Virtual Run Across New Brunswick During a Pandemic.

My run group is aptly  named the Riverview Running Idiots. Yes, we are runners first but we are also a  social bunch and we like to have fun.  As the matter of fact we put the run in dRUNk and bRUNch.  We like to eat and run.  We like to run and drink.  We like to laugh.  We like to engage in inappropriate shenanigans.  Social interaction is as important to us as our running.  Maybe importanter….

note: this photo was taken before we were required to be socially distant. iidiots

Covid 19 has really spoiled our fun this Spring.  Our province is under a state of emergency and we have strict social guidelines to control the spread of this nasty bug.  Weather in April was uninspiring and motivation was low.    Group running is taboo.  Social gatherings are against the law.  Many of our members have been motivated by group runs and seldom run solo.  How to keep morale up in challenging times like this….?

Inspired by Lazarus Lake’s virtual run across Tennessee, a couple of us decided to host a virtual run across New Brunswick in May. (If you don’t know who Laz is, we can’t be friends.)  Distance from Aulac on Nova Scotia border to the Quebec border is 525km so it would have to be done in teams.  We are so pleased that 39 people have formed 8 teams to virtually walk / run across the province.  (We decided to include intentional walking to be more inclusive.  )

We like to do good things within the community so we decided that the entry fee to this event would be to spread positivity … do something nice, pay it forward, make a donation, do an intentional act of kindness, etc

Teams are listed below

  • Corn Teen Kids
  • Connie’s Covid Clompers
  • {insert name here}
  • Clovidiots
  • Bumper to Bumper Humpers
  • Virus Vixens
  • Heather’s heroes.
  • Joy’s Joyful Juggernauts

We are currently 9 days in and it has been a huge success.  People are running or walking solo but they are working together to complete their goals.  They are getting out there by themselves but covering the virtual distance together. Teams captains have initiated FB group chats with their team mates to encourage engagement.  And it has been great.  Not as great as going for a run and a beer, but still pretty good.

How are you all staying motivated during the pandemic?

 

 

Hypothermic Half Marathon 2020

hypoThe 2015 Hypothermic Half Marathon was my first half marathon.  |I had  no business running a half marathon back then and it was horrible.  I couldn’t wait to do it again.

Fast forward to February 2 of 2020 I ran my 6th Hypothermic Half Marathon. It went like this.
Conditions were more favorable this year than in any other year. Pavement was bare, temperature was -4c, windchill of -11c. The distance this year was the most accurate at 21km, only 100m shy. In previous years the distance has ranged from 19.5km to 21.6km.
Despite the near perfect conditions I really struggled this year. It was a hard effort. It is a double looped course and depending on the wind direction I felt either overdressed or underdressed for most of the race. I was literally running hot and cold.
At race start I wore two buffs, one on my head and one around my neck. Within 20 minutes I removed them both and carried them around my wrists. Mittens also came off. It proved handy to have the buffs on my wrists as I could just slide them over my hands when I was facing a headwind and then slide them back when I didn’t need them.
At around the 18km mark my quads decided they didn’t want to run anymore so I shuffled for awhile before finding my groove again.
You will notice that I am not smiling in the pictures. Usually I love this race, but this one was an ordeal. Apparently I don’t enjoy good weather running??
Finish time 2:09 and change, goal was 2:15. I’ll take it.

Turkey Trot 2019

Edit : I haven’t been on this site for a long time and am just looking through the gibberish in my drafts.  This unpublished post has been sitting here for several months.  Today seems like a good day to put it out there.

A few weeks ago Social Media was filled with pictures of runners celebrating Thanksgiving by running 5k at their local Turkey Trots .  It is the first week of December, and Thanksgiving was a long time ago here in Canada, but I just ran my very first Turkey Run a couple of days ago.   And it is probably unlike any Turkey Run that you have ever attended. Let me explain.

