Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Pike's Peak Ascent, Colorado Springs - August 20, 2011

Chris signed me up for this race last year. I was a little hesitant, but then I thought, what the heck!

On August 19th we got up at 3:00 am (what is with these early mornings and races?!) to go to the airport to catch a flight from Toronto to New York, then a flight from New York to Dallas, then from Dallas to Colorado Springs.  It was a long day.  Chris' mom came with us, we decided to make it a family vacation.  We were going to run our races on August 20/21, then tour around and see some of the sights.

We finally got to Colorado Springs, picked up our rental car at the airport.  Drove to our hotel, checked in.  Then we drove over to the race site so that we could pick up our stuff and see what kind of expo they had.  We found it no problem.  It was weird, we were at 6,000 feet or so, could already feel the altitude change a little, just felt kinda tired... then again, we had been up since 3:00 am.

We got to the expo, not really much there.  Looked up at the mountain... oh... my... god... what was I thinking?  It looked really high!

We went back to the room.  There was a restaurant across the street from our hotel, so we went there to have some dinner.  It was pretty good.  Went to sleep.  I was very nervous about this race.

When we got up, I started getting ready.  I was the only one running on this day, from our little group that is, because Chris' race, the marathon, was the next day.  I started to panic and feel very overwhelmed.  I was very nervous because I had an injury in the spring and didn't get as much training as I thought was necessary.  I had no idea what to expect.  I was just hoping for the best.

We got to the race.  We had lots of time, so we were standing around talking with other people.  Okay, time to line up.  Someone sang America the Beautiful (at least I think that's what it's called), it was very nice.  The gun goes off, away I go.

The first bit of the race was on the street, which was slightly uphill.  We then got to a really steep part of the road, already?  There was an aid station there and immediately after the aid station, there was a major jam, it went from road to single track, so of course everyone is trying to get in front of everyone else, because there was single track switch backs for the next few miles.  It was slow going, mostly walking, with some stopping.  People were still trying to pass others... really?  There is no room to pass!  It was kind of annoying, but what can you do.  Up and up and up we went.  Will I ever be able to run?  I thought, at this rate, I'm not going to make the cut off.  Then someone said, don't worry, you'll make it... I guess I said it out loud.

Finally there were some runnable parts.  I ran a little, then it was steep up hill again.  Man, this was nuts.  It was nearing 3 hours (that's the first cut off time).  I could hear all the announcing at Barr Camp, I was close... maybe I'll make it after all.  We kept going and going and going, still no Barr Camp... where the hell is it?  I was going as fast as my body possibly could.  I was starting to feel the altitude already, kind of dizzy, feeling short of breath... plus it was really hot.

Finally, I made it to Barr Camp, the guy there told me unfortunately, you did not make the cut off time.  I started crying... such a baby!  Then the woman standing there felt bad for me and said, well if it's any consolation, you only missed it by 2 minutes... I laughed and said, no that did not make me feel better.  Now what do I do?  The guy told me, well, you can keep going if you want, but you risk not catching the bus to come back down.  No, don't really want to do that.  So they said you have to walk back down.  This was really going to suck.  I had to let Chris know that I didn't make the cut off.

A couple of the volunteers offered their cell phones to me (Chris had mine), but there was no reception.  So, I just decided I might as well start walking.  I was kind of upset.  I should have known this would happen because I didn't get all the training in that I should have.  So frustrating!!  I was worried that Chris would be disappointed in me, which he wasn't, he was happy that I at least gave it a shot!  I ended up catching up with Michelle, this woman that I was kind of running with, and we walked down together.  At least I wasn't alone in my misery.  She said that this was the second time she had tried this race... no more, she was done!  We finally came to the bottom where the trail meets the street.  Now I have to somehow find Chris.  As I was walking down the street, there he was in front of me.  As soon as I saw him, I immediately started crying again and said I didn't make the cut off.  The poor guy, had to put up with all my blubbering.  Then I went inside and had a buffalo burger.

So, to make a long story short, this is my first DNF.  It really sucked!  I don't really have much else to say, except that I didn't have a very good experience and feel kind of bummed out.

Chris ran the marathon the next day, he did great!!  His mom was totally caught up in all the runners finishing.

After Chris' race, we packed up our stuff and started our vacation road trip.  We basically went to Yellowstone National Park and then drove around Wyoming and South Dakota.  The rest of the trip was awesome!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Dirty Girls - August 6/7, 2011

Signed up for the 6 hour event at Dirty Girls again this year.  This is my third year running this event.  The first year I ran it was my very first trail race.  It was fantastic, and still is!

We left the renting of the car until the last minute, so had to opt for the more expensive version, the full sized car.  After work on Friday, I went to get the car.  They told me they were going to give my a Lexus for the same price as the full sized car... sweet!

