Tag Archives: personal best

Race recap: They say 10.4, I say 10.0

Wasn’t it just the other day I was shouting to the world PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! Why yes it was, and last Saturday I was singing those glories again.

Some may say this one has a stain of stipulation to it, and this is my response to them:

You say 10.4, I say 10.0. PERSONAL BEST BABY!!!

Seriously

Seriously, who designs a 10.4 km race anyway? Seriously? The 5kers got 5k, I deserve my 10k. I earned that 10k.

Last Saturday I ran the Vancouver Hot Chocolate 10.4 km run at Stanley Park, and wow, what a difference a year can make. When I ran the inaugural run last year it was a miserably cold day; I blew myself out in the beginning of the run; I expended far too much energy early on weaving around other runners; and at about 7 km in I was experiencing that ugly feeling of nausea and was listening to that nasty little chorus of “You might as well quit!” singing Van Halen style in my head.

But this year was different. I wasn’t planning on racing. Sure, I was intending to put a solid effort in, but racing was not top of mind. In fact, I was really only planning to run hard for 10 km; the last 400 metres was meant for something someone special.

And maybe, just maybe, it was that that enabled me the incredible run I had.

Still, at the start line I situated myself closer to the front than last year; I did not want to waste needless energy weaving. I made sure to get a good, solid dynamic warmup in before the go. And when we were unleashed, I made an effort to hold back on my pace. I may not have been intending to race, but really, can you take the race out of this girl???

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The day was so close to the kind of day I had a few weeks ago at the Vancouver First Half. Although there wasn’t the endless rays of god lighting or the spooky fog hovering the path this time, it was such a beautiful morning to be running. The sun was shining warm, but not too warm, over the cool crisp rising up from the ocean. The city’s greens and blues were so clear and so vibrant. Even if I was having a crummy run, I’d be hard pressed not to smile at all the beauty around me.

And because the route covered a portion of the route from the First Half, I was able to find my happy zone pretty quick. Coming off of such a great race, I channeled those endorphins; I pretended my favourites were there with me, all of us being accountable for pace; I pretended it was the first half of a half; I pretended I was the wind just like the daughter of one of my favourites in her first run two weekends ago. And just like that run, I left the music at home, but this time, I had the melody of a three-year-old singing his ABCs while strapped next to his sister in a double stroller with dad at the helm; that was pretty awesome.

And hey, look! That guy shot out of the gate and passed me right off the hop, but look who’s passing him now. And hey now, there’s that chick who was a super speedster too, but is now looking like I did last year struggling even to jog. And oh my greatness, I’m finally gonna pass my pink camo-legged carrot. (Uhmmmm, doesn’t pink camo kinda defeat the purpose of camouflage???)

But wait. Noooooooo! My shoelace is untied. Are you freaking kidding me? I never have shoelace coming undone issues. And mere moments before I’m to pass my carrot, the girl I’d been trailing for the better part of the run, but who I’d been gaining on and was finally ready to pounce over, and my bloody shoe comes untied. Not cool shoes, not cool at all.

So. This could have killed the momentum, it could have slowed me down, it could have sent me spiralling. It didn’t. Yeah I had to stop and retie and nearly took out a couple walkers doing so, but even with my shaky fingers, I was back running again in seconds, pushing my pace, getting back into position, overtaking that carrot of mine.

Nowhere along the way was I feeling any forms of struggle. I had no nausea. I had no pains. I was not overheating. I just kept going, my pace kept solid, I kept smiling. And you know what I am still smiling. Because when I looked at the time on my Garmin for the first time in this race about 500 metres to the 10 km mark, the numbers displayed had my eyes out of their sockets – 49 MINUTES, SOMETHING SECONDS!!! H’oh my gawd!!!!

All hail the run gods!

All hail the run gods!

(I hope I never lose that feeling of that moment of sheer, blissful, proud excitement.)

And when I crossed over 10 km: 52:04!!!!!!!!! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! PERSONAL BEST! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!

