Sorry that it has taken me a couple days to do this final stage review. I think my brain and body needed a couple days to transition out of ENDURrun mode, and I completely did. It has not just been a part of my life for 8 days, but for 3 months as I have trained my body to handle the mileage.
On Sunday I woke up extremely nervous. There was a heat advisory for the day and I knew that it woul be 30+ degrees out. As I said before I am not a heat runner, and have actually experienced heat stroke. My saving grace was that I had developed a “cooling plan”. I had purchased 2 extra nathan hydration bottles for just this occasion. I stocked a cooler with the second set of bottles, two washcloths soaking in ice water, 2 bottle of water, and some gels. All of this was put on ice and my plan was to switch out at the 21km mark. This marathon course was a 2 loop course that ran through Conestogo and Waterloo. I had an AMAZING support team there including my parents, my bestest girls, and my bestest dude. My bestest dude had very last minute agreed to run the last bit of the course with me knwoing it would be tough slugging in the heat. He wouldn’t tell me where he was going to start, just that he would “show up” on the course.
I knew that I wanted to run this race conservatively not only because I had already run over 100km that week but because of the heat. My goal was to stay at 6:00/km. I ended up really loving this course. I felt that the rolling hills were managable, and the views were gorgeous! In my first lap the weather had not gotten too hot as of yet and I felt that I was use to the temperature from my recent long runs. I knew that I had completed a 37km run on a scorcher at the cottage, and felt that I should be able to pull through. It was towards the end of the first loop that the sun started to really shine. This course has essentially no shade, so I also decided (with much urging from bestest dude) to wear my hat. I came through the first loop feeling really strong. It appeared that the most difficult part for me was going downhill because this is when my quads would scream at me. I managed to come in 21k at 2hrs bang on and was running a 5:40/km pace. The cooler at the halfway point worked beautifully! My mom was there to switch things out and spray me down with sunscreen. I took off again with fresh hydration bottle filled with lemon tea nuun. I continued to run up the rolling hills and was determined not to walk till at least 30k and a water station around there. I broke at 27km. The sun was getting really hot and I had just run up a gradual incline. Until this point I had not stopped for any of the water stations. From this point on I walked at each water station to make sure I dumped cold water over my body to cool down. I did however make a very concerted effort to run all the km’s between water stations and actually did so remarkably well. There was a reason I did so well though, it was because of my husband. He was AMAZING! I could see his red running shorts at the 32km mark. It was perfect timing because the heat was getting to me and my mind was playing tricks. He had ran from the finish line out towards me and had plotted out the route and where I could get shade. My dad also showed up shortly after 32k. He had a cooler filled with ice, nuun, and cold towels. My husband sprinted up to my dad and put ice in my hydration bottles to cool them down. He then grabbed the towel and sprinted to catch up with me. As I was running he was wiping me down with the towel, and carried my hydration bottle for the next few km’s. Dad and husband for the win!!!! Because my husbands legs were a little more fresh he was able to push me to run some 5:30-5:40/km’s in between the water stations. We did walk up the looooong gradual hill on Bridge, and most of the other runners were too. God love the woman handing out ice mid-way through that hill. I put a bunch in my mouth, and then stuff large pieces down my sports bra. Surprisingly this had a really good cooling effect! I highly recommend it on hot days. The next few km’s were not too eventful just lots of hot and tired running. My husband would push me to run to certain markers and water stations. Dad for the win again at 39km with ice and water (fyi my mom packed the travel coolers, and drove all over Guelph to find my vega gels)! More ice into the sports bra as this point it was really really getting hot. We turned the corner onto Northfield and I knew, I knew I was going to finish. There is something remarkable that you experience in the moment you recognize that your body has done for you what you once thought impossible. You get a surge to push through and finish. Bestest dude unfortunately was done. He had run over 20km (12 to get to me, and 8 with me) all the while sprinting back and forth. Through much encouragement (I didn’t want to leave him) he pushed me to run as hard as I could to the finish. He told me to “go get my time”. I managed to push through a 5:15 last km and come in at 4:05:33. A personal best for my marathon. Go figure. I never could have done it without my family, friends, and most importantly him. He has patiently sat by while I have dedicated myself the past three months to train for this event, and he has encouraged me the whole way. He is the most selfless person I know.
