We all want the same things: Comox Half-Marathon Race Recap!

Alternate title: (nothing hurts like a bruised ego part #2 and a visit to physical therapy the day after a race).

IMG_0835

Second in my age-group, and I picked up my missing Cedar 12k gold medal too. Ian won a sweet door prize- a growler & fill from Forbidden Brewing Co.!!

So yeah I am in a world of hurt today, AND also my race on Sunday up Island in Comox was…Less than glorious, haha. I wasn’t super optimistic about it, given high stress levels for the past few weeks, absolutely heinous allergies (ongoing), and just feeling kind of beat-down. Nothing glaring, just not feeling super optimal. And I was kind of right, haha.

It was very much a sub-optimal race. I remembered last year and was thrilled with my time then- it felt GREAT!!! And I was rocking it!! I tried to keep that in mind and things just sort of started…Falling apart. It was weirdly warm- much warmer than I thought it was going to be. I immediately started sweating heavily and thought, ‘oh great I’m hot already…’ Unusual for this time of year and I was wearing shorts even- that NEVER happens!

55500808_10157194559445859_486376201271640064_o

Photo courtesy of Joseph Camilleri, featuring the gentleman that matched me and kept my pace honest at least! 🙂

The first few KM’s I ran fast, but not ‘super’ fast…I recalled the ongoing rolling hills to the turnaround at 10-11km, but what I didn’t remember was the entire way up from like 4-9 is also rolling hills, so I kind of went up and up and up! Hm.

My pace started kind of sucking and I thought well, that’s ok. If I can hang on now, I can make it up on the back end (newflash- I couldn’t).

Went around the turnaround and thought ok here it goes!!! Big burst of speed!! Ahahahaha nope. In my mind I was running fast, in reality, I wasn’t even making up what I had lost. It was kind of demoralizing. I felt hot and kind of nauseous the entire way back. My stomach was churning- not terribly but I just felt strange and not dialed in. We ran to about 16-17KM and the wheels started falling off for me. I felt lightheaded and my legs felt so tired, so heavy. No matter what I was doing, I couldn’t go fast?! I grabbed some E-lite drink and choked on it for a good few minutes. Shoot!

I was running neck and neck with another guy and he even waited when I was choking, to see if I was all right. Hahah nice eh? We were both pretty deep into the pain train…

At 18km I thought yes here ‘s the big push! Andd….flat legs. Each Km was about 5:00/km, which was far slower than I wanted or expected (here’s the ego part again). It clearly wasn’t happening for me yesterday. I tried as hard as I could, and I didn’t have it. I was gasping for breath, and just couldn’t do it.

We finished at 1:36:28, which was far slower than last year but again, I think many of us had the same race and were riding the struggle bus too. I placed 2nd in my age group (which is funny because I was 5th last year with a better time!). And my stomach was just miserable after, took me awhile to settle long enough to enjoy the fantastic chili and snacks that they had on offer. I still think Comox has the BEST after-race spread, hands-down. 😉

Many thanks to the fine volunteers, cheering squads and food servers- they really make this race something special! Even with all my whining and moaning, it was a gorgeous and warm day, and nice to be outside. Today hurts though, and to add the pain I had a great idea to get some active release done on my hip injury and glutes…Woww. Let’s just say I’m glad THAT is over. Yeesh.

 

 

Advertisements

You deserve this: Weekend update

Ah the weekend- I was on pins and needles at first, anxious to see if I was going to be deployed for flooding assistance- something I am fine with doing, but man, I did not want to go right now. So my weekend was me checking my phone constantly to see if I was going to be deployed. Spoiler: I wasn’t! YAY!

IMG_0523

The facility is incredible.

Saturday Ian and I visited the Fairfield Community Garage Sale and I scored a really sweet Bench jacket for $20 and a puffy polka-dot vest for $5- niiice! There were some other sales that looked pretty good but I wasn’t in need for much, so I left it at that.

