Tag Archives: Vancouver seawall

“Holy freaking hell, I did it!!!!!!!”

Yesterday’s half marathon effort was a personal best in so many ways. Oh my goodness the pride and joy I am still feeling today; seriously, the endorphins are in major overdrive.

Getting ready to race.

Getting ready to race.

Despite spending the last 15 weeks training for a half marathon, I wasn’t planning on running a half marathon. I was still pretty jaded from my last half effort, and had promised my body we’d concentrate more on conquering the 10k than the half… for awhile at least. But then the UBC run study happened. A study that, despite being targeted for “beginner” runners, had a killer training program that, not to gloat or anything, I was killing! How could I not see if the solid training would translate over to a solid race? So, two weeks ago I managed to secure a bib for the Vancouver First Half half marathon.

Days leading up to the half I kept going back and forth on music; do I run with it or don’t I? I had never raced without music, but for the last 15 weeks, I haven’t run with music. Could I survive the push without Eminem telling me to lose myself, or Green Day hitting me with Saint Jimmie, or Lady Gaga assuring me I was born this way?

Could I?

I sure hoped so, because race morning it simply came down to the annoyance of ear buds, the possibility of them falling out, or being uncomfortably jammed in my ears, or my arms getting tangled in the cords. It had been more than 15 weeks of not dealing with that, more than 15 weeks of happy, solid running. I couldn’t risk the music, no matter how many times it’s gotten me through a run, messing with that.

Solid decision.

Standing in the washroom line, for like the umpteenth time, I ran into two of my favourite run study chicks, who happened to be aiming for the same finish time as me. “Hey! We should totally run together?” Yes, yes we should.

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Pre-race pee stops are aplenty.

I have been running for several years now, and as many of you know, I’ve had a few favourites over the years. But never have I ever run a race with any of them. It’s always been all about me. I generally shoot out the start gates and hope to keep going that way right to the end. But you know the thing about “me” when the “me” starts breaking down, as it inevitably does when you’re exerting yourself so far beyond your state of comfort, if there’s no one else around to help you keep that push going, nine times out of 10, if you’re not Ms. Champion Marathoner, or even just made up of the same mental fortitude fabric, slowly that nasty little devil on your shoulder takes over and slows your pace. At least, for me, that’s how it’s generally been. No matter how hard I’ve trained, when the hurt comes, I haven’t been able to dig deep enough to fully battle through it.

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Three pacers are better than one.

But yesterday? Yesterday was different. I had two incredible runners next to me. Each of us taking turns to pace the others. Pushing each other forward when our legs slowed, or voicing reminders to ease up through the start. Checking in every couple kilometres, making sure we were feeling good, or at least not dying. And talking – talking about the sights, the beautiful sights, the endless rays of “god-lighting” greeting us every which way we turned; the fog still hovering across the pathways, and lifting from the Pacific Ocean with the rising sun; the two white swans hanging at the side of the Seawall as we passed, their heads arced together in a perfect heart; and hey, look at that heron over there chilling with the pigeons; and the signs: “How about those nipples?” “Suck it up Princess!” “You paid to do this;” and the people, the cheers, the encouragement. Before we knew it, we were 10 km done, then 15, then just a few more to go.

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One day my running smiles won’t look so pained.

It did not feel like any other half marathon I have done. It was fun. It was social. I was pushing myself. I was maintaining a fantastic pace. And for three quarters, it did not feel like work.

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Smiles AND thumbs up!

But then, at about 1 hour and 17 minutes in, I took my last 2 shot blocks and my stomach revolted. It was two too many. Instantly I felt the nausea. My stomach had a stitch full across the abdomen. I got burpy. The dark cherry was desperately trying to escape back up my esophagus; some of it did. I’ve been here before. Not with shot bloks, but with gels. Previously, my pace slowed, my gumption faltered, my hopes for a fantastic finish dashed.

But this wasn’t previously. I kept going. I wanted to stop. I wanted to slow. But my girls were still there and our plan, if we were all still together in the end, was to run across that finish line, feet charging together, hands clasped in the air together. I had to keep pushing.

Early on in the run we made a plan, that if we were still feeling great, with about 4 km remaining, we were to push the pace up to lactate for the remaining. Unfortunately, I was not feeling great. My girls, however, were. They pushed. I did not. But I also did not back off my half marathon pace. I maintained. THAT was huge.

