Me in Maui after finishing the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon. Has nothing really to do with this post. I just thought it’d be more interesting than a stock photo of ‘Happy New Year’ text with squiggles and sparkles.
I don’t usually make New Year’s resolutions. Mainly because I’m always thinking about, planning and refining my goals — personal, fitness and otherwise — throughout the year. But January 1st is a good time to reflect on the highs and lows of the previous year and how they changed you, as well as look forward to and plan what you want to achieve in the year to come.
And by planning what you want to achieve, I don’t mean the lose-30-pounds-and-make-time-to-read-more-books type of plan (otherwise known as the ‘New Year’s Resolution’) — I mean actually writing down your goals, and considering what it is you actually need to do to reach them.
For me, I knew 2011 was going to be the year I completed my first triathlon. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing or where to even start, but also I didn’t even know how to swim. With my target goal in sight (meaning I signed up for the triathlon before I even had a bike or knew how to swim), I wrote down all of the steps I needed to take in order to get there — the first being to get a good triathlon coach, which helped take all the guesswork out of the rest of the steps! (more…)
Miss May in the Van Island Runners for Cancer calendar. Photo credit: Will Winter Photography
I have to say I’ve met some super awesome runners and fellow endurance sport enthusiasts through social media.
This group of Victoria-area and social media-savvy runners of all ages, levels and abilities came together under the #yyjrun hashtag on Twitter a few years ago. We get psyched for races together, cheer each other on and support each others’ goals, offer tips and training advice, run together, suffer through injuries, training road-blocks and taper madness together, race together, and have coffee and dinner together. And most recently, we’ve come together to raise funds for a cause close to all of us. (more…)
Only in Metchosin would you get a second-place squash
So I meant be more consistent with my blog posts throughout August and September, but it was hard to find time to blog in between road trips to the Okanagan, camping, barbeques, and other more social activities that kept me outside and away from the computer.
Now that the typical west coast weather has returned to the island (sad face), I’ll probably get back to blogging weekly.
Since my first triathlon at the end of July, I’ve completed a few more races and blog-worthy runs and events, including another triathlon (a sprint distance at the Sooke International Triathlon during the first week of August), a local 5km race (where I came second in my age group and won a squash), and two epic trail runs with Hagen (one that I ran without proper trail shoes, also hungover from a wedding the night before; and one where I learned gels made of 100% agave do not agree with me), and a BC Cancer fundraiser initiative called “Van Isle Runners for Cancer”, which consisted of a calendar photoshoot (where I confirmed the fact that I take bad action shots; every race photo of me is horrible. I wouldn’t be surprised if they decide not to use my photos — Runner’s World cover model I am not). (more…)
I haven’t heard anything yet about what will happen… whether the organizers will move the swim portion to a different beach at Elk Lake, or? If anybody knows, please comment!
At least there are a few other triathlons I can do before the season ends. I think I’ll sign up for the sprint distance at the Subaru Sooke International Triathlon on August 7th, regardless. After all this training, I feel like I should do at least two this summer before marathon training starts! (more…)
My YouTube debut. Thankfully, Dave was nice enough not to film me walking.
So it turns out I did actually tear a calf muscle. At the insistence of Kirsty, I went and made an appointment with Dr.Mike to get it checked out. That was my first time going to see a specialist for anything sports-injury related, and now I know why Kirsty didn’t tell me much about what to expect.
Active Release Therapy HURTS. Dr. Mike busted out this metal spatula device and started scraping my calf, like one might try to scrape the blackened burnt part off a piece of toast. But more violently.
Then he dug his thumb right into the torn muscle and asked me to FLEX my foot, which is something that hurt to do anyways, let alone with a thumb digging into the muscle. “Go go go go go! Pull pull pull!” I felt like a Biggest Loser contestant at the mercy of Jillian Michaels the way my face was contorting in pain.
But then I hopped off the table, and I could walk without a limp. I had zero pain in my calf, and haven’t felt pain in it since. Dr.Mike works (painful) miracles.
A few other pointers he gave me: You started out to fast. Get a coach, train properly. Six half marathons in one year is too much. No running for two weeks. Take up swimming and do some light cycling. You should be good to go for the Bear Mountain 10K in November (yes! — that’s all I needed to hear).