Went riding and Oats was really good! I even rode without stirrups, which reminded me how much I dislike riding w/o stirrups…Ouch. I get this big knot under my thighs. Later I went for a run, and then just enjoyed the evening. It was crazy windy and cold, so we weren’t out on the patio at all. Crummy weather on Saturday!

Sunday I had arranged a lesson with another trainer, as my current dressage coach Karen Brain is on a much-needed vacation and travelling around! It didn’t start off well at all. Blah. Oats was a total loon about the end of the outdoor arena and driving me NUTS! Why was this surfacing after having such great, zen rides? ARGHHHHHH. I was so mad. He was literally jumping out of his skin every step. Wha?

Anyways, it kind of looked like we didn’t know what we were doing…Not a great first impression. BUT the lesson went well, and Oats was tired. When we went back to the exercise (raised poles on a circle, trot and then canter) he was like WHA? I have to do this again? Ha. yes. The name of the game was to improve Oats’ fitness, so when I am asking for more collected canter work he can actually do it, instead of you know…not.

Then I got changed and my friend and I drove out to the gorgeous Fairlawn Equestrian Centre for the season-end wrap up party potluck. It is amazing out there! Just stunning. I got totally sunburned, ha. We enjoyed a ton of great food (I ate way too much yesterday, ugh felt sick after) and tasty desserts too. Yum yum! And there were door prizes as well- I won a bottle of Cowboy Magic and my friend won a really cute face brush.

IMG_0524

Sweet prize!!

A surprise to me, I won the Adult Amateur High Point award- a really sweet Tempo Jacket from Greenhawk, and they are going to embroider it too. WOWWW! Made my day! Lucky me.

VIRA’s Comox Half-Marathon Race Recap!

Wow, where to begin? I was definitely gunning for a better time at this race. My previous half-marathon in the fall showed me I am capable of more (I ran a trail half at 1:40), which very much surprised me. I was coming out of my year-long racing funk and things were looking up!!

29425220_2021906937824080_3308789723337588736_n

Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

I haven’t traditionally had great times at the Comox Half-Marathon. Our first time running it, I was so new to the distance we raced it at over two hours! Crazy eh? (2:05 as I check back with Raceday Timing). It hurt, it was hard and I wasn’t sure about this longer distance at all.

But, things improved. Piece by piece. The year after, we ran it at 1:45, which was HUGE for me. Wow! But that’s when things started to plateau/actively get worse for me in my body. I struggled last year with my breathing. For some reason, my VO2 Max seemed to get a lot worse and I was frequently gasping for breath. It felt like someone was squeezing my chest. I couldn’t get enough air, and almost collapsed at a pretty horrible race, in what felt like the penultimate bad decision…

29366012_2021918151156292_4394966164854276096_n

Real close up to the finish- Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

Anyways, so my times at Comox last year reflected this, somewhat. I raced at a 1:44, which to anyone looks like success eh? Well, numbers don’t show everything, do they. I wasn’t happy about it, but then my Halloween Half Marathon with MEC showed me that hey, I was getting over this bout of weirdness!! Yeah!

And now…how did this race go? The big one?

It went GREAT!! I started cautiously (relatively…It still felt so fast to me) while I ran the first 9km between 4:30-4:45 at the worst end on the longer hill). People who I typically race around took off like a shot! I felt anxious about this. I couldn’t even see them anymore…Yikes.

29472672_2021917767822997_4255360254352556032_n

Very determined to the finish. Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

But, the half is a much longer race, so I had time. So I hung on, and carefully watched and ran conservatively. It was amusing, because in my ‘careful’ pacing I ran with several other runners who were maybe at their max earlier…And I could hear them plotting to catch up to and pass me. And they did! But…I kind of knew they weren’t going to be able to hang on to that and it was at like, 2km. Soooo yeah, slow down guys. It’s a long race 😉 And I am a crafty person.

So I kind of laughed to myself and focused more on running a strategic race. It came to a head at 9-10.5km/the turnaround, when I was playing a bit of leapfrog with a runner who was starting to irritate me (well, and me to him probably). I knew I could outpace him, but I wanted to push him a bit, see where this was going. You can guess, he ran up, passed me, I dogged him a little…He clipped my heels when I managed to make another pass, I let him go ahead, and then dogged him…And then around the turn I blasted off!!