We decided to drive up the day of, it was only about a 1.5 hour drive.  Got up at 4:00am, packed the car and off we went.  We missed the turn off hwy. 400, so had to get off and turn around and go back.  It only took about 10 minutes, but we were cutting it close.  We got to the race around 7:35 (it started at 8), so we had to really rush around.  I hate rushing like that before, I always think I'm going to forget something.  The good thing is that the course is a 10k loop, so if I forget something, I can pick it up on the next loop.

My friend Steve was kind enough to pick up a new hydration vest that I bought, I wanted to try it out at Dirty Girls because I really wanted it for Pikes Peak, which is coming up soon... gulp!  Anyways, I didn't have time to fill it and put it on before the race, so I left it and decided to pick it up after the first loop.

The first loop was okay, but at the start of the loop there's kind of a big hill to climb, so I was huffing and puffing thinking why do I do such things?  Then I finally got into my groove and ran the course.  I got to the 5k aid station, which I was going to help with later on, and saw Stephan and told him that I brought my frying pan for him to use later.  He said great, now get going.  I kind of laughed to myself, I do doddle at the aid stations and he kicks me out, that's exactly what I need! 

I finished the first loop, went to where our bags were and got out the new hydration pack.  It's a Nathan pack built specifically for women, it is very pretty.  Got it filled up with water.  There's only one clasp, at the chest, hmm that seems strange.  Anyways, put it on, adjusted the straps.  It felt pretty light and comfortable.  Started running and I was amazed how little it bounced around... sweet!  The only thing was that I wasted time trying to figure it out... so my second loop started a little slower than anticipated.

Ran the second loop.  There's always a point in a race where I just want to go home.  I just think to myself,  I don't want to play anymore.  Then I think, for God's sake, Chris runs 100 miles, I don't really know what I have to complain about.  That usually helps me shove aside those feelings and I start to think about all the good things... I'm able to run... it's really beautiful out here in the woods... all the people at the races are very nice and are becoming good friends.  That's better.

Started my third loop.  It was raining now, which was nice because it kind of cooled off a bit.  Didn't get wet though, the trees were sheltering us from the rain.  Towards the end of the third loop it stopped raining and the sun came out.  It was going to be a hot day.  I managed to get 30k in just under 6 hours.  It was a hard course, but I think I did okay.  By the end of it my foot was sore, but I did a lot of standing around the night before, which I'm sure didn't help.

After I finished my race, I grabbed a burger and sat around for a bit.  I thought I'd better set up the tent, so I can go and have a nap.  I was going to help out with the 5k aid station starting at 8:00pm until 8:00am Sunday morning.  I set up the tent.  Went to blow up the air mattress... dammit, we forgot the pump... so much for that.  Oh well, the ground was fairly soft, so it was okay.

I came back from setting up the tent, went back to the start/finish to see if maybe Chris was going to come through soon.  There he was.  He had to stop because his ankle was giving him trouble.  Not good.  He has to save that ankle for Pikes Peak!!  So he decided to not risk it.

I went to the tent and tried to get a little sleep before my aid station shift.  It was really hot in the tent, there was so much activity going on, the best I could do was about an hour or so drifting in and out.  I hope that was going to be enough.

The good thing too is that my friend Tracy was going to be helping at the aid station too.  I hadn't seen her since last year at Haliburton, it would be nice to catch up.  When the time came to start my shift, Stephan came to the start/finish to get water and stuff.  I got a ride with him. 

The rest of the night was helping fill up water bottles, making some grilled cheese sandwiches.  At around 4:00am got pretty tired, so had to drink some coffee.  At 8:00 there were a bunch of runners who ran out of time, so they were hanging out waiting for a ride back to the start/finish.  Tracy, Chris and I decided to walk back to the start/finish, that would leave more room in the car for the super tired runners.  We got back and I decided I had better try to get a little sleep before driving back to Toronto.  I laid down in the tent.  It started raining.  Even though there's a tarp over the tent, it was dripping in.  Very annoying.  I managed to get about an hour.  I thought, that's the best that's going to happen right now.  We decided to pack things up and get on the road.  We got back to the city before noon which was great! 

Had a great time at Dirty Girls again this year!  I think that if I decide to help with an aid station again, I won't run anything, either do one or the other.  It's different when I crew Chris because I can at least get a couple hours of sleep here and there. 

Now there's some talk that I might try to run 50k at Haliburton this year.  Still have to think about that.

Next race:  Pike's Peak half marathon... getting pretty nervous about this one.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Limberlost Challenge 2011

Chris and I signed up for this race again this year because it was so beautiful last year, we just had to run it again!

Once again, got up at 3:00am... we have to start camping at these things!  Then we went to pick up John who was coming with us.  As we were driving to pick up John, who lives in the east end, we were wondering, why was there so many people and cars on the road at 3:30am?  Then we realized, oh yeah, people were just coming home from the bars... I remember we used to do that.  Don't really miss it that much.

Anyways, picked up John and were on our way.  The drive was actually pretty quick and we got there in plenty of time.  Chris and John were running the 56k, I was running the 28k.  Their race started at 8:00am, mine started at 8:40am.  I saw them off and then went back to preparing for my race.

