Happy Halloween!

So in typical me fashion, I very much overscheduled Ian and I for the Halloween weekend, it was nuts! Great, but nuttsss!

Shorts were a bad choice…

On Saturday we were doing a 5k fun run in a town nearby, as a fundraiser for the food bank. I signed us up on a whim, and when we got there I didn’t realize …it was FREEZING out. Like, 3-4 deg freezing. Wow, what a shock! So we weren’t really prepared to be that cold and we had to do a lot of waiting around at the start as it was a very small scale fun run. My muscles tightened up so much that when we started, my arms physically hurt from being so cold. I kept my toque on even?! I felt like I wasn’t wearing anything on my bottom half because my legs were so cold I couldn’t feel my shorts.

My sweet prize!

So we ran, and it was pretty brutal, ha. My lungs were DYING. It wasn’t very flat, I will say that lol and the turnaround had a lot of confusion there (ah, fun runs) but we made it to…4k and finished? So I guess we paid very little $$ and we get a 4k not five hahah. That’s more than fine with me, I was pretty much dying!!

On Friday we carved our pumpkins and of course, Tucker had to try mine…

When we finished (Ian was ahead of me, but there weren’t any other women near me) I was drooling incessantly and felt like my lungs were going to burst out of my chest- they hurt so much, wowza. That set us up for a nice strong emphysema coughing fit for the next two days, ickkk just what you want in a pandemic amirite?

I picked up my prize (which was really nice!) for being the first woman finisher ­čÖé and we were off to task #2- ride Oats! I had a pretty ok ride, he was a touch resistant about doing shoulder-fore and I couldn’t quite capture the magic of our lesson, but that’s always the case, isn’t it??

Then we were home again for our next event: Beer tasting/tour with Hoyne Brewery, hosted by UVIC alumni society. It was a blast! I learned so much and Sean was the best storyteller ever. Plus the beer was good too, yessss!

Really nice to listen to!

And then it was time to get our costumes on and take the bus to our friend’s place- they bought a historical mansion and had the most AMAZING Halloween party at it. It was phenomenal!!!!!! Creepy coloured lights, pumpkins, snacks, candies, a great treasure hunt (one of the clues had an infrared camera?!!) that basically stymied us for the whole night, lol, and get this: Dry ice cocktails?!!! OMG. I was in heaven!

https://www.youtube.com/shorts/xr9cJNTy2WAhttps://www.youtube.com/shorts/xr9cJNTy2WA

A dry ice cocktail with champagne and absinthe!

We had such a nice time I didn’t want the night to end ­čśŽ

Until the next morning, when I was in hell….And had to get up for the barn’s Halloween fun show, that I promised I was going to do…Good lord why do I do this to myself?

to be continued…

End of the VIRA race season: Sooke 10k race recap & finale!

Wow, this one did NOT start off well. How poorly? Well, I would describe it as an absolute shitshow.

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Don’t let it fool you- it was a heck of a stressful race! 5th AG though!

I went out with the horse girls on Saturday night to celebrate a birthday, with dinner/drinks at Swans and then some cowboy dancing at Duke’s and we had a blast!! I was good, limited my number of drinks, did some dancing, and had a nice time. They had live music and it was actually pretty fun- I am not a country fan at all and I enjoyed it.

I had my husband agree to pick me up as my designated driver and when he did, the car was lurching and jerking all over the place. EFFFFFFF!!! Not again. We have an appt to get the car looked at on Tuesday but my race was on Sunday. Would we be able to make it out to Sooke??

I worried about that all night, and I was squabbling with my husband about what time we had to leave. He said 30 minutes will be more than enough, and I was worried about the time, the car issues and we had to get gas. All of these things= takes time. A lot of time, as it turns out…

We got the car started fine, but it was jerking and lurching to the gas station. We filled up and got on the road and by that time it was like 10:18am. The car drove pretty well to Sooke but time was not on our side…We hit traffic in Langford and before we knew it, it was 10:45am and we were NOT at the school yet. I was biting my nails and freaking out…We weren’t going to make the race! I am not listening to my husband about this again! I was pretty mad.

We literally pulled up about 500 metres away from the school (the road was closed for the race, and at this point, FULL of runners at the start!) and I leapt out when the car was still rolling and sprinted to the gym. It was not close. I ran into the gym and tore over to the bib pickup guys, who were all very friendly and like heyyy what’s your rush, you’ve got 5 minutes, do you want to put your jacket down? hahaha.

Yeah, five minutes!!! 

I frantically pinned my bib on, and jogged to the start which luckily was close. I started my watch and waited for 3 minutes to race…I had to pee too but that was NOT happening.

And they’re off! I started close to the front and started quick for me. The first KM was at 4:15…Faster than I can maintain. But, this course was practically designed to positive┬ásplit- all downhill in the beginning, and all uphill back. Yikes!

I watched my times bounce between 4:22-4:30 or so until I hit the 5k turnaround and then the plummeted–4:45, 4:37, 5:00!!! That was a particularly long and devastating hill. I was fairly out of breath from the speedy beginning, so I focused on controlling my breathing and bringing my pace down (ha ha, yeah like I could go any slower even) so I could manage the hill better.

