Tag Archives: Millarville

Millarville Half Marathon Relay 2017

Standard

It had been a couple years since I ran in one of the Millarville events, so what better way to get back at it than do a relay with my husband?!?!?  I signed us up some time back, but had always planned that I would run the first leg of the half marathon and he would run the second leg.  We stuck with that plan as race day approached, since I would be over 20 weeks pregnant and the first leg was the shorter distance.  Having just come off a good race time at the Lethbridge 8km Ladiesfest I knew I could pound out a good time for the 9km portion of our relay.

Our alarms went off at 4:15 am that Saturday morning.  We would be driving up to Black Diamond and do our race pickup before the event.  The drive took about 2 hours, so we arrived with about 45 minutes to spare.  There was another reason why doing the relay was the better option for us—we had to bring our dog Snoopy along for the trip.  I’ll be doing a blog post at some point this summer about what has been going on this June, but the main point is that Snoopy has bad arthritis and has been going to Calgary for doggie acupuncture appointments.  We booked an appointment strategically for after the race, since we’d already be almost to Calgary.  Doing the relay allowed one person to stay with Snoopy at all times while the other person ran!

I was off at 7:30 am with the other runners.  All relay and half marathon runners started together.  The 9km portion I was running winds through Black Diamond neighborhoods, past golf courses, and onto paved trails.  It offers some rolling hills and lots to see.  Being the first leg of the relay had the benefit of having lots of other competitors around you as your ran.  This always pushes me more!

I had my phone with me, so I voice texted Dan when I had less than a mile to go. I wanted him to be prepared at the transition area.  I crossed the relay transition with a 9km time of 48:26.08.  My splits were 8:01, 8:55, 8:56, 8:59, 8:28 for miles 1-5.  The distance on my watch clocked in at 5.65 miles and I had an average pace of 8:35 a mile.  

I went to the car (where Snoopy was patiently waiting) and we drove the short drive to the finish line at the Millarville racetrack.  After parking and walking to the finish line, we didn’t have to wait too long for the first half marathoner to come across.  It was then pretty quick having other finishers for the various distances come by.  Dan came by with a half marathon finish time for our team of 1:43.50.  His split for the 12.1 km he ran was a 55:24.57.  This works out to a team average pace of 7:55 minutes/mile.  Not bad for a pregnant wife and a husband who still doesn’t really like to run!

Dan, Andrea and Snoopy


 

Advertisements

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!!!!!!!!!!

Stampede Road Race Recap-Yee Haw!

Standard

20140708-122746-44866007.jpg

On Sunday, July 6th, 2014, I participated in the Stampede Road Race up in Calgary, Alberta. Those of you not from Western Canada have no clue what “Calgary Stampede” is. Well, if you want to know, here’s a link from Wikipedia explaining the insanity that is Stampede: “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth!”

So obviously, this event is held during Stampede week. There was a 5 km, 10 km, half marathon, and even kids races. About two months ago, I did not have a July race planned. Usually I never race in July! But, since I had signed up for the Digital Running “Time of the Season Challenge”, I needed some sort of event in July. You can find information about that virtual event here:
Digital Running Virtual Challenges

I opted to register for the half marathon, as my attitude is that if I have to drive two hours to get to a race, I want to at least be doing an event that will take me over an hour. Yeah, weird theory perhaps, but why get up at 3:15 am, drive two hours, then do a 10km? I also was looking forward to this half marathon, because it would probably be my best shot at a personal best this summer. My Millarville Half Marathon a few weeks ago was so-so, and I wouldn’t be doing another half until Disneyland (which I have not as of yet fully decided how I am going to pace it). I also was still a little volatile towards Calgary after my performance at the Calgary Full Marathon on June 1st. It wasn’t Calgary’s fault! But, I didn’t achieve my goal time, so I was in a way seeking some sort of redemption.

