Tuesday, May 29, 2012

While Mum Works.....

My guys run & win!

I worked all long weekend....when you are a trauma nurse, memorial day weekend is not all fun and games. So no running glory for me today....it all rests with my boys!

They ran the Glassfest 8K Saturday.

Thing 1 comes in 6th overall and WINS his age category!!!!!!!! 29:53!!!!

SD scores a 3rd place age category win with a 31:02!

Thing 2 runs a huge PR despite feeling pretty crummy with a 42!!!!!

I am so proud of you all!!!!!!!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

While The Kids Are At School...Mums Play ;-D

After a 'gross' & exhausting stretch of nightshifts at work, I was finally back on the trail today with my trail buddy. We had a goal of making it over the 15 mile mark, which we've struggled getting past because we either don't have enough time or end up getting horribly off track and end up having to pull out the iPhone compass and delve into the world of orienteering to get back on track. We were trying for 20 but got a late start due to me not getting my butt out of bed early enough to be ready when trail buddy's kids got on the bus. I felt bad until I got to trail buddy's house and she wasn't ready either. We are a match made in heaven ;). She finally got her Sherpa pack so between the 2 of us we were ready for the apocalypse!!! On with the packs and we were on our way.

trail addition by the mountain bikers!
We had a great run! Managed to find a couple new trails & when we turned wrong we just ended up doing another loop of a section we love anyway. Stopped for lunch at 'our pond'. About a 20 minute break for sandwiches and we were back at it. Found a new section that ran by 2 other ponds. They were marked and groomed by our favourite mountain biking club. This was a great addition to our route as it helped minimize the time we had to spend out on the gravel road that runs through this greenspace. We hate that road. It is rocky, hot in the open sun & boring, boring, boring. We were happy to be able to spend only the most minimal time on it.

WooHoo!!!!We made it past 15 miles!!!
When we passed the 15 mile mark we took this cheesy picture ;-D

We didn't quite make our 20 mile goal, but at 18 miles in a little over 5 hours we are doing better with the time we have available to train.

38 days to Finger Lakes Fifties!!!!!!

Not a bad way to spend the kids' schoolday!

Monday, May 21, 2012

The Hoot

Couldn't be prouder of my cheesy homemade plastic owl bling!
2nd Place...old lady AG ;)
I entered my very first trail race on Saturday. It was just a 5K but with my 50K quickly approaching I am focusing the majority of my running on trails.  And judging by how often trail buddy & I get lost when we run (every. single. time...sigh.) I really want to get some practice and comfort with reading course markers.  It was a small local race to benefit the local nature center.  It was held at Spencer Crest Nature Center, which is also the local schools home Cross Country site, so I am familiar with it.  The timing was especially good since I could drop Thing 1 at practice and then go run the race.

I arrived a bit early as I wanted more than a 5K workout.  I registered & then ran the course once by myself.  It was muddy and had many technical challenges. Plenty of steep downhills, steep uphills, rocks, roots & mud.  Even a log to jump over!  I managed an easy jog through in 38 minutes....Thing 1 was mortified it took me that long!  Oh well!  That's just the way I roll on the trail!!! LOL!

There ended up being several other runners there that I knew, including 2 others from my Ragnar team & a few from work. 

Dirty Girl Gaiters & a trail hitchhiker ;)
One of the ponds from a run earlier this week
Soon enough it was time to start.  The start was a crazy mad scramble down a very steep rocky hill basically into a muddy bog.  It was soon apparent that a lot of runners were not familiar with a trail race as they were trying to tiptoe around the mud while the rest of us barreled through it.  We wound down and around a pond and through the trails, and faced 1 steep hill that I, and a lot of others, had to power walk up.  Then another long slow hill.  Then back to single track and on to the finish.  I finished in 32:02 officially, which made me 31/86 overall and, shockingly, was enough for 2nd in my age group! Pretty cool! Mostly though, I had a great time...did not get lost...and managed a total of 10K on the trail without getting lost! Kudos to the race directors for very clear directional arrows spraypainted on the ground and yellow tape barriers blocking off the wrong way. 

