my right foot it felt like it would shoot through the top of my foot.  I was soaking wet and cold with mud encrusted on me.  I neglected to change my clothes in the transition area because I knew getting my compression socks off would be hard enough.  I was starting to cough and sneeze.  While the weather at the start of the race was pleasant, we had ran into rain, sleet, snow flurries, sun, and repeat during that first lap.

I started thinking more about if completing this race was worth the potential risks.  At this rate, I would be alone in the dark with no headlamp at some point.  My body was hurting, my mind wasn’t in the right place, and for the most part I wasn’t enjoying myself any longer.  Yes, I had ran a ton of different races this year with grueling distances and circumstances, but I was always having fun…even if I was in pain.  This race, the pain wasn’t quite maxed out, but if I had kept going on I was worried what could happen to my body and effect my upcoming events.  Boston kept going through my head.  One wrong land on my foot could have immense damage and possibly nix my ability to compete in the marathon I have always dreamed of.  When I registered for this Spartan Ultra in December 2014, I registered for it because I knew I would have been training for other events that could help me out with it.  I was not training specifically for it, so my weight training/cross training was lacking to non-existent.  But my training I had done did pay off and help me make my goal of qualifying for Boston.  I didn’t want to ruin Boston.

At that chairlift, round 2, I borrowed a volunteer’s cell phone and phoned my husband at the bottom.  This was an hour after I had left the transition area.  I asked for him to come up on the chairlift and get me.  I sat in the chairlift lodge and Spartan Race workers came over to check on me.  I wasn’t wincing in pain, I wasn’t hurt, and I wasn’t breathing ridiculously hard.  I was just done.  A lady gave me her tea, and when I talked to these workers the tears started flowing.  I just felt defeated at that moment, and while the course was literally steps away and I could have gotten back up, I just knew the right decision was to pull.

Dan got up there about 15 minutes later.  We got on the chairlift down (which he said I would hate since I hate heights) and I just put my head on his shoulder.

“I feel like such a fucking loser.” 

“Losers don’t qualify for Boston”

After making it to the bottom, retrieving my bag, taking a shower and a nap, I knew we had to make the most of the night.  It wasn’t worth staying in the room sobbing about it.  We went out that evening and had a hell of a time (probably spent a bit too much money).  During that time I ran into a few people who had similar, yet different, fates on the course.  Two girls didn’t even make it to the transition area in the cut off time (over an hour late) so they weren’t allowed to continue on.  They own a gym in Red Deer, so they were definitely in excellent physical shape.  Another guy we sat by at the bar had his hand all taped up.  During the Beast, he fell during an obstacle about 2 km out of the finish.  His hand gashed open, blood everywhere.  He had to pull from the race and go to the hospital to get it stitched.

I found out yesterday of the 175 that started, only 55 finished.  Only 3 of those 55 were women.  The fastest time for a male was 7:02:04 while the fastest female was 9:59:59.  It also said in the email the course for the Ultra Beast, including the extra loop with obstacle, was 52.87 kilometers….that is over 10.5 km more than I thought we would have!  I know Spartan Race wanted to make something challenging, and I by no means am trying to say that I would have completed it if it was without that extra loop, but that extra loop really wasn’t necessary to make it that “Ultra.”  Hell, I may have even bailed if that loop hadn’t been there but the extra loop just must have taken more out of me.  And I am sure a lot of others.

Will I be going back again in the future?  Not really sure.  I always did Spartan Races as my ‘fun-filler’ around my other races that I put my training focus on.  I think my husband and I will continue to head down to Montana each May for the race weekend, as it is a close enough getaway for us and an awesome time.  But other than that, I may be putting Spartan Races on the shelf and focus on my recovery from all the other races I did this year and then my training for the 120th Boston Marathon.

This is Supposed to be Easy……

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I have hit a roadblock.

After the Vancouver Marathon on May 3rd, I still kept up with my training for that month, as I had the Spartan Montana Beast and the Calgary 50km Ultra. I mustered through those (pretty decently too) and forced myself to take a solid 15 days off. No running at all. My body needed some recovery time. Near the end of that rest period, I contacted Dean Johnson and asked him to make me a summer training plan, with my end goal being to get a sub 41 minute 10km at the Disneyland 10km Labour Day weekend. Training for a 10km…easy enough, right?


