Monday, March 25, 2013

Run for L'Arche - Race Report

My first timed race! 

On Saturday I ran the 5 mile Run for L'Arche in Calgary.  L'arche is an international organization of communities that create homes and programs for people with developmental disabilities.  Before this, I didn't know they I do and I'm glad that the proceeds of the race went to a good cause.  Also, it seemed like a very well run race but I have nothing to compare it to so it's difficult for me to say.

Onto the race and preparation...

I basically took the week off of running, except for the little bit of speed work I did on Tuesday and it was too cold to walk outside at lunch so the legs were well rested.   I did start to feel a little nervous on Friday, which was weird, I know I can do this distance - I even did a trial run so I knew about how long it would take too.  But still interesting that I would get a little bit of the pre-race jitters.

Of course, it can't all go smoothly.  After putting together a kick-ass play list and gathering all of my gear I found out that I'd lost my running socks.  Which leads to the excellent question as to why I only have the single pair (I only wear them for "real" running and never needed a second pair).  And I could only find a single magic mini glove.  We got some gloves in the race kit, but I didn't know if they would be too much (and they didn't really fit well, but neither do the minis).  But other than those two things I was all ready to go.

Race day morning - up at 7am.  The one good thing about a March race is the start time of 10:15, I think in hopes of it being just a little bit warmer.  Got ready leisurely, breakfast of toast, peanut butter and tea.  Adam got Jet ready to go to baseball evaluations and they were off before me.


Quick and easy drive downtown, got there just before 10:00.  Parked across the street from my office building and walked the block and a bit to the start at Eau Claire Market.  

And just about froze doing it.

I'd been obsessively watching the weather network for the last week, hoping that it would get a whole lot warmer than they'd been predicting.  Once I accepted that wasn't going to happen I started hoping that it wouldn't be windy.  It wasn't windy, but it was about -10 Celsius and that's way too cold for this fair-weather runner.

Inside the market was toasty warm, with lots of places for everyone to sit and hangout.  The announcer was setup as well inside along with a couple of booths to take a look at.  I hung out until they called the half marathon runners outside and figured I should see them off.  It was getting slightly warmer in the sunshine, which was nice.

After the half marathoners were off I did a warmup run around the market - felt good.  Chatted with a very nice older fellow while waiting to be called up to the start line.  I commented it was my first timed race and he said he still remembers his first race, back in 1970!  It was nice to chat with someone, made the time go by quickly.

Soon enough we were called up to the start, the mayor said a few words (which I didn't hear, I put my headphones in, turned up the music and was ready to go!), blasted an air horn and we were off!  I lined up about 3/4's back...but it was a small race (197 people) so even at the back of the pack it was close.

Crossed the start, started my Nike+ watch and off I go.

Out and back course along the river pathways, nice and easy (if you ignore the bridge at the very start and therefore at the very end).  Off to a good, if quick, pace.  Dodged a few people at the beginning, but not too many, I think I seeded myself quite nicely.  Over the bridge - with a volunteer telling everyone to watch the center of the bridge, it was slippery - and onto the pathway.

At the first kilometer marker things spread out a bit.  There was a fellow in front of me that was going a nice pace so I tried to keep up to him and it worked for quite a while.  Kept checking my watch, still going faster than I'd like, but feeling really good.  After the first mile I started to pass people who were walking, that made me feel even better because I was sure that I'd be the only person who would need a walk break.

Over the river again, still running, pass the water station - don't need anything yet.  Caught up with the fellow I was chatting with at the start line at 2.88 km...still running, legs feel great, music is perfect, lungs feel fantastic, no need to stop yet.

Pass two mile marker, know the turnaround is coming soon.  First of the 5 mile runners are on their way back, those guys can fly!  Hit the turnaround, still running.  Now get to see everyone who was behind me.  Realize that the 3 mile marker is coming up and I still haven't taken a walk break.  That's never happened before.

Pass the three mile marker and give myself a virtual pat on the back.  Pleased as punch when I pass the 5km marker without walking.  By this time I'm participating in the age-old game of picking someone ahead of you and work on passing them.  Legs feel really good and I can accelerate without any problems when I need to.

Water station - took the cup of water and walked to drink it.  Tossed the cup in the garbage and started running again.  Back over the pedestrian bridge, along the path I walk almost every day at lunch.  Mile four my stomach growls, good thing it's almost done.  Slowed down a bit in anticipation of the "big bridge", accelerated up and over.  Can see the finish area from the top.

