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ENDURrun Stage 6 10k Time Trial

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Today was exciting for me for 2 reasons: 1) Bestest dude was running this morning and 2) IT WAS FLAT!!! After yesterdays stage and prolonged sickness (I found out a few others also struggled with this), I ended up sleeping like the dead last night. I literally woke up in the same position I fell asleep in. Although I am told I was tossing and turning alot. I can tell you I was solidly asleep this morning, and not wanting to get out of bed. Fingers crossed tonight is equally as restful. It seemed like the morning whizzed by and I felt a little disorganized. We headed out to the finish area to catch a shuttle to the start line.

This course is a point to point course, and covers some of the same ground as the 15k time trial. I was a little worried because my start time was a little later in the group and I knew that there were faster runners ahead of me. I decided to just run what I could and not focus too much on my time. The course was pretty much flat. slight inclines and declines here and there but they cancelled each other out. Bestest dude started about 20 min earlier then me, so I knew I wouldn’t see him during the race. I didn’t really see anyone during the race! I could just make out the person ahead of me, waaaay int he distance but ran this mostly on my own. I looked at my first 2km to make sure I wasn’t going out too fast, then ran on feel. Mentally this stage was such a change from the past few. I was counting down each km marker, and there were no war cries. During the last few stages on a couple of the big hills I was letting out a large war cry. More to motivate myself then anything. This course was just about getting it done. The sun came out for the last 5k and began beating down which made it tougher. The last 2km is a straight away towards Conestogo and for some reason km #9 felt soooooo long. As I headed towards the distance I saw Bestest Dude to my right, and my brain was starting to quit. I think he could see that because he started running with me the last 500m. Yelling at me, motivating me to push. I am super glad he did because that last push kept me under 49 mins at 48:41. Then I could not stop sweating! The humidity was unbelievable today. UGH.

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You can see from the post pics how hot and sweaty we are! I haven’t run a 48 min 10k since 2011, so I am really pleased with my result! Although, I was essentially schooled by other ultimate females who started ahead of me! The two girls below me in the standings ran 46mins!!! Thats crazy fast, and I am super stoked for them! I’m starting to think that there may be something to this trail running for me. It seems to have been my best 2 stages. I have always known that I don’t possess speed. I have quads that are built for hard work and hills, they have always been my strength.

As for my Bestest Dude?!? He managed a 47:17. Which is really remarkable for him, and I am super proud. Most people don’t know but he has had to changed his gait 2 times in the past 3 years. This is something incredibly hard to do, and takes months of work. He also runs with a severed ACL (one of the reasons for the gait change). He truly is my rock and I am grateful he was there today!

Soooooo….deep breath……tomorrow is the marathon. I seriously have no idea how these legs are going to carry me for 42.2km. To make it even more difficult, the expected temperature is 30 degrees, full sun, and limited shade course. To say I am worried is understating. I have actually experienced heat stroke once before (I passed out in a race 200m from the finish line). This makes me more susceptible to heat stroke in hot temps. I am strategizing a heat plan, loaded with some coolers filled with ice, and extra hydration bottles for my belt. My parents are planning on being there, as is Bestest dude. He actually told me in the car today that he would run the last little bit with me. He won’t tell me where he’s going to start with me though. My hope is to at the very minimum run for 30k. I anticipate given the heat I will need to walk at some points during the race. I would like to finish with a 6:00/km pace, but I am speculating I may be slower then this. As long as I don’t cross the 4hr 30min mark, I will be pleased.

So big deep breath, Doritos, Nuun, and epsom bath this afternoon. Hopefully tomorrow I will be blogging about my official status as “One Tough Runner”. Catch you all on the other side of 42km.

T

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ENDURrun Stage 4 – 16k Hilly run Wilmot Line

I will tell you a secret. I have been having a love affair during my training for the ENDURrun, and it has been with Wilmot line. I started running Wilmot line because I knew it would be tough and wanted to mentally prepare myself. I never knew I would learn to love it so much. I not only love the challenge of it, but it is beautiful running through the country! Let me give you a sense of the massive hill we run. This pic is catching it on the way down, but we actually run up this hill at the 5k point.