This was the fifth year for this event.  The entry fee is the donation of one frozen turkey, in support of the Sue Stultz Turkey Drive which supplies over 4000 turkeys to local food banks.  I have donated to the Turkey Drive but before but have never been available to participate in this particular event.  When I realized that my calendar was wide open on this day I quickly registered.  Easy peasy, I bought a turkey to put in my freezer and then waited until race day.

turkeyrunn.jpgThe night before race day, my running group met at a local restaurant to celebrate the conclusion of our November challenge.  A couple of us were running the Turkey Run the next morning so the conversation went in that direction.  One of my running buddies casually asked, ” Is that the one where you have to carry the turkey for the whole 5k?”  We replied in the negative but he was quite sure that we were wrong so we looked at the event webpage.  To my horror I found this information buried at the bottom in the last paragraph.  “You can carry it, back pack it, put it in your stroller, anything! But you got to walk or run it. Corporate teams encouraged. ”     I was horrified.!  I am barely running now while I am recovering from surgery a week prior.  My incision was still swollen and tender….and was located in a spot where it would be covered by a backpack strap.  Oh no!

As I was preparing for the race the next morning, I tried on a few backpacks and found one that did not directly cover the incision so it might be not be too bad.  To be extra sure I stuffed a mitten in my sports bra for extra padding.

The weather was cool but sunny.  We waited with everyone else and then we were off.  It only took a few steps to realize how hard this was going to be.   It is amazing how a 10lb weight on your back will slow you down. Big time!  My legs felt heavy.  My lungs and heart felt like they were doing a tough cardio workout.   Uphill was impossible. Luckily I was running with a couple of other gals and  we giggled and laughed the whole way.   A passerby would be forgiven for thinking that we were inexperienced runners because we made it look really hard.

turkey

Over 300 turkeys were donated to the Turkey Drive and we all had an enjoyable time so that counts as a good day in my book.

 

 

 

Resurgo Half Marathon – A recap

Editor’s note:   This race happened almost 3 months ago, on Sept. 8.  I am catching up on unpublished posts.  Life is busy.. what can I say..?

Hurricane Dorian blew through town the day before the race.  Actually, Dorian was downgraded to a tropical storm in southeast New Brunswick, but maintained hurricane status in the Halifax area, a mere couple of hundred kilometers to the south.  It would be an understatement to describe Race Day as Windy.

Thank goodness the storm didn’t land 12 hours later, or this event would have become a non-event.  Dorian walloped us with high winds and torrential rains all day Saturday, leaving fallen trees and downed power lines in it’s wake.

69821063_2164649790313501_4441224646259376128_nThe race organizers and volunteers did an amazing job despite the challenges of having a tropical storm hit the area hard only a few hours before race time.    They diligently tracked the storm path and decided to delay the start of the race by a couple of hours.  This was announced Saturday evening and communicated effectively via Social Media. The purpose of this was to allow volunteers enough time  to clear the race course of debris, and to allow Dorian to move further away so the winds would abate slightly.  This proved to be a wise choice  as Power was knocked out at Chocolate River Station, the Start / Finish Line. It was still very dark at the originally scheduled start time. No worries… the main lobby has large windows and doors so there was some natural light after sunrise. Thank goodness for the later Start so we could take advantage of daylight.   Flashlights were set up in the stairwells leading to the second floor bathrooms.

Prior to this race my coach sent me a message saying that it was hard to give me a goal time because of the windy conditions.  Also, I was feeling slightly under the weather ( no pun intended)  with tummy distress earlier that morning.  Coach advised me to just go out and run the race and then get out of the weather quickly and go home to recover.

dianeresurgoThe first 5km felt great.  With a tailwind, it felt light and easy.  After that there was a crosswind / headwind and my pace slowed though I kept the same effort.  At the halfway mark my time was about 62 minutes and I felt confidant that I could hold that pace for the entire distance.  Then the wheels fell off of my bus.  At 12km I started to feel light headed, and then dizzy.  I slowed my pace and felt better.  Then I started to get stomach cramps which slowed me to a brisk walk.  When I tried to run the cramps would worsen, but walking was ok.  I power walked the final 4km with a strong headwind.  I have never felt like quitting during a race before, but I came very close on this day.   The only thing that kept me going was knowing that my sister was behind me, and I’ll be damned if I let her finish a race before me.   My finish time was 2:21:37.  I didn’t even care….