After the finish ❤
The organizers pressed shirts with our finishing times and presented them too us! WHO DOES THAT?!?!? Really the RunWaterloo crew are just above and beyond amazing!
This was a gift from my bestest girls for my charm necklace. My parents also gave me a Keg gift certificate to fill up on protein!!! YUM!!!!
It has been a really amazing journey the past week, and I find myself sad that it’s ended. I felt as if I could just keep getting up everyday and head out for a run. There were times that my body was willing me to stop (after Chicopee), times where it wanted me to go faster (half marathon), and times where it was willing me to run (rest day). It never let me down, and in fact I exceeded all expectation in completing this event. I remember the first year we ran the half and I told my husband that I wanted to one day do the whole thing. He thought I was crazy and told me so. Well 4 years later here I am an ENDURrun finisher. I pushed myself to the limit and found that I was most definitely not broken.
I haven’t decided if I will do the event next year, but I will most definitely guest run. I don’t know what the next year will bring but if I feel healthy enough and it fits I would most definitely do it again. I highly recommend the event and the experience, it was like no other in the world. At this point I am not too sure what can top this running experience. I am also floating around running “goalless” for the first time in a long while. I have a half marathon in September, then a number of small 10k runs. I am contemplating the Run For the Toad 50k in October since I seemed to do well on the trail running. It is also possible I feel to run a 4hr marathon this fall given my fitness levels right now. Whatever it is I will always remember to enjoy the journey, and enjoy the run.
Oh, and I finally got my beer, and it was “as big as my head”
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.
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.
I think that my twitter summary said it all for today..That was quite simply put, the hardest course I have ever run. I am just a simple road runner gal. Tree trunks, rocks, bushes, and single track mud and rain filled trails are not something that I am use to. Combine that with it being on a SKI HILL yes a SKI HILL, and I was totally out of my element today. Thats what I have learned this event is all about. Reaching your comfort zone and pushing, no slamming past it. Today was so far past my comfort zone that I can’t even see it in the distance!
Yesterday was a rest day for the Ultimate athletes, but I had a golf tournament so there was no rest for this athlete. Every year the Waterloo Region Suicide Prevention Council hosts the Daniel Tudesco golf tournament. I go each year with a couple of fun ladies from the hospital. Usually we have some golf, drinks, and a tasty meal. Due to the race the next day, I cut myself off at golf. No tasty drinks, and headed home to a meal cooked by my bestest dude. I did not sleep well after Wilmot, and was incredibly tired. I am not sure if it is because I had just run, or eaten but sleep did not come easy. So i wanted to be sure to make it home early because I knew today’s stage would be a doozy.
So I knew it would be a doozy, and this was the stage I was most afraid of. Before today what I thought I would face, was tiny compared to what I actually faced. In my mind I knew that I had to go up a ski hill 5 times, but for some reason I was still shocked and surprised when I stood at the base of it this morning. This picture really doesn’t do it justice, but its the best I got.
I was also completely unfamiliar with the rest of the course. I had no idea how many other hills there were, and what the trail sections looked like. Needless to say there was a very very steep learning curve on my first 5k loop. As an added bonus: thunderstorms. It was crazy humid, and every once and a while the skies would open up and christened all the runners. This course is definitely not for the faint of heart. The loop starts with a gradual (and seemingly forever) climb up the backside of the ski hill. I found that the first half of the 5k loop was more challenging then the second half. Although there were some more technical challenges in the second part (stairs, boardwalks). The largest of the hills was about half way through the loop. Each and every runner I saw walked up this hill at some point. That is the hill pictured above. I walked up all 5 times and I think that unless you were one of the elite runners, this is what most did. There were some definite challenges with this course, most specifically the muddy single track trails in the rain. This slowed down my overall time as you needed to proceed very cautiously around many corners. This seemed to get harder as the loops continued due to the repeated trampling of the trails by multiple runners. I had two female runner around me for most of the race, one was an ultimate, but I spent large portions running on my own. I actually felt pretty good till about the 3rd loop. I even managed to climb the first hill without walking the first 2 laps. The 3rd lap is when I started to need to walk the top portion, and by the 5th lap I walked most of this hill. Since I had never really done a course like this before, I would use the runners ahead of me to gauge my performance and speed. I felt that as long as they stayed within a comfortable distance or eyesight then I was doing okay.
