Tag Archives: race

Lethbridge Police 10km Recap

Standard

Saturday, September 30th, marked the day of the 5th annual Lethbridge Police Services Run.  They offer three different race distances—half marathon, 10km and 5km.  I have now participated in not only every year, but every event!  The first three years I ran the half marathon, and in two of those years I even placed in top three and was awarded prize money!  Last year, I ran the 5km with my cross country kids—-it was my first race after my foot surgery.   And this year, I ran the 10km.  More specifically, I ran the 10km while over 35 weeks pregnant.

All our race bibs for race morning!


I had kept up with my training all summer, and most recently I had done two separate 6 mile training runs on Saturdays in late August and early September to make sure my body was prepared for the distance.  As the race date approached, I knew I was feeling heavier (duh) and would have to just take the race with ease.  I had set in my mind to have a goal of an 11 minute mile, which if I could manage this would get me in at under 1 hour 10 minutes.  This would be very reasonable, considering my personal best in this distance is 41:30.  However, I understand that every day could be different in this pregnancy and I wasn’t entirely sure how my body would feel come race morning.

The race day came, and I was very happy with not only the cooler temperatures, but that the smoke from forest fires had been long gone.  I knew cooler weather would benefit me.  The half marathon started first, with the 10km and 5km participants following about 5 minutes later.  When our race began, I knew the first 5km would not be an issue—-cool weather, along with race adrenaline and the long downhill to the riverbottom, would all be working in my favour.  If anything, I knew I had to be cautious and careful as I wasn’t sure how my body would feel the last 5km.

My first 3 miles were a lot faster than the 11 minute pace goal—-9:09, 9:39, 10:31.  At this point in the race, the 5km runners had split off from us and the crowd of runners thinned.  We wound through the river bottom and made our way to the bridge, our past Helen Schuler, and back.  With less people out there, it was mentally challenging to get through mile 4 and 5.  I was able to hold on pretty close to my third mile split, running mile 4 and 5 in 10:35 and 10:32, respectively.

Now with only 1 mile to go, it was mind over matter.  I pushed my legs the best I could, all while still watching my heart rate.  There as a point in this final mile where I knew I could go faster, but my heart rate would spike.  I had to hold back a little bit.  Mile 6 was 10:32, and I was able to close out the last 0.2 of the race comfortably.  I finished my 6.2 mile run in a time of 1:02.50!

Coming in to the finish!


Finishing when I did was perfect—my mom and mother in law had just finished walking the 5km and were able to see me come in to the finish.  There were friends of mine who had done the 5km race that were watching the finishers—their words of encouragement helped a lot!  I was able to grab a bunch of food, which I normally don’t eat but figured baby needed, walk around to stretch my legs….I eventually went to the bathroom, but it was funny that I didn’t need to immediately!  Baby presses down on my bladder, but I just have to try and block that out of my mind when I race because I know I really don’t have to go to the bathroom!  I then was also able to catch my husband finish his third half marathon, with his second best time—a 1:42.56.  I am still so amazed at the times he can run given that he only runs once a week….ONCE A WEEK!  And it’s just speed work with Runners Soul Race Team.  Imagine what he could do if he took it seriously!

Mom and I


Overall, this event was again fantastic.  I had a great run, my family had a great time participating in it, and the event itself was put on so smoothly (like always).  I always enjoy this event, but this year will be extra special as it fell on my 33rd birthday weekend and baby shower.  This is a 10km to remember!

Advertisements

Lakeview Superhero 5km Recap

Standard

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


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

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

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


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

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

Claus Cause 10km Recap

Standard

I have participated in the Lethbridge Claus Cause since 2013.  I have done the 10km twice (2013, 2014) and the 5km once (2015).  I opted to register for the 10km this year 1.) because I am training for a full marathon and need distances! And 2.) I needed a challenge.

I don’t normally get anxious or nervous for 10 km events, but this one was causing some grief.  I knew before even setting foot at the starting line, my time would not be what it was back in 2013 and 2014.  Those times were 45:37 & 45:52 (2013 and 2014, respectively).  My most recent 10km times (up to this race) had been 44:10 (Moonlight Run 2016), 43:28 (Disneyland 10km 2015) and 41:30 (my personal best, Rattler Run 2015).  Those events, especially the 2015 ones, were surrounded by training focused on speed work.  It was also before my foot got the best of me.  So I was fully prepared to not run anything close to those.  But I still wanted to run something that was respectful for me.  I decided the night before the race that I would be happy with anywhere from a low 46 minutes to an upper 47 minutes.