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Mama’s coming Papsy!

This race, as beautiful and mostly flat as it was, was somewhat evil. There was a hill, about I don’t know 800 metres in the final stretch. That hill, pure, nasty, evil. Pretty much, I cursed it from bottom to top. But as soon as I crested it, I knew I was there, I could hear the people, see the crowds, I was just about done, my eyes started darting from side to side looking for my Rings, as soon as I spotted them, suddenly the nausea was nothing. My pace shot up, as did the smile on my face. And then, I saw the clock.

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EEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!

HOLY FREAKING HELL, I DID IT!!!!!!!!!!

PERSONAL BEST BABY!!!

OFFICIAL PERSONAL BEST!!!

SIGNIFICANT PERSONAL BEST!!!

NO TRAINS TO TARNISH THIS PERSONAL BEST!!!

1:55:31!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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My own personal pace bunnies.

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And another of my favourite run study chicks who also PB’d. Yep, we rock 🙂

Vancouver First Half half marathon, I love you ❤

Running … with company

Full disclosure part 1: My training the last couple of weeks has fallen off the map.

For the last 10 days, the Princess and the Rings have been entertaining Big Ring’s mom and niece from Onterrible; the first visit since Little Ring’s birth. In the weeks leading up to the visit, I thought for sure I’d keep up with my running and strength training. I had a well defined plan, and I was determined not to stray from it. But then, our guests arrived.

Now, let me backtrack a moment. Big Ring and I are not well versed in the art of entertaining. Since purchasing our loft four years ago, we have hosted just ONE other couple, and that was long before Little Ring’s existence. Heck, I’m pretty sure we can count on two hands the number of times we’ve held dinners at our place. So really, we can’t be faulted for not realizing ahead of time just how stinking exhausting daily entertaining can be!

Initially I thought I would get my runs in at night, but after hours of driving around (it rained a lot) or sight seeing, or even simply negotiating acceptable activities for an 18 year old who loves to shop and a 76 year old who values her rest, by late afternoon all I wanted to do was crash in my bed. I did not want to lace up my sneakers. I did not want to brave the rain. I did not want to pull out the mat and activate my push-ups and planks. I just wanted to sleep.

So, I changed course and tried getting my runs in, after getting Little Ring sorted, in the morning. But that also proved challenging as I felt I was holding everyone else up for getting started on their day. Ugh. And my strength training, oh man, the only way I was able to get my circuits in was to opt out of an afternoon or two of activities – but that, too, was not always possible. I didn’t want to be rude.

Unfortunately (for me and my fast softening belly) the perfect solution to fulfill their touristy desires and my running needs was only just realized yesterday; the last day of their visit! When Big Ring suggested we walk around the Olympic Village, where his niece could see where the 2010 athletes stayed and his mom could relax with a cup of hot chocolate in one of the nearby cafés, we decided it would also be a great opportunity for me to get a quick run in on the Seawall out towards Granville Island. And so, instead of dressing in my regular wear, I kitted up in my running gear, and packed along an extra pair of Lululemon pants, hoodie and warm socks for the post-run activities. Win. Win.

Why the heck didn’t we think of that sooner?

130228SEawallrun
Because sometimes, company and all, you’ve just got to run (ps. that’s not me!)

YESTERDAY’S RUN:

  • 2:30 p.m. BG before: 6.0 (2 biscuits, 16 grams carbs, no bolus)
  • Temp. basal: none
  • Distance: 4.95 km
  • Pace: 5:54 min/km
  • Time: 30 minutes (5′ warmup, 20′ tempo, 5′ cooldown)
  • 3:15 p.m. BG after: 3.3 😦

And so, my friends, instead of a week filled with three run days, two strength training days, and one cross training day, I managed just two runs, one strength day, and one 40-minute stint aqua jogging at the pool last week, and so far this week, I’ve accomplished just one run and no strength training or cross training … then again, the week is not yet done, and I no longer have company. Time to get back on that training wagon 😀

Claustrophobic, germaphobic, stranger spermaphobic

Why is it when you don’t want something to happen, it always happens? Case in point: My current sun tan.