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To the finish!

It sort of worked- my times were kind of a killer, but I felt more focused and in control…Not just running balls-to-the-walls. That approach meant my form was better too, and I was able to come in to the finish feeling much stronger than I thought. I kept thinking- the sooner I am done the sooner I get to use the bathroom!

The finish line was so inspirational- I love it!! There are flags for the finish chute and everyone is lined up to watch. It feels so awesome to run through it, and I have to say it’s one of my favourite finish line moments of all the race series.

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Loving my new run shorts.

My time was good but it was also the slowest 10k I have raced all year, by 10 seconds haha- gun 45:44 and net 45:40. But hey, I have had a VERY consistent season, and so I was very pleased with my effort, given how much stress and anxiety there was the evening before and morning-of.

I trotted to the bathroom straight away. And then met up with my husband and dog, and enjoyed all of the snacks Sooke had to offer. They are the best! They had sushi (?!!!) sandwiches, the most amazing brownies, #1 cookies (first place I’ll get all year haha), and Milk 2 Go.

And best of all? I checked my results and I had placed 5th/22 for my age group. YEAH! That is the best I have placed in my 10ks this year. Woop! It is a smaller race, and yes those are my time to shine….Hahaha.

Thanks to my husband for taking pictures and thanks to the VIRA folks and Sooke for putting on a fun race!

 

Halloween in many parts: Part 2- MEC’s Grand Banana Half Marathon!

I know, I know, running (almost wrote ‘funning’ yeah it was anything but funny!) a half marathon the day after a Halloween party? Not my brightest move!

Warming up: all photos courtesy of MEC.

Warming up: all photos courtesy of MEC.

However, it is a move I am very familiar with, living a pretty normal and active life, so hey you roll with the punches and just see how the race goes! My goal was not lofty–I was hoping to complete the race with my knee intact, a large goal seeing that I haven’t run successfully around Elk Lake at all since my knee troubles started, and I was really┬áworried.

And they're off! All photos courtesy of MEC.

And they’re off! All photos courtesy of MEC.

But I was also hopeful, my base for running has been improving, so maybe I could get by? I am the first to admit my training has been quite shameful lately- I wasn’t feeling well (see my slow-motion cold, ugh!), had a horse show one weekend, and was at Mane Event and managed to wrangle 1 really boring one-hour run, and my regular sprint work on the treadmill twice a week. So, respecting the distance of a half marathon at 21.1 km, I was not feeling super prepared…

Add on to my fun festivities the night before and I was thinking, finish the race, maybe shoot for under 2 hours and see how it goes?

Beginning: So far, no rain. All photos courtesy of MEC.

Beginning: So far, no rain. All photos courtesy of MEC.

And how did it go?

Surprisingly well! I was very lucky to have my husband join me, and it was great to have company for that long of a race. It can be very hard to stay focused for that long, and he really brings me up when he helps me race!

That’s not to say it was easy. It wasn’t. It was kind of like torture, but the type of torture that keeps you coming back for more…The course had these silly little dog-legs (uphill!!!ARGH) to add more length on to the track, so the course was a hair over standard- 21.2 km instead of 21.1 km, but we are splitting hairs here…But yes, a few more upills, muddy, slippery conditions, dogs, so many dogs…I ended up dodging dogs more than I would have liked! And the best part? It was absolutely FREEZING. It didn’t start really raining hard until the second loop but man, that was enough.

Starting to get wet...All photos courtesy of MEC.

Starting to get wet…All photos courtesy of MEC.

But actually, I was feeling pretty good. Anytime I got too ‘slappy’ with my form and got worried about my knee, I focused very hard on the inner muscle of my knee and tried to really think hard about landing using that muscle, pushing off using that muscle, and trying to make it ‘work’ harder than my outside knee muscle.

Second loops: Things get ugly. All photos courtesy of MEC.

Second loops: Things get ugly. All photos courtesy of MEC.

And I think that type of body-awareness work really helped my form throughout the race.

I was happily able to keep running, my knee held together, even though I was tired, had picked up an unfortunate stomach bug that would keep me near the bathrooms for the rest of the day (gross!!!!) and was feeling quite underpowered and under fueled, but I was DOING IT!

A race to the finish! All photos courtesy of MEC.

A race to the finish! Ian is drenched! All photos courtesy of MEC.

So, pushing through the freezing wind and pouring rain, we ran to a fairly respectable 1:54:17, a 31-second time improvement off our last half marathon. I’d be lying if I didn’t want a faster time, but to be honest with myself, I didn’t put the work in and conditions for me personally weren’t optimal. Next time!

My 'thank god the finish!' face All photos courtesy of MEC.

My ‘thank god the finish!’ face All photos courtesy of MEC.

Many thanks to the fine MEC crew, who braved the absolutely terrible weather and had some really nice snacks, well-placed aid stations (I grabbed a Cliff shot blok and it was orange flavoured- yuck! But I desperately needed energy haha my mistake) and a great cheering section to keep us inspired.

And thank you to my friend, who was unable to run but was with us in spirit. Next time, when you’re recovered from your injury, we’ll do the race right!