Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review



New Years Eve! What a year 2012 has been. First off, I would have to say that it was definitely more successful than 2011 mainly due to the fact that I didn’t spend the first 3.5 months injured (knock on wood). If I look back throughout the year, I raced 16 times which definitely beats the 5 times in 2011. That included five half marathons, two 10kms, one 10,000 on the track, one 9.5km, one 8km, three 5kms and three xc/trail races.  These included five BC Championship races and three National Championships. I also broke through the 18 minute barrier for the 5km, the 37minute barrier for the 10km and the 80 minute barrier for the half marathon (FINALLY!). Overall I would say it was a pretty successful year in which I headed in the right direction.

Not to mention I took my first work vacation in 4 year where I took off more than a week and headed to Flagstaff for my first altitude stint. I was able to train like a professional and basically live the dream of eating, running and sleeping for 3 weeks straight. My coworkers thought I was insane that I used my vacation to go and run a lot as their idea of a vacation is to relax. Sure relaxing is nice, but I had wanted to try altitude training for a while so I was definitely in heaven! Thanks so much to Alicia Shay for the place to stay and for Marilyn for her expertise while there.

Since Nationals, I have gone back to base training and so far it is going quite well. I took a 8 day no running break right after nationals which was my first lengthy break since coming back from injury. I had taken a few days here and there, but never more than 3-4 days off in a row so this was the first longer one. It was needed although the competitive side of me definitely was ready just to get back into training after not running my ideal race at Nationals. Now I am training hard in order to reach my new goals for 2013!

With 2012 winding down, I do want to say a few thanks. First and foremost I would like to thank Saucony Canada for their continued support since 2011. I am entering my 3rd year of their support and honestly I could not be more proud to represent such a great company. Not only do I love their shoes (Kinvara’s are my fav) and apparel (love their clothing line) but I love how they support sports in general. Not to mention they rock some awesome contests in which they give out free gear. If you are on facebook, please like Saucony Canada as they will have a new contest coming in the new year! Thanks so much to Jeremiah Johnston who is my direct athlete representative and keeps me stocked up with shoes so I can avoid injury!

Also huge thanks to Abe Avender and Joe Foglia from Island Optimal Health and Performance. These two are my chiropractors and I owe them huge thanks for keeping my body running. They always do their best to fit me in whenever I need an emergency treatment, not to mention they are great motivators. If you need a chiro in Nanaimo or any ART treatment, these guys are the ones to contact! Just be warned that while they look normal for 11 months of the year, Movember can be a bit scary, especially with Joe. Just make sure you don’t meet him for the first time during Movember ;)

Yvonne Visser requires a shout out as well; she is my RMT and is wonderful with her hands. She is definitely my go-to-person for massage. She can turn my tired legs into fresh legs after one treatment. Unfortunately she had some bad luck at the end of this year and became injured so I have not been able to see her since October; however, I will definitely be back once her health is back to normal!

Matt Clout, my coach (aka advisor) gets huge thanks as well. Thank you for your patience especially when I lack it. I have been with Matt for the last 4+ years (I think) and have known him since we were kids (never forget the pedometer). I owe him for a huge part of my success and improvements over the years, so thank you for your time and commitment.

My boyfriend Jason, my parents (Judy, Don, Geoff, Pat) and my sister (Heather) plus extended family on both my side and Jason’s (way too many to name), I thank all of you for your support. I know my running can get in the way sometimes as I constantly have to arrange things around what my workouts are for the day so I thank you for your patience and understanding with me. You may not fully understand why I can’t just drop a workout to make last minute plans; however, it means a lot that you don’t hold it against me.

Also to all my blog readers, social media friends, co-workers and friends, thank you for your words of support. I am so forever grateful for those words and appreciate you all taking the time to make contact and congratulate me on my races. Even when I am feeling down about a race, you all are so supportive that it makes me rethink things. Much appreciated!

I know I have forgotten people, but I am in a hurry to get this blog out as I have to hit the shower to head out to friends for the evening. If you are reading this, a simple Thank YOU! I have some big plans and goals for 2013 and am even being recruited to help the running community ever since word got out that I am no longer helping with NDSS due to differences that need not be explained. I will explain more in 2013!

In the meantime, Happy New Year to you all! See you in 2013! 

**Edit. I knew I would forget some! I want to also thank Bastion Running Club, Westwood Running Club, Prairie Inn Harriers, BC Athletics, Canada Running Series and VIRA for their support! Bob Reid, Chris Kelsall and Alan Brookes have earned their thanks as well! All of these clubs/people made many of my races possible this year. Not to mention each race who offered up comp entries and/or hotel so that I could take part in your race! Thank you! 