Well, last week Tuesday I started the plan. My first run went well, although I may have pushed myself a bit too much. On Wednesday, I was really sore and my hip flexors were in pain, but I did an awesome hill workout. Thursday, though, it started to fall apart. I opted to take off on Thursday (could take off or do 40-60 minutes easy) as I thought I would feel better come Friday. I went out to attempt my Friday run of 60-70 minutes at easy pace. Mistake 1 was doing this at noon. Holy hell it felt like hell. The heat is not my friend. Mistake 2 was trying for the lower end of the pace goal (8:15 minute miles). I should have aimed for 8:45 from the get go. I held it together the first 4 miles, but by mile 5 I had an 8:58. Then I self destructed and ran a 9:43 for mile 6. I ended up running 6.68 miles in 60 minutes and felt like garbage. This weekend, I skipped my 90-105 minute long run and took off both days. I am not even a week into this plan and I am already sliding.

The plan was supposed to help motivate me to achieve my goal of a personal best 10km time. But right now, I’m in such a weird place and having a hard time getting back in to running. Maybe it was the 16 weeks of intense marathon training this winter and spring that just has me burned out. I mean, it probably is. I guess I just thought getting back in to a rhythm would be easy, as I had such a successful first 5 months of 2015. I got my best 5km, 10km, half and full marathon times in that time frame, and I also ran my first ever 50km. I have been on Cloud 9 and flying high! But now, it’s month 6, and I am a proverbial pile of shit.
If this summer is going to be successful “running-wise” I need to get out of this funk and back in the game. I need to start establishing a routine again. Having the framework of one, with my training plan, clearly isn’t enough. I need to be getting up before work to do my runs, as if I wait until after it is too hot out. And if I run when it’s the afternoon sun blazing down, I get crabby. And frustrated. And even after this last week of school, I need to be setting an alarm each morning so I am up and have a normal breakfast and out the door doing my run by at least 9 am. If I can get into this consistency, the rest should fall in to place.

“…there are no shortcuts or paths of least-resistance on the road to reaching something worthwhile.”-Dean Karnazes “Run!”

Coaldale Family Fun Run 5km 2015-Recap

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This past weekend I participated in a local 5km race, the Coaldale Family Fun Run.  It is the fifth year of this event being run, and my second year in a row participating. Originally, I was planning on running most of my Saturday workout before e event, and then ending with the 5km.  I had a 14 mile long run to do, with the last 6 at my goal pace for my marathon, or faster.  As it got closer to the day of the event, I knew I didn’t want to be trying to race a 5km after already doing 11 miles.  So, I decided to reorder my workout, still get the 14 miles in, but do it in reverse. I would do a warmup and cool down at marathon race pace in Coaldale, push as much as I could during the race, and then finish the workout when back in Lethbridge.  

My last timed 5km race had been in November, and I wanted to see if I could beat that personal best.  I ran the Mustache Dache in a 21:07 back in Milwaukee, which broke my 5km personal best that I had held since I was 18.  Now, I don’t train for racing in 5km races,but I know that I have been doing more speed work than ever this winter and spring as I train for the Vancouver Marathon.  So it would have to count for something?

The race was slated to start at 10am.  I arrived at around 9:20, which gave me more than enough time to pick up my race bib, do a 1.75 mile warmup, and meet up with four of my Waterton to Glacier buddies-Julia, Emma, Danny and Ryan.  I even snapped this photo of Julia, Emma and Ryan doing their warmup down the rural road we would be heading down during the last mile of the race.   This shows the terrain and road conditions we would face for about 85% of the course.

 

 

I got lined up with a few minutes to spare.  My race plan-push hard the first mile and hold on.  I really had no other strategy.   The temperature was ideal, so I knew I would be comfortable.  I was a bit worried about the muddy mix of gravel and sand and dirt we would be running on, as I remembered from last year that my feet feeling like sandbags.  The race began and a bunch of us plowed over the kids who were lined up in front.   Ok, I know it is a Family Fun Run, but I mean, I was out to make a statement….so I didn’t feel bad dodging through children.

