Tag Archives: full marathon

2019 Race Plans

Standard

The kid is napping, I finished my Sunday chores, so I am going to try to push out a blog post!  It’s early February, and I will say that the last month has been tough on me for running.  With the holidays and the year end of 2018, I was getting my daily runs in for the December Holiday Run Streak that our local store puts on.  But other than that, my physical activity was going downhill.  Work has been tough, and managing work with being parents and wanting to still do the same level of running and training I did before Andy is even tougher.  And it’s not even the ‘before Andy’ that is the most challenging.  It’s the now being a working parent.  Maternity Leave was a godsend and I was probably close to the best shape of my life by mid July and August of last year.  I ran my best 5km ever, was feeling strong AF and also felt like a pretty bad ass mom.

Now, I just feel like a mom trying to swim upstream.

I am still doing the Runstreak, and have been running at least a mile a day every day since December 1st.  My first 2019 goal is to continue the RunStreak for one whole year.  It’s not a mileage goal, or a race time goal, but it gives me something to focus on every day and it something that I know can be attainable even when I am feeling overloaded with work and everything else.

As 2019 creeped into existence, I knew I needed to get back in control of my diet and exercise.  It wasn’t awful, but in the last months of 2018 I started buying chips and salsa again for at home.  And I was drinking more beer than my ‘lack of running’ body should be consuming.  The husband and I both went in for body composition appointments at Kinetic at the beginning of January.  My weight was actually better than I expected.  But, weight is a funny thing.  It’s a number to not take too much to heart.  I weighed in at 135 lbs.  The measurements for the body composition though, however, were frustrating (but expected).  I didn’t completely fall of the wagon, but comparing the results to what I had back in June at the end of the Mommy “Time 4 Me” challenge was frustrating.  My body fat percentage had gone up and my measurements had increased in total inches.

This was all expected because I 1.) Wasn’t running as quality of workouts 2.) It’s winter and not race season so I wasn’t in the training mode for anything in particular 3.) I am not able to go to boot camp anymore (damnit, I wish I was still on mat leave!) 4.) our diet had started to creep back into the higher carb amounts.

Husband and I have decided to tweak our eating habits, using the tools I learned during the Time 4 Me challenge.  Lower carb, higher protein.  We’ve also greatly cut the beer intake, and have generally switched to red wine (except I am drinking a beer as I type this……).  I’m not making myself go crazy with this, but we are going to do another body composition early March to see what has happened in two months with some small changes.

The bigger thing is that I have my second goal of getting back into racing shape and loving to run.  I contacted Dean Johnson, who did my race training plan for Vancouver in 2015, and asked him is he’d make a plan for me for this year leading up to my big race in September (more on that later).  If someone makes me a plan to follow, I automatically make it work in my day.  It was also key that I gave him which days work best for me to fit in quality workouts (Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday) and then have the other days as just my minimum mileage for my runstreak.  I started this Thursday with his set workouts and even though the cold and snowy weather is absolute shit, I have to say I’m already feeling better about myself and the race season ahead.

I know I can’t necessarily have crazy time goals for my races this year, but I need to have some goal.  If I just register for random local races but don’t have a new big race or plan in sight, I’ll get into a rut.  My 2019 race schedule is shaping up to look like this:

-Moonlight Run 10KM in March

-Some local 5km races (possibly with Andy in the stroller) in April and May

-Red Deer Half in May (goal of sub 1:37, depending on how training goes!)

-Lots of trails in June (Coulee Cactus as a relay, Lone Wolf in Fernie as a relay with the husband)

-Haida Gwaii Full Marathon in July (would like to run at least faster than Berlin, with the dreamy goal of sub 3:30…but its a very small race and it’ll be mentally challenging for me).

-Lost Soul Ultra 50km in September (My first trail ultra….more on that in a much later post)

-Police Half Marathon in October (would like to beat my time from this years’ race which was 1:37.39)

-New York Marathon in November (run with the husband and just generally have a blast)

How the next two months go will determine how those 5km’s and Red Deer half goes.  Will I be competitive with the field, or even with my own times?  I’m sure as hell going to try.  When June rolls around and I start playing with trail races, I have the hope that this ignites a new fire in me.  I am really looking forward to July and August, as I will have off of work and Andy will still have daycare Monday-Friday.  I can use those days to follow a trail training plan in preparation for Lost Soul.  As that approaches, a reasonable goal for the race will be determined.  Or maybe not so reasonable.  I have one in my mind, but it may be a bit lofty.