Enter the 4th lap. Oh boy, this one was the doozy (oh well I guess 5 was too). Mentally this was my toughest point. I needed to make sure that I kept my mind focused on laps, not overall distance. If I thought about the 10k that still lay ahead it would break me. Right at the end of the 4th lap I had my first wipeout. At the start line. In front of everyone. Sigh. I was looking ahead towards the finish and a pesky rock got in my way. I fortunately bounced back up, and didn’t manage to hurt anything. It was the 5th lap when I wiped out into the bush that was the real doozy. I slammed into the dirt as the mud pulled my feet out from under me. Managed to bounce up again, and make my way towards the ski hill climb one last time. The 5th lap was painful, but once past the 2.5 mark I knew I could make it. I came down the last hill towards the finish and saw that I was at 2:57. Determination set in and I pushed past the finish at 2:58:12. There was no way I was letting it hit the 3 hour mark 🙂
Overall, I am pretty pleased with my finish. My feet and my body however were not. I finally got my first blister of the week and its a big one. After the race I was nauseated, and ended up not going to work. I also had some major digestive issues. These both didn’t clear till about 4pm, and why I didn’t blog until now. I was unable to eat much and managed to get a small amount of smoothie down. By 5pm,I was ravenous!!!!! I still needed to take the food in slow because my stomach was sensitive. There were points that I really loved this race, and other points where I cursed it as the death run. I loved the single track trail portions, at least until they pooled with water and mud. Once they got slippery it was hard to enjoy them and I was more focused on being careful. I didn’t want to hurt myself for the last 2 stages. I hated the ski hill, but I challenge you to find someone in the race who didn’t.
I will bid you adieu while I go soak my achy feet and legs in an epsom salt bath. Tomorrow brings the 6th stage which is a 10k time trial. Im excited because bestest dude will be running the event as a guest! Also did I mention that it’s FLAT? I am so excited to run on flat ground tomorrow. Until then I will leave you with my km pace, and a pic of my nasty blister. Yup, I went there. You want the whole experience don’t you?
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.
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:
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*.
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:
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
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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 🙂
p.s shoutout to my girl Amy for attempting to come out to the run today! You were there in spirit ❤
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:
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
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.
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 😦
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
Well it appears I have been slacking. Unfortunately I got into a slump. I managed to finish out 2014 with a fantastic half marathon time and then I slipped into the vortex. It has been difficult with varying medical stuff to maintain consistency in my running the late half of 2014, but I am back on track with a vengeance. I have decided to commit and revamp my blog for 2015. I actually contemplated letting it go, but I remember when I was leading up to my first marathon how cathartic it was for me, and let me tell you, I have BIG running plans for 2015.
I feel like 2014 was a lull for me and I wasn’t really attempting to reach any large goals. It felt like I was aimlessly wandering through the running world and my training reflected that. I managed the same times, I ran the same races, and basically I developed a form of runner’s burnout I think. So this year I have taken a new path. My major events include 2 marathons and a 160km 8 day event. My goal is to maintain the blog, and maybe add some features to it.
I have decided that in 2015 I want to become the best person I can possibly be. I have felt that given some of my life circumstance I am at a crossroads, and its time to either go left or right. I look forward to what this year brings, and I look forward to pushing my limits.
