Lake to Lake Half Marathon: Shawnigan to Glenora

Ah yes, forgot that I ran this one of a few busy weekends ago (Sept 11?). It’s quite a small community fun run, and it is unique in that it offers two distances: the full marathon, and the half. It is not chip-timed – and as I learned when I ran it- not quite a full distance either, hah. 😉

Lake to Lake!! An eerie glow…

There was a small crowd as we started slightly after the full marathon folks, and it’s a point-to-point, so you do have to be aware of getting back to your car. They do offer a shuttle, but luckily for me Ian wasn’t running so he could pick me up afterwards! Yes!

The weather was fantastic. It’s been an incredible fall, no rain, just sun and warm weather days. I love it! I was a tad chilly in the morning, but that burned off pretty quick. Speaking of burned off, there was also smoke- due to forest fires from WA. Luckily for us, the smoke in the air didn’t get too bad until later in the afternoon and I was finished fairly early, so not bad.

I started up near the front, as it was quite a small race. I hung out for awhile with another guy, cognizant of not wanting to blow up my pace (this was supposed to be a practice run for training, NOT a real race). Did I actually do that? Well…sort of. I got pretty into the idea of racing quick 😉 and mistakenly thought I was KILLING IT!! A new world record for me!! (newsflash: This did not happen. You merely rise to the level of your training, not above it.).

So, I jogged along, beat the one guy and had a few fasties ahead of me. I hustled and caught up with them…and then started feeling tired. The aid stations were a bit odd, not very evenly spaced and we had one right off the bat where we didn’t need them, and then 1 at about 12k? And then one at the finish, lol. Guess they were more important for the marathoners hahaha. The gravel was ok to run on, but I think the fatigue of training caught up with me and I started feeling pretty chewed up.

Cute participation medal eh?

I lost the fasties and kind plugged along solo for awhile. Wish I had some pictures actually!! And then it was the finish- at about 20.60, we were definitely a touch short. Oh well! I came in with no fanfare and my time was around 1:30:?? which is fine for a training run for sure, but again- course was short. I believe I was second female but not quite sure as there’s no awards or anything unless you win!

Waited around for Ian to come, he didn’t so I decided to just go and tackle the rest of my long run rather than waiting for the smoke to get worse, and for my legs to start stiffening up too much. That part was a SLOG lol. I did see a lot of other marathon runners so I cheered them on, hah clutching my participation medal because I didn’t know where to put it haha.

I finished that in about 1.5 hours, jogged back to the staging area and ran into Ian again. We wrapped up the day by going to Stillhead distillery for a spirits tasting (so good!!!) and then we went to watch the finishers of the Finlayson Arm Ultra (50k/100k day) and then went riding. A good day all around! 😉

I would recommend the Lake to Lake Marathon for a fun training opportunity that is supported and quite reasonably priced, it’s a beautiful course and very fun. Not a serious race, in my opinion but that makes it more fun!

No, the end is not near

Had a very busy weekend! And tried to ignore the fact that it was martyr’s day (cough, mother’s day…) not a great day for those of us experiencing strained mother-daughter and parental relationships…UGH! Enough said.

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I am feeling dressage-inspired! 

Anyways, my best solution is to grey-rock them (don’t buy into drama, be boring). It works ok, but I’m also a terrible grey-rock person- prone to outbursts! Ha. Oh well! The weekend itself was pretty good, Friday my husband and I signed up for a ‘5k Happy Hour Run’ with local running store Frontrunners, sponsored by New Balance and Sheringham Distillery. It was so fun, and the weather was fantastic! Sunny, warm, just a great day to be alive.

You had the option to demo a pair of New Balance shoes, go on a nice little 5k shake-out run through Beaconhill Park, and then back to Frontrunners for a sweet-ass cocktail, a Moscow Mule shaken up right there by the bartender! And we got to keep the nice copper mugs too! Yeah!

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Poor Gidget got sick this weekend. 