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I was slightly worried about racing this course, but I knew that my body was familiar with it. I actually felt the most confident today out of all the courses so far because of this familiarity. The race was a 6pm start so I went to work for my usual shift today. I am actually really glad I worked today as it kept me busy and distracted. I work on an acute unit in a hospital so it is usually a busy place. I made sure to wear my compression socks under my work clothes, and I was ready to go! In my discussion with a doctor today my race came up. I find that people generally look at you with their head slightly cocked, and a blank expression at first. This is usually followed up with “you’re crazy” and “i wish I had your energy”.

I am fortunate that I live close to this venue, and it only took me 5 minutes to drive there from home. Pounded back a coffee and tucked a vega gel into my bag for the run. I had practiced running this route at 6pm so that I could make sure I knew what my nutrition needs were throughout the day. I had a solid lunch salad with protein, and knew the coffee and gel would be adequate. Weather again was perfect! The sun was a little warmer so this warranted shorts and sports bra only.

We start this run at the bottom of a large hill outside Camp Heidelberg. It strolls down Erbsville road to Conservation, then Conservation to Wilmot line. You spend the rest of your time on the rolling hills of Wilmot. I was again determined to run up each and every hill. This was also the first time that we had police directing traffic as Wilmot is busy this time of day. I knew what I was in store for with horror hill (a very well deserving name) and made sure to watch my pace on this route. Interestingly enough I have looked at my paces for all the events, but I have largely been running on feel. I think this is why my times have been quicker then my practice runs. I always train alone, and the downside is that I never push myself hard enough. I run “comfortable”. Throughout this I have pushed myself to run at my best. With this run I also knew that a rest day was on the other side. I firmly believe this made a difference in how much I pushed! I also had one of the other ultimate girls in front of me and was determined not to let her out of my sight! My legs felt pretty good again, although my poor quads are starting to fatigue. I felt stronger running up horror hill, and on this course then all my training runs. It definitely showed! I managed to run the course in 1:22.53 @ a pace of 5:09/km. That is remarkable for me!!! The fastest I have run it in practice was at 5:22/km and my goal was to run 5:20. It was helpful to have runners in front of me, this pushed me at point where I thought my legs were going to give out. There is one HUGE hill right at the finish leading to Camp Heidelburg and the finish line, just before this I managed to pass the girl in front of me and desperately hung on to the finish. I was TIRED, and so were my legs!! Best part? Despite racing it, my ❤ still belongs to Wilmot line! Here’s my pace chart & the elevation:

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Again I managed to run a bit quicker in the second half but you can see that my times really fluctuated on this course! You can also see clearly where horror hill is based on my 5:48 km. This race had the best post-race grub of all simply because there was sweet corn!!! It was so good and warm and salty! Overall I was really happy with my result again. I am however, looking forward to a rest day and that is what today is! I am in a golf tournament all day which is probably not the best idea, but I go every year. It is for a great cause, the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council, so I am glad to go. I am going to take it easy, skip the golf dinner, eat at home, have a bath and early bed. It appears that I could not sleep for the life of me last night after the run! I hope to get some zzzz’s tonight.

Thats it for me on the recap! I’m off to do some golfing. I will leave one last pic of my finishing time. Ypu can see the beautiful trees in the background! Next up 25.6k up a ski hill at Chicopee *gulp*.

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T

ENDURrun Stage 3 – 30k Trail run

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That pretty much sums up how I was feeling this morning before the race today. I didn’t have the best sleep last night because I was really worried about this stage (well and Chicopee even more). I knew that I had gotten the mileage in, but I had very limited trail experience in my training. As a side note, it was not as if I did not “attempt” some trail running. About 1 month before the event I was actually attacked by the Osprey that has its nest at Bechtel Park. Have you seen an Osprey?!?! It is a big, evil, meat eating bird that carries prey in its large claws! For your reference:

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Anyways, so the bird attacked me and I wouldn’t go to Bechtel after that. I finally braved the bird and headed back last week to do 2 loops, and mentally prepare myself. That was the extent of my trail training. What I did do alot of in training however was HILLS! Lots and lots of hills. Whether it was running at the cottage or Wilmot line, I managed to make sure hills were a part of most runs. I mention this because it certainly paid off in a big way today. My nervousness of today’s stage did lead to lack lustre sleep last night though. I still managed to get some solid hours in.

