Thursday, April 29, 2010

Eugene Here I Come!

Each day I inch closer and closer to my main goal race of the spring season. I work until 11:15pm this evening and then will be up at 4:15am and on the 5:15am ferry to Vancouver to begin the journey! With any luck I will get 4 hours sleep tonight; however, I am thinking it will likely be 3.5 or so as I still have a few things to finish that I wasn't able to get done this afternoon. I finished most of the packing, just a few odds and ends to do later tonight.

While I am not looking forward to the lack of sleep, I am totally looking forward to the trip. I am going down with some good guys and one of their girlfriends who I have yet to meet. We have already planned a few events for the weekend so hopefully it all turns out as well as it sounds. Last year I didn't take enough photos, so this year I will try and make up for it!

I have a few goals in mind, but my uttermost important goal is to beat my best time from October at the Royal Victoria 1/2 which was 1:24:15. I raced sick, with a head cold as my nose ran the entire time and I was even blowing aweful snot rockets. Eww. I feel as though I didn't run up to my potential for that race, so we'll see how this weekend goes.

I can only run my best on the day and this Sunday I hope to feel great! I have had my ups and downs to get here and even yet I am still not 100% healthy after some nagging injuries (stomach still), but I feel as though I am ready to give it my all! Bring on Eugene! =)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Evil Birds!

People on my facebook will have heard this already, but believe it or not, I was attacked by a bird this afternoon while on my run. Okay well that might be a bit of an exaggeration; however, I did have 2 birds hit my in the forehead. I was running around a local park called Buttertubs Marsh (2.4km loop approx) and came through an area that had bushes on either side of the gravel trail. Just as I came out of the bushes, 2 birds that were "playing" in the air came out of nowhere and smacked me in the forehead before continuing on their way.

Not my photo, but this shows Buttertubs with Mt Benson in the background. I was in the area in the bottom of the picture when the birds "attacked." This is from winter I suppose as everything is much greener at the moment.

My first thought was wtf are you serious and I actually laughed out loud and said oh my god. Unfortunately or fortunately, no one was around to witness it! I say they were "playing" but according to Todd, spring is in the air and the birds were likely doing more than playing. Thanks for pointing that out Todd. Definitely a first for me! At least they were little birds! It is also what I get for running through Buttertubs considering it is a bird sanctuary!

Example of the trails around Buttertubs (also not my photo)

Less than a week until Eugene now! Woo Hoo!! Excited and nervous at the same time! We leave really really REALLY early Friday morning!

In other news, my kitties have been cute lately, though they usually are.

Socket playing up to the camera

I bought some food and filled up their dish! Just kidding, this is their food storage; however, they opted for the fresh food than the food in their dish right behind them (same food).

Socket wanted to share my spinach!

Till next time.....

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Countdown is on!

FYI, before I get started I just wanted to let you know that my prayer worked. After posting it both here and on Facebook, the Canucks won. Series is now 2-2. Hopefully they will now pull their heads out of their butts and start playing a full 60 minutes of hockey! One can hope can't we?

Since October, my training has been dedicated to May 2nd, 2010. After running the Eugene half marathon last year and running a less than par performance (it was a best time, but felt like junk compared to my previous best time). Last year was at the end of my season, I think it was 11 races in 16 weeks and the 2nd back to back to back of 3 races in the season. Needless to say I think I was a bit tired and burnt out. I finished in 1:25:59 and was hungry for more!

I wish I could get rid of that damn inward twist of my feet

Glad to be done, but unhappy with the time

Ever since that performance, I have wanted to go back and get my revenge on the course. I had a great time last year traveling down with Byron and Steve (see below), among many other local runners from Nanaimo as one of the clinics went down.

I wasn't sure whether or not the travel plans would work out, so I kept the BMO Vancouver Half Marathon (also on May 2nd) open as a back up plan. Either way, May 2nd I was going to run a half marathon, the location was yet to be determined.

