Tag: long distance running

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

Is marathon running dangerous for your heart?

(Reebok RealFlex)

I’ll admit breathing a sigh of relief when reading this finding (even though I’ve talked to my doctor about my long-distance running before I set out to train):

Marathon running is not linked to a higher risk of cardiac arrest compared to other physical activities — in fact, the rate was the same or lower in comparison. A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that most people who did suffer cardiac arrest had undiagnosed, pre-existing conditions. One researcher noted that its the wide media coverage that’s created the belief that long-distance running is linked to a high risk of cardiac arrest.

 

3 Comments January 17, 2012


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