I woke up this morning and surprisingly my legs actually felt pretty darn good. I really feel that wearing the procompression socks during the day helps, along with the vega sport accelerator. The epsom salt bath last night didn’t hurt either! It was a really cool and cloudy morning, which again is the perfect temperature for this fair skinned runner! I headed to Bechtel Park and tried to slow my brain down a bit. I wore my fuel belt with two nuun filled bottles, had 3 vega gels, and hoped to again not need to stop at water stations. My goal for today was to average 6:00/km. I knew that there was a cumulative 48 hills on the course (the organizers pointed this out the week leading up to), and that this would effect my time today. The course is actually 6 loops of 5km with 8 hills per loop. Heres a snap shot of the elevation via strava

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Once the race started my brain settled down and I hit my stride. Of course it helps that my bestest girl and her daughter showed up to cheer me on. I saw them at the start line and it automatically boosted my spirits and determination. I wanted to run conservatively for the first few loops in order to save some gas in the tank for the last of the loops. I had figured that it was going to take tough mental slugging to get through loop 5 & 6. I had also made a promise to myself that no matter how slow I went, I would run up every single hill. I had a sense that if I walked any of them it would break me. This game plan is exactly what I did. I learned that I actually love the fact that it was a trail course and that it was loops. I could break it down mentally into 5k increments. The trail allowed me to keep my interest piqued in a different way than road running. I had to be alert and aware particularly in the last laps on the downhill portions when my legs were tired. I felt really strong in the first  4 loops. I was surprised how good my legs felt hitting the hills today.I maintained a fairly steady pace throughout the race with the second half being slightly quicker per km. You can see from my splits below that I did not like km 4, 9, 14, 19, 24, and 29. There’s actually a gradual hill at these km’s leading to the end of the loop which was the start/finish line. On loops 5 & 6 my legs started to get tired, and the mental battle began. I remained determined to run up each hill, and this is where I saw a number of runners begin to walk up the hills. It was really humid and those hills were tough!!!!! During the 6th lap everytime I did a hill I would tell myself “this is the last time you are ever going to see this hill today”. This is what managed to get me to the top of each one. I also had to break the lap down mentally to 2.5k increments because my brain was getting in the way. I managed to gut it out, ran every single hill, and clocked in at 2:50:05. This was 10 minutes faster then my goal time for today!!! I was super proud of myself, and really happy with my time. Best part?!?! My bestest girl waiting at the finish line! Oh did I mention it’s HER birthday today?!?! And she came out for me! She really is remarkable and I am a lucky girl to have friends like that.

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Oh and a big shout out to New Balance. I broke a runner rule and ran with new shoes out of the box today. The New Balance 980 trail shoe. They were amazing!!! Not a single issue, blister, ache or pain! Pretty swanky eh?

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So three stages in and this has been a fabulous experience so far! I’m not really competing with anyone but myself, but I have to be honest it felt good being so strong on the hills today and passing some people. I’m going to relish the moment, and be grateful for the training I was able to get in. Some people were battling injuries, and I am sure life circumstance in their training periods and still persevered today!!! I admire them for that! Right now I am appreciating my training, and crossing fingers that I can keep slugging it out for the rest of the week! Tomorrow is the Wilmot line run which is CRAZY hills.I have spent some time in my training along this route and have fallen in love with it! I may not be so in love tomorrow on these tired legs, but I am still looking forward to it!

That’s it from my end for today! Time to rest up and enjoy some grub!