Anyway, with second semester in full swing and a new training plan to follow, I have high hopes for the coming months of running.  And bonus—kid is still napping!

Advertisements

My Next “Big Event”

Standard

Hello and happy 2017 everyone!  I have recently returned from the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, where I completed the Goofy Challenge*…there’s an asterisk there because in the history books, this will be the race weekend that had the half marathon cancelled.  I will be doing a complete write-up on the weekend, but I wanted ot let everyone know some of the basics:

The WDW half, which was scheduled to be held on Saturday, January 7th, was cancelled the night before due to a threatening storm coming through the area.  Thunder and lightning occurred all throughout the evening and into the morning, and this would have cause the race to be cancelled either while we were in the corrals waiting to start, or after we started.  It would have been a disaster!  So, many runners did their own “unofficial” WDW half later that day when the storm system cleared.  I completed the 13.1 miles with two friends.  We wanted to complete the distance, so that we could wear our Challenge medals with pride the next day.  On Sunday, January 8th, the marathon went on without a hitch.  I was able to run with my best friend Ali, as she completed her very first full marathon.  It was an amazing weekend!

I alluded in my last post that I would be talking about what was in store for 2017…well, as you can see by my updated “countdown” on the side….I am pregnant!  I am due late July, and while I was in Disney I hit the 12 week mark.  Today I am 13 weeks, and will be heading to Calgary to get my combined First Trimester Screening test done.  My husband and I are very excited, anxious, nervous, scared, elated, etc.  We have always wanted to have a kid, but I was always the one who had concrete running goals I wanted to achieve first….qualify for Boston, go to Boston…then get foot surgery due to all my running…Really, I think waiting longer was also in my husband’s mind too, but I always was the one with the “bucket list” of things I wanted to achieve before we started a family.

WDW Marathon Weekend!

WDW Marathon Weekend!

I know runners who read this page wouldn’t think anything negative about it, but the general public I know will say “Wait…so you ran a half marathon and a full marathon while 12 weeks pregnant?  Is that safe?”  The long and short of it is, YES.  I had been in talks with my family doctor (who runs a sports medicine clinic) since this past summer and he was well aware of my Goofy Challenge goals.  When I got referred to my OB-GYN, the first thing I let her know was that I was flying out to Orlando in January to do a 39.3 mile challenge.  She said “Great!”  Everyone is different—obviously, if you were doing your first full marathon and just started running, there may be some hesitation.  This was not my first rodeo.  I also was not going for any time goal of say, a Boston qualification.  I had to change some of my fueling during the race (as in increase my food intake) and watch my heart rate.  I know my body, even when I have a baby growing in it, and I could recognize if there was any impending issues.  And now, I can say I completed a half and full marathon while 12 weeks pregnant!  Should I maybe have gotten an additional medal for each since really I ran for two?!?!?!

Goofy Challenge Finisher!

Goofy Challenge Finisher!

So what’s the plan now going into 2017?  Well, I am registering for a few local races, with the farthest distance being a 10km.  I am planning on running 3-4 days a week, as long as I am allowed to during this pregnancy.  I will begin Runners Soul Marathon Club next weekend, where I will run with the half marathon distance runners on Saturdays.  My times will not be important, I am just doing this to stay fit and active.  Once I get to a 10 mile training run distance, I may have to cut it short or I may have to walk a bit.  And that’s fine.

So that’s my news.  My next big event.  The training will be a little different than what I’ve grown accustomed, but I’m ready to take it on!

annouce

My “Announcement” shirt…wore the tank during my “unofficial” WDW Half


Race Plans, Boston Training, & Clean Eating

Standard

…For Boston Training that is!

I began my 16-week training plan for the Boston Marathon on December 27th.  It was a tough first week, as while I had been doing the RunStreak through Runners Soul all December, I really did not have the mileage (or speed…or skill) that I had last year at this time.  I had been taking it really easy the last two-three months (as I needed to) so getting back at it has been tough.  Those “Easy Paced Runs” aren’t feeling very easy, but I’m managing to hit my pace goals for each day so far.  This Saturday was my most impressive day, as I did 9.12 miles in 80 minutes in the nasty cold (-4F when I went out to start).

