Winter Fun

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Ever since the marathon, it’s been kind of nice to do a bit less running and a bit more playing outside. I had a great time this weekend snowshoeing on Cypress, running on the snowy seawall, and then playing in Stanley Park with Jan.

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Speaking of snow – there was a lot of it today. According to this chart, in 1948 Vancouver airport recorded 14.8 cm of snow. There were more than 5cm on the ground at our place today, and I’m sure other parts of the city got more.

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When we went out for a run from the store, we immediately came across a car getting hopelessly stuck trying to use the on-ramp to the Cambie bridge. Luckily, the guys were happy to help bail him out!

Saturday was an amazingly clear day up on Cypress – we went snowshoeing to celebrate Danielle’s birthday! It was cold, but so sunny and there was tons of snow up there!

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We climbed almost to the peak of Hollyburn mountain, which is pretty easy to access from the Nordic area of Cypress. Since we all already had snowshoes, it was really easy to just park the cars and head out onto the mountain.
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The views were fantastic! Alyson, Pargol, me, and Danielle all posted a bunch of photos on Instagram – honestly one of the best winter fun days I’ve had since I’ve been in Vancouver! img_8263

So, now that I’m not spending so much time running (the plan is to hover around 50km/week for a few weeks and then see how it goes), what should I do? I started keeping a list of fun winter activities I want to do this year:

  • Snowshoe grind – the Grouse Grind is closed at this time of year. I actually did hike up with Danielle about a week ago, but it was only when we came back down that I realized they close it because of avalanche risk! It was a beautiful night (we hiked up on BCMC with head lamps), but apparently there is an actual “snowshoe grind” that you can get to on Grouse – fun and actually safe.
  • Tobogganing – Jan has never been tobogganing! Everyone needs to do this! In Vancouver you can toboggan or snow tube on Seymour or the top of Grouse, but I think we’ll get out my family’s old, tried and true wooden toboggan over Christmas.

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  • Alpine snowshoeing – I’d definitely go back to Cypress, but I’d like to check out Seymour too.
  • Cross country skiing – you can do this on the North Shore mountains. I think there are lessons available too, which I’d need because I’ve not done very much.
  • Downhill skiing – I went to Whistler once last year, and while it was a really fun day, I have a few comments. As a day trip from Vancouver, it is a bit of a trek. Then, it’s crazy expensive (a day is $100). Finally, I’m not such a big skier that I need mountains as big as Whistler/Blackcomb. I found that I was working pretty hard to get down in once piece! So, I’m thinking this year will be about evening skiing on the local mountains – maybe more my speed.
  • Winter hiking/camping – Would be awesome to get to Elfin Lakes or Keith’s Hut.
  • And, just for fun, I’ll add Ice Climbing – apparently you can try it out in Squamish! Cool!

Anything to add to the list? I feel so lucky that I live in a place like this! 

California International Marathon Race Recap – Part 2: RACE DAY

Earlier this week I posted about the start to the marathon weekend, and the day before – time to talk about race day!

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At 4am on Sunday, my alarm went off and I was instantly up. I covered myself with BodyGlide to ward off any chafing (more on that later). Then, I got dressed (I wore a lulu bra, tee, socks and shorts. My watch is the new Garmin ForeRunner 902XT, and my shoes are Saucony Zealot ISO. I carried my handheld bottle and added a trusty pair of BMO Vancouver Marathon gloves). I tucked my phone and headphones into the back pocket of my shorts, just in case I needed some mid-race motivation (spoiler alert: didn’t need it!)

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CIM is a point-to-point race, and we stayed in a hotel near the finish line in Sacramento. The buses to the start line in Folsom left at 5am, so I added more clothes (lulu warm up pants(old), throwaway sweater, and puffy jacket), and we headed out to the bus. I was trying really hard to eat, which just meant that I was carrying my breakfast with me. It’s a cup of black hotel coffee, and two blueberry toaster waffles with peanut butter and banana slices.

