And just like that…It’s over. Cedar 12K Race Recap & VIRA Series Finale!

Wow. Six weeks. Six races in a row. It’s done and wrapped up as of yesterday.

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Photo by Lois D’Ell with Ceevacs. The awards line-up at Cedar 12k.

Crazy.

This season has been extremely challenging- I struggled with breathing very early on, experiencing exercise induced asthma, and then got a mystery foot injury that made running very difficult at the Cobble Hill 10k. And then, a series of colds that culminated a pretty nasty chest cold last week/this weekend to top off the season! Not my most shining season, 2017, at all. This sickness affected a whole bunch of races- the Sooke 10k, my half marathon, the Port Alberni 10k, the Cedar 12k (I was feeling fine for the MEC trail 10k but it wasn’t a fast one for me).

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Photo credit to Neil Gaudet.

However, at the outset my goal was clear- finish. FINISH. ALL of my races. And did I achieve that goal? You bet I did!!

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Basically sums up how I feel about finishing 6 races in 6 weeks. Photo credit to Neil Gaudet.

I even placed the same as last year (5th) for the VIRA Series year-end awards. Whoop!

The Cedar race for me this year was significantly slower (58:3?) compared with 56:14 last year. Ouch!!! But, my primary goal was to try and finish it without coughing out my lungs/collapsing, so did I achieve my goal? Yes I did! We tried to pace very responsibly, and even with a pretty quiet pace, I found it quite hard. My legs were aching and exhausted, but luckily my breath kept going and I did it. I even found enough energy to surge forward in a few moments, something I thought would NOT be happening. And, I was pleased to pull out a strong finish, assisted by my husband. A great end to a very tough season.

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Muddy shoes after the MEC 10k.

The food was great, I won a doorprize>!! And the volunteers were fantastic. Cedar 12k is a really well run race, so I would highly recommend it.

Though it’s easy to look back to last year and feel bummed out. It is VERY humbling and kind of anger-inducing to think of what a freaking trainwreck this run season has been for me, particularly after I was looking forward to it all summer/fall, but you know…I am uninjured, relatively healthy after being sick for so long, and that’s all I can take right now.

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Big wrap up for the season at Riot Brewery in Chemainus.

Turns out living with extreme pressure and stress just destroy your capabilities to recover, run well, manage your health and wellness and sleep–and I learned exactly how important that was this year. Live and learn!

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Enjoying a beer at Gladstone Brewery in Comox after the half marathon.

I must thank my great husband for supporting my runs, coming with me, and best of all- taking me to try new breweries after many of our races! We went to the Sooke Oceanside Brewery, the Riot Brewing Company, and Twin Cities Brewery- all brand-new! How lucky were we??

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Ian at Riot Brewery post-race Cedar 12k.

We also visited Category 12, which he really enjoys. I like beer- I don’t love it, but I do love the social aspect with it (much like wine…).

Here’s to a good season that challenged me in ways I never though possible. I am looking forward to a break, and I thank the VIRA organization for putting on another great, competitive season that I always recommend to other people! YAY.

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MEC Race #2: 10k trail run at Thetis Lake

Now, this one truly took me by surprise. I came into it very nonchalant…I wasn’t going to even wear my watch (I did) but I certainly wasn’t going to fuss or stress about the time. Trail races for me just aren’t competitive- you can’t go fast enough, reliably enough. I also kind of thought I was aware of the route, and BOY that was a surprise too~

You want to run a half marathon, but can’t commit to the distance or time? Well I have a solution for you- run this race and trust me, it will FEEL like a half marathon by the time you’re done 🙂

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First lap- looking good! Photo credit to MEC.

It was tough.

I’m not complaining though. You get your time, effort and money’s worth for sure! My only complaint is that for a trail race, it was SUPER congested. Packed with people, impossible to find parking, waits for the porta-potties and bag check. UGH. That’s what happens when over 700 people show up, I guess?

We were almost late too, eek! Darn MEC races, I am always almost late or late to them.

We made it to the start by, oh 2 minutes. EEEK

Off we went, and I found my first km fairly slow- 5:40 or so. Ian was ahead of me by a bit, and he finished in around 58 minutes.

Hm, that is slow. Little did I know that was going to be my fastest KM! HAHAH. Next, it was hills, hills, hills. Then, some winding single-track in the mud. THEN we had to clamber through the mud, and hop past a log- or straight over it. I pussyfooted all of the mud stuff and was super slow clambering downhill. Trail racing is fun, but I can’t afford to injure my knee or ankle at this point, for a silly trail race.

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Second lap. Getting tough…Photo credit to MEC.

