Monday, 14 July 2014

EY River Run Classic Race Recap

Well, my first 10 km race is over.  And it went great!  Here's my recap.

The few days leading up to the race:

I had only managed to get a run in twice during the week leading up to the race.  I've had a sore knee for a bit and didn't want to aggravate it any further, so I took the concept of tapering very seriously.

I slept terribly the last few nights before the race.  I'm guessing I just had some anxiety over the race and all the unknowns around whether I could handle the distance.  I had five weeks between running my 5 km race at the Bridge City Boogie and this one.  I found a training plan online that I decided to follow that fit into that schedule, but when I got closer to the end of it, I found I wasn't really gaining any more endurance and just started doing my own thing.  So then I got worried that I wouldn't be able to make 10 km, as I hadn't been able to fully run my 9 km long run.  I had a lot of thoughts about how I should have got in more than three runs a week or did some different kind of runs (this training program didn't include any speedwork, tempo runs, hills, etc).  That last week before the race was a killer on my mental game!

The day before:

I made my way down to the race pickup location and was out in about 4 minutes, if that.  Very speedy.  The bags consisted of directions, our race map, my bib #, a technical t-shirt with the River Run Classic logo, and a light for your shoelaces that flashes every time you take a step.  I thought that was pretty cool, especially since it starts getting dark really early here starting in September!





For the rest of the day, I relaxed and didn't overly exert myself (not very difficult!).  I drank a lot of water and ate throughout the day and then eventually got my bag ready for the next morning.

Race day:

The alarm sure goes off early when a race starts at 8:00 AM.  Yuck.  But I pulled myself out of bed and had breakfast (cereal and a banana) and then got ready.  The weather was perfect.  Sunny, no clouds, not much wind, but not a really hot day yet.  Even though the race gave us a technical shirt to wear, I went with my Adidas Climacool tank top, which I love (and have several of) and some Brooks Moving Comfort running shorts.  I attached my race bib with my new Racedots instead of safety pins.  The process of getting the Racedots on was amusing because they are very strong magnets and have a mind of their own.  I eventually needed Melanie's help, but we got it figured out after a few laughs.



My family was coming down to the race site with me, so we got Elizabeth out of bed and ready to go and we were off.

This race was much smaller than the Bridge City Boogie, so parking wasn't difficult.  We had about 40 minutes to kill before my start time, which meant time for the porta potties and some warm up running (let's be honest - my warm up running is about 30 seconds and I really only do it because it seems like the thing to do).  The 10 km race was being used as the Timex Provincial Championships again this year, so there were all kinds of racers doing some crazy stretching and running and moves I've never seen!

The wheelchair athletes were the first to go out, followed by the half-marathoners, and then at 8:05 AM, the 10 km and 5 km racers were sent off.  I said bye to my family, wormed my way into the pack, waited for the gun, and was off.

I felt good right from the start and think I ran the race well.  I had a goal of finishing around 1:20:00 but wasn't sure if I could manage it.  I was also really hoping my knee would  hold up.  Because I was running for longer than an hour and I knew it would be warm, I stashed a handful of Honey Stingers in my pocket to chew on around the halfway point.  I have no idea if they actually helped me or not, but they were a nice sweet treat!

Honestly, there really wasn't anything overly eventful during the race.  There were a couple of water stations manned by some great volunteers.  One lady kept talking about how she had the best water we would ever taste.  There weren't a lot of spectators along the course besides the volunteers and a few others who were waiting for friends or family to pass, but it was still a great day for a run.

Since the 10 km course was an out-and-back, I got to see just how fast the lead runners were.  Holy cow!  I don't even think I had hit 3 km before they hit me on their way back already.  Oh well.  Something to strive for.  I knew I was closer to the back of the pack, but when I hit the 5 km turnaround, my legs still felt really good and I decided to pick up my pace a little bit and start picking a few people off.

When I only had a bit to go and I could see the finish line, I could hear the announcer crack a few jokes (which he did with everyone who came in) and tell me to fake that I wasn't tired and pretend I looked good because I was about to have my picture taken.