I made it up to Glenmore Athletic Park by 6:15 am on Sunday. The half marathon race was slated to start at 7:30 am, but walkers who thought they would take longer than 2:45:00 could start at 7:00. I wanted to be there early because I needed to pick up my race packet, and I was assured via Twitter I could that morning. But when I got there, the whole area was a ghost town. Sure, there were signs saying the roads were closed for the Stampede Road Race, but there was no sign of life. I followed the map to where the start line would be, and it was an empty gravel road. I was getting anxious, so I moved my car closer, slathered on bug spray, and went to use a Porta John’s. By this time it was close to 6:30, still no start line set up, and as I waited to use the bathroom, the ten of us standing around realized only one porta potty was unlocked. The other six or seven were all zip-tied shut by the door handle. They were obviously delivered the night before and kept shut so people in the neighborhood or surrounding area didn’t go in them at night. It was just a very bizarre first 25 minutes.

20140707-103929-38369636.jpg
Finally a volunteer showed up to her station near the Porta John’s. I felt really bad for her because at this point about two to three dozen people were milling around confused at where to go, some asking about packet pickup, some asking about the walking start, and some just wanting to go to the bathroom. I found out the packet pickup was actually over on the track at the athletic park, where the finish line would be. I hiked over there, got my packet, used real bathrooms, slathered on bug spray, and dropped my bag. I had about 30 minutes until race start now, so after the initial confusion and frustration, I had time to calm my nerves.

The start area was now set up, courtesy of Racepro Timing . I have talked about these guys before—they are great, and locally based from here in Lethbridge. Before I got set up in the starting area, I asked Randy of Racepro what the heck happened this morning. He said they were there early, around 5:30 am, but whoever was suppose to let them into the locked storage with all the timing equipment didn’t show up until obviously way later. At least Randy and his team are old pros at getting the system set up quickly, because now as five minutes before race time fast approached, it looked more like the start of your typical half marathon.

20140707-104021-38421420.jpg

I had looked at the map of the route and just assumed it would be a flat bike path around this reservoir. In talking to a few people before the gun, they told me it had LOTS of rolling hills, and some pretty big climbs. Someone also told me it would be a tough course to get a personal best. I took that as a challenge.

When the race started, I quickly found my pace and positioned myself accordingly. For the first mile and a half, we ran on neighborhood streets, which allowed runners to get spaced out. I appreciated this, versus hitting the narrower trails right away. By the time we did the little turn around at the end of a neighborhood, I had roughly counted myself to be the 20th female runner. Little did I know that I would never have a female competitor pass me the rest of the race, let alone that many men. I also wouldn’t be passing too many people myself, at least not until the last 5km, so I seemingly would end up getting used to the people surrounding me for the duration of the event.

We hit the trails hard and I kept on trucking. Besides my always fast first mile, miles 2-4 were pretty spot on. I was aiming for around 7:30 a mile, as this would be necessary if I wanted to beat my personal best of 1:38:40, which i interestingly enough ran in Calgary in March duringRun for L’Arche. We had hit the first “hill” at around mile 3, and it wasn’t that bad. I have mentioned before that hills have become my friends (in shorter races like this) because as long as I know I will be going downward eventually, I can truck my way up. And since I don’t listen to music when I run, this is the only time I actually “sing” to myself during a race. No, I don’t sing out loud, but I get a song (sometimes a weird one) in my head and go through it at the cadence my feet are going, keeping my head forward. I will admit, and you may want to admit me to a psych ward after reading this, but I went through the song “The Perfect Nanny” from Mary Poppins. Why? Because you can basically talk through the words, and I know all of them. Whatever, it got me up the hill just fine, and it got my up the latter two also!

20140707-104129-38489943.jpg

Miles 5-8 went pretty well too. At 10km, I was at approximately 45:55, which was on pace for a personal best, as long as I didn’t screw up. There was a point after mile 6.5 where I couldn’t see many people in front of me due to the turns on the path, so I think it slowed me up mentally a tad. You can see that in the time at mile 7, but thankfully, I picked it up on mile 8.