I waited around to watch Sister finish… about 10 minutes behind me, I think.. and then I hightailed it for home.  I felt unwell for the remainder of the day so I think I had a bit of a stomach bug.

Kudos to the race organizers who pulled this off despite the challenges presented by Dorian.  Big shout out to the volunteers who made this event so successful.  The only negative from this race was the weather, but the organizers banded together to make it safe and as enjoyable as possible.

I recommend this race to anyone who is looking for a late summer no-frills marathon or half marathon.  This is a “last chance” qualifier for Boston.  The entry fee is very affordable and you can opt to purchase a quality race shirt at a reasonable price. Post race snacks were generous …and delicious… thanks to the many sponsors and volunteers.  The race course is on the Riverfront Trail which is mostly flat. It is a trail that I know well as it is very near to my house. The route was a bit complex.. out and back, then veered to another out and back, and then back to the first out and back.  Does that make sense?  The marshals were fantastic and I don’t think anyone made a wrong turn. The marathon route was similar.  Because of the many out-and-backs on this route,  I was constantly meeting other runners, which was a huge bonus.  We were all fighting the same battle against the wind and many people offered thumbs-up or words of encouragement on the way by.

No Fair Weather Runners here. It would be safe to say that we were all  blown away by this race. fairwearther runners

Gingerbread Person ( a rolled cookie recipe)

I traditionally make this recipe only at Christmas time.  Pity, it would be good year round.
Ingredients
1/2 cup margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup molasses
1 egg
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Directions
In a large bowl, cream together the margarine and sugar until smooth. Stir in molasses and egg. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, spices; blend into the molasses mixture until smooth. Cover, and chill for at least one hour.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until firm. Hubby likes a crisp cookie so I leave them in for a minute or two longer.

Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks. Frost or decorate when cool.

20191203_171756

Bran Muffins- A recipe

Life is busy and it is easy to rely on convenience foods when we are in a hurry.  For example : I was in the daily  habit of buying  a muffin to enjoy with my tea at Tim Horton’s. ( a Canadian coffee cult-chain.)  Not only did this deplete the spare change from my wallet,  it added unnecessary sugar/fat to my food intake.  Most days I would choose a “healthy” muffin such as Raisin Bran, but who am I kidding?  There is nothing healthy about any muffin purchased through a drive-thru window.

So I finally stopped being lazy and now make muffins at home regularly.  After some searching, I found this recipe online and it closely duplicates a recipe that my mother used when I was a child.  Bonus: compared to Tim Hortons, these have less than half the calories,  half the carbs,  25% less fat, 75% less sugar, 75% less sodium ,  but a similar amount of protein and cholesterol.  To be fair, these are slightly smaller than the coffee shop muffin, but they do adequately meet my need for a quick satisfying breakfast-on-the-go.  There are probably recipes out there that are even healthier but I do enjoy these muffins as part of my balanced diet.

  • 1.5 cups all bran cereal ( the kind that looks like little twigs)
  • 1 cup buttermilk ( no buttermilk?  add a splash of lemon juice to regular milk, let sit 10minutes
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour ( sometimes I use half white, half whole wheat)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt. ( I omit the salt and save myself even more sodium content)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.

Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk; let stand for 10 minutes.
Beat together oil, egg, sugar and vanilla and add to buttermilk/bran mixture.

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended.

Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.  My husband doesn’t like raisins so I scoop batter into 4 muffin liners and then add raisins.   Eight for me, four for him.. seems about right.
Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool and enjoy!

Per muffin: 167 calories / cholesterol 15mg./ Fat 7.1g / carbs 25.6 / Protein 3.5g / sodium 262mg.

Compare

 

#stopeatingcrap

Two weeks post-marathon, I recognize the need to get back on track with my nutritional needs.  While I never felt  deprived while training for the race, the focus was on “eating to run” which meant lots of healthy foods and not so much of the unhealthy variety.   I mentally gave myself permission to “eat whatever I want” for 2 weeks after the marathon.  Well.. it has been 11 days since I crossed the finish line and I have been eating all sorts of crap food.  And I feel like crap. I am tired and lethargic. ( the weather isn’t helping, sunshine would give me a boost for sure)

My body is actually craving a return to a better way of eating.   I am craving oranges and berries and baked potatoes and … well… you get the idea.   Tonight I cooked a lovely dinner which included salmon, baked potato and oven roasted asparagus … and it was divine!