When I compare the data I have from last year’s training cycle for Vancouver to what I have so far for Boston, it is slightly frustrating as I was A LOT faster 365 days ago.  But, I was on a stretch of a bunch of races, and hadn’t taken a moment to slow down.  I took the time to slow down and BREATHE this fall, and have been managing with my foot bone-spur issue.  Will I be able to get to Vancouver 2015 shape by Boston?  Who knows.  But I do know I am going to Boston in April and I am going to finish that damn race and be happy no matter what my time is!

A better indicator for how Boston will go, time wise, will be the races leading up to it.  Other than my under-trained 5 km in November, I haven’t had a longer distance race since Labour Day weekend.  I have updated my race schedule for 2016 here.  There are quite a few unknowns, as two races I normally do (10 Mile Road Race & Rattler Run 10km) don’t have their registration up year, so I am not certain of the weekends.  I am also toying with the idea of doing the Calgary 50 km again (My husband and mom are going to yell at me when they read that).  That would in a way probably be my ‘last hurrah!’ before my foot surgery.  Or, if they schedule my foot surgery later in June or July, I would try to register for the coveted local race, LadiesFest, which is an 8km.  It is later this year than usual, as I am normally at ASAA Provincial Track & Field.  I have not done that race before!  Lets be honest, as long as my surgery isn’t until later in June, I’ll probably register for both…Might as well mess my foot up more before they cut it open!

As an unrelated (sorta?) thing….Dan (my husband) and I decided to not learn from our craziness in June 2014 and we embarked on the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge yet again.  I wrote about it twice on this blog, once at the beginning and at the end.  The beginning post from the last adventure is here.  Why the hell are we putting ourselves through this again?  Well, we did learn some great recipes the first time, we did lose some weight, and we actually had fun (in between our angry bouts due to lack of booze, sugar and salty snacks).  We also somehow convinced our friends Peter & Mac to join in on this, and they are doing it too.  We will all celebrate with pizzas and beer once the shenanigans are over.  The timing for these two weeks have been carefully planned, as we needed it to be two weeks where neither of us are too overloaded with work, as this requires a lot of cooking and time.  We did a weigh-in on Saturday and started the challenge Sunday.  Dan is documenting most of the cooking with pictures and videos on his phone, which yesterday consisted of me almost peeing myself laughing at the sheer size of the meals we were creating.  And the volume of dishes.  Lots and lots of dishes to wash…….

clean eat table

How will this diet alter my ability while training??  Not sure.  When we did it the last time, I had just finished training for and running in the Calgary full marathon.  That marathon was the first attempt I made at qualifying for Boston, and I fell way short, running a 3:46.  I was in really good shape at the start of the diet, and the diet did really clean out any ‘bad’ I had going on.  But it did wreck havoc with my system a bit.  I had one race during the diet in 2014, Millarville Half Marathon, and I certainly did not feel the best when I was done.  I have some straightforward training runs the next two weeks with some basic speed work, so I should be OK.  Pushing through the long workouts while not ‘carbing up’ will be interesting, but I think this diet tying in to me getting back at it with my Boston training couldn’t come at a better time.  I will keep everyone posted on how it turns out in the end!  Until then, time to keep on running…Boston is less than 100 days away!!!!!!!!!!

Coaldale Family Fun Run 5km 2015-Recap

Standard

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….

The Next Big Three Weekends!

Standard

Sorry that I have been absent the last bit. I have not had a race since my Stampede Road Race in July, and after that event I went and enjoyed some vacations, like every teacher should! I went to Walt Disney World with my mom, and I just returned from an epic trip with my husband, to St. John’s, Newfoundland! We had never gone out that Far East in North America before, and holy cow—-it was beautiful. Great people, great food, great music, and as you can see below-great wildlife! Photo credits below go to Richard S. who managed to capture the Humpback Whale breech while we were on our DeeJay Charters boat tour! I didn’t have my camera ready!

