Tag Archives: BMO

2015-Year in Review

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What an amazing year in running for myself!  I started January 2015 off strong, as I had just came off a very productive 2014.  Injuries weren’t messing with me as of yet, my husband and I had just moved into our new house, work was going well, and I was motivated to train for my spring goal race of the BMO Vancouver Marathon.

January brought a quick trip to Temecula, California, during exam week, where I participated in the Spartan Super & Sprint with my BFF Ali.  February came and I decided it was a good idea to run The Hypothermic Half marathon in Calgary during a huge cold snap.  Good thing I did, as I ended up running what is now my personal best-1:35:41.  That race was crucial as a morale boost and proved to me that training and hard work does pay off.  Never did I think I could run in the 1:35s!  I also signed up for and participated in a virtual race; The Coaster Run.  Why did I choose this as my first virtual race?  Well, the actual race was held at Knotts Berry Farm in California and had a Peanuts theme!  I needed that Snoopy medal!

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In March, I had the local Moonlight Run 10km.  I pushed myself to my limits there, running my best Moonlight time ever of a 43:47, earning me 1st in my age group.  I was very pleased with my training progress!  A local 5 km in Coaldale came in mid-April and I crushed my previous 5km time, running a 20:42, earning me first place female.  The following week, on the anniversary of my dad’s death, I ran in the Rattler Run 10km in Medicine Hat.  This was the pinnacle race at the peak of my training cycle for Vancouver.  I busted out a 41:30, good enough for 1st female overall!  So, I had bested my 5km, 10km and half marathon times all before my goal race even came.  Had I burned myself out?

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I have written about it lots on this site, so I can just briefly mention the importance that the Vancouver Full Marathon was.  This was my third dedicated try at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, having failed in 2014 while running the Calgary and Edmonton Full Marathons.  This May, it all paid off.  The training, pushing, races, tears, and pain were worth it because I not only beat my qualifying standard of 3:35.00, but crushed it with a 3:24.56!  I would be going to Boston!

Dan & I headed to Montana for the Montana Spartan Beast, which completed what would be my first trifecta of the year.  I had plans on going for a double Trifecta later in September, so this was part of the process.  I also did the Calgary 50km Ultra during Marathon weekend at the end of May, which was my first ever 50km.  My 4:40.34 earn me 2nd in my category.  The first 5 months of 2015 were such a huge success, I felt unstoppable!

But then, my body was starting to feel it.  I took a bit of time off before doing the Alberta Summer Games in July, where I ran the 10km.  A sloppy 45:55 on a hot afternoon had me frustrated—I am way better than this.  It motivated me to push hard the rest of the summer as I trained to try and get a personal best at the Disneyland 10km in September.  Before that race, I had the Lethbridge Police Half Marathon at the end of August.  Here, I also had plans to shoot for my best time.  This was a huge slap in the face, as I went out too fast, started having stomach issues, and almost broke down.  I ended 3rd female overall, which is fantastic, but my body was breaking.  The 1:40.14 at the end of summer, in the midst of a forest fire smoke warning was respectable—but I was frustrated.

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September was all about Disney & Spartan Races.  And being stressed with work.  But, I had to make it happen somehow.  I went to Disneyland over Labour Day weekend where I did complete my goal of placing in my category at the Disneyland 10km.  I wasn’t anywhere close to my goal time, but I ran a respectful 43:28.  Then the following day, I ran the half marathon with my BFF and helped her crush her personal best!  All while dressed as Mary Poppins!  It was my second Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and it was a great one.  I had registered until the DDD, however, Ali hadn’t been able to and had to do the 10km and half as two separate race registrations.  Having a Dumbo medal from last year was enough for me-I passed my 2015 medal on to her.  She earned it by completing both races!

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Spartan Races….the highs and the very lows.  I did the Hurricane Heat, Super and Sprint three days in a row in Red Deer.   I felt great during all three and was pumped for my Ultra Beast in Sun Peaks two weeks after.  I have a post about that here, and let me tell you….it was humbling.  I had my first ever DNF for a race, and I think I was over my head.  I could have crawled my way to the finish perhaps, but I was exhausted and fearing injury.  This was the time that the “bump” on my foot had been really bothering me.  As I ran by myself during the second loop for about an hour I was imaging hurting myself and not being able to do Boston.  I pulled myself out of the race, and a lot of tears followed.  While I can’t go back and change it, or say register just for the Beast, I don’t regret my decision. 

