Fortunately for me, I was up and at ’em before the snow plow this morning. And even if I wasn’t I would have been because of an early morning phone call. Isn’t there an unwritten rule somewhere that you cannot call someone’s home on a Sunday morning before 9:00am unless it is an emergency?
With four inches of fresh snow that had fallen overnight, I had to get out in it again, and with my Yaktrax. I have been trying to use these babies since Christmas, the best I have been able to do so far is a quick run around my block in the slush-snow-guck at the side of the road. Even if Sunday wasn’t a run day, it would be today.
I love my music when I run, but today I decided to leave it at home and enjoy the peacefulness of the morning.
Being an idiot a snow rookie, I had to modify my run immediately because I wore the wrong pants (snow is cold on a bare leg and it also goes down your sock and into your runners, duh), quickly moving from the fresh powder to the tire tracks in the road (good thing I left my music at home).
Not every run can be a good run; today’s was exceptional. I wasn’t out for speed or distance; I was running because I couldn’t resist on such a lovely morning. Other than a couple of dogs, one car and a man out on his quad clearing his driveway I had the world to myself for 30 minutes and it was magical.
The first few snowflakes had just started falling as we drove up to the UBC Research Forest this morning for the Road and Trail Clinic. It has been a pretty chilly last couple of days, and we were all dressed for it; toques, long sleeves, long pants and gloves…everyone except for Ron.
A new park information shelter has been built since the last time I ran here, and if I didn’t know any better I would think that it was a no fun zone from all of the “no” signs. But as long as you don’t plan on camping, fishing, riding a horse or bike, bringing your dog, lighting fires, smoking, drinking from a wine glass or picking flowers you can have all the adventure that you like.
photo credit: Chris Mair
The main access road from the parking lot was hard packed snow and very slippery in sections, a couple of times I even second guessed my route choice, but once off the main road, the trail only had a skiff of snow. Over the bridge that crosses the Alouette River, and our climb began, the first 10 minutes of this route are always a killer.
As we started to climb higher the skiff of snow turned into an inch, then two, then a few more. I had considered bringing my Yaktrax for the run but thought they might be overkill, but there were even a few sections where snowshoes would have been appropriate. I think that the first few runners in our group had fun laying the first tracks in the powder and making snow angels (who was your partner in crime Dave?).
Running in ankle deep powder feels a lot like running in sand and by the time we crossed into Golden Ears Park my calves were on fire. Running in snow also slows you down; when we reached the yellow gate at the Mike Lake parking lot it was already time to turn around.
The trek back down was fantastic and the snow was really coming down by now (it would have made a great cover shot for Runner’s World). So much easier coming down than going up. It was great to see everyone enjoying the morning with their rosy cheeks; no amount of make-up could have given us the glow that we got this morning.
How did you enjoy the snow today?
One of the added bonuses of doing what I do for a living is that there isn’t a whole lot of primping to do in the morning. Shower, ponytails, headband or hat, lip-gloss and I am ready to go. But when someone wants to take your picture, that kind of changes everything.
This morning I was up showered, blow-dried, flat ironed, lip-glossed and in the car by 7:00am to meet Lauren from Lululemon for a product notification photo shoot. It has been a while since I have had to deal with a serious rush hour morning commute (another added bonus of walking across my driveway to work), I am still not a fan.
When I arrived at Lululemon, my outfit was already sitting on the counter, Run: Record Breaker Jacket in sprinkler and the Run: Inspire Tight in black/sprinkler/static black. After a quick change we headed to Lafarge Lake in Coquitlam to take some pictures.
It’s always a bit awkward doing something like this so I channeled my inner Gisele. Lauren kept me smiling; the blue sky, lake and ducks were the perfect backdrop.
My long legged friends will absolutely love the Inspire Tight, I am not sure if you can tell from the pictures but they were more than long enough for me (shorties can where them too, Lulu offers free hemming). The jacket fit nicely and all of the zippers were reflective as well as the stripe down the back.
Any guesses what I will be wearing to my Intermediate Running Clinic tonight?
If you have ever considered running the Boston Marathon qualifying just became even harder. Changes to the registration process for 2012 and 2013 were announced yesterday that include early acceptance for the fastest runners and in 2013 qualifying times will be lowered by 5 minutes.
“As the number of qualified runners has increased combined with greater demand to run the Boston Marathon, our new registration process enables those who qualify by the greatest amount of time to have the longest period to enter,” said Tom Grilk, B.A.A. Executive Director. “Our new registration process takes into consideration the many comments we received from runners this past fall and winter, most of whom urged the B.A.A. to institute a system which recognizes athletic performance above all else.”
