Monday, September 30, 2013

Goal Talk: 5 Sleeps Til Harvest Half

OMG where did this summer go?  In the blink of an eye - all of that time between Calgary Marathon and Harvest Half has suddenly flashed by!

Do I think my training has been particularly stellar for this race?   Well, it started off pretty good.  I had a solid month and a half of great training.  Hills. Speed. Strong long runs.  I was also coming off of new PBs in both 5K & 10K races this spring.  I figured nothing could get me down.

But then I fell out of a hammock and that screwed me up until my calf had healed.  Then I pushed it on back to back 10k races and hurt my fibula and ended up with knee pain.  I've taken some rest time and sever chiro visits and that seems to be handled.  Then, a half marathon that ended up being 25K (and filled with chafe)... Then, this morning, I woke up with a huge bump and bruise on my inner left ankle where I don't recall any trauma taking place.  The world appears to be conspiring against me.

Let's just say August and September have sucked for training.  My speed isn't where I'd like it to be.  My endurance isn't where I'd like it to be.  I'm not feeling like I am on track to meet my 2:15 goal, though maybe Saturday will surprise me.  I know my combined race times in my back to back 10ks are on track for a 2:15-2:17 half...

So with less than a week to go - I figured it was time to start laying out a few goals for Saturday...

 Goal A: 

 Goal B: 
 Sub-2:19:18 and a new PB for me. 

 Goal C: 
 Under 2:26 - this would have me beat last years time in this race. 

 Goal D: 
 Just Finish (I'm hoping it doesn't come to this...) 

I think I have 2:15 hidden in me somewhere and I hope it will show it's face on this race.  I certainly plan to give it my all.  Part of me wants to leave my Garmin at home, but I know that running naked just doesn't work for me.  If I can meet Goal B - I think I'll be very happy.  Not 2:15 happy...but a new PB would be a great way to wrap up the year.

I still need to figure out my outfit for this race too.  As few annoyances as possible is that goal.  I want to wear my magic pants, but after Loop Around The Lake, I am a bit scared about the potential chafing.  Chances are, I'll be wearing a tank and possibly a longsleeve over top.

I'm also thinking that I know a heck of a lot of people running this race.  Is anyone up for a tweetup/meetup?  Maybe coffee after the race?

Are you running Harvest Half?

Are you going into it with any goals this year?

Are you up for a tweetup/meetup after? 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Leg Preservation

(also known as the day I learned that Cookies do not a good pre-long run breakfast make.)

Today's final long run before Harvest half ended up being a colossal comedy of errors.  Thank goodness no one was there to see it go down.

First - I overslept.  I was supposed to meet Tina at Eau Claire at 8...meaning I had to leave my house by 7.  And I hit snooze.  And then woke up at 6:39.  Wandered downstairs to my phone and it turned out Tina had woken up sick and wasn't going to be able to make it.

Briefly, I contemplated crawling back into bed but then decided I would rather get the run in.  I checked the weather and it said 13C.  Yep - tank top weather.  So I put on capris and a tank.

Then I grabbed some cookies for the road and headed out before my bed could kidnap me again.

Yep - that would be my first mistake.

But DAMN were those cookies good.  And how was I to know that a handful of oatmeal raisin cookies wouldn't be the same as a pre-run bowl of oatmeal.

Ok - so then I get to Glenmore Landing and I take off my jacket so I can put on my hydration vest.   Uh yeah...13C = not so much tank weather when the wind is howling on a late September morning.  Made me wish I had put on my new Oiselle long sleeve instead.  Luckily, I always keep a set of arm warmers in my running bag (might be time to start winterizing my running bag so I have more appropriate gear...

After a pitstop at McD's...and still looking pretty skeptical about the whole choice of clothing thing...

I was ready to hit the pathway.  Boy, was I cold...and so not feeling like running.  Funny how my bed could call me so hard from 30 kms away...

I figured if I could start fast, I might be able to finish fast and just be done.  HA!  No mater which way the path meandered, I was running straight into a strong headwind.  Heck - there were whitecaps on the reservoir!

and the blurring below isn't because I'm running - it's because the wind kept blowing the leaves and trees...

Fall is well and truly upon us in Calgary.

