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 ahead...do 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 ...you 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!