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We got to the buses and after a good luck kiss goodbye from Jan, the Belgian went back to bed and I sat down. I chatted with other runners while we rode to the start line, and was SO grateful for the distraction of meeting new people. The ride felt LONG and we finally got to the start line by about 5:45. I waited on the bus until about 6.30, when I decided it was now or never.

I got off the bus and got in a longggggg line for port-a-potties. LESSON ONE of the day: line up earlier. By the time I was done it was 6:58. I threw my jacket and pants into my gear bag, threw the bag onto the gear truck, and hustled to the start line. I slotted myself next to the 3:28 pace group just as the national anthem started. In the end, I think this actually helped, because I didn’t have any time to get more nervous! At 7 the gun went off and boom! I was running a marathon.

FYI: Instead of doing the traditional pace groups every 5 min (3:30, 3:35, 3:40, etc), CIM does 2 min before that to help people who want to BQ. This is because in the past couple of years, you have needed to run under the actual qualifying time to actually run Boston.

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I went out and tried not to run too fast, because everyone (Greg, Dave, Jan, Alyson, Danielle, etc. etc.) had told me I would easily be swept up in the excitement of the start and I should just chill out and run. Around km 3, I came up to Laura and Jess. Jess was running her first marathon as well, but pacing Laura. They were planning to aim for under 3:30, and I figured it would be nice to have some buddies, so I joined in.

Thank goodness for those 2! The three of us ran together, sharing water and chatting. The first several miles absolutely FLEW by, and I found myself feeling good at the half (1:43). It was rolling but way more downhill than anything else for the first half of the race.

In the second half, we all started to feel it at different points. Poor Laura was looking for a big PB but had sore legs and an upset stomach, so we both talked to her a lot. I think all the positive talk really helped me feel like I was in better condition than I was! At 36k I decided I didn’t want to risk losing time, and started to pull ahead. I could hear the girls behind me for most of the way, so I knew they weren’t far off the pace.

By km 40 I had had about enough. I told myself I would run one more km (to 41), enjoy the last one (42), and push for the final 200m to the finish. When I saw Jan cheering like crazy at km 41.5, it suddenly hit me that I was ALMOST DONE my first marathon. As I turned towards the finish, I saw the capitol and the gun time, which was ticking towards 3:29. WOOHOOOO! I ran in with the biggest smile on my face.

Chip time: 3:28:13.

During the race, I had planned to eat 5 HoneyStinger waffles. Overall, I managed to eat 1.5 toaster waffles + PB + about 2/3 of a banana and 400mL of black coffee for breakfast, and 3.5 HoneyStingers during the race. I didn’t want the last 1.5 waffles, but since my pace was holding I didn’t force my stomach. I drank water from my bottle until after the half, when I started refilling it with Nuun from aid stations. I’m not sure how much more I drank because I also shared with Laura and Jess, but I felt fine hydration-wise.

The course was totally beautiful – no wind, 7 degrees at the start line, rolling hills with plenty of down and awesome crowd support all along the way. I couldn’t have asked for a better day.

After the race, I grabbed some super hot oatmeal from the Whole Foods truck (yes there is a Whole Foods truck and yes it might be enough to get me to move to Sacramento). The post-race food that CIM offered was chips (no, thanks, I didn’t need salt that badly) and a banana (also no thanks). I saw some people also handing out KIND bars, but after our YYZ adventure, I’ve had enough kind bars for a long time.

Once I crossed the finish line, I stopped running. Someone put a medal on me, and a space blanket. The problem started when I tried to walk again. I took my first step and immediately realized how sore my legs and joints were going to be. Ouch!

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We hung out at the finish line (and I rang the BQ bell!!), we grabbed my gear (and I realized how hard it was going to be to put on my pants) and finally started to head (hobble) towards the hotel.

