Races

{thinking out loud Thursday} My Boston Marathon dreams are crushed

I was among the 4,562 people who qualified to run the Boston Marathon this year whose dreams were crushed yesterday 🙁

Worst email ever.

Worst email ever.

The 2016 Boston Marathon qualifying performance was 2 minutes, 28 seconds or faster than the qualifying standard for your age and gender, which for me is a sub 3-hour and 35-minute marathon time. I was only 1 minute and 3 seconds faster. I missed qualifying for this year’s race by 1 minute and 25 seconds 🙁

I know that qualifying in and of itself is an accomplishment to be proud of. I worked damn hard to run that time. But I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t totally bummed and beating myself up over things I probably had no control over, such as taking too long of a walk break at that one aid station, getting sick a week before the race and having a mysterious foot injury.

Although I’m still proud of my accomplishment last year (if I had tried to qualify a year earlier I would have made it in), that fact is it wasn’t good enough. (more…)

Race Review: Finlayson Arm 25K trail race

We weren't last!

We weren’t last!

Okay, so it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be.

Despite the typical burning quads, achy knees, extreme fatigue, unquenchable thirst and mild headache I usually experience during trail races, I had a really great race on Saturday at the Finlayson Arm 25K (actually 28K) trail race.

The thing I love about trail races as opposed to any road race is that you get to make friends out on the trail. You’re going slow enough and you’re out there for long enough that you can actually chat with other runners for a few hours, which makes the time go by quicker and makes the race far more enjoyable. That, and I find trail runners are far more friendly in general on the course than road runners are. Even the lead racer who passed me somewhere around the 13 km point said “great job” as he flew by. And words of encouragement were exchanged by every single runner after that.

Since Debbie and I ran the course two weeks ago, I generally knew what to expect. I’ve run these routes and hiked Mt. Finlayson many times, so I was well prepared to tackle the elevation  challenges on the course. I wasn’t sure how it was going to be after Holmes Peak to Jocelyn Hill, but it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. (more…)

Guest Post: Behind the lens – What it’s like to be a race day photographer

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Behind the lens at the 2015 Hatley 8km

Today I’ve got a great guest post for you from my running buddy and owner of Penny Lane Photography (who took my awesome headshot, by the way) Debbie Preston about what it’s like to be behind to camera on race day, capturing our moments of pain and pride as we run to the finish line (for free cookies). 

I can remember my first race like it was yesterday; the Times Colonist 10km race in Victoria on April 29, 2012. So not quite yesterday, but it was a memorable one. I had just started running seven months prior because I was determined to be a fit person and fit people ran, therefore I was determined to be a runner. I had a few friends who were these fit runner types who talked me into racing the TC 10km with promises of free chocolate milk and runners highs (they had me at the chocolate milk). These kind, runner friends of mine held my hand (not literally) as I tackled my first few 10km training runs around Elk and Beaver Lake. A month or so later I was as ready as I was going to be for race day, the starting gun sounded and I enjoyed every second of it (although I vowed to never run another 10km again… but that’s another story for another time). After crossing that first finish line I knew it wasn’t going to be my last race, and sure enough over the next 12 months I ran in about 10 different races and had worked my way up to a full marathon by May 2013. I had done it; I was a runner. (more…)

How to beat the post-marathon blues

Debbie and me just before the race on Oct. 13.

Debbie and me just before the marathon last year where I BQ’ed

You would think if you ran a marathon after 17 long weeks of training, hit a PR and achieved your goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon without getting injured, you would be happy. Thrilled. Satisfied. It’s time to take it easy and go on living life, right?

Yes… but no.

It’s not that easy when you’re a runner. You have that day-after elation (or crushing sadness) of achieving (or not achieving) your goal. You tweet, Facebook and blog about your race and respond to messages like these for days: “Congrats! Well done!” or “You made the right choice to DNF, I’ve been there, it’s okay,” or “Heal up quickly! You’ll come back stronger!” After that, you get an email from the marathon photography company notifying you that your race photos are ready and you laugh/reminisce while browsing through them online (“that must have been near the end, look at my face! And what am I doing with my hands? I would never pay $50 for these!”). (more…)

How I’m changing up my fitness routine for fall

In three weeks I’ll be running 28 km of rock and root-covered trails with 4,000 feet of vertical for the Finlayson Arm 50. But I’ve barely been out of the trails lately, let alone done much running. My last long trail run was about a month ago when I did 23 km. Then I took a week of vacation. Then got sick. Then helped Matt move. I did manage to go for a  2.5 hour hike this Sunday… but now I’m sick again. Ugh.