That pathways were thankfully quiet and I could just plod along.

Unfortunately, my pants didn't want to stay put (clothing choice mistake #2) so I was needing to stop every kilometre to yank them up.

So the whole run went something like this.  Run, get tired of pushing into the wind, stop to yank up pants, walk, text Tina (who was keeping me company), try running again.

At around 4k, my shoe came untied - I am having so many issues with this happening this year.  I've NEVER had my shoes come untied in previous years, but 2013 has been the year of the untied shoe...

By halfway through (which took me about 50mins), I gave up all pretence of calling this a run.  I was walking this 10k and, quite frankly didn't care.  I turned around about a km from the canoe club and headed back.

The birds were all out and laughing at my ridiculousness...

Some silly guy was out on the water trying to row in the wind...pretty sure this is the rowing equivalent of hill training...

I caught a glimpse of some pretty hilarious spiking in my shadow so stopped again for a selfie...I was bored and ready to be done but not willing to run...

After I passed Heritage park, I decided to try to run it in...the funniest part of this whole walk was that when I did run, I was carrying on a pretty nice pace - usually around 6 min/km.   But I was only maintaining it for like 4 mins at a time...

Case in point - I got about halfway and then saw this...and walked some more. Looks like the flood changed the shoreline and nobody told the shrubbery.

In the end, I had a mediocre sunday stroll.  But I got 10k in...

Hopefully this is the last run before Harvest Half where I feel like this:

I'm just going to call it "Leg Preservation" and hope for the best next weekend...

Lessons learned:

  • Take the time for a decent breakfast...especially when you no longer have anyone waiting for you.  Cookies are not a good substitute, even if they do contain oatmeal and raisins.
  • Be prepared for the weather to be different than the temperature leads you to believe.  By mid-Sept, I should have had a few different options/layers.  I should know better.
  • Invest in more capris with drawstrings...wait, that's just a note for next time I go shopping...
  • Actually try.  Yeah - I was pretty lazy.  I probably shoulda tried harder.  Then again - sometimes you just need a rest day and getting the distance in is all that matters
  • Tapering still sucks.  This is the first goal half I've had in a while...actually trying to taper properly is hell.

The Garmin Geekery

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Friday, September 27, 2013

Friday Five

I am totally stealing this idea from Solana, mainly because I have felt particularly lacking in the blogger department this week.  With a house full of sick people, and me being the only healthy one of us, I just haven't had much time to think or write.  I thought this looked like fun :)

So, here it is...enjoy...

Five things I have a passion for
1.  Running
2.  Hiking
3.  Coffee - particularly the perfect soy latte
4.  Giving my kids an amazing and magical childhood
5.  Creativity

Five things I’d like to do before I die
1.  Tour Europe
2.  Move back to the city...any city :P  Kidding...just to Calgary or Vancouver.  Right now it feels like it's NEVER going to happen.
3.  Ride in hot air balloon
4.  Own a Bernese Mountain Dog
5.  Live to be 128 years old - since life already feels too short for all that it could possibly hold

Five reads I love
1.  Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien
2.  The Time Travellers Wife - Audrey Niffenegger
3.  A Discovery of Witches - Deborah Harkness
4.  The Neverending Story - Michael Ende
5.  JPod - Douglas Coupland

Five favorite movies
1.  Breakfast at Tiffany's
2.  Amelie
3.  Garden State
4.  Up
5.  Lord of the Rings Trilogy (after I got past the fact that Jackson obviously failed to read the books)

Fives places I want to travel to
1.  Sardinia
2.  Ireland
3.  Great Wall of China
4.  New York
5.  Mainland Europe (specifically Paris and Tuscany)

and something a little bookish ;)

Have a great weekend, y'all.  Right now, I'm tapering and am hoping to not contract whatever this bug is the rest of my family has...wish me luck!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Fall Run with the Fall

Katie and I were chatting at work one day a few weeks ago and we decided we'd like to get in a trail run together before winter hit.   So we booked a date right then and decided we'd head out to Bragg Creek for a Momma's Morning Off on the first day of fall.  I've been looking forward to it ever since.

I picked Katie up at 8 and, after a quick stop at Starbucks, we were on our way west.