I have never been a girl to lay for hours under the sun, or step foot in a tanning bed, or put orange blotchy creams on my skin to achieve the white girl, over-Brazilianed look. First of all, my self-diagnosed ADD wouldn’t ever allow me more than 3 minutes under the baking sun before I was jumping up, antsy to do something else; second of all, my claustrophobic, germaphobic, stranger spermaphobic (I’ve heard stories) would never allow me to get anywhere near a tanning bed; and third of all, the nuclear creams, did them once when I was 13 and had pumpkin-coloured hands for like a month after, no thank you! But most of all, I burn, and not a slight, light burn, a nasty, angry, beet red, sometimes eggplant purple burn. Again, no thank you!

I embrace the ghostly white of my skin, I like the non-cancerous tone of my skin, and I lather on a good half bottle of 45+ SPF before exiting the house to keep it that way. But right now, she ain’t so white. I blame the running.


Damn you running!

SATURDAY’S RUN:

  • 9:30 a.m. BG before: 5.4
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent (3 hours)
  • Distance: 17 km (LSD)
  • Average pace: 6:24 min/km
  • Time: 1:49:00
  • Fuel: 1.5 12 ounce bottles of Perpetuem
  • @10.5 km BG: 6.6
  • 11:30 a.m. BG after: 12.1 (what the???)
  • Temp. basal: +50 per cent (1.5 hours)

And why is it when you come across something so unbelievably brilliant, something you’ve never really noticed before, all of a sudden you’re seeing it everywhere? Case in point: smart ass signs.

So, I decided to do my LSD run yesterday instead of today because last night we had a surprise birthday barbecue to go to for one of my favourite running chicks, Blainalina, and I wasn’t exactly sure how I might indulge … what with the insanely talented Cakezilla’s beautiful concoctions


The birthday girl likes heels and purses 😀 (Thanks Tony the Tiger for the pic!)

And then this morning a group of girlfriends and I were going blueberry picking (more on that tomorrow) so the only time for a long run was yesterday morning. And not even 24 hours after coming across this brilliantly funny website which had all these pictures of smart ass responses to well-meaning signs, I was seeing them everywhere. Along the Seawall, a route I’ve been pounding for months, I came across not one, but two funny signs of my own.


Evil walking man, kind of reminds me of Tim Burton’s characters, all he needs is a cane!


Only in BC 😉

Brilliant!

How was your weekend? Any running, cycling, hiking, sign spotting, blueberry picking checked off your agenda?

Sloth in sneakers

Okay, so maybe climbing the Grouse Grind, and drinking beer and eating decadent cheesecake the day before a long run wasn’t the smartest running decision made. The first 5 km felt like my body was twisted up into a million knots and it was not going to untwist kindly, oh no. I was struggling to maintain a constant pace, or even just a good pace, I was slow, oh man, was I ever slow. And my ankles and calves were so super tight, I was begging the running gods to take pity on me. And yet, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. That cheesecake, ohhhhh that decadent Princess-famed cheesecake, was worth every tight step endured.


Loving the post-run stretch.

After two and a quarter years of living in the loft, Mario and I finally had my brother, sister in law and three nephews over for dinner on Saturday. And because it had been so long (my sister in law, who is one of my most favourite persons on the planet, had never even seen our place) I had to roll out the red carpet, had to. And in my world, that red carpet involves cheesecake, a cheesecake that takes 5 hours – FIVE HOURS! – to prepare. It is that good!


This is one of my cheesecakes of yore, I was so enchanted by the most recent cake I forgot to take a picture.

But as with most delectable treats, it came at a cost. Picture a sloth in sneakers, that was me on the Seawall Sunday morning for those first 5 km. And then all of a sudden, I don’t know, it’s like I jetted into a phone booth, spun around a couple times, and came out SuperPrincess! My pace sped up, my muscles loosened up and those aches and pains, gone. The running gods listened! Now, if only the Seawall cyclists (who, I’m pretty sure are the worst cyclists in the world) could learn to follow the rules of the road and NOT nearly take me out TWICE, it would have been a near perfect middle and end run.