RUN FOR HOT CHOCOLATE:
• 9:45 a.m. BG before: 5.6
• Temp. basal: -70 per cent (1 hour)
• Carbs: 3 shot blocks, no bolus
• Distance: 10.0 (10.4 for some)
• Average pace:
• Time: 52:04!!!!!!!!!
• 11 a.m. BG after: 4.9
• Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

And the diabetes? No issues. The blood sugars started a tad lower than I would have liked, but I had 3 shot blocks at the start (a banana, no bolus, about an hour and a half earlier), reduced my basal down by 70 per cent, and ended with 4.9, and didn’t experience any post-run slap-in-the-face highs.

Perfection.

Post run waffles well deserved.

Post run waffles well deserved.

Stay tuned for a recap of the final 400 metres…

Diabetes and the racing equation

(It’s taken me longer than I intended to post this second part of my Vancouver First Half half marathon recap; again, I blame chemistry.)

So where were we? Oh right, I had just kicked my last personal best out of the park, knocking off a solid four minutes. And oh how I wish I could have started this post with a conquering WAHOO all around, but sadly, frustratingly, Dear Diabetes was having none of that.

Vancouver First Half: Racing strategy win. Diabetes strategy fail.

Dear Diabetes drew me in early on, tantalizing me, teasing me with a good, solid streak of no lows while training. I didn’t dare gloat or boast about it for fear her ugly head would rear, I just kept happily running along, diabetes NOT at the front of my thoughts. But then, it all turned sour. About a month and a half ago, ohhh right about the start of chemistry (see above), my running blood sugars went every which way but the right way to Sunday.

Race day was no exception.

At about 9 p.m. Saturday night, I started feeling pukey. I checked my blood sugars and they were higher than I like. They kept going up and up and up. I checked them multiple times through the night, gave myself insulin at least three times, and still they didn’t come down. I woke up with them at 8.8 (I like them to be 6.0). I knew they’d surge up following breakfast given how they’d been the last month or so for long run Sundays. I increased my basal rate by 80 per cent for the hour following breakfast, hoping that would counteract a major high. By the time I got to the race course an hour before the start, they were 10.1. It was too late to give another dose of insulin or to increase the basal. I hoped, though, also given the Sunday run patterns that they’d soon drop… just not bottom out.

Initially I was planning to take drastic measures with my temporary basal throughout the run. Instead of dropping it down 50-70 per cent has been my normal, I was going to shut it off outright to avoid any kind of low. But something in me just didn’t feel right about that decision, so I was bit more conservative and only dropped it down to 80 per cent.

The second part of my diabetes strategy was to load up on shot blocks and my homemade sports drink throughout the entire run. Again, maybe a little drastic, but I did not want a low, and it seemed for all my long training runs lately, I couldn’t stuff the shot bloks in fast enough to keep my blood sugars level. I popped my first three shot bloks and took a swig of drink about 5 minutes before the start . Every subsequent 20 minutes, I popped two more with a shot. In total, I went through two packages of shot bloks, save two, and two 400 mL bottles of the sports drink.

The third and final diabetes strategy: I was not to test my blood sugars.

So let’s review shall we: I dropped my basal to 80 per cent for the duration of the run; I loaded up on sugar-filled carbs, some might say overdosed; and I did not keep a running track of my blood sugars while doing so. Pretty much, the basics for What Not To Do With Diabetes.

Five minutes after crossing the finish line, my blood sugars were 15.8. Crap. I jacked up my basal rate to 100 per cent for two hours, gave myself an instant bolus correction dose, did not have a thing to eat (no recovery carbs/proteins for me), and shook my head with the injustice of it all. About an hour later, they were at 23.3. Holy freaking crud ugly monkey, what the frick! One hour after that they were 18.8. Ugly. Ugly. Ugly. And three hours later they were 3.1.

Bloody freaking hell. Just run me over with a train why don’t you.

Death by highs.

The feeling of high blood sugars, 5,000 times worse than the worst hangover!

