Thursday, March 31, 2011

Soaring with the Eagles

My usual Wednesday night routine means heading over to the North Van Running Room and running with the guys for a 10km hilly tempo. I started this routine shortly after we moved to North Van two years ago, as a way to keep up training, as well as get to know the NV neighbourhoods.

I should mention that the guys who I have been running, or more accurately, chasing, train with the Capilano Eagles running club. There are two guys, Dominic and Doug, who I have been running with, and I literally bust a lung every Wednesday trying to keep up with these two fifty-something guys, as they truck up the hills. Seriously, they have been good motivators.

Another point to make, is keeping up with these two has been a bit of mental game for me. I call it "chasing the white rabbit." Fear makes a great motivator, so running after Dominic (who always wears a white t-shirt or singlet), has kept me from getting lost as we run in circles on the North Shore. I attribute this to be the single reason why I have become a faster runner, I don't want to get lost.

I noticed the past two Wednesdays, that neither Dominic or Doug have been out, and the word is that they are both injured. Not good, since they are running the Big Sur marathon. Instead, I have been running with a newish addition named John. He's also a member of the Capilano Eagles, and as usual, puts my lungs and legs to the test.

What I found out last week, was this new guy John, was one of the North Shore dozen who went to the Boston marathon last year. So it was great both last week, as well as this week, to pepper him with questions about the race. Everything from how wide are the roads for the first 8km, to pacing for the course, and how to ensure to enjoy the whole experience. I am hoping that I will have more questions about Boston to ask next week, so by the time the plane lands in MA, I am rearing to go!

I was supposed to visit the chiropractor this evening before heading out to speedwork. I am one of those strange breeds who really enjoys going to the chiropractor. Call me crazy, but there is something about when things are back in alignment and pain-free, it's a bit addictive. Unfortunately, traffic was absolutely horrific absolutely everywhere, which meant I had to call and cancel my appointment. I really tried, but it just wasn't in the cards.

This left me a little deflated, as I could really have used a little work on the left hip. I ended up stalling a bit before heading out, as I could really tell the enthusiasm for speedwork was quickly fading. I decided to make it a fun run, just for the sake of getting myself out there. I decided, it was time to go east.

I created a route that took me towards Lynn Valley. The twist was to continue past Mountain highway, and then meet up with the Lynn Creek trail down to Marine. A completely new route for me, but it was awesome to run along the river and take in the beauty. North Van trails seriously rock. Continued on my path along Low Road, Esplanade and then up the hill to home. A good little 14km knocked off for the books. Sweet!

Speaking of books, here are some stats for my training for March:


22:38 hours run

9:57 of those being long runs (over 20km minimum and 104km total)

Did I mention it's taper time?

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Letter from Hopkinton...

So I came home from work feeling a little tuckered out after a long commute home. I had intended to go for a 10km recovery run, but decided it was better to be prudent and rest following the race and flu, and take it easy. So I will admit, when getting settled in, there was a nice discovery when sorting through the mail. It was a letter from Hopkinton.

I will admit that I had checked out the Boston Marathon website, that I could expect to receive my bib number packet around April 4th. It was nice to receive the Welcome booklet with all of the necessary details for my journey to Boston.

The past few weeks have really been a full-circle time for me. After all, it was the First Half two years ago, when I so badly injured my left hip, that I truly doubted if I ever ran again. I had to take 12 full weeks off from any activity because the pain so was so intense. Thankfully, I found the right people who helped me with treatment (yay Jenn @ Moveo with ART!) to get me back on track. Then, just last February, I finally achieved the goal that I had obsessed to achieve for years, finally qualifying for Boston. I couldn't believe how much I could cry at completing my 17th marathon, but qualifying certainly brought on the tears. Finally, revisiting Birch Bay this past weekend with the 30km really made it feel full circle, with running along the same course that helped get to this place, final preparations for Boston. It feels quite surreal. So that's my bit about Boston...

On other details, I am starting to get things organized for life after Boston. Namely, changing up the training to prepare for the Oliver Half IronMan in June. Have I done anything yet for training in the other two disciplines??? Uh, that would be a no. So hopefully I can start getting on the bike and get some swims in sometimes in the next couple of weeks. I can dream, right?

The other detail I started working on, was volunteering at IronMan Canada. I have decided that since I am bankrupting my race budget for this year with Boston, IMC was just not in the cards. Geoff, our neighbour, is planning on signing up for next year, so we have decided that we want to volunteer this year. I realllllly enjoyed volunteering at the finish line back in 2008, so I am looking forward to volunteering again. Geoff and I will decide which area we want to volunteer, as I do have to keep in mind that I am committed to being Greg's Iron Sherpa. Gotta look after him leading up to and supporting him on race day of course!