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October brought the end of Cross Country season coaching and no races for myself.  Our team made us proud, and we sent five talented young women to Provincials in Grand Prairie, Alberta.  That is WAY north!  I took it easy, and took about 2-3 weeks off from running after the season ended mid October.  I started physio for my foot, and found out more about my x-rays.  Degenerative Arthritis and a bone spur in my right foot.  Surgery is in the works, for a time after Boston.  If something isn’t done to this soon, I run the risk of not being able to run down the road.  And I don’t want that!

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November had me give it my all in the local Claus Cause 5km, only to then laugh at myself and realize how out of shape I was starting to feel.  A 22:04 would have been something I dreamed of two years ago, but now I knew I needed to keep recovering, but then get back to work.  The month of December brought the Runners Soul 4th Annual Run Streak, which I just completed today.  31 straight days of running at least 1 mile!  And this past Sunday I began my 16 week training for the 120th Boston Marathon.  My plan for Boston is to go in prepared, do my best, finish, and have fun in the process.  This is a once-in-a-lifetime race, something I have been striving towards for so long.  So, it is perfect that my 2015 ended with me doing day 5 of my Boston Training plan, as one year ago I had yet to start my Vancouver Marathon training….and Boston was just a distance dream away.

Cheers to everyone as they bring in the New Year!  Best wishes, happy thoughts, and enjoy every moment.  Je me souviens.

-Andrea

 

 

 

Vancouver Marathon Recap Part 2-Desperately Seeking Boston

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I actually was able to fall asleep at a somewhat normal time (10:00 PM) the night before the race.  I only woke up once, albeit in a full body sweat (probably from nerves) but quickly went back to bed until my 5:30 alarm went.  I have never gotten out of bed to an alarm as fast as I did right then.  I went through my morning pre-race rituals, as I needed to be down to Erin’s room and set to go by 6:45.  Her friend Rob was meeting us at this time also, and the three of us would make our way to the closest transit station (a 10 minute walk) and head to the race start.  At the expo, they had given all the racers a free transit pass so we didn’t have to drive in the morning; anyone going into the station at this time on a Sunday was all heading the same place, so they didn’t even bother taking the passes.  It was a short 15-20 minute train ride, and then a 10 minute walk, and we were at the start in Queen Elizabeth Park.  Met up with Bob, dropped off our bags, and got set to head to the corrals.

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We were in the front ORANGE corral and had gotten there with lots of time.  Even after they had everyone move up to the start I never felt crowded.  The elites were let off about 30 seconds before the general runners, and once we started, we immediately had room to spread out.  That is positive thing #1—never feeling crowded on the course!  I was going to be running with Bob during the race, and we set our goal pace at 7:50 a mile.  I was a little uneasy about this, as originally I was training for an 8:00 minute a mile, but my previous races and training runs had indicated that I could perhaps push myself on this course.  The first 5 miles were very straight, all business, routes in commercial areas.  There were spectators surrounding us in area, and I was happy I was already finding my pace.  My first five miles were in 7:44, 7:50, 7:41, 7:33, and 7:44.

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At mile 6 we met the “Camosum Hill Challenge,” which was a times 1,230 metre portion of the route up the steepest incline.  This was by no means any hill like we were used to in Lethbridge, but it was a challenge nonetheless.  There was no use trying to keep my pace at the 7:50 in this spot, so we just kept running comfortably, finishing mile 6 in 8:10.  Miles 7-10 then brought us through some other commercial/residential streets, and we eventually wound over to reaching an edge over the water (which you couldn’t see yet as it was lined with trees).  There was also a little quick turnaround spot around mile 8, where Bob and I saw both Erin and Rob fairly close behind us.  We ran miles 7-10 in 7:52, 7:52, 7:48, and 7:37.

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The next portion of the race had approximately three downhill sections, which wound by University of BC, by Wreck Beach, and ended up in more residential areas right before the Burrard Street Bridge.  I was feeling very strong, but still hesitant, as there was still a lot of mileage ahead.  Bob was constantly keeping conversation with me, which kept my head in the game, and not overthinking if I was going to regret my pace.  We ran 11-17 in 7:51, 7:43, 7:34, 7:49, 7:47, 7:40, and 7:46.  It is worth noting that my half marathon split was a 1:42.08.  I was on pace to run a 3:24.16, if I could run a perfect second half.