It was a beautiful sunny day, you could tell it was going to get hot.  I had not been feeling well the last few days, but decided since the race was already paid for, I might as well run it.  Also, I hadn't run this distance in a while because back in April I started having foot problems (Plantar Fasciitis).  I got fitted for some orthotics and started using them about 2 weeks ago and I think it's starting to help.  Anyways, I decided to take it kind of easy, but not too easy... you know what I mean?

The race started and we had to run down the dirt road for a bit... it was hot.  As we turned to go into the woods, my foot caught on a stump or something... SPLAT!  I went flying, made a big dust cloud and everything... so embarrassing.  I said, man, what a great way to start!  The guys who saw me fall said, there will be plenty more of that once you get into the woods.  Great.  Hopefully that will be the worst of falling... it was... thank goodness!

Got into the woods, I have to say, this is one of the most beautiful courses I've ever run.  Until we got to the BIG hill.  This thing was monstrous!  There was no wind there, so it was steep, hot and holy crap, it was steep!  Finally, got up the stupid thing and then there was a little breeze.  The rest of the course was very technical, so I just did my best ran along as much as I could.  Man it was beautiful.  As I was running some of the fast 14k people started passing me.  I was running with one woman who said she had never run a trail run before, only road.  She said it was the hardest thing that she's ever done and said she would likely go back to running 5k's.  There were three girls running together chatting, they passed me.  Then about 10 minutes later, one of them was sitting on the ground, the others were standing on each side of her.  I asked them if they were okay.  One of them said that she had tripped and that someone was getting a medic to come and help them.  As I started down the trail again, I heard her crying in pain.  Poor thing, I felt so bad.  Hope she's okay.

Finally came out to the road and back to base camp.  It was hot.  I felt like crap.  I thought, I really don't want to go out for another loop, but then I thought, if I don't, Chris will kick my ass.  So I filled up my water bottle, took a salt tab (I was experimenting with these for the first time) and was off again. 

The second loop wasn't as bad as the first, except for the giant hill.  I stopped at the top to get my breath and take a gel, I was running out of steam.  My friend Stephan passed me.  He asked if I was okay.  I said yes, just taking a gel, running out of steam.  He gave me another one.  Thanks, I said and away I went again.  I think I saw a snake, it was kinda cool.  At one point I was getting really hot.  Since I was running around a lake, I stopped, filled up my hat, dumped it over my head... man that felt good!  That kept me going for the rest of the run.

I was wondering when Chris would pass me.  Then a couple of 56k fast people started passing me.  A couple of them said that Chris had turned on his ankle.  I thought that he would probably run through it, like he normally does, if it wasn't too bad.  I still hadn't seen him... hmmm. 

Finally, got to the road... I don't know how runners do 2 more of these loops.  Then I got back to the finish and saw Chris sitting there.  Uh-oh, I thought.  He said that he had turned his ankle and since he had Burning River coming up, he didn't want to be injured for that.  I thought that was a very smart strategy.

After I was finished, I sat for a while, someone offered me a beer, thanks Helen!!  It was good.  Then we had some yummy food.  After I finished eating, I jumped into the lake (in my running clothes), it was nice to get rid of the dirt and salt!

I think I did okay considering I had not been running distance in a couple of months.  I was a little faster than last year... so overall I was pretty happy!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Sulphur Springs 25k Trail Run

We had to get up very early for this race, because we decided that we would rather sleep in our own bed rather than camp (it was not warm enough to camp), which meant getting up at 3:30am so that we had plenty of time to pack up the car and drive to Ancaster.  Chris was running the 100 mile, which started at 6:00am.  I was running the 25k, which started at 7:30am.

We got to the race with plenty of time to spare.  One thing about driving that early in the morning is that there isn't much traffic, so it makes for a nice smooth drive.  Chris got ready for his race.  We found a spot to put our chairs and coolers.  After Chris' race started at 6:00am, I took his and a couple other people's drop bags out to the 3k/9k aid station and got back to base camp with lots of time before my race started.

When it was time to line up, I walked to the back of the pack.  I saw my friend Anne at the front, she suggested that we run together and I said, well, I think you're a bit too fast for me, but I'll see you out on the course.  As I was waiting for the start, a couple of people behind me were laughing at people who were wearing socks outside of their shoes.  I realized that they were talking about our gators, so I turned around and defended them, then we all laughed about that.

The race started.  The first thing we did was run down a very steep hill.  Man, I'm going to have to come up this thing at the end!  Poor Chris, he's going to have to come up this thing 8 times!  At the bottom of the hill we went into the woods.  We did a 5k spur, and headed back to base came, to turn around, then run the 20k loop.  As I was starting my 20k loop, the 10k people were starting their race.  Man, it was insane!  People were running down the hill like monsters were chasing them or something.  I saw Chris coming up the hill after his first loop and he was looking around at all the crazy people.  Some guy hit me as he was going down... what a jerk!  Oh well, maybe he fell in the mud later in the race... one can only hope.

