Sunday, September 29, 2013

Oasis Toronto Zoo Run (National 10km Championships)

Back on September 19th, I hopped on a plane from Nanaimo en route for Toronto with a quick stopover in Vancouver to meet up with the rest of Team BC. Saturday we were scheduled to run the Oasis Toronto Zoo Run.

Waiting at Nanaimo Airport


Flying away from my island home
It was a pretty uneventful trip out east, highlighted by my plane buddy Natasha Wodak finding a photo booth app on her borrowed iPad that had us in tears over the photos we took. Probably a good thing that we only found the app in the last part of the flight, otherwise we might have kept up the sleeping log who sat beside us in the aisle seat leaving us trapped. 

Plane buddies and Roomies

We arrived to Toronto, checked into our hotel and did a quick change so we could head out for a run. My legs didn't feel too bad on my 45' run so that was a good sign. After that, a dinner at the hotel restaurant with most of Team BC before we all retired to bed or well attempted to, until a certain Team BC member knocked on our doors wondering if we could go to the pool at about 9:55pm. Unfortunately we all either "had kids" or were going to bed. I stood corrected when I stated it was nearly 10pm.... to which I was told it was nearly 7pm (back home). 

The next morning we all went on our short 30' pre race jog with drills and strides. My legs felt a bit rough this time around. The pack quickly broke into the guys ahead and the girls behind. I was able to see a bit more of Toronto this time as we drove around town to various Running Room stores (okay only 2) to find race flats for the same Team BC member who wanted to go swimming. Thanks for making the trip interesting! 



Pre-Race Run Fun! Cat and me!

Team BC Women minus Claire as she was still running (Myself, Sabrina, Cat)

After we got back to the hotel, Natasha (my roommate) was out at her STWM (Scotia Toronto Waterfront Marathon) press conference, so I took the opportunity to meet up with a friend from home. Chris and I have been friends since about 1999 or 2000 and in the past few years has lived in Brandon, Manitoba and more recently moved to Calgary, Alberta. 


Each time he comes back to Nanaimo, I am usually either working or out of town so we can never meet up. For example, he came to town when I was in Flagstaff. It was completely weird that our schedules happen to meet up when I was in Toronto to race and he was in Toronto for a course through his work. We went out to a late lunch (where I found out a certain someone hacked my social media accounts on my laptop when I was gone) and even though the visit was short, it was great to see him!

Shortly after I got back to the hotel we went out to dinner with the team at Milestones then got back to the hotel just in time for the elite technical meeting. After that we basically just relaxed and hung out until we went to sleep. 

2013 Zoo Run Course

The next morning came early. I slept like normal, which means waking up multiple times, but still felt fairly rested when the alarm went off at 5:55am. We met the team at 6:30 and headed out to the course. 

Ready to go!

Photo at the hotel before heading to the race (L-R: Myself, Dylan, Claire, Catherine, Natasha, Craig, Sabrina)

It was rainy but mild so not too terrible. A warm up with the girls then a long wait in the porta potty line, resulted in me having to rush my full warm up a bit. Nevertheless, shortly before 8:15 we were on the line and off we went. 

The course start was different than last year as they went back to the start from 2011. The race went out quick. I found myself with Rachel Hannah (Ontario) and Sabrina Wilkie (also Team BC). We hit the first km and I actually said "crap" out loud because it was fast at 3:18. Oops. Sorry coach, there went the "don't go out too fast" advice. Part of the first km was downhill, does that make it better? 

After the first km, my splits evened out. The first 5km are the easiest as they have to most straight stretches where you can get into a rhythm. It is the 2nd half of the course, where we are in the zoo, that becomes hilly and twisty. I lost the km markers after 6 I think. For the first 3km Sabrina and I went back and forth. I think after 3 or 4km I pulled ahead of her and eventually created a gap. I went back and forth a couple of times with Rachel as well, but then she gapped me and I couldn't quite make it up. 