The weather was perfect for running on race morning!  Minimal icy spots on the paved course, and a nice brisk winter air.  I was one of the only fools wearing shorts, but I did have layered long sleeve shirts and my tall compression socks, so really there was not much skin being hit with the elements.  I made sure to arrive early enough to allow for a proper warmup.  My husband came to cheer me on (I sort of forced him because of my nerves).  Race began at 9 am, with the 10km and 5km runners heading out together.

For the first loop, all the runners were together.  This allowed us to be near other runners, but you have to be careful….those 5km runners are potentially going at a faster pace than you would for a 10km (I mean, they should be) so I didn’t want to get wrapped up with trying to stay ahead of people near me….they may be doing the 5km!  I was able to check race bibs, as the different colours signified which event you were in.  I was able to determine by mile 1.5 I was the 3rd female in the 10km.  It was around mile 2 and 3 that my mind started playing games with me, and I didn’t know if I could hold pace.  Was I going to fall apart?

img_4375

Photo Credit to Shay, who was volunteering on the course!

The 5km runners head to the finish line as the 10km runners do another loop (plus some).  I started to get my groove back, but then also got myself comfortable.  I was a bit behind runner 1 and 2, but I didn’t see runner 4 nearby.  I held my pace and then in the final straightaway pushed in the best I could.  I successfully held my position of 3rd place female the whole race, and also ended up placing 1st in the 30-39 female category.  My splits were: 6:58, 7:50, 7:40, 7:53, 7:53, 7:45 with an average pace of 7:39.  Official chip time of 47:30.

img_4373

Post race-got my sweatpants on and a water, so I’m good!

Takeaway on my splits….I ran my first mile like I was going to run a sub 43 minute 10km.  I want to get to that point again, really I do!  But that obviously hurt me in the miles after.  What would have been ideal is if I could have hit consistent 7:30 splits, but I can’t go back and change that.  I am happy, however, that I was able to reach my goal of being faster than 48 minutes.  I also was able to have a faster pace per mile at this event than I did back a month prior at the Bare Bones 9km.  A farther distance and a faster pace; I’ll take that!  My foot felt strong during the race, and I didn’t have too much pain afterward.  My cardio (and confidence) is what needs to come back.  And it will in time.  I was definitely feeling the ‘race pains’ then next day, but I couldn’t lay around….I had a 15 mile training run for the Goofy Challenge to do, and honestly….it went better than expected!  Countdown to Goofy is beginning NOW!

img_4360

After awards with Bob and his daughter Abby

Lethbridge Police 5km

Standard

I haven’t done a race since my Calgary 50km in the end of May.  Foot surgery in June.   I had just started doing slow 1-2 milers in August.  My non-aggressive Walt Disney World Goofy Challenege plan began at the start of the school year.  I am in no shape to be going out and trying to crush my personal bests.  But that doesn’t mean I have to deny myself running in local events.  So this year, I participated in the Lethbridge Police Race weekend for the fourth time.  My previous times were doing the half marathon.  This year, I would celebrate my first race since surgery (and my 32nd birthday) by running the 5km with my cross country athletes.


On Saturday, October 1st, 15 of the WCHS cross country athletes ran in the Lethbridge Police 5km.  This event has been growing every year—there were 207 runners in the 5km, 164 in the 10km, and 119 in the half marathon.  The half marathon started first at 8:00 am, with the 5km and 10km runners following at 8:10.  My plan this race was to sprint ahead of my runners during the beginning, stop and take photos as they passed, then sprint ahead again to get down the major hill before as many as I could and take more photos, and then finish with some of the athletes towards the back.

 

I have to say that my foot felt fine during the whole race and after.  What didn’t was my breathing!  My cardio is still sloppy, and my full out sprints to get to photo vantage points probably didn’t help.  I was able to get a bunch of great photos of the kids (which I need to make sure I share with them) and had fun being out with the community during this local event.

 

My time was a far cry from my personal best.  But this fall and winter isn’t about setting new PB’s….it’s about retraining my foot how to run properly, build back cardio, and stay healthy.  Sure, it was a bit sad to not be running the half marathon like I had in years past, but I honestly enjoyed watching the Churchill kids run, running with them, and watching other friends from the community finish their respective races.  This race does not always fall on my birthday, but I have to say I would be happy if it always did!  I wouldn’t have wanted to spend my 32nd birthday any other way……well, going to The Keg for dinner later that night was a good way to cap off the day!


 

Moonlight Run 2016

Standard

On Saturday, March 19th, I participated in my fifth Moonlight Run 10km.  Moonlight Run, as I have written about before, is the marquee running event in Lethbridge.  This year, they maxed out on participants in the 10km and 6km, with 2800 people registered!  I first did this race in 2011.  My race times in the 10 km from my first four years were: (OA=Overall, G=Gender, AG=Age Group).