No wonder I felt like absolute crud the last 4 or so kilometres of the race.

Diabetes fail.

Vancouver Eastside: a smile of a race

If my Vancouver Eastside 10k effort is any indication, I could very well be the perfect prototype for reverse psychology

For weeks leading up to this race I went through a range of emotions. I feared it, didn’t want to race it, didn’t think I’d do well. My training had suffered over the last month, I’d missed runs, or had had super crummy runs. And so, the week of, I decided I wouldn’t race it, I’d run it. No expectations. No pressure. (Or at least that’s what I kept telling myself!) Even when Coach NZ told me the day before that I’d “smash” the run, I despondently shook my head. Nah, I said, I don’t think so.

And then, the night before, with that dammed missed insulin issue, it almost solidified in my head, this was not going to be my race. I was sure I’d be spending the evening wrestling my blood sugars; not a good recipe for race-day speed.

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But wait, the blood sugars shockingly didn’t go all super crazy. Yes, they were high when I finally noticed the memory blip, and yes, they required not one, but two insulin corrections to bring them down prior to bed, but they didn’t bottom out. At 3 a.m. they were 4.9 and at 5 a.m. they were 5.6. There were no interventions required; I could work with those digits.

And wait, the run was set under almost perfect conditions. In its second year, there were, I think, 1,500 runners – not over-populated, and not yet over commercialized. The morning was bright and sunny, but still cool. It was a 10 km loop, but because we were running into the blinding sun for the first half, it didn’t feel like a loop. The route had us running through some of the more under-appreciated parts of the city. An area populated with lower income and homeless people, as well as the upper echelon, it was pretty incredible and heart filling to see that mix cheering us on. I’m still blown away by it.

When I crossed over the start line, I’m not going to lie, my head was still filled with bits of misery, questioning my abilities, questioning why I was there, but with all those positives surrounding me, there really was no way those thoughts and feelings could last. The energy of the people running with me, and those watching on the sidelines either purposely or by happenstance, was a drug.

I rarely looked at my watch. I took in the sights, the buildings, the people, the old Woodwards W circulating high above, the bricks, the cobblestones, my music. I was still not intending to race.

But, step by step, the racing engines started to fire. I didn’t stop at any of the water stations, I didn’t take it easy going up the hills, if someone passed me, I didn’t over-react and chase only to burn out seconds later, but rather kept a steady, fast-twitched pace, never forgetting their face. When I approached the finishing chute and saw the bright red emblazoned numbers of 5 followed by 3 on the timing clock, I charged. Coming in, I was the autobus of the group, finishing, I was close to the sprinter’s lead out.

Chip time: 54:18!!!
Female 35-39: 29/114; All females: 198/769; All runners: 607/1731.

Holy wowzers!!! That is the fastest – official – 10 km time I have ever managed. Given the strength my muscles had at the end, I probably could have gone faster, but the thing is, I pushed myself hard enough – for me. I achieved a personal best and by golly I was SMILING doing it!

I needed that race!

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VANCOUVER EASTSIDE 10k:
8 a.m. BG before: 7.6
Carbs: 1/2c applesauce 1T PB, no bolus
Temp. basal: -50% 1 hour
Distance: 10 km
Chip Time: 54:18!!!
Average pace: 5:23 min/km
Average cadence: 88 spm
9:30 a.m. BG after: 11.1
Temp. basal: +50% 1 hour

And I was NOT the only one racing…

MEC 10 km: Personal best!!!

Soooo, hey, I sort of, kind of, totally raced my butt off yesterday morning! Hehe 😀

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Beyond a couple tweets, I pretty much kept my participation in the Mountain Equipment Co-op 10 km race hush-hush. I didn’t want to put a huge amount of pressure on myself, I didn’t want extra stresses on my brain, or to feel like I’d be less if I didn’t meet my goals. This race wasn’t necessarily supposed to be about getting a great time, but more about getting my body, belly, blood sugars and brain used to racing again. My goals were simple: Run hard. Don’t give up.