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While we had met our hill challenge earlier, I would have to say that the Burrard Street Bridge was mentally tougher.  It was a highway bridge overpass and was quite long.  It felt never-ending.  Bob ran into his brother on this portion, who was out watching Bob’s sister-in-law, so we knew she had to not be far behind.  Bob had tried finding her at the start of the race but couldn’t meet up.  I was nearing mile 20 when I knew I had to just keep staying positive, because everything was lining up perfectly.  In Calgary, I bonked at mile 17.  Hitting my miles 18-20 all in 7:46, 7:56, and 7:50 was very encouraging.  I was starting to get nervous, though, because it was mile 22 that I broke down in Edmonton.  On top of this, as we headed towards the beaches and Stanley Park, I lost Bob.  Well, didn’t lose him.  He told me he had to stop to use the bathroom, and he’d catch up, so I kept on going.  But he never caught back up.  Turns out, yes….I could see him behind me at parts on the Seawall when I looked back, but he ended up hanging around near one of the beaches to see if he’d find his sister-in-law.  Bob said he knew he left me in good shape and he could have caught up to me if need be.  I don’t know about that, because I started doubting myself.  I quickly got my head back in the game and realized I only had a 10km left…I had ran a 10km race the weekend before.  A 10km is nothing!  The Stanley Park area was lonely and winding, but flat and had a cool breeze.  When I first started on this path by the beach, I honestly shut my eyes for a split second and took a deep breath in through my nose.  The smell of the ocean and the sand reminded me of when we used to go to the Gulf Shores in Alabama.  I grew up going there as a kid, with my mom and dad, my grandma and grandpa, and the last trip including my best friend Ali.  The Gulf Shores holds a special place in my heart, and picturing that beach and taking a moment to reflect was all I needed to push on.

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I kept moving down that walkway taking in the surroundings.  I passed a few people along the way, as many were starting to lose it, but I kept feeling good.  One of the funnier moments in this section was the table two girls had set up with a sign that said WEED!  Only in BC, I guess.  We rounded near the parts of the Stanley Park Seawall where Erin, Rob and I had had dinner the night before and I was feeling stronger because of the familiarity.  I could see the expo building in the distance across the bay, and before I knew it, I was running by Yacht Clubs and heading into the Downtown Vancouver core.  I felt so energized coming up this small path in a garden onto the streets of downtown Vancouver.  There were more and more people lined up on this final stretch.  I honestly did start tearing up during this final half a mile, but I held it together (mostly) as I ran into the finisher chute.  I ran miles 21-26 in 7:57, 7:55, 7:52, 7:53, 7:53, and 7:52, and I crossed the finish line in 3:24.56….WELL under my Boston Qualifying standard of 3:35.00, well under my goal pace of 3:30.00, and even more under my prior personal fastest marathon time from August of 3:44.59!

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I was shaking at the finish line, I was smiling, and I was happy.  I called my husband first, and told him to post on Facebook what I did, as my fingers couldn’t type it.  I called my mom and told her too, as she was a nervous wreck since the last timing mat that was posted online was from around 37.5 km, with a time of 2:57.24.  My mom was also so confused with the kilometre distances and paces, so she was just anxiously awaiting a phone call.  I did not venture too far from the finish area as I wanted to wait for Bob, and he crossed in 3:28.55.  I was so fortunate to have him running by my side during the race, and more importantly, convincing me that hitting a 7:50 pace was possible.  I did not just hit that pace, I beat that pace!  Erin finished shortly after that too, running a 3:30.49, her personal best and a Boston Qualifier!  Bob’s sister in law also got a Boston Qualifying time of 3:29.49.  It was an overall successful day for all of us desperately seeking Boston.

