Saturday, May 31, 2008
Racer Director's Warning: The Marathon, (33.0 miles), is considered by our own participants to be the hardest marathon ever put together for it’s distance; This is a trail marathon, and using the word trail is stretching it. One section is actually a bushwhack from flagging tape to flagging tape, and another section will take you on a deer trail leading to a mountain brook. You will run in the brook for about 3 miles. At mile 20 you will cross a 50-foot wide river in order to reach aid station # 6. Only the adventurous, experienced trail runners and fit athletes should sign up for this race. You will get wet and very muddy, and you are likely to end up with scratches on your legs.
I'm not crazy.
Really. I'm not.
Obviously this is not a race where you expect a PR, so I kinda of like a marathon where speed is not part of the equation - rather finishing is the main objective. Last year the winning times were well over 5 hours, and they tell people to double or even triple their marathon times to estimate expected finishing times. I want to run a marathon in every state and province, so this will knock Vermont off of the list. There is a group of runners going that Hubs and I know, so that should make it really fun. And of course, why not run it? :) Hubs is of course good to go!
Here is a video about Jay's Peak I found on You Tube:
This marathon is taking place on July 26th, in less than two months, so my plan is hit to the trails for my runs two or three times a week, including my LSD run on Sunday. I will also run 30K back to back in a few week to prepare as this event is more of an ultra than a marathon. I suppose I should also do some hill training :). I can't wait to knock this one off. I've heard the view at the top of the mountain is awesome! Thanks for reading!
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Hubs and I took a coach bus with his fellow CAW members to Ottawa on Saturday morning. We were part of a group of runners and walkers called the Durham Racers, with a common mission of raising money and awareness for Cancer prevention. For his part, Hubs had agreed to run the Ottawa marathon in his work coveralls (Hubs works in the Paint Shop at General Motors).
As soon as the bus arrived in Ottawa we went straight to the race expo to pick up our race kits. In previous years, the race expo had been held at Carleton University but this year they relocated to the Aberdeen Pavilion, near downtown Ottawa. Although it is a beautiful building, I personally found this new venue to be step back from the previous expo location, as it was extremely crowded, and you literally had to push your way through the masses to get your race kit. The vendors were crammed close together and the building was extremely hot. We got our race kits and left right away.
We stayed at the Saint Paul's Residence Inn (university campus), which was located a short distance from downtown Ottawa. After checking in and taking a short nap we took a cab down to the Byward Market, an outdoor market which is a big tourist attraction in downtown Ottawa. Here are some pictures Hubs took of the area, including the lovely Italian restaurant, Vittoria Trattoria, where we had dinner. It was awesome, and I even held off having vino with my pasta (considering how the race went, I should have totally drank up!).
Race day morning started out a sunny 11 degrees and felt pretty cool. This years race was very well organized. There were ample porta-potties, the bag-drop was fast and easy, and they had racers organized into corals based on predicted start times. They even gave out Powerbars before the race started. On route there were ample aid and water stations. Half marathoners started two hours later, which is nice for marathoners, knowing the all of the fellow runners around you are running the full marathon distance.
In my opinion, the greatest highlights of the Ottawa marathon is a tossup between the awesome scenery and the fantastic spectators. Since is was such a nice day there were many spectators, both English and French speaking lining the streets. It was uniquely Canadian to hear people call out well wishes in both languages as you ran by. Awesome.
Hubs ran a great race and gained many positive comments about his coveralls. Here are some photos:
Hubs on the bridge that connect the provinces of Ontario and Quebec:
A disappointing result in my seventh marathon:
And Hubs finishes FIVE marathons in FIVE weeks!!! WooooHoooo!!!
BTW, Hubs ran the whole way in those coveralls, and the temperature when he finished was a balmy 24 degrees.
So my final verdict on the Ottawa race:
City and attractions: 10/10
Course entertainment: 8/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 7/10
Difficulty: 6/10 (10 being most difficult)
Despite my less than stellar race performance I am already itching for new races. It is the failures and the triumphs that keep me coming back! Look for more posts on what comes next. I can't wait! Thanks for reading!
Sunday, May 25, 2008
The first half of my marathon went more as less at planned, I came in just over 2 hours at the half-way point. Around 26kms I started having issues with food, I didn't want to eat anything, and I literally had to choke down Gatorade.