Thursday, December 27, 2012

2012 Canadian National XC Race Report

**Edit** I started this not long after the race, which took place on November 24th

This was the 3rd consecutive year that I have participated in the Canadian National XC Championships. After having not run XC since 1999 when I quit the track club after high school, I decided to give it a try. It was quite intimidating to step back on the line after so many years of road racing; however, it was a fun experience that took me to Guelph that year as part of Team BC.

Both last year and this year Nationals were at Jericho Beach in Vancouver, which meant Team BC wasn’t quite as necessary. Good thing for that too, as I missed out on making the team both years. Unlike last year’s mud fest with stormy conditions, this year was mild weather with sun. Don’t get me wrong, there was still plenty of mud considering it rained quite often and quite hard in the weeks leading up to the race; however, with a few days of sun here and there the course wasn’t quite as wet and muddy.

I took the 8:30am ferry over to Vancouver and left Nanaimo with nice sunshine. 

From the ferry shortly after leaving Nanaimo

When I arrived on the mainland, I hit some brief rain as I drove through the North Shore but was greeted to sunny skies at the course. I arrived just in time to catch the Junior Girls race, which included Rebecca and Miryam Bassett as well as another local high school athlete Erica DeShiffart. All three are actually younger than Junior age by 1-2 years and they ran quite well for their first National experience. 

Junior Girls

I quickly met up withMeggan Franks, whom was my roommate in Montreal back in April for the Canadian Half Marathon Championships. 

Meggan and I post race

Part way through the Junior men’s race I headed off to warm up. Unfortunately, getting ready to even start my warm up took me longer than planned as I forgot to change the length of my spikes up until that point. I had to cut my warm up shorter than normal in order to compensate.

After the junior men they held a community race and then I found myself on the start line. At this point I ran into my sister who came down to watch, along with my coach (or adviser as he likes to be called) Matt. I did some strides and found that my right hamstring was a bit tight but at this point there was nothing I could do about it.

We were on the line and the race took off. We did the 1km loop first in which I feel as though I ran through strong. 

First loop
 


Unfortunately part way through the first of three 2km loops, I didn’t run quite as strong. The first two of those 2km loops weren’t ideal but I found that I was just finding my legs on the final 2km loop. I suppose that is the distance runner in me. One of my Chiro’s laughed before when I referred to the 7km distance as a sprint. It’s no secret that I prefer races that are longer. 

2nd loop maybe?

I had a good battle with a girl named Jodi for the final lap from what I can remember. I would catch her on the hill and then she would gap me on the downhill. She had a decent gap of probably 10m on the downhill for the final lap; however, I was able to track her down in the final stretch and pass her just before the line. Last year, a different Jodi passed me just before the line, so this year I was NOT going to let that happen again. I crossed the line in 34th (31st Canadian) and was off of my goal of at least the top 30. Yes I would love to have been closer to 20th, but it wasn’t my day and it wasn’t my race. 

Battle down the finish with Jodi
 

Overall the conditions were much better than last year’s mud fest, with each race being much faster than the year before. I was exactly 2 minutes faster than last year finishing in 25:53. 

Post race chats! (starting to get cold!)

The race was won by Megan Brown, followed by Kate Harrison and then BC’s own Natasha (Wodak) Fraser. I am excited to hopefully follow Tasha’s experience at Worlds in 2013!

Speedy Natasha Fraser (3rd), Myself and Speedy Rachel Cliff (4th). Both are off to NACAC and hopefully Worlds!


Ryan Noel-Hodge, Megan and myself post races

Results are found here courtesy Mark Nelson's wonderful and speedy Race Day Timing Service!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Holiday Rush!

I realize I seem to have neglected my blog lately; however, it isn't quite that I have forgotten, but more so that I have just been busy. Okay and maybe I have been procrastinating just a wee bit. I raced National XC almost a month ago now and began to write up a blog on it, but never got around to finishing it or posting it. I promise that I will work on it shortly, but in the meantime I want to wish everyone a Very Merry Christmas! I hope you guys will have a more enjoyable day than me as I am unfortunately stuck at work Christmas Eve and Christmas Night. Please enjoy your family dinners for me! ;)
 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saucony Find Your Strong Contest

Recently Saucony Canada began a contest for people to win a pair of Kinvara's by uploading a photo of your "strong" face. While being a Saucony athlete, I don't need to compete for that; however, we were then told that we would have a special contest for $100 to top Saucony athlete. Well... I know $100 isn't like winning the lottery, but $100 is still $100 so why not. 