There was one point where I was coming down a very slippery hill.  I heard a faster runner coming behind me, so I stepped to the side to let him past.  I stepped on a root and started sliding, tried to stop myself from sliding and ended up falling down, splat!  The poor guy who I let past stopped to see if I was okay.  I said, yes, just a little muddy.  I skinned up my knees a little, but I was okay.  My first real whipeout!

I have to say, I was very happy with this course overall.  I didn't go off course once (I usually go off somewhere during a race... as I'm drifting).  It was very well marked, plus there always seemed to be people around.  Either they were getting slower, or I was getting faster... I'm hoping for the latter.  There were a few muddy patches, but nothing I couldn't handle... besides, who doesn't like playing in the mud, at least a little.  There was one spot though that was grassy, muddy and smelly, that was my least favorite part.

All in all, I was very happy with the way I was able to run most of the course.  My final time was 3:53:07 which is a 25k PB for me!  I was so excited to get my time under 4 hours.

Now on to step two of my adventure, to crew Chris for the rest of his 100 miles.  I went to see the guy with the clipboard to find out when Chris came through base camp last.  I had enough time to go and get cleaned up before he came in again.  I was able to use the showers at the recreation centre that was there.  It was nice to wash off all the mud and change into some nice dry clothes.

After that, I waited for Chris to come in.  He came through, got a couple of things and then left again.  I had to pack up some stuff and drive over to the other aid station.  I made some homemade sweet potato soup and bought a one burner Coleman stove.  I got out to the other aid station... the burner didn't work... dammit!  I guess I could have tried it before we left, but noooo, that would have been the smart thing to do.  Apparently there was a pin missing that stuck into the propane tank thingy, in order to release the gas.  The guys at the aid station were nice enough to let me use their stove.  At least Chris got some warm soup when he came through.

After he came through, I looked for a Canadian Tire so I could get another burner.  I would take the other one back once we got back to Toronto.  I found it, awesome, things were good again.

Drove back and forth between aid stations for crewing purposes, had a couple of naps in the car, sat around in the chair.  I sort of hung out with some women who were crewing their friend who was running her first 100 miler.  I also kind of hung out with Anne, that was fun. That was pretty much my Saturday afternoon/night and Sunday morning.  I will let Chris tell you about his race.

I will definitely run Sulphur Springs again!!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Seaton Trail 29k

First of all, a big wow to all three of the people who ended up finishing the 50 miles... amazing!

Now to continue.  Got up at 4am, had a coffee, got last minute stuff packed.  I'm really glad that I usually pack most of the stuff the night before... I would definitely forget something getting up that early!  Then Chris and I picked up the zipcar we rented, then on to pick up JD.  One thing about travelling that early in the morning is there isn't much traffic, so it didn't take us long to get to the race.

Chris and JD were starting at 7am, so I decided to wait to get my race stuff after they left, my race didn't start until 9:00am.  Then we stood in the rain waiting for the 50 mile and 52k to start.  They were off.

I headed back to the school to get my bib and t-shirt.  Got my bag from the car so I could try to decide what to wear.  No matter what I decided, I was going to get wet, the question was, how wet... should I wear something to keep the wind off as well?  Should I wear another layer in case it gets a little colder, or will that be too much and I'll get too hot?  Really hard to decide!  I decided on a ballcap, long sleeve shirt, capris and a windbreaker and, of course, gloves.

As I was waiting for the 9am start, it seemed like the weather was getting worse.  It was raining cats and dogs, the wind was so strong that the rain was sideways... great, just how you love to start a race!  I was talking with a few others while we were waiting, we kept saying, maybe once we get into the woods, the trees will shelter us from the wind and rain... yeah, we're going to go with that, keep the spirits up.  Because of the rain, the announcements were held inside the school, then we walked over to the start.  This was going to suck... but maybe once we get into the woods...

The race started and we were off!!  Once we got into the woods, it actually wasn't too bad, it did shelter us from the wind and rain, a little.  So far, it was okay, I can do this.

Then we got to the river crossing.  I seem to remember last year the water was clear.  Couldn't really see the rocks or the bottom... this was going to be scary.  Very carefully, step, get your footing, step, get your footing... man that water was cold!  After a while I could feel my feet again and was running well again.  It was starting to get pretty muddy, slowed me down a little, but what can you do.  Then I stepped into a deep mud bog and it almost took my shoe off, and wrenched my leg a little... going to feel that later.  Still, had to keep up the good spirits, I was out here, I was doing it... just get it done.  Saw a bunch of 52k/50 mile people on their way back, they seemed to be in good spirits still.  Saw Chris, he warned me that there were some really muddy places close to the cliffs, to be careful.

Finally I got to the turn around.  By the way, thanks to all the volunteers... they had to stand around in the wind and the rain for us.  They were awesome! 