20140707-104425-38665705.jpg

Mile 9-10 are notoriously the toughest for me during a half marathon. This is the make or break it area. I was still feeling super solid, my stomach wasn’t acting up, and my legs felt strong. Right before mile 9, I hit the major hill. You can see that in the map below, where it curves red. I knew this split would be slower, but I didn’t know by how much. The fact that I kept mile 9 at around 8:00 minutes per mile makes me super proud. It was after the top of that hill that I started talking to a guy I caught up with, Chad. I asked him if that was the last major hill and he assured me YES! I told him what I was going for time wise, and he acknowledged that I was right on target. Since no one else was right next to us, I decided to try and pace with him.

20140707-104525-38725369.jpg

Chad helped me TONS during the final 3 miles. He did lie to me though-sort of. That wasn’t really the last hill! There was one more pedestrian bridge we needed to cross to get over a freeway! It was a switchback sort of climb, and wasn’t too bad, but it came right after mile 11. Once I made it up and over that, and my average pace was still on at 7:30, I knew I could get my best time. As we got closer to the finish, we had now joined up with the 10km runners, so the energy in the race crowd had picked up a bit. More spectators were around the final mile or so, and this helped motivate me. The race ended with entering the athletic park and running about 300 metres on the track. As I reached my last straightaway, I knew my personal best was all but written in pen, and I pushed hard to keep it under that magic number of 1:38. I finished with an official time of 1:37:54!

20140707-104612-38772807.jpg

20140707-104613-38773127.jpg

I had a huge cheesy smile on my face after finishing. My right leg was also trembling, not because I felt woozy, but because I was so damn excited. I broke my personal best, got the redemption I wanted from the city of Calgary, and did it all while it was close to 75 degrees and increasingly getting warmer. This gave me a huge boost of confidence for my training and running the rest of this summer, as I usually don’t do well in warm weather. Another funny thing about this new personal best is that I beat my last time by 46 seconds, but it was also 68 degrees warmer! No, that is not a typo—it was honestly 7 degrees Fahrenheit in March when I ran my 1:38:40.

20140707-104741-38861260.jpg

The medal for this race was fun, as it reminds me of a sheriff badge, and it is on a bolo tie. Definitely a fun medal for this theme of a race. I also did really enjoy the shirts we got in our race package, which were lavender for women and orange for men. They are a fitted Mizuno shirt with v-neck, and I will definitely be wearing it to train in, which is great. The race package itself was full of goodies, like coffee from Kicking Horse, and Honey Stinger products.

This great swag made up for my other race complaint (In addition to the confusing morning), and that is in regards to the “Stampede Breakfast” we all received a ticket for. When I finished my half, I received a bottle of water, and eventually made my way up to where the food was. I did this about 15 minutes after I finished, as I needed to walk around a bit, pick up my bag, etc. Now, I had finished fast, so you’d think the line for food would be small. But I did not take into account the people who did the 5km and 10km. They were all finished and all in line. You could tell these were the events they ran by looking at the color of their race bibs. The line went from the entrance to the food pickup all across the bleachers in front of the track. And it was moving SLOW. Since it was a pancake breakfast, it wasn’t just a standard grab a banana and chocolate milk and go. It was frustrating that I couldn’t just grab a piece of fruit or a juice, but would have to wait in this giant line behind everyone and anyone who did the 5km and 10km. I don’t even like pancakes, but I did want that sausage I saw on plates. Oh well, I thought about it for one minute and decided to bail and hit the road, picking up breakfast in the way. I gave my ticket to someone already in line and made the short trek back to my car.

So that was the Stampede Road Race. Would I recommend this race to someone? Sure, if you live in Calgary or were going to be there the night before. I do not recommend doing what my crazy self did and drive two hours there, race, and drive two hours back. You’d think I would have learned my lesson from Millarville, but I didn’t. If I was to do this race again, I would look into staying with a friend the night before, and then possibly only doing the 10km. The route was fantastic and the swag was great, but the morning confusion and the post-race food frustration for half marathoners was, well, frustrating. This race will always hold a special place in my heart, as it was my 20th half marathon, and as I set another milestone with breaking 1:38!