Some cyclists need to go back to kindergarten and learn how to share. Just saying…

SUNDAY’S RUN:

  • 11 a.m. BG before: 7.4 (1 Swedish berry)
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 13 km
  • Average pace: 6:34 min/km
  • Time: 1:25:24
  • 1 p.m. BG after: 7.8

Did you see that? Blood sugar perfection. Normally when I see my BG anything under 9.0 before the start of a run, I get paranoid that I’ll have a mid-run low and end up slurping back some sugar, but yesterday, I pretty much just let it ride aside from one Swedish Berry. And along the run, I didn’t take any gels, or pancakes or any solid nutrition for that matter, but rather I took my dietitian’s suggestion and diluted juice in with my water, which seemed to work well … although, not really sure how swell it will be once I start hitting the higher mileage. But luckily for me, I’ve got some pretty amazing running chicks, who (I had completely forgotten) had purchased me some Hammer Perpetuem Extreme Endurance Fuel for my birthday last month (along with some super delicious chocolates! Like I said, amazing!) that’s supposed to deliver stable, long-term energy with no stomach distress or glycemic spikes. Sounds pretty perfect, now I just got to give it a go.

Have you used the Hammer line of endurance fuels? What did you think?


And look who I found! Another reason to love the Seawall, great lunch dates!

Beaten physically, mentally and near fatally

So, do you think runners are like cats? Do we get nine lives too? After my last run I’m sure hoping so, because my one life is fast diminishing. Two weeks ago I was faced with a near miss as a pickup truck came screeching up behind my favourite running chick and I and proceeded to smash into a vehicle half a small condo distance away. Pretty scary right, but nothing compared to what happened to me on Saturday.

At 25 km into my 29 km run, I was pretty beaten up physically and mentally, but I could still decipher between the walk signal and the bright red don’t-you-dare-cross-this-damn-street signal. So when I saw that hand, I waited, and waited, and waited. With my leg muscles flaring up and seizing, it felt like forever before that light changed, but being the good runner that I am, I waited. When finally the walkman came, I ran. It was broad daylight, the sun was shining clearly, and while my face may have been pallid, my clothes were most definitely not. I was not wearing a mundane grey hue that would have me blend into the pavement, but rather a bright red and coral pink that glowed in the sun. So, I really have no idea how that guy who squealed his car left the second the light turned green, right into my line of path did not see me. In fact, it took another car, which this car was cutting off, to double beep its horn for this guy to slam his brakes on – literally two feet from taking me out. What the F?

I probably could have let it slide 10, maybe even 20 km in with a few choice words, but not 25. Yes he got those choice words, rather emphatically if I do say so myself, but as I continued to run, my emotions got the better of me. With near death thoughts streaming through my exhausted head, I started hyperventilating with salty tears blinding my sight. Awesome.

SATURDAY’S RUN:

  • 10:45 a.m. BG before: 7.1 (1 Dex, 1 Sharkies, no bolus)
  • Temp. basal: -50 per cent
  • Distance: 29 km
  • Average pace: 6:42 min/km
  • Average heart rate: 162 bpm
  • Time: 3:14:19
  • @45 min: GU gel @90 min: 1/2 Larabar @2 hours BG: 8.1
  • 3 p.m. BG after: 6.4

This run, admittedly was not my favourite. Not only did I see my life flash before my eyes, but almost right from the get-go, I was having some, uhm, sour belly issues. And that first GU gel into my belly did NOT help those issues.

Washroom stop No. 1, Second Beach Pool, 8 km:To all those who required the facilities at the same time as me and my sour belly, I do so very much apologize. You poor, poor people.

At 1.5 hours in, knowing my belly could not withstand another GU, I tried half a peanut butter and jelly Larabar. Big mistake.

Washroom stop No 2, False Creek Community Centre, 19km:I think I may have forever been banned from that toilet! Again, I do so humbly apologize.

Luckily I was at Granville Island where I was able to grab a French roll to try and sop up the sourness, which did help for a few kilometres. But because I wasn’t drinking my electrolytes for fear of upchucking them the second they went down, that pukey feeling kept running strong, and all I wanted was to be done. Which is really too bad, because this was one of my most favourite runs of my last marathon training, with beautiful sights and great memories. Trying to hold on to those memories and NOT these ones.


Taking a much-needed break on the loungers at False Creek


Even on tough runs there’s still beauty to see!

And if the run wasn’t bad enough, to add salt to injury, my hip flexors are super duper tight and my calves are super duper tight and yes, my ankle is slightly tender. How do you bounce back after a rough run?