2011: 51:43—148/607 OA, 52/350 G, 9/61 AG (25-29 y/o)

2012: 54:25—210/587 OA, 74/350 G, 11/47 AG (25-29 y/o)

2014: 47:27—45/540 OA, 4/305 G, 2/42 AG  (25-29 y/o)

2015: 43:37—34/526 OA, 5/292 G, 1/55 AG  (30-34 y/o)

What would this year bring?

funny

As I have mentioned in earlier posts, I am having trouble with my foot.  This race would be the true test to see how it held up, as while it is only a 10 km distance, it involves a vertical drop of about 204 feet in the first mile.  Then, you are in the dark river bottom winding around sharp curves and more gain/loss of elevation.  And the final mile includes a gain in elevation of 267 feet back to the downtown core of Lethbridge.  It is quite the course indeed!

flat andrea

Flat Andrea all set!

I was hoping to run something close to my time last year, as that was when I was in top shape and feeling strong.  With this being a night race, I did my packet pickup on the Friday and was able to sleep in Saturday.  Sleeping in is great.  Waiting around the rest of the day for the race is not.  I was so antsy that Dan and I headed to the race start area around 7:00 PM.  Getting their early enough allowed for a great parking spot, and I had time to roam around and chat with people.  The student volunteers were our WCHS kids (where I work) so being able to see them and have them as supporters on the course helps a lot.  A familiar face always helps!

dan and andrea

Husband & Wife pre-race

The race is a self-seeded event, so I positioned myself about three rows deep from the start.  I knew I wanted to be careful the first mile, as last year I went out very fast.  Last year, mile 1 was a 5:32.  This year, it was a 5:47.  (Remember, we are barreling down hill! The +/- differential here was +15 seconds this year.

I felt strong in the river bottom, even though my throat was dry.  At about mile one and a half, a lady I didn’t recognize passed me.  I knew at that point I was 3rd female, so I wanted to keep it that way, and maybe gain ground.  After doing the out and back down the nature centre trail to Tollestrup, it gets pretty lonely.  With the curves of the trails and the trees blocking the sky, you can’t really see much.  And, I don’t want to look behind myself much because that would just slow me down.  Miles 2-5 in 2015 were 6:35, 7:01, 7:16, and 7:27.  I fared better in this segment this year, running 6:33, 7:00, 7:07, 7:12.  The +/- differential was -2, -1, -9, -15.  I was right now ahead of my 2015 time by 12 seconds!  

Mile 6 is the kicker.  It’s the hill.  That damn hill.  By the time I got to the base of hte hill. I really couldn’t see anyone directly within striking distance.  My legs were feeling heavy, my mouth was dry, and my glutes hurt.  I started trying to catch up to a gentleman ahead of me, but seeing him start to walk in parts didn’t motivate me much to push.  It honestly made me want to start walking myself.  While I didn’t walk at all, I knew I was going slower than in 2015.  I did see the 2nd place woman in the distance, and while I didn’t think I could catch her, I tried to keep an eye on her as motivation.  Before I knew it, I was past the dreaded switchbacks and back onto the main road.  Mile 6 was 8:36 in 2015, and a slower 8:48 in 2016.  12 seconds slower.  So, even though I didn’t know it at the time…I was at the exact same race tine in 2016 as I was in 2015 when I hit mile 6.  

I had no clue how far any women were behind me.  I didn’t look back.  I pushed my tired legs the best I could down the final stretch and into the finish line, with a chip time of 44:10.I was slower than the year previous, and my GPS watch said I had ran a 6.25 mile race.  In 2015 I somehow managed to run the tangents a bit better or pay attention to the curves more, because I had ran a 6.21 mile race then.  Regardless, I was ecstatic.  Why?  While this wasn’t my best 10km time, or my best Moonlight time, it was my best Moonlight finish—3rd place female!

Post race at Moonlight brought lots of pictures, eating and chatting with friends.  Dan finished sooner than I had expected, finishing in a 54:37, a 9 minute improvement from last year!  He did no training, so please don’t give him applause 😉  We both waited for awards, got more pictures, and off we went.  Another successful Moonlight in the book!

So how were my stats in this race compared to 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015?

44:10—28/525 OA, 3/289 G, 1/48 AG (30-34 y/o)

I don’t know about you, but I’ll take that any day of the week!  Can’t wait until next year!

final photo

Moonlight Run 10km 2016 Complete!

Spartan Race Red Deer 2015-Weekend Recap 

Standard

So I am doing my race reports a bit out of order. I’m also behind on them, so something is better than nothing! While my next report up is the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend, I haven’t finished looking through all the unidentified photos on MarathonFoto to see if I can find more of me. I want to wait until I have those photos to do that recap. So up next is my Spartan Race weekend up in Red Deer, Alberta, which took place on Friday, September 11th-Sunday, September 13th. During these three days, I participated in 3 events: The Hurricane Heat, Spartan Super and Spartan Sprint. This recap will cover all three events, and while I’ll try to be concise, I’m sure this post will get pretty long! Be forewarned!  