In all, I think it's rounded out to be a pretty darn awesome day. Yeah, it would have been nice to get out and run, but I really want to make sure that I show up to Boston feeling healthy and strong, so one more day of rest is probably for the best. And if I really needed something else to help ease the mind, at least there was Biggest Loser tonight, which is always a good thing. ;-)

Monday, March 28, 2011


Helllooooo So it's Monday, and I sit here, at home, typing out the little blog report, with Piper the cat on the lap. I'm sick. As reported before, I ran the Birch Bay 30km road race on Saturday. I have to believe that it went over as well as I could have planned. I followed my plan, and happy with the result. However, immediately following the race, like 30 seconds after stopping, I started experiencing wicked stomach cramps. I thought it was just the usual post-race stomach upset, but the unsettled stomach didn't seem to want to go away. It's not uncommon for me to shy away from foods post race for a couple of hours, even though it's so important to refuel for recovery. The stomach ache persisted, and in fact, became increasingly worse. Greg and I went for lunch with our friends who did the race, and unfortunately, I couldn't really eat my food, and had to make a few trips to the bathroom. Following lunch, I had Greg pull to the side of the road, as I needed to toss my cookies beside a car-b-q, the stomach hurt that bad. Greg drove to the Birch Bay Market, and I stayed in the car and slept for 20 minutes. Our trip to the border was a bit stressful, as anytime I tried to sit upright, my stomach started cramping severely. It didn't help matters that we went into the line-up where we were grilled with questions, even if we only spent $12 on cheese and milk. So the drive home felt long, even for being an hour drive. As a result, Sunday was spent feeling cramped and sleeping. I had to catsit Charlie from across the street, but otherwise, did much of nothing. I woke up this morning, and things had not improved much at all. So I made the decision to stay home and just rest. I don't think that this stomach issue could be attributed to the race. My coworkers have been dropping like flies all last week with the stomach flu. I started feeling a bit off during the race, and perhaps some of the things I was experiencing, such as elevated heart rate, and kept feeling hot & cold during the race, may be indicators of what was to come. So just because this race was to prepare for Boston, here are some details that may assist for my planning. Nutrition: Breakfast @ 5am: 1c Shreddies, 1/2c skim milk and 1c large coffee with splenda (180+70=250) 7:15am: 1 bottle of Boost, chocolate (240 calories) 8:15 (15 min before race): 1 power gel, double latte (100 calories), and 50mg caffeine, with water =600 calories pre-race Race: gels taken @ 45min, 1:30, 2:10, with water. One bottle of Hammer Perpetuem @ 150cal, drunk 3/4 of it. =400-450 calories during Approximately 2250 calories burned during event. Gear: Weather forecast was low of 1C and build up to 7C by noon. Overcast with light winds Wore Seattle Marathon long sleeve shirt Nike capris Sugoi vest IMC mesh cap Thoughts: Very happy with the choice of clothes at the beginning. Started to feel really warm about halfway through, and folded vest collar in and unzipped, usual insane sweat at front. No issues with chafing for clothes. Think may not go with vest as not easy to deal with, and felt too warm. Covered bruised second toenail on right foot with band-aid, and no issue, I still have it! Will repeat for Boston to help save my nail. New shoes, worn now for 2 weeks, so they felt really good. Nutrition of 600 calories beforehand seems a bit much, normally I would aim for about 450-500 calories. It was hard to gauge, as there was more time between breakfast and race (3.5hrs), so I was worried that I was going to run out of gas during the race. Well, off to take some more Pepto!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

my Birch Bay Road Race - 30K results

my Birch Bay Road Race - 30K results From the source....