20140707-105017-39017975.jpg

Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market 2014—Race Report

Standard

Today was the 3rd Annual Millarville Run to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon. Last year, I ran this event, and you can find the recap here: Millarville 2013

I had such a positive experience at this event last year, that I decided to run it again! Two things were different though: I didn’t go up the night before, and the weather was cool and had a slight drizzle!

My alarm was scheduled for 3:45 AM today, but I woke up naturally at 3:43 AM. How does that happen? Anyway, if you read earlier this week, the husband and I are on this “Clean Eating Cleanse” diet for two weeks. This morning was breakfast number 7. I knew this “diet” could play into how my race would go, but I was using this race as a scheduled speed training workout, not necessarily a personal best. That being said, I had green tea, black coffee, steamed asparagus and two poached eggs as breakfast…not my normal race-morning breakfast. I got dressed, packed a bag to check, and hit the road at 4:50 AM.

I made it to Black Diamond Oilfields Arena at around 6:40 am. I was able to park close the the start line, went in for my morning-of packet pickup, and got myself situated. Packet pickup was smooth, and the shirts are great. Same logo as last year, but different size, orientation, and shirt color.

20140614-191902-69542586.jpg

The bag check was located right behind the start line, and I was able to drop my bag about 10 minutes before the 7:30 am Half Marathon gun. One thing to note about this event—they have a half marathon, a half marathon relay, an 8 miler, and new this year was the 8-Mile “Bun Run”, where participants had to consume a homemade cinnamon roll from a local bakery at (I think) two different locations during the race before proceeding! The half marathon also offered a 7:00 AM early start for walkers, where I say about 20 people took part.

20140614-191818-69498157.jpg

20140614-191820-69500177.jpg

I started off the race feeling very solid! The weather was in my favour, and I pumped out a 7:26, 7:51, 7:27, 7:35, and 7:29 for the first five miles. I will note, though, that the first portion of the course had little to no incline, and was mostly flat, or rolling country roads. So what goes down…must eventually go up.

After the relay exchange point was where we hit the first substantial hill. I made mile six in 8:04. No biggie, I still had a great average pace. If I wanted to beat my 1:38:40 personal best from March it could still happen. My legs got a little tight from the climb, but started to loosen during mile seven and eight, where i ran 8:00 and 7:55.

Then came the rural highway from hell.

If you look at this overview map from my NikePlus app, you can see that long, long straightaway, which I would like to nickname “The Mindfuck.” It isn’t just a straight shot for nearly 4 miles, but it’s a straight shot that then keeps rolling upwards, going flat, then climbing up again. During mile 9 and 10 is when I started to feel the tightness in my quads and hip flexors. While I kept telling myself to go for a 7:45 for both these miles, my legs just couldn’t. I ran an 8:35 and 8:11.

20140614-191947-69587519.jpg

20140614-192003-69603882.jpg

After the climb that wouldn’t end, I looked at my watch around 10.33 miles. I looked at the average pace (which was around 7:49/7:50 a mile) and I quickly assessed my pain level. I also thought about the training I had all summer ahead of me, and most importantly the big Boston Qualifying race I have in Edmonton in August. At that point, I quickly decided to run smart and run slower, coasting into the finish line. I did not quit—I just weighed my options and realized since a PB wasn’t going to happen, it wasn’t worth killing it to just run somewhere in the 1:40s. So mile 11-13 were 8:40, 9:04, and 8:15, which brought me in at 1:44.32.

After walking off the soreness in my leg, I received my sweet handmade bling, and then I broke our cleanse rule and devoured a quarter of a cheese bagel. Sorry Dan! And I also downed a bottle of water. I also immediately felt at ease with how I did! Last year, I ran this same event in a 1:52.10….I ran almost 8 minutes faster! Sure, I was 6 minutes off my personal best, but the improvement I have had over the past year and a half of doing all these races makes it all fine! I finished 36/331 overall runners, 12/213 females, and 8/47 in the 20-29 female category. You can’t have a personal best every race, and sometimes running smarter and safer is key, so that the “Big Show” goes as planned!