I headed up to Red Deer Immediately after work Friday, which I knew would get me in town right on time for the Hurricane Heat. The Hurricane Heat is a Spartan event I had not yet participated in. While I had signed up for the Saturday and Sunday events I think way back in December, this Friday night event I did not register for until end of August. What is a Hurricane Heat? Well, it’s a 3-4 hour “boot-camp” style group workout, where you work as a team, in smaller groups, as pairs, and on your own. It began in August 2011 when Hurricane Irene forced Spartan Race to cancel their Sunday event in Amesbury, Massachusetts. The founder, Joe De Sena, got a bunch of Spartans together the Saturday morning and did basically whatever the hell he felt like. And now the Hurricane Heat happens the night before many Spartan Race events. Whoever runs the Hurricane Heat decides what tasks the group partake in, some heats run the whole course for the weekend events, and some run parts. The great thing is that every Hurricane Heat could be different!

 

Photo credits-Spartan Race Canada

 
John Bouwman of JohnnyB FITT led the Hurricane Heat. He did a fantastic job. I don’t remember how many of these he said he led before, but I know he has pushed Spartan Canada to let him lead them, as otherwise only the U.S. Races regularly hold the heat. We had received an email about a week prior to the event with a list of items we needed to bring with us. Listed were: hydration pack, headlamp, 2 chemlights, NHL toque, salt/electrolyte packets, energy or gel shots, 5 zip ties, a regulation length hockey stick, a 500 word essay on Why I Race, and to wear all black. We also were told to arrive by 5:30 pm. I took this list seriously, as I had read online that if you didn’t have items you may be penalized. I wish John had been harder on the people who didn’t come prepared, because those were the people at the event that slightly irritated me. I mean, if it says to bring a hydration pack and you show up to this event without one, you look like an idiot. Maybe it sounds cruel for me to say they should have been punished with burpees, but that is what I was expecting. There were a handful of people at this heat who, in my opinion, didn’t have a clue what they were getting themselves into. But, each to their own I guess.
We started with splitting up into teams. John picked me as a team captain (he picked people with a Montreal Canadiens hat on) and I got to pick one person to be on my team, and then we had to all split up evenly in a set amount of time. A lot of the evening would be spent with John giving us a somewhat simple task, and if we didn’t complete it fast enough we would do burpee penalties. Like, when we had to take our hockey sticks and clear a path through the weeds and brush from the race site to the shower site so people could walk there the following day. Wasn’t done well enough so we had to do burpees and then try again.
The evening went on for a little over 3 hours. It included running to different obstacles (we did the course partly in reverse) and then completing some of these obstacles. At one point, we zip tied our wrists to a partner and had to get over the 8 foot wall tied up! We also all helped organize the Tire Flip obstacle and the Stairway to Sparta. Near the end of the night, we even did a little swim in the creek before heading back to base with our head lamps and glow sticks. Upon finishing, we were all presented with our Hurricane Heat Dog Tag, a shirt (I ended up giving mine to my husband because I wasn’t fast enough to get a size small) and the honour of being part of class HHI-005! As someone who has done now a dozen Spartan Races of various distances, being able to participate in the Hurricane Heat was a great opportunity. Since I knew I wasn’t going to be doing the Saturday and Sunday events for time, just completion, and since I knew what the terrain was like in Red Deer, I knew doing this event on Friday night wouldn’t completely waste me. If you haven’t done a Hurricane Heat and have done a ton of Spartan Races, I would highly suggest registering for one!

  
So Saturday morning came around and I was up at my normal school day alarm of 6 am. I had the 8:30 Super Spartan heat time to be at, and I wanted to make sure I arrived with plenty of time to park, warm up, and check my surroundings. My in-laws house is only a ten minute drive from the site of the event, Heritage Ranch, so it’s a super convenient location! I parked close by in a neighborhood, which was worth it by morning end (more on that later). My heat started right on time and I positioned myself near the front, as I knew I wanted to be ahead of the masses as we approached the first obstacles (over-under-through, hay bales, and 8 foot wall). If you get stuck in a mosh of people initially you end up waiting at obstacles. So since running is my strong point, I made a point to stay ahead!

  
Red Deer Spartan Races are, in my opinion, a “runners race” more so than other Spartan courses. There is a lot of single track trails through the woods and then wide open areas of cross country running. If you are a strong runner, you can take advantage of these areas and just cruise from obstacle to obstacle. There were many sections on Saturday (and Sunday) that I was solo as I would go slow through an obstacle but then get a good pace going through the woods.  

