Tag: Around the bay

Fitness Swellness: Setting my 2019 race goals

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A better title for this post would be re-setting my 2019 race goals. Because I had spring 2019 goals, that I’ve had to adjust.

I kicked off the year thinking I’d run Around the Bay (I haven’t run it in several years, not since 2014) and the spring Goodlife Toronto Marathon (which I last ran in 2015). And so I ran regularly. Having trained for 12 marathons thus far, I didn’t look at a particular race schedule but rather worked on slowing increasing my distance and mixing in speed work or hills, along with some steady easy runs, and I was more or less on track in terms of total mileage more towards the beginning of the year.

But the winter weather wasn’t very motivating. Add the fact that I seem to continuing my streak of coming down with colds way too often. I also have a persistent pinched nerve in my neck that has me not feeling much like myself for the past five weeks. (I haven’t yet seen a physio yet; the plan was to go this week, and then I came down with a cold!).

I called off running Around the Bay when a couple of weeks ago, I was at the start of my long run of the week and realized my fitness is nowhere near where I’d need it to be to PB in the marathon in May. Since it was highly unlikely I’d run a PB, I didn’t see the point of training for a spring marathon. You have to really want to run a marathon, and with my heart not in it, well, the truth of it is, I know I can complete a marathon…so I don’t want to just finish another 42.2k race. It won’t be significant to me to just complete it or much fun.

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I knew calling off doing Around the Bay and a spring marathon was the right move when the idea solidified in my head to not race them and all I felt was a rush of relief. Not having to plod through long runs through the grey and (then) slushy streets. I felt a hundred times lighter by just deciding to delete them from my calendar.

But today I realized my secondary goal is now out of reach as well. I had thought I’d try to turn my fastest half-marathon. which I have not focused on since moving up to the marathon distance. But I’ve procrastinated (or been out of commission thanks to colds or my silly pinched nerve problem) too long and now the Goodlife race weekend is just four weeks away. I haven’t slashed this from my schedule yet. But if I run it, it’ll be to just run it for fun, because I have not focused on improving my speed so I am not in shape to PB. A half I think can be fun, for me, a marathon is too long and grueling to be fun, no matter how slow and easy you take it.

What this means now is that fall is the focus. Which means a summer of training in the heat. I think I commit to training best when I’ve got a race I am registered for (not just tentative race goals). The easiest would be to just keep it local and run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (I last ran the half was in 2016)…but I’m thinking I should do a destination race.

One fitness goal that I did accomplish so far this year? Making it through all eight weeks of working out with Nike on Thursday mornings (I may have been late almost every week, but this non-morning person got her butt there!). With my scattered schedule for the past several years finally settling into a much less stressful routine, I’m really happy that I was able to attend all eight weeks of this program. It’s funny the things you come to appreciate. I still adore traveling and am itching to get away but it’s also incredibly comforting to be home and follow through on things like this.

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Photographer, Hanna Kim-Yoo for Nike Toronto.

Leave a Comment April 4, 2019

Fitness Swellness: Race Report: Sporting Life 10k 2014

Sporting Life 10k medal 2014

I consider my forte to be endurance rather than speed. So I surprised myself yesterday in the Sporting Life 10k.

I hadn’t put too much thought into my race since my main focus this season was Around the Bay 30k at the end of March and the Toronto Marathon last week. This 10k race I added mostly because I decided to take part in the media team Nike Canada had put together to help raise money to send a kid to camp (Haven’t donated yet? You can donate here!)

I don’t think racing so close to completing a marathon is very wise, but I did it two years ago and it went fine. In fact, it was the same two races, the Toronto Marathon in 2012 followed one week later by the Sporting Life 10k and I ran a 10k personal best.

Since I’ve done very little speed training this season, and my recovery from the marathon has been slower than usual (I can still feel tightness in my legs, I’m guessing because I walked less than usual last week), I didn’t think I could PB yesterday. My fastest for 10k is 49:50. I expected to finish in about 52 minutes.

The weather was just about right — a little too warm for my taste during the actual run (I tend to prefer cool temperatures); thankfully my outfit of a tank, shorts and arm sleeves was just the right gear (I took off the sleeves a few kilometres into the race).

Since I didn’t collapse in my experience two years ago (not joking — I fret about how wise it is to run 10k after a marathon and have all sorts of horrible visions of my body just giving out during the race — so I held back a bit in my 10k race in 2012) I just decided to go hard. I was pretty sure I could maintain about a 5 minute pace if I felt good, sometimes faster, sometimes slower, for the entire 10k. I hustled, and it was difficult. Remember, me, the one that is not a fan of speedwork.

The race has been greatly improved since the first time I ran it. The corrals are nicely timed apart, so no more bottleneck at the race finish area. (One complaint — people in the first red corral who have no business being in the red corral–red corral  means you think you can finish in under 45 minutes–saw way too many slow folks sporting a red bib).

