Mid Summer Nights 30km Race Recap

This was my third year in a row running in the Mid Summer Night’s 30km race.  This race is different from most being that it starts at 5:30pm and goes through the evening.  The race has a fairy theme every year and most participants wear their favourite tutu’s and fairy wings.  For me, I had no time goals going into the race, I just wanted to enjoy it and have fun.  My only plan was to start out at a 5:30/avg pace and increase it if I felt good.  The past two years I bonked out at 25k, and my goal was to not let that happen this year.

I met my friend Ang and her hubby and we headed downtown to meet up with other members from our running group. We parked very close to the start/finish line, got our tutu’s on and headed over to the park.  We easily located our friends once we got there and hung around and chatted before making our way to the start line.  A few of us decided to run together and try to maintain the 5:30/avg pace.  We were lucky at the start this year as the temps were much cooler then they have been in the past.  The sun was still out and it was warm, but there was a nice breeze the entire time.  I started out quite comfortably and decided to do walk breaks every 15min, just as I do in my Sunday long runs.  Our starting group of 5 started to separate early on, just past 5k.  One other of my running peeps, Matt and I continued to run together.  We kept a good pace and we talked about picking it up slightly around 20k if we felt good.  We slowly increased the pace just after the 21k mark.  Our pace came down to around 5:26/avg and we kept on going at that.  We headed into Ash Bridges Bay, did the loop around the boardwalk and turned back.  I started feeling a bit nauseous as there was some interesting smells coming from the air.  I let up a bit and Matt kept telling me we only have a couple left, let’s get it done.  With 4k to go I was starting to fatigue.  I kept moving forward one foot after the other.  Finally we made the final turn and ran right to the finish.  I was happy to be done!  We ended with a 5:24/avg pace which gave me a chip time of 2:43:42.  I was quite pleased as I managed to stay right on with my original game plan.

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My 1st Tri-aTri part 2!

THE BIKE

I ran with my bike out of transition and up a grass path to the road way. I had a gel opened and in my mouth as I was in transition. I hoped on the bike and took a big chug from my water bottle.  I was feeling a little fatigue after the swim and quick transition to the bike. I made sure to hydrate lots while on the bike. I was getting passed by others and I was doing some passing as well.  I felt like I was at the turn around in no time.  The course was very flat so I didn’t have to change gears much which was good because I didn’t have to think! After the turn I told myself again to try to relax. I found myself really breathing heavy and I could tell I was working hard. I passed a couple more people before making my way back into the park for transition 2. I was all alone coming in, jumped off my bike, and ran towards the rack. I quickly racked the bike, ripped my helmet off and headed out for the run.

Bike – 20:54, 28.7km/hr, 4/7 category, 60/100 overall, 39 seconds in transition 2.

THE RUN

I was out of the transition very quick. I had to run up a slight hill on the grass before hitting the road. It was slippery so I tried to take it easy there. I made it to the road and I took off.  I was passing people like crazy. I knew I would be strong here, some went with it. I made another right turn down a small hill and went right past the water station and around the turn around. Went back up, and made 2 quick left hand turns and I was coming back onto the grass in the park.  I looked ahead and saw one girl in my age group and told myself I had to catch her. I passed her going up the last grass hill before the finish line! I flew down the last hill and ran across the line, where I received a hand shake and congratulations from the race director himself.

2.5km run, 11:49 min, 4:44/km, 1/9 category, 4/100 overall.

About 10 minutes after I finished the rain came! It was pouring! We waited to hear the awards. At this point I had no clue where I was in the standings. They announced my age group, and I hear my name for first place! My Dad and I screamed, we couldn’t believe it! I went up, got to stand on the podium and get my gold medal, and yes all of this in the pouring rain! I was grinning ear to ear, so proud of myself and still in shock.

Still on my first tri high, I can say this will not be my last. I look forward to tr-ing this again one day very soon.  Thanks to my friends for your help, advice and amazing support. I couldn’t have done it without all of you! :)

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My 1st Tri-a-Tri, part 1!

At the beginning of my summer training cycle I knew I didn’t have a marathon goal. I really wanted to enjoy my summer and try something different.  With many runner friends making the switch to triathlon, I wondered if it could be for me too? I started doing a lot more cycling and more recently have added 1-2 open water swims a week. I signed up for my first tri-a-tri and decided to give it a shot!

With the weather calling for thunderstorms all day Saturday I was nervous as to what would happen.  Being a tri newbie I made to sure to leave plenty of time to get there.  My Dad picked me up He’s we headed north to Bracebridge. It rained on and off the entire drive. When we got to the race site it was surprisingly sunny. With still 2 hours until the start I knew anything could still happen. I got registered, picked up my bib, chip and got body marked. We waited around for a bit, scoped out the transitions and watched the finish of the sprint run. At this point in time because of all the rain the bike portion of the course was possibly going to be cancelled. We hung around and waited to rack my bike. With just over an hour before race start they announced we would bike, but the route would be shortened by 1k due to some road flooding. I got my bike and rest of my gear down to the rack to get set up.