Birch Bay 30km Race Report... following the Moment of Truth

So.... remember how I was a little anxious about the Birch Bay 30km just two days ago? Well, the day has passed, and now it's time to reflect and learn. The day started at the ungodly hour of 4:45am. The plan was to get up at 5am, prep, and then leave the house at 5:30, so we would make it to the border by 6:30. That part was accomplished, which allowed me to check in for my race bag by 6:40am. I was really impressed how well organized this event was, with tons of friendly volunteers and roarin' to go by 7am. It worked out well, as it allowed us lots of time to go to the one area that I wasn't familiar with on the course, Semiahmoo Parkway, and see what the turnaround was like. I have to admit that I was a little nostalgic. After all, this was the same course where I first qualified for Boston last year, and it was nice to revisit, as my prep race before Boston. It really felt full circle. We drove to the turnaround, and proceeded UP the hill to follow the course back to the start line. The interesting thing about this race was that it was a completely new distance for me. It's a little more serious than the half (that additional 9km does do a kick in the pants), but not as dramatic a distance as the marathon. I probably should have tapered to some degree, but the only thing I did was not run on Thursday and Friday. My legs were still sore and tired from last Sunday's 32km Pancake Run, and I had been experiencing hip and achilles issues all week. Greg also took over my eating plan, so I have been subsiding on 1200 calories a day, which left me feeling a little hungry. The race itself started as one mass start, for all of the 5km, 15km and 30km participants. Interesting approach, and the one thing I had to remind myself was that the volume of people would decrease as we moved through the different stages. My strategy was to go out conservative, then push it a bit more during the mid stage and then try to negative split the last third if possible. I had a couple of friends who were also doing the race. My friend Grace was planning on running a similar pace to me, and so I chose to run behind her for the first 7km-ish before we moved onto the hills section. Once we moved onto the hills, I tried to be consistent in my pacing, and really pay attention to my heart race and breathing. This time of year seems to aggravate my asthma, so I was trying to make sure that I stayed comfortable. After all, it was 9km uphill gradual climb, settle out with a downhill for the turnaround and then 9km downhill. Around 13km I started to have a tough time with the breathing, so at an aid station, I took a cup of water after taking a gel, to bring the heart rate down from 165bpm to 159bpm. Those 6 beats can really make a difference between gasping and coping. I had to stop again at 20km with another glass of water, choked momentarily, and then a woman who was running right behind me, took off, and I couldn't catch her again. By the time I was coming to the last 5km, I was really starting to feel it, and I really wanted to stop, as the heart rate was averaging around 163bpm. But I pushed through and wanted to prove to myself that I am meeting my Boston training goals, and this race would prove it. The race has at the last 150 meters, a small hill that is about 8% grade. Bit of a kicker when you are trying to gut it out. The woman who had passed me earlier, had to walk it, and I pushed myself to keep running and almost catch her. She finished just ahead of me, but I was really happy with the result. So.... these are the stats: Time was 2:35:30, goal was 2:35 - Mission Accomplished! Pace 5:11/km Overall placing, 20th, 7th woman, and 3rd in the Women's 35-39 Age Category. I came home with another shiny new medal, a pretty 3rd place ribbon, and a big smile on the face. The only other thing I came home with, was wicked stomach cramping, puking and upset tummy. Something tells me I may have the flu. But I will work through it, because this means I am officially tapering for the Boston Marathon. On a side note, I was thrilled for my friends who did this race. It looks like everyone achieved what they set out to do which is always great to hear. Good on ya guys, way to rock it!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Moment of Truth

So here it is, Friday night, and doing what I would normally do when there is a hockey game on... sit on the computer and obsess about running. However, today I have a good reason to obsess, as I am running the Birch Bay 30km in the morning.

I have to admit that I am a little nervous about this race. I`ve never done a race of this distance before, and it feels a little foreign to be honest. It`s not like the standard half marathon, and definitely not a full. But I think where the nervous hints of trepidation lies, is that I am treating this as my MOMENT OF TRUTH run.

I had a few friends suggest to me to do this run as my last long run before Boston as a benchmark for what I should aim for as a pace for Boston. Really when you think about it, when training for a race, you have a fairly good idea of what pace to do, but there still is the question mark of whether you are as trained as you think you are.

This bit of anxiety stems from my February. I had a rockin race at the First Half half marathon, and achieved a new PB- 1:43:42. I am quite happy with how that came together. However, immediately following, I came down with a seriously nasty cold that lasted for two solid weeks. And once I decided I was well enough (loosely put), I ran 32km in the big snowfall last week. (Okay, so I decided to be completely stubborn and stupid, it happens!). Running in the snow in North Van & West Van was great, there were no issues, and due to padded district budgets, there was heaps of snow removed and salt = no snow on the roads. However, bliss came to an end when I encountered slush at Dundarave, which became a test of balance for about 5km. Needless to say, I finished my run in more of a clamshell position due to the hip flexors packing it in. So my February dampened my confidence and instilled the speck of fear for tomorrow. ´(Like my long story short.)