And then I was done.  Official time:  1:11:35.  I was happy with that!  Here are my stats from my watch:

Avg Pace

I tried very hard to run the course on the shortest line possible, which I must have done because I started my watch right when I crossed the start mat and for the first few kilometers, it buzzed pretty much right at the distance markers on the road, but then I ended up being a little ahead.  Ok by me!

I walked around a bit and made my way over to the food tent.  They had all sorts of goodies:  juice boxes, water, cheese strings, brownies, caramel popcorn, twizzlers, peppermint patties, went on and on!  I cannot resist a peppermint patty.

And just like that, my first 10 km race was done.  We didn't get medals, which was a little disappointing because it was my first one, but that's alright.  I have my bib.  It was a great day!

I ran so fast that my hair flipped up!
And now that I have the first one done, I am much more confident in my running abilities to make the distance and really want to push for a better time at my 10 km race in September.

The Racedots were awesome.  When I first managed to get them on, I thought for sure the inside part of the magnet might rub against my skin, but either they never did or I didn't notice.  I would highly recommend these bib holders to anyone who doesn't normally wear a race belt and wants to finally do away with all the safety pins!  Very good product.

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Let Summer Begin - June Recap

June has passed and we are now celebrating Canada Day and finally some consistently hot weather.  However, the humidity has crept in and I am now finding out just how life-sucking it can be to run in!

June was my first full month of monitoring my stats for running.  Although I did a triathlon in May and really enjoyed it, I have changed my focus to running, with some biking and swimming thrown in for some cross-training whenever I feel like it (which isn't often apparently!).  I had a few friends who just recently completed the Subaru Triathlon that was held here in Saskatoon and while I felt a twinge of giddiness at the thought of maybe signing up for it next year, I just don't know if I could do it.  At a minimum, I would need a new bike, as this beauty weighs a gagillion pounds and is uncomfortable to ride after 15 minutes.

And the time commitment is what always gets me.  So for now, I'm settled on my two remaining races for this year (unless I find another).

My stats for June are:

Run:  58.29 km (previous month - 47.00 km)
Bike:  Big fat ZERO (previous month - 15.00 km)
Swim:  300 m (previous month - 1,500 m)

As you can see, I've spent much more time on running than anything else.  The reason I don't have any biking or much swimming is that I don't think I'm fit enough yet to follow my running schedule with cross-training days included.  Does that make sense to anyone else?  I used one of my cross-training days to go swimming and my legs almost instantly felt tired...hence only swimming a whopping 300 m (I also got cramps in both my calves and stopped, although I should have switched and at least used a pull buoy to keep going for a bit.  I didn't think of that until after).  And then the day after my swim, my scheduled run was terrible.  I was tired.  I couldn't run the entire distance which irritated me.  So I'm not entirely certain as to what the best route is.  I know cross-training is important, but I don't know if I should sacrifice the training runs that follow a cross-training session just to get in something different.  I'll see what happens.

I completed one race in June.  The Bridge City Boogie was on June 7th and I ran the 5 km race - you can read my recap here of the race.  I didn't make my time goal of a sub-33 minute race.  I came in at 35:27 and actually ran 5.21 km after doing a lot of dodging around people.  However, I felt good and believe I did run a strong race, so although my time was a bit disappointing, I am happy with the overall result.  And this race was my first one in two years, so at least I got my feet wet!

I received my RaceDots, which hold your race bib to your shirt with magnets instead of safety pins or using a race belt. 

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But I haven't had a chance to use them yet because I didn't get them in time to use them at the Boogie.  However, I'll have them on for the River Run Classic and I'll let you know all about them.

As for the rest of the month:

What's on my nightstand?

In June, I read four books that were running-related.

Going Long:  Legends, Oddballs, Comebacks & Adventures by various Runner's World writers - great book of stories.  This book had sections on inspirational stories, legends, etc and was a wonderful read about some of the groundbreaking athletes in the sport who pushed for changes or accomplished amazing feats. 