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I met up with Tim and Alex, who had been waiting for me near the finish line.  Tim had brought me some celebratory beers and we headed down near the Olympic torch for photos and to find a spot to relax.  I eventually headed back to our hotel to get my post race massage, clean up, and we headed out to lunch at a pub in Kitts Beach.  I did not want to leave.  This day was beautiful weather-wise, scenery wise, friend-wise, and just plain overall one of the best days of my life.  Hard work pays off.  That’s all I can say.  I didn’t give up.  I had tried two times before and failed.  But I went out more determined than ever to achieve something that has always been a bit out of reach.  What’s next….well, I already booked my hotel for Boston, as my qualifying time will allow me to register two weeks ahead of everyone else.  I will take it easy for a bit (I am doing the Calgary 50 km at the end of the month though….) and I will enjoy the summer.  I am not sure what I want my goal to be at Boston, other than completion, but I am thinking I could challenge myself to shave a bit of time off.  Shaving a bit of time off won’t qualify me for the Olympics or become an Elite, but it will give me something to strive for and work for.

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I am Andrea Lammers-Pottage.  I am 30 years old.  I am a wife, daughter, cousin, niece, teacher, and friend.  And now I can also proudly say that I am a Boston Marathon Qualified Runner.  Je Me Souviens, forever and ever.

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Vancouver Marathon Race Recap Part 1….Before the Big Event

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I registered for the BMO Vancouver Marathon back in about November.  I was feeling really frustrated and defeated after my summer marathons (Calgary & Edmonton) as I didn’t come close to qualifying for Boston.  I ran 3:46.22 and 3:44.59, respectively, at both of these events….well off the qualifying standard of 3:35.00.  So when I decided to give my Boston qualifying attempt one more shot, I wanted to pick a race I hadn’t done before.  And a race that was known for being a good course for qualifying.  It was suggested to me by many people that Vancouver was the course for me.  Sea level, rolling downhills, late Spring, spectator support, large city….I registered, booked a flight, and started thinking about my training.

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I have mentioned before I had Dean Johnson create a training calendar for me.  It was a 16 week training plan, which he took into account my previous fitness achievements and levels.  Each day had set paces I needed to achieve and unique workouts.  Dean went above and beyond and updated my training plan to reflect the success I was having in half marathon and 10 km distances in late winter/early spring.  This training plan held me accountable, as I kept a log of how each workout went in a Google Doc, and it really pushed me above and beyond what I thought I was capable of. 1

So here comes May 1st.  The day I travel to Vancouver.  I was nervous, anxious, excited, scared….basically a pile of emotions.  I had been training specifically for this event for 16 weeks, but as I drove to the Calgary airport, it occurred to me that I really have been training for this since my first half marathon in May 2004.  I wrote about that half marathon here, as it was a race I ran in a daze….it was less than a week after my dad passed away unexpectantly from a heart attack.  I have been running long distances ever since.

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So this race was important.  I have been committed to running long distances for now over 11 years.  Some years were low, some have been high.  The past two years have been a steady high, with breaking personal records, getting podium at local races, and feeling like I am in the best shape of my life.  It was also low when I didn’t get that coveted Boston qualifying time.  I was out on this run to prove to myself I was worthy of running in Boston.

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The expo was held in Downtown Vancouver at the convention centre next to the Olympic torch.  I had stayed with my good friends Alex & Tim in Burnaby the night before, and they were nice enough to drop me off down at my hotel for the night, which was near the expo.  This hotel wasn’t originally in the plans, but my cousin Erin is too nice and booked me a room.  She would be staying there too!  I wandered over to the expo, and this is when I first started getting the chills….the expo was right on the water, it was a gorgeous, crisp and clear day, and the energy was high.  Packet pickup was extremely fast, and before I knew it I was on the merchandise floor.  There were not tons of vendors, but enough things to look at.  I bought a Run Van tanktop, which I know I will wear lots in the summer, and some more Nuun tabs from their vendor table.  Included in our race package (which was a drawstring backpack) was a commemorative shirt (which I really liked….a short-sleeved charcoal grey tech shirt), our race bib, and a transit ticket for the race morning.

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I ended up going back to the hotel to nap in the afternoon, as I didn’t sleep well the night before and was a bit worn from all my travelling.  Actually, before the nap I ordered pasta for lunch via room service.  Eating that in bed while watching HGTV was fantastic.  I was wide awake then when Erin and her friend Rob were ready to go get food for supper.  We went to this sweet market nearby and bought sandwiches and salads, headed to Stanley Park, and had a picnic.  The weather was gorgeous and this was a very relaxing way to spend the evening.  We were back at the hotel somewhere around 7:30, which gave me tons of time to wind down and get prepared for the big event in the morning.  I even was able to head to bed by 10 pm and slept great!  Now I just needed the following Sunday to be the best run of my life……

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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….