I am looking forward to getting out to Birch Bay again. After all, it`s where I first qualifed for Boston, and the views were spectacular out there, looking to the North Shore mountains. Following the race, we will do a bit of shopping before heading home to relax.

On a separate note, we are confirmed for our glam hotel in Boston. We are staying at the Ames Hotel, which will be a 1-mile stagger from the finish line. I am really starting to get excited about our upcoming trip and doing the race. Yay! Did I mention it is now only 23 days away...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Highs and Lows

For some very odd reason, I have always liked Thursdays. Perhaps it's the final stretch of the week, one more sleep until sleep in territory, or that I was born on a Thursday. I dunno, but for some reason, I like them.

Today happened to be one of those days where I wasn't quite enjoying it. The past few days have left me tired both mentally and physically, and I am trying to get in the right mental game for my upcoming 30km road race, the Birch Bay 30km.

One of the challenges I have been dealing with, is dealing with friends. Bless Facebook, for the opportunity to connect with friends, keep up to date on happenings, and catch a glimpse of what other people face in a day. Through facebook, I have been keeping tabs on a couple of friends. Two in particular, as they both have been dealing with their own struggles. The first friend, K, is dealing with breast cancer. She just underwent another surgery to hopefully clear the last of the cancerous tumours and rid her of this horrible disease. K, like usual, has had the most amazing attitude. Nothing stops this woman from making the absolute most out of life, and it's pretty obvious that cancer isn't going to stop her. She's pretty darn incredible, and I have to say that I feel blessed that I know her as a wonderful friend. So I am rooting for her as she heals from surgery on Tuesday.

A second friend, Miss E, was someone from my running days. She has had a tough time in recent years, and is currently in a position where she is now homeless and struggles to deal with addiction. The only support it seems that I can offer, is messages of support and encouragement, and telling her not to give up.

When dealing with circumstances such as what my friends have endured, it really puts things into perspective. We all get "lifed", but it's how you deal with those issues, that make you who you are. Sometimes when you think that you can't fathom anything worse, the universe dishes another blow. But then, you turn a corner, and it changes completely. And it's pretty incredible to see how you can go from a deep valley, to a spectacular vista.

So through it all, be nice to yourself in those valleys, for the beautiful view at the top will be absolutely worth it.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Boston Approaching!

So today I received a special little email from the folks at the Boston Athletic Association. I have to admit, every time I receive an update from them, my heart goes a flutter. How could it not with something like the Boston Marathon?

I am told that I can expect to receive my race documents so I can pick up my race package. I am starting to get really excited about going to Boston, and have created a tentative list of things to do and see while there. In fact, the list includes:

  • Pick up race gear

  • Buy Finisher’s Gear after the race!

  • Go to see the Boston Red Sox!

  • Visit Harvard University

  • Patriot’s Day celebrations

  • Faneuil Hall Quincy Marketplace. (Originally built in 1826 as a meat and green grocery hall, it now contains over 100 shops, caf├ęs and restaurants).

  • Go for a great dinner in North End, full of Italian restaurants

  • RunBoston running tour (

  • Outlet mall- Kittery in New Hampshire (1hr north of Boston, and 1 mile of outlets)

  • Wrentham Premium outlet mall

There is no sales tax on clothes under US$175 and only a 6.25% sales tax otherwise. Can you tell, I am excited??? Shopping in the states, yay!!!

In other news, I have been working on my plan for the upcoming Birch Bay 30km on Saturday. I have to admit, I am not sure what the best strategy should be going in. I have nicknamed this race "The Moment of Truth." It will certainly reveal how well the training has really gone. But also, it will give me one last big run before I begin taper for Boston.

Have I mentioned shopping following Birch Bay too? ;-)

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

2 Seconds per mile...

Apparently, that's what it equates to when you lose 1lb... two seconds per pound per mile.

Although I swear I have been pretty darn good in eating and tracking these days, the weight has not been coming off as part of the Boston training. It's gotten to be a bit frustrating really. So my lovely husband sat me down last night for a "talk." He's willing to prepare all my meals for me for the next 3.5 weeks, around 1200cals, as long as I stick to it. I was a little blown away by his proposal, and so of course, I agreed. It won't be easy, but clearly, I have the best husband ever.

My hip flexors, gastroc and all sorts of other ligaments and tendons are super duper tight these days. Made the trip to the chiro this evening a little tense and interesting. I have been given the instructions to take the Stick to it, and roll out the knots. And then return in 1 week, after my Birch Bay 30km.

Just goes to show that I like to keep things interesting. Besides, what would training be like if it were completely injury-free?

