Friday, May 31, 2013

Niagara Falls Women's Half Goals

Half marathon number 6 coming up on Sunday!

Signing up for Niagara Falls was kind of my consolation for not being able to do SeaWheeze for a variety of reasons (next year! Going to make it happen!). I did two half marathons in a relatively short period of time last year so figured I could do it again - this year I actually have an extra week.

This event just looks like it's going to be a lot of fun. Relatively flat course, apparently a fabulous race kit (last two races I got my bib and a shirt so not hard to improve on that). Smallish race (capped at 2500) and from the comments on Facebook, lots of people doing this as their first half marathon.

My goals:
A. 2:30 of course
B. Sub 2:33 for a new PR (I do realize that at some point, not every race will be a new PR. Not looking forward to that day).

My plan:
- Stay hydrated and avoid overheating. Forecast at the moment is low 15, high 22, feels like 28, isolated showers. I'm liking the showers part, not so much the rest of it. The course goes up and down the Niagara Parkway which I remember being a bit shady (I hope). Hoping for some mist off the falls.
- Start out with 2:30 pace bunny but have a back up plan. Learning from Goodlife - set my Garmin for 10/1's so I'm not relying on other people and have a pace band ready.
- Be careful with eating on Saturday. This is my first "away" race so I'm a bit worried about making sure I'm drinking enough water and eating properly on Saturday. Temptation will be to have a beer on a patio - I'll try to leave that to post-race. I am bringing breakfast foods with me and healthy snacks.
- Don't spend too much time walking around on Saturday - rest the legs.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Spring Half Training Week 19

Almost there!

10.5km in 1hr16 (7:16/km) Humid!
60 minute Moksha Yoga Class - the instructor went pretty easy on us. I was dripping with sweat before we even got started. Monday was generally a sweaty day for me.

Strength Training - I started off with my Chalean Extreme DVD, but pretty quickly had some pain in my quad. Perhaps changing up my strength training three weeks before my race was not a good idea? Switched over to some upper body exercises instead to give my legs a rest. Did some foam rolling later in the evening.

5.42km in 38 minutes (7:02/km) - Leg started out alright, than really started to hurt than got better again at the end of my run. Cut run a bit short and headed home for more foam rolling.

Strength Training - upper body, core and more foam rolling. My foam roller and I were very good friends last week.

6.51km in 45 minutes (6:53/km) No pain! Leg back to normal! 10/1's X 4

Rest day

12.17km in 1hr28 (7:13/km) Beautiful morning! Bit chilly to begin. Was wishing I was running Ottawa or TO Women's Half instead of Niagara Falls Women's Half cause next Sunday is going to be HOT!

This week: tapering, resting, foam rolling, watching the weather forecast.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

2013 Race Plans

Now that spring races are winding down, time for a look at the rest of the year.

Races so far this year:

Next up.

June 2 - Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon. I really wanted to go to Vancouver in August to run Sea Wheeze but for a number of reasons, that wasn't going to work out. As a consolation, I registered for Niagara Women's Half. It will be my first "away" race and I'm looking forward to a flat course.

June 23 - Color Me Rad 5K I first heard about color runs last year and kept an eye out for a Toronto Location. Found this one at Downsview Park but it sold out in a couple of days! They ended up adding a second date (which also sold out) and I jumped on it. Running this with a couple of friends. 

August 17 - Midsummer Night's Run 15K. I was on the fence about running this again, had some issues with running at night last year. Got sucked in with a free hat at the Goodlife expo. I'm looking forward to the new course on the Island - should be fun.

October 20 - Waterfront Half Marathon.

Other races on my radar - Maybe a 5K in late October or November. I know I can beat my current 5K PR and want to make it official. I'm also watching two other color runs for Toronto dates as I'd like to run one with my husband. Would have loved to run Mud Hero again, but the date doesn't work.

Anyone running any interesting races?

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring Half Training Week 18

Almost there! Two more week until Niagara Falls Women's Half  and than I can take a break! No structured workouts for three weeks!!!!

Chalean Extreme. Taking a break from P90X and going back to my buddy Charlene Johnson for awhile. Workouts are shorter and include lower body moves with upper body. Burn Circuit 1 - lower body, chest and shoulders. Followed by Ab Burner.