One of my peers is accompanying me on the journey of healthy living and we exchange frequent encouraging texts back and forth.  Does anyone else use hashtags while texting? No..?  Lol, well we do and one of our favorites is #stopeatingcrap.   I am ready to heed that advice again.

Sugarloaf Marathon 2019 – Review

May  19/ 2019

The alarm sounded at 5:00 am but I was already awake. Bedtime was 8:00pm the previous evening and I slept soundly until 2:30 when I woke up briefly to relieve the pressure in my bladder before falling back into a peaceful slumber.  My next cognitive awareness was around 4:45 and I laid in bed thinking about the day ahead.

As the alarm sounded I heard the rustling of activity in other parts of the house.  With 4 other runners ( and one non-running spouse) the house came alive quickly as everyone went through their race day rituals.  For me breakfast was a bowl of oatmeal ( prepared the night before and microwaved) topped with fresh blueberries and maple syrup.  Usually I eat steel-cut oatmeal but it wasn’t available at the  local grocery store so I opted for regular oatmeal.  A couple of mandarin oranges for dessert and I was good to go.

Clothes were laid out the previous evening so that saved a lot of time.  At the last minute I opted to change from a short sleeved tee to a tank.  Three bathrooms for 5 runners made the pre-race poo easy to achieve with little fanfare.

sugarloafbeforeBy 5:45 we were ready to go.  We loaded into the car of the non-running spouse who was dropping us off at the Start Line.   There is no parking area at the Start Line so we had the option of catching the shuttle from the Base Lodge less than a mile away,  or to just be dropped off at the designated drop zone.

The Start Line is at Cathedral Pines Campground in Eustis, Maine.  The route winds through the Bigelow Mountains and along the Carrabassett River before ending in Kingfield.   We were renting a condo at Sugarloaf ski resort which is approximately halfway along the route.  When we arrived at the Start area I was blown away by the view.  It was stunning! What a magical place to start a race!

start line

Light rain was falling prior to race time, but the predicted forecast promised little precipitation for morning but heavier rain later in the day.  No worries.. we would be done by then.  Trusting the meteorologists,  I sent my jacket and gloves on the drop bag shuttle to the Finish Line.

At 6:55 we were summoned to the Start Line where we waited.. and waited.  Finally at 7:09 the Starter’s gun  went off and we were on our way.

My coach had advised me to start at 6:15/km pace and then try to find that “sweet spot” that would allow me to finish strong with the best possible time, and then try to increase my speed to 5:50/km for the final 8km.  He predicted a 4:20 Finish Time, which really terrified me.

Kilometers 1 – 11 were uneventful.  I settled in at 6:00/km to 6:05/km pace and it felt good.  It was faster than Coach advised but it was a gradual downhill and I felt like I was floating.  For fuel I was using ClifBlok chews every 20 minutes chased by water/Gatorade.  Aid stations were positioned approx. 2 miles apart so I chose not to carry my own hydration.  Half strength orange Gatorade was the offering , and I had trained with that product so I felt prepared.  At every aid station I accepted a glass of water and a glass of Gatorade.  Rain was still light but steady.

Kilometers 12 -17km. : This is where the course meandered through the Bigelow mountains and this was reflected in the elevation.  Because I had trained on the hills I found these ones quite manageable.  It is a boost of confidence to pass so many people on the hills.  It wasn’t easy , but it wasn’t hard either.  Pace slowed down to 6:20-6:30/km during this section of the run. Still managing to fuel / hydrate with ease.

Kilometer 18: Finally, a downhill.. and this one was sweet! Always in control, I flew down this one and passed so many people on the way down.  No brakes for me on this one! What a relief to reach this point as I knew that it was mostly downhill from here.  .