29386238_2021933007821473_6122063752566145024_o

Photo by Comox Valley Road Runner’s Jim Hockley.

Goodbye! I wasn’t running at my maximum at all!

I did not see this runner again. But now it was my turn to really max out my race. It was also a very long downhill stretch (my right knee is NOT GOOD today because of this….yeesh). But I could use it, and I sure did! I clocked km’s at 4:17 and 4:12, which shocked the hell out of me. Wha? I can and am doing this?

I started catching up to the runners I usually race with. They had been so far ahead I hadn’t even seen them the whole race and here I was, coming up behind. It felt really good!

I rocked the ‘faster than usual for me’ pace up until oh, 17-18 km which is traditionally a real dead zone for this race. It’s flat, lots of cars (an open course) gravel, and just…soooooooooo long.

My pace faltered a bit, but you know what? I didn’t stress and fuss. I picked off another few runners coming up the last few KM’s, which again surprised me. Usually I am getting passed at this point.

IMG_0481

Ian and my ribbons. The couple than runs together 😉

I was wishing I had grabbed another Gatorade drink at the 17km marker. It was really nice out, warm, sunny and I was getting hot and thirsty. Oh well! I came over the bridge, lost some momentum doing that, and then began the long run to the finish. I was so happy, people were calling to me ‘Go girl, get it!!’ 🙂 YESSS!! I got it!

I finished smiling, with a 1:34:55 for my personal best in the half, good enough for 5th place in my age-group and 11th woman finisher. A great race, well-run with over 100 generous volunteers, good cheering sections and the best food around! I enjoyed the chili and cheese and bread very much.

VIRA Race Recap: Port Alberni Paper Chase 15k!

A new one to the series and I’m glad to see the return of the 15k distance, though my legs may not necessarily agree 😉

Last year this was a 10k and I found it challenging. Rolling hills took a lot out of my legs and my season last year was full of difficulties, so it equalled out to a really tough race. How would an even longer race this year fare?

28827720_10155162912796456_457481726009005901_o

Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassels Photography.

Ha. It was TOUGH.

Rolling hills galore! It was tough to maintain any semblance of pace. There was  neat trail section that took runners through the historic MacLean Mill site, which was pretty cool though I was running and staring at the ground for most of it! Missed on me, haha.

So yep, first off I got passed by pretty much everyone- flew past me like I was standing still! It’s hard to start races like that, but I knew I had to run ‘my’ race and be careful about pacing. It was going to be hard.

Mentally challenging start for sure, and my pace kind of tanked, even though I felt like I was trying really hard to ‘run’ if that makes any sense?

At the turnaround just before the Mill section of the run, I was like whaaa?? This is so hard!  Luckily the Mill part broke it up, though my pace dropped hilariously (over 17 seconds lost there, hahaha). Oh well it was pretty!

The run back I was kind of in a funk, but not quite a deep a funk as I started with. I had a goal- how many KM’s can I get at 4:30/km? It was a game I played with myself, ha. As soon as I hit a hill though it fell apart. Another young runner and I played rabbit on and off, with each of us running neck-and-neck. It actually really helped me stay on my game, and I ended up passing her in the final KM or so. She was right on my heels!

28616756_10155162915711456_8457485084988202539_o

Photo courtesy of Lyndon Cassel Photography.

The finish is on a slight uphill that is an absolute pace killer, ha! I charged up it though and ran to the finish. Done! My time was 1:08:20 good enough for 2nd place in my age category. Sweet!

The food was SO good after too- candied salmon chowder, foccacia bread, fruit/veggies and milk and yogurt. All my favourites! Delicious! A big thank you to the great volunteers and chefs handling the day. A well-run and very safe race. I do recommend it if you are looking for a tough 15k to challenge you. 🙂

After the race, my husband and I checked out the Port Alberni Brewery Twin Cities. I tried the pineapple-coconut sour beer and it was SO GOOD! We bought a growler of it to bring home. Highly recommend!!!

