Tag Archives: Bellingham Bay half marathon

Race Day: Bellingham Bay half II

So. Where were we? Right, the race itself…

When I signed up for this race, I essentially considered it an at-home race. Bellingham is about an hour away, without the border lineup, and over the years I’ve been there countless times. But mostly only for Costco runs or other such cross-border shopping. No exploring. And so, when we arrived at the start in downtown Bellingham, I was immediately taken in by the cuteness of this town; its history, unique eateries, gathering spaces, beauty.

And the course itself, while it had all the beauties of B.C., there was still an element of mystery for me to feel like I was exploring new territory. We ran past Little House on the Prairie style houses, along romantic, tree-canopied trails, around the bay jostling for position against the forceful breeze coming up off the water,  past clusters of enthusiastic cheerleaders; one a girl about four-years-old vigorously shaking a cow bell as she high-fived me with her free hand. I imagined Little Ring doing the same a couple years from now 😀

The first 10 km of my race was pretty awesome, so awesome, in fact, I didn’t look at my mileage for the first nine of those 10 km and had no clue how far I’d run because my math conversation skills from miles to km are non-existent. I was having fun out there. I was enjoying the scenery, the people around me, the movement of my legs. And my time showed it. When my Garmin alerted me I’d run 10 km, I was on pace for a 1:55:00 finish. Holy freaking awesome!!!

Sigh. If only the race could have finished there, I would have had my perfect rainbow race, but no, that’s not how the running gods would have it. My run started to fall apart in probably the last 5-7 km. I got a side stitch in which I struggled to get rid of. My stomach and throat started to feel a little pukey. I got stopped by a train – A TRAIN!!! – seriously, stuck standing there for a minute and a half and then trying to weave through the huge throng of social runners once the train had passed. Are you freaking kidding me??? And the last three km, they were tough as hell.

Hills. Pukey belly. Brain.

I wanted to stop, oh man, did I ever. Doubts creeped up into my head, and it took everything I had not to cave in, to keep telling myself I had made it this far, why the hell would I stop now, the distance was nothing, I could do that distance in my sleep, easy peasy, don’t you dare stop, no way you can stop, just about there, keep going.

With just about 500 metres to go, I spotted my Rings in the finishing chute, which was all I needed to amp up my speed. I ran so hard I could barely stand at the finish. I ran so hard, I thought I would puke at the mere smell of the food lining the finishers’ corral. I ran so hard I had to be held up by the kid wrapping the heat blanket around my shoulders. I ran so hard, I finished with a smile 😀

130929Bellingham Bay2
Running to the finish, no idea if I’d made goal or not…


  • 9:15 a.m. BG before: 9.2
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: none
  • Time: 1:59:10 NEW PB!!!
  • Distance: 21.1 km
  • Average pace: 5:36 min/km
  • Average cadence: 86 spm
  • Fuel: @30 minutes: 2 Clif Shot Blocks @ 60 minutes: 2 Clif Shot Blocks @ 90 minutes: 1 Clif Shot Block
  • 11:45 p.m. BG after: 10.1
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent

Proof: finished with a smile 😀

NOTE: Garmin is the time I’m going with. I may be criticized for this as Garmin is not Chip, but because there was no one at the train to document the train stoppage, I don’t feel Chip’s accuracy can be trusted. Whereas Garmin was stopped and started the second I stopped and started, so, for me, that’s the accuracy I need.

Race Day: Bellingham Bay half I


But wait…breathe…calm. First thing’s first:

There was rain. There was pain. There was even a train. And oh yes, there was an evil, little brain.

When I woke up at 5 a.m. Sunday morning and heard the monsoon crashing at my window, the last thing I wanted was to get up and run a half marathon. And so, when Big Ring commented that his throat was feeling a little tickly, I offered to forgo the run in the name of his health. And when both my shoulders were feeling a little sickly, I suggested maybe it wasn’t wise to put them through 21.1 km. And when the border line up was more like 40 minutes and not the advertised 10, I proposed we opt not to face the sure-to-be prickly border guard and hightail it quickly back home.

The fierce jitters in my stomach were getting the better of me!

Nerves are not new for me. Every race day, doesn’t matter the distance, the insides of my stomach are jumping all over the damn place, but Sunday, oh man, I thought I was going to puke… or worse.

Remember this dude 😳

If you haven’t already figured this out, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself, and I tend to compare my results to that of others, and think, if they can go that fast, I surely can too. (I know. I know.) I had worked super hard this running season to get to this race, I had embraced speed intervals, something I loathed, I had taken up strength training, something I had never done prior, and I had raced, my goodness, I had raced. And so, going into this half marathon, everything inside me told me I should be finishing with a good time, I should be finishing with a personal best, I should be achieving the goals I set out earlier this summer.  But then there was that thing called injury – plural – that had left me sidelined a few times through my training, and most notably through what was supposed to be the most difficult month of my training. And knowing that, I feared the disappointment I might be facing post run.

So, that caused some of the jitters.

And then there was my attire. I had planned my race day wardrobe Saturday afternoon. There had been torrential downpour Saturday too, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I thought it wise to dress in my lightest top, with my shortest running shorts. No tights. No long sleeves. No arm warmers. Well, Sunday morning, in the car, and then at the race site prior to the race, I was cursing that decision. It was wet! It was cold! I had packed a warmer running shirt for after the race, but was beginning to wonder if I should wear it on the race, but what if it made me too warm, what if it annoyed the hell out of me.

So, that caused some of the jitters.

Even Little Ring was showing nerves for me!