I really need to stop running my tongue over my teeth when running. I have A LOT of these photos

After I pulled ahead of Sabrina I stayed in 8th place and that didn't change the rest of the race. The twists slowed the splits, I saw no markers and never looked at my watch once after that first km. At one point we came around a corner and I heard squawking. People always comment on how cool it would be to run in a zoo and see all the animals. I can tell you, the only animal I saw was the parrots and flamingos. I only saw them because of the squawking, which drew my attention to the right in which I saw the pink birds and then the parrots behind. Otherwise, I saw no animals while running, but walking back to the car I saw the warthogs, tiger, elephants, hippos and I can't remember what else. 

Tiger on the walk back to the car

Finally we hit around 8.5-9km and I could hear the announcers, but I knew at that point we still did this out and back part. I was starting to draw Rachel back at this point and when I heard 500m left and we hit the final hill to the finish, I was drawing even closer; however, I simply ran out of time and crossed the line 6 seconds behind Rachel, which was good for 8th female in 35:53. 


Going into the race I was asked what time goal I had. In all honesty, it's a tough course and since it was a different course than what I had run last year, it was hard to predict. I did know I finished in 37:18 (15th place) last year and I am much fitter than that. Secretly I wanted to be under 36', but I didn't know if it would happen. In the end I was satisfied with the 35:53, which is 1:11 back from my Sun Run 34:42 on a much faster course. I was closer to my best compared to many of the other women ahead of me so I feel it would have been close to, if not, a best time on a faster course. 

Sabrina (9th) and myself (8th) post race

Was I happy with 8th? Well it beats my 15th from last year. My goal this year was as close to the top 5 I could get. Would I have liked a couple of more spots? Honestly yes, but I didn't bring it on the day. They were simply better than me. I settled and should have reacted sooner, but I didn't. It is what it is. This race was a battle as my legs weren't as peppy as I was hoping.  On to the next race! 

Post race with Rejean Chiasson and female winner Lanni Marchant. Great to see you again Rejean!

Myself, Lanni, Cat, Claire

A cool down around the zoo, the awards where Team BC dominated the Timex Series winning top Men's Team, top Women's Team and Top Co-Ed team. I was announced as 3rd in the Individual Timex Series, although based on Athletics Canada rules, from what I was told, I should have been announced as first. Rules state to qualify one must be on a provincial team and the top 2 announced were not. Ahh well, again, it is what it is. 

Men's Timex Champs (Craig, Kevin, Kris, Dylan)

Women's Timex Champs (Claire, Sabrina, Cat, Myself)

Co-Ed Timex Champs (Kris, Kevin, Sabrina, Myself)

Race day became even longer as we got back to the hotel, showered, packed and then headed to the airport for our 4pm flight home. I arrived back to Nanaimo at about 7:30pm with the 3 hour time change. 

Plane buddies on the way home (Tasha will kill me for this)

Hello Vancouver

Overall it was a great trip and fun to hang out with some of the other Team BC members and to catch up with some other athletes/friends from out East! 

Race winners (in the middle) Lanni Marchant and Reid Coolsaet

Results can be found here

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Caught in a Flash Flood

Tuesday I ended up heading down to Sedona to check out the sites. I had been there last year, but it is such a beautiful place that I wanted to go again. Not to mention it isn't a very long drive so it is very accessible. I had planned to go Monday, but the day called for pouring rain. Webcams in Sedona looked horrible, so I decided to forgo the trip Monday and try again Tuesday. 

After my run, shower and breakfast I headed out. First stop I made was at Bells Rock. There were dark clouds looming, but I thought I would hike up the trail anyway. 

Start of the hike

Dark clouds moved by and I thought I was safe

I probably went about 10 minutes up the trail and then the rain started. Okay, when they say "Flash Flood Warning" I now know what they mean. 

 Rain started

There I was out on the trail (I could see others up on the rock not long before as well), when it just dumped rain and continued to dump rain. I thought it would just blow over in a few minutes, but then I realized in mere minutes I was already getting absolutely drenched. I attempted to take cover under a tree. Little creeks turned into gushing streams. 