6.08 km in 42 minutes (6:56/km)
Almost continuous. Took 2 little walk breaks and stopped at an intersection.

Burn Circuit 2 + Ab Burner. Legs, biceps, triceps, back, abs.

8.56 km in 1hr 2 min (7:11/km)
10/1's except when I completely zoned out on a walk break - that turned into a 10/3.
Followed by Detox Yoga #2

Burn Circuit 3 & Ab Burner - lower body, shoulders, ab

5km continuous in 35min. (6:59/km).

While I enjoyed switching up my strength training workouts, beginning to think that changing things up three walks before a half marathon might not have been the best idea. My legs were exhausted by the end of the week and I'm having some muscle pain today. Think I'll go into taper mode this week and next to rest up a bit.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Sporting Life 10K 2013

I've been collecting my thoughts for a few days on this race. There were a lot of issues, most of which I thankfully didn't experience myself. I've decided that this post is just going to be about my experience with this race. I do encourage people to check out this post (including a very scary video) and this post on Kenny's blog. I'm definitely going to think twice before signing up for this race next year.

Race kit pick up was fine and easy for me. I was getting my kit, plus for two friends. I went on Thursday so not too busy and they still had the full range of shirt sizes. Race kit wasn't very exciting - shirt, bib and a coupon for Sporting Life.

Race morning, I took a quick cab ride over the the starting area. SO MANY PEOPLE! I did manage to find my friends relatively easy (thank goodness for cell phones) and we huddled inside the Running Room for a bit. I had gone back and forth a lot trying to figure out what to wear. I hate being too warm when running so went with a long sleeved top and cropped pants.

I went to check my bag (and cozy hoodie) 15 minutes before we needed to be in the corrals. Encountered a line up which ended up being about 100 people long. They finally ended up opening one of the trucks and my friend chucked my bag in (thankfully didn't lose my keys or metro pass).

With my co-workers. I look happy, but I was cold!

In past years, Sporting Life has been quite strict with making sure everyone is in their proper corrals. Not so much this year. They weren't very well marked and no one was checking bibs. I had no idea whether I was at the front or the back of the purple corral.

Waited, waited, waited some more. We had no idea whether or not the race had started. We slowly inched up to the start and were off - very uneventful.

I was going to run with one of my friends who was aiming for 1hr 8mins but he took off pretty quick. I debated catching up, but decided just to run my own race. Put the ipod in and stuck with my 10/1's.

There were so many people so I did a lot of dodging. People walking 4 across. Lots of pedestrians just stepping out into the street.

Despite the cold start, I was generally happy with my clothing choice for the day. Only cold parts were my hands. I had my hand held water bottle in my right hand - eventually had to switch it to the left when I realized that my fingers were numb and turning purple. What a difference a week makes! The Sunday before, I had been dumping cups of water on my head to cool down!

The main stretch of the race down Yonge Street was fun as always. I was using 7 min/km's to keep pace, and was hitting the race markers well ahead of pace so I knew I was in good shape. I didn't speed up though at any point - I was very worried about doing my normal crash and burn in the second half of the race.

Turned onto Richmond. I tried to speed up a bit running by the opera house in case any co-workers were out. Waved to one of the security guards.

More people dodging going down Peter Street. Almost got hit by a bike as someone was crossing at Front Street. Really needed more coarse marshalls.

Was happy to turn down Bathurst and across the bridge. An earlier finisher was yelling "You're almost there! Just around the corner than you can get a BANANA!!!". I was laughing at that.

Lots of people out in the last stretch on Fort York Boulevard. Saw a sign saying "Thank you for sending her to camp" with a little girl standing under it. Choked me up a bit.

I picked up speed for the last 500 metres and crossed the finish line with my arms in the air.
Can kind of see me - with arms in the air.

 Almost smashed into the back of another runner who had crossed the line and just stopped (not cool).

Finished with a time of 1:07:18, over 5 minutes off my previous 10K PB of 1:12:55. Overall pace of 6:44/km which is my third fastest pace EVER according to garmin connect (faster paces were on a 5K run and a 3.25 run). I ran the first 5K in 33:41 and the second in 33:37 so no crash and burn here! I might have been able to shave a bit of time off if I hadn't been so worried about burning out, but I'm happy that I stayed strong for the whole race.

