Race recap: Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘Run now, wine later’

I ran this race last year and quite enjoyed the autumnal, small and cozy atmosphere of it- the fall colours, the winery, everything! So I signed up as an early bird this year and promptly forgot that I had signed up…Literally falling two weeks after my marathon debut. NOT great timing I guess?

But it took only about a week for my legs to stop feeling like total mush, and for my blisters to heal over and I felt fairly confident that it was going to be ok.

And then I got really sick…and dealt with a strong emotional blow with Tucker, and struggling with the after effects of the COVID+flu shot. Do not recommend, at all. Basically knocked me on my ass Thur/Fri/Sat. And race on Sunday? Yikes.

I slowly started feeling a bit better, but now it’s even Friday after having a cold and things for over a week and I am STILL snotty and nose blowing/coughing up stuff. WTF? My sinuses hurt man.

So last Sunday was not really an auspicious day at all but I’d signed up, felt reasonably ok but not great, and we did it! Ian signed up for the 5k just for something to do. When we drove up island, it was absolutely freezing, with frost on the ground. I was in shock. Two weeks ago we had a heat warning for the marathon, over 20 deg, and now frost? Damn! Luckily I planned ahead a little bit and brought my run gloves, but otherwise was in for a real slap to the face. Brrrrrrrrrrrrrr… Plus we were running kind of late, we forgot how long it really took to get up there (an hour, apparently) and I was like arghhhh!

But, all worked out for the best! We hustled and got our bibs, raced to the bathrooms (not long lineups, thank GOD), didn’t have time to put our bibs in the draw 😦 and jogged to the start of the 5k. I was racing both 5k and 10k in a combined race ‘the combo’ where your times are added up and the fastest time wins.

We started and Ian and I were easily right in the leaders pack. I was pacing myself to a reasonable not great time- I didn’t really have the lung capacity to race super fast and my legs were frozen. Plus I wanted to be careful about not killing my lungs for the 10k. Burnout isn’t fun and when I start coughing, I really can’t stop!

It’s a super hilly course- up and down, with the downhill sections being very steep! There is also 1km section through a bit of trail, which is flat but very pitted with potholes, haha. So you went up-down-up-down on that part. I was reminded, with relief, how short a 5k is.

I cruised to a 22:?? and felt good about that. Hard effort but not killing myself. It still felt extremely cold. I then hung out for a bit waiting for the 10k to start. Ian finished ahead of me with a 20:?? which is a great effort- this isn’t a fast track by any stretch of the imagination!

Then the 10k- I learned my lesson from last year and started at the front. Last year I basically ran as hard as I could for the 5k and jogged the 10k…which was a mistake, b/c the combine the times and my 10k was just so.slow! Hit the middle for both, that’s the way to go.

We had more trail sections in the 10k course which was pretty good, but I am always surprised by how slow gravel feels compared with pavement. It is an excellently- marked course, very clear course markers and safe. Still damn hilly, haha. I didn’t really pass anyone, and nobody really passed me much.

It finally started to warm up (well, my body heat was going nuts haha) so I could take off my gloves the last 2-3 kms. A guy running ahead of me shouted that he wished he had my gloves earlier in the race 😉 I was SO thankful I had them. Lifesavers.

I tried to pull myself together for a stronger finish but kind of…blaaahhhhed my way. I felt strong, but nowhere near the lung capacity I could potentially have. That’s ok! I was done within my goal range (45 mintues) just squeaked under 46 hahah.

And it was good for 2nd place women in the combo race, Ian tied me with a 2nd in his 5k for the men’s, and we even got to do a complimentary wine tasting at Zenatta winery! Win-win eh??

This is a fun local race, quite small but well run with excellent and safe courses marked, good volunteers (thank you!!) and nice post-race snacks.

Racing again?? Cowichan Autumn Classic ‘combo’ race recap

Things are still not great with poor bunny Tucker. I just don’t know what the right choice to do is.

But otherwise, I had a really fun/awesome weekend!

