Monday, December 9, 2013
Saturday, November 30, 2013
The Top 5 Things I saw before, during and after my run today-
|The sunrise looked like this but|
through my front window.
1) The sunrise over Sydenham Lake while I had my coffee pre-run-I was up at 7am, the sky was turning all shades of orange and yellow and the beauty of it all really had me excited to get outside and enjoy the day and my long run on the trail despite the cool temperatures that awaited me.
|If I had a camera this is what my picture of today's |
trail would have looked like.
2) The freshly groomed snow on the trail-I had somehow beaten the snowmobilers outside this morning and was rewarded with the most beautiful carpet of hard packed crusty snow groomed ever so flat and smooth. It was as though it was done just for me and the one other runner who's footprints I followed in for sometime. I felt very appreciative to whoever it was who got up so early on this Saturday morning to do it. Unfortunately the loud snow machines were out tearing up the snow on my return run and I had to escape to the road rather then try to negotiate the rubble of crust and powder they had surely left in their violent wake.
|Like this x2|
3) Two beautiful white-tailed deer-I was 10k into my run when in the distance I saw what looked like a tall dog of some kind. Perhaps a Great Dane or a large Lab. I really hoped it wasn't some kind of skinny black bear. It ran off trail upon hearing me approach and I then caught a glimpse of two deer hopping off into the woods and with their white tails held high they vanished in mere seconds.
|Like this minus the kids and dogs|
4) A Jingle Bell bedazzled horse pulling a sleigh-Just as I was heading home to pick up my snowshoes to finish off my run I was passed by a friendly horse making the most Christmas like jingle bell sounds. You don't see that kind of thing everyday and it really put a smile on my face.
|Hey look it's Santa, The Real Santa!!|
5) Watching the kids waiting to see Santa at the Mall-There was a line of kids at the mall with their parents in tow all waiting to see Santa. It was the very same Santa I had stood in line to see year after year with my daughter. I found myself feeling very nostalgic for that time when she was still young and still believed.
The Top 5 Things I learned on my run today-
1) Getting the layers right on the first long run of the winter can be tricky and you'll probably dress too warm or not warm enough-I dressed way to warm and ended up peeling off my top layer after 30minutes of a 31/2 hr run. I learned it's better to carry the extra jacket you might need rather then put it on right away and find out you don't. I had built up a nice layer of sweat before I realized how hot I was and then risked getting colder because of it.
2) Water bottles are not good insulators in temperatures below zero Celsius-I learned that the nipple of the bottles will freeze first then the liquid will begin to freeze, then the slushy liquid will begin to freeze the hand that is carrying it and as you drink the icy pink refreshment your throat and stomach will begin to ache from the cold. I don't know how I never had any of this happen to me before.
3) Tying a double knot it no guarantee that the laces of your running shoes will stay tied for the duration of your run-I double knotted both of my running shoes before leaving the house and wouldn't you know it but both of them came undone. I ended up retying them using this method: After you have made your bows grab the ends of both laces. Put one bow and one end of the lace in one hand and the same in the other then make your double knot pulling the bows and the lace ends tight.
4) You don't need as much water on winter days as you would in the summer which leaves you a bit freer to wander further from home and or your water source-Today I was able to extend the first part of my run further then I had planned to as I didn't feel a need to return home to refill my bottles. I felt comfortable with 40 oz.(2 bottles) for the entire run whereas in the summer I would have needed 70 oz.(3.5 bottles) for the same time and therefore would have had to return home within 2hrs. Today I carried two water bottles for 3hrs and 20min. and didn't need to go home except that I wanted to pickup my snowshoes. I did consume around the same number of calories though coming in at around 1120(4 scoops or Vitargo) or approx. 300 calories and hour.
5) The second snowshoe run of the year is much easier then the first showshoe run of the year-I tried running for 45 min. on snowshoes a few days ago and thought I might collapse after 20min. However today after having already run almost 3 hrs. and 20kms., running on the snowshoes for another 5km actually felt pretty good.
