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. 

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