Monday, December 10, 2012

And so it begins

After the end of October, I decided to take a month or so break. I took two weeks completely off, and then ran "when I felt like it" which ended up making my two weeks off into about 4 weeks off. Yeah. Apparently, I didn't feel like running at all. This is basically the reason why I have a coach - if it was left up to me, I would be a lot less diligent about my training.

The time off was nice though, and with the time change, it was nice not to have to go out running in the dark by myself. I ran some Saturdays and Sundays, but nothing I guess I did do a little bit of running. After 11 months of basically non-stop training it was nice to just relax, and just let my body and mind recover. This past Sunday (Dec 9th), I did 10km for the first time since October, and it was a good run, but man, am I feeling it today! It's like I ran a race! All these muscles that I haven't been using since my running sabbatical are none to pleased today. The legs felt fast, and didn't want to do an actual 'long run pace', but I felt pretty good. I could tell I lost some cardio, but that should come back.

My first goal race of the season is Around the Bay, and it will be the first time I'll be racing over 21.1 km. So that will be exciting. I'm looking forward to it and if I can stay healthy I think I can do ok. I'm want to be under 2:40, hopefully around 2:35, but we'll see how the training goes, and how the body feels.

Recently I've added a daily reminder on my phone to keep me stretching and doing some strength exercises that I'm supposed to do. So far, so good! I may not do them every day, but I'm doing them multiple times a week so that's a start. Anyone else have an idea to do those things that you don't really like doing?

Overall, looking forward to the upcoming season!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

What, time off?

At the advice of my coach, I have been taking 2 weeks off from running. Completely.  It has been kind of weird, truth be told. Mentally and physically I knew I needed a break, but it was kind of hard to do without getting 'permission'. It is weird actually being home and eating dinner before 8 pm most nights, but I'm coping :) After 11 months of pretty much straight running, the body needed a break, and I'm not sure if it is just the fact that my body is being allowed to heal, but I've actually been pretty alert in the morning soon after I wake up. This was not the case at the end of the season when all I wanted to do was just roll over and fall back asleep. I'm getting back on the road this upcoming week, but with no training schedule, and *gasp* just running for fun. Then December will be here and training starts again - this time for Around the Bay, which will be my first race over 21.1 km. So, automatic PB for me!

Being honest, it is nice to have the downtime, and I am kind of looking forward to running again. I'm not as burnt out as I was at the end of last season, but I did need the break, and I don't think missing the training will affect me much speed-wise. I'll probably be sad at how slow I feel when I start up again, and that my cardio will be down a bit, but that'll come back quickly. Actually I might be "racing" this weekend on Sunday. It's a club championship that my parents belong to (and me, technically), and I may run as a training run. I haven't decided yet. I am supposed to go out that day anyway, so it's a possibility. That being said, I'm crap at running a 'race' and not racing it, and considering I haven't done anything for 2 weeks, it could be a recipe for disaster. We'll see. Of course, the weather might be crap, and I'll just say screw it to going out for a run.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Doping - My thoughts, let me show you them. TL;DR

Be warned - this is long, and rambly and I'm pretty sure it doesn't really go anywhere.

I wasn't sure if I wanted to post anything about the recent revelations of doping in cycling, or about Christian Hesch the runner that has admitted to doping. But, the more I keep reading the more fascinated I became with all of it. Of course, part of the reason I got interested in science was because I when I was young, I thought it would be interesting to work for an anti-doping lab. Other people watched the Olympics for the athletics, and I was more interested in how they catch cheats. This career has sadly not come to fruition, however.

Anyway, I think the other part of the fascination comes from the fact I feel so far removed from it, that it seems like a completely different world. I ended up talking to a few people who said that we'd probably be surprised at what happens even on the local level behind the scenes. I can't help but wonder what they know that I don't, but no one was divulging anything. As an outsider, it seems kind of crazy to have someone inject you with something, claiming it's "vitamins" and not know exactly what it is. Or just doping in general. But then, these people are competing at a level I can't ever hope to be at, and I can understand having to trust the people around you. The idea makes me uncomfortable, but I'm so far removed from that sort of competition level that I don't know the atmosphere or pressure they are under.

