Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Race Report: Alterna Ultimate Run 10k

This past Sunday I ran in my third 10k race.  I didn't post about goals or even think about it very hard because I was paranoid about jinxing it somehow after what happened at my last 10k.  I had hoped to finish between 1:10 and 1:20 and instead ended up with what I'll call my "puke PR" instead.  So until I was at the starting line on Sunday, I didn't really know what I wanted.  My previous PR was from the Zoo Run - 1:11:48.8 - which was my first 10k race.

I didn't sparkle at all for this race, deciding to take a relaxed approach to the race and not put too much pressure on myself.  I put on my current favourite running outfit and my new hat from Toronto Women's Runs and off we headed to the race.   I was really focused on not psyching myself out.

Ready to go!

The American came to cheer me on (while reading his book in the shade).  He's a great support team, always willing to come and take pictures and carry my stuff around while I'm running.  We may not ever see each other during a race but it's awesome knowing that he's there... Somewhere.

All in good fun. :-)

While I was waiting at the start line I decided I was going to go for a PR.  I had been tossing between going for an easy run and pushing for a PR.  I must admit that part of my motivation was the small size of the race and the clearly advertised 1:15 time limit for the course.  As it was I pushed pretty close to that!

I pushed hard for the first 5k, doing 5:1 intervals and consistently being passed by and passing the same people.  I would note who passed me while I was walking and make sure I passed all of them while I ran.  I stuck around the same group of 10 or so people.  I drank some nuun while I walked and kicked some butt whenever I ran.  My official 5k split time was 34:44.6.  I knew if I kept that up I would smash my previous PR.

The second 5k I slowed down.  It was getting hot and around the 6k mark my right knee started to hurt.  Luckily I shook that off but couldn't seem to keep the 5:1s going.  I dropped to more 4:1s a couple of times and lost a lot of time although I kept my pace up whenever I was running.

In the last 10 minutes I really wanted to run the whole thing and knew I had the energy - I was joking more with the people around me and "raced" a little girl pushing her sister in a stroller for the fitness walk (there were 2k and 5k walks and 5k and 10k runs all on the same course).  I knew I had the energy but the heat was dragging me down and I didn't push as hard as I know I could have.  My second 5k split was 36:38.2, I would bet due to the extra walk breaks, for a total time of 1:10:24.7.  I had wanted to finish in less than 1:10 and ended up less than 30 seconds off that goal.  No matter what, I'm pretty stoked about the PR even if it wasn't the full 2 minutes I was after.

However - the thing that kills me was a guy I played leapfrog with most of the time, who was pushing me to run all the way to the finish and I walked a bit more instead, finished in less than 1:10.  Even though he crossed the start line about 20 before me so his chip time would be 20 seconds faster, I still would have finished under 1:10 too.  I'm feeling a lot of "coulda shoulda woulda" about those last couple minutes but I'm trying not to dwell on it.  I know I pushed myself hard through at least 95% of the race and know I will push myself even harder the next time.

Pushing to the finish

I crossed the line super strong, found The American and got my finisher's ribbon (somehow even more awesome than a medal - I haven't got a ribbon since I was in elementary school!).  They had plenty of food and water available, and even a pancake breakfast since it was Father's Day (though I couldn't stomach pancakes at that point, which I think is a good sign that I pushed myself pretty hard).  I found a woman I had been playing a lot of leapfrog with to congratulate her on beating me in the end and we headed home.

My finisher's ribbon will fit in my scrapbook
better than a medal. Bonus. :-)

Official stats:

Gun time: 1:11:22.8
Chip time: 1:10:24.7
Category place: 49/51 (F19-29 - probably my last race in this category!)
Gender place: 145/160
Overall place: 409/432
5k split: 34:44.6
10k split: 36:38.2

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Best Message Ever.

(Hey! This is my 100th post!)

This is my me with my friend Amanda, who has a history of sending me the best Facebook messages ever:

I apparently had serious cleavage at my law school grad.
Keeping it classy.