Within the last few months, travel plans went back and forth with people confirming then backing out and then wavering on their plans. Finally some commitment happened with Simon and Mark this year. As is I was debating going anyways and even flying down if I had to. My plans nearly got bumped when my good friend Chris told me he was getting married on April 30th in Langley (outskirts of Vancouver). April 30th is the day we drive down to Eugene.

I weighed my options and attempted to work on attending the wedding and then finding a place to stay and a way to the airport the following morning, then flying down to Eugene on Saturday to meet up with my other friends. I would then drive back with them the day after the race; however, none of the plans worked out and I had no other choice but to officially rsvp "no" to the wedding. While part of me is upset to miss his wedding, I know I tried my best to work everything out to try and attend while still being able to keep to my original commitment of Eugene. I am sorry Chris, I will be thinking of you guys while I am down in Eugene.

So here we are, at this exact second It is
9 days, 10 hours, 6 minutes and 4 seconds until Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 7:00:00 AM. I am excited to go again and am feeling pretty motivated. I don't really talk about goals publicly. I mentioned a goal to a friend recently and since doing so I have actually readjusted my main goal. I think I will keep the new goal secret until after the race! Sorry, but you'll have to stay tuned to see whether I meet it or not!

A highlight of this race, will be the finish this year. The first time in the 4 years of the race that they will be finishing the half and full marathons on Hayward Field!! Exciting! If you have not see "Prefontaine" or "Without Limits" be sure to watch them!

Byron and I playing on the Hayward Field Track. The finish will be around here except facing the other way this year!

A couple more workouts to complete, then bring on Eugene! Ready or not, I will make the best of it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Oh Hockey

Damn you hockey and your frustrating ways! Damn you Canucks for playing like junk against LA recently; however, I still love you Canucks and as frustrated as I am, Go Canucks Go =) Please hockey gods, let them win this game, I don't want to be down 3-1.

"Our father, who art in the Staples Center, HOCKEY be thy name. Thy will be done, Game 4 will be won, on ice as well as in the stands. Give us this day our hockey sticks and forgive us our penalties. As we forgive those who cross-check against us. Lead us not into elimination, but deliver us to victory, in the name of the fans of hockey, in the name of The Canucks, Amen"

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sooke River 10km Race Report

Has it really been 10 days since my last post? Oops. Sorry about that, but my life has been anything but interesting lately. I am envious of all you bloggers out there who have things to blog about daily or even every few days.

Since my last race (Dave Reed 5km), my legs have decided to hate me. It has been a long 3 weeks of me begging and hoping that my legs will one day return to me. An updated blood test showed my ferritin levels now at 14 (beats the under 5) but still considered not normal. My white blood cells were also out of range on the high side, which meant when I had the blood test taken my body was fighting something. It makes sense as last weekend my nose was running like crazy.

With less than enthusiastic legs and the Sooke River 10km coming up, I was hesitant to officially enter the race. Last Monday was the final day to enter before the race fees went up, so I made the choice to enter and prayed that my legs would return before Sunday. A different race approach was taken this time and I slowly felt as though my legs were coming back to me at the end of the week. I kept up hope that I wasn't imagining things and that my legs were truly coming back.

An extra shift at work on Friday, a friends BBQ dinner last night (Saturday) and that brings you to today. I opted to car pool down to Victoria to save money on gas, which in turn also helps the environment right ;) We arrived mighty early down in Sooke, leaving Nanaimo around 8am with a detour to pick someone up before officially leaving and arriving just before 9:25. Our driver made good time, even in the thick fog on the malahat (sorry no photos).

I was very sleepy when I arrived, not really waking up until I started my warm up. I felt okay on the warm up which was a good sign. I went into this race expecting to come 3rd in my age group and felt no pressure or nerves. I had planned to go out and do what I could. If I felt horrid, I would use it as a half marathon workout.

The race started at 11am and I stayed conservative on the first 3 km's. It is a bit uphill on the way out, then some downhills before half way, which is a turn around, then uphill and then some downhills with a final slight uphill finish. My 4th km turned out faster, which the downhills likely helped. I missed the 5th km marker though I did notice it on the way back at the turn around.