Started back, thinking, okay, you're halfway there, now just to run back... it always seems quicker on the way back... right?  So far it was okay, still doing it.  The rain let up a little, it was still windy, but starting to dry out a bit... it was kinda nice.  That didn't last too long, the rain came back and harder.  The wind seemed to pick up too.  A few places in the woods you could hear the trees cracking in the wind.  Poor trees.  There were some downed trees on the trail that didn't seem to be there on the way out. 

How the heck to the 50k and 50 milers do it, I was thinking.  Man, they are pretty strong and amazing.  Maybe someday I'll be able to run like that.

I get this feeling in my shoes, are my socks bunching up?  What the hell is in my shoes?  As it turns out, it was mud, it even got inside my socks!  How the hell does that get in there?

Now I was getting really frustrated... I was cold, my legs were sore from getting wrenched in the mud bogs... I just wanted this to be over!  JD passed me.  He did his 52k faster than I did 29k... I feel so lame... okay, stop thinking that way!

Then I was running and realized that there were no more flags... uh-oh.  I turned around, whew, there were some flags back there, didn't go too far off.  Well, got to where the flags were and the trail kind of went around a tree... I couldn't remember which way I came from... this was not good.  Do I remember going down that little hill?  Crap!  Okay, think for a minute... flags on the left going back, I'm pretty sure that's right.  Ran that way for a while, yes, it was right, saw the river and the flags on the other side, whew!

Got to the river crossing again... this means I'm not too far from base camp... yeah!  The river was a bit higher and there was no one around.  I had to be very careful, if you get swept away in this... don't even want to think about that.  Got across, slowly but surely... man that water was cold!!  Okay, just keep going, you're almost finished. 

Finally, saw the soccer field... hurray, I'm almost done!!  Did my best to run up the hill, then had to run around the track... there were even puddles on the track...  As I was almost at the finished, I saw Chris coming up behind me.  I waited for him at the finish line.  He knew he didn't have time to finish his 50 miles before the cut off, but he was okay with it.  We grabbed our stuff and went to the car so that we could get some dry stuff to put on.

Got into the school, went into the change room.  I wanted to get into a nice warm shower and wash off all this mud and maybe warm up a little.  It's hard to warm up when the shower you're standing under is trying to sandblast your skin off.  Oh well, got all the mud off at least.  Got dried off and changed and went to get something to eat.  It's really hard to eat anything when you're shivering... stuff goes flying all over the place! A couple people looked at me and said "your lips are getting bluer by the minute".  That's probably not a good thing.  I put on another layer and eventually the shivering stopped.

I ran this race last year and it was awesome.  It still is awesome, except the weather sucked this year, but there's not much you can do about that.  I will definitely run this race again next year, hopefully the weather will be better.

I've come to realize that I need to get a whole lot stronger if I want to run a 50k this year...

Monday, March 28, 2011

Around the Bay - Sunday, March 27, 2011

I have to say, I was a little nervous about this race.  Last year was my first time running it and I did better than expected.  I had heard horror stories about "the big hill" and when I actually ran it last year, it wasn't as bad as I expected.

This year, my plan was to race it a little faster than last year (last year's time was 3:33:31), but I wasn't feeling much confidence because I didn't really have an official training schedule, I just kind of winged it, and got help from Chris and Roger for my important running days.  We stuck to very hilly long runs on Sundays, speed work on Wednesdays and hill repeats on Fridays, I didn't make as many Fridays as I should have.

Anyways, got up really early on Sunday morning (5:30am) and got ready, went over to High Park to catch the Longboat bus.  We had enough people from Longboat running the race that we rented a school bus so we could all go together.  I really like that idea, you really feel like part of a team.  We left a little later than planned because we were waiting for a couple of people who never showed, but we had to wait a little.

We arrived at Copps Coliseum about an hour before the start.  The race ended in Copps Coliseum, so we had a designated section, we left our stuff there because there were a couple of people from Longboat who were there as spectators, so they could watch our stuff... yay, no bag check!

Getting ready was kind of difficult because I wasn't really sure what to wear.  It was cold, but would it stay cold or would it get warmer as we were running?  Hard to tell.  I decided to go with a winter shirt and a windbreaker over top, gloves and a hat.  It ended up being a good call, I only had to take my hat off, otherwise the outfit I chose served me well.

We got to the start.  I wasn't really sure where to stand, so just picked a spot kind of in the middle and waited for the gun to go off.  I had planned to go a specific pace for the first half and see how that felt and then if it felt good, to go a little faster towards the end.  The pace I was running at first was a little faster than I had planned, but it felt good, so I just stuck with it.  I have to say, I don't have much to complain about in this race.  It was great, except for the emergency bathroom break I had to take at the 15k mark... it made me so angry because I was really doing well, but you can't argue with your body for stuff like that!  So, I stopped.  I told myself, whatever, just get back into the groove and keep going, if you don't make your time, you can blame it on that stupid bathroom break!

Got back on the road, picked up my previous pace and just kept on truckin'.  Got to "the big hill" and told myself, under no cirmcumstances am I walking up this thing!  I did hill training all winter and it really paid off, I passed lots of people walking up that hill... it was awesome!