Post race, had to walk about half a kilometre to get my medal (after stopping for traffic for a few minutes at Fleet Street). Since I had done this the year before, I knew the drill but there wasn't anyone giving instructions at the finish line so it was a mess. Got my medal, managed to find my friends (thankfully carried my cell phone with me), picked up a bagel.

Found what I thought was the giant line for bag pick up - turned out it was for free coffee. Managed to find my bag quickly (no one was really guarding the bags) and got my hoodie. I was sooooo cold so very happy to be in something warm.

While I'm very happy with my race times, I'm not sure if I'll be running Sporting Life next year. The race organizers want to increase the size from 27,000 runners to 30,000 next year. I really don't think they were ready for such large crowds this year so unless there are some major organizational changes, I'll be running Yonge Street 10K instead.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Spring Half Training Week 16 & 17

Week 16

Taper Week

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 5K's at what was supposed to be race pace, but ended up a bit quick (6:58/km instead of 7:07)

Wednesday: Bob Harper Yoga

Thursday: 4K's at 6:58/km Last race prior to last Sunday's half marathon. Followed by Rodney Yee AM Yoga - Forward Bends

Friday & Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Half Marathon!

Week 17

Monday: Rest. Limped around.

Tuesday: P90X Chest & Back. Getting back to it, but gave the legs another day to recover.

Wednesday: 5K at 7:04/km. Getting the legs working again.

Thursday: Bob Harper Pure Strength. Ouch. Legs hurt the next day.

Friday: 6K at 7:06/km. Rather humid out. Saw quite a few people wearing Sporting Life shirts from various years. I had my 2012 shirt on too.

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: Sporting Life 10K. Race recap coming soon.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Sporting Life 10K 2013 Goals

Another Sunday, another race.

As I did last year, I'm following up my half marathon with a nice little run down Yonge Street. This will be my third year running Sporting Life. One of the main things I like about Sporting Life is the crazy amounts of people and this year the event is sold out with 27,000 people!

My goals for tomorrow:

A. 1:08:40 (6:52/km) - Completely based off the Macmillan Running Calculator, using last week's half
     marathon time. A bit faster than what I ran at Harry's Spring Run Off. Extra two kilometres tomorrow,                                  
     but no big hills. I've done 6:53/km on a 10K training run so if all conditions are perfect (weather, body, mind, no wardrobe malfunctions, etc), could be a possibility.

B. 1hr10min (7/km)

C. 1:11:10 Otherwise known as 10K's at my magic 7:07/km 2:30 half marathon pace.

D. New PR - Anywhere under 1:12:55

Current weather forecast for tomorrow morning is kind of windy, 8 degrees/ feels like 3 and overcast. Except for the wind, seems like nice running weather!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Goodlife Toronto Half Marathon 2013

5th Half Marathon done!

I had forgotten that Goodlife is a much smaller race than Scotiabank. 4500 half marathoners at Goodlife versus 9600 at Scotiabank (looked this up). This explains the lack of booths at the expo. It was much smaller than Scotiabanks. I had been hoping to pick up a head band and renew my Canadian Running magazine subscription, but they weren't there and no headbands to be found. I did end up registering though for Midsummer Night's Race 15K (they lured me in with a free hat). Also picked up my "Boston We Run With You" shirt.

Morning of the race was a bit warmer than I would have like. I was wishing that the half marathon was starting at 7:30 with the marathoners, rather than at 8:30.

I took a cab to the start line instead of transit - best decision ever. 15 minutes in a comfy car rather than an hour+ standing on a bus. One of the things I like about Goodlife - it starts at Mel Lastman Square and the North York Civic Centre is open (indoor washrooms!!).

I made my way out to the start and watched for the 2:30 pace bunny. Finally found her 3 minutes before the race started. There was about 10 or so people following her.

We started out down Yonge Street at a good pace, especially considering we were dodging walkers (start corrals would have been nice). Looking at my splits, we were averaging 6:30/km so a bit quicker than needed. The group voted to speed walk up the wonderful hill that is Hogg's Hollow at the 4K mark. We lost part of the group at that point.

Took photo while running - didn't really work.

Around 6km in, our pace bunny had to pull out due to hip pain. Those that were still with her tried to stick together to keep the right pace. This worked out for the most part, but my whole strategy of "stick with the 2:30 pace bunny" left me completely unprepared. I didn't have 10/1's going on my garmin so I had to either wait for someone else to call the intervals or check my watch. I didn't have a pace band on so was trying to do math in my head while running to figure out the splits. Lesson 1 - BE PREPARED.