Downhill for the last two hundred meters, want to finish strong so pick up the speed until I cross the finish line.

51:39 clock time!

Get my medal and bottle of water (there were bananas that I didn't see) and walked around for a bit.  Checked my phone to see Adam and Jet were on their way and they just missed me finish.  Met up a couple minutes later and realized I hadn't stopped my watch :)

We got our pancake breakfast and ate inside.  Really yummy.  The chocolate milk hit the spot.
Calgary Stampede Caravan Breakfast

Then, back home to shower and relax.  I was super hyper for an hour after, but then just wanted to be left alone and sleep.  I wonder if that's normal?


I'm super happy with my times.  My A goal was to finish in an hour, my B goal was to finish in 53 minutes (same as two weeks ago) and by C goal was to finish in 50 minutes.  Considering I still had gas in the tank I feel really good about increasing the pace slightly next time.  Also, never in my wildest dreams did I think I could run 5 miles and only take on 10 second walk break.

In the end I cam in 115th overall (out of 197), 24/46 age group and 49/111 for ladies.  Chip time of 51:09

I can handle that.


1) Buy more socks

2) Good playlist is critical, I had high energy tunes for the entire thing and I'm sure it helped

3) Continue the speed training for the next 10k

4) Do another race.  It's so much easier than running on a treadmill

5) Most likely every run outside for the rest of the year will be warmer than this one

Friday, March 22, 2013

Vacation! - Grand Palladium Vallarta

We finally had enough.  Booked a week in Mexico at the lovely Grand Palladium Vallarta!

From Palladium website

Okay, so I've never been there before.  But it's 1) Not here.  2) On the beach.  3) Somewhere warm and 4) All Inclusive.  We have stayed many times at the Palladium in Riviera Maya, so we're familiar with the brand and very familiar with Mexico.

We leave in 3 weeks.

We leave in 3 weeks?

That's not a lot of time to get into bikini shape, but I'm going to try.  I signed up for a new fitness and nutrition plan...more on that after the first week is done.

I've been taking it a little easy this week because I'm running a 5 mile race (my first chip timed race ever) and I want to have a good showing.  I really want it to warm up though.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy First Day of Spring!

As usual, Calgary weather is mocking us.  The past week has been -14 and snowy, the next few days will be just below freezing and snowing. 

But today?

Today is supposed to be 12 degrees above zero and sunny.

And people wonder why we tend to go crazy here?

More substantial update in a bit, but funny workout story from yesterday:

I was doing speed work, as prescribed by my Jeff Galloway running book.  Yesterday was 7 x 400m @ 6mph pace.  It shouldn't have been difficult, it's only 2.5 minutes - enough to get the heart up and to be sweaty at the end of the 7 rounds, but not huffing and puffing.

Well, after the first round my legs were a bit achy.  Halfway through the second round I thought that I wouldn't be able to do anymore.  During this I remembered that I had set the incline 1% lower for my 5k on Sunday, so I bumped it up to get back to my normal 2%.  Somehow, I got it up to at least a 4% incline and it was reporting 0%.  No wonder I was feeling it.

So...reset the whole thing, put it back to 2% and was flying the rest of the way.

Monday, March 18, 2013

My first virtual race!

I hadn't heard of virtual races before this year, and I find them kind of neat.  I do a race at my own time and place and then post the results.  For a small fee (usually going to charity) you can even get a medal (which I love).

Yesterday was my first of two virtual races (so far) this year.  I was planning on going to the paths along the river...had it planned out and everything.  The forecast called for clouds and just below freezing but I could handle that.

Then the snow started...again.  Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then Sunday morning it was not only snowing, but bitterly cold as well.  Officially -14 and blowing snow.

I stayed inside and ran on the treadmill.

Official time:

34:13 for 5K (just over 11 min/mile)

Monday, March 11, 2013

Another Long Run in the Books

Even though it snowed and was gross at the start of the week it warmed up nicely so that Sunday morning I could actually go outside for my "long" run.

The plan was to run the same 5 miles that I'll do in two weeks for the Run for L'Arche.  I've never ran in a race that far (only 5kms previously) and I wanted to see what I was in for before trying it with a bunch of people.

