Friday, 19 August 2011

Acura 10 Miler Race Report

I believe the last post says all that needs to be said about this race.  Too exciting.  However, I should probably have some record of what else happened.

We ran this very flat downtown T.O. race last year and it was the worst run ever.  Way too many bad things converged and I took over 2 hours to finish.  I had never run that slow, even in training runs, so I was miserable. 

This year, it was not as hot or sunny (though it was a bit muggy) and I wasn't an emotional cesspool. I was looking out for several celebrities like Jessica from Mommy Running Through, and commenter Dawn, who was running the 5k.  I didn't see them, unfortunately, but did snag a pick with cute-as-a-button Cynthia from Cynthia's Adventures.

We should not have been in the same corral
-- she is way faster than me.

Not often your race award is
a picture of yourself.

Oh, and did I mention I saw Reid Coolsaet?  And that he won again with a time of 48:24? And that he came within 9 seconds of beating the course record?  And that he set that course record last year, before our relationship started?

I managed a PR of 1:46:02 and I do believe I can do better next year.  I had a great sprint at the end, telling me I should have pushed harder for the previous 9.9 miles.

Phil also had a PR of 1:20:47 (19th in his age group of a gazillion) -- crazy fast if you ask me. 

Next up is the Midsummer's Night Run tomorrow.  I had signed up for the 30k ages ago, but was just too busy at work to train for it, so dropped down to a much more manageable 15k.  My PR for that distance is 1:37:01 at the Bread & Honey and I'm hoping to come in a couple of minutes faster since there are no hills.  Phil is doing the 30k, a new race distance for him, in preparation for his first marathon in October.  Go Phil! And good luck to Jessica, Cynthia, Laura and Samantha tomorrow too!

Edit:  I'm so behind in blog reading -- add Robin and Marlene to the list! Who else don't I know about?  Reid Coolsaet?  This could be quite the blogger-meet-op!  I'll be wearing pink and sending Phil off at the 30k.  Good luck!

Monday, 8 August 2011

Erica's Wish 10k Race Report

This was another repeat race in Erindale Park in Mississauga.  Mostly flat on fine gravel except for one behemoth hill at the 4k mark.  This year, I was ready for it, meaning I planned my Gatorade break to walk up the thing.  Just being realistic. 

I really like this race.  It's quite small -- just 134 in the 10k, more in the 5k, and there's a 1k to start that kids and some of the survivors of osteosarcoma, including Erica herself, finish to great applause.  Very touching.

An ultra cool DJ led the warm-up exercises.
Others chose to prepare in different ways.

It was pouring rain for most of the race, but it was really quite refreshing.  Last year, it was super hot, so anything was better.  Huge lakes formed along the trail, but mostly runners just plowed through.

And though it wasn't a 10K PR for either of us, both Phil and I significantly improved over last year -- me by 6m28s for 1:04:29 and Phil by over 4 minutes at 48:xx.  I still believe I will break 1:00 for a 10k this year.

In other fabulous news, I'm hoping for another up-close-and-personal with my boyfriend, Reid Coolsaet next weekend at the Acura 10 miler.  He recently announced he would defend his 2010 title, and his friend/competitor Eric Gillis will be running too, so it should be a great race.

Saturday, 2 July 2011

Pride & Remembrance 5k Race Report

That was so much fun.

Gay Pride 2011 is well underway here in Toronto (someone tell the mayor) and today was the 5k.  Phil and I ran this race last year and it was my PR, until the Runway Run 2 weeks ago (that's 29:04, in case I didn't spell it out then).  It's a pretty flat course, but it's no runway -- small inclines and more turns -- so I was just hoping to beat last year's time (31:12).  I've also been back to birthin' babies, so my sleep schedule, and therefore running schedule, have been outta whack.  Sounds like I'm getting ALL the excuses in up front.

Proud to be a member of 11th place Team Beaverhausen.
Next year, I'll wear the race shirt.
Although the 5k race is just a small part of the 10-day long celebrations, it is extremely well organized.  Gender specific tech shirts, chip timing, water stations and hugely good food at the after party including individually packaged pasta salad, bananas, yogurt, coffee (my favourite thing) and CAKE!  Several different varieties of CAKE from Dufflet Pastries. 

