Sunday, November 28, 2010


Sometimes life gets in the way of training. I wasn't expecting to get in a run this weekend but thought I'd take my runners to Calgary with me just in case. Then I managed to tweak my back bending over to put something (not my runners) into my suitcase. One solution to the "to run or not to run" question.

After a bit of panic, I managed to find someone able to see me on Friday on short notice and I had a quick physio session that made it possible for me to sit for the flight to Calgary. Straight from physio to airport.

The reason for the trip was to attend the memorial service for my Uncle Andy, who passed away the week before last. There was no question of staying home to nurse my back. The ceremony was very casual, as is fitting for a celebration in Andy's honour, with some great stories.

It was definitely a sad reason to visit but was really, really nice to have the Thompsons and Russells all together. We need to meet up more often (perhaps Maui could be the new Shuswap?). We do need to get together at the very least to get into the legendary scotch bottle.

I have a very cool family. We're a small crew and don't really do drama, which is fine by me. I think I'm doing another road trip next summer to see them all.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Long Lost Calgary 70.3 Race Report

I found this in my drafts on my blog. It's a bit rough around the edges but it'll do.

I had a great swim - took over two mintues off last year's time. I started way further to the front than last year and had no issues with the washing machine for the first third. Kept ending up behind swimmers who couldn't sight and ran into them when they stopped to look for the bouys, annoying but fun to pass people. It was a bad decision to wear my blue goggles, have had trouble sighting the red bouys all summer with them but in the gloom at 6:30am it was impossible to see them - I looked where the swimmers in front of me were and aimed for the middle of the pack, assuming the swim support would herd the outside stragglers.

After a great swim had a stupid T1 and set out on the bike about the same time as last year - I was a bit spiny after the swim and not moving straight plus it was super muddy and slick after a night of hard rain so hard to move quickly without going down.

Wet roads and a slight headwind made for a slower bike. I raced the first 60 or so km as usual - found a pace group and leap-frogged with a few people. On the second big hill it started to fall apart, I couldn't keep up and suddenly everyone was passing me. The last 10 km was a slog and all I wanted was to get off the bike.

Decent T2 then a horrible run. I had nothing in my legs and my lungs weren't cooperating, I just wanted to quit and finally decided I'd do 10 and 1 and ignore splits as by 4km I was already off my target pace by 5 minutes. I couldn't push the pace as my breathing would get out of control, and halfway in I had nothing in my legs. The upside was that I didn't "catastrophize" and managed to keep positive and adjust my game plan to suit the reality of the day.

Lot of little things I did wrong - didn't adjust sleep patterns in advance (late-ish nights and slept in), not the greatest diet, more alcohol than usual - but I think it was the throat infection that killed me as I've been knocking out long rides for months and while I can see a bad run from the above I don't see why I'd die on the ride. I think my big mistake was not opting for a slower bike pace to account for being sick. I could be deluding myself.

My feedback on the race - the pre-race logistics are a serious pain in the butt. Made for a long Saturday, I was pretty tired and cranky by the time I got to the hotel on Saturday afternoon even though I'd drank lots of water and eaten well. Also the post-race food was nasty - a can of pop, small bag of chips and a subway sandwich. That's it. For $230.00 I expect a bit more. Think this is my last time at this race.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Fall Classic Race Report

Even before the mercury and snow both started falling I had low expectations for the Fall Classic half marathon. I hadn't done any timed runs since the Calgary 70.3, I'd taken a two month break from running and my most recent track workout was a gong show.

On top of this I spent the day before the race on my feet walking around the Circle Craft fair then a good four hours that evening towering over guests at Valencia's wine party in a pair of five inch heels. I only had a little wine though. A little of this wine, a little of that wine, a little of ...

Needless to say I didn't arrive at UBC on Sunday morning expecting to break any world records. The thick ice on the ground around the SRC didn't do anything to inspire me to greatness.

The race start was delayed because the organizers wanted the salt they'd put down to have some effect. They were very clear to let people know the course was slippery and to put caution above speed.

I did a warm up run with Clayton and Chris and got to the start just in time. We were told that today was not the day for a PR but to have good race and to be careful. The guy with the starting gun obviously had had his wheaties - he was wildly hyper then shot the gun at least four times just for fun. It was nice to start the race with a smile.