So now my plan is to join a marathon running group and a triathlon club in January. I also need to take swimming lessons and get a proper bike. I signed up for the Gunnar Shaw as well, an off-road 10k at Thetis Lake in November that takes you through mud pits and freezing lake water (already bought some sweet trail running shoes for this adventure from MEC!), and have my sights set on doing the Island Race Series and another marathon in the spring.
Nothing helps to heal a running injury more than coming up with a new action plan — well, to help to mentally heal, anyway.
Turned down wine with friends last night and stuck with water. Have successfully spent most of my day off my feet. Got a massage and a facial this morning (okay…so a facial isn’t really necessary prep for a race, but it was awesome). Carb-loaded. Hydrated. Still need to go for that last 10-minute run to loosen up the legs and make myself a pasta dinner.
I feel pressured to run well tomorrow. I know ‘just finishing’ is an achievement in itself, but it’s not just going to be Tyler waiting for me at the finish line; my parents will be there, standing on the sidelines somewhere in Oak Bay; one of my friends said she’s going to come and watch, even though I’ve never come to watch one of her baseball or soccer games (sorry Katie); my co-workers will be there, some running and some watching.
And not only that, my whole run is going to be documented and filmed for my company’s YouTube account and plastered all over our social media.
Talk about pressure! What kind of a YouTube video would that be if I got a DNF or had to walk after 30k due to disabling leg cramps?
Dave, our videographer, said he’ll be riding his bike alongside the course, filming me as I run. Great. Can’t wait to see myself at the 35k mark, shuffling like a zombie, face contorted in pain.
I hope I can block all of that out. I just want to focus on putting one foot in front of the other – hopefully at a 5:10 pace, listening to some awesome tunes and feeding off everyone’s energy.
The Great Wall Marathon - Photo from www.great-wall-marathon.com
I have a confession to make.
I haven’t laced up my running shoes in 12 days.
In fact, I haven’t done any physical activity besides packing boxes, moving furniture and going housewares shopping.
I’ve tried everything to get out there for a run: setting my alarm clock for 4:00 am (didn’t work – went back to sleep), Tweeting my running plans for the day (never happened), putting on my running clothes as soon as I get in the door (I end up taking the dog out then looking up matching bedroom sets online). Pathetic!
But I do have to give myself some slack. With the puppy and moving and my boyfriend working 15 hour days while all of this is going on, I haven’t had much free time. I feel guilty for not spending my free time doing something productive, like cleaning or unpacking, but then I also feel guilty for not running.
I bought four running magazines yesterday. I find they are the best inspiration when I’m in the rut like this. Reading about the tips, tribulations and triumphs of running always gets me out the door. If a new mom or someone going through chemo can find time to run, surely I can suck it up and find time. Or make time, if I have to.
I find nothing gets you more motivated to run like a goal race. Sure, I have my first marathon coming up in October and I haven’t run farther than 21.1 km yet…but that doesn’t seem to be enough.
So I have a new goal now, one that was planted into my head by my best friend the other day on Facebook. She has been living in Montreal for the past four years for school, and is coming home to Victoria soon. After graduating highschool and before university, she and I went backpacking in Thailand and New Zealand for two months, and we promised each other we would travel again after university. Well, she’s done, and I’m almost done.
Yesterday she made the mistake of writing on my Facebook wall that we should run the Great Wall of China.
Turns out there is a marathon there in May, and if funds are available, we’ll be doing it.
Can’t think of a greater goal to get me psyched about running more than the Great Wall.
Had my first TC10K experience yesterday. I didn’t break 50mins, but I did beat my 10km PR by about a minute, so I was happy! Despite waiting in the cold and the throngs of people, it was a great run. My boyfriend, his friend and I made our way up to the 40-49 category because we noticed a bunch of 60+’ers where we were standing; I had never run this race before, but my boyfriend told me it’s slow going at the start, so if I wanted to run it fast we should probably move up. And slow-going at the start it was! Thirteen thousand runners made their way alongside Beacon Hill Park and out onto Dallas Road. It’s funny where you run in a crowded race – I had no idea where I was until we hit the turnaround around the 4km mark. The runners spaced themselves out a bit, but it was honestly shoulder-to-shoulder right until the last 2km. I did manage to stay within a few metres of my boyfriend the whole way, until the last km when he decided he wasn’t going to let me win this time; he only beat me by about 15 seconds though!