IMG_5401.JPG
Currently, I am on a “stay-cation” but have the company of my best friend Ali. We have been friends since 1991! She now lives in California, and this is her first visit here. A lot of people have asked her “Why the hell did you come to Lethbridge?!” Well, she came to see me…I just happen to live in a random place. But we have been going on some adventures since her arrival on Sunday. Some brewery detours in Montana, hiking in the coulees, a little tubing down the Oldman River yesterday, and tomorrow we will be heading to Crowsnest Pass and the British Columbia border.

IMG_5402.JPG

But the big adventure this week is the Calgary Spartan Sprint. It is a 5 km obstacle course race held in Calgary for now the third year! Ali has never done a Spartan Race, and she is also a beginner runner. I can quote Ali in saying she “hates running.” However, she has been doing Crossfit for over a year. (shoutout to Crossfit 310!). Ali has an awesome coach, Kris, at her Crossfit gym that has built running into her workouts in preparation for this Spartan Race, and also for the longer distance she will be doing at the end of the month.

On Sunday, August 24th, I have my big Edmonton Full Marathon. I will be running side-by-side with my husband’s cousin Erin as we attempt the elusive Boston Qualifying time. My knee has been acting up some in the past week, and I’m trying to keep an eye on it and not push myself too much before the race. This course is fast, flat, and easy to navigate. The elevation in Edmonton is a lot lower than Lethbridge, so that gives me extra confidence.

I mentioned Ali has a longer race distance later this month. I mentioned in earlier posts that I convinced (well, forced) her to sign up for the Disneyland 10km. We signed her up, and immediately she knew she wasn’t going into it half-ass. She started her running in around March, then followed a program beginning in April. She has worked her way up to 4 miles, which is fantastic because last year at this time she could only do 200 metres and want to collapse (her words!)

We will be doing the 10 km together, and enjoying every second of it! The nice thing about the route is the first 2 miles are on roads outside of huge park, and the last 4 miles are all around the Disneyland Resort. I will be participating in the Disneyland Half the next day, thus completing the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge, and earning my Coast to Coast medal, since I will have completed a RunDisney half marathon distance or longer on both the west & east coast in one calendar year!

I will be writing race recaps following all three of these weekends, and you can bet there will be lots of pictures included! Thanks for continuing to read and follow my blog—-I had originally intended it to just last until after my Dopey Challenge in January 2014, however, I found I really do enjoy writing and sharing my experiences with running. If you have any suggestions for me, please don’t hesitate to write in the comments below or send me an email!

Initial Post-Race Thoughts From Calgary 2014

Standard

photo 1So it’s been about 24 hours since I finished the Calgary Full Marathon. I went in with the lofty goal of achieving not only a Boston Qualifying time, but a 3:30:00. All my training and experience pointed towards this being possible. I even did the Red Deer Half Marathon on May Long to practice the 8:00 minute mile pace I wanted to achieve and I nailed a 7:59 average pace. And I felt great after!

 

Yesterday, unfortunately, did not go as planned. I woke up so nervous, but figured it would pass. I gave myself plenty of time to eat my standard race-day breakfast and let it settle. We walked to the start line. I got situated comfortably in the corral and was set. I was fired up and ready to get it!

 

I started off fine, but was having trouble comfortably maintaining the needed pace. I ran an 8:04, 7:58, 8:11, 7:59, 8:08, 8:06, 7:58, 8:23, 8:11, 8:13, 8:19, 8:29, and 8:13 for the first 13 miles. My half marathon time was approximately a 1:46:50.  This was abotu 3 minutes slower than I was two weeks prior at Red Deer Half Marathon, and I didn’t feel as strong as I did at that time.  I could still get a BQ if I maintained an 8:15 minute mile pace for every mile after, or faster. At this point in the game, though, my meniscus had been flaring up a tad. This was what I have been going to massage therapy for the last month or so, and it had helped a ton. I did not have this pain in Red Deer. I also had cramps like none other—women cramps—the worst kind. I tried to mentally get myself back in the game—miles 14, 15, and 16 were an 8:17, 8:14, and 8:07. Still on track, albeit I would need to keep at it. It was at mile 17 it all deterred. I slowed down to around 9:00 minute miles for each mile after. I finished with a personal best of 3:46:22. Yes, it is a personal best, and I am proud of that. But it’s not what I went out to do.

 photo 2

I’m actually surprised I didn’t cry afterwards or even today because I am honestly sad. I really wanted this. And maybe some of you will think “Well, if you wanted it, why didn’t you run harder?” 26.2 miles is a different story. The last time I ran 26.2 was in Disney, and the surroundings of Disney really helped keep me going. That course was also very flat and the elevation level was nothing. While I felt more prepared going into this race, maybe I just got myself too nervous and put too much pressure on it. Maybe I needed to not rely on myself this race, but try to work with the pace group instead. Maybe I did need the moral support of either my husband or my cousin on the course seeing me at different check points. Maybe, maybe, maybe…..