VIRA race recap: Port Alberni Paper Chase 10k!

An exciting new race for me, and for the VIRA Island series, them bringing back an older race that hadn’t been in rotation for years- the last Paper Chase was in 2002. This made up race #5 for my husband and myself, as we had a series of MEC and VIRA races all stacked up against each other.

17807491_1306294999454209_3671230122428797233_o

My first VIRA medal. And probably my last, ha. Photo courtesy of Ceevacs Roadrunners.

We prepared for the haul out to Port Alberni and the weather was fabulous! Chilly but blue skies and sunshine. A welcome change from the kind of drab grey misery/constant bone-chilling wind we seem to be having this ‘spring’…

I was starting to feel sicker though. Another cold was brewing pretty strongly in my head and now, chest. I feel HORRIBLE as of today, Wednesday April 5. But on Sunday I was just coughing a lot and had sinus congestion, nothing too bad, so I figured I could race but it might be a bit rough. Oh, it was.

The course description was a tad misleading- as fast. Ha, maybe the downhill parts! It was also a lot of rolling hills, and the up parts of those hills just killed me. Phew, I kind of wanted to quit at 4km again and found it very challenging to get into the rhythm. My paces were lousy on the uphills and decent on the down.

I resigned myself to running ‘my race’ and let ideas of pace go. And, I actually managed to enjoy myself in between ragged breaths for KM’s 7-8. KM 9 sucked, but 9-10 was quite good! I even felt pretty warm at one point, with sunlight blazing down on us.

The race was a small one, with just over 250 people registered and only 15 in my age category- not often that happens! And as it were, I placed third in my age group with a time of 47:09. I wasn’t super proud of that time, but you know? This is me right now. I’m struggling more with head and chest colds, chronic allergies, exercised-induced asthma and fatigue/exhaustion, so I have to be fair to myself and with the effort I am putting out. Me last year is not the same as me this year.

I am fighting with feelings of ‘why isn’t this year as good as last year’ but you know what, who cares! I am doing it and that is what matters.

The volunteers are fantastic, the food was the BEST- candied salmon seafood chowder and two types of chili- I had the seafood chowder myself and it was great! We had yogurts, Milk 2 Go and muffins, buns and cookies, with fruit and veggies.

I’d highly recommend checking this one out- smaller turnout, tough but doable course and great food at the end. We also checked out the brand-new Twin Cities Brewing, in Port Alberni, for a post-race beer 🙂

Leaving Rio, heading to Paraty: The last and final phase.

13934840_10100602806234496_6621083793452968446_n

Brazilian riders had these fabulous baroque Andalusians.

Sadly all fun things must come to an end…for us, that means leaving Rio, wrapping up our last Olympic sport (dressage) and hopping in a bus to head four hours out of the city to the Disneyland-beach town of Paraty (pronounced Para-chee, for some crazy Portuguese reason…).

13975291_10100602806623716_2418945615087508010_o

Art in motion!

When I say it is a Disneyland place, it’s because, compared with Rio, Paraty is just so..easy. Fun architecture, no cars really drive around in the old town, beaches galore, tons of adventure type stuff to do (kayak, snorkel, take party boats out, horseback ride, hike, taste cachaca). I would have LOVED to spend more time there, and was so sad when we had to leave.

14051766_10100602971932436_9125357188631726808_n

Kayaking!

When we arrived it was very chilly- brrr! The weather improved for our 1 full day there, and we went kayaking for 3 hours! I have never kayaked before in my life but it is pretty easy as it turns out. We went around the archipelago and into a mangrove swamp. We saw some land crabs there that are pretty big.

14047291_10100602972416466_2749277353738904719_o

Going through the mangrove swamp.

The restaurants in Paraty are excellent- we ate seafood stew from a cauldron type thing, and the day after a great feijoada- black bean stew with chunks of meat. YUM! As always, portion sizes were out of this world huge…

13925805_10100602973274746_6075981508367076824_o

Treacherous cobbles, but a very neat place.