Sunday, October 6, 2013
|50km Race Start - Of 1250 athletes only 169 were in the 50km|
|In the woods|
As I pulled into Aid Station 1 for the last time to refuel I noticed a gentleman a bit older then myself follow me in. “One more lap for me” I told him, “Me too he replied” and I was off. Funny thing but I suddenly realized that the muscle cramping demons had mysteriously disappeared as fast as they had arrived 6 hours earlier. I was moving freely and felt strong. “Dare I ?” I thought to myself, “Dare I push the last lap of a race distance I have never run before”. The furthest I had ever run was perhaps 28km and as I entered into lap 4 I had already surpassed that mark by10km. Well I went for it. I ran every hill in the early going. Finally I was able to put to use all of hill repeats and hilly tempos I had been running previous to getting sick. I did notice that my foot was hurting me, an old cuboid problem I haven’t felt since hiking the Cataraqui Trail pulling a sled this past winter. But I wasn’t going to let a foot ache slow me down. Heck it was probably the pain from the foot that had in fact caused the cramping to so suddenly stop. I do know that the body has a short attention span and that diversions like sour pickle juice or a pinched lip has been known to stop muscle spasms. I actually tried using that tactic earlier in the race by breaking my salt tab on my tongue every hour hoping for that very effect. But alas I do believe it was the foot that finally did the trick, but how long would it last. Well not that long.
One particular quad, the right one was determined to keep on cramping which forced me to run or walk sideways up every hill but undeterred I kept moving forward, every sideways hill climb carrying me closer to the finish. BTW, that rain I mentioned earlier that was suppose to make the day so wet and miserable, well it finally hit halfway into the last lap. I laughed, I had to laugh, no rain was going to stop me, as long as I didn’t tumble down a slippery hill and hit my head that is. But I didn’t and I rolled through each aid station, hearing my number being called ahead to the finish line as they awaited my arrival and I thought about the guy who I assumed was behind me and how he was making out in the rain. “Last runner heading home”, is what he said, and I crossed the finish line, received my medal, was chided for being DFL from the sidelines and as I made my way to the drop bag area I fully expected it to be empty and deserted, but it wasn’t. Hey maybe I wasn't DFL after all I thought to myself. Just then Peggy, the race director came to check on the area and I pointed out 4 lonely bags to her to which she replied, “Yep, they're still out there”.
As of now while I write thisI still don’t know when or if the others made it in. I wish I could have stayed to wait for them but it was a long 4 hour drive home alone in the dark and rain with a pair of cranky legs to contend with. I wish I had stayed, they deserved that. So to whoever you are, congratulations on a great race and if you were the one to finish last then CHEERS TO YOU and your well earned title of DFL!!
Lap 1 1:48:05 avg. hb 136 bpm
Lap 2 1:51:13 avg. hb 137 bpm
Lap 3 1:54:26 avg. hb 135 bpm
Lap 4 1:47:50 avg. hb 143 bpm
Of course I have to thank the RDs Peggy and George and all of the great volunteers who encouraged all of us runners and provided everything we could possibly need during the race. Kind words, drinks, food, a good laugh and endless clapping, cheering and cow belling. Also congratulations to all of the winners and finishers of this 12th Annual Run For the Toad event. See you all next year:-)
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Monday, June 17, 2013
|Feeling good just before...|
|...the wheel(left wheel to be exact) fell off:-)|
So to summarize what I had written-
I went out "TOO FAST", well actually, "NOT SLOW ENOUGH". I learned there is a difference. Even though I had topped out with a 4 hour long run a few weeks before the race, I had been keeping my heart rate below 140bpm in training and in turn that meant usually walking the longer hills. I figured that because this was a flat course it would be faster and therefore I should be faster and hoped I would be able to get away with a bit higher heartbeat of 145ish for the duration. Wrong!! I think the one thing I failed to realize was that I had been walking during training so I had never really run more then 2hrs. non-stop and with the addition of the faster pace, higher hr and 100% pavement it was all too much for my left quad. I know it was my A-goal of reaching the 50km mark that drove me to blindly go where I had never been before but I found that I just couldn't let go of the idea of hitting that mark until it was too late.
My left quad started to pull on my knee cap after 2 hours and try as I might I eventually had to walk the remaining time. I could walk without pain but could not run but a few steps which was the most frustrating part as the rest of me wanted to run but we were being held back my one little party pooper:-(
I ran approx. the same distance in the first 2:15 hours that I walked in the last 3:45. I was at 19km at 2:15 hrs. and walked just over 18 km after that. I wasn't exactly power walking either, more like I was out for a nice brisk stroll. In the end I was not only the slowest runner but the walkers were passing me too. That is when I really began to appreciate just what great athletes all of these people were.
I learned that ultra runners are the most seasoned runners that I have ever come across anywhere. Most have run more ultras then I've run 5kms and some have run 10xs more and for some that is just this year. I bow to the endless hours and countless miles in their collective rock solid muscled legs:-)
I have recovered very well. I haven't run yet but the left quad was the only sore spot and then only going down stairs the next few days after. I'm going for my first run since the race tonight,(Monday 17th) wish me luck!