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Hamster Wheel

Ever have one of those days when you come home from work, feeling a little exhausted and like you didn't get anything done? A day where you may have just felt you were running on a hamster wheel? Well, that's me, at 6:29pm, fresh home from work.

My company hired a new president six months ago who was "sales driven." This in turn, has created a whole new focus on building business and growing our existing accounts, rah, rah, rah. You catch my drift. Anyhow, there are just some days where I come home more exhausted than when I woke up.

But thank goodness it's my designated rest day! And to celebrate the occassion, I wore my brand new compression socks to work today, and made no apologies. I am such a trigeek! Hee!

In the meantime, I will see how long it takes before the hubby comes home, which should be anytime. Perhaps I should go see if we have any food for dinner.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Bossy Bessie from Broadway

So today was a special day. Not only being officially the first day of Spring (yay!), but was also the coveted "Pancake Run", held by the Denman Running Room here in Vancouver. This is a long-standing tradition during the course of training for the Vancouver Marathon, where the different Running Rooms in the lower mainland converge to Denman, and have the opportunity to run part of the Vancouver Marathon course. It is always an interesting day, as you have the opportunity to catch up with some old friends, as well as run with people from all corners of the lower mainland.

I came to the event with an agenda, and frankly, I will not apologize. Primarily, it was to make it clear from the very beginning, that I was going to focus on pace and not participate in a 32km hammerfest. For many, this is the first crack at the longest distance in the program, and the longest they have ever run. For me, it was an opportunity to get one of my biggest workouts, without being completely blown apart because the pace was too fast.

I recognized within the first 300m that I had to speak up and fast or else it would have been too fast a pace. There were others who jumped in and backed me up to focus on working together to ensure that we maintained the 5:45/km pace. I have to admit that my old bossy ways surfaced, and quite frankly, it was like a visit from a good old friend. Hehe.

Things went well. In fact, I think it was one of the best runs I've had this training schedule, largely due to the fact that we were consistent in our pace. The weather was awesome and I didn't forget any nutrition, so things were great. No chafing as well. In all, it was a 20-miler success story.

Following the run, I put on the fancy-dancy new compression socks. I feel so.... compressed. We'll see if all this hype of 25% faster recovery is factual, or a bunch of ballyhoo. I will keep you posted.
So I am off to get cleaned up, do much of nothing, and then Chinese Food with Aunty Anne! Ciao!

Saturday, March 19, 2011


Why hello there.

I know, it's been a very long time. I have been very busy stalking other people's blogs, and totally neglecting mine. Not that I haven't thought about it. Really. Just too darn lazy to type I guess!

I have been recently inspired to get back to the drawing blog board by a few things. It seems everyone and their dog have blogs (thanks to our modern narcissistic society), and quite frankly, maybe it's time I shared some of my thoughts too. Sure,why not.

So I did a little messing around on the 'puter, and perhaps it may be starting to take shape. There are a few things that I am going to have to get sorted. Like posting more than once a year, and maybe adding a few things like pictures. So baby steps. My first post for 2011.

A few things have happened since my last posting. Firstly, I finally qualified for Boston, and running it in 4 weeks time (yay me!). Secondly, I did a kick ass year of triathlon for 2010. I completed 4 half ironmans, 1 IronMan Canada and 3 marathons. I was busy, and then I was TIRED. But, I PB'd in all but one race (Sooke), but even then, I came 3rd in my age category, so what was lost in time, was made up with an extra medal. Nothing says awesome like external gratification!

Some things have stayed the same. Greg and I are still doing great. We love our house and celebrated 2 years in January. We have an awesome cat named Piper. I celebrated my second anniversary with RHPL just this past Wednesday. So in short, things are good.. really good.

Training for Boston has been good, and eventful. I had originally decided to use the Hal Higdon program. It's a bit crazy, and I didn't quite understand some of the rationale behind some of the schedule (like who does 16km race pace run on Saturday and then run 32km LSD the next day?!?!). So I fired Hal and returned to my Running Room standard. Ten years of RR does tend to keep consistency. However, I have tried to do lots of up/down hill running to prepare for Boston. My achilles heels and hip flexors aren't too happy about it, but I will keep them at bay with ART and push forward. As a result, I received a new PB at the First Half half marathon- 1:43:42, a 1 1/2 minute improvement from my previous PB at Delta half marathon. Huh!

Well, it looks like I should get my butt in gear and get some dinner. Apparently I am running 32km in the morning and will be rewarded with pancakes. Yum!