Running on Air:  The Revolutionary Way to Run Better by Breathing Smarter by Budd Coates and Claire Kowalchik - After borrowing this from our library and reading it almost in one day, I went out and bought the book.  I'm intrigued by the breathing concept of training and will be trying one of the training programs for my next 10 km race in September (I am currently finishing a training program that is based on distance, as opposed to time and effort, which the breathing book is all about).   

The Runner's Rule Book:  Everything a Runner Needs to Know - And then Some by Mark Remy - this book was short and humorous.  The author reviews all the rules of running...everything from when to fart when running in a group to what you should do when you hit a red light at a cross walk to pre- and post-race etiquette.  Quick read for someone looking for something easy and fun. 

Running Like a Girl by Alexandra Heminsley - the author is the subject of this book and she documents her decision to start running and then suddenly sign up for a marathon...not a 5 km or 10 km.  Her first race is a marathon in London.  It was a very light read, which was nice after some of the technical books I've read.  She has a whimsical way of describing her runs (and the many marathons she ends up running), buying her first real shoes and clothes, and what running did for her life.  

Now I've picked up 26.2 Marathon Stories by Kathrine Switzer and Roger Robinson, What I Talk About When I Talk About Running, by Haruki Murakami, and To Be a Runner, by Martin Dugard.  Melanie also bought me Born to Run, by Christopher McDougall, as I had been trying to find the book for quite some time at the library but kept missing it.

I'm also reading a book about toddlers, as living with a one-year old has many great discoveries of its own!  But I won't get too much into that here, except to say that if anyone in Canada is looking for a wonderful series of books that is not those What to Expect When You're Expecting (doesn't it feel like those are the ONLY books anyone ever talks about...and they aren't that good!), I highly recommend Ann Douglas's Canadian versions of The Mother of All Pregnancy Books, The Mother of All Baby Books, and The Mother of All Toddler Books.  These three books are awesome.  We refer to them all the time and loved reading the pregnancy one bit by bit as I was going through each of the stages.  They are 100% Canadian, whereas the What to Expect books are American and so much of the insurance, maternity leave, and product information isn't relevant. continue with my recap.

What I want but don't need?

I still want the heart rate monitor and Garmin footpod.  As for the GPS tracker so Mel knows where I am, I downloaded the RoadID app and it works great.  She gets a text that says how long I'm supposed to be and a link to a map where she can follow me.  

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If I stand still for more than five minutes, she is sent a message in case there is something wrong.  Or if she looks at the map and sees that I'm suddenly in Alberta, she knows I've probably been abducted.

And now that I saw the Garmin Swim watch, I want it, which is completely ridiculous because my 310XT is fine for indoor swimming (you just have to press the lap button each time), plus considering I seem to go swimming once a month, is it really worth it?

A new road bike.  I keep thinking about it.  But it doesn't seem worth it at this time.  And yet my brain tries to tell me that I would bike WAY MORE if I had a better bike.

What I did to pass the time (a.k.a. time wasters)?

June saw A LOT of rain.  After awhile, people just cut their grass in the rain.  On the bright side, our garden is doing well!

My sister and I attended the Cher concert, which was as ridiculously fantastic as I thought it was going to be.  She is awesome.  Eleven costume changes!  Very happy that I got to see her and we got to celebrate our mom through the music she loved and that we heard in our house throughout our childhood.

June is also the end of the NHL season (boo) and the start of the CFL season.  Admittedly, I'm not a die-hard CFL fan.  I know...that's blasphemy.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm definitely a Riders fan and will watch them on TV.  But what I am waiting for is the NFL.  I'll confess - we are a HUGE NFL household here, which some people think is odd given that two women live here!  But we live for the NFL season.  We get the NFL Sunday Ticket so we can watch our favorite teams plus any other game we want.  When they added the game on Thursday night, we were ecstatic.  If we aren't home, we record our games and then avoid all radio stations, TVs, internet, etc just to avoid knowing how they ended!  People know not to ask us what we are doing on Sunday.  I'm going to have to get my runs in early on that day so we can watch the Packers and Titans (yes, we are a split household, but at least one is AFC and one is NFC).