How did I feel after? Legs were sore, my knee was fine….but my stomach was beating me up. Did not hurt till after the race. I wanted to keel over into fetal position during the shuttle ride back to the start line, and while I drove back to Lethbridge, I had to stop at a Wayside before Claresholm. This is when I laid in the back seat on Snoopy’s blanket, wincing in pain, and napped for one hour. I did eventually make it back to Lethbridge, and now 10 hours post race, my stomach seems to have settled. Lesson learned—-don’t expect to feel like a rock star after a half marathon when you are on some whack job clean eating cleanse! Next half marathon is the Stampede Road Race in Calgary on Sunday, July 6th. I WILL NOT be on a weird diet then!

20140614-192035-69635697.jpg

Race Recap-Coaldale Family Fun Run 5km

Standard

20140329-204214.jpg

Today I ran the Coaldale Family Fun Run 5km. While I ran a ridiculous 22 races in 2013, not one of these were a traditional chip-timed 5 km event! I haven’t ran a traditional 5 km timed event since my days at UW-La Crosse, and that would usually be once a year during the annual Turkey Trot. My personal best for a 5km race goes way back….wayyy back!….to August 2003 when I ran the Milwaukee Brewers Sausage Race 5 km in 22:09.

The Coaldale 5km was a small local event held to raise funds for the Coaldale Christian School. Coaldale is about 25 minutes east of West Lethbridge, so getting over to the race start was easy this morning. I had picked my packet up the day before, so I parked in a neighborhood at 9:40 and jogged to the start at the school.

20140329-204056.jpg

A lot of families were at this event today, which was fantastic. What was even better was that we had a strange three-hour pocket of sunny warm weather! It was around 50 degrees at start time. The race started at 10 am, with the route taking us out on a paved road towards highway 3. Not going to lie—I went out way too fast. As I pounded out of the starting gate, I knew within 100 metres this race was going to hurt. My legs and my glutes already had tension forming due to the faster threshold I was attempting to hold. I just kept telling myself it would only be 5 km….just a 5 km!

I chose to listen to my music this race, which is rare. Problem was, I didn’t have an arm band or my waist band for my phone. I held it the whole race with my headphones in. I now wish I hadn’t held it, so I could have relaxed my hands, but nothing I can do about that now. In case anyone cares, it took approximately one full play of Macklemore’s “Can’t Hold Us” to do 1 kilometer. Now you know!

I was holding my ground fairly well during the race, but could tell I was slowing down about 3/4 through. The paved road turned to gravel, and it was a little mushy. Definitely not a “fast” track. At about 4 km, a lady did pass me, and she turned out to be the 20-29 female winner. As she passed me, I gave her a thumbs up. Again, gotta keep up the good karma! There was no way I could have possibly gone any faster, so no biggie!

When I finished in 22:59 (yes, for real…just broke 23 minutes) my chest hurt and burned so bad. I felt more exhausted than I did last week at Run for L’Arche Half Marathon when I ran 1:38! I was overjoyed to be done with this race, but I couldn’t just walk it off like it didn’t hurt. I had to wander around the finish area a few minutes before my chest and throat stopped burning before I could even attempt to walk and get water! 5 km races are tough for us half marathon runners!

The awards were held shortly after in the gym of the school. They had lots of post race snacks (I had chocolate milk, an orange and coffee). One awesome thing that they did during awards was intersperse random prize draws between the age categories. They also gave awards to the youngest runner, the oldest runner, and the family with the most participants. That family got an incredible gift basket and the kids were so excited to “win” it!

I earned a silver medal in the female 20-29 category. I was 2/16 in my category, 5/125 females, and 23/225 runners overall. This “fun run” really was just that—-the energy was positive, the crowd was fired up, the weather was beautiful, the perks were outstanding. I would definitely recommend this run to anyone in the Lethbridge area looking for a Spring 5km next year!

20140329-204254.jpg

Race Recap-Millarville “Run to the Farmers’ Market”

Standard

Firstly—Happy Father’s Day! I hope everyone who had the chance to see their father today gave him a huge hug and told him how much they love him. I thought about my dad all day long, and celebrated him by going golfing with my husband. My dad would have loved to be out there with us golfing on a day like today. I also found this gem, which was hand crafted by myself in 1992 (I clearly remember bringing it home from school and realizing after it was laminated, that I forgot my dad’s beard….Oops! Love you Dad!)

