Seawheeze 2017 Race Recap

You know how I get nervous for races? Seawheeze makes me totally crazy! I wish I could channel my inner yogi but I’m a nervous nellie all the way. I’ll cut to the chase and say I had a really successful race, and this will be a bit long. If you only have two seconds here’s the short version: I had a blast and ran 1:30:42 (an almost-four-minute PB)!

I’m thinking a few things I did the week before this race made a difference. First, I barely ran all week. I was busy with work one day, feeling a bit off another day and before I knew it, I was picking up my package on Friday afternoon and thinking that it probably wouldn’t be a good idea to go for a run 12 hours before racing.

there is no hiding from the camera in this house

The second thing I think I got right was nutrition during that week. I’ve been learning more about carbohydrate loading and how it only really works if you deplete yourself first. So, during the week I used myfitnesspal and cut WAY back on carbs (prob why I was feeling “off”). The night before the race, I ate sushi (salt and carbs?) and some extra oatmeal. The morning of, I was accidentally out of oatmeal (great planning on my part) so I ate plain zucchini bread. In the 24 hours before the race I tried to really decrease my fat intake.

I had a harder time falling asleep that night but eventually did. The race starts at 7, but the start line is a few blocks away and I wasn’t checking a bag, so I rolled out of bed at 5.50, paced nervously for 30 minutes, and got dressed :). I took my now-traditional pre-Seawheeze nervous selfie. I also wore my lucky socks… I know this is crazy but I have PB’d in every race I wore these and there must be some magic in there.

Also NOTE TO SELF: french braiding my hair was perfect.

Jan walked me to the start line, and I jogged back and forth for a short warm up. We headed over to the start line, and saw Danielle (who also ran a big PB! Woohoo!) there as well. Seawheeze is a huge but not super competitive race, so I jumped into the first corral (Under 1:40). It was pretty surreal to be standing on the line of a 10,000 person race (next to Nic, who came second overall, Kristina, and a few other local running celebs).

Pretty soon the race was off and I just tried to settle in. Last year, Ben gave me the really good advice that I should run a race by feel – just go as fast as I think I can hold for that distance. I think that this stops me from seeing my pace and freaking out, and also has taught me to be more tuned in to my bod.

Initially, I was thinking it would be awesome to break my previous PB (1:34:17, set at the Fool’s Half earlier this year). This past week, I also wondered if I was maybe fast enough to do 1:32? Between very few structured workouts and not looking at my watch, I really didn’t have a plan other than “get in front of the 1:35 bunny and don’t get passed”. So we went off and little did I know I went through the first 2 km in 7:48… averaging 3:54/km.

splits from strava

I do have to say that just before 2k, we went over the Dunsmuir viaduct and through the Ride Cycle Club cheer tunnel, which was epic. I was running way too fast and grinning ear to ear. Turns out that in the first half of this race I set a 5k and 10k PB as well.

photo from lulu facebook page

We rounded the corner off the viaduct and hit the Main/Keefer/Carrall loop. I felt pretty bad at that point and from 3-8k was definitely a rough patch in the race for me. I tried to remind myself that all I needed to do was hang on until I just couldn’t anymore, and if I eventually fell off the pace that would be ok. Thanks to marathon and ultramarathon training, I was very sure that I would get through 21k, no matter how slowly I had to do it.

Eventually we got off that part of the seawall and went up the hill on Bute and I willed myself not to barf. I knew Jan would be around the foot of the bridge but didn’t see him until he captured some really candid photos! From where I saw him it was only 500m to the peak of the bridge, and the downhill. was. amazing. Suddenly I felt so much better. I turned onto Cornwall and saw Yasuyo, who cheered and jumped about 30 feet in the air and powered through to the turnaround.

pure joy. Thanks for the photo Yasuyo!

When I started running back, I realized that part of feeling so good was a tailwind! Oh well. I knew I’d have to dig a bit and get over Burrard from the tougher side. I ran a 4:35 km (my second slowest of the race) and then hit the west part of the seawall. I also saw some more friends on this stretch, including Meghan, Nic, Yasuyo again, and Danielle (best thing about an out-and-back). From there I really did zone out – it seemed like every step was hard, but also suddenly I was at Siwash rock, and then Lion’s Gate, and the Vega cheering station and boom! I was turning into the park.