So September is always this double edged sword for me. I love the cooler running temperatures, and the fall racing season but I hate the fact that my cottage time is slowly dwindling. Usually we close the cottage on the Thanksgiving weekend, but this year we are actually keeping it open now that it is winterized. So this year September is not so bitter sweet. Fall brings some of the most beautiful cottage runs as the oak and maple trees turn vivid shades of orange and yellow. It also brings a series of races for our household, and from now until November we will run 5. This includes 2 half marathons and then a number of 10km. Fingers crossed ths will be my spring redemption from dislocating my toe, and being unable to run my spring half.
Perhaps my favourite part of September is goal setting. Most people get excited when they set their New Years resolution in January, but I love to goal set in September. I have seen a few blogs that set monthly goals, and then post an update regarding those goals monthly. I think this is a fabulous idea, and my first fall goal is to do this monthly 🙂 For my inaugural goal setting blog post I will list three falls goals (to be reviewed in November), and then 3 September goals.
1) Be more grateful for the positive things in my life
I think most of us are guilty of taking the positives in our life for granted at some time or another. It is so easy to get caught up in the day to day hustle and bustle and not reflect on the positives. Particularly because of the job I do (I’m a social worker within mental health and addictions) it is critically important to reflect on the positives because I see so many heart breaking stories on a daily basis. I am not a religious person but I was raised catholic and I always think “there but for the grace of god go I”. I could have been born to a completely different set of circumstance, had a different family, or a different set of friends. I need to appreciate this more. So I am going to try to do a “Thankful Thursday” each week on my blog. I will mention something I am thankful for.
2) Commit to eating as cleanly as possible
After a summer of gluttony this one doesn’t even need explaining. Last year in the fall I was committed to eating cleaner and I felt awesome! I follow lots of blogs where they feature delicious clean eating recipes. I hope to try some of these out and reduce the amount of crap I eat. So that means the love affair with zesty cheese Doritos is at an end.
3) Run a Half Marathon PB
Previously I have mentioned the 1:53 vortex that I sink into for my half marathon times. This is mostly due to the fact that I just get “comfortable”. Sinking into the all too comfortable “pace pocket” and not pushing myself. My goal for fall is to start increasing my mileage, and continuing to do faster pace tempo runs as well. I hope that this will give me the “kick” I need at the end of my half marathon in November. Last fall when training for my marathon I found that I not only slowed down my long run pace, but all my other runs during the week quickly followed. This made it incredibly hard to run at the faster paces in the spring when shorter runs came along. The Hamilton Road 2 Hope half marathon will be my end target for this goal.
1) Drink more water, reduce caffeine, reduce alcohol
I am notorious for not drinking enough water. The day before my long run is probably the only day of the week where I am adequately hydrated enough because I know how miserable an under-hydrated long run is. I do know the importance of drinking more water for overall health, I am just full of excuses as to why I don’t drink more. So a group challenge to drink more water was started on facebook and I decided to join. This is a 5 day challenge where I have to drink half of my body weight in oz. That means I need to drink 75oz of water a day for the next five days. As I write this I am on glass #6. I figure this is a great way to kick start this goal! It will also force me to take breaks at work 🙂 I would like to stick to 1 cup of coffee daily with the eventual goal of weaning most coffee out. As for alcohol, well summer is done so this is just natural 😉
2) Push my long run to 25km
I miss longer runs. I loved the really long runs that came along with marathon training. It allowed me a piece of time early in the morning just for me. It also made distances such as 21k seem a whole lot shorter!!! I hope to have a 25k run clicked out by the end of this month.
3) Develop a recovery supplement routine and stick to it
So I have only used the Vega Sport products a couple of times, but I am a believer (and no I was not paid or endorsed I bought the product myself). Enough to spend the money and incorporate this into my fall racing routine. I would like to give it a chance and see what effect it has on my recovery and training. Probably most remarkable was the fact that I ran a 17k killer hill run with only a dayof rest between our 21k long run. Usually after my 21k run I grumble and complain my way through a 5k recovery run. I felt really great through the 17k (except up the 2km hill at the end but this is to be expected), and the gel proved to be excellent again. I am kinda excited about this goal. I am hoping to use the energizer, gels, accelerator, and protein. It’s a little hard to see, but that’s the first km of the hill at about the 14k mark.