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

AND I raced again, for the first time in two years, I can’t believe it 🙂 I have had a really challenging return to running after my second stress fracture episode of Feb. I wasn’t healing, from something that seemed so minor, really wasn’t. It seriously cramped my style, brought me down. I signed up for this race and was doubting if it was the right choice up until I hit the start gates, I’m not kidding.

Dying at the finish- photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

I signed up for the ‘Combo’ race where you run the 5k and 10k and get two finishers medals (argh I do not need these, anyone want some medals??) but I figured it’s unique, new to me and why not? I also know myself and figured if I could take the pressure off one race then I could enjoy myself for two! 🙂

But yeah I aggravated my injuries last week and was DREADING the race. Like, I couldn’t run last week, wtf was I thinking??

Well, anyways the die has been cast haha.

We were forecasted for absolutely heinous weather and gotta say, SO GLAD they were wrong for once. It wasn’t terrible and rainy, it was pretty nice out and not too cold!! The setting was lovely for a fall race, so scenic, well organized and picturesque. I lined up for the start of the 5k right up in front, as I figured such a small race will have a lot of walkers/etc. Turns out my instincts were 100% correct: I went to the front, and stayed in the front. I felt funny, like I was having an out of body experience and boy this 5k was tough- some rolling hills, and you ran through trails?! For a 5k? hahh so that sucked the speed right out of me lol. I got beat by the 1st place woman and it was no contest, ha. I couldn’t catch her at all.

Running so fast you can’t catch me, camera! Photo by Ian.

But I was hanging on to my 2nd place, kind of by my fingernails even! It was hard, I was horking and gasping and just ..ick. Felt like I was going to puke going through the finish lines, but the ending was great, basically a screaming downhill for the finish. LOVE that.

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camillieri.

And after staggering around for awhile, I grabbed some water and felt my legs tighten up in a way that I haven’t felt in 2 years. Then it was go time for the 10k! My lungs were in pretty bad shape- I have asthma that causes me to cough like I have emphysema, bronchitis and pneumonia all at once. It’s awful. That’s why I have a few inhalers, it’s so painful.

Taking it easy in the 10k!

But not time to linger, it’s 10k time! This one I was going to take it easy and jog it out. I started mid-back pack and started so casually that I forgot to take off my mask, haha. I cruised off and enjoyed myself until I got boxed in by slower runners after about 1km, so I had to actually ‘run’ sigh…And then I was running alone on and off for awhile. The trails were beautiful, big puddles but flat, and we ran up to the Holt Creek Trestle (but not onto it) and then back to the road and I passed one more runner on my way to the finish.

Lovely scenery that day.

Good thing too, because I didn’t know they judged the combo race as a separate race! My take it easy pace kind of killed it for me hahaha, oops! It was also a lucky thing I ended up passing that one runner, because she came in 4th and I was 3rd. Maybe I should have tried during it? Ahahah I am also glad that I didn’t know- it was more fun that way.

Much deserved wine sample.

We finished, and I felt good and happy. I then got my wine sample (think I should have gotten two, or maybe a full glass for winning a medal??) and we waited around for the awards. I was certain I got something- and I was right! But yeah, third place woman for the combo, and I was kind of like ahh…that second place for the 5k would have been sweet, but hey, who cares eh?

And a full beer for me thanks to Ian. A good day!

A lovely day, fun people and some excitement in our lives. What more can a girl ask for??

Cobble Hill 10k Race Recap!

So this is exciting- we had a new start/finish line this year! Previously we had to jog about 700m to the start/finish, from the staging area. Not a big deal but also kind of a pain in the ass, haha.

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Heading to the finish! Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri.

Apparently this would also make the course flatter/faster?! Would it?? Time would tell for me 🙂

I was fresh off of feeling super irritated about my efforts at the Harriers 8k. It just…sucked. I did get proactive about it, and sought treatment for my asthma (now I am the proud owner of two inhalers- 1 rescue inhaler to use before/after racing, and 1 daily inhaler for maintenance), plus this race I made sure to take an extra half dose of my daily allergy medication just in case (wow, I sound super high maintenance these days…). So I was all set!

I also did not have great expectations. Lately my legs have felt super flat, dead, achy left knee, bad lungs/breathing…Yeah, you got the idea.