Day 1-BMO Vancouver Full Marathon Training

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Today was the day. Today I did my first official training running in preparation for the Vancouver Marathon, which is Sunday, May 3rd, 2015. This is the first training calendar for a race which I have had someone create one for me! Thanks in advance to Dean Johnson from www.rundeanrun.ca for the calendar (I may be hating you by week 8….no hard feelings).

I knew I needed to take this training up a notch, and having Dean formulate a plan for me tailored to my race times in the past year was key. Each day is laid out to work with my schedule, and there are detailed notes on the types of runs I will be doing during training, the endurance pace ranges for each type of run and more. This is the most extensive training plan I have ever followed. This is key for me reaching my goal of qualifying for the 2016 Boston Marathon.

Today’s run was one that can be done on Sunday or Monday, or both days. It is 30-45 minutes easy, cross train, or rest. Now, without having a definition of what my “easy pace” should be, I would have gone and ran 45 minutes in somewhere around 9 minute miles. But, according to the plan, “easy” means I must run between an 8:02-9:02 minute mile pace. I went out down to the river bottom for this first run, in the middle of the afternoon. Sun was still up, wind was down, albeit a chilly day of around 15 Fahrenheit. I was also on a running high because the Packers had just won, and was just plain excited for this run to start.

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I headed out a bit fast, but was feeling strong, so it was hard to slow down. I ran faster than the goal pace with a 7:53 minute mile. I tried to slow up the second mile and hit 8:12. Much better. In my head, I had thought I would try to hit somewhere between an 8:15-8:25 for each mile and I would be happy. The stretch from mile 2 to 3 is fairly flat, so I again went a bit too fast, hitting a 7:57. Still on track but I needed to slow up and hit my pace ranges. I was able to do so in mile 4 and 5, running an 8:11 and 8:23, respectively. I finished with 42:54 minutes of running, reaching 5.28 miles, with an average pace of 8:07. To say I was pleased with day 1 would be an understatement!

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But I have a LONG road ahead of me. Race is 16 weeks away. And during this time I also have two Spartan Races, a half marathon and a 10km. I have a pretty aggressive training plan. And I have motivation, heart, drive, and support. That is going to be what gets me through this, that is going to be what makes this possible.

The rest of the week will go as follows:
Monday-cross training with circuit training in the gym (shoulders, core)
Tuesday-medium hill repeats 6-8x OR Fartleks 8-10x with 1min hard run, then jog recovery
Wednesday-40-50 minute easy
Thursday-40-50 minute easy with 2 miles at “steady state” pace (half to full marathon race pace)
Friday-off
Saturday-long run of 75-100 minutes with pace between 8:06-9:23 minutes a mile.

I am very happy that the training focus is mainly on the weekends, with really only three days during the school week that I have to power out some training runs. At this point I plan on utilizing the Monday as cross training on the gym (Spartan race prep and/or elliptical), or a rest if needed. I need to stay healthy and get strong. This plan will help guide the way.

Have a great week everyone.

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2014 Running Recap

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It is almost a wrap on 2014…what a year! Ok…I hate that I used that as my first sentence, but I am currently going on my 26th hour in a sleeping car on the Amtrak and am not thinking straight. So maybe writing my recap now isn’t the smartest idea, but I don’t have anything else to occupy my time with really (or that I want to be doing?) so I may as well type this on out!

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My total of unique race events (ranging from 4km, 5km, 10km, 10 milers, halves and full!) in 2014 is currently at 24, and my 25th event will be on New Years Eve when I run the Brita Resolution Run 5km in Red Deer, Alberta. Last year, I finished with the Lethbridge version of the Resolution Run and that made for my 22nd event. So I will be up three events from 2013 when the clock strikes midnight! Doing the Dopey Challenge (4 individual events) and Dumbo Double Dare (2 distances) in 2014 made the yearly total add up quickly, that’s for sure! And in the process, I ran personal best times in the 5km, half marathon and full marathon distances. Now, will I be trying to “beat” that total and “feats” next year? Not exactly…