Anyway things got worse as the race went along, and I had to run -walk from 30K on. The Sun started beating down, and even the bands and cheering weren't helping. Around 38K I was feeling dizzy and I went off to side to stretch. I continued to walk and around the 39K mark I chucked my cookies. Nice. The poor spectators with their lawn chairs and umbrellas looked repulsed. Welcome to the marathon.
What caused it? I don't know. I think I didn't give myself enough taper time. I ran a full four weeks ago, and then a half two weeks ago, and then the full today. I felt recovered, and my first half was fine. My second half was dismal. When I was sick, they tried pull me off the course, but I refused and stumbled into the finish line. I strangely felt better afterwards. Anyway, I finished in a disappointing 4:48:and change.
I am not going to see this as a failure but as a learning experience. The marathon distance must always be respected - I know I can turn this disappointing result into a positive.
On the up side, I did finish my seventh marathon and it was the toughest personally for me yet. I had never experienced this "wall" thing before. I have always been tired on the home stretch, but never questioned if I could even walk it out. Also Hubs finished his 5th of 5 marathons in a row. He ran this marathon in his Paint Shop coveralls to raise money for cancer research. He completed his run in 4 hours, 17 minutes. I will post a full race review later. Thanks for reading!!
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Cleveland, Ohio is best known as a manufacturing center, and ofcourse the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Hubs got the idea that he wanted to run across the finishing line of the Cleveland Marathon with his white Fendar Strat guitar(the same guitar that is on the Marathon medal). I handed him his guitar at mile 25 and quickly took his picture:
Did you notice his time? Hubs ran this race in 4 hours 12 minutes, his fastest of his four marathons in four weeks (still 14 minutes slower than his PR), but still, it begs the question, what is the human body capable of? Hubs also ran without a watch, he just went solely on feel. It was a great accomplishment!
After the marathon, we went to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and strolled around before driving home. It was a great weekend.
Course entertainment: 5/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 7/10
Difficulty: 4/10 (10 being most difficult)
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
City and attractions: 6/10
Course entertainment: 4/10
Race T-shirt: 8/10
Course support: 8/10
Post race support: 8/10
Difficulty: 5/10 (10 being most difficult)
Monday, May 19, 2008
Since 2002, Meagan McGrath has climbed many peaks throughout the world in an attempt to climb the “Seven Summits” the highest peak on each continent. At 0507hrs, on 21 May 2007, Meagan summitted Mount Everest, achieving her goal to climb the Seven Summits.
Her enthusiastic positive personality and amazing accomplishments left Hubs and I feeling like anything is possible!
Way to go Hubs!
Since the marathon was on the Saturday, we went to the race expo on Friday. It was a huge expo, but unfortunately it was super crowed, and since we were there with my two darling nephews (aged 12 months and 24 months), we made a quick exit from the expo, which was disappointing since there were so many good vendors to visit. I was in the mood for bargain shopping!
Now I also read tons of reviews which described the course as hilly, but being optimistic, I thought that the hills would probably be O.K, and I wanted to tackle the challenge. Here is the elevation map and course route:
The elevation map to me seemed OK, a little hilly, but manageable. Even people on our airplane flight on the way down warned us not to expect a PR since it was a very hilly course, and some said that they thought the elevation map was wrong. Meh.
Well unfortunately, it turned out that they were right. The day began with pouring rain, which subsided to a sticky humid sunny day. Not too hot, but sticky, and around 23 degrees. The first half of the marathon was hilly, but I felt strong, and came in at the halfway point around 2:00 hours, which was reasonable to obtain my goal of under 4:10. The course was a lot of fun and the scenery was great and the bands were awesome (mostly rock music). However, the second half of the course seemed hillier, and of course it was desolate when over 25000 of the half participants finished. None of the hills were huge, but they were constant. There were literally no flat stretches. I quickly lost steam, and the sun was really beating down on my back, and by the 20 mile mark, I knew that today was not my day, so I decided just to relax and enjoy the course.
It was great seeing family on the course, and it really raised my spirits. Here is a picture my sister took of me on the course.
Other highlights included the free beer at mile 24, and the great camaraderie that formed amongst fellow runners. People would cheer on downhills, it was quite funny.
So all said and done, I ended up completing the marathon in 4 hours, 32 minutes (16 minutes slower than my PR). Not the time I wanted, but it was a great experience and I am glad I did it. The marathon medal was awesome, one of the nicest I have in my collection of six. Here is a post race picture of hubs and I. He ran a 4 hour sixteen minute marathon (seventeen minutes slower than his PR).