I thought it was a good plan. Coach NZ thought it was a good plan. My competitiveness, however, did not. Saturday night I pulled out my race pace calculator, just out of curiosity, you know, to see what kind of pace I’d have to go to get 55 minutes, 54, 53, 52 – all of which seemed doable. That’s when I knew this would be more than just a hyped-up training run! That’s when I knew I’d be full-on racing!

The MEC race was a super small event with just 86 of us running the 10 km portion. And because it was only $15, there was no souvenir shirt, no medal, no swag, which I was totally okay with. But there was also no timing chip system. Instead, there was a big clock (that was started for the half marathoners) with volunteers jotting down the bib numbers of the runners as they crossed the finish next to the time on the clock. Everyone had the same start time regardless of where they were positioned in the cue. Not exactly the most accurate system, which is why I’m going with my Garmin time.

The route was an out-and-back, which I’m not generally a fan of, but along the dykes of the Steveston waterfront, it was freaking gorgeous! I had the water next to me, the mountains in front of me, and airplanes flying not so high above as they descended towards YVR.

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From MEC

I started out too strong, but had settled in by the second kilometre. By the fourth kilometre, I was struggling with a stitch in my side, and the group I had been running with pulled forward. “Don’t give up.” I focused on the rhythmic sounds of Beastie Boys in my ears, and started gaining speed again, reeling in a couple of the early speedsters. “Keep going. Push.” I ran past the 5 km turnaround. FREAK! “Don’t give up.” My feet were starting to burn up. “Keep going.” Just 2 km left to go. “You can do this. Come on, faster!” Oh no! I did the math wrong. There were still 3 km to go. FRIDGE! “Don’t give up.” I spotted the blue shirt of a girl I’d been eying for a few kilometres now, I wanted to pass her, I was so close, I was practically next to her, just a couple more steps. “Go! Go! Go!” We passed by a group of volunteers, they cheered, hooted and hollered. The blue shirt girl surged ahead, but my legs suddenly became elephant legs. “Don’t give up… keep going… you can do this… forget the watch… forget the time… just run… dammit, run!”

With about 600 metres to go, I spotted Big Ring and Little Ring, and suddenly my legs were like those of cheetah. I surged, I sprinted, I pumped my arms, I gave it my all! And when I crossed that finish line, my gawd, my legs could hardly hold me up they were shaking so bad! And those, my dear blog-reading friends, are legs that got me a PERSONAL BEST!!!

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The volunteers were awesome; super loud cheers and mega-watt smiles!

TODAY’S RACE:

  • BG before: 9.4
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Carbs: Vega pre-workout energizer (16g) with bolus and BG correction 20 minutes prior
  • Distance: 10 km
  • Average pace: 5:34 min/km
  • Time: 55:40!!!
  • BG after: 5.4

My previous PB 56:01 – 21 seconds faster today! Wahoo!

Good Life. Good Time.

Ahh Onterrible, we had such hopes for you, high hopes, you teased us with a sunny forecast, balmy weather even, you told me to leave the sweaters at home, to pack my bags full of spring skirts and no-sleeved shirts, and so I did. And then, practically the second we landed down in your land, you turned on us with a crack of thunder and five full days of rain, and not warm rain, oh no, you were filling our boots full of bitter, cold, nasty, miserable rain. And so, dear Onterrible, you shall continue to be … TERRIBLE!!! (Side note: when we landed in Vancouver yesterday afternoon, the sun was hot and blinding, and the Onterrible layers were fast shedding!)


Mario should NOT still be wearing his wool hat in May!

Despite the rain, there were still some pretty great moments to be had visiting with Mario’s family, and with fellow diabetic, runner and blogger Canadian D-gal (more on that tomorrow) and retail therapy – three dresses, a cardigan, girly girl arm warmers and a red polka dot headband perfect for the Tiffany’s Race in the fall! But this blog post, my friends, is all about the race, the race in which I brought home, count them, not one but TWO personal bests!

