Saturday, January 30, 2010

2010, a Year of "FIRSTS"

I can't believe the first month of 2010 is already over. I spent the first week of January in Florida however upon my return to the "Great White North" I decided to take full advantage of our winter season and was able to mark a few "FIRSTS" (as in first time doing something) while I was at it.
Sydenham Lake after the thaw and refreeze
My first "FIRST" was finally getting up the gumption to run on the frozen lake just outside my front door. It was my first day home from the warm South but surprisingly the -10 degree weather didn't keep me from looking forward to my first snowshoe run of the year. As I was starting down the trail I noticed a snowmobile heading out onto the lake, I decided to follow. After my first few steps it all felt so natural...or is that surreal. There I was heading out to the middle of the lake where I had been aqua-running only a few months before. My friend's house which had always seemed so far away on the other side was now only a hop, skip and jump away. The lake was completeley snow covered and flat except for the tracks left behind by various types of vehicles.  The hard crusty snow made a perfect surface for the cleats on the snowshoes to grab onto and I found myself travelling at a much faster clip then I had imagined I would be. Running so effortlessly on the frozen surface I almost forgot what was below me...deep, dark, cold water. Then there was a crack, and a slump in the ice under me. I began to tip toe, as if that would help. I pictured myself immersed in the deep, dark, cold water the very image that had kept me from lake running before today. But alas all was well, just some snow layers settling perhaps. I met some skiers who said the ice was probably 6 inches thick and had been well used by ATVers, skaters, ice fishermen and their trucks so one lone snowshoer was surely safe. I finished my first run on the lake running towards the setting Sun. I was grateful I had taken the plunge onto the ice and especially grateful it was not into the deep, dark, cold water which undoubtedly would have marked my first "FIRST" of  2010 as my last.

Thank-you to the photographers at the race for my snowshoe running pics

My second "FIRST" of 2010 was running in a snowshoe race. It was the "First Annual Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race". I was third in my second "FIRST" : ) Perhaps I will be second in my third "FIRST" whatever that may be. Other "FIRSTS" I am looking forward to is my first 1 mile road race, "The Limestone Mile" and my first track race as an adult, race to be determined.

I hope to make 2010 a year of "FIRSTS" as I have had a good start at it so I think I will just keep it up.
Wishing you all many "FIRSTS" of your own this year.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Frontenac Park Snowshoe Race 2010

Saturday 23rd of January 2010 was the date of the first (ANNUAL?) Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race.
Results are here and a few more detailed race reports are here and here.
It was my first snowshoe race and I had alot of fun testing my skills on the single track trail winding up and down and around Frontenac Park. It was a beautiful sunny day and had time to chat with many friends I only get to see at events like this. Thanks to Derrick and Sara of Spafford Health and Adventure for putting on such a great event along with all of the volunteers who made this event so enjoyable.
I have posted a few unedited videos below my Mom Jane Newman-Ralph took along with a video of her and her dog JT for those who may be interested.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2009 Running Year in Review

The end of 2009 marked the end of my first full year of training-
-time logged running: 170 hours
-time logged aqua-running: 9 hours
-time logged strength: 65 hours
-time logged core: 55 hours

-kms logged during training: 1573 kms
This includes a 3 month period starting in June of low mileage due to my runners knee injury
-kms logged during racing: 28 kms

Races and Thoughts...
# of Planned Races: 7
# of Races Run: 4

-January, Richmond 10km, set a PR of 52 min., 5:12 /km pace
I ran this race in a snow storm on snow covered streets. I learned alot about perceived effort as I struggled to get traction and also maintain my goal pace. I finished 4th in age group as I race the girl who got third for the last 500m but was not able to catch her.

-May, Kingston 5km, set a PR of 22:50 min., 4:35/km pace
This was the first race where I ran sub 5 min per km. I was passed at 3km by a lady in my age group(Stacey) so I latched onto her and raced her to the finish hoping we were racing for a medal. As it turned out we were racing for 4th place. The end of this race marked the beginning of my runners knee injury and 3 months of rehab, low mileage on my legs and the introduction of aqua-running and rowing into my weekly routine.