People BLASTED past me in the mud, splashing, etc and tore downhill. That was ok, I watched, waited and bided my time…to pass them on the final loop (the course was two loops of the 5k course). It did range from fairly easy and straightforward, to technical single-track and very muddy, slippery and tricky. My shoes were soaked with mud, I landed hard and bent my right ankle three times in a row (shit).

The loops ends with a series of hills- like, 3. Ha. Then we ran past the beach to start the second loop. In the first loop, when we reached the hills, my breathing was terrible. I felt sick, and hyperventilated a bit. I felt like I couldn’t breathe, that I was struggling to breathe, that I had a weight sitting on my chest. It was kind of horrible…I couldn’t seem to calm down?!!

By the time I started the second loop, my body seemed to figure out the breathing thing and I completely forgot about my panic and nausea. Weird eh? I kind of fell into a better rhythm by the second loop and was chugging along.

I was soaked in sweat and pretty exhausted, but the volunteers kept it very safe, watching the risk points that were really slippery or technical. I felt cocky going in and very humbled finishing!

I finished with 1:04:33 good enough for 5/24 in my AG.

Not shabby, and it was fun!

It was also FREEZING when we finished, so glad I packed a toque. WTF Victoria, get with the program and I don’t know, warm up or something for spring? I changed into my breeches and rode right after the race. Thetis Lake is actually like 5 mins from my barn so how is that for timing?! HAHA. Horribly cold though, ouch.

A very good weekend: Run, ride, party, tennis, eat!

I had a lot of fun this weekend, and it wasn’t because I had anything big going down, it was just really fun!

I was feeling really crummy- sore throat, very fatigued, sinus headache- but I didn’t let that bring me down, no way! Saturday, I was up very early (gah, 7:30am) to get out to the barn to meet the saddle fitter. Earlier than I would prefer for a weekend but heck, when the saddle fitter comes out to your barn, you MAKE IT HAPPEN!

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We are finally matching!! I love it, even with my trainer’s big saddle.

Long story short, needed air in my air panels as they went completely flat, and some re-flocking and tree adjustments are in order- he has my saddle this week and fingers crossed I get it back soon! Whoop!!

I am still borrowing my trainer’s saddle and she said I could try her dressage saddle, so I saddled up Oats on Saturday and wow, I did not enjoy that experience. It felt so…strange. I was very behind the motion, kept losing my stirrups even though I bumped them up 7 holes?!! And just, iick. Clearly I was not meant to ride dressage. If I do try it again, it will be in the indoor- it was just too jarring to ride in it in the outdoor ring, perhaps my biggest mistake.

Oats was kind of annoyed with me, fair enough.Sunday I moved back to the jump saddle (it is a very nice saddle, just too big for me).

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No photos! Damn paparazzi!!

I got home and jogged some stairs as as quick-ish workout and I forgot how hard stairs are. Bring me a hill any day!

Saturday night I had a series-end awards party at Rustik Bistro for the Christie-Victoria Insurance Run Series. I had a BLAST! $10 a ticket and it’s a silent auction, and awards with beer/wine and appies and squares–and they were so tasty, I was stuffed!

There were also draw prizes, and my name was in the draw prizes for the 5 pairs of running shoes (people who won series awards got all their names in a draw to win 1 of 5 pairs of running shoes) and I WON A PAIR! Lucky me eh?? I got gold in my age group (30-39) and that gave me a free seasons pass to next year’s track series, and a chance at winning running shoes.

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Lucky me! I would highly recommend checking out this track series- friendly, inviting, low-barrier!

Wow!!!

I also bid on some silent auction items- got outbid on a bunch- but also made out with a hair cut and a subscription to Canadian Running magazine. Yes!!

A great night.

Sunday, I was up and out to the barn to ride in jump tack again. Rode in the indoor as it was raining on and off, and it is not my saddle= no way I am getting it wet. Oats was very good if a bit lazy, and we schooled some tiny fences. I kept getting left behind? How? He was forgiving for that, good pony. A fun ride overall.

Zipped home and met my mom, who gave me this amazing pie: The roses took her 3 hours to do! It tastes as good as it looks!

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My mom made the world’s greatest pie. Looks and tastes amazing!

And we walked my dog along the ocean- I really like the proximity to the water, 5 minutes and you are there. My mom left, and when my husband came home, we played a bit of tennis–and wow we are soooo bad at it. Terrible actually, but it was really fun, silly and gave Gidget quite the workout chasing tennis balls everywhere!

Then we suited up and went out for a run- 8km for me and 6-7km for my husband. A very lovely day, and I wanted to spend every second of it making it count! And we sure did! That, friends, is how you enjoy a great weekend. I hope everyone else’s was as enjoyable as mine.