Prior to the USADA Armstrong report I more thought of doping as an individual thing - more with individual track athletes than with entire teams of people. I knew in a vague way that cycling has had issues with doping in the past, but I had thought that it had more or less stopped, and if it was going on, it would be individuals not entire teams. I am still very anti-doping, but this whole affair has just made me...kind of sad. Sad for the people that felt that they had to dope to stay on the team, to keep riding, that were intimidated and bullied into doing it. I realize that they still had a choice, but not being under that sort of pressure, I am trying to understand how one could get to that point. I suppose you could argue that individual athletes have their own sponsors to keep happy, and to keep competing, but at least then it feels like the choice of the individual, and you are only bringing yourself down in the end. It's not like the domestiques in cycling get much recognition - who the hell remembers all the riders that were on Lance Armstrong's team when he won? I don't know, I guess in the end my thoughts are if you want to fuck yourself up, go ahead, but pushing it on other people is just not cool.

I find the argument that if people took drugs it was to level the playing field aggravating, because 1) it doesn't make it right, and 2) there are naturally gifted athletes that wouldn't benefit as much (like if you naturally have high hematocrit, EPO won't help you as much as someone who had naturally low hematocrit), so it's not really leveling anything. It makes less talented athletes able to compete with more gifted athletes, and possibly outperform them, or in the case of the runner, able to compete enough that he can make a living at running. For people that know that they aren't going to win any big races, being able to essentially cherry-pick some races that you are fairly sure you can place in because they small field, and a decent purse, I can see how it could be tempting to take something.

Admittedly I am a bit of a sucker for those that seem genuinely remorseful and admit to fucking up. In that, it was interesting to read the affidavits of the cyclists that came forward. I'm curious of those that came out as dopers in the case, what they will do next - will they go the David Millar route, and be an anti-doping advocate, or will they keep their head low, and hope to never answer questions about it. Myself, I'm hoping it's the former rather than the latter, because I think that in this case, it's not just about owning your mistakes, but showing how you aren't going to repeat them. Especially with the reputation that cycling has. Part of my issue with some track athletes is that they are content to serve their suspension and come back and no one ever asks them anything about it, they don't make any substantial statements about it, their regrets, how they want things to be changed etc. It doesn't make me think you changed, and that's what I want to see. Sponsors come back and everything is just swept under the rug, it's like no one cares.

I think it is that thought - that people are just trying to close their ears and not talk about it, how they "just want to move forward", that makes me frustrated. I realize it is in the past, and that people want to move on from it, but I think that there is some value in, at least, acknowledging it, rather than every time it comes up saying "we want to move on, it's in the past the sport is different now". Tell me how it is different. Tell me how your team is going to prevent doping. Simply put, prove your statement(s) to the casual fans because otherwise, why should they come back to the sport? Cycling is so damaged at this point (though why track isn't despite the numerous doping convictions is beyond me), that you have to show us that you changed. Granted I live in North America, so admittedly cycling coverage is scant, but google is a wonderful thing, and most of what I'm seeing is people shoving their heads in the sand and stubbornly not talking about it and saying it's because they want to 'move on'. I don't know, one the one hand I can see how being asked about in constantly, particularly if you weren't a rider during the time it was going on, how that could be annoying and frustrating, but on the other, it's not a topic that is going to go away, so at some point someone is going to have to find a more effective way of dealing with the topic when it comes up.

I'm not sure that Sky has the right approach here, having their riders and staff sign something that says they have never doped. While I appreciate that they want to be seen as a 'clean' team, I'm not convinced that this is the way to do it. If someone doesn't sign, they are fired, if they lie, and sign, if they are found out, they're fired. They aren't following up beyond interviewing their staff and having them sign, so it feels more like lip service than anything. I don't know. Put in that position, if someone on the team had doped, they're screwed either way. There is no benefit to coming clean, and if they have lied this long, what will prevent them from doing it again? I don't know. I kind of see both sides, but at the same time, Michael Barry showed that you can have doped, not been caught and be signed to a team that says they won't have riders that have ever doped. So clearly that system isn't fool-proof, and signing an extra piece of paper won't change that. I totally get where Sky is coming from -  how do you trust someone that has been involved in doping, how do you know if they won't bring it to your team, and athletes, but I also think people can change, and can offer some sort of support, knowledge and insight into it that can be helpful. It's a difficult situation to be in, I guess. But I think that if someone comes clean voluntarily that it means something. If they change, and advocate against doping - I think that means something. These people have knowledge of how athletes can get to the point where they have to dope, how they could hide it, how they could avoid positive tests, and that knowledge could be valuable. I don't know if there is a 'right' way for teams to proceed. I do think being public with your team policy is helpful, since it does show that you are trying to change, at least.