After that big hill, it was pretty much smooth sailing.  Just keep running and the end will come soon, that's what I was telling myself.  I was really tired, but the last 2k ran really hard, I finished really strong and was very happy with my overall performance.

As it turns out, I shaved off 4 minutes from last year's time.  My time was 3:29:29.  I was very happy with that.  This race gave me my confidence back!  Now I just have to remember not to get too cocky!

Chris did really well in his race too!  Way to go Chris!!

Next big race coming up will be the first trail race of the season... Seaton Trail in Pickering.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Getting ready...

Okay, so Around the Bay is on Sunday.  I'm really nervous, don't know why, but I am.  I've done lots of hill training, speed training and I know I can run the distance.  I would like to beat last year's time, but am not very hopeful.  For some reason I feel like I'm slower, but I don't think I am.  Weird.  Why do we, as runners, always doubt ourselves like this?  Maybe we don't want to be disappointed if we don't run as fast as we plan to.

So here's hoping that my training will kick in and all will go well.  Good luck to everyone else who is running it too!!  I will write an Around the Bay race report next week... stay tuned! 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Melbourne, FL Half Marathon

After my Miami half marathon, Chris and I headed off to Orlando.  We rented a car, and drove to Orlando. Everything was great until we almost got to our hotel.  We drove around in circles and couldn't find it. It didn't help that there were a couple of other hotels with similar names. So frustrating... this was cutting into theme park time... dammit!  We finally pulled over, called the hotel and got directions from where we were.  We were so close.  It was so worth it, our hotel was amazing!  It was a 2 bedroom suite with a full kitchen, laundry, the works!  There was also a pirate ship in the pool... how cool is that?!!  We checked in, went to our room, changed, then immediately went to Epcot.  So much fun!

The rest of the week was great, lots of theme parks.  Universal, what a great park!  Chris had this book which told us the best rides to do, the best time of the day to do them.  It was awesome!  Some of the rides of note at Universal were:  Duelling Dragons Roller Coaster, Harry Potter Ride, The Hulk Roller Coaster, The Simpsons ride and Jurassic Park, so cool!  We also went on this river ride called Popeye.  It was one of those rides where, depending on where you sat, you got soaked.  If you didn't get soaked while riding down the river, have no fear, there was the opportunity for everyone to get soaked at the end, going through a car wash like cave.  I walked around for 3 hours before I was dry.  You could pay $5 for a dryer session, but we decided we would air dry instead.

Walt Disney World, was cool, but so tame compared to Universal.  Chris had never been, so it was all new for him.  I had been when I was 15.  We went on all of the rides that I did back then, they were still pretty cool.  Space Mountain was the best there.

Disney MGM was also pretty cool.  There were a couple of stunt shows that were pretty awesome, lots of explosions and stuff. 

We had signed up for the Melbourne Marathon, but were not sure if we would go.  I was paranoid that we'd get lost again, like when we were driving around looking for our hotel.  I told Chris that if we went, we were renting a GPS with the car this time! 

Saturday, before the race, we left for Melbourne to pick up our race kits.  We had no trouble finding the place at all, it was great!  Picked up our stuff and headed back to Orlando, then went to Animal Kingdom for the rest of the day.  We got soaked from rain and then again from a river ride, although not as soaked as the poor kid sitting beside me... man, he totally got dumped on, hilarous!  I could have gotten Popeye soaked, but managed to dodge that bullit!

Got up at 4:30am on Sunday, Feb 6.  Checked out of the hotel, got on the road to Melbourne.  The highway was pretty quiet, so it was pretty fast going.  When we got to Melbourne, we had to try to find the start.  We kinda got a little lost, but then found it.  We saw a bunch of runners warming up, so we knew it had to be close.  We found the parking lot.  We were getting our stuff together and heard this tick, tick, tick on the roof across from us... it was a huge vulture looking down at us.  That was weird.  It was too dark to get a picture, but that would have been a good one!  Got to the start and there was a huge line for the toilets... were we going to get to the start on time?  Chris was thinking this was going to be another Scotia... you'll have to ask him about that.  The line ended up going really fast.  They actually had "ushers" at the end of the line to make things go quicker.

Got into the coral, wished Chris good luck in his race.  The temperature was kind of cool, it was a little bit rainy, perfect running weather.  I was running along and my heart rate monitor was showing 67, then 77... what the hell?  I finally pulled over and checked, it was upside down... DOH!  Fixed it quick and I was off again.

The course was really amazing, lots of nice scenery.  There were a few people along the course cheering us on.  The race was well organized and I think they were a little short on volunteers, but they were great!  The only thing is, they had plastic cups at the water stations, can't really bend those.

There were only two hills, which were actually bridges.  The first one was about halfway through the half marathon, it was okay.  The second one was much steeper, it was towards the end of the half marathon.  I ended up passing a lot of people running up this bridge, lots of people were walking.  I have to thank Coach Roger and his Boston Special Sunday runs for that!  (It's a very hilly course in the west end of Toronto.)