I found myself in a comfortable position right away, and I knew I was the lead female.  I wasn’t going to look over my shoulder at all during the race, and just wait until the turnaround point near mile two.  At that point I’d be able to see how close any other women were and tackle the last mile.  My first mile was a fast 6:13.  I was feeling good though, and it wasn’t too muddy.  I needed to weave a bit on the rural Range Road to find the least mucky spots, but it helped with my shoes not getting full of junk.  Mile two was slower (I knew it would be because I wasn’t trying to necessarily get even splits) with a 6:36.  This was past the turnaround and up a slight hill.  It was also straight into the wind.  I started feeling sluggish here, and I saw the second female probably 30-45 seconds behind me.  If I bonked on the last mile she would catch me.  The last mile was a solid straightaway to Coaldale Christian School.  It was wet on this portion and I made a mistake of stepping in a pile of mud and gravel, so for a few seconds I had rocks and mud flying from under my shoes.  I was able to hold my position and finish as the first female!  I finished my last mile in 6:57, and finished the race in a 20:42!  I beat my previous personal best by 25 seconds!  

 

  

I did a cool down and milled around until awards, which were held in the gym.  The race organizers did a great job at having lots of post race refreshments—-more than I would expect for a 5km!  They do a great job at recognizing the kids who participated, as each kid gets a finisher ribbon, and they do 5 year age group awards for under 19.  So lots of kids get recognized this way.   They even gave a prize to the youngest runner—I think it was a Toys R Us gift card.  I know I would have been stoked about that if I was a kid!  They got to the adult awards and each of us in our Waterton to Glacier group medalled!  Ryan got 3rd overall and 2nd in his age group, Danny got 1st in his age group, and Julia & Emma earned 3rd and 1st in theirs, respectively.  Along with my gold medal for 1st in the 30-39 female category, I was also awarded a $50 gift certificate to Runners Soul!  

 

I was really excited to be able to run this race at the pace that I did.  I even was able to do the rest of my workout later that day all within my training pace required, so I did total 14 miles!  While 5km races aren’t my focus, they are still fun to do every once in a while!  I know the next one I do I will be aiming for a 20:30 or faster.  I know my training has helped lots, as this was not only a personal best, but I beat my time from last years’ event by over two minutes.   Last year, I ran a 22:59.  Seeing that improvement is what is most important to me.  Up next is a 10km in Medicine Hat (Saturday) and then the big one….Vancouver Marathon is now just two weeks away….

Digital Running “Time of the Season” Challenge

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When I was training for the 2014 Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, I was introduced to Digital Running.  The website offers a place for other runners to meet and participate in team relays, share information, training plans, and more.  You can also register and participate in online challenges.  In 2013, I registered for the Hat Trick and Grand Slam Challenge, which were completed at the Walt Disney World Marathon weekend where I ran a 5km, 10km, half marathon and full marathon.  I also registered for the Interstate Challenge where I needed to complete an event in both Canada and USA.  

   

 

Since I am a bling addict, I registered in March 2014 for the “Time of the Season” challenge.  For a full year, I needed to log an event of 5km or longer, at least one per month.  Each event would be verified, and once I completed three months in a row, I would earn a pie piece towards a giant medal.

Tricky part was finding a chip-timed event nearby once the weather got cold.  I could not find a chip-timed event in December, only local fun run 5km events.  I still did those events (Santa Shuffle and Resolution Run 5km) but they wouldn’t be officially counted.  Luckily, a one-time “free pass” was issued if you couldn’t get a timed event in.

  

My final event for this challenge was the Hyptothermic Half in Calgary, Alberta.  It was tough to find a February event in Alberta, but I am glad I did as this event was where I ran my 1:35 half personal best!  Soon, after logging this event on my member page, the final piece of my “medal” came.

  

Virtual races and challenges aren’t something I always sign up for, and they aren’t for everyone.  But when I found something fun like this, which encouraged me to compete in events each month for a full year, I couldn’t pass it up!