On the way there, I noticed SCOTT JUREK leaving with his family. I stage-whispered to Jan “OMG THAT’S SCOTT JUREK”. Jan laughed and told me to ask him for a photo, so I did. He was so nice! His wife just ran her first marathon since having a baby (badass) and he ran as well. Total fangirl moment.
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img_0194Once we were back I FaceTimed my parents, who had been following the race online. My Dad was excited for me to have run so fast, and my Mom was in true mom mode and wanted me to sit down. I told them I was sore but feeling good.

I then began the project of taking a shower. First of all, I could barely take my own clothes off. Then, I sat down to pee (tmi? Sorry. I was actually hydrated!) and decided I might never be able to get up. Then, I actually got into the shower and realized that since I’d carried my phone in the back pocket of my shorts, I’d given myself some really beautiful chafing along the back of my hips, just above my butt. Cool.

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Once I’d finally showered, I threw my hair into a bun, put on real clothes and began the next project: walking down the stairs. This was not pretty :).

Eventually, we made it to brunch to meet up with friends Ben and Brian and fellow marathoners Nick, Kristina, Lissa (7th woman overall!!), Corri and Geoff. I wasn’t super hungry and ate some eggs and waffles (serious theme of the day) for brunch, and really enjoyed a Moscow Mule.

After that, we walked around to flush my legs, went back to take a look at the end of the Finish Line, and relaxed at the hotel. We had a semi-early dinner around 6:30, but my appetite wasn’t 100% back yet. I ate salad with chicken and also had an awesome glass of white wine from California.

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By 10:30, I was totally wiped and went to bed with a big smile on my face. It was a great day and I couldn’t be happier with my first marathon. I felt great during the race, nailed my nutrition/hydration, and BQ’ed by just under 7 minutes. I’m so grateful for all the Cambie RR people, RunVan, Danielle, Alyson, and of course Jan for helping me get there! When is the next one??

California International Marathon Race Recap – Part 1

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Guys, I had the best weekend. I think it would be too much to cover it all in one post, so I’m splitting it into Saturday (expo, shakeout, nerves) and Sunday (marathon, food, sleep).

Jan and I flew in to Sacramento on Friday night. I get nervous flying, and it was a windy trip, so by the time we checked into our hotel at 10:30 I was wiped. We both fell asleep watching Friends. 

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I found my name in the “R”!

On Saturday morning, we decided to hit the expo and then get brunch. I was hungry in the morning and figured I should carb-load, so I ate one of the small muffins that I’d brought.

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The expo was fun to wander around, but I brought everything I needed and didn’t end up having to buy anything. We did score some free HoneyStinger waffles (which I used to fuel my race). We also picked up my bib, gear drop bag, and course info. img_0055

After the expo we ate brunch. I had most of my spinach omelet… when we were walking around I felt ok but any time I tried to eat on Saturday I would realize how nervous I was.

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Is it a stack of waffles or a big mac?!

We rested for a bit at the hotel and watched the Food Network… we got pretty invested in an episode of Cupcake Wars. Ha! I got my waffles out of their packages and tucked them into my water bottle so they’d be ready for race day.

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chicken arms everywhere
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the finish line is right in front of the state capitol!

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Around 4, we decided it was shakeout run time. We went to a park near the hotel for strides, then jogged around the finish line area. Oh boy. I also managed to eat a Picky Bar (ah, fudge nuts flavour, obvi) somewhere in here.

After the run it was time to get some dinner. Thank goodness Jan had made reservations at the local pasta restaurant, because it was crazy in there. I got spaghetti with meatballs (usually I don’t eat red meat, but I wanted to get the simplest pasta) and ate about 2/3 of it. I also tried really hard to get some fluids in, so I had 2 big glasses of diet coke (better than nothing, and I just didn’t feel like water).