Kilometers 19- 21 :   By now it is beginning to rain harder.  My ClifBlok chews are wet and gummy which made them surprisingly hard to chew.  This is when I started to run into trouble at the Aid Stations.  The Chews did not dissolve in my mouth and I couldn’t swallow them quickly. When I tried to drink water and/or Gatorade it felt like I was waterboarding myself.  After this I tried to pop one in my mouth as soon as I saw a water station, but I was still forced to stop to walk 15-30 seconds at every station.  My tummy is beginning to feel “sloshy” and starting to balk at the Gatorade.  After this i decided to accept Gatorade at every second station.

At the halfway mark my time was 2:09:01, slightly ahead of where I want to be.

Kilometers 22-27 – By now it was raining harder and I was beginning to get cold.  I could feel my wet pants slapping against my thighs and my hands were numb.  I tried to execute a snot rocket and couldn’t even feel my finger on the side of my nose.  I was regretting my decision to leave my gloves in the drop bag.  Curses to the meteorologists who got it so wrong!

This race is held on a narrow road which was open to traffic.  Most drivers were courteous and respectful but a few were in a hurry so we really had to be aware of that.   Some of the faster runners had already finished and a few Shuttle buses went by on their way back to the Base Lodge. One shuttle bus splashed me as it passed  and I was drenched with a huge  wall of slushy cold water.

By now my walk breaks at the aid stations were taking 30-40 seconds.  Somewhere around the 27k mark I accepted a glass of Gatorade that was warm… not just tepid but warm.   It didn’t even make any sense that the liquid could be so warm on such a cold day.   It really unsettled my stomach and I decided to rely solely on water after that.

Kilometers 29-32 – I remember very little of this part of the race.  I was physically and mentally numb.  By this time I had been running just a little over 3 hours and I knew that I was about an hour from the Finish Line.  Just keep putting one foot in front of the other. My right hip was beginning to ache.

Kilometers: 32-39 – By now I was counting down the kilometers.  Only 8 more, 7 more, 6 more, 5 more.  I am numb, except for my hip. It hurts.

Kilometers 40-42 : Before the race I had decided that I was going to treat this like a 4 hour run and hope that I was within a couple of miles of the Finish Line by then.  At 4:00:01 my watch beeped for the 39th time.  3.2 km to go… exactly where I was hoping  to be at this point. It seems surreal. I am numb.

For some inexplicable reason I stopped to walk at about 41km  By now I had ceased to care about my Finish Time and would have been content to just walk the rest of the way.  Total walk break was around 45 to 60 seconds and somehow I found the will to start running again. I just want to be done.

dianeWhen  I neared the end of the race I began looking for the Finish Line.  I could see runners ahead of me turn into a parking lot and I was hoping the finish line was just around the corner.  As soon as I turned,  I could see a chute  and then an S-turn leading into another chute with the gantry at end.  At this point I became very disoriented because a truck was blocking the entrance to the second chute.   Volunteers were actually trying to stop  runners so the driver could manoeuvre safely out of the chute entrance.  Huh? With less than 20 meters to go I was expected to stop so the truck could pass..? This was not cool!  This fiasco cost me a few seconds as I dodged around the truck and weaved through the volunteers  which wasn’t a huge deal but it was still annoying.   The runner immediately behind me actually ran the wrong direction on the outside of the chute for a few seconds before a spectator redirected him.  Check out my finish line photo.  I am still wearing my WTF look as I cross the timing mats. Instead of feeling elated, I was just dazed.

Finish Time 4:20:45. … a PB of just over 51 minutes.  My coach was right.. I can do this, and I did do this.!

The second half of the race took almost 2 minutes longer than the first half.  Meh.. I am beyond caring about my splits at this point.