This year actually could have been a few races less than 25, especially since before Dopey, I didn’t even have another full marathon planned. After Dopey, I had gotten the bright idea that I could maybe push for a Boston Qualifying time. While I did drop my time in the two latter races I ran (in Calgary and Edmonton, June and August, respectively) it wasn’t enough to qualify. Looking back, I probably did too much in between if Boston had been my main focus for 2014. Going into 2014, Boston wasn’t even close to being on my radar…but my mind started going after seeing some of the possibilities. Was I frustrated I didn’t qualify for Boston last year? You bet I was….but now, I can look back and realize that looking at the progress in my full marathons is something to be proud of. My old personal best before 2014 was a 3:56 full from 2007. In 2014, I ran a 3:50, 3:46 and 3:44 over the course of my jam-packed year. And now I know what I need to work on more of while I prepare for 2015.

Boston qualifying is the main focus for 2015, as I am going to officially start my training program on January 11th. I will be running in the BMO Vancouver Marathon on May 3rd, and my events leading up to Vancouver will help supplement my training, while not overdoing it. I have been able to get the half marathon distance down pat (running sub 1:40 now three times in 2014) but will need to work on building distance/endurance in my training.

In addition to Vancouver, I am currently registered for 8 additional events. Six of these events are Spartan Races. I will be doing the Temecula Super Spartan & Sprint on two days back-to-back in January, alongside my best friend. Then in May, my husband and I will be making our way down to Montana for their yearly Spartan Race! Only this year, we aren’t doing the Sprint….we are doing the newly added Beast! This means I will earn Spartan Race Trifecta Tribe Status by May! So I should be done with Spartan Races then, right? Of course not, as that is a Trifecta in the US, so I also want to earn a Trifecta in Canada! September will be the Red Deer Super and Sprint, and then off to Sun Peaks for the Beast! But not just the regular Beast….the Ultra Beast! I have already tackled the Beast in Sun Peaks in 2013, so I needed to take it up a notch and give the 26.2 miles of hell a shot. I guess that’s the main thing that’s bound to happen once you start trying all the different types of races out there…you want to keep pushing yourself beyond the proverbial limit.

I know I will pick up other smaller, local races throughout 2015, but my focus is on my full marathon in May and the Spartan Races. And oh yeah, I do have some things to worry about in addition to running…we have a new house to put sweat-equity in, an old house to sell, and I have a killer schedule for second semester that will take up all extra energy I have. Spring will be very busy for myself (and my hubby!) and while the training takes up time, and one might say I should “go relax or something”, I think I can beg to differ, as my running, training and racing is how I, in the words of Aaron Rodgers, R-E-L-A-X !!!

Cheers to 2014 and here’s to looking forward to 2015! And GO PACK GO!

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Weekly Wrap Up-My Random Thoughts From This Week

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I don’t really have much to report on “race wise” but I am still trying to keep up with always posting a new blog on Sunday’s. I am actually quite shocked that I have kept up so well with it since starting this blog, as I mentioned in early posts that “journaling” was never really my thing. So the fact I am still at this almost two years and counting is amazing!

This past week brought some unseasonably warm December weather for Lethbridge (low 50s on Friday!) and then a pile of snow yesterday. Go figure. I went on an awesome 8 mile run Friday to take advantage of the weather. It was my first run with my new pair of shoes…aren’t they pretty!?!

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My RunStreak is now 47 days strong (will be 48 after a quick run this afternoon!). I think yesterday was the most comedic of the runs, as I did 1 mile on the WCHS treadmill….with my dog and two cats in the room. Why? Well, we had an open house from noon till two and I had to get the pets out of there. So taking them to work was the logical solution. I watched them in the mirror as I ran the mile and holy crap, they were confused in there. They were much more at ease once we got to my classroom. I Spy a little orange cat…..

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I also received my tentative training plan for the BMO Vancouver Full Marathon, which I am running on May 3rd. This blog will definitely focus a lot on my training for this race, as I attempt to try and qualify for Boston. I will talk more about the issues I have had in attempting before in the past year in a later post, but I can say that I feel very positive about my chances after seeing this plan. I had Dean Johnson, of RunDeanRun a local Lethbridge coach, make my training plan. He took my previous race times into account and customized my plan quite nicely. He did tell me that the plan is “pretty aggressive” and that’s what I need!