I have to say though that I was thoroughly EXHAUSTED after the race.  After a really tough 15 miles the day before, racing on the trail was SO much harder than an easy 3 or 4 hours out there with no time pressures!

I can't believe our 50K is only 6 weeks away!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Ragnar Relay Cape Cod

Starting Line
6 Mothers, 12 legs, 18 kids eating Dad's food all weekend!
What can I say.....12 women, 2 vans, running 176 miles from Plymouth to Provincetown in 27 hours....I have never laughed so much in my life!

Ragnar Cape Cod was chaotic, exhausting, challenging, hilarious and strange....I wouldn't change a minute of it! I am SO glad I did it!

Van 2 at the starting line...taken by a very unruffled ironman who didn't think anything of our request for him to lie down on the ground & let 6 women lean over him for a picture!
Runner 7 ready to rock the Cape!
Leaving on my 1st leg
Along my 1st leg
We left upstate NY on Thursday morning for the 7+ hour trip to Cape Cod.  The chaos started early with some frantic last minute packing and repacking.  I managed to get out of the house with 1 duffel bag and a food bag.  Not bad.  Our van did not pack the night before like the other vans as logistics prevented a lot of that.  Between kids sporting events and some of us working late it was not worth that kind of hassle.  It turned out not to be a big deal to transfer stuff to the van as we left.  Not sure if I mentioned it, but we only filled the last 2 slots on our team last week! We had a heck of a time filling our team...we had 3 people back out on us late in the game and up until last week we had a 10 runner plan in place.  We were THRILLED when 2 wonderful women jumped on our crazy train at the last minute! However, as we were within a half mile of picking up our last runner, we got a call that her baby was sick & she would not be able to join us. We reverted back to our contingency plan in minutes. We were sad she could not come, but we understood.  2 hours into our trip we got a call back from Runner 11 that baby was in a good mood & feeling better, Dad on the way home & she was going to drive up herself to meet us! We were stunned, a little concerned that she was going to drive on her own, but happy! The mother's out there can appreciate the statement "7 hours alone with a book on tape & 5 kids not asking me anything....sounds like heaven to me".  We stopped for dinner somewhere in Massachusetts & met up with our sister team & another team of runners....that's right....36 Ragnar Mama's in one restaurant! Turned out that Runner 11 only got to the hotel about 45 minutes after us! A quick team meeting and we were off to bed.  The alarm went off in the morning to find that Runner 11 came down with baby's GI illness through the night, but she was one tough cookie & dressed and got in the van.  It's a good thing we were not van 1 because we got lost trying to find the starting line and missed van 1's 7am start.....took us over an hour to find it and it turns out it was only 6 miles from our hotel.  We did make some friends at the local Walgreen's though! Runner 11 needed to rest so we took her back to the hotel, told her to lie down and told her we'd come back for her once the van got me off and running at the first major exchange.

Me & Trail Buddy @ exchange 12
I was runner 7 and had a little over 24 miles to run in 3 legs: 9/9/6.3.....we went through our safety briefing and I got ready to run! We finally met up with van 1 and waiting for runner 6 to arrive.  Finally, I was off!!!! I started in Myles Standish state park and wound my way out of it and along the roads outside Plymouth for 9 miles.  What a different kind of race Ragnar is.....it is both lonely and exhilarating.  Lonely because you can run long stretches by yourself and fun and exhilarating because every van that passes you is hilarious and the runners inside it are screaming at you and cheering you on! Ragnar is like one big boisterous dysfunctional fun-loving family.  I was a little worried about how my legs would feel with only 4 days rest between my marathon & Ragnar, but I felt great! Legs were good and I was flying through that first 9 miles with a pace of 10:19.  I wore my Nathan hydration pack, which was a smart move because water is sketchy on the course and I had a No-Van-Support leg.  Some of the exchanges were hard to find but we ended up making it there in time to meet our runners.  Cape Cod is beautiful...the houses are so pretty (anyone know why they are only painted on the front?), the forests serene and the beaches amazing! Our runner 11 finished the last half mile on the beach running through sand.  Many hated this because it was slow and hard, but I thought it was great. Quite frankly, if we hadn't had any beach running I would have been disappointed.  Exchange 11 & 12 were right beside each other so we got to spend some extra time with our other van and we met up with our sister van so I got to see trail buddy! Yay!  It was windy and cold along the beach but oh so beautiful! Our Runner 12 was smokin' fast and we finished up the first 12 legs of our run almost an hour ahead of our projected schedule! Wow!

