MEC Victoria Race 3: Halloween half marathon!

That’s right, fresh off a whole three weeks returning to running from a summer++ off, I ran a 10k and then ran a half marathon the weekend after! What am I, totally crazy?

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why am I always alone at the finish? 

Well, yes but that’s half of it. I had already signed up for the MEC half (I normally sign up for all of their race packages, so cheap and well-run, but I won’t anymore because they basically halved the races they offer and cut 2 of my favourite ones, and kept the one I hate and won’t run…soooo nope).

But anyways, I usually like this one because it’s fall, Halloween time and the air is crispy with anticipation! (or frost. Mostly frost). Plus since I traditionally have my summer-to-fall injury, I haven’t been able to run the half marathon in a year or so, and I wanted to this year!

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My kind husband came to support me and take pictures, but they were all blurry. Boo! 

I didn’t have great expectations. Hell, I just wanted to run it, see if I could finish, and then try and deal with the aftermath (injuries don’t mess around). I have also been dealing with nagging health issues, so I’m not really at the top of my game this fall.

Anyways, it went quite well! The first loop felt terrible. I was tired, we had Oktoberfest the night before, and just…EH. My stomach was unhappy, my legs felt like they belonged on someone else’s body…It was rough.

Lucky for me, I’m a strong second-loop runner though! I kind of shook off the annoyed and tired thoughts and felt- hey, it’s a gorgeous day! You’re DOING IT! Look at this! A few months ago, this was only in the realm of ‘maybe’..and I’m here!!! I felt great then, happy to be able to physically run again- and a half, with only a few weeks back into running under my belt? WOW!!

So I picked up the tatters of my morale and just ran. Pure, free, able. Running!

It also helped that I stopped getting passed by literally everybody, ha. Slow running is still kind of new to me 😉 And I felt strong going to the finish. Sure my left hip locked up, and my right foot had a sore spot on it…I was going to do it!

And I did! My time is humbling and slow, but I am happy with my efforts. 1:46 and change. Pretty sweeeeeeeet! As always, the volunteers were great, and the aid stations were well-manned and well stocked. I picked up two Clif gels but didn’t end up eating them, as the Nuun electrolytes were good enough.

I myself am good fortune: Okanagan Sunrype race recap!

Ok you guys, I did it- I made my debut back into running! This weekend was one of firsts for both of us- Ian ran his first marathon (debuting with a smoking-fast 3:15!!) and I was able to heal enough to finish a 10k- my first race in months and first successful long-ish run! Yeah!!

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A really well organized race. One for the books! 

We were at the Okanagan Sunrype Marathon (marathon weekend offered a 5k on Saturday, a 10k, half and full-marathon on Sunday), and we had the BEST logistics. Our hotel (the Prestige) was across from the City Park where the race, bib pick up and start/finish lines/awards were. How amazing is that?!!!

Unfortunately I was not feeling amazing- last week was literally death by a thousand cuts..

Monday- hideous cramping, bloating, bleeding, nausea that ruined an entire day.

Tuesday- stomach not feeling great due to the day before. My ovaries felt like someone had been punching them with knives… Oats decided he would also run away from me after my ride, and spent quite awhile racing outside the indoor arena in the freaking pitch black…Stupid horse!

Wednesday- getting a cold

Thursday- sick

Friday- off, and cramps, and nausea make a comeback along with crushing fatigue and bleeding, and still sick. YAY? Shoot me.

Saturday- cramps, bloating and bleeding, still sneezing and nose running to beat the band. Feeling kind of defeated the day before the race, but luckily our drive up to Kelowna was uneventful. We had a lovely dinner with Ian’s sister, who lives in Kelowna now and will be there for a few months.

Sunday- race day!!! I had ZERO expectations. Ha, none. From feeling completely miserable due to chronic health problems (ovaries), to being sick with a cold, and having oh, a good 2.5 weeks of actual running led me to severely limit my hopes.

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The gang! 

The race was good though! I struggled my way to the front, as the start chute was quite narrow. Some real fasties there, but it definitely thinned out to the front. I started out strong, and immediately passed a few women who were just slightly out ahead of me. I don’t normally pass people that quickly, so I was surprised. I’m more of a slow-burner…And here I was, in front of people at KM 4. Wha?

I reeled in another woman, and then this other guy and I played piggyback, until he definitely passed me at the finish, ha. I had no kick, and I could definitely tell that I was not that fit…It was exhausting! My sinuses hurt and I had a racking ‘run cough’ at the end. BUT I was very happy with how the race itself went, and pleased with my time- 44:32, which is a humble time but I guess ok for this race- I placed third AG and third overall. Sweet eh?