Most of June was spent relaxing after work, getting my runs in, and being with my family.  My daughter turned one, so we had the big partay!  Seeing her mash up a cupcake was pretty cute.

My goal in June was to run 60 km.  And the only reason I was 2 km short was because I was stupid and decided that my legs were too tired to run on my schedule training run (which was June 30th), so I did it on July 1st instead.  Bah!  So to have my Garmin Connect goal show me that I am at 97% erks me to no end!  Oh well.  My own fault for switching the runs.

What did I eat?

Summer = barbecue.  I love this time of year, as we get to stick as many things as possible on the barbecue.  So far, so good on this goal!

We are trying to incorporate more fish into our diets, which we do love but don't seem to choose as much as we should.

I found a local juice company called Thrive Juice Co. that makes some great products.  We've tried a couple so far and I'm thoroughly impressed, as I enjoy juicing at home and so if I'm feeling lazy, they are a great way to add a good snack into my diet.  They even have a food truck, although I keep missing their locations throughout the day.

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We ate out more this month than normal.  I'll admit it - I love McDonalds and Dairy Queen Blizzards, which we had several times.  Neither is good for you and you probably think I have horrid food tastes.  I think it's the saltiness of the McDonalds, and I also get the same blizzard...medium Crispy Crunch.  Always.  I had Indian food, Thai food, pizza...hmmm...just writing it down is embarrassing. That's not very healthy at all!  I will try to do better.

What am I looking forward to in July?

In running:

  • my very first 10 km race for the EY River Run Classic.  But I'm nervous about it because I recently read that this 10 km is being used for the provincial championships.  Really?  Super.  Oh well.  I'll just let all those speedy folks head out while I try to come in under an hour and a half!  My race strategy is to start off slow and then get slower.  Lol.
  • starting a new training program.  I'm going to switch after the River Run Classic and start using the breathing techniques program to train for my next 10 km in September.  I'm interested to see what kind of differences there will be or if I will feel anything change in my running abilities.
  • trying out my RaceDots.
  • using my spibelt.  I just got it and have used it once.  It's fantastic.  It doesn't bounce and isn't even noticeable that I have it on.  And it fits everything but the kitchen sink.
  • testing a few new energy products, especially if I'm going to be running longer times during a Saskatchewan summer where it gets very hot and very humid.

What was I thinking?!

I always read about how you should never use the products that are offered at water stations if you haven't tried them on a training run first.  So, knowing that GU gels were going to be given out at the River Run Classic, I decided to buy one to try out on a training run.  Normally people wouldn't use these on a 10 km race, I realize, but I know I will be running for over an hour and there is a very strong possibility that the weather will be quite humid and hot, so I thought I would give it a try and see what they were like.

Off I go on my hour-long run, Lemon Lime GU packet stuffed in my spibelt, water bottle in my hand.  At about the half way point of my run, I decide to try out the packet, so I slow down to a brisk walk, pull it out, rip the top off and squirt the whole thing in my mouth.

And instantly gag.

I thought I was going to throw it back up.  It was warm (the weather was hot that day) and the thick consistency was terrible.  I tried so hard not to think about it as I forced it down, drinking my water as fast as I could, with a couple more gags thrown in for good measure.  Plus, there was a charity walk happening along the path I was on and they were all headed towards me, so I DID NOT want to embarrass myself by barfing in front of 200 people, especially the kids.

I got it down.  And I rinsed my mouth with all of my water, which meant I was now out of water on this extremely humid day.

At least there was a water fountain on the way back.  I popped a NUUN tablet in, which helped get rid of the gross taste in my mouth.

Lesson learned - I will not accept a GU packet during the race!

What am I striving for?

Upcoming Races:
  • River Run Classic 10 km (mid-July, first 10 km ever):  just finish strong
  • Mogathon 10 km (late September):  sub-1 hour 15 minute goal
General Training for July:
  • Run:  85 km
  • Bike:  20 km
  • Swim:  500 m
  • Fresh greens, more produce, more fish.
  • Get back to juicing more (my poor Breville has been idle for way too long).
  • Lighter meals.
2014 Total Running Distance - 400 km (currently at 101 km)

What are you goals for the month?  What kind of energy products do you like (and hate)?

