VIRA’s Sooke 10k Race Recap: On the homestretch!

There are 8 races in the VIRA Race Series and we wrapped up race #6 on the schedule- the infamous Sooke 10k. It’s a bit infamous because it is hilly. Not a technical race (none of the VIRA ones are, they are all road races) but has gentle rolling hills that can be a bit of a pace-killer. It’s not known for being a fast 10k, but can net some fast times with the speedier racers.

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And was I one of them? Ha nope. BUT I had a lot of fun running it, and my goal of meeting 45 minutes was more than achieved soooo it’s a win all ’round here! I was very pleased with my efforts. No complaints here.

It was a very busy week for me- ran the Comox Half Marathon on Sunday, then got into my regular schedule of running/run-commuting to work for the week & preparing Oats for the horse show on Saturday.

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Ian was my pace rabbit for this race and he netted himself another 6th place!

I was very anxious about the horse show, not so much for this race, haha.

The show went SO AWESOME then I couldn’t relax because I was so excited with how Oats and I did! But I realized I had to quiet things down to get ready (physically and mentally) for the race on Sunday. Back-to-back races are very hard on your body, and I knew I was not setting myself up for success by horseshowing on Saturday as well. But I couldn’t resist!

Fortunately the weather was great, sun was shining and I didn’t have to get up early (phew). We warmed up and I knew this was going to be tough on my poor tired legs. At the start, after about 3km I was struggling a bit. My right quad was SO TIGHT it seized up most unpleasantly and I started to wonder if I was going to be able to run on it.

Lucky for me, the suffer-fest only really continued to about 6-8km and then I was able to turn on my ‘afterburners’ and start really racing. Funny how my leg didn’t really bug me for that? I felt pretty good and started really going. I don’t know why the most of the first half/onwards of the race were so crummy but hey, I was going to do it!! And boy I did!

I finished strong, feeling good physically and emotionally for a fairly respectable 44:30 time. This netted me a second-place age group award. Crazy eh??? From a fantastic horse show to a really solid race, this weekend had me riding in the clouds! 🙂 🙂

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It says ‘fart’ hahaha

I am going to savour this feeling forever. It feels amazing.

We then went to have a post- race beer at a new brewery in Sooke, called Sooke Brewery (imaginative ha). It is a snazzy brewery with some solid, but not too imaginative beers. I did enjoy the Belgian Lager though! Felt nice to have after a tough race.

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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.

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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 🙂

Progress, like life, is not linear

Had an interesting equine counseling session last night. We focus on a few aspects of my life during each session. I usually bring up what I want to focus on or what I am struggling with (my parents, riding, performance anxiety, race performance). We are focusing on my race performance right now, and I have been struggling mightily at races. Mad, disappointed, angry at my body for letting me down, bummed about my slower times, expecting better…You name it, I am feeling it!

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Getting comfortable with being uncomfortable.

My last race was good, but the time was not good. It was good because I ran within my ability and I could breathe the whole race. I was quite pleased with that, and I didn’t burn my lungs out like I have been doing.

What’s the difference? For a long time, I have been relying on the cheap fast energy of adrenaline during races. I don’t have a lot of long-term power to back that up, at all. And it burns out too fast, leaving me gasping, heaving, ready to puke, with legs that burn with lactic acid and feel weak within 1km.

This worked really well for me last year. This year, not so much.

My training has been going great, but like last year, it’s pretty much the same (though my long runs are LONGER now, ha). If I keep doing what I’m doing, my body gets used to it, and I adapt very quickly. Problem is…That doesn’t get me faster or more powerful. It gets me very complacent.

So to get better results, and power that I can rely on more, I have to change my training (and my mindset, which is making me slower this season, ha).

This means getting into the uncomfortable zone. Aka faster.

Funny enough, my equine counselor brought up a comment I got from a dressage judge years ago about Oats. “His trot looks very comfortable and easy. I bet you could trot like that all day. It’s not work though, and it’s not the power you need.” She was right! I could cruise on Oats alllllllll day with that lovely, easy trot of his. Problem is, when I wanted ‘more’ trot or collected trot, things fell apart.

She pointed out that my running is remarkably similar. My long runs? Could cruise alllllll day at my little jog-trot. Want more ‘go’ and more power? Falls apart.  Ha, I am Oats. Weird eh?

Life mirrors us in more ways than we think. And for me? I am experimenting with more power moves. 500 metre pick-ups in pace during my long runs, which are killer and I hate them, but I have to do them. Oh and running hills after my rides on Sunday. We’ll see!