 

Now it’s a game of “Woulda, Coulda, Shoulda.” I know I can’t go back and change how yesterday played out.  I can’t let that play in my mind, because I am going to be a wreck over it. What I can do is not give up. While it may not be the best decision to register for a full marathon that is occurring in August, in approximately 12 weeks, but I am. The Edmonton Full Marathon is on August 24th. I have ran the half here twice, and the course is FLAT. The elevation in Edmonton is 2,116 ft. Lethbridge, where I live, is 2,990 feet, and Calgary is 3,428 feet. These are all positives weighing in my direction. However, do I enjoy running long distances in the heat of the summer? No, but I will. I will get up at 5:30 am on long run mornings to get the distance in. My mileage base is up so high right now that it would be a shame to give it all up. The weather is the biggest factor in this race, and I can’t control that. But I can control what I do so I am prepared to tackle it the best I can. I know I said Calgary was my one shot at the BQ this year, but everyone needs a second chance. Edmonton 2014, I’m coming to get you.

 

photo 3

 

 

Thoughts Before Woody’s RV World 1/2 Marathon…Not Going for a PR, but….

Standard

Tomorrow is the 16th annual Red Deer Marathon; Woody’s RV World 1/2 and Full Marathon. I have done this race three times before (2010, 2012, 2013) and ran times of 1:54:19, 1:56:06, and 1:47:22, respectively. My race last year smashed my half marathon PR, and I have now broken that a few more times, working down to a 1:38:40.

This year, I am not going for a personal record. I am not going for placing in my age group. I am treating this run as a practice for the Calgary Full Marathon, which is in two short weeks. This is the race that stands between me and Boston.

My goal in Calgary is to run an 8:00 min/mi, which would put me at a 3:30:00 full marathon. In order to qualify for the Boston Marathon, I need to be under a 3:35:00. But, as you know from my post earlier this year, just under your maximum qualifying time doesn’t cut it. My Beef with Boston

By shooting for the 3:30, I am giving myself some qualifying cushion, so to speak. So tomorrow, I am attempting to run even splits, something I used to have a huge struggle with. I am still not perfect when it comes to my splits, but I have gotten them a lot more consistent. I am aiming for a time tomorrow of 1:45:00.

If I can tackle my race tomorrow with consistent splits and finish at 1:45, my mission will be accomplished. I will feel more confident going into Calgary and attempting my BQ. But, in two weeks, a lot can change that I have no control over. Weather is the big thing—there could very well be snow on June 1st in Calgary, but there could also be a heat advisory. While that course is also relatively flat with no major changes in elevation, the starting elevation is close to 3,428 feet above sea level. Now that my body has adjusted to “Rocky Mountain Levels” I am a lot better than I once was when I first moved from Milwaukee, but I still get nervous about racing a full marathon in Calgary. Proof is in past experience—-I ran the Calgary Full Marathon in 2009 with an astounding time of 5:03:37a personal worst.

I have ran this course and these trails in Red Deer before, so the familiarity is on my side. The whole course is relatively flat, with one bitch of an incline right at the end. This then turns into a rolling hill down to the finish line, so there is a reward. The elevation in Red Deer is 2,805 feet above sea level, which is very comparable to my home base of Lethbridge (2,990 feet). The climate is more humid here in Red Deer, but nothing compared to my hometown of Milwaukee, so race day temps are nothing crazy.

For now, I am going to enjoy this gorgeous May afternoon and go on a 2 mile shakeout run along the river, to keep those joints moving. I’ll head out to our in-laws cabin later to spend time with my nieces, have supper wit the family, then come back to relax. That 6:00 am alarm will be coming soon!

