Sunday, August 31, 2008

Farwell to Summer

Well Tuesday its back to school, which for me means back to work. I have no complaints though, I had an awesome summer.

This summer I:

--> ran my first ultra (50K)
--> ran a marathon
--> actually rode my new bike and participated in a few time trials
--> tried Hot Yoga for the first time, loved it!
--> Participated in the Jay Challenge, and climbed a 4000ft mountain and ran in a mountain stream
--> had my first full beer ever and really enjoyed it (I normally don't drink beer)
--> Travelled to Ottawa, Jay Vermont, Collingwood, Quebec City, and Parry Sound several times
--> Completed 9 Yasso repeats in track training - still working on 10 repeats, tough!

Not bad for two months!! Especially the beer part, I'm definately a wine-girl.

All in all its been a great summer. We went to a cottage last night north of Parry Sound to enjoy one last bit of cottage country. Hubs brought his guitar and we had a good time singing around the campfire.


Alas, it time for refocus. I love the fall, its my favourite running season. Cheers to cooler weather for runners!

This week in training:
Monday - 24K
Tuesday- 1 mile virtual race + warm/cool - 6K
Wednesday - 10K
Thursday - Yoga
Friday - rest
Saturday -26K
Sunday -rest

Have a great week! Good luck to Kim on her marathon this Monday! Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Slow Recovery and Rethinking Goals

So after my full marathon this past Sunday, I decided to take a few days off to recover, and I tried to ice my left glute shin and calf to help repair some of the damage that a marathon brings.

Thursday Hubs and I participated in another bike/run time trial with the Nacho team up in Parry Sound. The bike was 16.2K this time, and I had a tough time with it being still depleted and sore from the marathon, so I decided not to run the 3K that went along with it. It is always fun to workout with this group.

Today I went for a nice 10K (6.2 miles) run along the Georgian Bay waterfront trail. It felt pretty good, although my soleus starting acting up during the last 3K. I was running a decent tempo and finished in 56:05, so I don't know if it was a good idea considering my injuries of late, but I felt like I needed to get some frustrations about recent racing results out.

I knew Quebec wasn't going to be PR for me, and I'm fine with how I ran, but I guess I feel a little down because I really hope to get a PR marathon soon. I know that nothing is guaranteed in marathon land, so I guess I just have to keep plugging away. I have trained hard, and will continue to do so. Sooner or later(hopefully sooner) it will happen. Does anyone else get this anxious? Maybe I should enter a shorter race to boost some confidence that I can do this!

I am registered for a full in Scotia, but I've decided if its not a cool temperature, I will just run the half. Is this a cop-out? Here is my reasoning: I already ran four hot races in a row (Ottawa, Jay, Creemore, and Quebec), with meh results, now I want to see what I can do in the ideal racing zone, 14-18C. Sometimes Scotia can be hot, but it is a flat course. I am also eying a few other races (Detroit, Niagra and Picton). I might make a move according to weather. This will also give my muscles more time to heal. There is of course also still Philadelphia. I feel like I'm all over the map!! I know we are told to pick one race and stick to it, but I like trying different events, and hey you get more than one shot. I think I went overboard this past spring, but I won't run a race without 4 weeks rest. There will be 5 between Quebec and Scotia, and 7 between Philly and Scotia.

I hope everyone enjoys their long weekend, and has some good workouts. It may be also a time to relax and recover before the Fall running season starts. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Race Report: Marathon Deux Rives

Marathon Deux Rives takes place in the capital of the Canadian province of Quebec, so in other words, in Quebec, Quebec, which can leave some scratching their heads out of confusion. So yes the city of Quebec is in the province of Quebec.

This year was a special year to participate in the marathon since it was Quebec's 400th anniversary. It is the one of the oldest cities in North America, and is as close to a European city you can get without crossing the pond. Although Canada is bilingual, Quebec city is largely French, with over 98% of the population being Frachophone. I really had to put my grade school French to work. (Sad that I took French from the time I was 6 to 18 years old yet I had to relearn how to ask for coffee with milk). There are very few Franchophones in Ontario, especially where I live. I guess if you don't use it, you lose it. It was amazing how quickly some of it came back though. By the time we left I was able to somewhat hold very simple conversations.