So there it is folks, my list of fall and September goals. I expect you all to hold me accountable! Just wondering do any of you set fall goals? and if you do please feel free to share!
Happy running, happy fall, and only 40 days till Thanksgiving weekend!
So apparently I am on a runcation. A runcation in which I tried to blog post and it was deleted *sigh*. Let’s try this again shall we? So what is a runcation? Well I like to think it means that you take a vacation and spend most of it running. For us it doesn’t cumulate with a big race at the end, it just means that we get to relax and focus on leisure time and running. The benefit of doing this at the cottage are the hills which are unavoidable and included in every run. I also decided this would be a good time to try out some of the Vega Sport products I purchased through the starter pack.
Monday was a bit of a write off because we got to the cottage at midnight on Sunday, I slept in till 8am and was still super tired. That meant that Tuesday was going to be the day, and turns out it was an 8k penance run. What is a penance run you ask??? Well for those who are catholic this will make complete sense, but for those who are not humour me for a second. In the catholic faith you preform a ritual called “confession”. Through this you confess your sins to God, aka priest, he absolves you and gives you “penance”. This usually takes the form of repeating prayers such as Hail Mary’s or Our Father’s while kneeling on a ridiculously uncomfortable bench. So apparently I decided to partake of a little too much wine Monday evening, and needed to do penance the next day. In this case it was 8 Hail Mary’s or 8k. Oh boy did it hurt. At one point I turned to the bestest dude and said “my body hates me”. These runs are not fun and remind me why I generally don’t drink before runs. Wednesday was 21k so I drank lots of water and hydrated for the rest of Tuesday. I also consumed a large and delicious bowl of homemade chili, filled with veggie goodness.
The 21k was actually a great run. I feel like I am starting to get my mojo back mentally. I went for a 21k run last week on my own at 5am (yup 5am), and really loved the peace and serenity of the early morning quiet. I also ran it rather efficiently, 1:53 which was quicker than my last race and my usual half marathon pace. This weeks was a little slower, and I finished really strong, like gas left in the tank strong. So what happened? I figured it out about 10 minutes post-run. I was running scared. When I am actually on my game this year I can maintain a 5:15-5:30 pace during my long runs. This wasn’t the case last year. Generally I ran 6:00 pace, particularly when training for the marathon, and I spent a majority of those training miles at the cottage. I knew that 6:00 is comfortable for me (there I go with that comfort thing), and would get me through the vicious hills ahead. So I ran the first half scared that my body wouldn’t make it through the second 11km if I sped up. It really didn’t matter what the garmin said, I was “saving” myself. I ended up saving myself a little too much. The good news is that I now know that speeding up isn’t going to kill me, and I will push harder next time. I tell ya though, there is no run better than the long run. The ache in your body that tells you what was accomplished that day.
Now onto Vega Sport. So this is a preliminary review and I will continue to review as the week goes on and I use more products. So far I have used 4 of the products in the starter package. This is what you get for $20 (a great deal btw):
- 2 x Vega Sport Pre-workout Energizer singles in both lemon lime and acai berry flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Energy Bars singles in apple cherry and chocolate coconut
- 2 x Vega Sport Endurance Gel singles in raspberry and orange zest flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Electrolyte Hydrator singles in lemon lime and pom-berry flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Recovery Accelerator singles in both tropical and apple berry flavors
- 3 x Vega Sport Performance Protein singles in chocolate, berry and vanilla flavors
- 2 x Vega Sport Protein Bars in chocolate coconut and chocolate mint flavors
I have read/seen several people using this product on blogs, twitter, facebook, and instagram and have heard positive reviews. The products are all plant based, which is really appealing to me. I am not a vegan by any means, but the cleaner the better. I try to have a balance between eating clean most (or try most) of the time but there are some things which are my mortal weakness. The awesome thing about the Vega Sport website is the personalize your plan section. For a newbie to supplements like me this is great!!!! It enables you to enter your gender, type of activity, level of intensity, and duration. It then makes a recommendation for how to use their products effectively. This helped to prepare me for my long run yesterday. I didn’t want to waste the product on my penance run because I knew I would feel crappy regardless.