  
  
I am most proud of being able to do the monkey bars all by myself on Saturday (and Sunday!) I didn’t hit the spear throw, so now I still have only made the spear once in all my races. The course for Saturday was 14 kilometers of fun, and I am so happy I had an early heat as it started to really warm up later. I would not have been able to run as well as I did if I had been later in the day. I finished in a time of 1:42.14, which was 327/2327 overall, 24/1008 females, and 8/222 in the F 30-34 age group in the Open category. Oh, and that parking spot? Came in handy because as I walked back to my car to change before heading to the beer garden (which didn’t have a free beer for us, even though a coupon was accidentally enclosed in everyone’s packs on Saturday…apparently Spartan Canada couldn’t secure a beer sponsor this year so no free beer!) a dad and his kids had a lemonade stand set up. And a sign offering a hot shower for $3! I inquired and I went and rinsed off on their patio with the hot water hose, and then his wife led me to a change area set up in their mud room. The hot shower, lemonade and tip put me back $8, and it was worth every penny!

 
 So I’ll keep Sunday’s recap short, as the course was just a shorter version of the Saturday’s (approximately 5km). I woke up sore…and hungover. Saturday night consisted of hanging out with my sister in law and drinking a bunch of vodka club sodas. I got her to say she would come sign up for the race morning of, but she slept through it. When my 6 am alarm went off, I was facedown on the couch in their basement. Oof, I just needed to get through this day. I needed this race under my belt because then I would be just one step away from my Double Trifecta, which will be earned in Sun Peaks after completion of the Ultra Beast. I again had the first open heat at 8:30, so getting the race started right away and over early was great. It was surprisingly a lot less busy Sunday morning. I guess I had expected more people to show up for the shorter distance race, but I think a lot of people in Alberta had participated in the Calgary Sprint in August, so if they were going for a trifecta this race was not needed for them.  

  
I just went through the motions of this race, as I just wanted to be done with it. I ran hard in the stretches where running was possible, and I strongly believe that is what helped me place well in this event. I finished in a time of 55:53, and ranked 145/1352 overall, 22/724 in female and 5/157 for 30-34. I collected my medal (both the super and sprint medals had a special Canadian band on them) and another shirt (size small men’s, but I was able to shrink it as it was cotton. The super shirt was an XS small dri-fit men’s, which I’m not sure I’ll wear much). I made my way back to my in-laws, showered, packed, and hit the road back to Lethbridge by 11 am. I wanted to nap so bad, but I also just wanted to get home. Upon arriving home, I collapsed for a solid two hours before unpacking.

   
 So the weekend was a huge success! I participated in three Spartan events (Hurricane Heat, Super and Sprint) and spent around 5+ hours doing it in total. The somewhat funny thing is that when I compete in the Sun Peaks Ultra Beast in one week I will be running for longer than that all in one day. The Ultra Beast will be a fantastic way to cap off my 2015 Spartan Race season!

  

Tyranena Beer Run Half Marathon-Race Recap

Standard

When Kirby came to Calgary for my full marathon in June, we came up with the great idea to fly out to Milwaukee in November and run a race together. We had found the Madison Marathon on Sunday, November 9th, but were looking for a half marathon. After a few more weeks of searching, I uncovered the Tyranena Beer Half Marathon, which would be occurring on Saturday, November 8th. I love running, I love beer, I love friends, I love Wisconsin….so we signed up!

IMG_6394.JPG
With the race start being 11:30, we didn’t have to leave my mom’s house in Franklin until shortly after 9 am. The drive to Tyranena Brewery is simple-head on the Interstate towards Madison and get off at the Lake Mills exit. We arrived to the brewery at around 10:15 am, and headed into the beer tent for the race packet pickup.

Pickup was a breeze, and in our bags were our shirts, dinner vouchers, race bib and drink tickets. This stuff would be put away in the vehicle until after the race was done, as the real party would occur after the finish line! Kirby was starting to get nervous, as it was pretty chilly out. Even though it was about 43 degrees, I’d bet the wind temperature was much colder. Kirby lived in Arizona the last 7 years, so her body was not used to this standing around in the cold. We hid out in the tent for awhile, then the car, and then we had to get ready for the race.

IMG_6396.JPG

IMG_6395.JPG

IMG_6397.JPG
The plan for this race was to run together. Kirby would be running her fourth half marathon, with her most recent about a month ago in Nashville, Tennessee. I had been encouraging her this month that she could run a personal best at this race, and I wanted to help her. I had thought her personal best was around a 2:18, so we were going to go for a 2:15. Now, I am fast-forwarding a bit because it was somewhere around mile 10 that she admitted she sort of lied to me and that her unofficial best time was 2:18, from the Phoenix Rock n’Roll Half. It was unofficial because she paused it during a long potty stop, and restarted her watch after the stop. She kept telling me she didn’t want to admit her time to me, and I told her she was an idiot because I didn’t think any less of that time, because it’s awesome! She is a former sprinter, who used to do the 400m in high school in 57 seconds. This girl is a former sprinter now turned casual long-distance runner! I was just happy to be running a race with my good friend!