Friday, 27 June 2014

Friday Five: Five Facts About Me

Today is Friday which means it's link up time with You Signed up for What?, Eat Pray run, DC, and Mar on the Run.  Today's subject is five facts about me.  It's been a week since I wrote my last post, mostly because it's finally nice here in Saskatoon and we have been spending more time outside, but I thought I would do a quick post on this topic because it's pretty easy for me to write about!

I like to juice.

And I don't mean the illegal kind. After watching the documentary Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead by Joe Cross, we became interested in the concept of juicing fruits and vegetables as a snack or meal replacement.  After doing a lot of research and reading customer reviews on juicers, we finally sucked it up and bought a Breville.  Not THE most expensive brand for juicers on the market, but certainly not cheap.  We got the juicer/blender combo, which has been great for making smoothies or baby food.

Anyway, we juiced a lot last year, even doing a few days of nothing but juicing and eating fruits and vegetables (literally nothing else - no meat, dairy, nuts, coffee, etc).  While that was really hard to keep up with and now wouldn't give me the calories I need to run each day, I learned a lot about the process.

Since we had Elizabeth, we've slowed down on the juicing a bit but are now trying to get back into it.  It just so happened that when we were at the farmer's market two weekends ago, Thrive Juice Co. was there promoting their raw pressed juice.  They have a booth at the market, as well as a new food truck that they drive around the downtown area, selling their products.  At the market, I decided to try a couple different kinds - Redhead, a carrot-based juice, and Royal Flush, a vegetable juice.

Both drinks were fantastic!  Admittedly, at $10.00 a bottle, it's an expensive luxury, but they do have a recycling incentive that gives you $1.00 off your next bottle for each glass container you bring back.  I am very impressed with the quality of the product, the friendly sales guys at the market, and the company, in general.  I will certainly try other kinds whenever I visit the farmer's market or come across the food truck.  I highly recommend them.

And now that it's summer time and fresh produce will be in abundance soon, I look forward to dusting off my Breville and making my own juices again.

I'm terrible at understanding song lyrics.

Seriously...bad.  I'm drawn into a song by the beat and THEN I focus on the lyrics.  I've listened to songs for years and now have just realized that I've been singing them wrong.  And of course the actual lyrics make way more sense than what I was singing.

As an embarrassing example, let's take Stevie Nicks' "Edge of Seventeen" song.  The first line is "Just like a white winged dove...".  I was singing, "Just like a one winged dove...".  Really?  I have to laugh at myself for this one.  That's bad.

And it's made worse by the fact that I'm married to someone who can hear a song once and know every single word and be able to sing it properly.

So now I just embrace my complete inability to hear the correct words and belt out the songs however I want.

I love facts.

As listed in a previous post of mine (My Personality Type is Meant for Running), I wrote about how my ISTJ personality is made for running.  Well, it also means that I love facts.  So it's probably no surprise that I'm an accountant by trade and I read tons of non-fiction.  I can't even recall the last time I read a fiction book.  I'm much more interested in specific topics and could browse a bookstore for hours looking for something unique and interesting to read about...biographies, cookbooks, sports, travel, nutrition, name it, I'll read about it.  I think it stems from enjoying the process of learning something new and dusting off parts of my brain that I don't use.

It's also probably why I enjoy visiting museums and aquariums and places like that when we travel.  I guess I'm a life-long learner!

I'm mildly obsessed with watches.

I have a small, but growing, watch collection.  Mostly Nixon watches, but a few others thrown in there (Guess, Fossil), including several that were my mom's.

These are a few from my collection of about a dozen (so far).  I don't know what draws me to this accessory.  Some people like shoes or necklaces...I love watches.  When I was in Maui, I found a gorgeous white Tiffany watch with teal roman numerals for numbers.  I still think about this watch (it was WAY too expensive for me!) and I was in Maui four years ago!