And so many things to take in, not seen at most races.

enthusiastic teams

hyper-friendly mascots

a jock strap booth

It's also the most incredibly welcoming, inclusive, supportive race I've run, with the absolute best cheering crowd at the finish line.  I hope I can run this one many more times.

Looking good, Tim.
Spain has cars, though, right?

Mel and Steve came with us this year, and the race also marked the return of Tim!  Last month, Tim walked across Spain (I know...what?) and unfortunately re-injured himself, but still had a great time.

Phil managed an outstanding PR and broke 22 minutes, coming in 8th in his age category.

Mel shaved 20 seconds off her 5k PR.
Steve sailed across the finish line 36 seconds faster than ever before.

And me?

Well, I beat this guy:

but not this guy:

or this gal:

But I did beat my Runway Run PR. 

28:49.  W00T!

I still cannot believe it.  The course wasn't even short.  My new season goal:  sub-28-minute-5k.  You saw it here first.

Happy National Birthday weekend, everyone!

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Sweating My Thorns Off 5K

I managed to haul myself off the couch to run I am Boring's second annual Sweat Your Thorns Off 5k today.  Negative splits and everything.  Really helps to start out uphill and coast down to finish. 

I really was a sweaty mess at the end.

Where's my medal?

Saturday, 18 June 2011

Runway Run Race Report.

Now THAT was five kays. Very cool race on the runway of Toronto Pearson Airport (when did they change the name?) while real live planes were landing and taking off right beside us.

Mad photo editing skills.

I thought we were all going to do the airplane.  Embarrassing. 
If I had concentrated more, I might have beaten Steven Spielberg there.

You know what else was cool about running on a runway?  There aren't any hills.  You know what happened because there weren't any hills? 

5K-under-30-minute goal smack-down!

But the real star of the show?

No, not this guy.

This guy!

That's right. He's Number 2! 

And Number 1 Dad. 

Happy Fathers' Day!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Bread and Honey 15k Race Recap

It was beautiful day  to earn a medal in the shape of a frickin' bee!  This 15k was part of Streetsville's weekend long Bread and Honey Festival.   There was also a 5k, which Mel and Steve ran, and did VERY well in, then had to wait around for us. Luckily, there's a Starbucks on every other corner in Mississauga.

My boyfriend sent his van
to cheer me on.

This was our first officially timed race last year, and Phil and I both wanted to improve our times.  I remembered it being very hilly and was obsessing a bit about it this week, so we went out last night and drove the route.  I was relieved that it didn't seem so bad at all -- I guess a year's worth of running makes hills look smaller.

From the car.

In real life, there seemed to be a constant uphill slope.  But a year's worth of running really did pay off:

Phil and I both managed to best our past performances, which is going to make it a little easier to strap on the shoes for the next run.

Here's my 2010 result:

...and 2011:

That's a 4:47 improvement!  At this rate, as long as the other women in my age group don't improve, I'll be placing in about 15 years.  Woot!

I don't know that Phil wants his results posted in such rich detail, but the guy finished in 1:14:41, a full 5:08 faster than last year.  I'd be slathering those results all over the internets if they were mine, but he can use his own blog for that.

And you know who else did really well?  This guy:

That's Andrew, Running Man Wannabe, of course.  My stalking skillz this weekend were mad...I managed to pester him even before his family could congratulate him.

I'm sure his race recap will be much funnier than mine, because he's a funny guy.  He'll probably remember more of the race too.  It's all just a blur to me.  I have a great picture with his lovely wife and daughter, but thought I probably shouldn't be willy-nilly posting pictures of other people's families.

So this race is definitely a keeper.  Not too far away, somewhat challenging but not killer and they give out bees.

...and great scenery, too! 

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Toronto Women's Half Marathon race report

This race was in Sunnybrook Park in east Toronto.  My fabulous niece Rebecca came with me to run her first ever 5k and she rocked it.

Looks good on ya, Becca.  Keep it up!

The park is lovely this time of year.  Finally green, too early for bugs.  It  drizzled as we drove, but happily the rain held off for the race.

