Monday, March 28, 2016

Project Fun

Back in November I approached Arrowsmith Aerial Photography for some drone footage that I wanted to include in a video produced by some VIU Students. Dave and Doug had a great eye and we had fun. The sun was shining on a beautiful (but cool) day and I pretended to look smooth while running even though I was still comeback mode after the Victoria Marathon. 

Doug then offered to put together a video for me when he had more free time in the New Year. It wasn't until late February when our schedules met up for some further filming. We lucked out to get some beautiful weather in between a few Wet Coast Storms. I have placed the video on Facebook and Twitter, but for those not following me either place, here is the video if you wish to check it out. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

SnapChat, Netflix and 7000ft

Here we are the middle of March already. This past Sunday marked 4 weeks until Rotterdam and made me think where did time go. Good news is that I feel fitter and healthier than I did in September prior to when I ran the Victoria Marathon. Definitely a good sign of things to come. 

The middle of March also marks the halfway marker of my latest altitude training stint in Flagstaff, Arizona. Anyone who knows me probably has realized I tend to disappear off to Arizona prior to my main goal races so to most it was expected. This is my 5th time here since my initial trip back in August 2012. Each time I fall more and more in love with Flagstaff. It's so nice to pass other runners out on every single run and this is the time of year when everyone arrives in flocks. With spring marathons coming up and outdoor track season about to begin, Flag is the place to be. 

The difference this time is that the timing of my trip corresponded well with when Lanni Marchant is in town and since we stay at the same house, that has meant many many runs together. Coming from training pretty much 100% solo back home, it's been a nice change to have someone there. While our workouts don't match up (obviously due to different goals), we coordinate as much as possible for everything else. Whether it be simply be like today where I do a warm up with Lanni and then when she does her workout, I continue on my easy run or vise versa. I will say, that one of us tends to dress much warmer than the other (hint: not me). I actually find it quite amusing, though I give her a bit of an excuse with her having just come from Kenya.

Training stints tend to be pretty relaxed. A lot of time is spent on the feet running but is counteracted with a lot of time lying around. Netfllix and SnapChat seem to keep us entertained (when Lanni isn't working on a case). Call us weird, but yes we have been known to send SnapChat's or texts to each other, even though we are in rooms to each other. Thanks to SnapChat for updating the filters daily. 

Aside from SnapChat, training has been going well. One of my coaches favourite workouts to do up here is 10 x 3 minutes (with 90 seconds jog) at around 10k effort. I am sure I have done this workout each time I have been up here and while time has obviously been progressing to faster results each attempt (due to obvious improvements fitness wise), I finally rocked the sh!t out of the workout this past Wednesday. 

By that, I meant I kept the splits fairly consistent, the fastest I have run the workout and also didn't feel like I was dying or having my heart explode through my chest. I have one big workout left this weekend and it is a repeat of one I did last September that had me e-mailing my coach and telling him that I hated him. It's a brutal workout and I am somewhat dreading it, but I hope I can rock the sh!t out of that one too (stay tuned). 

Position after my almost 22 miler last weekend on Walnut Canyon Rd

The only downside of Flagstaff in the spring is the wind. It's hit or miss. Sometimes if you put up with the cooler temps of the morning, you can get out and avoid the wind. In the later morning the wind picks up and can get quite gusty. Many a times Lanni and I have told the wind where to go. Still, the crappy wind aside, I am loving the sunshine (other than the minor attempt to snow one day) and am glad I missed the wet coast storms that blew through home the last few weeks. 

Just over 3 weeks till Rotterdam....... oy vey! I've included a few more photos below. 

Round and Round I go
Cool mornings but once the sun comes up it warms up fast
First Fartlek Workout

Dinner Time (yes that's Cards Against Humanity- stupid Ghost Hand)

I don't want to preach and annoy people, but reminder for those interested in purchasing Sundog Sunglasses, discount is good until March 31st, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Anyone Remember February?

Life, no scratch that, procrastination has gotten in the way of updating my blog, so here goes! Let's go back to February and begin the catch up there. 

For the last 11 years, the Nanaimo Sport and Achievement Awards are held annually in February. Each year the committee goes through nominations and chooses 3 finalists for each category and for the past 4 years I have been chosen as a finalist for the Individual Female Athlete of the Year. I took home the award the first year I was nominated and I was honored to again be selected as the winner for 2015. 