-June, July and August
I missed planned races of Beethoven 8km and Wolf Island 5km due to my injury and I began blogging and a comic called Ultra Running Guy. Taking time off from training was hard during the first weeks of no/low running. I began trying to run 20 min. stints without my knee complaining. If that went well then I would add 5 min. to the next run for a couple of runs then drop back down to 20 minutes. There were so many times when I thought I was better just to have the knee start complaining again. Derrick in his infinite wisdom/frustration decided it was time for drastic measures and got me aqua-running 2x's a week. I took every workout as it came and was surprisingly calm and hopeful that all would turn out well during this time. I was so lucky to have a concerned and dedicated coach who customized every workout based on my progress or lack there of. I have come to realize that we are only as strong as our weakest part. Who cares if my right leg can go forever if my left leg is limping and struggling along. Dr. Greg Leeman helped me to understand the importance of muscle balance for runners. One strong or weak muscle can throw all the corresponding muscles off balance causing havoc to the mechanism which in my case was the knee. Injury other then that caused by trauma can be a sign that something needs to change. Muscles need to me strengthened or running form needs to be adjusted. In the end I strengthened my muscles and adjusted my form and was able to come back as strong or stronger then I was before the injury.

-September, Sandbanks 5km, set a PR of 22:35, 4:31/km pace
This was my first race after having rehabbed all summer. I had fallen a week before the race and received 7 stitches for the effort. Luckily I recovered quickly and the day of the race had me feeling very chipper. I ran a very fast 3km and then just tried to hold on for the last 2km. I learned that going out fast is a gamble. Sometimes you can hold on, sometimes you crash and burn.

-October, Sydenham 8km, set a PR of 37:13, 4:40/km pace
This was my home race put on by Spafford Health and Adventure(Derrick & Sara) for the past 4 years. I went out slow for this race but found the distance of 8km to be a challenge at the intended pace and fell short of my goal time. I had the opportunity to race beside a gutsy lady who's perseverance often replays in my head during the hardest parts of my workouts. I find myself saying "What would Kim do now? Would she quit? No she would push harder," so that is what I do. I learned that complaining about a race after it is run is useless and just makes you look like a big cry baby. Unfortunately you cannot rerun a race so if you don't want to be disappointed at the end of it all then the time to do something about it is while you are racing.

-December, Clearwater, FL, Say No To Drugs 5km
All of my training for the year was a build up to this event. It was to be the final race of 2009 and a way to celebrate all of my training, hard work and overcoming my injury. I was all ready to go and wound up like a spring when I was hit with a virus that would just not let go. This then led to an ear infection and in the end there would be no earth shattering final run of 2009. I did keep working out during this time when up to it and found a race to run 2 weeks later in the New Year on Jan. 2nd.

There is so much more to say about my first full year of training other then my race times. I put in approx. 170 hours of running training as compared to the 2 hr 15sec. I spent racing. When I look back what I remember is the almost daily routine(5-6 days a week) of heading out the door for the days run. Going for my daily run meant time for myself be it a 1 hour interval / tempo workout, a recovery run or a long run. What I love about time planned workouts is that no matter how fast or slow you run them the time is constant and dependable and never changing. An hours run is an hours run. That time belonged to me and nothing could rush it or take it away. I loved every minute I spent running this year and can't wait to do it all over again in 2010.

I want to thank everyone who supported my running dreams this year. All of your words of encouragement, congratulations and support have been greatly appreciated. I hope you all have a great year of running in 2010 and I look forward to following and sharing in your running dreams with you.

Wishing you all a Happy New Year,

2010 Race
-January 2nd, Cape Coral, FL, 5 km, set a PR of 21:35, 4:18/km pace
It was quite cold for Florida with a temp. of 39 F and gusting winds down at the beach. For the first time I ran even splits and felt strong for the entire race. I found myself being inspired by the lead woman Lisa as she passed me heading back on the course looking so strong and graceful. It was not an earth shattering effort of a race on my part but I learned that I don't have to go out fast to run a fast race. What a great way to start out 2010. The dream continues. Stay tuned : )