And then we got home and Gidget was sick, puking. Nooooooooo…She threw up on Ian’s arm at 3am that night. 😦 Gross. Poor dog. Luckily that seemed to be it for her. We were up and Saturday was a super nice day again, at least everywhere not in James Bay. Sunny, warm, beautiful. We went to check out the Oaklands Garage Sale block party. It was nice! I didn’t see anything I really wanted though, so didn’t pick up any garage sale scores.

Off to the barn and enjoyed a ride in the sunshine in the outdoor arena with Oaty. Then I came home and it was just freezing in James Bay. About 12 degrees and wind gusts of oh, 70km/hr? I went on a run and was grimly cursing the entire time. It.SUCKED.

Sunday I was up early to go audit the Cesar Torrente dressage clinic for the day at my dressage trainer’s fabulous stables, Fairlawn. It was really cool! Highlight of the day- watching Cesar instruct a high-level rider/horse partnership, currently competing at Prix St. Georges. It was just stunning to watch, and I was really engaged in it 🙂 How neat! I felt inspired to go ride my little nag after that, hahah.

So we did! Zipped out to the barn after lunch at the clinic and I rode in the outdoor, trying to keep in mind Cesar’s teachings at the clinic. I can get very complacent and lazy when I ride on my own, unfortunately. I feel like I’m not the only one with that bad habit though? Oats was good, we worked on picking up the counter-canter down the long side on the quarter-line of the arena. I was FROZEN though, brrrrrrr.

Moved some jumps around after, ugh I was exhausted. Drove home, contemplated going for another sad-sack run in the freezing wind and cold and just…couldn’t. Ha.

Rode yesterday and it was cold, but still ok to ride in the outdoor with a buddy. Let’s face it- the barn is my social life! 😉 And I am still feeling inspired by Cesar. Let’s hope that propels me into some more effective, focused rides.

VIRA Cedar 12k Race Recap!

This race was rescheduled from a really bad snowstorm we had a few weeks ago, in Feb. And they definitely chose the right weekend to reschedule- it was cold, but clear and sunny yesterday, making for a really nice race experience.

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Ok I’m a blur but I weirdly kind of like the effect? It looks really cool! Plus the girl behind me placed second in our age group, so  how good is this timing? 😉

This race used to have a pretty notorious set of hills on it, and a slog-slow finish through a playground field for the finish. They re-did the course last year after a car accident forced them to change the course last-minute, and people liked the new course so much that they kept it! Yay! That means the course is MUCH faster, fluid and now allows for a real sprint to the finish. I like it a lot more this way, haha.

Note- there are still some rolling hills, but they aren’t even remotely comparable to what it used to be…

I was going to use this race to see how well I could stick to a under-4:30/km pace. Last time I kind of struggled or didn’t take it really seriously, so I thought I was ready to meet the challenge appropriately. And I did! I got kind of caught up at the start, and my gun/chip time have like…8 seconds of elapsed time. Hah. Oh well!

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They had the best cupcakes! So cute. 

I came off the start fairly behind, but worked to steadily close the gap. I was pretty happy with my consistent pacing (in a bit of a headwind the entire way out…) with some Km’s at 4:30 but mostly under. I worked hard in the first half to maintain.

At the turnaround, I had been passing people pretty regularly. The turnaround was good, I felt fairly strong and able to keep my pace really moving. I caught up to a few runners, ran a ridiculously fast 1km at 10km- like 4:14?? HA. I could NOT keep that, and the runner I’d been matching blew past me. Ahhh hahaha. Oh well!

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Came up fairly strong for the finish, and my eyes were watering like crazy! I was pleased with my time, and felt like it was probably one of the most competent 12ks I’d run. My stomach cramped up horribly after though, UGHH and I didn’t feel great for the rest of the day/evening. Ugh.