I ran the entire race in 3rd place (both overall female and in my age group). I kept contact for the first 3km but then they pulled away on the downhill. They continued to pull away until we hit the hills on the way back. At this point, the hills gave me strength and I started to feel much better than in the first half. I started to gain some ground and continued to gain right until the end of the race. In the end, my final 2km's were my strongest out of the entire race. That leaves me with the feeling that I did not push myself hard enough in the middle portion of the race, specifically km's 3-6.

Overall, as I said I finished 3rd female and 3rd in my age group (25-29) in a time of 38:20, which technically was a 46 second pb. The feeling at the finish makes me aware that I need to be more aggressive than I have been. I need to push myself to that next level as I tend to keep things a tad too comfortable. Having not raced a 10km since September 2009, I was a bit out of touch on pacing.

It is a good sign for my next race though, where I plan to work on pushing myself into the next zone. I finished strong with some left in the tank, I simply slacked off in the middle portion of the race and ever so briefly doubted myself. Not a huge deal though as I am satisfied with this result. I found my legs, even if I didn't make them work hard enough, after a long 3 weeks without them. Welcome back legs. Thank you for arriving home at the right time!

Here is one photo (no idea if any race photos were officially taken) of myself and Melissa who won the race today in 37:44 just ahead of Care in 37:49 and also took over overall series champion for the first time. Congrats Mel!

Results can be found here.

Also a shout out to the Westwood Running Club, who won the smaller club title overtaking the legendary Bastion Running Club in the series standings!

PS. One quick photo of the kitties earlier this week!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Good and The Bad

Good news is that my Achilles/heel issue is behaving a bit more than last week. It is very minimal and only lasts for the first part of my warm up and then tends to disappear. I saw Abe at Island Optimal today and he took a look, coming to the conclusion that it's not Achilles Tendinitis as my Achilles is in too good of shape. I have a little scar tissue at the back of the heel, but he says that is very common in runners. Fingers crossed the pain continues to go away!

Bad news is that I spoke too soon about my abdominals, as they have been acting up again this week. Boo. Still struggling energy wise this week as well. Workouts feel tougher than they should, but I am fighting through it the best I can. Stressing a bit I will admit as my goal race (half marathon) is coming up shortly in about 3.5 weeks.

Good news is that the Canucks made the playoffs and took the Northwest Division Title.

Bad news is that they played like junk against the Sharks tonight. I'll give you this one Molly, but should we meet again... the war is on ;)

Good news is that I had the last 2 days off.

Bad news is that I work all weekend. Bring on Monday!

Okay, enough of that. I have a dilemma and I am not sure if anyone who lives in the USA is willing to or able to assist at all. Basically, I want to place an order with Saucony, but the damn website won't let me as I don't have an American address. I had someone volunteer to have me ship to their place and then they will ship to me; however, it won't accept my credit card payment as my credit card address isn't American. Anyone willing to accept a paypal payment in return for placing my order for me? I thought I would throw it out there anyways! The running stores here in Nanaimo are lacking for clothes at the moment and with the Canadian Dollar so close to the American Dollar, I figured I may as well take advantage! Let me know if you can help!

Monday, April 5, 2010

If its not one thing, it's another

Last week was one hell of a ride. After my mysterious knee problem, to then clearing up and running a less than stellar race, I then developed pain in my right achilles on Tuesday. I went out for my workout and noticed an odd sensation on the back of my right heel. I figured it was nothing but maybe my heel rubbing on my shoe weird, maybe due to my socks and kept going. It sorted itself out after my warm up and I thought nothing of it.

That same sensation was there on Wednesday when I started my warm up, but once again disappearing not long after; however, trying to wear shoes at work later that night was a nuisance and not the most comfortable feeling. The same thing happened on Thursday, with the shoes aggravating my heel at work. I iced whenever I could, but not as much as I would have preferred due to working.

By Friday, training changed as it was decided that if it was an achilles issue, I needed to get off of it sooner rather than later. With my main race still to come, it wasn't worth the risk to pushing through it now, especially since it likely was achilles related. Thankfully the change in training happened on Friday, which turned out to be quite a nasty day weather wise.