Van 2 @ nite...like the port-o-potty background? We have several of these ;s
Lit for the night
Ready for my night run!
The beach at night
Now it was time to hand off to Van 1 again and go find our midway hotel.  Because of the twisty-turny nature of the route we were able to get a midway hotel which we were able to go back to during our off time.  It was great! During our first break, we grabbed a shower, some food & a nap.  Our nap was cut short when we got a call that the other van was way ahead of schedule and we had to hit the road in a hurry.  So 30 minutes for me.  As the first runner in our van I hit panic stations trying to make sure I had all my requisite nighttime gear.  In the process of dressing I made a bad decision.  I decided to change my shoes to my ascics cumulus that I run in occasionally thinking that the wider toe box would be nice. OMG, my right heel was killing me within 2 miles.  It was a hard run for me.  I have never run in the dark...and it was a little spooky.  I had to put my headphones away because every time someone passed me I'd freak out. It wasn't much more comforting to hear the heavy breathing bearing down on you though.  Plus the sidewalks were uneven so I had to be really careful with my footing. So I was slow.  Like 11:24 pace slow.  I passed a beach along the way and then wound through some residential neighbourhoods.  My awesome van stopped at a turn they thought might be hard for me to find and made sure I was ok.  It was so good to see them and they pumped me up for the rest of the run! It is weird running with a headlamp...like running in a tunnel!  I had a lot of miles to cover in this second leg, but 2 of my van-mates had to do trails....now that was spooky for them!  Lots of people didn't like the trails and were surprised they were there.  We were surprised too, but I guess if you actually READ the Ragmag, you'd have seen they were clearly marked.  None of us got lost, for which I was very thankful! But I will say that the road markers could have been closer together, especially on the trail sections.  It was all very Blair Witch Project-like.

WooHoo!!!! I did it! 24+ miles done!

As we handed off to Van 1 for their last legs we headed back to the hotel. I had no other mission in mind except to sleep.  Unfortunatley, due to the low miles that the other van had to cover and a mid-race shortening of one leg (no idea what happened...only that a 4 mile leg got cut to 2 with no notice)...we got a frantic text that we needed to get moving and moving now because the last runner was on the course! I frantically threw on a new skirt and grabbed my stuff.....holy moly, I was going to be on the road before the official night hours were up so I still needed my vest, butt light and headlamp.  Mad scramble to find all this stuff!!!! My foot felt better. I had iced and took a couple ibuprofen after my last leg and I made sure to put my Pureflows back on!  These are definitely the shoes my feet like!  After a middle of the night dance party outside of Dunkin Donuts we were on the road, and a little calmed down because we misunderstood the name of who they told us was on the road and it was not their last runner...thank goodness!!!  I went from zombie slug, warm and cozy in the back of the van to quick port-o-potty break to frantic sprint as I heard "Runner 6 is here!!!!!!"  Yikes! Mad dash through the parking lot looking for Runner 6 & the slap bracelet. Started my Garmin on the run out of the exchange at 5:40am!  This 3rd leg was the best for me. Not only did I nail a 9:50 pace, but it was along a stunning section of the DCR rail trail at sunrise then wound its way to the beach along some rolling hills.  Cape Cod is much hillier than we all expected!  I was done! I did it...a marathon & 24.3 miles of Ragnar within 5 days of each other!!!! It was spectacular!!!
Runner 10 takes off...so beautiful!