Running outside is so.much.easier than running on the treadmill.  I thought I was going slow but I was way over a long run pace - even faster than what I thought my race pace would be.   I was easily running a 10 min mile pace and I can't do that for very long on the treadmill. 

And the time flew by, the turn around point came up in no time and I wasn't feeling tired at all.  I did lose some steam at the 4.5 mile mark, but that is almost certainly because I'm not used to going that fast for that long.

5 miles - 53:23 (10'40" mile)  What!?


So Yay! for long outside runs.  Let's hope whatever snow is left for this year is during the week and melts quickly.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March Stridebox

My StrideBox is here!  And it's fabulous :)

I've been watching the tracking email that they sent with a mix of amusement and anticipation.  Firstly amused because it went from the Northwest (Seattle?, I forget) to LA and then to Canada.  Then I watched it go through customs and facilities and finally made it to my post office Friday morning.

Things always show up in Calgary on Friday morning, and they very rarely make it to my house until Monday afternoon.  But not this time.  When I checked the mail after work there it was!

Of course, we had to be out the door right away so I didn't have time to open it until Saturday morning...kind of like Christmas.

Here's what I got:

Lovely card that lists what everything is, where you can get it and the retail value.  I find retail prices interesting, since we very rarely pay the same thing here, if we can get the product at all.  This is the reason why I'm like a kid in a candy store when we go to the States - so many things to try.

First up, Given Brand - Original FLIP Pocket Wrist Wallet.  Very cool and something that I need for when it gets nice out and I don't have pockets to hold my key.   Also a coupon for Skora running shoes.

Next layer: Sample of WIN sports detergent, interesting...something I've never thought about before.  Two Peanut Butter GU's, I've heard lots of people talk about these and now I can try before I buy!  Click Espresso Protien Drink - Mocha  Not sure about this one, only because I'm not a coffee drinker anymore.  It might have to go to Adam.  And then, a Picky Bar - I'm intrigued, the main ingredient is dates, which usually means I won't like it, but I want to like it because of the other ingredients.

Last layer:  Sample of Run Guard - Anti-Chafe Stick, I haven't gotten to runs long enough to have Chafing...but I'm sure I will eventually.  A Kind Bar - Dark Chocolate, Nuts and Sea Salt, Looks yummy and I actually saw these at the store yesterday when buying groceries.  So I know I can get more later.  Then, two PowerICE bars; orange and lime.  Will try these when it gets a bit hotter out.

And, some coupons for some of the products in the box as well.

So all of that for $20 ($15 + $5 shipping to Canada).  I think it's a good deal.   And I get a present every month.  Which I like even more than a good deal.

Can't wait for next month!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Stuff in my mailbox!

I love it when things-that-are-not-bills show up in our mailbox.  There's one Friday in the month that is usually a good one; that's when my Food and Wine and Good Food magazines show up and I sit down with a glass of wine and flip through them for a couple hours.  It's a pretty good way to end the week.

But yesterday, on a Monday, I got a couple packages that yes, I paid for, but it's still a nice little surprise to see that little red key that means something was too big to fit into the normal mailbox.

First package:

Perfect Fit protein powder from the Tone it Up girls.  Gotta admit; I'm a sucker for anything that ships to Canada and I'm always looking for something natural to put into a smoothie so I figured I'd give this a try.

Race kit from Jessica at Virtually Running for Gold,  Proceeds going towards the St. Baldrick Foundation.  I honestly thought it was just the medal (and donating to a good cause), but to get stuff as well?!  I was happy happy indeed. 
And then, I got an email saying my StrideBox is on it's way.  AND my next wine shipment is in April.
Get to look forward to more stuff in the mail

Monday, March 4, 2013

5 by the 5th Challenge - March

After last weeks outdoor long run I was totally set to do my 5k for March outside and see how I do without that silly treadmill holding me back :)  It was dry and sunny on Saturday and supposed to be more of the same for Sunday.

And then this happened Saturday night:

So back to the treadmill I go for another week - next weekend is supposed to be sunny and nice again, I hope it is so I can do a trial run for my 5 miler on the 23rd.


On my treadmill, again.  5k - 36:45  then, because I was supposed to do 4.5 miles,  I cut the pace back and finished off the last 2.2 k for a total time of 55:00.  Felt good, no pain or aches but I really wanted to be outside.

Oh well, there's always next month :)