That morning the power went out at about 8am. There was supposed to be a trail race out at Westwood called the Fletchers Challenge in remembrance of Gavin Fletcher, a local sports news reporter that died in a car accident a few years ago. I wasn't sure if the race was still going to take place considering it was a trail race and the wind was howling and rain was falling hard; however, I had no power to confirm so I headed up the lake to watch. When I got there and saw a pretty empty parking lot (it was about 10 minutes before the race was supposed to start) and people at the entrance stopping cars, I figured it was called off. Smart move by the race organizers as it definitely wouldn't have been safe to run the trails (as is many trees and branches did end up coming down over the race course).

Driving home I took some photos of the many little branches over the road. These are actually minor compared to some spots. Sorry for the quality of some of the photos as I was trying to drive and snap a photo (yeah I know totally illegal and unsafe)

Tree on the cable lines and then over the road when driving towards Cedar. This tree stayed like this from Friday until they FINALLY removed it last night around 8pm.

Further down the road, a cable (no idea what it was for) was lying directly over the road with cars driving over it (including me).

I came home and relaxed, still no power. Finally I decided to get my ride over with (indoor trainer of course). I set up my laptop with New Moon and saw that since my laptop didn't turn off right away, I only had 30 minutes power left. Darn, I was to ride longer than that, but I started it anyways and went on my way. About 10 minutes into the ride, the power came back on so I took a brief rest to grab my power cable and plugged in the laptop before continuing.

That was only the first time the power went out. Living in Cedar, which is the outskirts/farm area of Nanaimo, we often lose power and generally are not a priority to turn it back on. The weather continued to be nasty all day calming in the evening. We lost power sometime throughout the night briefly early Saturday morning, then after I came home from coaching the high school crew on Saturday morning I once again found no power. This time it was out from about 9:30am until 1:30pm or so. I think we lost it one other time since then, but I wasn't home so I can't verify for how long. I am getting sick of resetting the clocks on the stove and microwave so at the moment they are still flashing from the latest power outage last night.

The storm knocked down 3 sections of our fence as well. This was taken on Saturday after the storm had passed.

Back to the achilles, after the ride Friday I took Saturday completely off and was very antsy. Especially with no power when I came back from coaching and not to mention it was a sunny day. I just wanted to get out and run, but I couldn't. Instead I iced and then gave the house a good clean. No power, I had to keep myself busy somehow so I could distract myself.

I ended up doing a test run yesterday and it appears to have gone well. Minor nagging aches that disappeared, but I was able to wear shoes last night. I was in the hot tub for an extended time last night due to being at a friends part 1 of a bachelorette party so when I got home, the shoes were aggravating me a bit so I made sure to ice before bed. I have yet to try shoes again today, but fingers crossed it feels okay.

Needless to say, it has been a very frustrating week for me running wise and I have been struggling mentally with my thoughts and motivation. I know I must stay positive though and take care of my injury and everything will work out. 2010 thus far has been disappointing running wise. Training has been well for the most part, but the races just aren't matching. Not to mention the weird and nagging injuries. On a positive note, my abdominal pain seems to be almost nonexistent which is good! Stay tuned regarding the injuries.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Dave Reed 5km Race Report

** I honestly debated posting this; however, here you go**

My knee ended up back to normal by last Friday (March 26th), after the day off and then a few short easy runs. In essence, I ended up being somewhat tapered so the plan was to jump on the line for the Dave Reed 5km race in Vancouver. I headed over to Vancouver on Friday and stayed at my sister's place. We went out for dinner once I arrived to a Japanese place and as my sister stated "you are a picky eater so I am pushing your boundaries" or something along those lines. I likely swore at her stating any other day was fine; however, I wasn't up for trying new foods (new to me at any rate) the night before a race. I tried a few things that she ordered, but some things turned out spicy and spicy doesn't work for me as it comes back to haunt me.

