Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Vancouver Sun Run 2013 Style

Did that really just happen? I apologize now as this post became a bit long as I took 2 days to complete it!

Over 24 hours later and I am still slightly in a state of shock. No I am not talking about the Boston events on April 15th, though that situation definitely hit me hard considering it affected many runners (thankfully all runners I knew were safe and sound), I am talking about yesterday (April 21st). As I posted before, my next race was going to be the Vancouver Sun Run 10km in which I had set myself some pretty big goals. I don’t generally share my goals, except with a few select few, but now that the race is over I will share my thoughts.

Back in March I surprised myself with the Bazan Bay 5km in which I went in hoping for close to 17:30 and came out of that race with a 17:03 and strong finish. My training intensified from there and I was running workouts faster than I had ever done while running some of my biggest weeks ever. My 10km Road best was 36:44 from the Sun Run last year. I knew I was fit and would easily better that best, so I set myself so goals for the Sun Run.

A goal: sub 35:30
B goal: 35:30-35:45
C goal: 35:45-35:59
I also listed “Not Happy” as 36:00+

I not only achieved my “A” goal but I would say I literally crushed it. Here are the finishing stats
78th overall (out of 45762 finishers)
8th female (out of 25380)
6th Canadian Female
3rd in F 30-34 (out of 3294)
2nd for the BC 10km Championships
1st Vancouver Island Female
Finishing time……….. I will get to that in a bit ;)

I caught the 12:30 ferry over to Vancouver and found that it was packed. According to the bus driver on the other side, there were about 500 walk on passengers on that sailings. There is something about being trapped on BC ferries with crowds that just sours my mood! Thankfully, I had uploaded some tv shows onto my phone, so I just plugged in and zoned out! BC ferries mental breakdown averted! I arrived to the Hyatt around 3:30 and checked into my room before heading to the Elite Hospitality Suite to pick up my number. While there I caught up with Canadian superstar Rejean Chiasson.

We then went to dinner at the Cactus Club with some of the UVic guys (including one former NDSS student I used to help out). I guess I haven’t been out to a restaurant in a while because their menu has changed a lot. It included a lot of spicy foods or seafood. I don’t eat either, especially before a race. I ended up with the crappiest pre-race meal ever of chicken strips and fries. Off to a good start!

After dinner, it was time to relax and then my roomie Catrin Jones and I turned the lights out around 10pm. While I wasn’t lucky enough to fall asleep right away, I eventually did and only woke up around 3-4 times I think. Not sure exactly how much I slept, but I woke up around 6:15 when Catrin was moving around and felt fully rested and not groggy at all.

I had some breakfast and just relaxed, noticing that my left calf seemed tired already. How could that be possible when I had just woken up and hadn’t done anything? I did some light stretching and tried to ignore it.

Race Morning

I hit the elite hospitality room again just before heading out onto course and met up with Natasha Wodak. Lisa Brooking was there and hooked me up with some blue and yellow ribbon for my hair (thank you). 

Myself, Natasha, Lisa and Stephaney

We headed outside shortly after 8am and met up with a few other ladies to head off on our 20 minute warm up. When we finished, I told Catherine Watkins “I hope the race feels better than that” to which she agreed. It was a bit windy, but it wasn’t that bad after the first km.

We found ourselves on the line and we were off. The first km was fast. Right away I noticed that my Garmin, which I had set to autolap, beeped well before the km marker. That meant from then on out, it beeped early. Looking back it said I did a 3:01km…. I don’t think so. I did hear someone else say out loud 3:18, though someone else around me said it was 3:16. Not sure which is correct; however, with the downhill it was fast. 

Shortly after the start

I found myself right with Catherine which is what we had planned. We both wanted 35:30. Sabrina Wilkie was right there too. Sabrina and I went back and forth a few times. I think I passed her at 2km and then her and Anne-Marie Madden passed me at 4km. I was still feeling pretty good at 4km and had no idea where I was time wise as I did not look at my watch once the entire race.

