Sunday, October 31, 2010

welcome to the bonk

Slowly return to 'training'.  Meaning, getting back to what you used to do at minimal intensity and getting slapped in the face while doing it.  I believe glycogen is to blame....

For example this week included:
10 repeats of hill sprints that turned my legs into jelly, gave me a headache and almost double vision
Leisurely bike ride to Deep Cove in which I almost couldn't go on (thank you coasting) due to a mid-way bunger honk.

Then I actually found a recipe for "bonk training", which I obviously did without wanting to:
Commonly bonk training involves cardiovascular exercise on an empty stomach first thing in the morning, when glycogen store levels are low, as well as consuming coffee or caffeine equivalent to 2 or 3 cups of coffee and running or cycling at a casual pace (60% of max heart rate) for 20-90 minutes. Glycogen is the only fuel that can supply and support your exercise efforts above 70% of MHR (maximum heart rate). Therefore, when you bonk, your body is forced to dip into your fat and protein stores instead.

Thanks for the reality check Mother Nature.  Even this blog post might be a bit bonky.
And the best cure for this - HALLOWEEN CANDY!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Goodlife Victoria Marathon Race Report 2010

Seeing as I am doing a spectacular job of couch surfing today I figured I should get a race report done before I let it go too long, and forget the details.

The newly named Goodlife Victoria Marathon, which I once poo-poo-ed, remained just as good, if not better than before.  This was my 5th consecutive run at the marathon in Victoria and it didn't disappoint.  Here's how it rolled out.

Friday: Time to tackle the always chaotic and never holiday spirited ferry traffic.  We did, however, run into some lovely people from Forerunners and they kindly took us along into town with them - thanks to Sue, Steph and Jorg!  Off to J.R.'s house safe and sound.

Saturday: Registration done early-ish - ran into some more friends at the expo - Sue and super half marathoner Rich S.!  Then the exciting part - lunch!  I have to say I don't think I've ever been so excited to meet a 'famous' person in my life.  Silken Laumann.  She and her friend David were grabbing some food at the Noodle Box and the only free seats were beside us!  I saw her in the line up and was almost ready to choke on my soup when she asked if the seats were free.  Then I realized my hand was shaking when I was dipping naan bread into my soup and I tried to hide it and calm myself down.

Mostly I tried not to harass this woman and tell her that she was my biggest childhood sports hero of all time, but we did have a little chat about racing flats, running styles, and our "last supper" before the big race tomorrow - she was so friendly and down to earth.  I can't really describe how exciting this was for me so I'll just leave it at that.  I wished her good luck in the race and she did the same for me.  Talk about a good luck omen!

After coming home I waited to digest soup and when I finally went out of the house to do a little easy run and some drills - it started pouring like crazy - so I figured the race couldn't be any worse than this should the weather turn sour - and that it wasn't that bad after all.

Then it was off to dinner with a big crowd of people from Forerunners.  This was really fun!  I have never been a part of a larger group of people in a race like this - and it was so nice to see some familiar faces before the race and see how excited everyone was to run the next day.  I almost didn't even recognize some people because they were so clean and not wearing tech shirts and spandex.

Sunday: Waking up at 6am felt like absolutely LUXURY compared to my last race morning wake up at 3:50am.  Leisurely breaky and ceremonial struggle with aero-braiding my hair and then it was off to the start (where I had to unfortunately Frogger myself across a street during the half marathon because it was so hard to get to the start from where I was dropped off!).

The weather looked promising but not entirely solid.  I ran into my school buddy Greg as he was coming out of the 8km finishers shoot - it was so good to see him!  After that, dumped my stuff and got moving into a warm up.  At this point I had to accept that my knee would not be pain free and I was just going to have to live with it (I have yet to post on my fairly spectacular bail over the Jericho chain gate Oct 1st).  I kept running loops opposite to Lucy Smith and got all running celebrity shocked again, but realized that if I wasn't paying attention to what I was doing I would likely slip on the leaves and into someone's front yard - so had to refocus.  Not too long it was off to the start.

The Race:  quite a lot of things went right.  And I PB'd at 3:09:24.  11 minutes of my previous PB - which is pretty huge to me.  I wouldn't have picked a sub-3:10 time to shoot for, but I was told I could try, so I did.  And it worked - thanks Jerry!