Like my Tattoo?
We enjoyed the location for a few minutes, then hit the road to meet our next runner.  This leg was so cool because it was a little celebration everytime one of us finished.  A little panic attack as the last 2 exchanges had no port-o-potties....no idea what happened but we got our runners to local gas stations/restaurants in time. Phew!  Through all of this Runner 11 had moments of not feeling very good, but I have to say that she was awesome and never once let any of us take her legs.  She is a rockstar!  We headed to the finish line and had to pay to park, which everybody there thought sucked. Yeah Ragnar, that really sucked! But that feeling didn't last long as we excitedly awaiting our final runner.  We Tebowed her as she went by us and we all followed her across the finish line!  Gaffer Girls Too were done!!!! 27 hours 8 minutes of crazy fun! I feel like I got an ab workout from all the laughing!!!! I didn't know the ladies in my van very well, if at all, before we started.  But we are Ragnarians now & thus bonded for life!

Gaffer Girls Too at the Finish Line!!!
Ragnar (n.) In mythology and legend, a man, often of divine ancestry, who is endowed with great courage and strength, celebrated for his bold exploits and favored by the gods.

That's right ladies.... WE ARE RAGNAR!!!!!!

Van 2 the next morning at Plymouth Rock....and another very patient man who was fine with our asking him to cross the street and climb a hill to take our photo!  We didn't get to run by this so had to go back and look.
My final leg socks....a gift from my boys (just as long as you don't wear them during a race WE are at!) I think they helped me run fast ;-D

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Toronto Marathon Race Report

Goodlife Toronto Marathon
Sunday May 6, 2012
86/128 Age Category
461/665 Women

Pace 10:49 officially. 10:42 by my garmin since it logged me at 26.5 miles...ahhh, tangents...;)

At the start
I love Toronto. Not just because it is a beautiful city to run in (though it is...the lakeshore & High Park are places I hit every single time I'm there) but also because I have the best family & friends there. So to be able to combine the two seemed like a dream come true. The only thing missing this weekend was Thing 1.... He had an AP World History review class Saturday morning (he was thrilled, you can imagine) & a track meet in the afternoon/evening...so he stayed with a friend and rocked out a 10:30 in the 2 mile! So after school on Friday, we picked up Thing 2 and headed north of the border. We made good time and were settled into my Brother-in-law's house with a glass of wine in my hand by 8pm. Of course we had to stop on the way there for my favourite Canadian fast food. Maybe a Harvey's cheeseburger with extra pickles & poutine ranks right up there with Chick fi-la in terms of race eve eve food, but I called it delicious and was ok with that!

Nephew beating up a polyp
Saturday, SD & I were up early to head to the expo & pick up our race packets. It was held at the Direct Energy Center which was easy to find and only about 10 minutes from the house by car. There was plenty of parking, which cost $10 but I expect to pay for that kind of thing in a big city. I suppose we could have driven around looking for street parking but I didn't feel like dealing with that kind of hassle. The signage was good and there were plenty of people inside and outside giving directions into the expo hall. I thought it was pretty big. Lots of booths for clothing, races, health products and THIS:What is that, you ask????? Why it's just what you'd expect to see at a race expo.....don't they all have giant inflatable colon tunnels to teach you about the importance of colonoscopy??????? On the upside, our 5 year old nephew insisted on coming with us & he thought it was great fun.....he traversed the colon, beating up polyps the whole way through...3 times!Packet picket was fast and easy for both the marathon for me and the half marathon for SD. The one thing you did have to do was make sure you activated the timing chip on your bib. To do this involved going to another booth adjacent to the packet pickup. They just swiped it by a computer and you verified that your information was correct. Super easy and didn't take more than a few seconds plus it gave us the peace of mind that our timing chips were functioning properly. They had some tri gear so SD indulged in a Team Canada tri top and I got a hat. Could have spent a fortune, but reigned myself in...for a change ;-D