20140517-124848.jpg

Click here for more information on the Red Deer Marathon

I already went and picked up my race packet yesterday, and while there I was happy to run into the folks from Racepro.ca. Randy and company facilitate all the Runners Soul events back in Lethbridge, and when I checked in for my bib he overheard my name and commented “…I know that name! It’s nice to see a familiar face!” Right back at you Randy!

Speed Workout—My First Attempt at “Yasso 800s”

Standard

I am now into the one month countdown to the Calgary Full Marathon. I knew for a while I wanted to do this race, but it wasn’t until after my marathon during the Dopey Challenge that I realized I could maybe have a legitimate shot at getting a Boston Qualifying time. That has now become my focus, and things have been going well…for the most part. The races I have done this spring have gone phenomenal-new half marathon PR (1:38:40) and placed 2nd overall for women in the 10 Mile Road Race (1:14:49). But I have been having some bothersome knee pain. Yes, I am taking care of it and trying to figure out the issue (other than the obvious overuse) but I also know I can’t stop running altogether in order for it to heal completely. I have Calgary. And I have a goal!

After taking six days off of running while in Quebec City during Spring Break, I knew I needed to start tackling some tough workouts. Not just distance, but speed. Oh, the dreaded speed workout. I think back to when I was in Track & Field in High School and how much I loathed speed workouts. I use to run the 800 meter and 1600 meter back then, which is a tiny fraction of what I run now! But see, in high school, I think I got in a rut because I was never “that great” and was always a middle of the pack varsity runner. I helped the team in small ways, but my 2:38-800 meter time was never good enough to place high or advance far in our tough Southeast Conference, and even tougher WIAA Division 1.

Back to track workouts…I avoid them. I make excuses. I don’t have access to our outdoor community track, as it is used for the university or high school sports. You can’t just go jump that fence and use the track as you please. High schools in the area don’t have their own asphalt tracks like they do back in Wisconsin, so there goes that. My only option in town is the red shale track next to the curling club in downtown Lethbridge.
20140504-132935.jpg

So that is where I went last Wednesday.

20140504-133029.jpg

I decided I needed to switch my interval workout a bit. Usually, when I have a “speed” day, I just mess around with doing Fartleks. That way, I can just be going through neighborhoods minding my own business and surge for short distances whenever I feel like it. Over the past few months, I have been reading about Yasso 800s. It is a speed workout designed by Bart Yasso of Runners World Magazine. You can read about it here in this article:
Yasso 800s

The general premise is that you take what your goal full marathon time is (I need to be under 3:35:00 to make the qualifying time for Boston) and translate that time from hours and minutes, into minutes and seconds. So if I want to aim for a 3:30:00 full marathon, I am going to be running 800 meter repeats in 3 minutes and 30 seconds.

For my first attempt at Yasso 800s, I decided to do an 800 meter warmup, 6×800 meter runs at a 3:30 pace, and then an 800 meter cool down. Wednesday was our first HOT day of the year, as my car thermometer read 79 degrees at 3:30 pm. I was a little nervous how this warm weather would affect me during this workout, but I came armed with a bottle of water and was ready to go.

The reason I wanted to do an 800 meter warmup was so I could figure out where I needed to place myself in order to have a true 800 meter distance around the track. There are not any lanes drawn in on this old school track, so I did my first two laps hugging the curve in my made up Lane 1. It was under the 800 meters (0.5 mile) so I adjusted myself from there on out to be positioned in the middle imaginary lane.

I was nervous for my first 800. I really didn’t know how the pace would feel. I finished my first one in 3:32; just a tad off. Instead of jogging in between each 800, (I had wanted my total distance that afternoon to total 4 miles) I took a 2:30-3:30 minute break where I jogged over to get some water, did some stretches, and got set for the next one. I ran my second 800 pretty much spot on in 3:29! A highlight at the end of my second 800 was witnessing a homeless man peeing by a shed next to the track; oh downtown Lethbridge, you never cease to amaze me.

The third and fourth 800s were 3:30 and 3:22, respectively. Damn, I was feeling good! I was worried when I clocked in that 3:22; had I pushed too hard with two more repeats to go? I was downing water like no bodies business and by this point I was sweating more than normal. This is what I needed though—something new to get my body going.