GOODLIFE FITNESS TORONTO HALF:

  • 7:30 a.m. BG before: 15.8 (Yikes!)
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 21.1 km
  • Average pace: 5:37 min/km
  • Chip time: 2:02:20
  • Garmin time: 2:00:24
  • @45 minutes: GU. @90 minutes: GU
  • BG after: 11.1

I had every intention in the world to start out slow, I really, really did. I had planned for at least the first two or three kilometres to run a six minute to a six and a half minute pace, but the second my feet crossed the touch pad and my timing chip was activated I was in full on racing mode. And when I saw my Garmin clocking me at 5:15, 5:00, even a 4:45 at times, I tried to slow myself down, I really did, but my feet were not listening to my head. So, marathon training be damned, I went with it, and for about 95 per cent of the race, I felt awesome.

Along the course, I discovered a few things about myself:

1. I hate the rain. As Mario drove us to Toronto early Sunday morning, I was freaking out. The rain was beating down on the windshield, so hard, and I was having horrid flashbacks of the Portland Marathon where I was soaked inside and out. I kept silently repeating please let it stop, please let it stop. And it did, sort of. It was still cold as hell, the Globe and Mail dude even reported light snow flurries in with the drizzling rain, (of which I don’t recall ever seeing) but the torrential downpour had stopped, it was just a drizzle for the most part, and a drizzle I could handle.

2. I’m competitive as hell. When I couldn’t slow my legs down, and was feeling great at that speed, I decided to go for it. And the second I made that decision, I did not want anyone passing me. If someone tried passing me who I’d already passed, I pushed hard. And every time I came out of a walk break, I pushed even harder to get back to where I was before walking it out. If a walk break came on a downhill sprint, I ran through it and kept on running … that’s what you’re supposed to do on a long, slow, “training” run right 😉

3. Thank God I don’t load up on hydration the morning of the race. Some people may fault me for this, but given that I’ve got a teeny tiny bladder, so small that even the thought of a glass of water or the sight of one rain drop, could have me running to the loo, I’m thinking it’s a good tactic to take, especially after seeing that chick at not even 4 km in, running behind the dumpster, with her shorts already down to her knees before taking cover!

4. I don’t like pace bunnies. They seriously mess with my head. See, I see the one where I think I should be in line with and if she’s faster than me, it pisses me off (see point No. 2 above) and if I’m faster than her, I’m thinking I’m going too fast and am gonna burn out at some point. Where’s a fox when you need one?

5. Energy gels will be the death of me. I don’t know when it happened or how it happened, but at some point my body has decided it does NOT like the gels. It doesn’t like the Gu, it doesn’t like the Hammer, it doesn’t like the eLoad. I took my first gel at 45 minutes in with no adverse affects, but come the second gel, my stomach was revolting. It was churning and curdling, twisting and turning. I still had 3 or 4 km to go and if you’ve ever run with an upset stomach, you know it’s tough as hell. For about 2 km I thought I was dying. But the cheers of the crowds near the finish, and the words of both Mark Cavendish and Eminem telling me to push through the pain, somehow gave me that boost I needed and powered me right to the end.

Like I said, for 95 per cent of this run, I felt awesome. I couldn’t believe I was running this pace and feeling like it was nothing. At 10 km in, my Garmin read 56:01, beating out my previous personal best of 57:47. So when the pukey feeling hit, and I was forced to slow myself down, I was pissed, because before that, I was on par to cross the finish line with a sub 2:00:00 time!!! As it was, my Garmin gave me a 2:00:24 time, which in itself is pretty awesome for me, but alas, the chip time, technically the “official” time, clocked me in at 2:02:20. And as disappointed as I was at first, it was still a personal best, beating out my previous 2:06:00 time by nearly four minutes!!!

Now, how I’ll fair in my second marathon in a little over week’s time (eek!) well, we’ll see…


Compression socks = post-race recovery!