So her personal best was from the Women’s Running Series Half in Tennessee from the end of September this year, which was 2:24.20. I also told her I would shame her on here for lying to me, because I picked the 2:15 goal based on a 2:18 best time! Part way through the race, I would start making changes to our goal, to eventually just get a personal best…no matter what. Now, I am not a mean friend, really, I am not….because wait until the end of this post.

So the race started and we headed out for our first mile at a great pace of 10:00. It was actually 9:59 and change, but pretty damn close to a perfect 10. The weather was still windy, yes, and cold, yes, and Kirby was cold, though I knew she would warm up. The initial plan was to run around 10:10 min/miles for the first 6.5 miles and then see how she felt. For a 2:15 you would need approximately an average pace of 10:17 minute per mile. I decided to lighten the mood and also take a selfie with Kirby at each mile marker, and she would hold up the mile number with her frozen fingers. These ended up being VERY amusing. Here are the first three miles and some of the pretty views we saw!

IMG_6401-0.JPG

IMG_6402-0.JPG

IMG_6405-0.JPG

IMG_6403-0.JPG

The course was very nice, with some rolling hills through some VERY nice neighborhoods. The view of the lake was gorgeous. The only major hill was at mile 4, but otherwise I found the course pretty comfortable. The wind was bothering Kirby, and the cold air was causing it to be harder to breathe. I tried to be encouraging, and our pace was still on, so all was good. When we exited the lake view and headed towards a farm, the wind started to kick in even more. Miles 4-6 looked like this:

IMG_6406-0.JPG

IMG_6407-0.JPG

IMG_6409-0.JPG

IMG_6410-0.JPG

Kirby was starting to hurt, and I told her it was totally ok if we slowed down. We were now on a gravel path (was a bit boring at first) but I kept just talking to her to keep her occupied. We were still on pace, so slowing for a mile or two would be good for her to catch her breathe. We were now on the Glacial Drumlin Trail, so the wind was blocked from the trees a bit. Miles 7-9 are here:

IMG_6413-0.JPG

IMG_6414-0.JPG

IMG_6412-0.JPG

IMG_6411-0.JPG

IMG_6418-0.JPG

IMG_6417-0.JPG

IMG_6415-0.JPG

So after mile 9 is when the truth came out. Kirby is such a positive person, so she really wanted to keep going at that pace, but I could tell she was hurting. I made the decision we would slow down lots and try for a 2:20 finish, and if not that at least get her under that 2:24. I knew even if she kept a slow shuffle we were set for this because of the pace we held the first six miles. The unfortunate part of the last miles on the course was the boring scenery. You wound through an industrial park and then up into an older neighborhood, down and back up to the brewery entrance. You could not see the brewery at any point until the final turn at mile 13 so it was very tough mentally. Kirby never complained, and the meanest she was during this segment was when she made the face for our mile 12 photo. Here are miles 10-13:

IMG_6419.JPG

IMG_6421.JPG

IMG_6422.JPG

IMG_6423.JPG

IMG_6424.JPG

We finished the 13.1 miles in 2:21.28…new official personal best for Kirby! I was so proud of her! She beat her old personal best by three minutes! So solid! She was so happy to be done though, not going to lie there! We headed into the post-race tent which was filled with bananas, cookies, nuts, chocolate, peanut butter sandwiches and water. And, of course, our medals!

IMG_6425.JPG

IMG_6428.JPG

The major perk of this race was the bang for your buck with post-race party items. We went back to the car to change into warm clothes and headed back to the beer tent. We had two tickets for Tyranena Beer (YUM!) and a catered lasagna dinner. We couldn’t remember what the registration price was, but know it was under $50! Probably around $45. So, a beautiful course, shirt, medal, dinner, two beers, live DJ and a great time at a great price was perfect! The dinner was HUGE and the beers were tasty (remember, I haven’t had a beer in two+ weeks so it was VERY yummy). This was my cheat day, and worth it. The atmosphere was fantastic and we stayed until 4:15, and then it was back to Milwaukee.

IMG_6430.JPG

IMG_6434.JPG

IMG_6431.JPG

I would recommend this race to anyone within the area. Next year will be the 10th anniversary, and I am sure they will hit it out of the park. The weather could vary from a warm, Indian-summer 61 degrees to a full-blown blizzard, given the time of year, but the show that Tyranena puts on makes it doable! This will be a race experience we will never forget!