Amanda and I met at law school.  She was my first friend in Halifax actually, other than the people I knew there from back home.  She took me under her wing and showed me all around the great city where she had already been living for a few years.  She also taught me the awesome trick of looking to see if cars are using their windshield wipers to tell if it's raining from an upstairs apartment.  Clever girl.

As you might imagine, law school didn't leave lots of time for being active.  I can't speak for Amanda, but other than my year on the recreational synchro team and a passing love for the two reasonably working ellipticals at the gym, I got lazy.  I can definitely say that Amanda and I weren't out running together.

Since law school ended and we got our lives back (more or less), Amanda and I have both been running in our respective provinces.  We're not together but we're cheering each other on.  The other day I got the best Facebook message ever from Amanda, and asked if I could share it with you because I loved it that much.  She nicely agreed.  Here it is:

Hiya -  
I found out today that I have to get gall bladder surgery this fall (to have it removed).  
In response, I did what any reasonable person would: signed up for a half marathon in September. 
Right now I'm running about a 5km. Might have been a little eager. 
Hmp. 
Do you have a training plan you could send my way so I can get started?  

(She's not giving herself enough credit by the way- she has done a 10k before.  And she's generally determined and awesome.)

I love it, don't you?  Assuming she's not running the half marathon the day after surgery, I think this is brilliant.

I've sent Amanda a pile of training ideas and plans but I'm sure she'd love anything you have to share as well.  Any tips or words of encouragement for her first half marathon?

Also a shout out to our friend Angie who has started running post-law school and post-baby.  She ran her first 5k recently and is aiming for her first 10k in the fall.  I don't have any pictures of us together so you don't get to see her lovely face, but please leave any thoughts and words of encouragement for her as well!  I have sent her training plans and all sorts of info on Run Like A Mother.  What else does she need to know?

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Montreal Rock and Roll Half Marathon Training Plan

Over 10 days since my last post?  Oops.  Sorry!

I've made my training plan for my next half marathon, which will be the Rock and Roll Half Marathon in Montreal on September 23, 2012.  I was secretly very excited when I realized I had enough time to complete a 16 week training plan, which Runner's World Smart Coach says is ideal.

My plan is based mostly on the Runner's World Smart Coach iPhone app, which someone on Twitter suggested a while ago (sorry I cannot remember now who it was!)  I am using their suggested runs and paces with a few changes.  First, I have put in some hill workouts and taken out some of their easy runs towards the end of the plan.  Second, I have increased most of the paces based on my plan to do 5:1s during this half as opposed to running straight through.  If I end up running more, I figure I will just end up with a better time!

I am aiming for about a 2:26 finish, which is a full 10 minutes faster than my finish time at the Toronto Women's Half Marathon but is only 5 minutes less than my finish time at the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  The Smart Coach seems to think this is reasonable and possible, and I'm choosing to believe it.  :-)

In the past I have used a combination of plans to design something that I thought would work.  Instead of using that approach this time, I am going to trust the training plan that someone much smarter and more experienced than me has come up with (other than the few minor changes set out above).  I have printed the training plan off and put it on my fridge again this time so hopefully I will follow it (I didn't do this for the Toronto half and found I let myself get really lazy with my runs).

The plan, very very briefly, is:
(all distances are in km)

I didn't include the detailed plan because it's many pages long with all my paces, etc. and wouldn't fit on the screen.  If you'd like more details, let me know!

I like that every four weeks or so there is an easy week.  I also like that my next planned race - the Midsummer Night's Run 15k - fits perfectly in the schedule.  That week called for a 16km LSD and I'll be doing the 15k, probably at race pace, instead.

Right now I'm one week in and have skipped one workout - the hills on Wednesday because my hip was bothering me - and one workout has been bumped by a day (my 10k LSD which I'll be doing tomorrow since we were travelling today).  We are travelling on a couple of occasions but I think I should be able to run where I am or move things around easily since there are only 3-4 runs per week.

Lastly, in somewhat related news, my Team Tough Chik kit should arrive by then so I'm looking forward to wearing my team shirt for this event.

I have high hopes for this training plan and I'm hoping it all goes well!