It was getting a little humid by the end of the half marathon and I was thinking, man, Chris has to do this again, he also has to run up that second bridge again... I was very happy I was running the half and not the full.

I saw the finish line.  By this time, I wanted it to be over.  I heard someone say "man, she looks terrible"... was he talking about me?  I didn't feel terrible, just tired of running.  I ended up running a better time here than in Miami.  My finishing time was 2:25:18, about 3 minutes faster... yahoo!  It was kinda fun to run both, but from now on, only one race per trip!

I went back to the car to change into something else so that I could wait for Chris to come in.  The finish was small enough that I could see him come in.  I milled around, wasted $2 on some coffee flavored water... yuck!  Finally saw Chris coming.  He looked really strong coming in.  I had a bag of stuff that I knew he would need, jacket, Advil, etc.  We sat down for a little while so that Chris could relax and get unmarathonized (yes I make up words).  We walked around for a bit, then decided to head back to Orlando and see if we could get one more visit to Universal.  We still had to ride on the Jaws ride, which was closed all week and was just reopening that day.

The drive was good, except that we had to stop and get gas, then get some junk food (McDonald's).  When we were pulling out, I couldn't get far enough over, so had to take a detour which shaved off about 15 minutes of Universal time.  Then the GPS sent us to the Human Resources parking lot... really?  Finally got to Universal.  We had time for about three or four rides.  The Jaws ride was totally worth it!  Then we had to get the car back to the airport, check in and get our flight back home.  Whew, what a busy day!

Next time, I think we're going to book direct flights.  We saved money on the connecting flights, but had to pay for checked luggage, which kind of defeated the purpose... WTF?

It was a fantasic trip!  We had so much fun.  I'm looking forward to many more Kimmy and Chris adventures!

Next big race, Around the Bay, Hamilton.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Miami Half Marathon

Chris and I ran in two races in Florida, Miami on January 30th and then Melbourne on February 6th.  I'm just writing about Miami right now, then I will write about Melbourne a little later.

We got up super early the day before the marathon to go to the airport to fly to Miami.  Our flight was due to arrive in Miami at 4pm.  We were a little concerned because as soon as we arrived in Miami, we would have to go to the expo, which closes at 6pm, to pick up our race kits for the next day.  What if we were delayed?  We were thinking we'd have to go straight to the expo from the airport, suitcases in tow, that would be a pain.  Lucky for us, we had a tail wind and we arrived about 20 minutes early.  We got a cab from the airport, went to our hotel, checked in and then walked over to the expo, it was only about a 10 minute walk.  The expo was like any other, lots of booths, people selling stuff, nothing out of the ordinary.  We picked up our bib and shirt then cruised around.  The race shirts were really cool!

Then we got to thinking about how to get to the start on race day.  When we initially signed up for the race, there was an option to buy transportation tickets to the start.  Of course, we did not do this.  We walked over to the booth, they had no more paper tickets, but we were able to get on a list for a one way ticket.

Race Day.  Got up at 3:30am... waaaay too early!  Got ready.  Our room had one of those teeny-tiny coffee makers.  There was enough for only one cup.  I told Chris he could have it.  He said it was pretty awful, but it would have to do.  We got dressed, pinned our bibs, got everything we needed.  We decided not to check a bag, so off we went.  Got to the bus transport, there were lots of buses.  Got to the line and they were asking for tickets.  We told them that we didn't have a ticket, but we were on some kind of list.  They said go ahead and get on the bus.  I'm so glad we decided to get a ticket for that bus.  I can't imagine trying to figure out how to get to the start, basically in the middle of the night.

We got to the start... man there were so many people! It was amazing!  Also amazing, the American Airlines Arena in Miami was open for everyone to hang out in, use the washrooms, etc.  There were all kinds of people in there, some were standing around, others were lying on the floor stretching... everyone seemed to have the same sort of anticipation feeling.  I remember one very cold race in Burlington where we kept getting kicked out of the warm places, Chris you know what I'm talking about, right?  Big difference.

We decided that we should get into our corals.  We decided to try to meet after the race where the baggage check was.  If for some reason we couldn't, we would meet at the family meeting place under the letter "M".  We wished each other luck and off we went.

Got into my coral.  Was talking to this woman, it was her first half marathon.  She was really excited and really nervous.  I told her she'd do great.  They started playing the US national anthem.  Everyone really does hold their hands over their hearts, very cool.  The gun went off, lots of cheering, eventually we were off.  It took me about 15 minutes to reach the start, it was finally getting light out.

It was very crowded, even where I was!  It took me about 2k to get out of the crowd and get into my groove.  About 5k into the race, I passed a woman who was sobbing... not sure what that was about, but I heard someone else ask her if she was okay.  I hope she was okay.

The course was really nice.  I was going to try to really race this one, but because of the crowd, I wasn't really going as fast as I wanted to, so I thought I would just go with the flow and do my best.