It wasn't long before I realized the tree was a little help, but not good enough. 

While under the tree it started to rain even harder 
I jumped a stream that had formed while I was under the tree and got my feet soaked. I then proceeded to run down the trail back towards my car, trying my best to keep my camera from getting ruined. How do you keep a camera dry when everything on you is wet. Thankfully it survived the storm. 

This wasn't there when I went under the tree

Crossed the stream

This one clearly shows the water flowing down the rock

I got back to the parking lot and took refuge under the information sign. 

Taking cover

Soaking wet


Minutes later a HUGE flash of lightning right next to Bells Rock and then a loud crash of lightning. I would say within 15 minutes the rain stopped and the sun came back out. The storm moved on towards the rest of Sedona. It was quite neat to watch; however, it left me soaked. I could literally ring out my jacket. My shorts were soaked right through, my shoes were soaked, my tank top under my jacket was also damp. Come on sun, I needed you to dry me out. 

Post Storm

My "I am soaked" pose

Storm aftermath

 Storm heading over Sedona

Eventually my shorts went from soaked to damp and then to mostly dry. My shoes on the other hand stayed wet and my jacket was a write off. In the end the sun came out for most of the rest of the day and then when I stopped for a late lunch, the clouds rolled in again and yet another downpour. Roads were flooding within minutes. At that point, I decided just to head back to Flagstaff. 

To say the least it was an interesting day. Coming from the West Coast, what is a little rain? I laughed it off and still enjoyed my day.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

7000ft Update!

I have been in Flagstaff for 10 days now. Time seems to move slowly, yet also so fast. I miss home, but I do not want to go home if that makes any sense. I miss things and people at home, but going home means going back to reality (aka work) and that for the most part I do not miss.

For the most part, things have still been going great training wise. I have had a few tired days, but that is normal as those tired days tend to come the day after a hard workout. I get the same feeling at home, so it is no different here. My runs and workouts are not far off what I run at home, which is a huge improvement over last year. 

I am running often and I am running a lot. The nice part is that after I run, I have the time to recover properly. None of this "I have to go to work" stuff. I have found that it has made a huge difference with how my body feels. To those "pros" whose job is to simply run and be the best they can, I envy you. 

Oh wow, so I initially started this blog last week. Here I am on Day uhh.. 18 or 19 (something like that). Training is going really well. I feel fitter than ever and am running some pretty great workouts. Definitely getting excited about my upcoming fall race season! I keep getting told that I am in for some good races and while that is what I am hoping for, anything can happen on race day no matter how fit one feels. I do believe if all goes well I should be in for some success. 

I really do not have a lot to say about training as I am not one to reveal details of workouts. I feel those details are for my coach and I and don't need to be plastered all over the internet. I have had some strong workouts and I look forward to seeing this hard work pay off. 

Flagstaff weather has been up and down which is typical for this time of year. It's monsoon season, so generally mornings are sunny and warm up quite quickly (I think at night it is getting down to like 10 degrees or so) and then in the afternoon at some point (or late morning) the clouds roll in and bring thunder, lightning and sometimes heavy rains. 

Once the storm (or 2 or 3) roll over, the sun comes back out. Temperature in the day can be anything like 15 right now (stormy day all morning, very little sun though it is trying right now) to mid 20's. Not too hot, not too cold = perfect for this gal!

I have done a few non running related adventures, which I may get around to posting about, but for the most part it is running and recovering. A lot of time spent watching movies etc. Very relaxing that is for sure! My coworkers think I am nuts for wanting to go up into the mountains and spend my vacation running, but to me..... this is vacation. I don't need a sandy beach, or casinos, the hottest night clubs or super hot unbearable weather, simply give me the ability to fully focus on training and recovery and I am a happy girl. This is the life! Some photos below

Sunrise on the way to Phoenix
 Same Sunrise
 Trail shots!

 The one downside to running on a dirt road..... Dust from cars (tastes yummy)

 Cody also likes to sit at the table during meals
 Tanner having a nap
 Please feed me

Sleepy Puglet