I have one last race this month, and that is the New Years Eve Resolution Run 5km in Red Deer, Alberta. I was hoping to find a race during Christmas week in Milwaukee, but apparently none exist. Oh well, I’ll just have to go on traditional training runs while home for Christmas. I may do a non-traditional run next Monday, though, while at our station stop in Minneapolis, MN. I need to keep that RunStreak going, and the Amtrak stops over there long enough that I could bolt off the sleeping car and get in a mile before we leave again…that could prove for an interesting story!

And in conclusion to this weeks random thoughts and stuff, RunDisney picked me as their “Fan of the Week” on Facebook. I had submitted my Dopey Challenge photo last week and they picked me! No, I don’t win anything for this, but it is pretty damn cool if you ask me! Have a great week everyone! The holidays are right around the corner!

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Claus Cause 2014 Recap

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Hi everyone! Only behind by one race recap, phew…so that’s what I’m going to talk about tonight! On Saturday, November 15th, I participated in the annual Claus Cause 10km. I did this event last year, and you can read about the wacky weather that occurred in my post from last year. Claus Cause 2013This year, was just as crazy….but unlike last year where the snow came in after the race, the ice and cold was already evident that morning.

I bundled up quite a bit for this race, though I knew I would end up warming up rather quickly. Midway through I would end up ditching my outer layer of mittens to just be left with stretchy mitts, but all my layering was necessary for the beginning. Maybe I spent too much time over analyzing what I was going to wear because I made my seemingly consistent mistake of leaving my house too late, thus arriving and parking at the last minute. While I am always very early and relaxed for races outside of Lethbridge, I am just apparently terrible at getting to local races early. I jogged up to the start area, dropped off my food donation for the Lethbridge Food Bank, and weasels my way into the start corral near the front…all with about four minutes to spare.

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It was cold. How cold was it?!?….I think it was around 6 degrees Fahrenheit at race start (9:00 am) which is a very, very, very cold -15 Celsius. The course was quite a bit different that last years, as we were starting and finishing at Helen Schuler Nature Centre. While we would run on the same trails as last year, there would be some different looping to make up the distance.

I started off with a vengeance, maybe because I was so damn cold and wanted to warm up, running a 7:01 mile. The 10km and 5km started at the same time, and since I had positioned myself near the front I had good spacing around me right away, which allowed me to run such a fast first mile. Mile two and three slowed, with a 7:28 and 7:19. After mile three, I was wishing I had signed up for the 5km, because breathing in the cold air just hurt.

Mile four and five was where we had split off from the pack of 5km runners to head down past the water treatment plant and to the turnaround. I wasn’t really sure where the turnaround was, but when I got to it (past Lynx Trail and before the bridge) I almost came to a complete stop going around the pylons. Ooof…it would be hard to pick the pace back up again. I ran mile four and five in 7:30 and 7:26.

The last stretch was hard. My legs weren’t really giving out on me, but I thought I had something stuck in my shoes. Turns out, when I finished, I realized I had nothing stuck in the tread but it was just that my feet were so cold they were tingling. Probably on the edge of hypothermia, who knows, but at least I had worn two layers of socks. As we headed back towards the nature centre, my one complaint about the course came up—the 90 degree turn which led to a 50foot straightaway, three pylons to turn around, and then back. I slowed so much here, because the ice was just ridiculous. I had to stutter step and it really threw off my stride. But at least I knew the finish was ahead. I pushed towards the High Level Bridge and made my way to the finish line—1st place female in the 10km was mine! I finished in a 45:50!

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I was very happy with my finish time, which was my second-best 10km time! (My 10km personal best was set last year at the same event!). I really like the 10km distance, but don’t get to do enough of them. I was feeling very positive after this race, and I already decided that after my quest for Boston and training for the BMO Vancouver Full passes, I will focus a lot more on 10km events. I would really like to break 45 minutes!

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Runners Soul presented age group awards inside (thankfully!) and raffle prizes pretty quickly after the events. They had the cute gingerbread “medals” again this year, and lots of snacks to partake in. I look forward to this event every year, as it really is the last chip-timed event of the year in town. I know the weather can always be a crap-shoot at this time of the year, but that’s fine-registering for this race gets me out the doors and running…no excuses!

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