A big thanks to the volunteers, VIRA and Bastion Run Club for putting on a lovely race. The snacks, cupcakes and treats were amazing. I just loved them! And because this is a smaller race, the fasties didn’t show up and I got first place in my AG, and was 9th woman finisher with a time of 52:41 chip/52:49 gun. 🙂

Run recap in photos from Cedar 12k

I found a whole bunch more photos, courtesy of some runners at Cedar 12k. Annd…thought I’d do a wrap up of the photos, as a sort of reminisce from my crazy-insane season of 6 races in six weeks, culminating in 10 races for the season total. The distances ranged from 5k to a half marathon, trail to road, and BOY was it a challenge this year.

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Yeeahhh a solid 9th place finish for me. HA.

Right now, I’m on a race hiatus which feels pretty nice actually. (sort of a lie right now because I did inadvertently sign up for a trail 29k on the Sunshine Coast and then forgot I signed up for it, and found out we got in on Sunday…and it’s this weekend so I had to cancel.

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But I did finish in 5th place overall for the series!

The reality is Mexico+booze+holidays+sun+home renos+back to work+decompressing from the insane stress of months and months= no go for me. Sorry Marathon Shuffle, I will try next year! I bet it’s fun!

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Looking sharp

Our stairs and bedroom look great though, so the home reno thing is going nicely.

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Had to miss my Tuesday dressage lesson to pick up family from the ferries, so rescheduled that for next week but I still have my jump lesson tonight to look forward to!

Comox

A fun bonus- this is from the Comox half marathon.

Oats on the other hand, has been enjoying his vacay from me a bit too much and came back into work on Sunday a tad grudgingly. Ha.

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At the turnaround. I have never had so many photos from one race!

Growing up is for trees

What a lovely long weekend- and judging by how much sleep I got this weekend, apparently long overdue? It was pretty busy, nevertheless!

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High-five!!

Friday the weather dawned grey, drizzly and cold so I rode Oats first in the indoor, and then in the outdoor when I forgot they were turning the sprinklers on and had to vacate- my mistake haha. He felt very forward in the indoor- so much so I was having trouble with my steering- but funny enough, when I moved back outdoor the huge trot I had? Felt totally normal.

That’s the space issue I think- it plays tricks on you! He was good to ride though and we worked through some more trot-canter-walk-trot-canter transitions. I went for a short hill run (5k of hills) after my ride, and we attended a friend’s Canada Day party in the evening. All in all, a fairly good day.

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Mr. Oats mid-sneeze

Saturday, we had something special planned- a gallop in the field photoshoot! And the weather finally cleared up, so we did our photoshoot, and it was a BLAST!!! Galloping Oats in the field is one of my most favourite activities. Soooo fun. I think Oats enjoys it just as much as I do, because he doesn’t have to do any boring flatwork haha.

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Running in the field is my favourite says Oats!

We then packed up from the barn and headed off to the Cowichan River- it wasn’t as warm as I would like, so I didn’t swim, but it was a nice hike in and felt great to be close to nature again. When we got home, I was pretty tired but I laced up my runners and jogged out for a brief 4k or so light run…In preparation for our 7-year anniversary dinner at the Keg!! Yum! We went all out for it- I had a fabulous cocktail- the NY Sour, and Lobster Sirloin. Mega $$$ but worth it man, worth it.

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Gidget hitches a ride.

Sunday was a sunny day again but chilly and breezy. We zipped up island with our dog in tow and our runners and decided to make a good day of it at my in-laws farm! We left our dog with his parents and jogged up Cobble Hill/Mountain, not a big one but there are lots of twisty, steep-ish trails to explore. It was a fairly tiring run, and I even made us go a bit further to make it an even 9km.

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It’s hard being a purse-dog

Then it was time for garden picking- it took like hours actually! Croquet, dinner, and Bocce ball. It was late when we got home that night, and we sure made a good day of it. Oats got the day off because I’d ridden him 4 days in a row and we both needed the break.

“I wish I could recommend the experience of not being killed to everyone” Gut Buster Mt. Washington Race Recap!

And another quote by the esteemed Tim Kreider.

Yes I'm wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

Yes I’m wearing my barn jacket. My other one was soaked through!

But on to the race!