20130616-185939.jpg

Now onto my race recap! Yesterday, I ran my fifth half marathon since the beginning of March-the Millarville Run to the Farmers’ Market. It was my first experience with a true “rural” route, and it was fantastic. Below are two shots of the landscape right near where the race route was! The way the day before was going, though, I wasn’t so sure how it would be. Note the hail that was smashing my car windshield as I was traveling up to Millarville:

20130616-234359.jpg

20130616-195732.jpg

20130616-190346.jpg

I made it to the package pickup, which was at the Millarville race track. This is where the largest outdoor market in Southern Alberta would be kicking off the 2013 season the following day, and where the half marathon would be finishing.

20130616-190858.jpg

20130616-191003.jpg

20130616-191024.jpg
I then took off towards Black Diamond, Alberta, which was where the start if the race would be and where I would be staying for the night. I booked a room at the Black Diamond Hotel & Bar. The check-in being at the bar didn’t turn me off, but when I went outside to find the access to the hotel rooms, I admit being a little hesitant:

20130616-191107.jpg
Have no fear, though, as the rooms were actually very nice! They were huge too, and had a fridge, microwave and Keurig, with K-cups! That made me very happy because I knew I wanted a cup of coffee in the morning and wasn’t sure where I would get one! I went through a walk down Centre Avenue, where there were your typical small-town coffee shops, barber, thrift store. There was a perfect little gem across the street from the hotel—Blue Rock Gallery. I was in this store for about 30 minutes. They bring in work from close to 200 regional artists and craftspeople. You would not have expected a store like this in a town like Black Diamond—it was incredible. If you want to check it out, go to Bluerock Gallery

Alarm went off at 6 am, and I was psyched and ready to go. I had seen a portion of the course as I made my way from Millarville—a rolling country highway. The hills weren’t anything I hadn’t experienced before, so I felt confident as I walked to the start. I got to the start with a little over ten minutes until the 7:30 am gun time. This is where I made my first mistake—I went in line for the porta potty. Now, anyone who does any type of race knows if you need to go, you have to make sure you do this well enough before race start. I didn’t really have to go, but I thought I may, so I wasted 8 minutes in line,and didn’t even get close to the front. The announcer over the loudspeaker was announcing “2 minutes till start time!” when I decided to forget about it and get ready to race. I think this mental block threw me off as I began running!

20130616-193622.jpg
My first mile was ridiculously fast. But it didn’t feel great, something was wrong, and I slowed myself down for mile two. We had already found ourselves on some long straight aways with some slight inclines, and the weather was a bit warm and sticky. I felt off. For miles 3-5, I kept talking to myself, trying to convince myself that going slow would be ok—that maybe I should just take this one as a jog. But then I started getting mad at myself, slightly disappointed. I had felt ready to go at 6 am, and now that I wasn’t mentally into the race, I was letting my mind play tricks with me, trying to convince myself to take the easy way out.

It was at 6 miles that I got my shit together. All of a sudden, I was able to dig out that energy and gusto I had thought I lost. As I approached the turn onto the country highway, Racetrack Road, I honestly told myself out loud that I could beat my Calgary time from three weeks ago, of 1:54:22. This was the first big straight away on rural road, and I had guessed it to be around 2 miles of visibility in front of me. I let myself focus on the last visible point, the top of a hill, and kept checking the mileage on my watch, it kept me distracted, as I wanted to see how close I was to my guess. Turned out to be approximately 2.5 miles of straight visible road! By then, I had started counting down my miles….only 5 to go…4….3. When I got to the final 3 miles, I started to race and push myself. I gave myself the challenge to do a better 5k time in this final stretch than I did out of the gate. I pushed through and finished the race in a time of 1:52:10!