Moe and I were fortunate enough to be shown around the Quebec by our good friend Frank, who grew up in Quebec and is Franchophone and also speaks English. We stayed at his parents house across the river from Quebec in a city known as Levis. Fortunately, this was also where the marathon started, so we were able to sleep in and enjoy the late 8:30 am start while those staying in Quebec had to get up early to take a ferry and then a shuttle bus to the start line.

Quebec is a beautiful city. On Friday when we arrived we met up with some of Franks friends and went to watch the Celine Dion concert on big projector screens in Levis. Over 250000 people watched her concert in the area, taking place downtown Quebec. She was under pressure to perform as a few months earlier, Paul McCartney had performed to kick off the 400 year celebration. There was a little competitive buzz about who was the greater act. Although McCartney obviously is a huge name, Celine is French Canadian, so she has a huge local following.

To contrast McCartney, Celine performed her concert entirely in French. I am not a huge Celine fan, but it was great to see so many people out enjoying themselves on a warm summer night, and you could tell they loved the concert. The community feeling of Levis is wonderful, we were given very warm welcomes by so many people, and they were very patient as Hubs and I stuttered to converse en francais.

The next day we woke up and toured the marathon course by car. I was still unsure what I was going to do since my left side was acting up, and I knew it was going to be a very warm day (I usually tank in the heat), but after seeing the beautiful scenery, I knew I had to run it, it was so beautiful and historic. The course runs along the St. Lawrence river from Levis across the St. Lawrence River over the Pont de Québec bridge and finishes in the Quebec city in an area rich in 16th century architechture and outdoor cafes.

Course Map and Elevation Chart (note scale in meters not feet 3ft is approximately 1 meter)
Click to enlarge

After driving the course we went to pick up our race kits. Race kit pick up was fast and well-organized, so we had plenty of time to do some light sight seeing. Mostly by car. Here are some pictures of Saturday sight seeing. We had to be careful how much we did since Quebec is very hilly.

Bon Homme

Montmorency Falls

Chateau Frontenac (The most photographed hotel in the world)

Quebec City (On the Ferry headed to Levis)

Race day we drove to the start line in Levis. Frank and his Dad came to see us off, and it was great to have their support. They organizers actually fired a canon at the start line, which was cool but frightening at the same time. One nice touch is that the course started at 42.2 km and counted down from there. I found this very motivating.

Start line pictures:

Heading to the bag drop

Canons (why mess around with a dinky start gun)


On your marks. (Notice the guy plugging his ears!)

Off we go!

Well my race started out OK. I took it easy and found that at first I actually felt good. I was a little stiff in the left side, but managed to move O.K. The truly limiting factor was the heat. It was hot!! Even at the start it was 24 C(78F), and it started at 8:30 am to boot, so I knew it was just going to get worse.

The course itself was challenging, but not overly difficult. It was extremely well-organized and many locals were lining the streets to cheer on the runners. It was so nice to hear Bravo and Très Bien, and other words of encouragement in French. Many people put out their sprinkers. I ran through every sprinkler I saw, even if I had to run across the road to run through it. It felt wonderful and helped alot. The volunteers were awesome and the course had great support: three sponge stations, two gel stations, and they even gave out bananas and oranges. They could'nt have done a better job taking care of us runners on such a hot day.

I came in my first half at 2:07, and it felt reasonable, but the heat just kept getting worse and my glute really started acting up. To add insult to injury the temperature was well over 30C(90F). Anyway I ended up walking alot of the last 10K, and finished in 4:43. It was not a PR, not even close, but I have to say I really enjoyed the run, and I think in the end, that is what counts. Here are some more pictures:

Finish line

Dying at the end! I felt as bad as I look, FYI

Hubs being a HAM


Happy to be done!

Again, happy to be done!

The next day we walked another whole marathon, touring the streets of Quebec. Here are some pictures we took.

The irony was that it was actually cool weather the next day. Apprarently the previous three days were the only summer like weather they had experienced that summer.

Overall rating for Marathon Deux Rives:
City and attractions: 10/10 (The pictures speak for themselves)
Expo: 8/10 (small but well organized)
Course entertainment: 6/10
Medal: 10/10 (It has a three flashing lights, really cool)
Race T-shirt: 7/10
Spectators:8/10 (full)
Course support: 10/10
Post race support: 10/10 (Best post race food to date)
Difficulty: 7/10 (10 being most difficult)

I hope to return next year!!

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Je suis finished!!!