I love to travel.

And plan trips, and read about cities I want to see...when we start thinking about different locations we want to visit, I get excited because it means research!

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I enjoy finding great local restaurants, fun stores, and unique excursions or experiences.  Traveling is an opportunity to branch out and see new things, new cultures, new get to step out of your own life and routine for a little bit and immerse yourself in activities that you may never do at home.

I have a list of places that are must-see for me, with number one absolutely being Italy.  There are many other European, Canadian, and American cities that are on that list and I hope to make it to all of them over my lifetime.

I also want to make sure that we take our kid(s) on the good old long family road trip - driving for hours on end to get to places.  My family did this when I was younger, and at that time, all I had were books and a walkman to entertain me.  But I fondly remember the experiences and the fun we had...making those memories are important to me and having that family time together, crammed in a vehicle or hotel room for two weeks, is one of the best ways to do it!

Well, that's a bit about me!

Do you have a mild (or major) obsession with something?  Do you understand song lyrics?!

Friday, 20 June 2014

Five Ways to Beat the Heat in Saskatoon

It's time for the Friday Five linkup with You Signed Up for What?, Mar on the Run, and Eat Pray Run, DC! and today's topic is ways to beat the heat.  In Saskatchewan, the summers get hot, especially with the humidity, so finding ways to cool off and relax are important.  Here are five ways I like to beat the heat!

Go to the library or bookstore.

I can spend hours around books.  However, Mel cannot.  So I usually go on my own to the library or one of our bookstores to wander and browse...maybe buy something, maybe not (usually yes and not just one).  But it's always cool inside.

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Get wet.

Saskatoon has many indoor and outdoor pools, as well as spray parks for kids (or adults...who says we can't run through them too?!).  Why not cool off with a little dip, or just run right through with all your clothes on?

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Go see a show or music event.

TCU Place is a great venue for seeing musicians, plays, and musicals, and hearing the symphony.  We attend several events here each year, usually seeing the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.  However, some of my other favorites have included Heart and Jann Arden for musical acts, as well as Jersey Boys, Wicked, and Rock of Ages for musicals.  It's an awesome theatre...small enough to make all the seats perfect for viewing, but big enough to still give you a great concert feel.

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When the weather gets really hot in Saskatoon, our house heats up quickly, and while we do have air conditioning, we try to keep it off as much as possible.  We're kind of enviro-dorks that way.  Our basement is nice and cool so we spend more time down there.  But to help keep the house cool, I try to barbecue as much as possible.  You can get a lot of things on a barbecue!  This summer I look forward to trying out some new recipes, as well as bringing back some of our favorites (definitely have to get some ribs going!).

Enjoy it!

On days when the weather is hot and we have nothing to do, we enjoy it.  We sit in our backyard and read or garden or just relax on a chair and soak it all in (with ample sunscreen applied, of course).  We listen to the cars going by or the kids playing next door and try not to complain about the heat because in our province, our summers are short.  And before we know it, the summer has passed, fall has come and gone, and we get this:

So go enjoy the heat while you can!

Do you run through the spray parks with your kids, acting like a kid?  How do you keep your house cool when the heat is unbearable?

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Your First Marathon Comic

I'm not sure if I'll ever tackle the enormous feat that is the marathon.  Sometimes I think about it and believe that I could get through it if I had a strong training plan.  Other times I just laugh and think I must not have gotten enough sleep the night before to actually believe that I would ever sign up for something so ridiculous!

Either way, I read a great cartoon from The Oatmeal that pretty much sums up what I anticipate completing my first marathon would be like.

You can read the cartoon here -

If you've never been to The Oatmeal website, there are many great cartoons relating to running, fitness, and nutrition, including:

- The terrible and wonderful reasons why I run long distances

- Why dieting is hard - a pie chart

- Some weekend inspiration for you

- At the gym:  who is looking at whom

The site has so many others with a wide variety of topics (I quite enjoy a lot of the work ones, as well).

Do you agree with the cartoon?  Was that how your first marathon went?!