IMG_6429.JPG

Calgary Spartan Sprint 2014 Recap-Not Just ANY Spartan Race for Me…

Standard

The 2014 Calgary Spartan Sprint was my 7th Spartan Race event. I have previously ran this event last in 2013, along with the Montana Sprint (2013, 2014), the Red Deer Super, and the Sun Peaks Beast & Sprint. But more important than reaching number seven was the fact that my best friend Ali would be competing in her first EVER Spartan Race…and this Spartan Race would also be her first EVER timed running event!

IMG_5519.JPG
We headed up to Calgary the morning of the event. The weather reports were a little nerve wracking, with chances of thunderstorms all day. We arrived to the race site, Wild Rose MX Park, about two hours before our race time. Pre-race packet pickup was a breeze! The last time I did day-off packet pickup for a Spartan Race was Red Deer last September, and that was a nightmare. Perhaps having a later in the day heat was helpful, because we honestly filled out our waiver and walked right up to a volunteer to get our packets. Took one minute! Before we knew it, we were getting marked with our bib numbers and were ready to go!

IMG_5520.JPG

We walked the festival grounds, and I have to say I quite enjoyed the setup compared to the year before. All the food trucks, displays, merchandise, and bag check were above and away from the actual racing area. This alleviated congestion down below. Ali purchased an awesome long-sleeved burnout shirt as a souvenir, and then it was off to check out the course.

We could see quite a bit of the course before actually racing. The vantage points at this Spartan Race are awesome, and as a spectator you can actually view your family and friends quite easily in many spots. Without even venturing that far into the race venue/spectator areas, we could see the following obstacles: Unders, Under a Container, Over Under Thru, Monkey Bars, Container Crawl, 8′ Wall, Rolling Mud, Mud Pit/Barbed Wire, Traverse Wall, Slippery Wall, Rope Climb and Fire Leap.

IMG_5521.JPG

IMG_5524.JPG

What couldn’t be seen from spectator viewing, and what would become Ali’s least-favorite part of the course, were the switchback hills! These were tough! Ali lives in Redondo Beach, California, which has an elevation of 62 feet above sea level. She was now running an obstacle course race in Calgary, Alberta, at an astonishing elevation of 3,428 feet above sea level, and you can tell why the hills may have been a ‘small’ issue!

IMG_5531.JPG

IMG_5529.JPG

When our heat started at 1:00 pm, we barreled out with the stampede. For the first 1/3 mile or so (I’m guessing because I didn’t have my GPS) we were trucking it. Then between bottlenecks and crazy hills, we had to slow down. If we had to power walk up hills, we did that. But whenever there was an opening that we could gain ground on, we ran it.

I am most proud of myself being able to do the monkey bars at this race. This is an obstacle that is sometimes hit-or-miss for me. My hands were clean, the bars were dry, so I got my momentum going and across I went. Ali had major shoulder surgery sophomore year of University, so obstacles like this were a challenge. However, she tried every obstacle out there—she never just walked past it, giving up without trying and just succumbing to the 30 burpees penalty.

The 30 burpees penalty is something Spartan Race does. Now, even though the event is timed, unless you are in the Elite Heat there are not age group awards. Reason why, I would say, is because many people out there have little to no integrity and don’t follow the rules. Dude I saw cut under the plastic tape to skip a section after the Tractor Pull—you’re a loser. And the three people, two women and one man, who failed the Rope Climb and came next to Ali and I at the burpee area, did 3 each and said “That’s good enough”—why did you sign up? If you’re going to sign up for something like this, and you start cheating it, what does that say about your personal mantra? I know it’s not a major event like the Olympics or anything, but don’t do this shit half-ass. Yes—you do have to train. If you don’t and you plan on taking easy ways out, you should just drop out. You are not a true Spartan.

Away from that rant, the course itself was incredible. The volunteers were great. Ali’s best obstacle was the Tire Flip, and she even opted to take on one of the “guy tires” with no issue at all! Special shout-out to the lady at the Traverse Wall giving everyone help and insight on how to help each other across the wall, as it was caked with mud beyond description. Ali and I both got across it thanks to her help!

We finished the course side-by-side in 1:44:01. I cannot wait to see the official photos that get posted, as I know there was a photographer not only at the finish line Fire Leap, but also at the Sandbag Carry and Barbed Wire. We received our kick-ass Spartan Race Canada medals, a finisher shirt, and then I ran up to bag check to get my camera. We needed post-race photos, to go along with our “clean” pre-race ones!

IMG_5532.JPG

IMG_5539.JPG

IMG_5534.JPG

We enjoyed the lovely delicacy of Coors Light in the Beer Garden (I would never drink this by choice, but it was free, and tasted surprisingly refreshing after that course!). Ali later would tell me that this Spartan Race was the hardest thing she’s ever done…but that she wants to do more. And, she also said she feels extremely confident going into the Disneyland 10km on August 30th! I am so proud of Ali and all the work she has put into Crossfit the past year (hello Crossfit 310)!and the fact that this former swimmer has become a runner.