Anyway, this got long and rambly. I find the topic interesting though, and sad. It's easy to look in as an outsider and judge people, but if nothing else, at least now I have a glimmer of understanding of how some people could get to that point, which is more than I could say before. It turns out even elite athletes are only human. I still hate it though, and I want to think that most athletes are clean, but I know that every time I hear of any elite athlete being accused of doping, I'm less surprised than the time before. I'm going to try to be optimistic though that things will be better in the future.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Canada!

Went for a 15km run yesterday that went pretty well. Beautiful day for a run! Not too hot or cool, and with the trees turning colour everything looked gorgeous. I was running with mom since she had a longer run on the schedule, so I hooked up with her partway through her run, and finished with her. 
Trees in the park
We saw a heron on the run in a tree so we stopped and gawked at that. I usually see them in the water, so it was unusual. Anyway, the run went well, which was nice.

That evening we had Thanksgiving dinner, so definitely glad I went for that run! Not that I wouldn't have pigged out anyway, but I could pretend to justify it all because I went for a run. I made squash and turnip for my mom, to make things easier on her and my dad. I probably ate more than I should have but mmm...thanksgiving food. Always delicious in my books. My sister wasn't down this year which was too bad, but we just saw her a couple weeks ago, so there is that. I believe she and her boyfriend went to his parents' place this year, and were greeted with snow when they touched down! How crazy is that?  I don't want to even think of snow yet, I want to keep this lovely fall weather around a few more weeks.

Before the race at sign-up
Then this morning I went and volunteered at a race. It was cold out! Had to break out one of the winter coats which seemed crazy. There was frost, but no snow, thank goodness. The race was put on by a local running group, and is a pretty basic race. A 2 km-ish race for the kids and a 6 km-ish race for the older teens and adults. They are cross-country races which is a bit different. And nice for the students because I'm not sure what is going on with their extra-curriculars right now, with the whole wage freeze thing that happened and the teachers being pissed at the government. Anyway, the race was nice! 

At the race I was able to catch up with a friend of mine that's living in Toronto, which is always nice. She was recently hit by a car when commuting to work which is significantly less nice. She was lucky, but she dislocated her shoulder and has to go back for an MRI scan on her knee this week. It was a hit and run which is crappy, and so not cool. But other than her shoulder and her leg being jacked she seems to be doing pretty well and is good spirits. And lucky she didn't break anything and didn't have any head injury, so pretty lucky all things considered.

It bit cold in the morning, especially in the shade, but not too bad. The weather behaved as much as you can expect in October. The race entry is pretty low, and it's nice activity for families. It's a pretty barebones race, but it's not like people really need another race shirt. They had overall, and age category awards, though for all the 6 km racers, and medals and ribbons for the kids. It was really nice. There was some food at the end, and I think everyone had a good time, despite the cool weather. Well, there was this one boy that didn't seem too happy to be there (I have a feeling he was dragged out by mom and dad), but I think he ended up having an okay time. Still, overall it was pretty fun, and it was nice to just helping out, and not having all the worries about having to race. I love to race, but the downtime is nice right now too. Plus I have an acceleration work-out tomorrow which will be fun. And probably less fun if I raced today. 

All in all a lovely way to spend a Thanksgiving morning!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Ottawa Army Half Marathon

So, a couple of weeks ago I ran the Army Half marathon in Ottawa, which is a pretty awesome race - all the fundraising efforts go toward Soldier On, and the Military Families Fund. It was my goal race for the fall, and I put a lot into the training, so I was hoping for a good result (or, good for me anyway). The bonus for running in Ottawa is that my sister lives there, so I don't have to worry about where I'm going to stay, or food or anything. It was a family affair - my mom, dad, sister and I all ran the race. My sister said "she's just doing it for fun, not to race" but as per the norm the family competitive streak came out, and she totally raced it, I don't care what she says. She ended up starting ahead of me because I made a last minute port-a-potty stop  before the start.