And we were fortunate enough to be there during the Cachaca Festival! That’s right, cachaca any way you can drink it- I had it in hot chocolate in the evening, and in the daytime I had it in a slushy – your choice of frozen chocolate, coconut, tangerine. YUM!!!

I wanted to spend more time in Paraty- such a lovely place, quite busy but really lovely. Easy to get around it, safe, and totally cool. I miss it so much.

 

14054417_10100602973000296_3305822377403455156_o

River in front of our hotel.

13680718_10100602973743806_9089789774595462454_n

Very old Portuguese church. Look at how huge the door is!

VIRA Hatley Castle 8k- Race Recap!

Yes I can’t believe we are already on race #4 of the VIRA series…time is flying by! I did not have high expectations for myself for this race, as last year it really took a lot out of me and I found it quite …rough.

See pic below from last year:

11018175_10100349834711456_8015548844258091158_n

Last year it sucked!

This year, I was prepared though! I had done a lot more hill running, so I had a better idea of what to prepare for, and I’d already done it once before. Still, I didn’t really have a time goal other than ‘better than last year’. I was running alone, as my husband and friend weren’t running this year with me, but luckily my husband was there to take some photos- yesss!

12745800_10100513879389606_814933256394480390_n

This year: still a struggle

At the start, I was kind of mentally kicking myself- I was absolutely frozen, I also seem to have some recurring stomach unpleasantness that I’m sure is related to the anxiety of racing as it seems to crop up often when I have a race, and I was just feeling…blah. I also think the beers the night before may not have been the best idea, but I guess you learn that the hard way.

12771816_10100513879185016_1678971231248943838_o

I like this shot b/c it looks like I am actually running.

The start was quite jammed, and I didn’t get up as close as I should have. We flew past the start (it is a downhill start) and I was immediately stuck behind slower runners, almost clipping their heels, yikes! I did a lot of dodging and weaving for the first km and had to rush to make it up. I was slower than I wanted to get to the first hill, having placed myself incorrectly at the start (again!).

Once having broken out of the pack, I played a bit of leapfrog with a younger racer who I recognized from my MEC 10k race earlier this year (she beat me, and she beat me in this race too. arghhh) and an older gentleman who I passed and stayed past!

The hills didn’t feel tooooo bad, but what I seriously lacked was a good recovery past the hill push. I just didn’t have that ‘oomph’ past the hills…It’s like I got to the hills and was like, phew that’s over! Oh, wait…

There’s the whole rest of the race! Surprisingly the portion in the woods was nice- springy, I was getting good foot feedback from the soft ground. It was still uphill but not terrible. It was very dark though, almost hard to see. There was a coach lurking in the woods cheering us on- yay for this dude! It was awesome.

12764492_10100513879459466_5391827251525305831_o

Dying at the finish part 1

The long downhills were soooo welcomed! I even managed to run them without too much fear–I guess doing those crazy GutBuster runs and MEC runs have made me much braver. I was getting tired though, and once the downhills ended and the flats began, I was so done.

12671658_10156608830495077_4394428974112934854_o

Photo by Brian Domney and a great shot of me getting blasted past at the finish..haha.

12593706_10100513879259866_4352431687700846761_o

Dying at the finish part 2

I kind of struggled to the finish, looking like I was going to puke. Lovely. I got beat by a 12-year old I think? Kid had a crazy rally to the finish, better than mine that’s for darn sure!

The spread at the end of the day was SO good! Hotdogs, an apple fritter, and all the candies you could hopefully want! Yogurts too! Yum!!

12768319_10156608838320077_426109347543798686_o (1)

Photo by Brian Domney: Where I am literally a head shorter than the others. Looks pretty funny!

And how did I do? Well I sure can’t complain- a good for me 37:13 (net) and 37:19 (gun). YES! This was surprisingly well enough to net me 5th place in my AG. That is the best I have ever gotten, and I was shocked. Lucky me eh? Compare that with my first attempt last year at 39:00 and I am a happy camper.

12716252_10100513879299786_195664286359022865_o

Ribbons!