I had time to zip back to the hotel- excellent location! And grab my dog for the awards ceremony. A nice bronze medal for me 🙂

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Look at him go! 

And then it was time to cheer on Ian as he finished- and he did it!! He is officially a marathoner. A good, solid weekend for the two of us, for very different reasons. We then celebrated with a bottle of champagne in the hotel room with his sister, and went on a small ‘brewery’ crawl to try out the many, many breweries that Kelowna had to offer.

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Time to celebrate! 

The only fly in the ointment…The weather was TERRIBLE after the race, ha. Rainy, cold and there was basically a blizzard driving home the next day. Yikes. DO NOT want to repeat that drive anytime soon…

 

 

Take me with you: Long weekend at the Kingfisher Spa~

That’s right, while I am currently dealing with a shit-ton of work (ARGH reality sucks), I am able to reminisce about the lovely long weekend I just enjoyed at the Kingfisher Spa in the North Island (Courtenay-Comox).

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Now, it’s pricey. Real pricey. So it was a splurge for my husband and I to go, and stay for 3 nights and treat ourselves to the hydropath session ($95/ea, so it’s not like we’re going to go often, or ever again, ha). But it was so neat!

The weather sucked out loud. It was cold, chilly, rainy grey and just so blahhhh. But, since we had our dog – Gidget the Terrible- with us, it was pretty convenient because then we didn’t have to worry about her overheating on us. So, sort of a win eh? We got up there in the evening on Friday after work, and enjoyed a beer at the new to us Mt. Arrowsmith Brewery, where we unfortunately sat next to the loudest, most wildly obnoxious people I have had the misfortune to be around in ages. I moved inside, and complained (yes I am THAT person, ha). Oh well!

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Gidget the Terrible

Food was good and the beer was great! The next day, we plotted out a longer-run route along the chlorine gas pipe that ran next to the river, and friends, let me tell you- BERRIES GALORE! OMg. I know why bears are hanging around 🙂 It was good! We then went back to the resort, showered and picked up our dog to go cruise around downtown Comox. It was very quaint, some mega $$$ stores, and very, very busy. Crammed with folks. I enjoyed a very unique chocolate bar (coconut/lime) and we shared a buffalo-milk-yogurt & blueberry ice cream. So good!

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We went swimming in the evening and generally relaxed. Which was good, because the next morning we zipped off to Cumberland to get some of their famous doughnuts! And surprinsgly, since the last time I tried the doughnuts a few years ago, I wasn’t thrilled. They were pricey, ok tasting and no real selection. Overhyped and overprice.

We took our overhyped doughnuts with us to go hike at Mt. Washington’s Paradise Plateau. It was really nice, and lucky for us the fog wasn’t on the plateau, it was just covering the mountain. Phew! We had sandwiches, and hiked and fed whiskeyjacks. So cute! So bold…

Headed back to the spa because then it was time for our hydropath session! This was very cool and very relaxing. It had a little bit of everything- massage jets, salt scrub, mineral baths, jets, a sauna…Ah….

And for dinner we took a chance on the only restaurant nearby us that wasn’t the mega-pricey Kingfisher restaurant: Ol’ Roy’s Towne Pub. It was excellent actually! We listened to the open mic night, shared a pizza and a huge, and seriously bad-for-you salad. AND a espresso mud pie dessert. Glutton here…

On our way home on Monday, we stopped by Moringstar farm (they make cheese AND wine AND you could wander the farmyard, pet bunnies, pigs, cows, baby cows, oh soooo cute). We tried the wine, and bought some cheese to eat, and for a gift. Delicious! A very generous cheese sampling policy as well, which is a big thumbs-up from me 🙂

And we stopped in Ladysmith so I could get a cinnamon bun from the bakery, featured yesterday in my blog. HUGE reasonable, delicious and so, so so mouthwatering: This is definitely NOT hyped enough, in my opinion!! Go and buy one. For $3.50 you can do a lot worse, and the muffins are only $2.50 and HUGE. YUm. I am still drooling…

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Strange overtones

Let’s just strike last week off the map, shall we? I was only able to ride Monday/Friday, due to a number of bad timing things- husband got the flu and was sick for the week, I felt like total crap all week with a head cold and extreme fatigue? And I had a doctor’s appointment on Thursday, so Oats’ leasor got to ride that day instead, for her make-up lesson…And I had my first intro run club on Wednesday, and it took HOURS and I kind of hated it, and just….blah. So blaaaaah. Plus it has been windy as fuck lately and freezing.

So much for the summer?!

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Look at this good boy! What a sweetie.

I was supposed to join run club on Saturday, for a 14k intro long-run, but the idea of messing around for another few hours (like on Wednesday), viscerally made my face curdle, so I decided to not share my bad attitude with the world on that day and do a run on my own, perhaps more peacefully.