On the walk back to the hotel, we stopped to pick up a banana for me to have on race morning. It was COLD at night (around 3 degrees) and I was a little shaky. I couldn’t tell if it was because I was cold or because I was super nervous. We went to bed and I tried to calm my brain down. My heart rate is usually in the low 40’s before bed, but Saturday night it was 65! I laid awake until around 2, when I think I fell asleep for a bit.

Next up it’s race day! Stay tuned!

Marathon Weekend

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don’t worry, it’s decaf

It’s Friday night and Jan and I are sitting at SEA-TAC, waiting for our little plane to Sacramento. The week went by pretty quickly, considering how little running I did. On Tuesday morning, I got up for an early run around downtown and Lost Lagoon – it was a cold but otherwise really pretty and NON-RAINY morning in Vancouver. Then, Thursday morning I went for one last pre-marathon RunVan. We kept it short (just over 6k) and easy pace.

Lots of people told me to expect “taper tantrums” and to feel a bit weird this week. Nothing hurts, exactly, but I’ve found myself obsessing weirdly over my level of hydration, eating carbs, and sleeping. I’m also… irritable? Antsy? Sorry, Jan.

img_8084 Last night, we packed and I had flashbacks to Sweden as I remembered how much stuff I seem to need for a race. This time, I separated my lists into three main categories: pre-race (flight, expo, shakeout run, relax), race (SO MUCH STUFF) and post race (food and relax, I hope).

Here’s what I brought:

Pre-race

  • clothes, shoes, small bag
  • shakeout run clothes
  • laptop and passport
  • couple of magazines and a book for the plane
  • snacks: home made muffins, an apple and plenty of Nuun

Race

  • Pre-race food: my trusty toaster waffles, PB, and a home-made muffin (plus extras for Jan)
  • Actual race-day outfit: top, shorts, bra, socks, shoes, watch, hat, body glide
  • Throwaway layers that I plan to shed during the race: sweater, gloves
  • Layers that I’ll wear to the start line and check in: puffy jacket, warm up pants. I’ll also check in wipes and a brush, for immediately after the race.
  • Nutrition: Honey stinger waffles, one pack of honey stinger chews, some Gu, and handheld bottle

Post-race

  • Clothes and comfy shoes

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Hopefully I didn’t forget anything! In a few minutes we’ll be up and away. See you soon, Sacramento!

 

The Final Countdown

Race day is almost here! I’m late recap-ing workouts last week, but there was less than usual to talk about. I figured I’d smoosh it into a post with a few runs from this week.

Monday Rest, as usual

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absolutely freezing before heading out to run (had to walk there first)

Tuesday It was so, so rainy all day. Danielle texted me around 5 and asked if I’d run yet, because she was going to check out a group called Mile2Marathon. I decided to tag along, because there was no way I was running alone in the pouring rain again. I did 10k with a few of the guys at (for me) tempo pace. 10k

Wednesday I went out for an easy run around the neighbourhood and threw in a few hills by taking Chilco down to the water. Nothing special, but I felt good. 8.2k

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post run dinner and marathon talk with the Belgian

Thursday RunVan! I was a bit late for this run so I had to hustle to make it on time. With my cooldown, it ended up being about 9.6k

Friday Last pre-marathon run with Danielle, and a coffee and lululemon shopping date after.

Saturday Off – I meant to run, but weather/timing just didn’t work out and I didn’t really worry about it. I did get in almost 30,000 steps (according to my Garmin) since we were scrambling around to clean, run errands, etc.

Sunday Last long run. I went out with a bunch of the Running Room people for the usual pre-marathon out and back to Siwash Rock. We added on a bit by going around Science World for a total of 18.3k. This run felt really good and added a bit to my confidence that I can get through this race.

Totals for last week = 58 km

This week hasn’t looked like much! I did one early morning Tuesday run (8.2k) and a very easy RunVan one today (6.2k). I’ll probably run about 5k very easy on Saturday, and then it’ll be a marathon on Sunday for a total of 61.6km. What am I going to talk about after this!?!

I’m off to pack. Tomorrow we head to Sacramento!