The trailhead for the Telephone loop is just west of Bragg Creek.  When we arrived, the parking lot was almost empty.  Just a few early rising cyclists.

The loop is 16k and everything I had read said it is a difficult trail, but I was so excited to get out there.

Shiny, happy mommas running free!!!  This was going to be awesome!  And a great test for the pixie on a run :)

It was such a beautiful morning.  A little cool when we started off, but by 4k, I was ready to take off the long sleeve.

The trail was a bit marshy, but I had heard reports of rain in Banff yesterday so I figured it must have also hit this area recently.

It was a whole lot of uphill to start.  and so peaceful and quiet.   And then we hit a downhill bit around 5k and WHAMMO!  My toe hit a rock and I went FLYING!

I skidded across the ground.  My knee slammed into a rock.  Then my shoulder hit another rock.  and then my face hit the ground and my glasses were off and I was left cursing and laughing and wincing on the ground.  My worst running fall yet...and my first trail fall.

The very muddy ground. But i was super impressed that my Chick'd capris didn't tear in the fall.

It took me a few moments to collect myself.  My knee was scraped and bleeding and my shoulder and hand were a bit road-rashy but I was prepared with some wet-ones so I got myself cleaned up pretty fast and we were soon on our way.

Good thing too...because just as we reached this, we heard a shout:

A speedy gonzales mountain biker came careening down the path for the advantage of his Go Pro.  We leapt out of the way and he zoomed through the water.  A couple of minutes earlier and I'm not sure we would have had enough time to get out of his way.  At least he shouted in advance.

We leapt over the water and carried on after him.  Every time we started to run, it was like a hill popped up in front of us.   and a mud bog.  But we were having a blast out there.  Chatting away the miles and tiptoeing through the marshy parts.

I'm so happy I wore my New Balance trail shoes.  They are so light and meshy that they dry in a snap so I didn't feel like I was running in soaked shoes the entire time.

We were very sad and quite angry at all of the clear cutting and the newish logging roads that were at this point.

and all of the clear cutting.

It was just like running on soaked sponges through a lot of these sections.

We got in a whole lotta core work balancing our way across things like this.

There were danger signs all over the place.  Ice Flow signs too, but we weren't too concerned about that quite yet.  Maybe in a couple of weeks ;)

Soon, we were passing though meadows and having a ball on the downhills.

The views were breathtaking.

and then, all of a sudden...the trail. just. ended.


The flood had washed away the bank and the trail along with it.

And there were some menacing cows just across the water who didn't seem to want us to go that way either.

We roamed around a bit looking for a place where the trail might detour to with no luck (and a few burrs stuck to our pants).  We could see a road across the water and figured it would carry us back to the trail head.  We just had to hope the cows weren't feeling rambunctious.

We ended up practicing our balance beam skills, crossing the creek on a fallen log.  THAT was quite the adventure and after watching Katie nimbly cross over - I figured it'd be a piece of cake.  I almost ditched right in the middle but picked up the pace and got myself across.

As we scrambled up the bank on the other side, I couldn't help but notice the ridiculously bright orange of the algae.  And the oily scum around the edges.

We snuck through the trees behind the cows and non-chalantly started up the road.

This cow DID NOT want us there.  Such a protective momma.  I guess no one told her it was Momma's morning off!

We were almost to the texas gate when I nearly had another fall when my foot hit a particularly squishy cowpie.

It was a close one.

After the gate, we were greeted by more flood devastation.  The road was a complete mess.

and the bridge we had to cross had obviously spent a great deal of time under water and had a hole right through it.  Not sure I would trust it to support a vehicle (especially one of those logging trucks)

At this point, we figured we were about a km from the trailhead, but then we came around a corner and there it was.  We were suddenly done - just like that.  

And that parking lot had gotten super busy in the 3 hours we'd been gone.  We were super glad we'd gone so early.  It was such a fun run and the perfect Momma's morning off!   I have a feeling we'll be doing this a lot next summer.

Later, in the evening, Katie texted me this:

Hmmm...yeah - I guess you could call that trail a little wet.  Though I think I prefer the word "squishy"

you can totally see EXACTLY where I fell. LOL