I opted not to wear it, mostly with a racer in mind. I didn’t want to lose precious seconds off my time by removing the shirt and tying it around my waist if it annoyed me. Turned out to be a super wise decision. Not even a kilometre into the run and I was no longer suffering goosebumps or chattering teeth. The rain was coming down, but not as fierce as it had been, and aside from the super strong breeze around the bay in the last quarter of the race, I didn’t feel cold at all.

I did, however, feel wet shoes becoming looser around my ankles, wet feet slopping away in wet shoes, wet socks rubbing against wet feet. There was no avoiding the puddles, I, along with several others, had mud splashes all up our calves, and surely I would not be the only one suffering blisters post race. Embrace the puddles!

Once I started the race, I put the morning jitters aside and gave myself a selection of 3 goals to work towards (thanks HUGE to my super awesome coach for giving me this strategy):

  • GOAL 1: Ultimate: Finish with a 5:30 min/km average pace, resulting in a 1:56:00 finish.
  • GOAL 2: PB: Finish under 2 hours.
  • GOAL 3: When All Else Fails: Have fun!

To be continued…

Battles of a sick taper


This weekend marked the start of taper week for me with the Bellingham Bay half marathon set for next Sunday, which, given that I’ve been pretty much in taper mode the last month and a half with that stupid, vexing injury of mine, didn’t really mean much. In fact, I was more worried about not running a significant distance than about cooling my running heels. But because Big Ring and I had plans for an afternoon belated celebration of our 4-year wedding anniversary – NO LITTLE RING!  – I thought I’d be able to get through this weekend no problem.

Out of sight out of mind right 😀


But then, I got sick. A stupid, freaking, jerk-face cold. And then, Little Ring got sick. And then, our afternoon date was cancelled due to said sickness. And then, we were stuck at home. And then, the rain came. And then. And then. And then.

The cold started out with a sore throat, and that’s all it was for like 4 days, and so when it hadn’t progressed further, I thought okay, this isn’t so bad, maybe I’ll be able to pull off a 12-15 km run on Sunday after all. Well folks, let me just say, thinking that pretty much screwed me. I swear the second I thought it was the second my nose got stuffed and the cold progressed to lethargy, heat behind the eyes nastiness.

Hello cold survival kit!

Still, as long as it wasn’t in my chest, all was not lost for a run. Saturday night, Big Ring planned a new route for me along the sky train path in which I’d just hop on the train and head for home once I was done. But then, as mentioned, the rain came. Buckets. Sideways. Hard. Pummeling. Torrential. Rain.

Normally, I wouldn’t be opposed to run in the rain, in fact, most runs in the rain, once you’re out there, end up being fantastic, or at the very least brag worthy, and sometimes even epic. But…

Rain + Cold + 1/2 marathon one week away = Stupid!

Had that half marathon not been in the equation I would have risked it, but with the half marathon next Sunday, I just didn’t feel that was an equation I could win. Which meant a whole days worth of guilt and second guessing. Ugh.

Thus the life of a sicky runner 😦

On your marks, get set…

It’s funny, when I compare my MEC 10 km race from last week to my BMO 8 km race in May, it’s like night and day. MEC had me satisfied. BMO had me shattered. And yet, looking at the straight stats, I was faster for BMO… just an average of 4 seconds faster, mind you, but faster nonetheless.

However, I went into BMO – my first race back post pregnancy – expecting brilliance. I wanted my pace to be unwavering. I wanted my focus to be sharp. I wanted a perfect race. But when my pace started to drop, my focus waned, my heart sunk, my legs slowed. And that devil on my shoulder kept beating me down, telling me there was no way I could fix it, no way I could crank up the speed in my legs, no way I could make my goal. Honestly, I felt like I gave up.

But with MEC, I tried not to get loaded down with pressure. I tried to reign in my competitiveness. I tried to treat it more as an amped up training run than a race. And while I somewhat failed in that, I still had a better frame of mind going into MEC than I did BMO.

And here’s the thing, sure, I could have run it faster; sure, I let the race get the better of me for about 2-3 km; sure, I waited way too long to get my sprint on (where the heck was my inner Cavendish when I needed him?) – but the fact my legs were so incredibly wobbly at the finish, and the fact I could barely hold myself up, I knew I had given a good part of myself in that run. I was proud of my performance.

And it was that race that officially marked the start of my racing season 😀

A Princess-Perfect 2013 Race Schedule:

My goal race is the Bellingham Bay half marathon in September, of which I intend to complete in under 2 hours. (My previous PB was 2 hours and 24 seconds in Toronto 2 years ago… it’s time for a new one!) The 10 km races are meant to get my mind in the game, get my body, brain and blood sugars used to racing again, and also to evaluate my progress through training. There’s going to be a lot of early mornings, a lot of speed work, a lot of sweat, soreness and maybe even a few tears. But that’s the thing with goals, if achieving them were easy, everyone would be doing them – and where would the fun in that be 😀

So hey, let’s go run!!!



  • 5:00 a.m. BG before: 4.5
  • Carbs: granola bar (15g) with insulin
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 7.03 km
  • Run: 10′ warmup/3×3′ fast, 1′ easy/2×5′ fast, 1′ easy/10′ cool down
  • Average interval pace: 4.57 min/km
  • Time: 43 minutes
  • 6:30 a.m. BG after: 5.5

With this run, my pace should have been averaging 4:30 min/km, which obviously didn’t happen. But what did happen was me managing a consistent pace for all my intervals from start to finish, which in my speed world was a first! And with dead bugs stuck to my face following that early morning, humid run, I’ll take that as a win 😀