First that start are all the injured soldiers doing the half marathon and I ended up passing a few of them on the route. It's pretty inspiring to see them out there doing their thing.

We picked up our race kits on Saturday, and I found out that my chip didn't work. This is the second year in a row where I've had problems with a fall half-marathon chip! The anklets and the small ones you tie in your shoes seem to be the most reliable. This was the kind that is embedded on the back of the bib. At least they were scanning them all beforehand, so I was able to get a replacement. I was told that on Saturday evening everything would be sync'd up and the new chip would have all my information on it. I found out on Sunday that this was not the case. and I was "Unknown". They were very prompt in fixing the issue - I e-mailed Sportstats on Sunday afternoon, and they had it fixed by Monday afternoon. I was very glad that they were checking the chips before the race! Still I can't believe that I had a chips fail twice!

We got to the start with plenty of time to spare - we took the bus down to the start, and found a place for us all to meet when we finished. We then went potty and then to the bag check, and to the start. They showed a couple of videos - I guess you could send in a video, and win a chance to enter the race for free. They showed the two winning ones, and one from the army which was kind of neat. I guess some of the soldiers overseas do a race too! I think it's usually shorter though. Anyway, John Stanton was there and talked a bit, mom and I went back to the port-a-pottys and came back and the area was packed! The corrals were pretty full, so I started a bit further back than I wanted to. Anyway, then they started the injured soldiers, and they have a videoscreen up so we could see them off. Very inspiring! They had a few other speakers, and the National anthem, and then we were off! The starter's pistol is a cannon, but they have moved it back a bit, so you can still hear it, and feel it, but it's not so close that you think you're under attack. I'm sure the residence downtown love hearing it go off in the morning! The weather was cool, which was great, but a bit windy which kind of sucked sometimes and made it hard to keep my pace up.

Unlike Vegas (the only other large race I've done) after the first couple of kilometres you were around people your pace. The 1:45 pace bunny seemed to be going for a positive split - I thought I'd be able to keep them in sight, but I lost them pretty quick. I think a lot of the bunnies got rid of their sticks with the times on them...since I saw them on the side of the road. There were some people that definitely placed themselves incorrectly in the corral, but it seemed to sort itself out fairly quickly. The pace bunnies for the run/walkers were actually really good - they would put of their arm for the walk break and get everyone over to one side of the road for their break. I said thank you when I passed them, and people seemed to look at me funny, but it's so nice when you aren't running into a wall of walkers!  Dad pointed out that for a 1:55 run/walk (I think that was the finish time) you kind of have to figure that they have to run around 5min/km, and then walk for a minute. That seems a bit crazy to me! I think it would be way easier to just run slower and not walk. Anyway the water stops were ok - I think if each stop had a couple more volunteers it would be perfect - there were a couple of times that it seemed a bit dicey if people were going to get water/gatorade or not. There were a bunch of people stopped at the second or third port-a-potty set...I think they had them every water stop or so, and one enterprising gentleman decided just stand behind the porty-a-potty and go. It looked like it provided enough cover...

The course had a lot of curves in it, and a lot of small hills. According to my Garmin I ran about 190m longer than the course! Yikes! It was hard at the beginning to hit the tangents though...too crowded! None of the hills too steep but there were enough that it made things hard for me. I don't remember much of the race course...I know that somewhere around the civilization museum there was a waterstop and about 5 or 6 army guys cheering there...they were quite loud! I high-fived them all and got my gatorade...and I high-fived the cadets...don't remember where they were on the course. When we got into Quebec it was very deserted...kind of thought zombies were going to pop out somewhere! I always find it kind of funny when races describe the sights on a course, or how scenic it is...I tend to not notice anything unless it's on the road or at a waterstop. There were a few areas where there weren't many people out cheering, but there were lots where there were many people along the course! I found that, like in many races, if people are there for one person, they tend not to be really loud, but if there is one person that's nuts and cheering for everyone, everyone joins in.