Last year, with the standard “first come, first served” registration process the Boston Marathon sold out in 8 hours and 3 minutes. This is how the new registration process will look:
Registration Process for the 2012 Boston Marathon
|Date||registration opens for runners with times…|
|September 12, 2011 -
||20 min., 00sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)|
|September 14, 2011 -
||10 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)|
|September 16, 2011 -
||5 min., 00 sec. or more below their qualifying time (based on age/gender)|
|September 19, 2011 -
||All Qualified Runners|
|September 23, 2011 -
||Registration closes for qualified applicants|
If they want to lower the qualifying times, fine, set the effective date and post them, runners will bitch but we will adapt. But the whole rolling registration process is really just making an already elite club, more elite. And quite frankly if I were one of the fortunate to actually qualify by the skin of my teeth (0 to 4 minutes 59 seconds below your qualifying time based on age and gender) I would be pissed! Qualifying is qualifying, and if you do, you should be just as fast to pull out your credit card to register as you are on your feet.
The only bright side to my next birthday was moving into a new age category for Boston. Not that I have any hope of qualifying, but even if I did, to stand any chance of being accepted with the changes I would have to run at least 5 – 10 minutes below my qualifying time, which is now 5 minutes lower than I originally thought. I guess there is always the possibility that I can hold onto my current running pace until I am sixty.
To read the entire annonouncement, B.A.A.
Surprisingly, I am feeling pretty good this week. I usually spend two or three days after a ½ marathon on light duties, taking the stairs backwards and “oof”ing each time I sit down or stand up…toilets are the devil.
Last night I broke my own rule of no running for a week, and ran (gently) with the Intermediate Running Group on an undulating route through Kanaka Creek. I got a bit of a tongue lashing from my quads on the downhills and the twang at the behind my knee magically disappeared when Conny said that there was nothing back there that could possibly twang….silly me.
On Saturday we move back onto the trails until the end of summer and I couldn’t be happier. I love the trail running season, and being able to run in the events as opposed to running the events is something that I really missed and am excited to get back to this year. So with five trail races and one adventure race already on the calendar you would think that I would be satisfied. But the urge to Rock and Roll again has not gone away mad or just gone away, so today I added one final race to my summer schedule
Yesterday I ran the “First Half” Half Marathon for a fifth time. However, there are only timing records of me running four times, when they say attach the chip to your ankle, don’t be an idiot and put it in your pocket.
I picked up my group’s race packages on Friday, and although I was assured that it would go smoothly, it did not. To make a long story somewhat short, one of the racers that I was picking up for became injured but had transferred her registration to another runner, no big deal. When the runner came to pick up the registration instead of being given the injured runner’s race bib (which is also the race timing chip), she was given mine. Even after it was pointed out several times that it was the wrong bib, she was told that it didn’t matter and to take it. Needless to say when I arrived to pick-up my package and it had already been given to someone else, I was left with the injured runner’s bib. It was eventually worked out the next day, but the whole mess was unnecessary and could have been easily avoided.
I was also a bit disappointed in the souvenir race shirt. The website promised a dark blue shirt for men and light blue for ladies…it’s orange/salmon and fits like a ¾ shirt. I guess when a race sells out in a matter of hours (even after the system crashes minutes into registration with it resuming days later at an unspecified time) you really don’t need a great race shirt to advertise and draw future registrations.
Poo-pooing aside, all was not completely lost on Friday’s travels, D and I had a fantastic lunch and our barista at Starbucks was a Mitchell from Modern Family look alike, my staring may have creeped him out a bit.
6:00am Sunday came quickly and I had made my morning as stupid proof as possible by getting everything ready and packed the night before. Conny and Colin picked me up at 6:45am and we headed downtown.
We arrived with plenty of time to check our bags and find the rest of our group. Looking around at the other racers I felt and looked completely underdressed, I was even offered a garbage bag to start the race in. The forecast had been calling for rain all week, but had since changed to sunny/cloudy/few showers, but mostly dry for the hours that we would be racing. There was nothing else to do other than to own my choice in clothing and go with it, in the words of Soraiya, it is what it is.
I lost my group while lining up at the start line, so was relying on my Garmin for pacing during the first few kilometers. I may have gone out a bit fast, the mile markers may have been a bit off, but by 2km I was already tired of doing the math, I had a cramp, my gait felt clunky and my foot hurt. Each time I have done this race in the past, for whatever reason, I always felt like it had beaten me. Not today, I made a race changing decision, enough with my splits and stressing about maintaining them, today I would enjoy this race, running the seawall listening to my music. I also decided that the only attention that I would pay to my watch would be for walk breaks. Was this really me?
By the time I could see the Ocean from Beach Avenue, my stress level had come down, my pace was comfortable and my gait was much more relaxed. Sometime before I reached Coal Harbor I was actually enjoying the race and realized that my choice of attire was perfect, down to the running glasses, I was neither too hot nor too cold, everything was just right.
I was true to my word and didn’t even check my chrono when I hit the half way point; still a runner, I did do a quick set calculation and knew that I would have to stay at my current pace if I wanted to sneak in under 2 hours (looking at my splits now I wasn’t far off, at 56:04 I was at 10.51km).