Anyways, I attempted to go to bed at a decent time, but still had a pretty crappy nights sleep. Maybe it was not being in the comfort of my own bed or maybe it was her lovely cat. ;) Before I knew it, morning had come. We headed over to Stanley park getting there just after 8am. Picked up our race numbers, to which my sister swore when she found out we were in the same age group (20-34) due to it being the BC 5km Road Championships (she is 2 years older than me).

I found my coach just as I was planning on heading off on my warm up, so we went off together. It was a bit different of a warm up for me. To be honest a bit faster than I usually warm up and it also included walking in the middle of it, not to mention it was about half the time I usually spend warming up. I headed up to the car and dropped my gear before heading over to the start.

It was cold to start with, but I didn't notice it too much while running. A VERY cramped start line as it was on the seawall. A smaller race with only 216 finishers, but the start line probably fit maybe 8-10 people wide.

It was a rough start, with one guy falling up in front (no idea if he got back up and finished) trying to avoid the water drains on the seawall as it became even more narrow.

It was flat for just under half a km before it looped around a corner and up a hill. It is always fun to hit the hills right away, then again, I'd rather it right away then at the end.

At the top of the hill, it went down briefly before turning to the right and going back up for a bit. The course had LOTS of corners and I don't really consider it all that fast of a course. If anything, Bazan Bay a few weeks ago was a faster course (in my opinion). I was on track for under 18 min until the 3rd km where I fell of pace a bit. Not too far though, but then my 4th km ruined it. We hit the wind along the seawall for the 4th km and I didn't realize that I had slowed as much as I did.

At this point, I was passed by a young runner which now put me 3rd female. For some god awful reason, I never even tried to go with her. I just let her go, which is a stupid mistake I realize now. I guess at the time it just felt like she went by me with no effort so I figured I had no chance. Looking back I wish I had thought more positively and at least tried to go with her because I think if I did she might have pulled me out of that awful 4th km split.

I think it was in the final km we went around this light house, which was VERY narrow and hard to keep speed through. I picked it up in the last km, but it was too late. I had fallen way off pace by letting my mind slip and finished in 18:25 as 3rd female. A 6 second PB, but not what I am capable of running (I'll get into that in a minute).

Me and my horrid form not even noticing there was a photographer. Ha my twig arms

The 2nd place girl Tanya Humenuik was 18:09 and I should have at least been up there with her if not in front. First was Malindi Elmore (see photo below), 2004 Canadian 1500m Olympian, who easily won in 16:33, which was likely a stroll for her. Oh did I mention she had lazer eye surgery just over a week ago? Malindi and I go way back as we used to race each other as kids in the BC Summer Games. She always did kick my butt though.

Flash back of Malindi in 1995 I believe

While I didn't race was well as I could have, I have to send a shout out to my coach Matt (see below), who won the race in 15:06 which might I add is also below his real potential. Strong race, but I know he is faster than that on a good course!

Award time

Top 3 women (2nd, 1st, 3rd)

Top 3 men

Lastly a shout out also to my sister Heather for running in her first race in awhile. She did pretty good considering her running has been inconsistent due to health reasons. PS. told you I would put the photo in the blog!

The reason I say I am capable of running much faster is because I ran a 3km time trial on the roads just over a week before the race. While I went for it hard in the time trial, I figure I could have completed another 2km. Probably not as fast, but even if I slowed over 20 seconds per KM for the last 2km, I would have been around 18 flat. It wasn't just this one workout that I am basing my thoughts on either; however, on the actual race day, I just didn't have it.

After the race, I headed straight to the ferry terminal and caught the 12:30 ferry home, which left a few minutes late, getting me into Nanaimo at 2:15. I got home at 2:40, quickly got changed and was at work by 3:05. Rushed day. By 11:15pm when I was off work I was tired as can be. Here are some photos of the journey home.

Waiting in Horseshoe Bay while on the ferry waiting to leave

Vancouver in the distance

Welcome home to Departure Bay (Nanaimo)

Friday, April 2, 2010

Time Flies

Stay tuned. A blog will come shortly. It's been a less than stellar week (aka frustrating) so I have been undecided whether I will blog about the negatives or not. Heck, I am still debating; however, I will blog at some point over the weekend. =)