I do wish there was maybe one more waterstop, and that they had the kilometre marks on their race map, so you can figure out where the stops are kilometre wise. I had my first gel around 6 kilometres maybe because I wasn't sure when the next waterstop was coming up, and the second one I had later than I wanted to...maybe around 15 km? I'm pretty sure it was more than 5 km from the end, but not much. According to the website there were 6 waterstops, so I'm guessing they were about 3 km apart give or take. Still, this is only the 5th year of the race, and it is really, well run. I can't complain about much. The first gel at 6 km went down ok, but the second was a bit problematic. I think I couldn't digest it because it sort of just sat there, and I didn't feel well, and I was wondering if I was going to have to stop and be sick. It was a weird experience for me because I never had it happen before.

I think somewhere around 16 or 17km I finally caught, and passed my sister. I wasn't sure where she was in the race, but when I passed my mom going the other way, she said my sister was not far ahead of me. So that gave me a goal. When I got fairly close behind her I said "Go Rache" and she sped up so it took longer than I had thought it would, when I caught up to her (finally) I was thinking that maybe we would finish together, and said "Let's git'er done" and she swore at me (pretty sure she told me to fuck off), so I continued on without her. Of course, after I did that, I was her rabbit and thought she was going to catch me again at the end. The last 4km were really, really hard. I think the two things that kept me going were the facts that a) my sister was behind me and I thought she'd catch me (us, competitive? I  don't know what you are talking about), and b) I really didn't want to walk in the last 4km. I can do anything for 4km! I saw a surprising number of people having to stop in the last 4 kilometres...some with 1 km to go! Seems crazy. From the pictures it looks like I kind of feel apart in the last few kilometres. Basically all I was concentrating on was just getting my feet up and down and moving forward.

So I finished, gun time 1:48:44, and got my medal from an army guy and stumbled along a bit, then turned to wait for my sister. She finished about a minute behind me, and then got my box of food. It had an energy bar, hummus and Melba toast, and some chocolate. It was supposed to have granola/trail mix, but it was missing from my box. They didn't have the normal fare out for food, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I do wish that we got a bottle of water and a banana with our box, but I was pretty pleased with the box of food overall. My lungs hurt when I finished, but that went away after a few minutes.

The next day, I was pretty sore. I figured I was going to be, since on Sunday my body wasn't best pleased when I wanted to move around, but Monday was worse. I knew it was going to be bad when I stretched in bed, and everything hurt. Chip time I finished at 1:46:58, about a minute faster than my previous PB of 1:48:05 (chip time, Forest City half marathon 2012). A couple of seconds faster per kilometre doesn't sound like that much, but it makes a huge difference in how I feel at the end! I didn't have to go down the stairs backwards, but I was going down sideways. I thought about scooching down on my bum, but figured that may be worse since I'd need to use my legs to make sure I just didn't slide down all the stairs. After the race, I wasn't too happy that there were so many stairs in my sister's place!

I'm still pretty pleased with the race. I had a goal of, if it was a perfect day, and a fairly flat course (which is what I was told it would be before we found out it had been changed from previous years)  that I would be going for 1:45, which in retrospect was kind of crazy since that's about 3 minutes faster than I had run it before. Still, it looks to be within my grasp, and I wasn't off this time by that much all things considered. As long as I stay healthy, I think it will happen soon. Second was to be faster than my last half marathon, which I was, and third was to be under 1:50. I mean, I always have the goal to finish, and to finish upright and running, but I'm not sure if that counts. I think it would be pretty hard to get me off a course, unless I was injured. 
My sister and me after the race. We're smiling because we're done.

My race season is pretty much over. I have a 10km race at the end of the month, which I'm looking forward to. I'm not feeling burnt out this year (last year, I felt a bit burnt out at the end of last season so I don't think I had a great race), so I'm hoping to have a decent race. Apparently, I haven't broken 50 minutes for a 10 km race so I really want to do that, at least. There is no reason why I can't do it. If the weather is crap than it may be harder to do, but as far as I can tell it should be well within my ability.

Until next time,


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bia Sport, and running evaluation

So, there is this company that is getting funding through kickstarter called Bia Sport, that wants to make a GPS watch for women. Not only will it track your run like a Garmin it also will have a built in alert that will alert authorities if you have the need. Pretty awesome for when you are a little concerned when running alone (which I have been a couple of times. Nothing happened, but knowing that I could alert someone if needed would be a pretty awesome add-on, and make me feel better when running alone). And, it's super cute! And will have metric measures as well,  which I think is awesome, since I don't know Imperial. Anyway, people should send them money so they can make it. I have a Garmin, which I like, but it is fitted for a man's wrist, so it's a bit big on me, and I like the idea of a women run company - no more with the Shrink it and Pink it. Plus if it can be multi sport, waterproof and have fab battery life? Count me in. Seriously. Give them money!