The run itself went great; I managed to keep a 5:40 pace for the first few kms then picked it up to a 5:15 half way through. After the hill at Cloverpoint, I ran about a 5:00 right until then finish line. I actually ran a negative split, which I can NEVER seem to bring myself to do. I usually want to gun it right off the start, because I’m afraid I won’t have the energy to finish strong if I’m too slow at the start. But I did it (mostly because you couldn’t even move fast through the crowd of people even if you wanted to), and it worked. I’m definitely going to try it for the half in Vancouver next week. I didn’t feel at all fatigued by the end, although my knees started to bug me a bit. If I didn’t have the half next week I might have pushed myself a little harder, but I’m happy with that time for now. Overall it was a great race, and I can’t wait for next year!
My body was *this* close to quitting on me last week. On Wednesday night, I started to feel very ill, and woke up the next morning with some sort of food poisoning. I called in sick to work, missed classes, the whole shebang. Thankfully, the stomach problems only lasted 3 days, and I was able to eat normal food again and go for a quick 20 minute run the day before the race.
This was not part of my training plan for the week, which consisted of a 13km, a 10km and some intervals. Instead I lay in bed and ate crackers. I bet if that didn’t happen MAYBE I could have run faster? I am happy with my time, though – my goal was first to run it in 2:20, which turned into 2:15, then 2:07, and finally I decided that if I ran it in under 2 hours, I would be happy.
My first half was an awesome experience. I actually got really jittery and nervous heading downtown at 6:30am for the race, jumping out of my dad’s car and into the street while stopped at a traffic light (we couldn’t really get any closer) to join the throngs of people excitedly heading down to the Parliament Buildings. My feet were numb, and I ended up spending about 20 minutes in line at the porta-potties, JUST making it out about 2 minutes before the gun went off. The course was packed with runners for the first bit; it must have looked bizarre to anyone facing down Johnston street to see a wall of people in spandex heading towards them. I started out fairly strong, then lost momentum on Johnston street, only to regain it again heading down Cook. Heading into Beacon Hill park, the lead runner was making his way out with a police escort; he must have had a good 3km lead at that point.
After exiting Beacon Hill, I found my pace (and my 45 minute running track, which I thought got erased and panicked because I love it). It was so great to see people out on the street watching and cheering you on. I was a little confused when people were yelling “Go Bri!” – I would look back thinking maybe my friends had come to watch, but I didn’t recognize the people at all. Everyone was so supportive and awesome up through Oak Bay, and at the turn around point I had a second wind (or maybe the Cliff shots kicked in) and ran at a 5km pace. Coming up Clover Point, I began to hurt a bit, but was distracted from the pain by watching the wheelchair racers, the first pack of the marathon runners heading out onto Dallas road, the folks dancing in ’50s-style garb, the “coach” in his plastic Elvis hair, the strange man standing alone watching in a fedora and trench coat I noticed earlier (creepy), and the encouraging signs near the end telling me that “hills are my friends”. I was looking at my watch every two minutes by this point, and was kind of unsure where the finish line was; I saw flags, but nothing that said “finish”. It was only until I was 100 meters away that I realized I was almost done. I looked at my watch one last time, 1:59:36, and sprinted as fast as I could over the timing mats. I ran under the clock at 2:00:36, so I knew it would be close. I thought I might have passed out from running so hard at the end, but managed to shuffle along to get the timing chip removed and have the metal placed around my neck. I spotted Tyler, (my bf) who was beside me for one second at the start of the race until he took off and ran a respectable 1:44:02.
Tyler said he won’t be doing that again, but I think he will. I know I will – what a great experience. The volunteers and race organizers were amazing and did a spectacular job. Next year I’m going for the full 42!
I’ve already signed up two more races: the Bear Mountain 10km in November, and the Maui Oceanfront Half Marathon in Maui in January. I’m going there anyways for a holiday, how could I not do it! I’m hoping to run it in 1:50, although I’m concerned about training in the cold and snow and racing in the humid, hot sun. I’ll be spending a lot of time on the treadmill this winter, I guess.