I didn’t let the fact that I didn’t get a personal record this race bother me. I was proud of my time, as it was the second fastest half marathon time I have ever run. My 1:47:22 from Red Deer is going to be tough to beat, so I need to just be happy when I know I finished a race strong. I was even more happy with that I was able to push through and make the last half of the half count! My final 5km was what I needed to feel confident, and the race ended on a huge high note. Plus, knowing that I would be receiving an incredible handmade finisher’s medal really did keep me moving even when I was feeling a bit off! It was overall a fantastic race—a beautiful course, great swag, excellent volunteers. I would recommend this race to any runners next year, and I would also recommend checking out the market in Millarville—-I wandered through it after finishing, and it was superb! Dare I say it would be worth driving two hours on a nice Saturday in the summer to spend a morning at…it runs from 9:00-2:00 every Saturday this season!

20130616-194027.jpg

20130616-194059.jpg

I have not mentioned this on here yet, but I am now taking about three weeks off from any running, and do not have a race until August 18th. Tomorrow, I go in for a Septoplasty turbinate diathermy. This is basically an “inside nose job” as I have a slightly deviated septum. The major issue is a scab that has housed on my septum for approximately 7 years. It is difficult to breathe out of my right nostril, and if I attempt to leave the scab alone, my nose hurts, is dry, and I am overall miserable. I will be posting more about my surgery, the aftermath, and if it makes any changes in my physical activity abilities. Until later—-thank you for reading and supporting me in my endeavors!

Joined a marathon club…got up at 7:00 am on a Sunday…what am I thinking?!?

Standard
I usually run, train, and race alone.   Is this the way to go?  Should I try something new?

I usually run, train, and race alone. Is this the way to go? Should I try something new?

Alright. I’m officially starting to fall off the crazy wagon of intensity. Not only did I register for the Millarville Race to the Farmer’s Market Half Marathon last night (err, this morning) at 12:30 am, but I set my alarm for 7:00 am on a Sunday. All so I could get up and head to Runner’s Soul on the south side of Lethbridge to participate in my first ever marathon club run.

A running club may not be for everyone. I don’t even know if it is for me. I’ve been running and training and racing alone since 2004. I haven’t trained with people since high school track & field. Oh, those were the days when we’d be sent on the two-mile loop and cut it short when Bollis wasn’t looking. Senior year we didn’t do such a thing with Thorpe, but sorry Bollio….we use to cut it short when we could!

So the marathon club…found out about it back in December when I went to Runner’s Soul to buy my new Nike Air Peagusus 29 shoes…Wrote down the kick-off date….went to the sign-up last Monday…and today I was running with a group of die-hards at 8:00 am, in 8 degree Fahrenheit weather. Age range seemed to be from 23-60ish. Men and women. Dogs too! (With owners, duh). Sean, the owner, went through the route for the day—those training for a half would be going 4 miles. The weekend runs are designed to be the “long runs” for a training calendar, with the goal to be able to complete a half or full marathon on May 26. (I will be doing the Calgary half that day). He also gave us a nutrition tip, training tip, and quote. The training tip was interesting, as it had to do with pacing on long runs. He suggested running 60-90 seconds slower that your goal race-pace on these long run days. I am proud to say I have been doing this unintentionally for quite some time, though some long days I sluf off.

I ran with a girl I met named Whitney-about my age, going to the University of Lethbridge, has run a half and a bunch of 10km races before-but she was probably about 5’11”. I’m 5’3″. I have been since 6th grade. So my stride length is ‘special’ to say the least. It was great talking with her during the run and it went by super fast. We stuck together the whole time and we did 4.22 miles in 39 minutes 12 seconds. If I had ran this alone on a freezing cold Sunday I probably would have been swearing and running a whole lot slower.

The camaraderie that is part of these clubs is what I am most interested in experiencing. As important as running is in my life, I really haven’t found people to share it with. It has always been a personal hobby or activity. Not saying I am going to be having a running buddy for every day I train (that is next to impossible given schedules, work, etc), but participating in these weekend runs will be good for me. It definitely can’t hurt!

To visit the Runner’s Soul website, click here:
Runner’s Soul