So my weekend was actually pretty nice! Lots of ‘me’ time, laid back, riding (and trying a dressage saddle, it was so cute but I reallly hated riding in it), rode in the field on Friday night (fun!!) and just doing what I wanted to do. Oats had one minor psycho freakout and bolted when I was going to change saddles at the barn. I led him up the hill and he spooked, bolted up the hill and trampled a rotted log. Genius.

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Good as gold in the show ring! 

I’m glad I elected not to join the run club on Saturday. At 8am, the LAST thing I want to deal with are 60++ people milling around, wasting my time (told you I was surly). I am just not that patient, sorry.

It was horribly windy this weekend, yet again, but I still got some solid patio-time. All in all, a decent weekend.

You were my favourite (until you weren’t)

We attended the Global Run Day festivities at our local Frontrunners downtown yesterday and had a BLAST!!! We went for a 5k shake-out run, and then back to the store for tacos and beer, by La Taqueria!!! It was so good 🙂 And the best part? Costs nothing!!

The event was sponsored by Saucony, and they had a rep there to demo shoes, and bonus- swag items like hats, bags, stickers, beer cozies, bottle openers and some prizes!!  Can you believe it?

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My swag!!! And I had a great beer too- Sun Setter peach/wheat. 

I had a great time 🙂 I 100% recommend!

 

MEC Race #2: Royal Roads Half-Marathon Recap! (and this time, I won!)

I was having a difficult time mentally preparing for this race. I had a really shitty day on Saturday and was having trouble getting my head in the game.

It’s a challenging half-marathon course, two loops and the start is uphill for about 3km, and then flat-ish, and then some rolling hills, and then a looooooooong flat section of about 2.5km, and then .75km or so straight uphill. And you get to do it twice! Yeah! Sign me up?!

I am very familiar with the course, but like any race you run once a year, you kind of …forget…exactly how it goes. For example, I forgot about the uphill start and was kind of kicking myself/bummed about how off-pace and hard I had to work pretty much immediately. Oh joy! I also forgot my watch, so was running by feel. Which worked out ok!

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Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

It was a warm day, no watch, and my friends were at the race so that was cool to be able to see them, cheer them on and say hi! They were also running the half-marathon. I was very careful to stay hydrated and make sure I was fueled appropriately. I have run into real trouble at this race by getting dehydrated and significantly under-fueled, leading to staggering, and walking/feeling like I was going to die during the race. I had waffles, coffee, yogurt and a banana for breakfast, and brought with me a whole package of Clif Gummies (Salted watermelon) that had electrolytes in it. I even managed to eat most of the package before the race- not something I can normally do.

So the race?

I ran it, it ran me, I had some fun high points (jumping over a log! Getting electrolyte drinks, high-fiving the volunteers and hearing them say I was the first lady!!) 🙂 and some lows (immediately at the start when it felt hard, at the top of the big hill knowing I had to do it exactly over again, struggle-bus time).

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Note no left sock! Photo courtesy of MEC Victoria.

I was sweating like crazy, and I knew I had to be very good about getting electrolyte drinks and water at every stop. Score one for me!

When I started, my damn sock immediately slipped down to my mid-foot. Shit! I stopped (and this was ONE km in…) and pulled it back up. Got back to running and it slipped down again immediately. Ok fine sock, this is how you want to play it? I ran the whole race without a sock on my left foot. Went ok, have a blister now though 😉

When I crossed the finish line, I was really glad to see my time was even better than last year (note- this is NEVER a guarantee. Never.). I raced at a very respectable 1:38:58, for the first woman! My first-ever MEC win! And then I went straight to the medic tent to get a band-aid for my freaking blister.

And something strange, when they announced the 2nd and 3rd place women (who weren’t around), I immediately knew something was up- I never saw them on-course. And I mean, never. It’s a small race. I was talking to the 4th or 5th place woman, who was confused by her placing…I remembered seeing her a bunch of times, about 1:30-2 mins behind me, but NEVER 2nd and 3rd women, who were apparently even closer behind me, according to the race results.

So I did some digging when I got home, and saw that their previous race times at other MEC races were slow- very slow. Like, 1:40+ for 10k slow. There is no way they ran a 1:40 half right behind me- I never once saw them on course.

I suspect they ran 1 loop of the course, and ran through the finish lines. Whether they had signed up for the 10k and accidentally started with the halfs, or had signed up for the half and decided to cut it short, it seems a bit devious to me. I think that they should own up! It sucks for 2nd and 3rd women, who did really well on a very tough course.

So, some intrigue eh??

I’m curious to see the photos come out- photos don’t lie on a race day!