As I crossed the finish line, I knew I had run a PB but wasn’t sure by how much. And my iPhone wasn’t having network issues so I was unable to search for my time. Thankfully, my running buddy texted me congrats and looked up my time for me. That’s what good running buddies are for! She understood how important it was to have this info ASAP.

47:50.

Exactly two minutes faster.

When I ran 49:50 two years ago, I honestly thought, “Well, that’s it, that’s my 10k personal best for the rest of my life.” There once was a day finishing under one hour for 10k was huge for me. So to complete this in 47:50? That blows my mind. My fastest kilometre? A pace of 4:10. I didn’t think I was even able to run a whole kilometre that fast. I finished 77th out of 1, 495 women in my category.

And now, this has got me thinking…”Can I qualify for the sub 45 minute corral next year???”

I think if I focused on speed training, I could. I really could.

And so the running craziness continues!

Sporting Life 10k 2014 in the start chute

Next up? A few weeks of recovery, which’ll include some easy runs. Possibly a short race in three weeks. Then months of training for the Chicago Marathon will begin.

Leave a Comment May 12, 2014

Fitness Swellness: Race Report: 2014 Around the Bay 30k

Around the Bay 2014 medal

On Sunday, I ran my third Around the Bay 30k race in Hamilton. This year was the race’s 120th anniversary — a race known to be tough due to being quite hilly.

The route was changed this year for the start — last year, many runners (myself included) were delayed by a train crossing, so the new route was made to avoid this happening this year. Good in that no potential delay to due a train, bad because, as we discovered, there are a couple of hills in the new route.

I registered for the race back in December. And it’s been a difficult winter for training, thanks to the polar vortex. I managed to mostly stick to my usual training regimen, although I cut some runs shorter as the -30C weather forced me to run indoors on a treadmill, and outdoor runs meant dealing with lots of wind and ice, making for slow runs.

Because of this, I didn’t feel particularly strong going into this race (but I had a great evil eye manicure). Add to this that for the past week, my ankle’s been sore — just generally ache-y; when I put pressure on it, it feels wobbly and weak. So I took it easy the past week and ran much less and at a slow pace to give it a bit of a break.

This made me a bit confused as to how to plan a goal time (and overall pace) for Around the Bay. In general, I  can admit that I’ll always want to run a personal best. Last year’s official time was just under 2:59; but that’s with the train delay.  So I consider my true time to be about 2:54. So I created a  pace band for a modest personal best of 2:53 (which meant I had to run a consistent pace of 5:46/km). I also looked into a 2:59 finish time, but I felt that I could probably run faster than the pace it called for even though my ankle felt off.

The weather was quite ideal. It felt about -5C and was sunny. And I’m a fan of the rather late start time of this race: 9:30AM. No need to get up at 4AM like most races.

Me at the start line for Around the Bay 2014

I started the race, and I felt pretty good for the first few k. My Nike+ app told me I was running a 5:10 pace, and I knew that was too fast, but since I felt strong, I just decided to keep going. Yes, this is essentially what you should not do in a race. Start too fast, and then you risk a high crashing and burning. But since I was sorta looking at this race as a gamble given my wonky ankle, I just decided to roll the dice. I was also planning to not do 10s and 1s, since I sometimes ran my longer distances this winter without walk breaks (when it was just too cold to want to take a walk break!).

And I felt good for about the first 20k. I didn’t mind too much the new hills in the first part of the race, for some reason. I think it’s moderate inclines that I’m ok with (I’m not strong on them at all, but I can manage), it’s steep hills that I really have a tough time with. Running continously and pushing hard, though, made itself pretty apparent in my legs, which felt quite sore even early on.

So for the first 20k, I was ahead of my overall goal time by about 6.5 minutes. After 20k is when I started slowing down a lot. This is the portion of the race where there are many rolling hills. I started taking a 30 second walk break every kilometre. At about 26k is the very long, and extremely steep hill at Valley Inn Road. I forced myself to run the first third of out until I got under the bridge.  Then I thought “I could dig deep and force myself to run the entire hill this year…but my legs are burning…and I still have to run 4 more kilometres after it, so if I force myself to run this hill, I will be DONE and unable to make it to the finish.” So I walked the rest of the hill to the peak.

And I’m OK with that decision, as I truly think the last 4K would have been extremely slow and totally miserable had my legs been completely spent on that hill. (I’m now currently obssessed with being able to conquer that Valley Inn Road hill. I wish it were one I could train on regularly, but Hamilton is just too far from home.)

In the end, I finished just under 2:51, so I’m ecstatic at finishing at 2:50 wobbly ankle and all.

Post-race, we refueled on fat, carbs and protein in Chinatown. And now, to get my ankle strong and back to training for the next race…in four weeks!

lunch at Goldstone

5 Comments April 1, 2014

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