I would like to add that this event was organized and run to perfection by Hladini Wilson. All of the lap counting volunteers were very encouraging and one particular French gentleman spent the entire day trying to learn to pronounce my name with his thick accent. I had my own food and water so didn't sample the buffet but there was always something on the table for everyone(including my daughter to my dismay) throughout the day. I highly recommend putting this event on your race card if you ever want to try this type of event in the future. The views of the lake were breathtaking and ever changing with the sail boaters and kayakers out enjoying the day as the racers winded their way around the point of the Royal Military College grounds and weaved in and out of the historic walls of Fort Frederick.
I also want to thank my crew of my daughter Rhiannon and my Mom Jane for being there for me for the 6 hours and managing my water, food and clothes. It turned out to be a cool, dampish windy day for the spectators although for the runners it was pretty perfect weather as long as you were able to keep moving. I unfortunately was not, so I had to don my wind pants and another shirt to keep me warm in the latter stages of the race. Funny story but when I finally decided to get some warm clothes on I headed for my crew and there was my Mom, warm(and asleep) in the car, but who could blame her:-) Another cute story about my daughter has her seeing me slow down and beginning to walk when my knee started barking. Well this was embarrassing her and she called to me, "don't walk Mom, RUN". So I started running again and this happened a few times. Then as the day progressed and I had been walking for a few hours every now and again I would get up the gumption to try and run again and I'd hear a voice call to me, "don't run Mom, WALK":-)
Also thanks to my coach Derrick Spafford for preparing me for this race If I had only listened to his warning to keep my hr around 135 I am sure I would have run much longer. I was also surprised to see him and his wife Sara around the 4 hour mark of the race. I had already been walking for what seemed like weeks now(2hours) and I knew I had some "explaining to do". Thanks to Sara also for taking a few pictures to commemorate the event. When I saw her taking my picture it kinda felt like I was at some kind of Ultra graduation and they were my proud parents taking my picture...which believe me was weird:-P But really they have both been there from the beginning of my running career and I know they understand better then anyone what that race was about for me and that it is the first of what will hopefully be many more ultra events to come.
Onward and upward:-)
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
and that road is ahead of you,
always ahead of you."
|A runner at the 2012 Sri Chinmoy 6hr. Race with a view across |
Lake Ontario of Kingston's Historic City Hall.
(all pictures courtesy of the race's official gallery)
The Kingston Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 6-Hour Race is run on an 880-metre paved loop along Lake Ontario and around the walls of Fort Frederick and the Royal Military College in historic Kingston, Ontario. I am really not sure why I was drawn to this race as my next challenge following my hike of The Cataraqui Trail, or the "CT" as it known amongst us hikers:) The race has been around since 1996 although very few people I know are aware of it, including, most "running people" I know.
|The official lap counters from the 2012 edition of the race.|
|Runners on part of the 880 metre winding path.|
|A runner with the "Leader Board" in the background.|
Perhaps one reason I am drawn to this event and am not as dismissive of it as others appear to be, is that I don't feel that I am any certain "kind" of runner. I don't feel affiliated with, or a lack of affiliation to, any particular type of racing be it road or trail, short or long. I guess I haven't been at any of them long enough to have tired of one over the other. The one thing about running on a looped course and is perhaps why these events are run in this manner is that I assume it becomes less about the "place" you are running in the longer you are at it.
|Participants of the 2012 edition of the |
Sri Chinmoy Self-transcendence 6-hour Race
Sunday, April 7, 2013
As a runner I know that injuries aren't planned so therefore planning not to have one may prove to be impossible, however since most of my injuries to date have been caused by muscle imbalances, stress and inflamation(calf tightness 2009-2013, runners knee 2009, hip 2010, ankle/foot 2011-2012, shin stress fracture or tendonitis 2012-2013) I have a pretty good handle on what I need to do or avoid doing in order to avoid the 3 injury causing agents listed above.
Ways I plan to avoid the 3 injury causing agents listed above-
STRESS- relieving stress is good...avoiding stress is better. There are physical and mental stressors. Physical stressors not only stress the bodies tissues, muscles and tendons but the nervous system with physiological, pschological implications. Mental stressors from work and life in general can also have physiological impact.
I am avoiding stress by removing intense workouts (ie. interval, high end tempos)from my running and strength workouts and working only in an aerobic zone which for me is 126 bpm - 136 bpm.