The Finish Line Crew was great… lots of  pastries, fruit, bagels, soup.. etc.  My stomach revolted at the thought of food so I just kept walking around.   I couldn’t summon the will to stretch so I just kept moving. I vaguely remember having a massage while still wearing wet clothes.  Big shout out to those RMT’s who had to massage all the cold wet bodies.  Eventually I wandered over to the drop bag tent so I could change into dry clothes.  I didn’t see any place to change and briefly considered changing right there in the field but decided to do it in the portapotty instead. That was a workout… changing out of wet clothes (including compression socks) in such a small space.  It felt wonderful to be dry and warm.

medalI would definitely recommend this race to anyone.   It is a fast course for anyone looking to PB or BQ.  It is also a great race for runners who prefer to run at a recreational pace and just want to enjoy the journey. Volunteers are fabulous.  It gave me a mental boost every time someone offered encouragement and called me by name. ( name was printed on my bib, duh!)  Scenery was amazing.  The finisher medal was sweet! I believe it was designed and handcrafted by local engineering students…? or something like that…

If you plan to do this race be sure to train on downhills in addition to upslopes.  Those down slopes can really shred your legs.  The route is a paved road with a narrow shoulder so you have to be aware of traffic.   After reading race reviews I trained on cambered roads but unfortunately I trained on the left side of the road, and the race was on the right side of the road.  I should have done more research.  My right hip flexor was destroyed by the end of the race.

If you register for this race I recommend renting a condo at the Sugarloaf Ski Resort.  Ours was roomy with all the comforts of home. By sharing with others, this is a very affordable option.  After the marathon we were regretting our second floor unit though! oh.. the stairs!

 

After my 2nd marathon I vowed to never run this distance again but this 3rd one was an amazing experience.  Now I just need to rest and recover before training for the next big thing. wetdinae

And hey..  this very wet and cold Diane finally managed a post-run smile.

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugarloaf Marathon 2019, Pre-Race

Wow! what an incredible experience.  If this race isn’t on your bucket list, you need to add it now.

This was my 3rd marathon.  After my second one I vowed that  I would never run another marathon, but a co-irker bullied me into it.  We both registered for it and made arrangements for accommodation but then his body became broken and he couldn’t train for it.   By that time I had already invested too much effort into my training so I decided to just carry on. Besides the mountainside condo was booked on my credit card.

Luckily I was able to find 5 other people to share the cost of the condo / travel. Through my network of running friends.. both real and on social media..   I found 3 other people with whom I traveled on Friday, and a married couple was joining us on Saturday.   Though I didn’t previously know these runners, we instantly formed a bond which will last forever.      Part of the magic of this race weekend was getting to know these people, learning of their training schedules, talking of their personal obstacles and exchanging ideas.

One of our roommates had ran 60 marathons and he was a wealth of information re. pre-race preparation. Friday and Saturday were crucial for filling our muscles with glycogen for race day. We were traveling on Friday and were pleased to find a lovely restaurant in Skowhegan which offered some great pasta options. If you are ever in the area, I highly recommend that you check out Ken’s Family Restaurant. Because our condo had full kitchen facilities, we were able to control our food consumption very easily. Before arriving  we had stopped at a grocery store and stocked up on all the carbs that we would need.  Luckily I enjoy pasta so this was a real treat for me.

The condo was quite large and could easily accommodate a large crowd. Imagine my delight to learn that the condo had 3 bathrooms instead of the expected two!  Bonus!

Our condo was less than a mile from the Base Lodge at the Sugarloaf Ski Resort. This is where we picked up our race kits on Saturday. When we arrived, there was a long queue but it moved quickly. There was no race expo but the resort gift shop was open so we bought a few souvenirs there.

After picking up our race kits we hopped in the car to drive the race route.  We knew there were hills and we wanted to become acquainted with them.  Hills looked quite manageable, but boy oh boy.. what a long drive!  It gave me a new appreciation of the distance that I would be running the next day.!

A couple of us took advantage of nearby trails to go for a little hike Saturday afternoon. It was a great mental break for us to just get outdoors and stroll at a leisurely pace through the woods. It was nice to relax and take our minds off the race.

One of our roommates introduced me to Cold Baths as a pre-race ritual.  Previously I have done cold baths after a run and found them very beneficial, but had never done one the day before a race.   I usually don’t try anything new before a race but I figured that this couldn’t hurt.  On Friday and Saturday evening I immersed my legs in cold water and I am now a believer.  Even with my Taper, my legs were feeling tired but the cold bath made my legs feel energized.  It requires a lot of discipline to sit in a bathtub of cold water for 10 minutes. ( Hint: you don’t have to undress the top half, I wore a sweater).  If you aren’t convinced that a cold bath works.. this particular roommate won the Woman’s Marathon the next day.   If it’s good enough for the champ… it’s good enough for me.