We hit the hill before Burrard Bridge and I caught some ground on Sabrina as well as Marilyn Arsenault, Catrin and Jen Millar. When we hit the bottom of Burrard Bridge, I heard 17:20. Damn I thought, that is fast and I started calculating numbers in my head. I knew I still felt pretty good so I told myself that even if I kept pushing and blew up finishing the second half in 18:00, I would finish in 35:20 and still achieve my goal. With that I decided to be gutsy and keep pushing.

I gained ground on the hill and felt strong when I reached the top and down the other side. At this point I was looking for my sister who I knew would be at the base of the hill. Thankfully she separated herself from the crowds of spectators so I could easily spot her and she could grab this photo.

Hi Sis!

I think she was at about 6km. From there I kept pushing and pulled up alongside of Marilyn and at some point I pulled away following Sabrina. I believe she had a good 5-10m on me; however, between 8 and 9km as I felt I still had more in me so I started to reel her in. When we hit the Cambie Bridge which was at about 9km, I made a move and overtook her and shortly after I was able to overtake Catrin as well. From there I just kept pushing, still having no idea what my time was. 

On the Cambie Bridge

Photo credit (below): Rita Ivanauskas

I came down the ramp from Cambie to BC Place and started searching for a clock. Finally I saw it and saw 34:xx so I gave it a finishing kick to cross the line officially in……..


 I was instantly speechless. Did that really just happen? The entire race I felt great, sure at times I doubted myself as to whether I went out too fast; however, I just kept pushing and seeing what I could accomplish. Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to hit 34:xx this year. I wanted 35:xx this year and then 34:xx next year.

Natasha pointed out to me later that night that my 34:42 would have placed me 3rd overall last year. That is how deep the field was this year. Of course Natasha crushed the race 2 minutes ahead of me in 32:42 to win for the 2nd year in a row (Superstar!).

I finished 8th female and 6th Canadian. Money went to top 5 and also top 5 Canadians. The race has left me even more excited for the future and now re-assessing race plans and goals for this year! Finally all my hard work is paying off! Thanks to my coach Matt for getting me to this spot. I look forward to what is ahead!

Results found here

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Back to my Roots

I spent close to 10 years of my life in the Nanaimo Track and Field Club (NTFC), which means between ages 8 and 18 I pretty much grew up in the club. After graduating high school in 1999, I ran one final XC season with the club and then ended my relationship with them per say. After nearly a 14 year separation and a brief 3 year relationship helping coach the NDSS (Nanaimo District Secondary School) track team, I am happy to say that I have rekindled my relationship with NTFC.

For the past 3 years (until this past September), I helped out with the high school until that unfortunately turned sour. I loved the kids I was working with, I just simply was not appreciated by the head coach so when we split ways, the president of the Nanaimo Track Club finally snagged me after a few years of trying. This is the polite way of putting things of course as there is PLENTY of things I could say about the split with NDSS, including a very "informative" e-mail I received that easily explains everything....... but I won't! ;)

I will say though, that the opportunity I have received through NTFC trumps everything I could have achieved with the high school. I am still in contact with quite a few of the NDSS kids and they know they can come to me any time. I am now happy to be able to offer my support and knowledge to the kids of NTFC as well. I am excited to learn more about the coaching process and gain some credentials with the help of the club. 

In other news, my next race is coming up in 16 days, which will be the Vancouver Sun Run (10km). I am looking forward to this event as Catherine Watkins (who I ran with neck and neck in the St. Patrick's 5km) and I have been talking about some pretty big goals. I look forward to working with Catherine in order to achieve them. 

Training has been rolling along and going well. I am working harder than ever and it appears to be paying off. With my goal races for spring coming up shortly (Sun Run on April 21st and Montreal Half on April 28th) I feel I am exactly where I need to be. If everything falls into place on the day, that will be the icing on the cake as I know my fitness is there.