IMG_5538.JPG

UPDATE FROM TUESDAY, AUGUST 19
Pictures! Just a few!

IMG_5417.JPG

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

 

 

Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon 2014-Race Recap

Standard

My previous post was about my preparation for the Woody’s RV World Red Deer Half Marathon. Today, I am going to recap the race and let you know if my goal came to be!

This is the fourth year I have ran the Red Deer Half Marathon. I ran in 2010, 2012, 2013, and now this year. It is convenient in that my in laws live in Red Deer, but it is also a great race! The volunteers are fantastic, and swag is pretty great (with one complaint) and the course is gorgeous.

Pick up was no issue at all, as usual. Stopped to get my goods on Friday night, so I had plenty of time to then relax on Saturday I forgot BodyGlide and HoneyStinger Chews, which then caused me to go back to the expo and purchase these. (I didn’t know where any other running store was in town so this was easiest!). Had some pasta with the family Saturday night, threw back a beer that evening (per usual pre race plan) and went to bed early. 6:00 am alarm came fast!

I did my pre-race ritual of eating oatmeal and drinking coffee. I taped myself up, put on some Voltaren 10% on my knee, and headed outside for a warmup. I wanted to get more than 13.1 miles in today, so I planned on doing a 1 mile warmup before the race. I ended up doing about 1.5 miles, but thankfully I did this as I determined I was dressed too warm. Sure, it was raining, but I was already warm with a short sleeve Lululemon shirt on, so I quickly put on a tank, got on a garbage bag to protect myself from the rain, and walked to the start line.

I cut it pretty close this year, arriving at the start line at probably 7:53. It is nearly a mile from my in-laws house and I was power walking it. I got positioned in the corral, Oh Canada was sang, and away we went! You can notice how confused I am at that very moment by looking at the photo found on the front page of the Red Deer Advocate. Nice.

20140520-213224-77544611.jpg

So my goal this race was to pace it like I will when running in Calgary on June 1st for my full; an 8:00 minute per mile pace. I knew my first mile was going to be a crapshoot, and I actually ended up going too slow! I ran mile 1 in 8:14! I set my Nike plus GPS watch to Average Pace so I could watch it work the way back down to 8:00. Miles 2-5 clocked in at 7:58, 8:01, 7:55, and 7:47, respectively.

The course is gorgeous, and follows the trail system on the Red Deer River. I have ran these trails many times, even though I don’t live in Red Deer, as they are convenient to my in-laws place. Familiarity does help a ton when you are shooting for a specific time in a race, as I knew when certain hills or hazards were coming. As I approached one tricky hill on the south side of the Red Deer river, I started talking with a lady around my age about her pace. Her name was Christy—she was doing the full and was going for 3:30! She was running the same pace as me, but obviously I was only doing the half. For the rest of the course, until she kept going to finish her full, we stuck near each other. Using each other as pace buddies was helpful! I had slowed a bit on that hill, hitting an 8:25 for mile 6, but then got back on track with help from Christy. We ran miles 7-12 in 7:51, 7:56, 8:15, 7:52, 7:53, and 8:02.

I had to run the last mile alone, as the full course forked to the left. I headed behind Lindsay Thurber High School, up Michener Hill, and coasted down to the finish line. This last “mile” took me about 7:00. I put mile in quotes because throughout the race I did not have to weave through traffic much, I hugged the curves, and I ran the tangents. My little legs need any advantage possible. I crossed the finish line comfortable with a time of 1:43.09…and I felt great!

20140520-212423-77063752.jpg

I was met at the finish line with my finisher’s medal, water, a banana, and one of those space blankets. My only petty complaint about this race is the medal, as this is now the third year in a row the medal has had the same design on the front face, with the backside date being the only thing that changed. After receiving those goodies, I was greeted by my father-in-law and my beagle Snoopy. Snoopy was not thrilled as the rain was now really coming down. I had to get a finisher’s photo with him, because I realized earlier last week that I had a photo with my silly beagle every year at this race! Apparently it is a tradition!

20140520-211634-76594817.jpg

I had met my “goal” for this race-I completed the half marathon at the same pace I plan on doing my full marathon. And most importantly, I felt like I could keep on going. It is now Tuesday evening and I am not sore one bit! I took yesterday off, but ran a comfortable 6 miles this evening, and I don’t even have knee pain! I am more ready than ever before to attempt to earn the coveted Boston Qualifying time. Less than two weeks….!

A shoutout to Christy, who did meet her goal, finishing the Red Deer Full Marathon in 3:29:00! Boston Qualifier!