Muscles filled with glycogen, race clothes laid out,, we all went to bed in  preparation for an early start. Ready or not, here we come. condo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Journey to Sugarloaf.

Editor’s note : Written on May 10,   published May 24 / Spoiler alert,  marathon complete in 4:20:15  This is Recovery Week and I am catching up on some of my unpublished blog entries.

 

You may remember the last marathon that I did… Ottawa 2017.  If you were running anywhere near me in the last 15km you would have heard me promise to never run another marathon again.   If I remember correctly my exact words were “never again. Never fucking again! I am never running a fucking marathon ever again!”  For emphasis I may have repeated this mantra several times….  Out Loud.

Like the pain of childbirth, the agony of a horrible marathon eventually fades and the idea of going through that ordeal again becomes very appealing.  In a weak moment I was persuaded that another marathon would be fun.   It didn’t take much to convince me that Sugarloaf Marathon would be perfect, with it’s fast course and spectacular scenery.  When registration opened on October 1 for this May 19 marathon, I was one of the first to register.

coldrunThe thing about a spring marathon is that you have to train in the winter.  Living on the east coast of Canada, this means that I have predictably been running in a lot of unpredictable weather.   Winter came early, with snow on the ground by mid-November and it didn’t go away until recently . The wind has been relentless… every day a strong wind would blow from W/NW.  I am so tired of running in the wind!  Please.. let the wind stop blowing!

For this marathon I have a very aggressive goal.  My fastest marathon to date is 5:11:48 and I had originally planned to run this one in 4:04….. a whopping 68 minutes off my previous best. I know.. crazy, eh?  (In case you are wondering, my BQ standard is 4:05.)  I hired a coach who assured me that this was not impossible. Every week he analyzes my workouts and then adjusts my training plan for the following week.   He does the thinking, and I do the running.   He gives me feedback and explains the “why” of the workouts.

me.Winter is a tough time to train outdoors but I am pleased with my progress.  Weekly training has included one or two speed workouts and one long run.  Coach Paul likes to torture me by making me run my long run on a hilly route, and of course it is usually on a windy day. On the other days I run Easy.  The biggest adjustment to my training has been the pace of my Easy Run.  Previously I thought I was running easy at 6:30/km pace but my coach has assigned me an Easy Pace of 7:00/km to 7:20/km. Initially this pace felt excruciatingly slow and it was very tiring but after a couple of weeks my body became used to it.

 

By keeping an eye on the weather forecast and communicating daily with my coach, I have been able to do all the training runs except one.  A brief bout of stomach flu left me too weak to complete a 50 minute Easy run and I aborted after 20 minutes.  Luckily I recovered quickly and was able to flawlessly execute a tempo run 2 days later.

coldairTraining went well despite the windy wintery conditions…. until recently.  My last two long runs have been disastrous!. The wheels fell off my bus and I just couldn’t get going again. These two  runs  included a portion at Marathon Pace ( 5:45/km) and I just couldn’t hold that pace comfortably.  With less than a couple of weeks until race day, we need to readjust my goals.  Though I have made huge gains, I have run out of time to improve my fitness enough  to meet my original ( very aggressive)  goal.   Based on my current fitness level, Coach Paul believes that I am capable of running a strong marathon in 4:20, then we can work on improving speed at shorter distances before rebuilding again and crush that 4:04 goal.

Currently tapering in preparation of the big day, I am having a lot of doubts.  My longest run to date was a three hour run totally 29km.  Granted, it was a hilly route but it left me exhausted.  How can I run at a faster pace for an additional 13km on race day?  Three hours was tough, how can I run 4+ hours?   Weekly mileage averaged 65 -70km. That seems low compared to some training plans… is it enough? So many doubts,  but my coach keeps reassuring me that my training has prepared me for a huge PB which will allow us to continue to Build for next time.  After my two failed long MP runs, I am inclined to think that even the 4:20 will be a tough challenge but I am going to just do my best. .

There is nothing left to do but Rest, Fuel, and Hydrate.  Bring on the Pasta.