Both my sister and my brother in law are very fast runners. In fact my sister was a professional athlete (currently busy with her two young boys), who has completed an Iron man and can run a half marathon in under an hour and twenty minutes. My brother in law is also a terrific runner, having completed the Chicago marathon in 2 hours thirty six minutes. He ran a leisurely 1 hour twenty seven minute half on little training. Pretty impressive.
So my final rating on the Nashville Marathon:
City and attractions: 9/10
Course entertainment: 10/10
Race T-shirt: 1/10 (a cotton t-shirt made for a mammoth!)
Spectators: 7/10 (full)
Course support: 9/10
Post race support: 9/10
Difficulty: So far this is the most difficult course I have run yet, so it gets a 8.5/10 (10 being most difficult)
Would I run it again. Yes, BUT I would set a goal for PR goal for this course, not an overall PR. Next up in the five marathons in five week series: The Sudbury Rocks marathon. Thanks for reading!!
Saturday, May 17, 2008
I plan on posting race reports for all five of the marathons (3 of which I will have run-2 as a full and one as a half), but this blog entry is just preamble about who does such crazy things?!
Well apparently, it is not that uncommon to run back to back marathons as you may think. When hubs first mentioned his plan to me, I was a little worried. Some running experts don't recommend running more than one or at most two marathons per year due to the huge physical strain it can put on your body. But it can and has been done. Lets look at some examples.
1. Terry Fox
When I first expressed my concern to hubs, he mentioned that Terry Fox ran a marathon every day for over three months. He's right. Terry Fox is the most amazing Canadian runner ever. Rephrase. He is the most amazing runner ever. He is the very definition of hero. Here is an excerpt from The Terry Fox Foundation website in case you are not familiar with Terry's incredible story:
While in hospital, Terry was so overcome by the suffering of other cancer patients, many of them young children, that he decided to run across Canada to raise money for cancer research.
He would call his journey the Marathon of Hope.
After 18 months and running over 5,000 kilometres (3,107 miles) to prepare, Terry started his run in St. John’s, Newfoundland on April 12, 1980 with little fanfare. Although it was difficult to garner attention in the beginning, enthusiasm soon grew, and the money collected along his route began to mount. He ran 42 kilometres (26 miles) a day through Canada's Atlantic provinces, Quebec and Ontario.
It was a journey that Canadians never forgot.
However, on September 1st, after 143 days and 5,373 kilometres (3,339 miles), Terry was forced to stop running outside of Thunder Bay, Ontario because cancer had appeared in his lungs. An entire nation was stunned and saddened. Terry passed away on June 28, 1981 at age 22.
I remember seeing Terry run right behind our farm house in Millbrook Ontario on highway 115 (near Peterborough, Ontario) when I was a child. Many Canadians celebrate Terry's memory with a walk/run event in the fall.
People run distances further than marathons. These are referred to as ultramarathons or ultras for short. There are 50K, 100K and even 100 mile ultra events. In fact, I know a few runners that are completing a 100 mile race the same weekend I run the Ottawa marathon. They will likely be running for almost 20 hours or more!! Perhaps the most interesting story I have stumbled across regarding ultra marathon, was the story of a 13 year old girl who completed her first 50 miler with her mom, its very touching.
3. Other crazies
While researching if it would be safe for hubs to run multiple marathons, I came across an interesting site called marathon maniacs. Apparently there are other runners out there that are addicted just as addicted (even more so) to running marathons. In fact they even have criteria to be considered part of their maniac club:
1. Back to Back Marathons (two marathons in consecutive weekends, races can be run on either Saturday or Sunday).
2. 2 Marathons in 3 weeks (2 Marathons within a 16 day time frame).
3. 3 Marathons in 3 months (3 Marathons within a 90 day time frame).
1. 3 Marathons in 3 weeks ( 3 Marathons within a 16 day time frame ).
2. 6 Marathons in 6 months (6 marathons in 6 consecutive calendar months).
3. 8 - 11 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
1. 4 Marathons within a 6-week time span (or 37 days).
2. 12 - 18 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
3. 4 Marathons in 4 different US states, Countries or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within an 8-week time span (or 51 days).
1. 4 Marathons in 4 consecutive weeks (or 23 days).