As well, my coach videotaped me running, gave me a breakdown of my form, and I'm now wondering how I'm able to propel myself forward at all. My gluteus medius is apparently weak, causing my hips to drop, toeing out when I land and a big angle from my hip to foot when I run, and I overstride, and sit behind my support leg. Basically all this means that I spend a lot of energy just moving forward that I should get from elastic recoil. Which means I need to start some strengthening exercises for my glutes and core. Joy! Actually, while I'm not thrilled about having to do extra exercises, I'm excited about how it could affect my speed (in a positive way), I have about 2-3 minutes in my 5k times I want to knock off and hopefully this will help in that goal.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

8k race

I had a race last night. Fridays nights are not my favourites for races because of work. I am lucky that I only work a half day on Fridays, but I ended up doing some errands in the afternoon and ended up feeling a little rushed. Plus timing when to eat is kind of hard. This race was hooked up with a 1500m track race afterwards, which I ended up staying for, because a local-ish guy was trying to meet the Canadian standard in it.

So firstly the track people? SO FAST. The race with they guy going for the standard was like 3 minutes 30-someodd seconds for 1500 metres. I'm pretty sure I couldn't run at that speed for one lap even if you paid me. He ended up missing the standard by about 2 seconds which was obviously disappointing, but it was so cool to watch. It's so different watching the races live compared to on TV. They seem to go so much faster when watching live.

The only the I didn't like about staying that long is that I didn't really have a dinner. I ate around 3:30 pm - 4pm, and had some watermelon and a Clif bar, but not much else until I got home at around...11 or so? So next time, maybe more food would be in order.

Anyway back to the race. The weather was better than it had been in previous years. We had a mini heat wave earlier in the week, and I was a little concerned that it would extend to Friday, but it ended up breaking on Thursday night. It was still a bit hot, but less humid than it was earlier in the week, and less humid than it had been in the past years for the race. I find 8k races hard in that I kind of have to think about it as a short 10k race or a long 5k race. So pacing was a little bit of an issue. Ended up finished at 39:37, which was ok. About 3 minutes faster than the last time I ran this race, so that's something. Ended up 2nd in my age group, which was also pretty sweet.

I get a little bit of a break for a couple weeks now, and not have such intense training for the next couple of weeks, which I'm kind of looking forward too. Give me time to recharge a little and then get back into training for the next race.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Forest City Half Marathon

So, last weekend was my goal race, which was a local half marathon (Forest City half marathon), which...was ok.

The race isn't a PB friendly one - many hills. Long, aggravating hills, particularly the one that is shoved in about 1 km from the end. I love that one. On the plus side, the weather was just about perfect. We started the race around 2-4 C, which felt pretty cold at the start, but it warmed up. It was clear so it got pretty sunny, and by the end it felt hot. I wore shorts, a singlet and arm warmers (and gloves). The first 17km went really well. I had one slow kilometre, but the rest were between 5:02/km and 5:07/km, which right around a 1h 47min half, which was my goal. I had IT band issues earlier in training, but I thought I had them beat. It turns out, not so much on that one. I had a little bit of pain maybe around 7-10km but it was manageable, nothing awful, and the pain wasn't increasing, it was just there. Cue 17km when I felt like my leg was dying. I hadn't experienced pain like that since it freaked out on me in early March when I hobbled the last 1500 m of my long run. In any event I made it to the finish, but I lost about a minute (or about 15 seconds per km) over the last 4 km of the race. So, that was pretty disappointing.

That all being said, it was a PB. I was pretty disappointed at the end of the race, since it wasn't what I wanted, and I felt like I could have done it. It wasn't like I ran out of gas, or wasn't hitting my time or anything, it was a flare up of an injury I thought I had kicked (I mean, really, I had about a month with races, and long runs and it wasn't saying anything that made me think it was coming back). So that was frustrating. But, as my coach pointed out, it was a PB, and it's hard to be super disappointed about that for a long time. And looking forward, I think provided I stay healthy, I'll have a kickass half in the fall. Got the PB the hard way, I guess. It's kind of weird getting a PB, which normally makes me really, really happy, and not being super excited about it.