Race recap #2: MEC The Best Getter

Yep that’s right, what better than moving, racing on Saturday, and then racing on Sunday? NOTHING! That’s what!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria–I love this shot!

I had originally signed up for the 15k, as I did it last year and 15ks are surprisingly hard to find these days, but because I was a lazy slob on holidays in Brazil and didn’t do any runs or knee workouts, my chronic knee injury (patella instability/subuluxation) flared up bigtime as soon as I started running again at home (yeah, I make great decisions).

So, I downgraded-ha- to the 5k. Let the games begin!!!

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I have no idea what I was doing here- a really funny high-five?

I also liked that the 5k started at 9am. I really didn’t want to get up too early, so sue me–I haven’t been sleeping well in my new townhome for some reason. Maybe because it feels so different and strange?

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More high-fives!!

We got there smoothly, it was no problem at all. We even had time to warm-up, which is something I pretty much never do, for some bad reason. I was a bit concerned with my knee issues and the fact that I had run up Mt. Doug the day before, but was also interested in giving it my all and seeing how I could challenge the 5k. And wow, I was challenged!!

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And they’re off!

I made sure to start near the top of the pack, and held a ridiculous pace for all of…1km (4:08, hahahah yeah no way). I was immediately out of breath, gasping. My next km plummeted to 4:32, which is what I typically run 10ks at, and it still felt really HARD. I bounced between 4:21-4:33 for a few kms, until the last km that I just.couldn’t.make.it.happen…and fell to 5:00. Wooow…not good. I got passed by two runners in the last km and I couldn’t make the time up at all.

I was gasping for breath, coughing up stuff and just, gross. I know 5ks are among my weakest distances, but I was still a bit bummed about how tough it felt for me.

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Leading the pack for a short time.

And how was my time? Surprisingly pretty good–22:15, and my previous 5k time was 22:17. So technically, a new personal best in the 5k–something I can’t complain about given how I had abused my legs running Mt. Doug the day before, and was generally exhausted from moving that week. I’ll take it, 5k…I’ll take it.

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Faces of pain…

I still kind of hate that distance though. I was feeling jealous of the 15k runners.

Kudos to the MEC Victoria team for putting on another well-run, super affordable, safe and friendly race. I will always support them for the fabulous effort they put into these race series–consider me a fan!!

I hate everyone this time of year, so I’ll join in. Riding and Race goals: 2016

Darn New Years Resolutioners, you’re the reason the gym cubbies were ALL taken at lunch, and plus all the treadmills! Don’t you know I have training to do? Do you?

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looking forward to more finish lines like this, this year!

SIGH

So, I don’t really like having goals per year, because I find I can put too much pressure on myself (this applies primarily to horseback riding, ha). BUT this year I have some very aggressive race goals. For me, obviously.

For riding, I’m hoping to keep on the positive path I have been on, and this includes monthly counseling sessions with Oats, horse shows as needed, and lots of riding lessons and jump sessions!

For racing….

For my 10k, I am really, really gunning for a 45 minute 10k. This is going to be extremely difficult for me.

For my 8k, I am tentatively looking at 35 minutes, but will also accept my ‘b’ goal of better than last year’s 8k (38:40). Here’s my update: Race time of 36:20 met my ‘b’ goal, which is ok!

For my half marathon, My ‘a’ goal is 1:45 eventually, but I will focus more on achieving my ‘b’ goal right now (1:50).

For my 5k (not even sure if I will end up even running a 5k this year??) I’d want 20:something for my ‘a’ goal, or my ‘b’ goal… will accept better than last year’s time (22:18).

For my 15k, I almost feel like letting this one slide, as I achieved my ‘a’ goal for it in the fall (sub- 15:00, got 14:33). A colleague thinks I can start working towards 1:10, but I know that is going to be a big ‘a’ goal for me this year.

And as always- protect my knee, be careful with it and remain super compliant about strengthening the muscles around it to stay in place.

And I think that’s it! I’m excited, tired and out of breath just thinking about racing. Man, it is so tough, but so worthwhile too? Ha.

And some anti-goals:

I’m not super interested in trail racing. Did it, didn’t super enjoy it. Probably won’t do any this year.

I also don’t think I will take part in the MEC Big Wild challenge next year either…Just too worried about getting seriously injured.

Some horse shows I’m just so ‘eh’ on that I won’t bother.

Also the marathon talk. I know, it’s tempting. But the time, people, the time. Also, I like to use my unreliable knee as an excuse.