This weekend will be our longest run, where we’re actually going to run the entire race course. I’m going to do it, but it’s not going to be pretty. Although this race was just supposed to be something fun for me to do with my running buddies and to keep me moving and motivated during the summer, I’m looking forward to changing up my fitness routine for fall to something more manageable. Especially considering both my personal training business and freelance writing have picked up considerably these last few weeks, which is awesome, but makes hitting the trails for 3+ hours on the weekend a bit tricky. (more…)

#WorkoutWednesday: My Finlayson Arm 25K trail race training plan

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

Views from the Finlayson Arm 50K/25K course

I finally signed up for a race.

It’s been almost eight months since the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon, and I must admit I’ve been slacking in the running department. I took a planned break from training to focus on building strength and flexibility for the first few months of this year, but have started to get bored and unmotivated to workout. My workout routine has looked something like this since January:

Monday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Tuesday – 30 minutes of HIIT or an easy 45-minute run
Wednesday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Thursday – Easy 45-minute run
Friday – 35-40 minute upper and lower body strength circuit
Saturday – 1 hour hike, 30 minutes of yoga or a rest day
Sunday – Easy 45-minute run or a rest day

Although my fitness-related goal for this year is to work on yoga inversions, I love having an event or something to train for as it gives me something tangible to work towards. Plus, I love participating in races – the nervous excitement, the runner camaraderie, the race shirt and medal, a sense of accomplishment… who doesn’t love the race-day experience?

So, last week I signed up for the Finlayson Arm 25K. It’s a challenging trail race incorporating all my favourite mountains in one of my most favourite places to run: Gowlland Tod Provincial Park. (more…)

Looking for a challenge? Enter to win one FREE entry into any Western Canadian Reebok Spartan Race!

image002Have you ever participated in one of those obstacle course races? I won’t lie — I’ve never had the desire to do a Tough Mudder or Spartan Race (which is apparently even harder than Tough Mudder) because I’m too worried about injuring anything that could hamper my running and yoga activities. But if you ARE into obstacle course races (and are far more badass than I am) I have one FREE race entry to give away for any Western Canadian Reebok Spartan Race in an open heat PLUS a discount code you can use for 15% off any race! (See below for how to enter).

What’s a Spartan Race?

A Spartan Race is a an obstacle course race consisting of three distances (sprint: 3 miles and 15 obstacles; super: 8 miles and 20 obstacles; and beast: 12 miles and 25 obstacles) and various challenging obstacles that include elements of fire, water, mud, barbed wire and something called Hell on Earth… whatever that is. Sounds delightful, doesn’t it? (more…)

Mind over marathon: What to do when your body wants to quit

My BQ attempt at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria last year, ignoring the pain!

I wish I could train for a marathon without running those 3-hour-plus long training runs. No matter how beautiful my running route is and how interesting the podcasts I listen to during my long runs are, I always start thinking about how hungry, tired and chaffed I am and how much I just want to stop running and be back at home.

I guess I sort of skipped the long runs in 2013 during training, but that’s because I already put in those once weekly 3-5 hour long run days several months before while I was training for the Squamish 50. Then I took a two-month break, got up one day and ran 24 km, and then ran a marathon a week later.

I know there are marathon training methods where your longest training run is only about 25 km. These plans also include several longer runs (12-16 km) per week, plus a day or two of strength training and a tempo run. Although the proponents of this method say your endurance will be marathon-ready and you are less likely to overtrain and injure yourself by skipping the once-per-week high mileage runs (which may be true), here’s why I don’t like that method: you miss out on training your brain. (more…)

I DID IT! I qualified for the Boston Marathon!

I can't walk... but I did it!

I can’t walk… but I did it!

Holy crap — I did it!

Somehow, despite an ambiguous foot injury and a head cold that made life miserable during the last week of taper leading up the the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon on Sunday, I managed to squeak under the Boston Marathon qualifying time for my age group by a minute. I finished the race in 3:33:57 without breaking my foot, vomiting, or going down in a blaze of glory and ending up in the medical tent. Yes I felt horrible, yes I felt like vomiting, and yes my legs felt like they could give out at any minute. But I wasn’t going to give up; I had already made up my mind I’d be running as hard as I could and finishing the race, injury or sick or whatever. There was no way I wasn’t going to try. Not with a BQ that close. (more…)

Race Review: MEC Victoria Race #4 – 15K distance

The start/finish line.

The start/finish line.

With the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon about a month away, I decided to throw a speedy, long-ish distance race into my training plan at the last minute. The MEC Race #4 event, which happened on Sunday, September 7, offered three race distances (a 5K, 10K and 15K) along a route I’m very familiar with, as it’s just steps from my front door. I signed up for the 15K race, and decided to run it at my tempo run pace (about 4:30) for as long as I could as a pre-marathon tune-up.

The MEC races are fairly small in terms of the number of participants, which is great if you’re looking to run fast. I found myself trying to keep up with the speedy women in the front, whereas at a larger race I probably wouldn’t have pushed myself as hard. The price is also incredibility reasonable: For only $15, you get a timed race, post-race snacks, a free 15-minute massage, David’s Tea, coffee and medals for the top three men and women overall. (more…)

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