This is a great course and it's more enjoyable every time I do it.  I was aiming for a negative split, so trying for 4:34's as best I could up until about the 20km mark - I stuck to the plan - most of the time.  I don't think I had ever paid this much attention to km splits so it was a new thing for me - and oddly I think it made the race go by faster.  That or I was in better shape - or both.  Or Ironman just makes everything else seem short - I have no idea.  Probably all 3.

At the half I slowly started to bump up the pace and try to hold on comfortably.  Shawn had been doing a great job as always popping up on so many different parts of the course that it seems like he is always there.  I had no idea where I was in relation to the women ahead of me but I finally started to reel in some women runners after being on my own in a no man's (really no wo-mans) land gap forever.  I kept sailing through the places that I've had so much pain before and was so grateful not to feel that bad this time.  But never fear, I managed to start to feel it at about 36km - I don't think anyone is immune to pain in the marathon.  The support from the sidelines is so great at this marathon and it was awesome to again see more people from Forerunners cheering people on here as it's a tough spot and support is always appreciated!

From 37-41km were no real treat and I started to feel some fatigue but did the best I could just to keep up a quick turnover and keep lifting my feet off the ground.  My calves were finally starting to complain but managed not to go into complete spasm (thank you calves) and my stride got a little sloppy, but I kept on trying to chase this girl in pink who was just simply unattainable as she was pacing almost exactly the same as me.  I had a couple kms where the splits crept up 7-8 seconds too slow but I was able to drop the splits back down again (even I was shocked).

Making slightly bonky math in my head I realized that at the '1 mile to go' marker I was sitting at 3:03:something.  I knew that if that was a low 3:03 that I could be close or under a 3:10, and when I got to the '1km to go' I was at a 3:05:something, and I was getting more confident I could get in under 3:10 - but I couldn't look at my watch again until I saw the race clock.

I tried my best to catch up to one of my high school teachers in the last 200 m but he was just too speedy.  When I could finally see the official race clock (I trust my watch only so much - I started it with the gun this year for consistency) I could read 3:09:20 something and I kept zooming along to make sure I was in under 3:10.  I was SO excited and tired!  And shocked!  Shawn was there at the finish, and Dad and Linda came along a minute or so after so meet up with me in the finishers shoot.

From there on in, it's a lot of Island Farms chocolate milk, lying in the sun on my finisher's blanket at Parliment, getting a cool age group trophy for coming 3rd in my cat, and getting even more excited when I realized I finished 9th overall for women!

This year has been a little ridiculous with wonderful race moments - but I love them!  From Boston this year, to Ironman Canada and a whopping PB at Victoria - I feel so lucky and grateful for everything I have got to experience this year.  I am so well supported by so many people and couldn't be doing this stuff without them.  I've also had a super positive experience with Forerunners Running Clinics over the past year and would highly recommend them to anyone looking to improve their running.  It was so nice to be a part of a bigger group this year at the marathon and it made the experience that much more special!

That's it for another never short race report!

I was watching a video clip on Haile Gebrselassie today, and in it, he said:
"Win yourself first" , and it makes all the sense in the world.

Win Yourself First


Tuesday, October 5, 2010

why we train the way we train

From the Running Times Sept 2010 Issue.

a little inspiration & a little taper

With a combo of being laid up on the couch for a few days after a rough crash on a run (yes, a run) and finally getting my own laptop (after a couple of years without my own), I've finally committed to getting some posts up.

What I'm thinking about these days is the taper, and, the scramble to recover from injury in time for a race - aka 'forced' taper.  So there has been some downtime - and I'll post some great articles I've read through in the last few days later.  For now, the taper.

The Taper: 
 I've gone through tapers before, and as hard as they are to commit to the taper, they really do work.  I've found one of the hardest workouts to do this week was the 20 min 'easy' run.  All your body wants to do is tear down the road, when everything feels so easy.  You've got to stop when it's easy, pull yourself away from that need to feel a hard workout, something you love to do.  So it's hard, but it has to be done.

 The taper is test number one in confidence, with test two to come up in the first 5-10 kilometres of the race when you need to stick to your plan and race how you've planned to race.  I hope I can do that this Sunday in Victoria.  My plan is to stick to a pace and hold it for the first half of the race - 21 kilometres - and not to go too fast.

 My last marathon was a negative split and I've never felt so good running a marathon (and it was during an Ironman, so that has to say something about negative splitting).  My marathon earlier this year was just about even splits, just positive by about 40 seconds, and that felt pretty good too.  So I believe it - I just have to do it.

I also have to throw a few pennies in the running gods fountain and hope my knee shows up to run.  All these things are possible.  I'm excited for marathon Sunday in Victoria!