THE SWIM

Nerves aside I was ready to go! Luckily there was still no rain, so I headed down to the water to get my spot.  They lined all athletes up on the dock, with the first 10 or so in the water. They started with the youngest and let one athlete go every 5 seconds. I got in the water, got up to the starter and there I went! The 400m course was in a narrow river that was completely calm. I started out and felt ok. I made the first turn and was feeling good. I was getting passed by other swimmers, but this didn’t concern me as I knew the swim was my weakest. Once I made the turn around I found myself in a jungle of weeds! I tried to swim away from them but went through instead ha! I got a little flustered but told myself to relax. I continued on and found a groove. It was over so fast and I found myself on the beach.  I ran up through the transition trying to catch my breath! Made it to my bike, quickly dried my feet, tossed on some clothes, helmet and grabbed a gel and my bike.

400m swim, 13:57min, 3:30/100m includes transition #1, 7/9 category, 82/100 overall

 

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Back up to 30k!

As we find ourselves into August, we find ourselves getting up there in distance again.  Today was the first 30km run of this training cycle, with a few more 30+k runs to come.  Today’s planned route was a more friendly one compared to the past few weeks.  Our group tends to run more “scenic” routes, which at the time seem challenging and difficult.  As we have always learned from the many fearless leaders, these routes only make us stronger for the marathon.

Today, our map guru decided to give us a little bit of a break and hand us a flat route.  After yesterday’s temps around 33 degrees (feeling like 42), I was worried that we would find ourselves in the same situation for the long run today.  This mornings forecast was calling for high humidity and thunderstorms…great, perfect long run weather, NOT!  Just like every other Sunday, the first thing I do in the morning is check my iPhone at the current weather.  I stepped outside and it was like a wall of hot air slapped me in the face!  I knew it was going to be an interesting run.  My pace group was quite small, with many members being away on holidays, but was glad to have Lynn (clinic instructor) back with me today.  We headed out through the side roads of Newmarket on our way out to Mt.Albert.  The first 10km were rough, the air was so heavy and I felt quite fatigued.  My already small group got smaller.  We ended up looping back a number of times to grab fallen members.  Lynn and I knew we needed to keep everyone together today.  After 10k, we started to settle in and surprisingly felt better!  We continued on, and cranked the pace slightly.  We had a planned water stop at 20km and I couldn’t wait to get there.  I was completely dry at 18.5k and was in need of some more fuel!  We re-filled and grabbed a few orange slices which hit the spot.  We left one of our group members to get a ride back to the store, so the final 4 of us were ready to get ‘er done.  We got caught in a nice breeze and a downhill back towards the store.  With 3k to go I was completely out of all fluids again.  I felt like I had nothing left.  My feet were barely lifting off the ground, I was struggling. Lynn said “We run until your watch hits 30k, then we’re walking in!”  We fought to make it up the much-loved Charlotte, Amelia, Hillview streets and finally hit 30k.  Lynn and I congratulated each other for just getting it done.  We took a much deserved walk back to the store.  We ended with 30k in 2:50 – 5:40/avg pace.  I was pleased to have held a great long run pace despite the crazy humidity and conditions today.

A character builder, the return of a leader and friend, sticking it out together until the end…this is why I run.

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Weekly Review!

It’s hard to believe that we find ourselves at the end of July already.  With August quickly approaching, I have my first planned race on the 18th. I will be running the Mid Summer Night’s 30k in Toronto.  This race is one I have done the past two years.  I am looking forward to running it this year for the third time.  I had another packed week of training including running, biking and swimming with some body pump and soccer thrown in there too!  Someone said to me the other day “Wow, you’re always got something going, don’t ya?”.  I don’t know how I keep up with myself sometimes hehe!

Here is what my week looked like:

Monday – 600m open water swim.  We had a good group head up to the beach in Barrie.  We got delayed a few minutes as a storm rolled in.  It passed quickly and we were able to get into the water.  I felt much more comfortable this week, even after only my second swim!

Tuesday -14.25km, 5:41/avg pace.  4km warm up, 3 x 1.5km hill repeats, 3km cool down.  5am hill workout with Nancy.  The third repeat is starting to feel more manageable!

Wednesday – 11km recovery run, 5:53/avg pace. Another early 5am run.  Nice and cool temps this morning, felt great.  Added an hour body pump class in the evening.  I was tired, but felt better afterwards.