So according to my personalized plan on the website I used the Electrolyte Hydrator (pom-berry) on Tuesday, The Pre-Workout Energizer (acai) the morning of, Sport Endurance Gel (orange zest) during the run, and the Recovery Accelerator (apple berry) directly after my run. The personalized plan recommended the protein powder 45 min post-run but I didn’t have a blender and really want to try these in a shake form. So here is my honest and unbiased review of the products I used. All of the products I tried are very clearly plant based, meaning that they taste planty (is that even a word?). That was the downside. The hydrator was a typical electrolyte replacer, and I could really taste the Stevia. If you don’t mind Stevia, all is well, but if you don’t like the taste of it then stay away. To me, it was actually quite tasty. I mixed it into a bottle of water, and away I went. It seemed quite similar to products like Nuun, and actually I prefer the Nuun. Sorry Vega Sport but they got you on this one. The next day I tried three products for my run. First up was the pre-workout energizer, which was really effective. Again I simply mixed it into water, and drank it about 30 mins before my run. I definitely felt increased energy, and alertness. The important fact was that it didn’t feel “artificial”. This product was more “grainy” than the rest, and actually I was a little alarmed at first. It tasted good though and I would definitely use this again. It definitely helped to get me up the first hill, which is actually the first km of my run. At about 8km in I used the Endurance Gel. To be really honest, my first impression wasn’t the greatest. I brought two gels with me, one was the Vega Sport and the other was my usual GU. I did this because I was concerned that if the gel didn’t work they way I wanted, I would crash and be miserable. This was simply put awful tasting. I took the orange zest one, and it was very very plant tasting. The other thing I didn’t like was the packaging. I know this seems weird, but the package was larger than most gels. This made it awkward to fit into the pocket on my shorts, and even awkward to administer while running. What I can’t argue or complain about is that this product works. Like really works. This was quite honestly better than any other gel I have taken. I usually take a gel at 8km and by about 14km I am tanking and already thinking about when I get my next gel in 2km. I didn’t do this once with this gel. In fact at 16km I felt like I could still go another 2km before taking the next gel. I now realize that the GU gels give me a quick burst and then fade quickly. This gel truly gave me endurance. The other bonus? I didn’t have a single GI issue post-run. This is huge for me. I am super sensitive to gels and supplements because of this. I have come to accept that I will have some degree of pain after a run. This didn’t happen. This alone makes the awful taste worth the product!!! Since this was my first run using these gels, and my first flavour. I am going to continue to use them and see if there is a flavour I may like better. If these gels keep working like they did yesterday, I will definitely switch over. I will miss the taste of my chocolate peanut butter, but not the pain and cramping that usually follows! Good job Vega Sport! The final product I used was the Accelerator. This was the best tasting product by far, and we will see how effective it is when I go for a 5.5km crazy hill run. So thats my preliminary review. In summary, the taste could improve slightly, but the products are definitely effective. I will be continuing to use the gels, and the pre-workout energizer. To come, reviewing the Accelerator, and Protein Powder. I am also excited to see if using the products in combination improves my recovery and running. That’s the grand finale, seeing how all the products work together. I will continue to use the products in this particular way leading up to my half marathon in two weeks. It will be interesting to see how I continue to feel leading up to, and during the race. I will definitely need more gels 😉
So that’s it from this end! The bestest dude and I are off for some golf today, and then a 5.5km hill run tomorrow. Throw your comments my way. Have you ever run scared? Tried the Vega Sport products?