Somewhere between 15 and 18km (and while on a walk break) I finally saw someone I knew, Brian. He was also aiming for a sub 2 so I figured I was still on track and for the next 3 to 6km I would catch and pass him while he was on his walk breaks and vice versa.
Up the last little hill and into the final stretch I still felt great. There may have been a few moments where fatigue started to set in but I didn’t let it get in the way of my mantra “today I enjoy”. As I rounded the last corner I heard someone yell that I would finish in under 2 hours, and I went as hard as I could. Official finish time 1:59:16; a personal best for this race, and for the first time I felt like I had beaten it. We all got finishers medals, and oooo, I love a good medal.
As in previous years, the race food was top notch, fruit, bagels, yogurt, juices, warm soup from Whole Foods and fresh coffee. As we grazed I found out that I wasn’t the only one who had enjoyed the race, so many personal bests in our group, inspiring stories and great moments.
Congratulations everyone on a great race and day. Big thanks to the volunteers and race organizers for a successful event and to the sun for chasing the rain away.
Last night we welcomed Mary Ann home from the Biggest Loser Ranch with a little surprise party…
Mary Ann looks FABULOUS. She was so full of life and energy, I don’t think that she stopped smiling all night. Her stories were fantastic as were the appies she brought (she thought she was having dinner with her daughters).
Thanks Shannon for having us all over, again in two weeks?
With 1 day to go…on dark, cold and rainy Saturday mornings we often wonder why we are out running when we could be enjoying a leisurely morning at home, sleeping in, reading the newspaper, sipping coffee…how did it feel? It sucked right? Saturday mornings are made for running (that’s what the “r” in Saturday stands for), enough already, let’s get this race done!
Be kind to yourself today, rest, hydrate and carb up, save the hooch and the treats until tomorrow. Get in your car and go for a drive, maybe preview the course. This afternoon take a load off, put your feet up, have a nap…it’s ok, really.
Nothing crazy for dinner, no spice, no bean soup, avoid anything that could possibly cause you any kind of stomach upset. If you are going to raise your glass tonight over dinner don’t forget to balance it with water, your urine should be pale to clear in colour all day (I know, too much information but I had to go there).
Lay out all of your gear that you will be wearing tomorrow (the forecast is now rainy/cloudy). The bib is your timing chip this year, make sure that it is securely attached to your shirt or dig out your race belt from 5 Peaks a couple of years ago. Pack a bag with a change of clothes for after the race (if you are among the very fortunate you only have 1 hour after you stop sweating until you start to stink).
Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead before you go to bed tonight for daylight savings. If you don’t have much going on today adjust your clocks now and get on the time change early. When you set your alarm for the morning, give yourself plenty of time to get ready, eat and get your body moving (I am not referring to your muscles…take advantage of the friendly toilet, port-o-potties are not friendly). Remember nothing new on race day, especially your pre-race meal. Now is not the time to try out the green monster recipe you saw on a food blog earlier this week.
You may not be tired because you have been sitting on your ass for the last few days, but go to bed early anyway, close your eyes visualize the course that you previewed earlier today…breath.
With 2 days to go…put on your business socks “it’s business, it’s business time”. Lots to think about today. If you have been slacking a bit in the lifestyle department, snap out of it. Focus on carb loading not fat loading. Absolutely have fettuccine for dinner but nix the alfredo sauce. I would choose whole wheat pasta if possible, tomato sauce with plenty of veggies and chicken, and start it with a spinach salad (I love spinach salad) with fruit instead of dressing of course.
Your water bottle should be your best friend for the next few days, hydrate my friends. Take it with you wherever you go, it will also make for ego boosting conversation. Even if they don’t ask, tell everyone you meet about your big race on Sunday and how you have trained so hard, and make abundantly clear that you will be running 21.1km (there are some people out there who don’t know what distance constitutes a 1/2 marathon, I kid you not when I tell you that I recently heard that someone was training for a 5km marathon).
Race package pick-up also starts today, don’t stress if you are unable to make it, there is another tomorrow. If I am picking up your race package, it will be delivered to Kintec Footlabs by 3:00pm today, you must pick it up by close tomorrow.
Today is also the day to start thinking about race wardrobe, perhaps you might need a new pair of shorts or some running glasses (I am still holding out for a bit of sun), you definitely need a new pair of socks, treat yourself you deserve it.
Keep stress to a minimum, I know blah blah blah, but do, stay relaxed and positive, you are a rock star!
With 3 days to go…you may be starting to feel some psychosomatic aches and pains, ignore the voices in your head, it is just your body’s way of telling you that it is ready to run. Today is a regular run day, but resist the urge and replace with a 20 minute walk and 30 minutes of stretch or gentle yoga, your muscles will thank you for it.
Make no major life or professional decisions from now until after the race. Stay relaxed…calm, blue waters
Before going to bed tonight, visualize crossing the finish line and receiving your medal…think finish line photo, chin up, chest out, shirt down.