20140504-133114.jpg

The last two 800s were completed in 3:28 and 3:22. I was so happy with those last two times, and was wanting to almost pat my own back with that final lap! I had done my first Yasso 800 workout and it felt fantastic! After my 800 meter cool down, I got artsy in the shale (see below). Later that week, i revamped my training calendar a bit, and have set three more days of intervals. I will be doing the Yasso 800 workout during each, with my next one having 8x800s and the second having 10x800s. I’ll taper down to only 4x800s the week and a half before my big race. All in all, while I was nervously dreading speed workouts, I am now feeling really positive as I head towards the Calgary Full Marathon on June 1st!

20140504-133201.jpg

My Beef With Boston

Standard

The Boston Marathon…THE BOSTON MARATHON. It is a prestigious race. Non-runners even have heard of it. Most runners dream of qualifying for Boston. That’s my goal this year—running below a 3:35 at the Calgary Full Marathon on June 1st, 2014, will be my ticket in….or will it?

I know this coming Boston Marathon should have a double asterisk next to it in the record books, due to the events that occurred last April, so some application procedures may have been changed or altered. But my real beef I have here is in regards to when official registration submissions were accepted for the 2014 race. What I have an something I have had on the back burner of my mind since this last September 2013—-issue with will probably surprise some people, and undoubtedly some runners won’t agree with my position. What do I have a problem with at Boston?

Charity runners.

Ok. Now that I got that out of the bag and half of you think I’m a cold-hearted you-know-what….let me explain. (Be prepared….this may become long-winded). All major races have runners who are part of charity groups. I know this. My friend Matt even reiterated this when I spoke to him about my position. Charity runners do a lot for the local communities where these races are held. At my latest race, the Dopey Challenge in Walt Disney World, Cigna was the main sponsor and Team in Training (Leukemia) was the head beneficiary. There were many people who ran with these groups, and other groups during the race weekend. Groups like these have a minimum fundraising requirement one must meet in order to run in the event. People in the “running world” are well aware of these charity runners. And they are also well aware that charity runners can get into otherwise “sold out” events. Dopey Challenge sold out in one week last April 2013. The marathon sold out some months after. But as late as December, people could still sign up for running via a charity group. Fundraise enough money and you’re in!

I am all for fundraising-anyone who has been following my website since it’s conception would know that. In this past year, I raised approximately $3500 for heart disease research. The monies raised went to the American Heart Association and the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. But this fundraising was done not for a race bib-I raised money for something specifically important to me and my family, and along that way I registered for a boatload of events with Dopey Challenge as the grand finale. I’m not saying this in order to make it seem like I think I am better than those who run with charity groups….I am not saying that. Not at all. But while I assume most people who fundraise for sponsored charity groups at races have a good heart and truly care about the charity they are running for, you know there are some who just happen to have rich running friends or be sitting on wads of cash themselves. One might even say they are “buying” themselves a late entry into a race.

But for Boston? This is where I take issue….

My husband’s cousin Erin is a fantastic trail runner. She does crazy races up in Edmonton and in the the one I ran the Spartan Beast with in September. Anyway, she ran the BMO Vancouver Full in May 2013 and just missed out breaking the 3:35 qualifying time. Once she realized how close she was, she did what any sane person would do and registered for the Red Deer Woody’s RV Full Marathon….which was two weeks after. I was running the half there, and after my race I went back to the final hill to watch for her. As I saw her coming, she was shaking her head saying she wasn’t going to get it. I pushed her up that ridiculous hill by Lindsay Thurber High School, and she brought herself into the finish line in 3:34:24. She had qualified for Boston! She made it!

In Erin’s words
“.…I was training for a 50mile, and my pace just naturally got faster. When I missed out on qualifying in Vancouver by those few short seconds, that’s when I became obsessed with the goal, and really started looking into exactly what this whole Boston Marathon was really about. The more I read, the more I wanted it. Boston is a Runners race. Meant to be something for those of us who have committed the time and pounded out mile after mile, giving up time with friends and family all for chasing the dream of qualifying for Boston. It was a race for people like me, who pushed their bodies for week and months, and it was like a final reward for all my hard work. To qualify and run Boston was the ultimate goal….Registration day came for Boston, and I submitted my time, and the waiting game began. I never actually received my email saying I didn’t make it in, but I checked and checked the registration list. No Erin McLaren….I was okay with it. It meant that I just wasn’t fast enough, and that’s okay. It meant that other women my age trained harder, and ran a better race….Then I found out about all the charity runners. I’m all for charity, I really am. I think races like this are an excellent way for runners to raise money for deserving cause, but the key word there, is Runners. Why is it that because someone is able to raise more money than me, they get to run in a race that others have worked so hard to get to…10% of runners are charity runners. Great. How about give those bibs to deserving runners, and give 100% of the racers a chance to raise money for charity. Are you telling me that 10% can raise more than 100%?
There are so many races out there that anyone can pay for and run. Boston should be something you earn…”