 

Once I was back on the Coal Harbour seawall, I started to think about my breathing and focus. I knew I’d be done running in 5 minutes, and I really didn’t want to throw up. Sometimes at the end of a race I get excited, and my heart rate spikes just thatmuch more, and that’s all it takes give me the barfs. With about a kilometer to go, I heard someone’s Garmin tell them out loud “20 kilometers. One hour and 26 minutes”. I literally did not believe it. My immediate reaction was that there was no way I was running that pace and they must have started their watch late. It was only at the 400m mark that I saw Jan, and he yelled that I was going to run 1:30.

I rounded the last corner and couldn’t sprint – too much tummy trouble. I still saw the 1:30 on the clock and couldn’t resist throwing up my arms. It was a huge breakthrough! I’ve been running 1:34-1:35 for the past year.

thinking about how much awesomeness this city has brought me in the last two years

Post-race I got a shiny medal and lots of goodies. Of course pre-race lulu sends out a pair of their special Seawheeze-branded, exclusive print shorts, and then when I picked up my timing chip on Friday I also got a bag, water bottle, package of Nuun, and JJ Bean coupon for a free coffee. There were free manicures, temporary tatoos and foam rolling in the Plaza, but I didn’t line up for any of it. Maybe next year!

 

I also didn’t wait in line for the exclusive Seawheeze store – too much $$ already spent on this for me! I think people really liked the stuff though, so if you’re in town for the race and don’t mind waiting it might be fun.

After getting the medal, I continued on towards the plaza and was given a Bearfoot Bistro brunch box. It had banana bread, chia pudding and an apricot. I wasn’t feeling up to food at that point, but it did get eaten later this weekend! In the plaza, I got an aromatherapy kit from Saje with Peppermint Halo and Muscle Melt (both of which I already loved) and a sample of vega smoothie. We took some photos and I let it sink in that I HAD JUST RUN 90 MINUTES!

Of course I hadn’t thought to bring any warm clothes, and it really wasn’t the warmest morning (which helped!) so we headed home pretty quickly. After a shower and a whole foods almond milk latte I was feeling great!

We took it easy for the rest of the day and met up with some friends at the Sunset Festival that night. Lulu puts on a big outdoor concert as part of the race, so we relaxed with friends and listened to the music. When we got home around 11, I had a huge snack (turns out running is hard) and totally crashed.

It was a great day!

Monday Workout Recap!

Happy Monday! Last week was a bit of a drop-back week in terms of mileage for me but good for intensity. I ended the week with a half marathon on Sunday! Stay tuned for the race recap soon, but for now, here’s how the week went!

Monday Normally I rest on Monday’s but since I was racing at the end of the week, I wanted to squish some mileage into the beginning of the week. I ended up doing 40 minutes (8k) feeling SUPER tired after the 33km from the Sunday before.

Tuesday I had planned to go out for a tempo 12k, but after 6k I wasn’t feeling as good as I’d hoped and took it a little easier on the way back. I averaged 4:28/km on the way out and 4:51/km on the way back. This made me a little bit unsure about my plans for the race on Sunday.

Wednesday I woke up early to do an easy trail run before work. It was SO rainy. Originally I’d planned to go for 17-18k, but called it at 15 since I was drenched. Coffee earned!

Thursday I did a short little run in the early morning on Thursday. The cumulative fatigue from the week was catching up with me, and my work schedule meant I could only run from 6-7 am. 6.5km in the trails was perfect.

Friday Off! This was amazing! A much needed rest day.I didn’t even hit my usual 12,000 step goal, which didn’t bother me at all.

Saturday I had planned a shakeout run (the calendar says 30 minutes easy) but we ended up going for a hike at Smuggler’s Cove, which was low intensity and easy and just what I think I needed.

Sunday Stay tuned for a full race recap later this week, but I ran the Fool’s Half Marathon here on the coast! It was finally sunny and I had a really great day. Spoiler alert: taking a few days off is magical!