The Gut Buster Mt. Washington…dun dun dun!

Yes, this one was not recommended by my husband, and I deliberately avoided talking about it at work or to anyone because I knew they would tell me I was making a bad decision. I have a bad kneecap and it gives me trouble and running down a suicide hill would definitely count as making a terrible decision.

So, I just didn’t mention it, and I ran it on Saturday.

And was it a bad decision? Nope! Would I do it again? Very debatable…

It was tough. It was rough. Am I glad I did it? Hells yeah!

The first inkling of trouble was when we got to the ski hill and it was absolutely freezing, pissing down rain and blasting wind. I started shivering immediately and my teeth were chattering. I signed up for this? WTF? I felt sorry for the poor volunteers at the registration tables, those folks looked absolutely frozen. It was, according to the Mt. Washington sign, 11 deg at the base of the mountain. BRrrrrrr.

Keeping in mind it is August, and everywhere else it was 20 deg and if not sunny, then only mildly rainy. Jesus.

The race director- who is a total moviestar- spent a lot of time warning us about the hazards on course…slippery rocks, lots of rocks, rain, wind, steep conditions, ”scrambling” sections, oh and the course that was going to be 6km is now 8.5km- yayyyy…????? In my mind I was like oh god, there goes my pride and all of my bones right now. What kind of stupid impulse made me sign up for this freezing torture?

Anyways, before I could back out, we were out and running up the hills. For awhile I was feeling ok- I was passing people, feeling good, kind of smug really about passing even though I started at the bottom of the pack. Then we all kind of had to backtrack because everyone got lost immediately and missed the first of the flags. Whoops!

So, on we went until we reached 3km of the supposedly 5km uphill- that’s when the bad boys really started, and everyone was walking/trudging grimly uphill. This is when it started feeling less like a race, and more of a trudge, ha.

We got to a peak (note- I said ‘a peak’ not ‘the peak’ or ‘the summit’) and I was thinking oh yeah great, this is going well! Until we kept going and I noticed we weren’t going downhill. We were going up again…to the next peak.

Uh oh…

I gamely jogged across a really bizarre foot path of sorts made of huge boulders -slippery- and then trudged up some truly difficult scrambling sections. I was using momentum to heave myself up the scramble, wedging my foot in a rock, grabbing for a chunk of root or juniper bush to crawl up higher. At one point my foot slipped and I almost fell butt-first into the face of the guy following closely behind me. Phew, close one!

Then I felt good, ok that MUST be it!

We were even going a bit downhill…And then..back uphill?

Yeah, the run wasn’t done with me yet. At the brief downhill section, I got passed by everyone. I suck at going downhill, and rock at going uphill. And now we were really and truly heading to the summit. Cold wind and rain blasted us tirelessly, and we were socked in fog. It was a eerie experience, and I was all alone. It felt like I was the last person left on earth, running through a frozen apocalypse!

I kept going, and kept my head to the ground. I couldn’t see well because the rain was fogging my eyes, and the wind was making me tear up. That was when I missed the pink flags and cruised for awhile on a road. I enjoyed the cruise downhill until I noticed a suspicious lack of flags. Curses! I saw a guy quite a way away to my right running through a meadow and I shouted to him if he saw the flags- he yelled back yes!

I had to backtrack to the meadow, and I picked up the flags again. And I got passed by a few more people…Darn those downhill sections, I have to be the only person that can’t deal with it!

I jogged, walked and slipped my way down the mountain. Lots of small slippery rocks made it tricky, there were a few little boards over running water, and some logs just waiting to grab your ankles. Still, I was keeping at it.

And then, I cruised the final small gentle rise and headed down to the finish line. It was in sight! I have to say, this was the first race I’ve had enough energy to wave at Ian when I ran through the gates, haha. Cold, soaked and happy, I was glad to be done my first and only trail run up a mountain.

We both finished with respectable times, Ian finished 7th and I finished 4th in our ages groups. Ian even won the last door prize- a really sweet Nike running shirt!