Going on the official Boston Athletic Association (BAA) website will tell you a couple things. 25,654 applications were received during the two weeks of registration. Of these, 22,679 were accepted. There is a chart on their website showing that in our age/gender group, times that were at or faster than 3:33:22 were accepted. Erin qualified for Boston, but in the end didn’t make the cut.

“…the B.A.A. Has set the field size for the 2014 Boston Marathon at 36,000 official entrants. At least seventy percent of the field will be comprised of athletes who have met the qualifying standards. The balance will consist of invitational entrants, many of whom run for local charitable organizations…” [baa.org website, September 2013]

Boston is on a pedestal for me. . I think it is for a lot of runners. Especially those of us who have been running a long time. I am coming up on my ten year anniversary of long-distance road racing actually. Boston, to me…. It is the race of all races! To qualify and run in Boston is a dream.. And after this last year of training, a conceivably realistic dream at that! So when I read that statement, taken directly from the B.A.A website, I got especially frustrated…because it to me is a harsh reality that even with all my training, I may never make it there. I am going to be working my ass off this winter and spring to run my race in June but ultimately, even if I break 3:35, I still may not get in. But someone who signs up with a charity group will get to go. Someone my age who yes, I am sure will train hard, but will maybe run a 4:45 instead. They will get to run in my place…In Erin’s place…In someone else’s spot who qualified but was not accepted. Am I jealous of them? In a word-no. Sure, they will get to buy and wear that jacket with the ever-recognizable horse on it. They will get a finishers medal. They will get to run the historic course on Marathon Monday. But I’m not jealous. If I ever get to run in Boston, it will be because I raced my way there. And if I never qualify, it wasn’t meant to be.

How Do I Sum Up 2013?

Standard

20131230-205103.jpg

There is that. That picture is worth a thousand words.

While this is a mix of finisher medals, placing medals, and challenge medals….they all share in common that they are some pieces of special bling I earned during 2013. I registered and competed in 21 unique races so far in 2013.…I say “so far” as I will be doing race 22 tomorrow when I run the Brita Resolution Run 5km with my good friend Kelly! The mix of races I ran this year weighted heavily on half marathons, along with some 10kms and unique distance 10-miler and 35 km trail races. I also got snatched into the whirlwind that are Spartan Races, where I completed 3 Sprints (5km), 1 Super (14km) and 1 Beast (21km) which earned me a coveted Trifecta Tribe medal!

Those aren’t the only important numbers of 2013.…I went into the year with a two year old half marathon PR of 1:54:19, from Woody’s RV Half in Red Deer 2011. I wanted to break that sometime during this year! While back in Wisconsin for Easter……First race out, I hit 1:52:53….holy crap.….I was hoping that wasn’t the peak! I went on to break this NEW PR three more times during 2013! My best ended up occurring up in high elevation-ville of Lethbridge, where I ran a 1:41:07 at the Bare Bones Half! I never thought I would now be setting my sights at sub 1:40!

More numbers…..1155 & 1621. These are the dollar amounts I have fundraised so far for the Heart & Stroke Foundation (Canada) and the American Heart Association, respectively. I began this fundraising journey at the start of 2013, with the roll-out of this very website. My year would be devoted to running more races than my previous years, and all races would be ran in memory of my father, Andrew Lammers. This April 25th marked the 9th year since his passing. He was only 51.

While the medals are the tangible item I can now hold in my hand to reflect and remember the races of this year, there is much more that I have gained by competing in this ridiculous number of events. The personal bests…the fundraising goals being met and surpassed…the new race experiences….doing it all for Dad…….and now it’s one week until I leave for the culminating event of the year….the Dopey Challenge….2013 has been an amazing year. I can’t wait for the start of 2014!