The awards were held at the Coast Bastion Hotel on February 12th and it gave me an excuse to get dressed up (thanks Sis for the dress). As usual it was a yummy roast beef dinner and I was able to enjoy the night sitting with members of the local Nanaimo Track and Field Club. Thank you to those who took the time to fill out the nomination form. 

Local athlete and friend Byron Trajan and myself with our awards.
The following morning, I headed over to Vancouver to compete in the Pacific Road Runners Vancouver First Half Half Marathon. Training since Houston had actually been rough. After the race I spent a week cross training. It's always hard after good races to stop and take a step back, but it was what both coach Matt and I felt was necessary in order to get me to my end goal (the marathon in April). Not to mention leading into Houston my SI/lower back area was acting up and I was nearly begging for some cross training. It's not often I am the one that says "after Houston I think I might need a week of cross training." After a few injuries I would like to think that I am getting smarter about listening to my body (currently knocking on wood).

I also started back up with strength at Island Optimal Performance Center. Initially it felt really good and then my easy runs started to slow down.  Re-introducing strength to my routine just took all the "pep" out of my legs. Workouts were less than ideal and I struggled to hit paces that were easy a month before that. I've been through this before though. Each time I start back with strength I find it takes me a few weeks for my body to adapt. 
 Getting it done anyway.

I headed over to Vancouver early so that I could spend the day with my nieces (and sister and bro in law I guess). It had been awhile since I had seen them and wow are they ever growing fast! It's fun to see how much they gave grown and what new skills and words they have acquired each time I see them. 

The next morning I was up early to have some breakfast and then off to the race site. The weather was less than ideal. Typical Vancouver weather. I had hoped that it had rained itself out the day before but apparently not. I arrived downtown to the race pretty early and met up with my fellow friends in the elite room. We headed off for our warm up as a group and found that the temperatures weren't that bad. It wasn't raining too bad at the time, so when we got back to the elite room many of us decided we could do buns/shorts and crop tops. Boy was that silly. When we headed out to the start line, the rain started to come down harder and there was wind. Still, we all hoped we would warm up as the race went on. 

Headed to the start!
We'll warm up right?

That didn't really happen. The race started off and we all had a good laugh as the "gun" was delayed. The count down went, we started and were a few meters off the line when the gun went. Right away we were dodging puddles. It didn't take long for the shoes to be soaked. Dayna took off like expected as she was going after a spot on the World Half Marathon Team (sub 73') whereas I hung back and stayed with Krista. Since Krista and I had been fairly close in Houston until I ran into gut rot basically, I figured she would be good to key off of. 

First few km (pc: Frank Stebner)
(pc: Dave Burroughs)

Krista created a gap a few times over the first few km but I always came back. We hit the seawall and were pretty much side by side. It was windy on the seawall and to be honest I am not an ass. I can't sit on someone and draft off them unless I put in some work too. Each time I tried to pull ahead, I wasn't able to, so I would stay side by side. 

Side by side on the seawall (pc: Mark Bates)

After 10km, there was a bit of a gap, but I would pull even again and then another gap was created. As we hit the other side of the seawall there was more wind. There was probably a 20m gap at one point, but by the lagoon (in the last 5km) I again caught up to Krista and another guy. I tried my best to hold on but another gap was created and Krista pulled away and the guy fell off pace. Up the final hill there were some good cheers but my legs were frozen. I tried to push the final downhill but actually felt my legs nearly give out at one point. I did get to see some nice surprise cheers from my sister, bro in law and nieces just before the final turn though! 

Before the Lagoon

I rounded the final corner to see the clock already ticking over 1:16 and thought "wow what the heck".  While I had heard "38:xx" at half way, I remember thinking late in the race, "38? really, that means 1:16" but I actually felt like the pace had picked up so I was hoping for at least 1:15:xx. 

Headed around the final corner (pc: Frank Stebner)
Headed to the finish (pc: Rita Ivanauskas
While it wasn't the time or race I had been hoping for thanks to some "wonderful" weather, I was able to hold on and finish 3rd behind Dayna and Krista. It took all of minutes for all of us to become absolutely freezing due to being soaked. As usual though, the race organizers did a wonderful job and I highly recommend the race. 

Post race soaked muddy bums (was that a road race or XC?)
 Other side of the photo (pc: Rita Ivanauskas)
 Reflecting on our results....

Results found here

In other news, anyone need sunglasses? I am sporting my Sundog Sunglasses 95% of the time (unless it's dark or raining). My awesome sponsor is offering a good deal to all of you. 25% off and they will also kick back 15% towards my upcoming Rotterdam Marathon costs.