half marathon

Fail quick

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting here fired up and reflecting on what went down in last week's half. Over the years I've had many a races that didn't go exactly as planned. Truth be told, last week I set out with the A goal to run a sub-1:40. I came up short by 3 minutes and 37 seconds. My B (sub 1:45) and C (run a steady strong race) goals were accomplished. I was on a high placing top 15 and 2nd in my age group. As someone who ran their first half marathon in 2007 in 2:45, back then I would have never thought I would be a "front of the pack" runner. I smile at this now. I also learned that my legs didn't bounce back as quick as I thought from being on my feet for 22+ hours the previous weekend, with very little sleep. I am OK with this (it was one of the best weekends of the year). These are my takeaways from that race.

Instead of dwelling on the negative, I'm fuelling my fire for my next half (I will undoubtedly need another one before Chicago), and of course the Chicago Marathon. I KNOW I have a sub 1:40 in me now. With the fitness that inevitably comes with summer training, I will achieve this goal.

Over the years I've experienced my fair share of "missed goals".  Whether that was my sub-4:00 marathon, my current quest to BQ, or my sub-2:00 half (that took me 4+ tries in 2011/12). Success is not determined by your wins, but by how you bounce back after a "failure". Growing up a ballet dancer, and a recovering type-A perfectionist, I have struggled with failure. I would let it eat me up. Running has helped me grow A LOT in this area (in all parts of my life). I now look at things much differently and EMBRACE FAILURE. I've stopped dwelling on the "what ifs" and "could haves". They do not serve me. They lead to overthinking and do very little in helping me move the yardstick closer to my goals.

You have to have PURPOSE in running. If it's strictly for the quantifiable goals (time, weight), sadly I am not certain the running journey will be a pleasant one. I run because it makes me strong mentally and physically and has changed my perspective on life (running can do that, you know). I see failure as a productive part of life. Onwards.

Show up.

Fail quick. 

Shake it off.

Learn the lesson. 

Get going. 

Weekly recap 05.29.17 + Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

It’s high time I get back on the training log wagon. Yes, folks, I am training for THE Chicago Marathon. After a difficult race at the 2017 Shamrock Marathon, I’m looking forward to putting in the work this summer to have a PB race come October. Of course I have Boston dreams, but I have promised myself that I will go into Chicago with the goal of enjoying the experience of racing one of the biggest races in the world. To kick training off, I ran the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon on Sunday! I wanted to run a race early on in my marathon training to have an indication of where I was and what I will need to accomplish over the summer months. Let the fun begin!

MondayREST.  After one of the most rewarding weekends volunteering at the 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, I needed a couple days rest. I sit on the Run Ottawa Board of Directors and was involved in the organization of the race weekend (six races in total, with over 43,000 participants), along with over 2,500 other volunteers. From loading the trucks on Thursday, to expo and set-up on Friday and Saturday, I went to bed on Sunday evening on less than two hours and sleep and my legs were zapped. Believe it or not, my “step count” for the Sunday was close to 40,000!

TuesdayACTIVE REST. I went to an hour hot yoga class in the evening. Body was feeling better than yesterday. I took the day pretty easy and focused on rolling my calves and feet out in the evening.

Wednesday – 10.1K8 X 400M at half-marathon pace (4:40-4:44/K), 1 minute jog recovery. 3K warm-up, 3K cool-down. Workout went well. Started intervals a bit to fast (I'd rather make this mistake today than on Race Day). Calves still a bit tight, but I still have a few days before the race. Epsom salt bath and rolling out with my Roll Recovery. 

Thursday - 10K easy - Waited to do this run until later in the day. A few extra hours of recovery from the day before always helps! Ran with a friend over to Rideau Hall. Beautiful evening in Ottawa. I wore my CEP compression calf socks all day.

Friday - REST - Flight to Toronto then onto Niagara Falls where the Niagara Women's Half Marathon takes place on Sunday. Focused on hydration while travelling. Listened to lots of podcasts and read some of Dave Asprey's new book Headstrong.

Saturday - 5K Shakeout with 5 x 50m strides - Woke up nice and early and went for a 5K shakeout. Body feeling pretty good. If all goes well tomorrow, I will aim for my sub-1:40. I know I have this time in me. After the run, my parents and I went to the race expo to get my kit and MEET KATHRINE SWITZER. It was pretty special to meet the legendary K.V. in person. We spent the afternoon chilling at home. I got to bed around 9:45 pm.

Sunday - Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon - 1:43:36 - I woke up, had my coffee and Picky Bar around 6:00 am. We drove to the race and got there an hour in advance, just as it started to rain. I did a 2K warm-up, hit the porta-potty and had my Hammer gel seven minutes before the Start at 8:00 am. I ran the first half of the race according to plan, maintaining a 4:50-ish/K pace. I took my second Hammer gel at 9.5K and had no issues. At around 11K I struggled to pick up the pace. I was aiming to negative split, after all. Unfortunately my legs didn't have a PB in them, but I'm happy with the hard race effort. I managed to place 2nd in my age category (30-34) and 15th overall.