Ready to go!
Me & my awesome sister in law!
We spent about an hour there and headed back to the house. We spent a couple hours in the afternoon watching our other nephew play baseball then it was time for a nap and then out to dinner. We had a spectacular dinner at Dr Generosity's on Bloor St. Great portions and great food! Super kid friendly too! Then it was back to the house where we made an attempt at going to bed early. In bed early. Check. Falling asleep. Not so much. Oh well, I think that's fairly normal. The alarm went off at 5:30 & my sister in law was awesome and drove us to the starting line in North York. The starting line setup was great. You could wait inside and use actual indoor plumbing! If you are a slave to tradition, there were still a million portapotties outside too ;). The bag check truck was easy to find and SD had no trouble collecting our stuff at the end of the half.

SD killing it!!! 1:31!!!
The weather seemed ideal. Partly sunny & about 48 at the start. The start went off right on time at 7:30. It took me a little over a minute to cross the starting line and I was off. I started out well, trying to control my pace and not go out too fast. My first mile was 10:17 and felt comfortable. The first 4 miles cruised by & I was even able to get up the long slow hill of mile 4 in 10:56. I lost time in 5 with a potty break. I'm glad I stopped when I did because they ended up being few and far between. It killed me to loose a good 2 minutes waiting when i felt so strong but I know it was the right thing to do. 12:19 for that mile. We went down Young St and then wound through some beautiful neighbourhoods, passing Upper Canada College & the stunning Casa Loma. Miles 6-10 I was on cruise and continued to feel great. I made my 10K split goal of 1:06...i am on track! One of the best race moments was just after mile 10 when the marathon and half marathon came together from 2 different directions and merged. The energy was A-MA-ZING!!! The marathoners could see it happening from a couple blocks away as we were coming down a hill...all of a sudden all the half marathoners came swooping around the corner and joined us! The music was blaring, the crowd was huge and cheering like crazy! There was a crazy large group with signs that made you laugh out loud "Wow, you've got great stamina! Call Me..." we were all laughing and cheering and it felt buoyant like the start of a race! I did a little research and found out this was the Lululemon Cheer Team....they were incredible! Thanks!!!!! I felt reenergized and ran a 9:54 that mile. After all the hoopla died down I dialed it back into that 10:35-10:50 range I was aiming for and made my half split goal of 2:19. The half split again at Ontario place for the finish line. I never did see SD but that's because he was rocking out a 1:31 for 138th place overall out of 5880 runners!!!! He is such an incredible runner & i am so proud of him!!! I held on to that pace up though mile 17 and that is when it all fell apart. 

There were water stations that had RAN OUT OF CUPS!!! It broke my spirit a little bit when I could see the station coming up, looked forward to it & then the volunteers were apologizing and doing their best to hose down anyone who wanted it, refill bottles or pour water in your hands.  Since I had no desire to run another marathon in soggy shoes I just plodded on. Did not walk through it...though in hindsight I should have anyway...and kept going.  So now I know I have at least 2 km before there is more water.  I don't think I can relay how it felt....just awful mentally and physically.  Even worse was that there were 2 more stops without cups!  I almost cried, my splits were crapola....hitting over 11's...way over & I knew my chance of finishing in the 4:30's was rapidly slipping away.  7 miles before I could make myself suck it up and accept that this was still a good race, I was going to PR & I still loved where I was running. So I am proud to say that I rocked the last mile and a half with 9:51 & 9:03 splits!  In the half mile, my brother in law ran with me for a bit & when he dropped off, I looked up to find my sister in law and Thing 2 beside me!  It was a fantastic way to finish the race!!!!!

Crossed the mat officially @ 4:43:29!!!!!!

Check out the bling!!!!! It is almost as big as my head and probably weighs at least a pound!!!!!
My medal crushing SD's ;)
I couldn't figure out how to flip this in a hurry...sorry.