Thursday – 14.2km track workout at clinic night.  4.5km warm up run to the track, 3 x 1600m repeats at 7:26, 7:27, 7:23, 4km cool down back to the store.  This was a tough workout especially in the heat.  I was definitely glad to be done with it!

Friday – 600m open water swim, 20km easy bike.  I went up to Barrie for another swim.  Felt good in the water except for a few little waves.  Did an easy 20k bike right after the swim along the lakeshore trail.

Saturday – 40km bike, 21.3km/hr, 5km run, 5:05/avg pace.  Did an out and back ride to New Tecumseth followed by a 5k run right after.  Legs felt heavy for the first km, but I eased in and felt great by the end of the 5k. 

Sunday – 27km long run, 5:39/avg pace.  Ran the hills of Caledon and it was a challenge.  This was a new route made up by our coach.  Coach kept telling us there was a view around the 24k point that would be worth this “scenic route”.  The final mountain we climbed was over 1km long and I felt like I was barely moving it was so steep!  Once we got to the top I couldn’t believe how high we were.  Here is a few of us at the top:

My daily mile totals:

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Week in Review

According to my marathon training schedule, last week would have been week #6.  This summer I wanted to take a different approach and not put too much pressure on myself to run a PB in the marathon.  I decided to keep training with my group but at the same time to add in some newness and most important, have fun!  That being said, I have continued over the past few weeks to follow the marathon training schedule but without paying too much attention to overall mileage etc.  Here is what my week looked like:

Monday – Normally a rest day for me in the past.  I decided to join a few friends and head to the lake for my fist official open water swim!  I was nervous, but was glad to have lots of company and motivation!  I swam 600m total!  It was challenging, but manageable.  Doing this made me feel somewhat more open to the idea of registering for my first tri.  More to come on that later ;)

Tuesday – 13km total, with 4 x 1km @ LT pace.  I met up with my regular 5am group and we tackled our speed work together.  I managed some good splits despite the extreme humidity (yes, even at 5am!) Splits – 4:42, 4:39, 4:45, 4:43.

Wednesday – 11km, recovery run.  Went out at 5am again and kept it nice and slow.  I needed this recovery run after the intense workout on Tuesday.  Recovery pace avg 5:53/km.

Thursday – 13km total, with 3 x 2km descending pace. More speed work on tap for clinic night!  The group headed down to the trail and after a 4k warm up, we did our 2k loops with a quick break in between each. Splits – 4:56, 4:50, 4:40.  My pace group nailed each loop.  We finished with an easy 3k cool down back to the store.

Friday – Normally another day off for me.  I recently got a new gym membership and have decided to finally get my butt in there!  I found a class that I really enjoy.  I did a 1 hour body pump workout.  This is a great class, especially for runners as it targets all major muscle groups with low impact.  It is a great way to build core and muscle strength without added cardio and intensity.

Saturday – 40km bike, 5km run.  In the past I have always done a 10-12km run on Saturday’s.  I have now changed that to add in a bike + a short run right after.  I have found myself really looking forward to this workout as it is a challenge for me and one that I want to improve. After the 40k bike I went straight into the run.  I had planned 4k, but was feeling really good so I took it up to 5k total.  Bike – 1:45, 23.1km/hr.  Run – 4:59/avg

Sunday – 24.5km long run.  This was a new route made by our coach.  It was one of the most challenging routes I think I have done, ever!  It was humid right from the beginning, as it had just cleared up from a thunder-storm.  We ran hill after hill, and it felt like we never came down.  My pace group despite some frustration, did amazing.  This was definitely a character building run by far. Overall pace, 5:37/km.

One bonus to the run, was it had some beautiful stretches of “scenery”.  Here is a shot taken by one of my pace group members:

All in all, it was a solid week of training.  Bring on week #7!

 

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Summer Training: Running, Biking…what’s next?!

 I am now into week 4 of the summer marathon training program.  If I could sum up in two words my training so far it would be HOT and HUMID!  We have found ourselves with some very extreme temperatures over the past month, averaging 30+ each day and feeling well into the high 30′s low 40′s with the humidity.  This July is on record for the hottest month in years.  So, we all know hot and humid are not the ideal training weather, especially for marathon runners.  I have come to terms with the fact that this fall will not be a time to be setting any major goals as far as a PR in the marathon.  I have decided to first off enjoy my summer, continue following my marathon training program and add some newness into my routine.  As I have mentioned in previous posts I have started doing more cycling.  I am really starting to get used to my bike and find myself looking forward to my next ride. I have managed to add 1 -2 rides in each week, averaging 30-40km per ride. With many of my running peeps starting to focus more on triathlons, it has put a little itch on me to give it a try.  I can now say that I am quite comfortable on the bike and am ready for the next step.  So, what’s next?  Stayed tuned…

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