Total for the week: 63 km 

How did your week go?

Sun Mountain 50k Training Plans

This past Saturday marked 10 weeks out from Sun Mountain training. I don’t know if it’s going to be my “A” race for the year (will I have an A race?) but it’s definitely what I’m focusing on for now.

I haven’t set a serious goal, but I’m loosely hoping to be between 5:30-6:00 (average 6:35-7:12/km).

I’ve never raced anything further than a marathon on my feet (and I’ve only run one marathon!), but doing some longer triathlons did get me accustomed to multi-hour race day efforts. I tried to use some of the things I learned there to build a plan for Sun Mountain. Mostly:

  • I tend to log more miles when I’m with a group and there’s a set plan
  • I need to build in some solo workouts to prepare for how it will feel to be racing on my own
  • I need to listen to my body!
  • I need to practice fuelling.

I’m also trying to consider a few extra things for Sun Mountain:

  • It’s just a lot of time on my feet
  • I have only done a few short races on trail

Long Runs

I decided to build up to the race in parallel to the Running Room BMO Vancouver Marathon clinic. Dave and Greg are leading a big group of people who are running the race, and since Sun Mountain is just a few weeks later (and a few km’s farther), I’ve hopped onto their long run schedule.

This past Sunday was 29km (although a bit short), and I’ll loosely follow the clinic until they start to taper. My plan is roughly: 29 – 32 – 29 (with 21 as the April Fool’s Race!) – 32 – 32 (clinic starts to taper) – 36 – 40 – 30 (race day for the clinic) – 20 – Race!

Weekly Mileage

With those long runs, I’m looking to steadily increase my weekly mileage. For the past seven weeks, it’s been mostly between 65-75 km.

For the next four weeks, I’m hoping to be able to increase that a bit to 75-85 km/week. For the three weeks after that, I’ll look for 85-100k, and then I’ll taper down to the race.

Types of Runs

Since I’m working on the Sunshine Coast, I’ve also been trying to make my runs hilly and looking for opportunities to run on trails. I’m trying to do a bit of speedwork as well!

Fuelling + Listening to My Bod

So. My fuelling has always been something I forget to focus on. I tried hard during marathon training to nail down a strategy and practice it early. On race day, I didn’t end up getting all the calories I planned, but I did get most and I felt really strong, so I called it a success. Lately though, I haven’t been thinking about it as much and I want to make an effort to get back to being strategic. I haven’t fuelled with anything except water and a few gummies for my long runs during this cycle, so that’s gonna have to change.

As for responding to my own cues, I did take an almost rest day 2 Sundays ago – I woke up with a bad cold and decided not to suck it up and do my long run. Overall, I don’t think this made me lose any fitness and I felt great last week, even though I still have the end of the cold.

And that’s it! Any trail runners have some advice for me? 

PS – photos by Jan, except for the blurry cell phone photos I took of Dave’s map + my salad creation

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!

Two Weeks!

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cold and early! and a dusty mirror

I really cut back on distance this week! I just felt like I needed a bit of a break. I think I’ll run similar mileage next week. I caught up on sleep a bit and generally feel a bit better, so I think it worked.

Here’s the recap:

Monday Alyson came home from her business trip, so she came over for a catch-up run and dinner with me and Jan. We did an easy 7 km

Tuesday I worked a weird split-shift, so in between I squeezed in a little run. Since I didn’t have time to go longer, I tried to go a little faster. 5.3km at 4:40/km

Wednesday I actually meant to run 10-15 km on Wednesday but I wasn’t feeling well. I made it 5k and decided to call it a day.

Thursday I went to RunVan, which ended up being awesome because I won a night at the Fairmont Waterfront! I also had a massage scheduled after this run, soit was basically the best morning ever. img_8031

Friday Danielle and I met up for a really nice 11.5 km through downtown and then onto the False Creek seawall. The sky was really beautiful – it was a rare clear morning. We grabbed coffee afterward and then headed to work.

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Saturday I took a rest day! We went hiking on the North Shore since it wasn’t raining.