I put myself in the second wave (2:00-2:20) and positioned myself at the back of that pack.  My PR to beat was 2:22:24 from September 2010 at the Scotiabank Waterfront.   I tried to pace myself, since I usually go out too fast and bonk.  I was aiming for 10:30 minute miles to get me in closer to 2:17. 

The overnight rain had left many large puddles, in some areas leaving only a narrow strip of high ground on a path that was already too narrow for the number of women in the race. I understand the whole women-only race thing.  Solidarity, strength, inclusion, firemen, blah, blah, blah, but I was running in the pack that clearly would have dissolved if their feet got wet, since they would stop running and get in line to tiptoe along the dry strip. Give me a break. I'm trying to imagine that happening in any other kind of half. I was polite for the first time, but then just splashed right through and got around the sissies. 

The first 5 miles were great and I kept on pace, but I just couldn't keep it up.  I wasn't expecting all the hills -- none of them too bad, but they just seemed to keep coming.  I ended up doing more walking (speaking of sissies) than I had hoped and finished with 2:22:15 (a 9 second PR for anyone who's still paying attention) for a 10:52 average pace.  

Transitioned from all out sprint to slow walk
in the space between the timing mats.
I was definitely ready to stop running. 

I'm disappointed as I've been putting in the miles lately and really wanted to be under 2:20.  However, trying to look on the brighter side, as my ever-optimistic husband does, I certainly couldn't have run this race in 2:22 last year.  I only managed at the Waterfront half because it was very flat and I coasted downhill the first few miles.

So it is what it is.  Lots of room for improvement.   The race was fun because of Rebecca coming with me and Phil showing up unexpectedly at the finish line (still a thrill to see him after 17 married years).  It was very well organized and the finisher necklace is cool even as it gets lost among the big medals.  All the same, I'm pretty sure I'll be passing on this one next year.  

Next up:  the Bread and Honey 15k in Mississauga next Sunday.  This was the first officially timed race Phil and I did, so it will be a real demonstration of improvement (or not) in my running over last year.

I've also discovered the fix for making comments, no thanks to Blogger itself.  If you're having problems too, just un-check the "keep me signed in" box on the log in page and it works like it should.

Edit:  I was cutting and pasting so much trying to make this post interesting, but forgot to paste in the best part -- I had a 2.5 second blogger meet-up at one of the turn-arounds!  Jessica over at Mommy Running Through was just ahead of me and I yelled to her, then she was really far ahead of me when I finished.  In fact, I think she was at home drinking coffee by that time.  Wish I could have actually had a conversation with her.  I'm planning to be better next weekend when I'll hunt down Andrew from Running Man Wannabe.  Just try to hide, buddy.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Earth Run 5K race report

It's been a busy weekend.  Two races in two days.

We wanted to run the Earth Run 5K again this year, since it was our first race ever.  Last year, the course was short, had no timing (except our Garmins), and no water, but cool t-shirts.  This year, big changes -- they added a 10K.  OK that was the only change.  It's a little race in Toronto; I think it's bigger in Vancouver and other cities where they like trees.
I decided to just run the 5k as I had a half-marathon the next day and didn't want to destroy myself.  Phil joined me in the shorter distance.  Sort of.  See, the race organizers were great, but probably didn't have so much race experience and didn't send the marshalls out onto the course early enough.  Since Phil is so speedy, he unknowingly passed the guy on the way to his station.  AND HE WAS AT THE VERY FRONT OF THE PACK (so lonely) and no one told him when to turn.  The course map was a little shy on details:

He still doesn't want to discuss it.  He would have won the whole thing (a hearty round of applause, not the Earth itself) if only we had all run 6.9km. 

And guess what?  I WAS SECOND CHICK!  Unfortunately, this is not recorded anywhere, so you'll have to take my word for it.  Yes, the race was THAT small that I placed among the females.  I can't tell you how many dozen walkers hundreds I had to beat for that honour.  And I would totally count this as a PR, and a smack-down of my 2011 under-30-minute-5k goal, except that once the marshall did get to the station, he turned us short so my splits were:

That's not 5 Ks.  I forgot to turn my Garmin off for about 15 seconds too, so it could have been even better.  If you extrapolate (go it) you'll see I totally would have been under 30 minutes by 40 seconds or so.  But I stopped running when I got back to the makeshift finish sign, even though it would have been fine to just keep going to 3.11.  Damn.  