Unfortunately during the run there was chafing on the inside of my arm. The armwarmers I wore, which I love, have a silicone band at the top to help hold them up (I guess). I didn't put bodyglide on underneath it, and partway through the race I could feel the pain of the chafing. I pulled down the armwarmer a bit, but it was too late, and the chafing had already started. I could feel the sweat getting into it and making it sting, more so at the end of the race, when all those endorphins started to wear off, and I was standing around and sweating. Showering was also a fun experience that consisted of gritting my teeth and trying to get sweat off as fast as possible. I ended up getting a larger-ish bandage at work to cover it, since I think my shirts at work were rubbing against it, and making me, in general, quite uncomfortable.

So, despite the chafing and IT issues, it was a pretty successful race, so I'm trying to be a little more positive about it.

Until next time,


Friday, April 20, 2012

Two posts in two days?

For those that don't know, I'm a bit of a running geek. If I've met you, if I saw you talk once, if I went to school with you (which I guess falls under the first one I listed), if I know you off the internet, if you are some fast person in Canada, I will likely stalk your races online (when I remember). I'm hoping that's not creepy. I find it interesting to see how people I know (kinda) are doing in their races.  It is this that led me to waking up at god-awful-o'clock to watch the Rotterdam marathon (in Dutch!) - to see how Dylan Wykes and Robbie Watson (both crazy fast) would do, and if they would make the Canadian Olympic qualifying time. I was admittedly pulling for Rob - I went to high school with him (he was the year behind me) - we were on the same cross-country team and track team. He was good, and was not as good (if I was in the top 3rd of any race I was pleased). Anyway, I was pulling for him, so I was a bit disappointed he didn't make the time, but was so happy that he PB'd by around 3 minutes. I didn't see much of him after he fell off of the pace of the group he was in (I think it was the lead Dutch man's group, from what I could figure out), but oh well. I also didn't get to see Dylan cross the finish line. The coverage was on the interview with the Dutch guy at the end, and the next thing I knew I saw Dylan across the line. At least I could see the clock and pretty much figured that he was under, but it was sort of sad not to see him cross the line. That being said, if I was Dutch, I'd probably rather see the interview, than see some random guy cross the line. So I totally get that part of it...I just wanted to see him finish, and how frigging pumped he would have been seeing he made the standard.

Also, I had the good fortune of hearing Wesley Korir speak at the end of last year. Very inspiring guy. Anyway, totally stalked him through the Boston marathon, and was wishing I could have watched a feed online. Unfortunately, I was at work, and that sort of thing is frowned upon when one is supposed to be doing the work one is being paid to do. Of course, I also watched a bunch of other runners that I know from the area (including my sister's high school math teacher). I do it out of love and admiration, I swear!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Recent happenings

Ran a 5km race a couple weeks back and knocked 10 seconds off the PB, which is pretty awesome. What was significantly less awesome was when I saw photos from that race. My new running goal, is to not look so horrible in pictures. I think it will involve being faster. Or bribing photographers to later photoshop me so I don't look so slow. I'm seriously wondering if race photographers somehow know when to take a photo so it's the least flattering pic ever.

I will say one of the more frustrating things about smaller (and possibly shorter) races is that sometimes...sometimes people don't know how to place themselves at the start line. And not being fast as blazes, I end up getting caught behind runners that are either overly optimistic about how fast they are, or don't understand that in a race with 700 people, if you are a 27 minute 5 km runner you shouldn't be right behind the skinny dudes with no socks on at the startline. Not that I overheard someone say "yeah, my dad is hoping for around 27 minutes so he's up there somewhere" from the girl behind me a minute before the start or anything. And it wasn't like I was far least, I don't think. I thought I was appropriately placed. So that was a bit frustrating. I need to know who is around my pace for these local ones so at least I can be around them at the start. That way if I'm going to suffer, we all suffer.