Sunday A long run (but shorter than the past few!) with the usual RR Sunday crew. It was so nice to have everyone back together! We did 23k.

It was a good week! I think next week will be another 55-65k, and then I’ll cut right down the week before the marathon.

Running Last Week (AKA CIM Training Update – 3 Weeks Out)

As of Sunday, I was three weeks out from CIM, and hit my peak mileage before the marathon.

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In the 7 days between November 8th and November 14th, I ran 101.8 km. I normally track Monday – Sunday, so the weekly total my Strava sees is 94.2 km.

This is my highest mileage week, and I think it’s the highest mileage over 4 consecutive weeks as well (337.2 km). I am mostly happy with how my prep for this marathon has gone (lack of speed work notwithstanding) but I have to say that I have never been this tired.

Here’s a look at the past week:

Monday rest

Tuesday Election day! We had a bunch of friends over and so I squeezed in a run between work and everyone coming over. 6.2 mi

Wednesday I started my run a bit early and ended up at the Running Room, where the usuals were heading out for the standard 10k run. I headed out with Audree and Dave, then cut that run a bit short so that I ended up at home. Total = 10.3 mi

Thursday RunVan, as usual! This ended up being a really nice morning, and even though the time change is making the nights feel very early, it was great not to run in the dark. 5.1 mi

Friday Danielle is back to running post PDX marathon! She joined me for an early morning 7 mi around the park (and then we got coffee).

Friday evening I went out for a quick run with Jan to help get rid of the last bit of a headache he had. We did 2.8 mi for a total of 9.8 for the day.

Saturday Jan really had to help drag my butt out for this one, because we were busy around the house on Saturday morning, plus I had an 8 am meeting, and then spent the afternoon at work in the clinic. When I got home, I just didn’t feel up to it, but he convinced me to try. We ended up doing a great progression run. 4.5 mi

Sunday This was my solo long run! I devoted a whole post to it here. 22.1 mi.

Total for the week: 58.5 mi/ 8h 17m

Bring on the Taper

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As I’m writing this, we’re officially three weeks away from CIM, and today I did my last (super) long training run! It was really rainy out there today so I just got it done early in the morning. None of the usual suspects wanted to go as far, so Jan told me he would bike beside me again, keeping me company like he did when we ran 2 bridges a few weeks ago.

We went out to Stanley Park, wrapped around the Seawall, then up and over Burrard to Point Grey and eventually UBC. When we reached the campus, we turned around and came back through the Endowment Lands, along 8th ave, over the bridge and back past English Bay before heading home.

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It pretty much rained the whole time, which meant I felt cool. I wore shorts, a long sleeve shirt, and a pair of calf sleeves for a little extra warmth. I carried water in my bigger handheld water bottle, an Ultimate Direction FastDraw 20. I also had 2 organic caramel HoneyStinger waffles, and had a couple of gels and a pack of HoneyStinger chews with me in case I wanted something different.

I tried to have a bigger breakfast than usual as well. I went with a piece of toast with banana and peanut butter, a large mug of half coffee/half almond milk, and a small piece of homemade pumpkin bread. I think it really helped.

On the run, I felt pretty good overall. The beginning was very comfortable, and I didn’t really feel like eating the first waffle around 11km. I knew I couldn’t get behind on nutrition, though, so I ate it over about 400m. I thought I would eat the next one around 25k, but at 22.5 I was suddenly feeling very cranky and Jan handed me the waffle and told me to eat it – I definitely felt better. Towards the end, I could totally have had a third, but we were ending and I knew I’d have real food soon. During the marathon, I think the plan will be 11k, 22k, 32k and maybe 37k if I feel like it. I plan to carry the four waffles, plus a pack of chews as backup.

I liked the easy access to water today with the larger bottle, but I didn’t like carrying 20 oz! I really felt like my arms were more fatigued. Do I need to be better atswitching hands more? (I definitely prefer my right). Or should I spend the next 3 weeks building some shoulder/arm strength? TBD.

As usual, thanks to Jan for taking photos, carrying food, biking beside me and generally being the best today!

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