Race goal of a sub-50 minute 10k- achieved!!

finally did it!! Ran my first 10k race under 50 minutes, which has been my goal time for a few years now. I normally only race one race a year- the Times Colonist 10k, but this year decided to sign up for a race series to better measure my progress running (incremental and slowww) and I was getting a bit burned out by the insane hustle-and-bustle of the TC 10k, which has thousands of runners.

Cobble Hill 10k

Cobble Hill 10k

The atmosphere is usually a big plus for me but after I got stuck at the starting gates with the walkers, for half an hour waiting to cross the start line…Yeah no thanks!!

So this race, the Cobble Hill 10k, was over a fairly fast track through the woods, gentle rolling hills and a somewhat foot-punishing gravel road for about 2km.

I was worried about my knee- one of the reasons (excuses) I have for not getting to my goal sooner was my wonky knee that could either cooperate or completely blow out and I couldn’t walk anymore (want to know how a 10k feels when you’re limping? I know! It’s LONG!).

So yeah, I was very keen to get a good time this go-around, and the crowds were far more manageable. I was running with my husband and my friend, and husband took off quickly so it was just friend and I, to pace each other.

First four-five kms felt a bit slow, I do find it tough to get in the rhythm without forgetting myself and accidentally damaging my knee. I didn’t quite have that *free* feeling that I had when I ran the 8k race.

We picked it up early, a bit too early actually. Between 6–7 we pushed the rate, and then I held it through 7km. At eight, I thought I should take it down a bit as I noticed I was gasping  loudly for breath instead of breathing like a normal person, and kind of felt like I was going to have a heart attack…So I tried to take it down to something reasonable to get my breathing going well again.

For 9, I held back a bit longer than I should have. I was a bit suspicious about ‘where’ exactly the finish line was and have been burned unpleasantly before when I started my sprint and realized I wasn’t anywhere close to it, and was flaming my lungs out! So, I held out on the sprint until it was pretty much too late, haha. Ohh well!

I made it anyways! Goal time of under 50 minute 10k was achieved, with a pretty respectable 49:29, not too shabby for me. The best part was the awesome food served at the finish. Chili, soup, snacks, anything you wanted, they had! YEAH!

I was extra-careful for the rest of the day to work to heal my legs up, and I’m actually not feeling too bad today. Phew!

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25th Annual TC 10K

25th Annual TC 10K

Yeah! This year they even gave out commemorative medals for finishers!

Going into the race, I was NOT feeling it. I’d hurt my knee this year, and was struggling to get back to running on the regular, not even running full 10ks or racing speed. I was doing a lot more short runs and maybe a 6-8k once a week? My knee was still wonky and I was pretty concerned it was going to blow doing this race, but I’d already committed.

And in my infinite wisdom (which apparently is NOT infinite) I’d also signed up for a horse show the day before. Because that’s not tiring at all, is it? HAH!

And I trained pretty hard for the TC 10k by being too sick to run the week before and being barely able to drag myself off the couch for the week…And every time I tried to run, I’d cough my lungs out.

So, success right??

And surprisingly it went quite well! I got an ok time of 53:46- a titch slower than last year, my ideal goal is 50 mins. The run itself was kind of a hell unto itself…

– I got stuck in the walkers group for the start, because apparently they decided to make it extra-difficult to fight your way through 11,000 people to get to your correct starting gate…
– I stood on the pavement for 20 minutes jammed shoulder-to-shoulder with people in the freezing weather.
– It started raining as we climbed the hill at Dallas Rd and blasting wind. So, not only did it feel like I was running backwards, but I was getting rain in my face the whole time. FUN.
– I didn’t even take my sweater off the whole run. Brr.
– I wanted to give up SO HARD. I was running to protect my left knee, and it started threatening me around the last 3km. I was like, don’t give out, don’t give out, don’t give out…

And I made it! YEAH! So, even just finishing felt pretty good.

Ian and I went home, warmed up and showered, and then went out for brunch. I had a nap later. It was a great end to the weekend.