I am currently in 5th spot overall which is fine because I am still stop Saucony Athlete; however, Paula has been catching ground on me quite fast. I am asking you to take 2 seconds out of your time and to vote for me! It would be greatly appreciated! 

Visit this link to vote! Voting ends tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10pm Eastern. You can vote once every 24 hours, so if you vote now, you can vote once more tomorrow! Thanks in advance! 

 Edit: I have been asked for instructions. I believe this is what you are supposed to do!

To vote: Click this link 
Like the page near the top right (you need a facebook account)
Click Vote


 

Friday, November 16, 2012

2012 James Cunningham Seawall Race



** a bit delayed as I wrote this almost 2 weeks ago now! But here it is*** 

Almost as soon as I crossed the finish line at the BC XC Championships, I started debating racing the James Cunningham Seawall Race (5.9 mile/9.5km) race the following morning. For the last week I had been debating back and forth whether or not to race one or both races. I left home on Saturday morning with enough clothing for 2 days and had a tentative plan to stay at my sisters in Kits Beach if need be. By the time I got off the ferry, I had decided to race XC and go home to my own bed. When I arrived at the XC course in the pouring rain, I was still on course to go home post race.

But as soon as I crossed the line and was not happy with my race, my mind started going back and forth as to whether or not I wanted to race again. Probably not the ideal time to decide seen as how if one race didn’t feel quite right, chances are a second race less than 24 hours after likely wouldn’t feel quite right either. In the end, it was a Saucony sponsored race and I decided to hang around knowing that it would be nice to catch up with a few of my competitors.

So I began a long drive to pick up keys to my sisters from her friend as my sister was in Hawaii until the following morning. Missing my turn after getting the keys, led me to finding a Superstore by accident so I picked up some groceries for dinner and breakfast the next morning before heading back to my sisters.

I spent the night there and after a quick hello and goodbye shortly after they arrived home about 8:15am, I was on my way to Stanley Park. When I did my warm up, I was thinking that maybe I made the wrong decision; however, I knew racing back to back was going to be hard so my goal was just to get in a hard workout.

I caught up with Catherine Watkins, Catrin Jones and Melissa Ross before the start. It was also nice to see Helen Ritchie and fellow Saucony athlete Kristina Rody. 

Start line photos!
 


The race went out fast and I saw a young girl dart out to the lead. I think she was lead female for the first km, but then slowly one by one we passed her. Catrin took the lead and kept it to the end. Mel followed behind slowly pulling away from me as my legs just would NOT go any faster. I kept 3rd spot until the half way mark when Catherine ended up passing me. I was quite surprised as this was her first official race back from injury, but it was great to see! 

 Fighting through the fatigue (aka finding my strong)


From there I realized I was now in 4th and money went to the top 3 (darn), but I kept plugging along and watched ahead as Catherine slowly reeled in Mel as well and finished 2nd for her debut back! I slowly was reeling Mel near the end, but I definitely did not have enough “oomph” in my stride to catch her, which resulted in her being 3rd and me 4th in 35:44 (1:03 back from Catrin). 

Finishing
 
 

Overall it was a good effort. Of course I would have liked to have run faster, but running the first race at 2:30pm on Saturday and then the 2nd race at 10am on Sunday meant I had tired legs! I did what I wanted to do, which was a hard effort on tired legs, but at the same time I missed part of my goal which was hoping finishing in a money spot.

I hung around for the awards before heading back for the 3pm ferry! Overall it was a good weekend. Results found here.

Post Race
 

All photo credit goes to Rob Sombilon

Friday, November 9, 2012

SportCafe.ca!



  Have you heard about http://sportcafe.ca? If not, you must check it out. Back at the beginning of May 2012 two Canadian National Kayak athletes (Etienne Morneau and Antoine Meunier) launched SportCafĂ© which is an online media that exclusively covers Canadian amateur and Olympic athletes. Their site features a one stop “read” to catch up on the latest blog posts from various athletes throughout Canada including my own.

I believe that this site is an excellent idea and it has helped bring quite a few hits to my own blog. My blogger counter is currently at 839 for my Victoria Half Marathon racereport. I have NO idea how that happened as I think that is insane; however, that is what the counter says! So thank you to Etienne and Antoine for their support and promotion of not only my blog, but of many other athletes out there in Canada who are fighting to share their story and experiences as well. So…. Have you checked it out yet? What are you waiting for? Go to http://sportcafe.ca!