Total: 48.2K

You can follow my daily workouts on Strava!

Anyone else running the 2017 Chicago Marathon? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Race recap: Winterman Half Marathon 2017

A few weeks ago I ran my 15th half marathon, on a whim. On the Friday of Winterman, my Mom, who was going to be in town that weekend, texted me to see if I wanted to do the race. I would do the half-marathon and she would do the full (her 50th marathon, I should add). It was admittedly the first time I entered a race last minute. I had unfinished business at this race after being pulled off in 2014 due to a frost bite scare. The forecast was looking great and in the back of my head, I knew I would get a mental boost from running a race. Normally I build a half-marathon into my marathon trying cycles, but given that Shamrock Marathon is in March, there are limited half-marathons in the lead up. Whereas with later spring marathons, take your pick of X, Y, Z, March-April races to use as trainers.Now if we back it up a bit, I wasn’t having a great training week up until my Mom’s text. I was feeling sluggish, and had decided to take a few days off. In fact, I was on the fence if I would even do a long run that week. As much as I love marathon training, that’s one of the downsides of being in (nearly) continuously training-mode. You run the risk of feeling over trained and unmotivated; I’ve accepted that this is a very normal part of the process and don’t beat myself up *too much* for having these thoughts.

The Winterman race is a long standing event that runs annually in February. For the past few years the temperatures have been -20ºC, or colder. In fact, last year the event was cancelled. The event begins at the Canadian War Museum and does an out and back loop along the Sir John A. Parkway. In theory, this is a great training race. The route includes two hills that runners hit four times per loop, and is run almost primarily on the road. There is about a 500m loop on the sidewalk at the War Museum. That said, it has historically been known to be covered in snow, salt and ice. To be expected with a name like Winterman, I suppose.

Race Day. We missed the race registration online, so we sent my Dad over to register us at 6:30AM on the morning of. I really do have the best Dad. I was sitting on the couch drinking coffee when he came back to with our bibs and ankle chips. Ok, so this is really happening. While I wasn’t planning for this to be a PB race, I expected a 1:4x, preferably on the lower side. The day before the race we were in Montreal visiting my sister and brother-in-law and were walking around downtown all day. Seeing that this was not a race I was planning for, I didn’t fuss with my normal pre-race routines. I’ll JFR, was the plan.

I live conveniently close to the start, so Mom and I walked over 28 minutes before the start. It was a beautiful day and I was truly happy I decided to run this race. After running the majority of my long runs on the treadmill, I was desperate to remind these legs that we gearing up to run fast outside. The goal is the Shamrock Marathon, after all.

The race begins. Wow this crowd is moving fast. I quickly realize that the vast majority of the participants were running a 5K or a relay. Just like in a marathon, the course always clears out once the 5-10K'ers are gone. As always, I repeat not to get ahead of myself. I encounter the first of the rolling hills and I am reminded of how many times I’ve run this stretch before. Today I will be running it 8 times (4 loops, out and back). Oh joy. UP AND OVER.

4:58, 4:53, 4:45, 4:54, 4:45

It would be great to be in top 5, I think. Then remind myself that this is a training run, no pressure today. Keep your head. I take a Hammer Gel around 10K. I’ve been using GenUCan lots in my training, but I’ve decided that gels are easier to use on the race course. I used this race as a practice run for my stomach. Thankfully, no issues!

4:49, 4:57, 4:57, 4:46, 5:01

After the second loop, I tell myself we are on the penultimate loop. I smile thinking of my coach saying this to us as we run around the track. I know that this is the point in the race/workout that matters. Over the years this is one area that I’m proud of. I often use the second half of a race or hard work out to prove to myself how badly I want it. That said, this doesn’t make the running part easier, especially with these darn hills. I clear my mind and tell myself we are in the home stretch. I see my mom and a few familiar faces and give a thumbs up. This gives me a boost (it always does).

4:56, 5:00, 5:16, 4:58, 5:01

Alright. Last loop. I’m feeling good and almost giddy thinking that my long run is ONLY 21.1K. This is what marathon training does to you (we are a crazy bunch). I know that next week I have a 36K ahead of me. As I run the final kilometre, I am reminded why I love racing. I love the final push of a race where your mind truly does run the body. As a peel around the corner, I see my Dad and our dog Tucker standing there. While it wasn’t a PB, this was a great run.

4:47, 5:09, 5:10, 5:06, 5:00, 4:42

1:44:35

18/100 overall

3/43 females

1/6 F30-34

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQvcA_jhY9R/?taken-by=thepacinglife

Have you run a last minute race? 

Did you run a race this winter? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.