I ran the Quebec city marathon today. Full race report to follow. I decided to participate in the full marathon despite the weather, very, very hot!!. It was 24 degrees at the start, and by the finish into the 30's with humidity.
Due to my left side issues coupled with hot weather, I decided just to take it easy, and made a loose goal to finish in 4:30.
I ended up finishing in 4:40. Not a great time clock wise, but I really enjoyed the run. The last 10K were painful due to my left glute and calf, so I just walked alot of it. Overall I am pleased. I have two other marathons this fall, hopefully I can PB when the weather is more temperate. It is a beautiful city and I am off to enjoy some it.
Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Off to Quebec

Wow, sorry for not posting for a whole week. I had some computer issues, and well, running issues I have been dealing with.

This weekend I am off to Quebec to participate in the Quebec City Marathon. A few weeks back I hurt my shin while white water rafting, and although it does not hurt to run, apparently it has been reaking havoc with the rest of my muscles in my left side. I won't go into details, but I am kinda stiff and sore.

Anyway, I am not sure what to do this weekend. I am contemplating running just the half, but I may just run the full anyway. I kinda wanted a PR, and it would be tough for me not to go for it. I know this is not a great place to be mentally now, but I have just been kinda down about it this whole week.

Regardless, I am not making any time predictions. I will make a game-time decision about what to do.

I will update you as soon as I am done. I hope everyone's training is going well.
Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Bikram Yoga

Tonight I attended my first Hot Yoga class, and of course, I dragged Hubs along :) LOL. He is such a great sport. He shouldn't complain, there were plenty of young girls there. I wish I could say the same about the guys, only hefty guys that were dressed in sweats with mystery stains on their shirts. Ewwww.....

Well to sum up how I felt after the class, allow me to present the following picture:

Jess, you were right, did I ever sweat, I didn't know it was possible to sweat so much. I was literally soaked through when I finished. And I didn't bring a change of clothes which made the 30 minute drive home uncomfortable. The raisin picture is also appropriate because I felt very mellow and relaxed after the class. Love the feeling. Would I go again?


In fact, I paid $20 for one week of unlimited classes (offered to new students), so I will check out the various styles of the instructors. Compared to my regular Yoga for Runners class, I didn't find it as stretchy, but just a rigorous, just in a different way. Our instructor was slightly monotone, but maybe that goes with the style. I am also used to my very awesome yoga instructor, Sheree, who tells the best little stories mid posture.

The studio is really nice, fairly new, with wood floors which was good with all of the sweating. Another bonus of the sweating was that my skin felt so soft afterwards. It's like a free facial.

Tomorrow is my Yasso's, maybe I'll revolt and do Yoga instead?!! Nah, I guess I'll get them over with. Its my last really hard workout before the Quebec Marathon.

Thanks for reading!!

Training Plan

This week will be a little lighter since Quebec is fastly approaching (August 24th). I am particularily excited because this week I am going to try hot yoga for the first time. I have practiced Ashtanga yoga for the past two years (Live with Spirit), but after reading POM's posts about Bikram yoga, I've decided to give it a try (Moksha Yoga). I'll let you know how I found it tomorrow as I'm going tonight.

Monday - Bikram Yoga
Tuesday- Yasso's 800's (10 repeats!!), 14K
Wednesday - 6K recovery jog, 20K bike
Thursday - 10K tempo, Ashtanga Yoga
Friday - swim, Bootcamp
Saturday- 6K tempo
Sunday - 16K

Should be a good week. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

8 on the 8th

This is my lame-ass race report for Non Runner's Nancy's virtual race. I kinda of screwed up my plans to run this race. I went for my 34K run on Thursday, which only turned out to be 27.6K when the torental rain and lightning rolled in. This screwed up my plans for the rest of the week since I wanted to make up my mileage somewhere.

So Friday was a rest day, and Saturday was just busy, so I had to tie in my virtual race with my 22K run this Sunday.

So I just kept an eye on my Garmin. I was at 8 miles at 1 hour 17 minutes, 7 seconds. I actually would have been there sooner, but I was stopped by a freaking 3 minute traffic light! Then again, maybe the light helped me recover, who knows.

I wish I had some spirit and some neat pictures to go with the race, but I don't. Thanks Nancy for organizing, I don't think I would have pushed this hard if you hadn't.