Still feeling good and enjoying the run down Yonge Street. Really enjoyed running down Rosedale Valley Road.

I started slowing down right after turning on Bayview, around 14K. Rosedale Valley Road had lovely trees making for a nice shady run. Bayview = bright hot sun. Not fun. My pace slowed down considerably. Was very much ready to be done.

Only smiling because I saw the camera.

My garmin was all over the place along Wellington and Front Street. Sometimes I would hit the route markers before my watch clocked them, sometimes after.

I was apparently running in a zig zag formation. It kept auto pausing. Lesson 2 - TURN OFF AUTO PAUSE.

I was very happy to turn down Bathurst than along Lakeshore to the finish line. This was really the only place other than the start line that had a good amount of spectators. I already knew that I wasn't going to make my 2:30 goal so just wanted to get in under 2:35.

Chip time: 2:33:03
Pace: 7:16/km
Previous Half Marathon PR: 2:37:50
Previous Half Pace: 7:29/km

After the race - grabbed a banana, some water and some chocolate milk. Managed to get my bag quickly once I found the bag check. Did some stretching by the water.

Watched the marathoners coming in.

 Managed to grab a TTC bus easily to Union Station.

 Even though I didn't hit my goal, I still improved by time by almost 5 minutes.  I also felt amazing for the first 13km. I really enjoyed running with the pace group for most of the race and I love the Goodlife course.

Saturday, May 4, 2013


Toronto Goodlife Half Marathon Goals

My fifth Half Marathon!

I'm excited going into Sunday's race. I think I trained well for the most part and I'm definitely a better runner now than when I started my training in January.

Each of my half marathons have gotten progressively better.

My goals for this race:

A+. Sub 2:30.

A. 2hr 30minutes. 8 minutes off my current PR at a pace of 7:07/km.

B. 2hr 35 minutes. Still a PR at a more reasonable pace of 7:23/km

C. New PR. Honestly, I'll be kind of disappointed with this but if I'm not having a good race, I'll take what I can get.

Since I have serious issues pacing myself, I'm going to stick with the 2:30 pace rabbit as much as possible. My biggest issue is always starting too fast and slowing down substantially during the second half. If I'm feeling good after sticking with the pace bunny, I'll speed it up a bit towards the end.

My mantra for Sunday.
Weather should be good and I'm looking forward to the downhill course and running along Rosedale Valley Road (my favourite stretch from last year). If anyone is out tomorrow, look for me and say hi! I'm wearing a blue shirt and a white hat.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Waterfront Half Marathon 2012

I sat down to write a post about my goal's for Sunday's half, but maybe I should get the recaps from my last one up first.

Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon
October 14 2012
Goal Time: 2hr 30
Chip Time: 2:37:50

This is going to be super short considering this race happened almost 7 months ago.

I went into this race with the time goal of 2 hrs 30 minutes. My previous half time had been 2:40:27 in May so this was a bit of a stretch. My training leading up to the race had been okay, not great.

I had signed up for this race to raise money for the Arthritis Research Foundation - a cause near and dear to my heart. SWTM was going to be my 15th race and my 4th half marathon and I wanted to help others with arthritis who can't do this kinds of things. I ended up raising $1000 for the foundation which I'm very proud of.

Race morning was rainy and kind of chilly. One of my favourite things about SWTM is that it starts right in front of my workplace, so I stay inside as long as I can.

I stated off pretty good, maybe a bit quick. I ran 5's/1's. The race course had been changed since the previous year, running up University and Yonge to Bloor, making it's way over to Bathurst before heading down to the water. I really liked the course changes as there was more to look at.

I felt pretty good until around kilometre 15 or so when my hip starting acting up on me. I pretty much alternated between a slow run and a limp for the last 6k.

I pretty much gave up on my time goal and just wanted to get it done. My main thought for the last few kilometres - "I have $1000 worth of support behind me. I can do this."
Happy to be done!

I did hit a new PR of 2:37:50 but this definitely wasn't a strong race for me. My biggest take away was that I need to vary my training more, work on strengthening my hip and increasing the run part of my run/walk intervals.