On April 29th I'm running my next half marathon. The goal is to get another minute or so off my time, though it will depend on the weather, I think. The course is hilly, which isn't terribly helpful, but it's local and I'm poor. That's not really a great sales job for the race there, is it? Sadly, it's true though - it's not a fast course. We'll see though. My coach thinks I can do it. I think a lot of it for me has to be getting the right mental space for it. Right now in my running...'career' 5 minute kms in a half seems really fast, at least, in my head in seems fast. And right now I'm supposed to race just a little slower than than per kilometre. And I think I can definitely psych myself out if I get stuck on it being kind of fast, and not think that I can actually do it. So we'll see how it goes. Hopefully the weather will be better than last year, when it was cold and began to rain part way through. The last two halfs I've done have been in the rain, and I'm kind of not loving it. Bring on the overcast, cool mornings!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Running and eating

Runner's World has an interesting article about running and eating here - Running on Empty. Interesting to me, because it really hit home. At least it did for me, because I can still see some of my eating habits in it. I've always had a...complicated relationship with food, culminating with a period of time between the 10th and 11th grade where I lost nearly 20 lbs. Which, when you're around 5'6"/5'7" and 120lbs, is not healthy. It was, in some ways, a competition with myself. I wasn't training in the summer, and I recently had to stop playing soccer because I had broken my arm. So, since I wasn't doing anything, I felt I shouldn't make the same food choices as I did when I was running, or playing sports. Which was stupid, but then sometimes what we do isn't logical. I ended up gaining back the weight, and eating more or less properly after that, at least for a while. The thing is, I love food, and I like to eat food. But, I've always had a fixation with my weight. I had always been slender, and it was one thing I was kind of proud of, which I guess is kind of weird now, but you hear so much (at least I did) about others complaining about their weight, and I didn't have to do much to maintain a weight between 120 lbs and 125 lbs, so yes, that did make me happy.

After about 10 years of not running, or doing much exercise at all, I had put on quite a bit of weight - when I started up again I was around 165 lbs to 170 lbs. At that point I was rarely weighing myself. I had known I had put on weight, but I expected that - I had heard from friends that at some point in your 20's your metabolism takes a hit. When I started running, I didn't change my diet that much - I wasn't running far, and I wasn't getting hungry at random times during the day. As my distance grew, my eating didn't change much, except for some snacks (usually yogurt) during the day, since I would get hungry randomly in the morning and afternoon. By the time I hit my first half marathon I had dropped about 15 lbs.

Then I heard about the relationship between weight and race times. I knew there was a link - but nothing in cold, hard numbers. Dreams of losing weight and being down to my high school running times (which, if I got down to my high school weight I would be around, or under) came up. In the beginning things were weird - if I got home late from a run I didn't always eat a full meal, because I wouldn't be hungry, and then it would be too close to bedtime. Portions were small, and very few carbs. I stopped snacking and drank tea or water to stave off hunger pains. After a few months it just got exhausting - I was tired of being hungry and it was kind of a lot of work. I am, if nothing else, a closeted lazy person. So, things got better - meals are more balanced, and I brought back the morning snack, and eating after running. My portion sizes are still a bit smaller than they were before. I still don't eat much pasta unless it's Saturday and I have a long run on the Sunday. Despite my love of bacon I don't eat it much anymore. I justify what I can and cannot eat based on how far I'm running any given week. For a while there still weren't any snack foods or desserts, but that ended when I rekindled my love affair with ice cream. I rarely drink.

The thing is, even though I know it's something I don't have to do, at the same time, I know that for me to lose the weight to be at a weight I want to be at I either have to restrict my intake, or train more, and I don't really have the time to do the latter, beyond adding a run on Saturday. But the lure of losing weight is a tempting one, and it's so easy to get really screwed up in your eating. Or at least it's really easy for me. I feel like I'm doing okay now, but I'm acutely aware of the fact that it's a really fine line to cross, and it's really, really easy to do.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Runday Sunday!

Our weather, here in Southwestern Ontario, has been mild this winter - makes the running nice, though it's weird running in rain in January. Unfortunately, this morning, it was less mild - as in -21C when I went out this morning for a 15k run. Still, despite the cold (and it was cold), the run went really well. Once you start moving it wasn't too bad. And, it did start to warm up later on in the run. Still, the body doesn't like these cold snaps. I feel like it wouldn't have felt as cold if it wasn't above 0C the week before.

Anyway, not much else of import, lately. I have to sign up for my races this year, and figure out what I'm doing for my goal race. I think my dad is doing Burlington, so that's a possibility, and I know some people are doing Glass City. We'll see.