Around the 10k mark, there were three guys on the sideline, one of them had a Canadian flag hanging from his belt.  I ran past and yelled "yay Canada!", they yelled back "way to go you're looking great!" Nice to have some fans... ha!  There were people spread out throughout the course cheering us on.  About 5k from the finish there was a cheering section which was really cool! 

Finally, saw the finish... yay, I can stop running now.  My time was 2:28:47, not bad, I was hoping for a little faster, but what can you do?

Got to the finish.  We got coralled through the food, etc.  There was no way I could meet Chris at the baggage check like we had planned.  As it turned out, the family meeting place was right there as you were getting coralled.  I hoped that Chris would see this right away.  After getting some food, I kind of stuck around there waiting for Chris.  Finally I saw him in the crowd, then he saw me.  He looked tired and like he normally does after a marathon.  We just went and sat under a tree for a while until he relaxed a bit.  Now to figure out how to get back to the hotel.  We decided to try to find the buses and see if we could buy a ticket back.  Found the buses, we were able to buy a ticket back, no problem at all... totally awesome!

Overall, the Miami half marathon was an amazing experience!  It was very well organized, the course was great, I would highly recommend this race!

After the race, went back to the hotel, I changed into my bathing suit and went to the beach!  It wasn't really super warm beach weather, but I had to swim in the ocean since, you know, it was there!  The water was cold.  After watching everyone's reaction getting into the water, including mine, Chris decided to stay on the sand.

We walked along the beach for a while, went to pick up the rental car we were going to need for the next day to drive to Orlando.  Then got back to the hotel, got showered and ready to go out.  We decided for dinner that night we would spoil outselves at Joe's Stone Crab Restaurant... amazing!

Stay tuned for my Orlando report.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Robbie Burns 8k

All my non-running friends think I'm nuts for running outside in the cold for the Robbie Burns 8k this past Sunday.  It was very, very cold (like minus 27 C... brrrrr).  Like Chris said, the bus ride was great, but cold.  I hate being cold.

Got to the race and got to warm up a little in the school, getting ready.  So many layers!  With 20 minutes to start, I decided to do a warm up.  My warm up didn't go all that well, I didn't really warm up, my toes were numb.  Before we left, back at the house, I said to Chris, maybe I should wear two pairs of socks... he just laughed and said "don't be silly... two pairs of socks."  I wished I had two pairs of socks standing in the start corral!!  People were jumping around to keep warm... we were all thinking, come on, let's just get this over with so we can have some nice warm oatmeal!!

The horn goes and we're off.  There were lots of people in the race this year and I misjudged where I should have been, so for the first km or so I was trying to get out of the crowd.  Where I am in the crowd you always get 3 or 4 people all running side by side, so it's hard to get past and you don't want to be mean and shove them out of the way, although sometimes I think about that...

Once I got to my pace, everything was okay, my feet finally started warming up, it was cold, but sunny, so I just kept on going and saying in my head, just get this over with.  Then we turned a corner to go south and right into the sun.  It was so nice, it was a bit of a downhill, so I remembered what coach said, take advantage of the hill... so I did.  Then I started getting hot.  I thought, maybe I should take off these big mittens, but then I thought, as soon as I turn the corner again, it will probably get cold... which it did later, so I'm glad I stuck with the mittens.

Then we turned the corner again and headed north.  A "slight incline" all the way to the finish.  It's amazing how a "slight incline" can make you feel so tired and winded!  I could see the school, which was just before the finish, also where we started, up in the distance and just kept telling myself, just get to the school!  It seemed to take forever to get there.  Then, once you get to the school, you have to turn the corner and there's the finish line.  I saw Chris in the crowd cheering me on.  I was so winded I couldn't even smile.  I could see a fellow Longboater ahead, so I gave it all my might to catch up... almost, but not quite.  My poor lungs!  I was so happy to stop running!

I did manage to take of 54 seconds from last year.  Not what I was shooting for, but hey, I can live with that!

Chris was not happy with his race.  I think he's too hard on himself sometimes, but that's what he does.  It was cold and not very many people had a good race.

Robbie Burns is a great race and I'm looking forward to running it again next year!!

Next race... Miami Half Marathon this coming Sunday.  At least it will be above zero!

Thursday, January 13, 2011


Me and my husband, Chris, have decided to take our honeymoon at the end of this month... going to Florida.  Of course, for some reason, we can't take a vacation without some sort of running involved.

You see, Chris is an ultra runner, he's pretty amazing.  Me, not so much.  The longest distance I have run is a marathon, which is nothing to sneeze at, but for these ultra runners, it's a training run!

Anyways, back to Florida.  So, we've decided to go to Miami, Chris will run the marathon and I will run the half marathon.  We will stay there for a couple of days, hang out at the beach.  Then after that, we go to Orlando.  Chris has never been to Disney World, I was there when I was a teenager.  Chris and I are both excited about this trip.

Then, the Sunday after the marathon in Miami, we will be running in the Melbourne marathon, Chris will run the full marathon and me the half.  

I will post something after our trip, see how it goes.  It will be busy, but fun!