On the up side, aren't these cooler temperatures nice for us Southern Ontario folks? Love that the runs are a little easier.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Thursday Giggles

I stole this comic from the Nachos website. Too funny. Click to enlarge picture.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Random Ramblings

Random Rambling #1: White Water Rafting

Hubs and I had a fabulous weekend of white water rafting with a company called Wilderness Tours, located in the Ottawa area of Ontario. We went with a group of runners that call themselves the Riff Raff. They are a fun group, and we had an absolutely great weekend! Lots of laughs and good times. We did manage to get a 10K run in on the Sunday morning before we went white water rafting, but this week I need to get my butt into gear and put in some more miles and speed work.
While rafting with the group, I was thrown out of the raft in the largest rapid that we attempted that day called the Coliseum. Here is a video of what it was like (not our group)

Now we did not flip over, but when I was thrown out, I came up under the raft, came up again and was pulled back under, and finally came up and swam like mad back towards the raft. Before I made it back to the raft I had kicked my shin into a rock.

Had to show off my battle scar:) At first it was black and blue, but I iced it immediately, and yes I can run. Thank goodness. I also loved the adrenalin rush, :) No harm done, no worries.

Random Rambling #2: Yasso 800's: Week 6
Yesterday I completed week six of my Yasso 800 challenge, which was nine 800m repetitions, with equal rest in between. Here are the results:

Interval one: 3 minutes, 33 seconds
Interval two: 3 minutes: 35 seconds
Interval three: 3 minutes: 37 seconds
Interval four: 3 minutes: 39 seconds
Interval five: 3 minutes: 37 seconds
Interval six: 3 minutes: 39 seconds
Interval seven: 3 minutes: 35 seconds
Interval eight: 3 minutes: 39 seconds
Interval nine: 3 minutes: 38 seconds
After the third interval I made it my goal to complete every interval under 3:40, and it was tough, but I managed to squeak through. Next week is the last week of this series, so I will compare my averages, but I suspect that I have gottten faster, so regardless of whether or not Yasso's are a good marathon predictor, I have definately improved my conditioning.

Random Rambling #3: Upcoming Races
Earlier this summer I mused about what marathons I will run this fall, and I have decided on three plus another possible 50K. Yes, that means basically I will be running them all. LOL. Hey I couldn't decide and they are relatively far spaced apart.
Marathon one: Quebec City Marathon: August 24th.
I had to do this one, and thanks to whoever it was that suggested it. It is the 400th anniversary of Quebec City, the oldest city in North America, so this will be a special event, kinda of a once it a lifetime opportunity to attend. Although I am not a fan, Celine Dion, she will be preforming a free concert after the marathon.
Marathon two: Scotiabank Waterfron Marathon: September 28th.
I have run this marathon before, both as a half and a full, and its always a good run. It's flat, festive, close to home, and very well run. It can sometimes be hot, but its always fun, so I've decided to run it.
Marathon three: Philadelphia Marathon: November 23rd.
This will be the second time running this race, and I enjoyed it so much last year, I must come back for round two.
Possible Ultra: Haliburton Forest: September 6th.
This event will be challenging, but I would just run it for completion and not worry too much about speed. I really want to run another 50K trail race, but I may wait and see how I feel after Quebec for this one.
Notice the gap in October? Probably won't stay empty for long....
Random Rambling #4: Training Plan for this Week
Monday: 4K
Tuesday: Yasso 800's, 9 x800m, 13K
Wednesday: 20km bike, Yoga
Thursday: 34K
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 10K
Sunday: 30km bike, 6 km run
Have a great week and thanks for reading!

Friday, August 1, 2008

Moving forward

Time to move forward and put the Jay Challenge behind me. What better cure for this than more training ofcourse. Hubs is on holidays this week, so my training will be a little less intensive.

Wed - ran 10K (5K tempo -24:53, 5K ran easy)
Thursday - duathlethon time trail in Parry Sound with the Nacho team. 13.1 km bike 27:38, 3K run 14:26 (PB from last time). This group is awesome. They have nachos after each time trial. Healthy nachos with broccoli and tomotoes, and beer. It was fun and yummy.
Friday - Still deciding as a type this, need to get my butt out there, OK 10K easy run
Saturday -bike
Sunday - White water rafting, hope to get a run in.

Have a great weekend and good luck to all those racing. Thanks for reading!