Next 5k is on our airport's runway, where we will both be vindicated!  I'll post about the Toronto Women's Half Marathon tomorrow.

I can't seem to make comments on anyone's blogs -- is it me or is it blogger?

Friday, 20 May 2011

Toronto Women's Run Half Marathon Bib available

I'm running this fabulous half marathon May 29 in Sunnybrook Park know the kind with firemen, chocolate, necklaces and, most importantly, 99% of the people using the portapotties are NOT men.  I'm just saying.

I had signed up months ago as this race sells out fast, and the friend I was running it with has just bowed out with injury.  Anyone want a free bib?  She just wants to keep the tech shirt (judge not this close to the rapture).

I'll still have fun, as my niece has signed up for the 5K, so you don't even have to hang out with me.

First come first served!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Mercedes Benz Oakville 10k

So shiny.
Last Sunday's 10k was fabulous, even though I didn't win the year lease on the Mercedes.  The medal will have to get me through the disappointment.

It was a beautful day with sunshine, finally.  Phil, Mel, Steve and I made the trek to Oakville for the 8am race start.  After the previous week's downhill race, where everyone I know got a PR, I was worried I would produce a dismal time failure comparatively, so pretended that Sporting Life never happened and aimed to beat my previous time of 1:04:58.

The course was flat and mostly run through higher end Oakville neighbourhoods.  I was having trouble seeing what my pace was with my contact lenses in.  Getting older sucks!  So I just tried to keep a pace that made me breathe harder but didn't knock me out completely.

And it worked!  I came in chip time at 1:01:39, which is only 9 seconds slower than the downhill race.  Sweet!  So no more excuses -- I can run faster and I WILL beat the 60 minute 10k this season.

The others had a great race too.  Newby runner Steve posted a PR of 1:00:00 after sailing past me, not breaking a sweat, at 7k or so. "Oh, hi Barb..."  Damn.

Restraining order
says 200m, buddy. 
Back off!
Next Sunday I'll be cheering on Phil as he runs the Mississauga Half Marathon.

And the non-running excitement this week included the opening of our fabulous new pool.  THAT was a long winter! This will be nice to jump into after the steaming hot long runs in July.

 Here's the first jump:

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Three Things Saturday

1.  We have new pets!  The cats are so pleased.
This is Will.  His wife Kate comes most mornings too. 
Sometimes Harry and Pippa join in.

2.  Looking forward to the 10K tomorrow, if only to start wearing the shirt:
"Nein, but Ich am working on das."

3.  I'll be missing my mum tomorrow and most days.  Happy Mothers' Day!

I'm in the pigtails -- each one has about 5 hairs in it.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sporting Life 10k and Virtual Marathon race report

I didn't know so much awesome could be packed into a Sunday morning. 

Phil and I ran this 10k down Yonge Street with Mel and Steve.  This is a huge race compared to what we've been doing lately - 15,000 people or so with corrals and waves.  It also, sadly, meant a 5:00 wake-up to get speedy Phil on the right shuttle bus to the start line.  I guess spring really is here; no more 10:00 race starts.

We waltzed onto the bus from the parking with no problem.  It was chilly, but happily we were able to go into the Sporting Life store near the start line as we had about 40 minutes to kill before the gun.

I was also completing my Virtual Marathon a la Barefoot Neil Z.  I ran 5 miles Monday, 5 miles Friday and 10 miles yesterday (yes, before a race as I'm not very smart) meaning that this 6.2 mile run would complete the marathon distance on the right day.  I made a bib with a moosehead, in honour of Neil's city of Calgary, where I understand they keep moose as pets, and gave myself the number 43, as my 44th birthday is in a few weeks and I'm holding onto 43 as long as I can.