I took it out super easy, partly because I was worried slipping on ice but mostly because I didn't have a good feel for my pace and didn't want to start too fast then blow up.

There were lots of icy patches but the volunteers were awesome and made sure everyone knew to be careful. I didn't see anyone go down, although I'm sure people must have.

As we neared the turn around on Marine we saw the leaders coming back. Rachel and Amy we're running shoulder to shoulder, it was great to see and to cheer to them both.

I was at about 55 minutes at 10km but missed the hallway mark so I didn't get proper splits.

I finished the first loop just as the 10km race was starting so I got caught up in the chaos of the start. That was annoying but after about a km I got back into my rhythm.

As we saw the leaders of the half coming back at us I saw Rachel and Amy again, this time Rachel had about a 15 metre lead. I yelled like crazy at both of them, which seemed to annoy the runners around me. As we started seeing the 10km runners coming back at us I yelled just as loud for the people I recognized, figuring the runners around me were all 10km'ers and as I was running twice as far as them I had the right to be annoying. Not quite sure on how the logic in that works but it made sense at the time.

I was feeling good with five km to go so picked up the pace a bit and again at four. My hamstring had been tight for a good chunk of the race so I didn't want to push too hard and didn't speed up after that. I was feeing comfortable and was chatty with the other runners, which is a sign I'm in a good head space.

Coach Drew and Clayton, looking quite fresh despite having having just finished the half, were cheering at about 500m from the finish, a good push to pick it up just a bit.

I finished in1:51 according to the official results. My watch has gone on strike after an evening run in the cold, but I timed myself at 1:53. Not sure if my watch was incorrect or if the results are. Either way, I was hoping I could pull off a sub-two so I'm very happy with how I did.

I think this bodes well for the Bahamas marathon.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

All Right Already!

Apparently people do read my blog and a few of them even like it. I always thought it would be great to have adoring fans but it turns out they can also be demanding. So fans, here's a post for you - now leave me alone!

What's happened since my last post?

I did finish the Calgary 70.3 - blew up on the bike (I'd been sick, remember), had a slow run and a long day and came away generally unimpressed with the race. The raison d'etre for the whole trip to Calgary turned into the least fun part, happily the rest of the trip was a blast. Next year I'll do a race first then head out across the rockies.

I then decided to take a break from running to give my foot a rest and I focussed on biking and swimming.

Swimming with Fast Lane at Kits pool was phenomenal and I felt that I made huge gains in the water. I've built on those gains in the fall by signing up for Dolphins and, um, mostly sleeping in. Something about getting up at 4:30am in the off season is just plain wrong. Various people have tried to point out the error of my ways, none have come up with a suitably compelling reason.

I had fun doing long rides with the IMAZ crew, building up distance for the Gran Fondo. I got sick with a horrendous cold the week before the ride and wasn't 100% (not even 75%) on the day of but still did the ride. It was tough grind at the very end, everyone seemed to have issues at about the 100km mark, but fun. I'm not sure it was $250.00 worth of fun, however, so I'm passing on doing it next year.

Apparently riding 120km mostly uphill while suffering from a cold is not a good way to kick said cold. The cold took another week to go away then a cough settled in that lasted for almost two months. The upside was that I discovered you can get cough syrup with codiene without a presciption and that the stuff gets me seriously high!

In late September, after not having run for two months, not having exercised in almost a month and with my plantar faciitis issues unchanged, I decided it would be a good idea to sign up for a marathon. There was a ridiculous travel industry deal for the Bahamas Marathon, I figured even if I crawled the marathon it would be worth the trip.

I went back to phsyio and figured what my issues are. Basically I'm an idiot - a weak core and unstable supporting muscles were causing the problems. This was bad in that the plantar faciitis was caused by neglect but good in that there's a workable solution. A week of doing the plank and various exercises from Janet and I was doing great. I'm not 100% but getting there.

I got back on the bike, riding with Barb Zimich's group. She's a fantastic coach and I'm really enjoying riding with her. Her surgery and the cold weather has put an end to that for now but I'm really looking forward to riding with her in 2011.

So that's where I'm at. I will publish my Fall Classic race report soon. I promise. Really.