I was talking with my friend’s husband about the Harriers race and he too had a tough race- though he is VERY fast. So, it wasn’t just me riding the struggle-bus. That made me feel slightly better.

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A few of the winners- I am the shortest by a head, again. HAh!

The morning of the 10k dawned nice and warm, and what’s that? SUn? It was crazy warm for us! I was regretting wearing my long-sleeved run shirt. Now, I never regret dressing warmly, ha. It was just a gorgeous weekend! We warmed up, I took my inhaler, and we were off to the start! It was a very congested start- only half the road, so everyone was crammed to the left. I left 5 seconds on the table with that start, yikes.

We were off, and I was kind of struggling. It felt hard, definitely not easy, my legs felt tired immediately and heavy, and my breathing- despite my multiple efforts- wanted to seize. But you know what? I felt like, oh ok well this is how it is going to be then…A repeat of the 8k…And I just grimly kept running.

And it kept kind of sucking, up until about 5k. Something just CLICKED! In my body!

I felt solidified, I felt energized, I was doing it, by god!!  I gathered together my energy, and I started really running, and I mean it. I was actively racing! I honestly haven’t felt that kind of ‘try’ in my body for over a year. It was really exciting 🙂

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This photo is courtesy of Lois D’Ell. 

And I ran, and I ran. I was finally doing it!

I was running a race, rather than being run off my feet by it. I quite literally found my stride. It felt so good, I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I felt to be running a race that I felt like I could actually run, rather than struggling or suffering.

I wrapped up and my time was fine- I got the same time last year and was mad, but this year, I have been trying to manage so many other health issues that to be quite honest, it made me happy! Am I back?? Maybe too soon to tell, but I felt good about it.

Chip time was 43:32, gate time was 43:37, good for 5th in my AG and 14th woman. YEah!!  A lovely day with some AMAZING food- pretzels from True Grain!!

VIRA Race Recap: Comox Half Marathon!

So yeah, this blog right now is just for race recaps apparently. I have a good reason for it- I have been under an insane amount of pressure at work, and starting to crack. I haven’t had any time/inclination to blog because the only things I’d write are about how unhappy I am, and how miserable things are.

So…Please consider that warning for the next, oh, three weeks. Things are not great in my world in one particular area, and it’s killing my motivation, desire and will to live. OH well. This is also time sensitive so hopefully in three weeks I can be happier.

Comox

Me and a Bastion Run Club guy. Incidentally, the photo is also by Bastion Run Club! 🙂

Without further ado…the big race!!!

It was a GLORIOUS day to race. Sunny skies, not too cold, not windy, not raining?!! A lovely day all around. I was so happy to just be out, doing my thing. The volunteers at this race are fantastic- so cheery and fun, and encouraging. I just love them 🙂

I had a pretty significant head cold the entire week leading up the race. I was exhausted, coughing, sinus pain & pressure, ear pressure/pain that kept me from work on Friday even? And just feeling super shitty and blah. Spent most of the weekend either laying on the couch or sleeping. So sick+overwhelmed at work= success?!!

Something like that at least! I swear I wasn’t the only one blowing my nose at the start on the race.

I didn’t really have high hopes for the race. I wanted to complete it, chiefly because you have to race the half marathon to be eligible for series awards at the end of the season. Other than that, I was kind of just hoping to not collapse or something.

Off we went, and I started very conservatively. Very. Like, 4:49 conservatively, ha. And it felt hard…I kind of felt like dying for oh, the first 9km. It doesn’t help that the course is an out-and-back, and the out part is a lot of uphills. Still, I stayed present and kept an eye on people. I wasn’t ready to make any moves yet, but I could see some people who were foolishly tearing out before the 5km marker–I knew they wouldn’t last. It’s a looooong race, guys.

I grabbed electrolyte drink at 7km (bizarrely it was clear) and focused on making it up the hills between 7-9km. It was kind of horrible.