T

ENDURrun Stage 2 – 15km Time Trial

Today was an exciting day for me! I have never been or taken part in a time trial so I was eager to experience it. For those that have never experienced a time trial, usually the racers are staggered at intervals starting from the slowest (from previous day’s race) ending with the fastest. This means that you can track other folks down, and will get passed at some point by some faster runners. Today’s 15k time trial was an out and back course. I was questioning would I push to catch up? Would I get a mental blow when passed by others? The course is very very flat so you can see the runners ahead of you for long stretches, and there is a turn-around at 7.5k so you can see the runners catching up to you. I was also curious how my legs would feel after yesterday’s half marathon.
I spent most of yesterday resting my legs after the half. I did all the necessary chores, and then settled in to watch golf. My afternoon snack consisted of some zesty cheese Doritos, and a large glass of nuun. I also felt it wouldn’t hurt to throw a fresh pair of procompression socks on. Dinner included some chicken shish kabobs, and freshly shelled peas (which I did while lazily watching golf). I totally took advantage of this down time as I have to work for most of the week and will not have this luxury.

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I woke up this morning and took a tentative step out of bed, my legs felt surprisingly good. No weird aches or pains, muscles feeling fairly recovered…this might actually be ok. Relaxed with my coffee, surfed the net, and headed out to Conestogo. Today was brought to you by the colour orange and of course I had my nails painted to match (its good luck you know). I said hello to a couple of the runners I met yesterday, and wandered over to the start line. The weather was absolutely perfect, high teens and clouded over. The humidity made it feel mid 20’s but it truly was ideal. As usually the race was impeccably organized by the RunWaterloo team, as the runners seamlessly began to head out. I love the runner community in Waterloo! Each runner would approach the start line, and each time they were sent off everyone clapped and cheered for them. It really is a great way to start a race and gets you pumped! My timeslot was 8:28am, and as I approached the start I actually felt relaxed (who knew). A quick countdown and off I went!
One of the things I have begun to learn while training for this event is that I love running in Waterloo Region. I generally tended to stay in the small box that is my neighbourhood, or would venture out at the cottage. While training I began to run in the surrounding areas and fell in love with routes such as Wilmot line. It was the same with this course. Mind you, it helped that it was flat so what is there not to love? I loved running in the country seeing the farms and crops. I think my happiest place was when we hit the gravel road. I was waving to Mennonites, and just taking in the scenery. Conestogo is one of my favourite little villages, and I always tell my husband if I could move anywhere it would be to that community.
Now don’t get me wrong, that doesn’t mean that I was lollygagging on the course. I managed to run a mean pace. Well, for me anyways. I learned the time trial can be good and bad. Being ADHD I have trouble at times seeing “past the moment”. This means that I was determined in this moment to catch folks, and push myself. I don’t know at this point if I will pay for this come tomorrow at Bechtel, but it was a fun ride. It has been a while since I pushed myself to run at a 5:00/km speed but I managed to do this today clocking in at 1:15:21, 5:01/km. I negative split the course, and completed under 5:00/km for the last 5k. For the first 10km I wanted to stay at minimum 5:15/km and did this. I know that generally I am a negative split runner (I always start too slowly), and can usually push the last 5k of a race. My goal was at least to stay at 5:00/km for the last 5k, and I managed to exceed this. It’s incredibly hard to not increase your speed when you see that large finish line in the distance.

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I was very happy with my time today. I don’t have really anything to compare it to since I have never done the event before, but against my practice runs I seem to be doing pretty good. I managed to gorge myself on some delicious eats (the apricot bars were ridiculously delicious!), and then had to head back home. Unfortunately I need to put in some work hours this week so needed to be in by noon. Don’t worry I have recovery taken care of. Some procompression on under the pants, and some nuun in the purse! Tonight I may have an Epsom salt bath just to relax the quads. As for tomorrow? I have told myself that I would like to keep a 6:00/km pace on the course. I plan to take it nice and easy, and then get my massage at Dearborn Health in the afternoon. I took tomorrow off from work because I know it will be a doozy!