2. 19 - 25 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
3. 2 Marathons in 2 days (or 48 hours) must finish both races!
4. 9 Marathons in 9 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
1. 26 - 30 Marathons within 1 calendar year.
2. 4 Marathons on back to back weekends (within a 9 day window).
3. 3 Marathons in 3 separate US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) within a 9-day time span.
4. 13 Marathons in 13 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in one calendar year.
1. 31 - 37 Marathons in 1 calendar year.
2. 16 Marathon in 16 different US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 6 Marathons in 3 weeks (or 16 days). With proper planning and rest this can be done!
1. 38 - 44 Marathons in one calendar year.
2. 20 Marathons in 20 US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 13 Marathons in 12 weeks ( 79 days ).
1. 52 Marathons or more in one calendar year.
2. 30 Marathons in 30 US states, Countries, or Canadian Provinces (any combination) in 1 calendar year.
3. 20 Countries in one calendar year.
There is also an award given to the male and female that runs the most number of marathons every year. Are you a candidate?
Stay tuned for the 5 marathon race reports. First up: Nashville Country Music Marathon. Thanks for reading!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada is a beautiful city, and for you American readers, it is the capital of Canada. It is the epitome of a true Canadian marathon. I hold the Ottawa marathon near and dear to my heart as the Ottawa marathon was my very first marathon that I completed and I loved it so much that I came back last year to run it again (even though I hadn't trained AT ALL - not recommended!). So this will be the third time I have will have run the Ottawa marathon, and I have also ran Ottawa as a half marathon in 2005. The Ottawa course is simply beautiful. You run from the province of Ontario into the province of Quebec through the Gatineau area (Hull) before running back to Ottawa Ontario and running by Canadian landmarks such as the Parliment building and the famous Cateau Laurier hotel (I had the priviledge of attending a wedding there last year-nice!).
Although I love the Ottawa marathon, it has never been kind to me in terms of having a great race. First of all the race is always held the last week on May and it is notoriously hot. The course is not a hilly course, but there are flatter courses to run. The first time I ran Ottawa was as a half. I had trained really hard and I was sure that I would be able to run a sub 2 hour race and ended up running around 2:08 - I was disappointed even though it was a PR at the time. I also trained really hard for my first marathon, and I was fairly confident that I could run under 4:20, but alas the day was 34 degrees Celsius, and I ended up with a time of 4:37. Although I hadn't met my time goal I still cherished my first marathon experience -it was an amazing accomplishment! In 2006, I entered the race untrained and ended up finishing in an yucky 5 hour+ fashion, but I had a lot of fun during the race.
So needless to say, I want this year to be different. So far, my PB marathon time is a 4:16 (the Philadelphia marathon this past fall), and I know I can better my time. I do have a specific goal in mind, but I will keep that private for now, and I know I can accomplish it under the right conditions. Right now the weather for the 25th looks promising - a high of approximately 14 degrees Celsius - well below average - YES!!
So I am gearing up mentally for the big event. I hope that this will be the year I conquer the Ottawa course. Wish me luck and thanks for reading!
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
I began running during the month of July in 2004. My then fiance (now an equally obsessed runner and whom I will lovingly refer to as "hubs") and I were having lunch at a restaurant next door to our local Whitby running room. After filling up on our usual healthy fare (chicken wings, red wine, and French fries), hubs and I sauntered over to Whitby Running Room. Truthfully - I dragged him with less resistance than usual due to the copious amount of beer he had recently consumed. I had one image in my mind when I signed up for the 5K learn to Run clinic - BUFF BRIDE!! I went home and polished off another glass of wine while I relished the image...
I quickly became addicted to the sport completing my very first 5K race - The Run for the Cure in the fall and then immediately signing up for the Half marathon clinic. By time I was married I had run my second half marathon and I definitely was in much better shape than before I started running. I also felt happier and more productive in many areas of my personal and work life (I am a high school science teacher). After I was married, I proceeded to train for and run three 4 half marathons before I tried my first full marathon in May of 2006 - The ING Ottawa Marathon. It was such an amazing experience that I knew that I would be a runner for life.
I hope this blog with be a way to continue sharing my running goals.
On May 25th, I am running my seventh full marathon, the Ottawa Marathon. I will share some goals and thoughts on this course tomorrow. I am trying to get to bed earlier to rest up for the big event.