I started making my move after 11km. Then, we were flying downhill and I was feeling ok- not great, but that I could actually do this. Run a competent, solid race. I was making it happen! Fortunately or unfortunately for me, every time I tried to pick up the pace I couldn’t breathe, so it forced me to maintain a very manageable pace instead of flying and dying like I kind of wanted to…

At 18km, I felt like staggering. I couldn’t believe there was so much left. My legs were done! I felt sorry for myself until I passed the runner ahead of me. WHa?

Why is she letting this happen? Letting me pass her at 18? Suddenly I could run again, I was doing ok and making it!!! WOW! I never have that feeling this late in the game.

I cruised up to the finish line with a blistering (ha) 5:00km pace – ok, it felt fast anyways.

And I didn’t even feel that bad! WOAH!

We had the best food after too- chili, with buns and cheese 🙂 YUM!!! Oh and my husband finished with a crazy fast time- he got 1:34, while I got 1:44. I was very pleased with my time too, as this is now my personal best for the half marathon. I have a feeling that I can do better now.

World’s Okayest Runner: VIRA Cobble Hill 10k race recap!

Yes, three races in three weeks! My legs are feeling TRASHED today, ha, and I had a coughing attack walking to work. Such is the price to pay for glory??

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Me- on any given race day.

So, last week was the MEC 10k, and the weather was god-awful. This weekend was much sunnier, and it was the VIRA Cobble Hill 10k. This is a race I vaguely recalled running last year, where I set my first 10k-related goal (the vaunted, hard-to-achieve time of 49:29 as Facebook reminded me today!). Wow, how things have changed eh?

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Photo courtesy of the Ceevacs run club.

This time, my time goal for the 10k is sub- 45:00, which I know is going to be extremely challenging to get. And that wasn’t necessarily my goal for Cobble Hill–I kind of wanted to see what I was capable of, coming off a 10k last week? Sound reasonable?

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My new fav run photo- courtesy of my husband!

I mean, if i got sub-45, I was going to be very happy, but I also realized that realistically in running, ‘wishing and hoping’ isn’t very well going to make it happen!

Newsflash: I didn’t get sub-45. But I got a time I was very good with!

The race itself felt like a slice of special Hell. I set a very good pace at the first km (4:19?!) and the immediately realized I could NOT sustain it, as I set it running down a slight incline…Whoops. My allergies were going insane and I could hear my breathing through my EARS every BREATH was like this weird echo of a loud person breathing in my ears. It was making me feel really crazy.

I started gaining time…from that fast pace to 4:29, 4:37,4:39, and then it got really ugly and I was gasping and starting to feel sorry for myself…4:44! I had thoughts like: I see Ian and his dad, I wonder if I could just pull out now, and end this?? Would anyone notice? How does it feel to quit mid-race? How did this feel easier last week?

Let’s just say 4km and I are not friends.

The race was also super super busy. It was packed! I wasn’t passing anybody. They were all passing me haha. I went around the turnaround and started mentally slapping myself. Only 5k left! Sharpen up! Focus! Pick yourself up! No feeling sorry for yourself!

The mental slapping must have worked, because I started to regain more control of my breathing (it still sucked, but sucked a bit less), and worked my pace down to 4:26. I then flip-flopped between 4:26-4:3-? until the last KM, and I ran my 9th km at 4:23, which I was VERY pleased with.

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Photo courtesy of Ceevacs. I swear, I thought I was sprinting…

I was not so pleased with how terrible I felt during, and after, the race. Jesus.

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Award ceremony! Photo courtesy of Ceevacs.

I staggered through the finish and sat down on the crumbling steps of the school. I couldn’t catch my breath well enough, and I felt dizzy. I walked back to the school/staging area with some nice runners and my calf seized up–I was dehydrated.

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Kind of Halloweeny eh? I actually tied for 8th, but ended up in 9th for some reason? (milli-seconds??).

So, I was very happy with my time (a not-shabby 45:23) I was not super glad about how it actually ran- it was ugly, it felt horrible, and man, it was just…extremely rough.

But as always, there is another race, another day, and my effort was good. Thanks to the Ceevacs running club, the volunteers, race director, photographers, course marshals, food staff (!!yummy chili!) and photographers (my husband included) for making the day a real one to remember. 🙂