The race was 95% downhill (my kinda route!) and for the first time ever, one of my miles was under 9 minutes.  Woot!  Most of my miles were under 10 minutes.  Double woot!  From now on, all my races MUST be downhill.  I was dreaming that I would break my 2011 goal of under 60 minute 10k. In real distance, I did it by a hair, but officially, as always for me, the course was longer since I don't run the tangents well, and I came in at 1:01:30 -- which is still a 3:38 PR and I'll take it!

Phil smashed his 10k PR too, coming in at 46:33; Mel bested hers by a whopping 8 minutes + and Steve, who has only been running for a little while, posted his first 10k faster than my time.  I hate that.

Then the real excitement started.  After about a half hour of searching for my party, and taking about 200 pictures for other people because I was standing around doing nothing, I found Phil and then -- be still my heart -- my boyfriend Reid Coolsaet, winner of this race and future Canadian Olympian.  We cornered him between two trailers at the post race party and he really had no option but to take a picture with me.  Sigh.

Those people in the background are so jealous.

Winning!  (the right way, Charlie)

Speaking of stalkers, mine was there too (see picture at left as evidence).

PRs all around!

Next race is the Mercedes Benz 10k in Oakville next Sunday.  I've been told it's a flat course, but after today it will feel uphill all the way.  The medal is a Mercedes logo, so I can't lose!

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Catching Up -- 2 Race Reports

Harry's Spring Run-Off 8k

I was hoping to spot and meet fellow running bloggers Aneta and Cynthia, who were running this one, but no luck.  We've never been in a race so close to home before, so we lolly-gagged our way through our morning prep and didn't get there until 15 minutes before the gun.

We chose to take the subway as it was only a few stops away and the High Park area is notoriously bad for parking.   The TTC (public transit) was really happy to see us, after all these years of not-so-much-taking-the-bus.  Apparently, the fare collector at the station slept in this Sunday morning, instead of catching his usual nap at work, so there was another TTC employee standing at the turnstyle telling people to "Go on through since there's no Collector."  Hmmm.   Are union rules really that stringent that he's allowed to spend his time telling people their rides are free rather than taking over collection duties?  Who cares?  Score $6.00 for Phil and Barb!  Oddly, on the way home, there was a collector, but the woman ahead of us bought 5 tokens and forgot to take them with her.  Score again!  Not really.  Phil tracked her down, getting on the subway going the wrong way for one stop, and returned them to her.  He's a swell guy that way.

I kinda hated this race.  Nice scenery, crisp and sunny weather, well organized, but I think there was just too many people for my liking.  I won't even comment on the hill at the end -- I think that's what the race is known for.  It would have been nice to have a little more room at the top of the hill before the finish line to get a bit of a sprint on, but them's the breaks.  Finished in 52:10 and Phil was about 40 minutes.  I call PR on an 8k (never raced one before).

Cadillac Fairview 10k

This small race was held in Sunnybrook Park.  This is the same park I'll be running the Toronto Women's Half Marathon at the end of May, so I thought it was a good training.  There were about 150 10k participants and many more 5k walkers. The 5k started 15 minutes after the 10k, so there was no dodging walkers at the start.  Unfortunately, I caught up with them in the last 2k, when it had started raining and the were taking up the whole path AND carrying umbrellas.  But it was all for a good cause -- paediatric oncology -- so what are you going to say to the people, who are in your way, but are also wearing t-shirts with pictures of little kids with cancer on them?

Regardless -- I got a for real PR!  My previous 10k race PR was 1:07 something.  I was shooting for 1:05 and came in (Garmin time) at 1:04:58.  Woot!  I'm feeling good that I will smash my under 60-minute goal by the end of the summer.  Phil came within 9 seconds of breaking his land-speed 10k record.

Nice bonus of this race was the spicy chili at the end.  So good -- from famed chef Oliver Bonacini's Luma restaurant -- with fixings of shredded cheese, sour cream and crushed up crackers.  Yum.  I will definitely go back next year.

Hurray!  I just found out I won a give-away over at Marlene's!  I think April is my lucky month -- first a free subway ride, now this!  Thanks, Marlene.

Off to Florida for 4 days as soon as the boys are off from school today.  If any burglars are reading this though, I have people coming to my house to cat-sit.  Big, burly men who are, um,  policemen.  Yeah.  Policemen.  So don't bother robbing us.