Saturday, 26 May 2012

It's a Capital Idea

It's race weekend in the Capital, one of my favorite weekends in Ottawa, second only to Canada Day.  42,000 runner unite for an extraordinary weekend of fun and fitness.  Most of the other runs I have been to have all the events on one day but not Ottawa.  The 5 and 10 K runs are Saturday night and the half and full marathon the next day.  I have participated in 5 Ottawa Race weekends, 4 times running/walking the 5k and once walking the half marathon.  Running on Saturday afternoon takes a bit of getting use too, it's usually hot and sunny, not my favorite conditions and it is really crowded.

I debated long and hard before I registered this year but I could not miss it and registered for the 5k again.  After last weekends hard run in Halifax, I am just going to enjoy the run, take in the atmosphere and be in the moment; no music, no Garmin, no expectations, just the pure joy of running, me and the crowds.  Tonight is not about personal bests, speed or time, it's about living in the moment and stopping to smell the roses while you can.

inspiring motivational quotes (36)

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

The hills are alive with the sound of running

Hills and heat are not a runners best friend but that is what I faced in Halifax on Sunday.  The Bluenose Marathon is usually a cool and/or wet event but not this year.  This year we ran on a beautiful sunny hot day, a summer day we wish for all winter but do not train for.  We start training in March or even earlier for the the longer events and it is still winter and early spring, rarely do we run in really hot conditions. Only in Canada do you train in one season to run in another so it is a shock to the system when you encounter your first really hot run.

Sunday dawned with a glorious sunrise, I know as I saw it rise, and a steadily rising temp.  By race time it was over 20C and the sun was shining, not a cloud in sight.  I was trying to keep things cool, at least on the inside.  It's just like any other Sunday training run I told myself, slow and steady and you will be fine.  My goal was to help my friend Roy around the course in 75 mins but if at some point he was not feeling it, I would go and run my own race, hoping for a time under 70 mins.

Around the 2k mark, Roy realized today was not the day and we parted company and I started running alone, as alone as you can be in a sea of 3300 people.  We headed over the bridge to Dartmouth, the first of 2 bridge crossings and I was feeling fine, enjoying the view from the bridge, not enjoying weaving through the crowds of runners but trying to keep things slow and easy.  I looked at my Garmin as I finished the bridge and it showed I did a 6 min km, way to fast for me for a 10k and I knew I would pay for it later but it sure felt good at the time.  I steadily gained ground on the other runners, passing the 75 min pace bunny and then the 70 min pace bunny and started the bridge crossing back to Halifax, that bridge crossing was not as much fun but I did fine.

As I headed off the bridge I was on pace for a 66-67 min finish and then I hit North Street or should I say North Street hit me like a ton of bricks.  It was a short, very steep uphill, not very nice at the 8k point on a hot day and my early fast pace came back to haunt me.  I almost came to a dead stop at the top of the hill but the people cheering  keep me going but I was suffering.  I took my finally walk break, draining my water bottle and set off again,so ready to be done this race.  By the time the finish line was in sight,  I had nothing left in the tank but I was not going to give up.  It was not pretty and in a way I am glad they did not get a photo of me as I crossed the finish line but I did finish in 68:57, a new PB for me. The hills and heat in Halifax came close to beating me that day but as I am fond of saying "Close is only good enough in horseshoes and hand grenades"

Saturday, 12 May 2012

The "Mother" of all runs

Well tomorrow is Mother's Day and instead of sleeping in and getting breakfast in bed I will be undertaking the mother of all runs...we for me anyway.  Up to now my longest run was 12K and tomorrow I attempt 14K. Every week I go a little bit further or a little bit faster and I surprise myself about how much I can do.  A year ago I would have never thought I would run 10K and now I look to conquer 14...and soon 21.2K.

Thinking about it I guess running is a lot like being a mother.  They hand you a baby and you do not know what to do and everything is hard and a struggle but little by little it comes together. Each milestone, each passing stage, each year we struggle through and then it gets a little bit easier and we know what to do.  Every success they have is in fact a success for us, it shows us we did it right...or at least not too bad.

When we signed up for that first learn to run clinic we did not know what we were doing and we struggled through each week and at some stage it all came together.  Each new clinic was another stage to go through and we struggled through, finding our way until it all seemed to come together.  Each race we run celebrates our success, showing us we did it right...or at least not too bad.  We celebrate other runner success as well. we find more runners in our circle of friends and we form a support group to get us through each stage just like we do as new Moms.  We share advice, help each other through the tough parts and laugh and cry together.

I run with a group of amazing people at the Running Room, we all start off on Sunday morning with a smile on our face and end up at the same place, sometime later, still with a smile on our face, sore feet, tired legs but smiling through it all.

When I get tired tomorrow, as I know I will, I will think of my Mom, who was a single parent to 2 teenagers and a 2 year old and held it all together and my mother -in-law who raised 4 boys from a wheelchair.  These 2 women are the best role models I could have and tomorrow I will be running for them.

“Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!” 
― Audrey Hepburn

Monday, 7 May 2012

In Sickness and in Health

After a fabulous holiday in paradise I got sick.  Someone said it was karma, I say it was 10 hours of recycled air on the plane.  Anyway it prevented me from running most of the week so when I started to feel human on Friday, I jumped on the treadmill for a 30 min trial run to see if I could do it. When we sign up for an event it becomes our focus, we work towards it, worry about it and countdown days.  An illness or injury just before race day throws all kind of new variables into the mix, will I be able to run, can I overcome this, what are options if I can not compete.  My running buddy Roy was suffering a similar fate, a lung infection side tracked his training as well.  On Sunday I managed to complete a hilly 12k run and while the lungs were not working at 100%, I felt good.  Roy managed an 8K run as well and I can safely say the relief we both felt could be felt across the miles.  Illness and injury happens to runners, we might try to deny it but we are only human.  Taking a few days off, even a week, might be scary but we need to listen to our bodies and if we need to rest, WE NEED TO REST.  Going for that first long run might be harder but we will eventually get back to our usual routine and enjoy it even more.

11 days to the Bluenose event, 17 days to Tamarak Race Weekend and 139 days to the Army Run.

"What distinguishes those of us at the starting line from those of us on the couch is that we learn through running to take what the days gives us, what our body will allow us, and what our will can tolerate." 
-John Bingham