March 2014 - Run for the Thrills

around the bay

Love you Around the Bay 2014

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Around the Bay 30km road race – Older than Boston and the oldest Road Race on the Continent – celebrated it’s 120th year today in Hamilton.  I was there to enjoy this popular road race along with the 9000 other participants in the 30k event, plus all the runners who ran the relay races and the 5km race.  It was a glorious day for so many of us, who enjoyed the sunshine and the above zero degree temperature.

Today my goal was to run the 30km race at my target marathon pace of 4:15 per km.  The rolling hills in the second half are a great preparation for Boston.  After a couple of disappointing races this winter, this race was important for me.  I did it!  I am pleased to report that I did just what I had set out to do.  I did not start off too quickly;  I maintained a solid pace and even picked up the last two kms (4:06 and 4:01), passing several runners as I ran strong to the finish.  I finished in 2:07:22, two minutes quicker than when I last ran this race in 2011.  My main focus is on my big race in three weeks – this was a marathon pace training run, that went well; it went as planned and it is the encouragement that I need for Boston, after several questionable races.

Congratulations to Krista Duchene who won the woman’s race in 1:47:13.  Congratulations to my many friends who ran today.  Two friends ran 30km for the first time ever:  Brian Barclay, my friend from high school, who I literally ran into during our warm ups, ran a 2:30 today.  Amber Niles ran her longest race ever and completed it in 3:45 – this was a new challenge for Amber and I am so proud of her for finishing this tough race!

Joe Zack, my local competitor, had a great run (beating me – but I do need to remind Joe that my goal was to run marathon pace!) finishing in 2:06.  My training buddy, Karen Natho did excellent today, finishing in 2:24 – 24min quicker than the last time she ran this race.  Amanda Hoar, likewise bettered her 30k time, finishing in a time of 2:41.  Wolf Guembel, likes the time 1:51 for 30k (a very quick time, I must add), finishing in that time for his third Around the Bay road race.  A solid time – he may just be recruited to be the 1:51 pace bunny for next year’s race.

A great day to celebrate with the successes of so many runners, and to confirm that my training is on the right track for Boston.  Thank you, Around the Bay, for a great day!

happy winter

Preparing for the Boston Marathon

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The Boston Marathon is four weeks away today and I am excited.

I have decided to focus on the THRILLS of running.  I will not let this winter (spring) weather get me defeated.  I will not allow a couple of discouragingly slow races (i.e. the Chilly Half Marathon) get me down.

There is much to be thrilled about and my training is looking better these days.  Yes, the weather has been challenging, but I have run through so much of it.  Let’s count my successes and think towards an exciting Boston in four weeks.

Reasons to be encouraged as I look towards the Boston Marathon:

1. I have successfully increased my mileage.  I have logged my highest mileage weeks ever these past three weeks.  My maximum weekly mileage in preparing for my past marathons was 75-80km.  My mileage last week was 97.4 km, and the weeks before 89km and 88km.

2. I have done more consistent interval work thanks to my new treadmill.  Mile repeats are scheduled on the treadmill tomorrow morning.

3. I will be thrilled to run Boston, regardless of my finishing time.  My strategy will be to start off conservatively and then pick up the pace as the race progresses.  This has worked well for me at the last two Boston races I have run.  I will enjoy the race, with all the incredible athletes and supportive spectators and simply put my best foot forward.  I have goals, but ultimately, being at Boston and running is the main goal.

4. When the weather does warm up and my legs thaw out, it will be such a glorious feeling and I will be more thrilled to run than ever before!

This winter and my disappointing races have truly reminded me that I do run for the love of it.  I will continue to run even when I see my times getting slower.  I hope that I have not reached that moment in my life yet, but if I have, I will continue to run and push myself.  It is a blessing to be able run and I will not take that gift for granted.




Fit Running into Your Life

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It is a challenge at times to fit running into our lives.  We all have multiple commitments and responsibilities vying for our time and energy.  How do you fit running into your life?

I have the Boston marathon quickly approaching.  Intense intervals and long runs are my goals for the next few weeks.  I am increasing my mileage to prepare for this marathon.  How do I fit it all in?

1. Remember why you are running – you love it and you know it is good for you!  Your life is better for running.

2. Take a day off when you need to and don’t feel bad about it.  Allow a day off to energize you for the following day’s run.  You will be fresher and you will have allowed yourself to take the break you needed.

3. Mix it up – If you are sick of the winter or the treadmill, do something different for today.  I am going to a yoga class tonight.  My body and my mind will really appreciate the variety.  I need a day off from the treadmill, after yet another winter storm!

4.  Use your schedule – prepare and plan.  If you are a parent, like me, you will have so many other commitments to juggle.  Plan when you will run and guard that time.  Don’t allow the possibility of maybe a free moment later in the day to be your maybe run time.  That will never happen.  Plan and stick to your schedule.

5. Allow your family and friends to support you and keep you accountable.  When those who are close to you know how important your running and training is to you, they will support you in finding the time.  When my resolve is weak, it is surprising to me how often James will encourage me to fit in my run.  It makes a world of difference.




Chilly Half Marathon Challenge

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Runners are tough and will not back down from a challenge.  Who willingly goes out for a run in -11 C with a windchill that feels like -21?  On Sunday March 2nd, 500 runners did exactly that, not going for a little 5km jaunt, but rather facing a Half Marathon Challenge at the Chilly Half Marathon in Burlington.  The wind along Lakeshore Road was fierce and the footing a challenge, with slush and ice from the fresh snow fall the night before.  This winter has been a difficult one and the Chilly Half Marathon was a definite challenge for me this year.

I am impressed at the runners who did not seem to be slowed by the adverse weather conditions – the top finishers had great times with the top male, Matt Leduc finishing in 1:09:56 and the top female, Jennifer Faraone with a time of 1:20:57. For complete results check here.

The cold affects me in much more extreme and adverse ways apparently. I have been cold this entire winter! I began the race with a quick pace that if I could have maintained would have been excellent, however, by 6km, my legs were seizing up and by 14km, the ball of my left foot had frozen.  I kept going;  I just kept putting that frozen block in front of the other one and tried to keep the pace from slowing any more.  I like to look on the bright side of life, so the fact that I finished this race is a victory.  The fact that it was my slowest half marathon ever and the 1:30 pace bunny passed me near the end of the race is of course a disappointment.

The race in Burlington is a finely tuned event, well organized and with a fun atmosphere.  Chilli and Beer are served to all the runners at local restaurants after the finish.  All runners receive a technical running jacket with their entry and a finishing medal.  Great value for your race entry.  The post race awards are held in the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, with plenty of space for runners to warm up before and after the event.  I huddled in that lovely warm building to thaw out after the race.  My lips turned back to a normal colour about an hour after I finished the race according to my family!  My ego is still recovering from my poor performance, but my drive has increased to keep training and to face my next challenges.  Congratulations to all the runners who survived and even excelled at the Chilly Half Marathon this weekend!