Happy Trails (excuse the pun)! And see ya all tomorrow 🙂

T

p.s shoutout to my girl Amy for attempting to come out to the run today! You were there in spirit ❤

Return to Blogging — ENDURrun Stage 1 – the half marathon

So I know, blogging has not been my forte this year. I could come up with a plethera of excuses but really I have just been lazy. I have not however, been lazy with my running. Waaaaay back in January I signed up for the ENDURrun. It has always been a bucket list item and this year all the stars aligned so that I would be able to do it. This is an 8 day, multi-day staged event that covers 160km. I figured it was a great time to come back to blogging! Over the next 8 days I will blog about the courses, the day, and the crazies that I get during the week as I try to complete this event. To get an overall sense of the event, you can got to:

http://www.endurrun.com

As a bit of background, I have been able to consistently training for this event uninjured for the past 2 months *knock on wood*. I am going into the event confident in my mileage, but not confident in handling some of the terrains. Here is the breakdown of each stage:

1 – Sunday – 21.1km half marathon of rolling country hills

2- Monday- 15k flat time trial

3- Tuesday- 30k trail run w 48 hills (6 loops of 5km)

4- Wednesday- 16k hill run (and we aren’t talking tiny)

5- Thursday- rest

6- Friday- 25.6k Alpine run (takes place on a local ski hill)

7- Saturday- 10k flat time trial

8- Sunday- 42.2k marathon of rolling hills

Whew! I am tired just writing that! My concerns are the 2 trail runs as I did not do much trail running in my training. I figure I will cross that bridge when I get to it. To say I was nervous and slightly excited this morning is putting it mildly! I went through all my race day rituals. I am one of those typical “head case” runners. I need an hour to wake up, have my coffee, and just relax before any run. I also have rituals. One is that I need to have my nails painted the colour I am wearing whenever I race. Today’s colour was green. Along with this I need to have a pre-race picture. The pre-race picture comes from my aunt who always felt it was good luck. Now it has become ritual, and today it was a pre-race selfie

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It was a little strange because my bestest dude was not there today, and I don’t really know many of the runners except through social media. Many of the runners know each other through local running clubs or groups. Towards the end of the day I was fortunate to meet some of my social media buddies, who were really welcoming and friendly!

The weather turned out to be perfect, and my legs were anxious to get it underway. They had spent months running on tired legs in preparation and had spent the week resting and preparing. I likened it to drinking an extra large cup of coffee every day. I had overwhelming energy! Quick and awkward countdown, and we were off! I am fortunate to be quite familiar with this 1st stage course as this was my 4th year running it. Bestest dude and I have been a guest runner at this stage for the past few years. I knew that there was lots of hills and that I needed to be cautious with my energy. The route consists of a 13k lap followed by an 8k lap. I knew right away that I was going to have a good run. In fact I worried that I was running too fast in the first 10k. I have been training with times around 5:30/km for my runs. This race I was clocking 5:15. Every once and a while I would slow down to a 5:25 because mentally I felt I should, but my legs wanted to run faster. There are some great flat sections in this course where you can settle into a groove, like the Grey Silo golf course path. I felt strong on the hills and I attribute this to Wilmot line training and the cottage. I wore my hydration belt for this race and I am glad I did. This allowed me to bypass water stations, and keep myself replenished with nuun water. Along with 2 vega gels at the 8k and 16k mark, and my fueling was spot on. At 13k I was clocked at 1:08, and had 8k to go. The sun was much more of a factor on the second half of the run which had very little shade, and also made for a very salty runner at the end of the day. Managed to push up the hill at 5:25/km, and fall into a pocket for the last portion of the race. I have a mantra that I say in the last 5k of every race “I can do anything for 5k”. Cleared the last 5k without dipping slower than 5:10/km, with a finish time of 1:50:18.

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I was very pleased with this result, and it ended being an ENDURrun half marathon PB for me. My only worry is that I have made a rookie mistake in going out too fast on the first stage. I am not in competition with anyone on the course, just myself, so running this fast wasn’t exactly necessary. Strangely, I felt that I had lots left in the tank when I finished this race. I am hoping this transfers to tomorrow. Tomorrow is the 15k time trial which fortunately is flat 🙂 The body feels good with no niggles (potential injuries), minus one bloody toe 😦

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So overall, it was good day! We will see when the lustre wears off and the mental game starts but right now I am taking it stage by stage! Run the stage you are in! Oh and the cutest part? I came home to this card sitting on my counter from my mom ❤ How awesome is she?!?! Now time for golf, nuun and Doritos!  T

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