Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Kingston 6 hour recap

Wow! I can't believe it has been so long since my last post. My last race was in 2014 when I completed the Niagara Falls 50k race. Between my last post and now my life has been a whirlwind adventure. As with any adventure there have been highs and lows. Such is life of course. In summary I have changed careers, was married then divorced and lived in 3 different houses. Through all of this there has been one constant in my life. Running. I don't run as fast or even as far as I used to but that never really was what I enjoyed most about running. Running is and always will be an escape a distraction and therapy for me. It also allows me to push myself mentally and physically. I still have some competitive juices flowing inside of me and that is why I decided to enter one of my favorite races..The Kingston 6 hour self transcendence race. I have always had great memories of that race. Having completed it 3 times, I knew what I was getting myself into. For 6 hours a small group of runners run around the Royal Military College. (A 900 metre loop) Each runner is assigned a "counter" and each time we complete a lap we must make eye contact with our counter. Beside the counter there is a table with anything and everything you can think of to help fuel us for the 6 hours. I call it a runners mini mart. When I tell people about this race I get the "are you serious" look. The fact that most people would not attempt such a race is probably what inspires me to do it. I'm not the fastest runner but what I lack in speed I feel I make up for in mental toughness. I have met the most amazing athletes at this event and though I haven't been a regular at these races since 2009, everyone remembered me and welcomed me back with open arms. The day itself started out chilly but soon warmed up. I ran the first 2 hours with a woman who actually got me into running so we were able to catch up on life while we ran together. My goal was simple. Finish! During my training the longest run I had done was 3 hours and 15 minutes so I was asking my body to almost double that. I suffered through some slight cramping but always kept pushing through. 8ne of the runners there had a shirt which said "Don't you dare give up!" At the 5 hour mark I knew that I was going to complete my goal and also realized that I had ran 44kms. I wanted to see if I could reach 50k. With under 10 minutes to go I passed my counter for the last time. Each runner towards the end of the race is given a bag of sand with their name on it. At exactly 3:00 pm, 6 hours from when we started, dozens of car horns are turned on. Wherever we are, when those car horns are heard, we drop our bag if sand and the final measurements are calculated. The best I've done at this race was 58kms but that was when I was in my prime shape. My final stats were 51.28 kms but more than the distance completed I was most happy with just doing what I love to do with the people who I admire the most. I'm using this race as a starting point and I'm hoping to complete another 6 hour race in July. I 2016 I would like to really get back into trail running and do at least a 50 Mile race.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Scotiabank Marathon recap

3:52! That was my finishing time at the Marathon on October 16th. The goal I had was a 3:35 so initially I was disappointed in my time. However, there were many factors that contributed to my poor showing (in my mind) and when I look back at my race (a few weeks removed) I can smile.

The day started out pretty cold and that certainly didn't help. I had trained mostly in warm and hot weather throughout the summer months. I actually prefer running in hot temperatures. There is nothing to compare to the start of a race. Thousands of runners all with their own goals and pre-race rituals.

I told myself to start off slow but I wasn't wearing a watch (my first race without one) and I was pleased with how effortless the run was during the beginning. Of course adrenaline had lots to do with that I'm sure. I hit the 10K mark at roughly where I wanted to be (51 minutes) and was even on pace by the 1/2 way mark (1:43). At 27 K, however, things took a turn for the worse. Both quads started cramping really badly and I had to run/walk the remaining 15.2 KM's.

It's amazing the kind of talking that went on inside my head as I fought through the pain to finish. I knew that even if I had to walk to the finish line I was going to finish somehow. I was able to recall the many tough runs I had had during the past 5 months and that helped me to finish.

As I crossed the finish line I swored I would never run another Marathon again....of course 2 weeks later and I'm already thinking about what I should attempt next :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The mental battle awaits

As I finished my 3 mile run this morning my attention immediately turned to the mental aspect of this race week. Even though I have prepared as much physically as possible, it still comes down to a battle that lies between my ears. I know that there will be moments during the race where I may question whether I had trained enough or worked as hard as I could have.

It is during this time that I will re-read some of my posts from a few months ago and use that to inspire and remind me what I had accomplished these past 5 months. I have run the race in my head many times and will replay that race in my head more times between now and Sunday. I have a picture in my head of what it will look like to cross that finish line and how I will feel immediately afterwards. I have had that picture in my mind for several months now and now the only thing I have to do is paint that picture on Sunday.

Being mentally sharp on Sunday means that I must get enough rest this week (in bed by no later than 10 PM) and drinking lots of water. I have been consumed by this race and have to keep reminding myself that in a few short days I will get to really let the bullets fly for real. I will agonize over these last few days as I hold back my energy.

The hardest part is the carbohydrate loading that I will do starting tomorrow. I typically eat only moderate amount of carbohydrate and will increase that slowly as race day approaches. It's something that I have become pretty good at so I'm hoping it pays off again this time around.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Race Week!

It started out as a little discussion with Christopher Laurin about possibly running the Montreal Marathon together and soon took on a life of its own. After thinking about it, I decided to run the Scotiabank Marathon so that many of my friends could be there to cheer me on.

Now, after months of blood, sweat and tears my race is only days away. I have a love/hate relationship with race week. Although resting is very important, it's hard to hold back the excitement and energy that I have right now. I also use running to provide me with a great peace of mind and without it I sometimes feel lost. Running, as I've said many times before, is my passion and I when my passion is not allowed to be expressed it becomes difficult at times.

I ran 5 miles today and will be running another 3 miles tomorrow. I will take Thursday and Friday off to rest and then run 1-2 miles on Saturday morning just to shake off any last minute rust.

My pre-race rituals include a pasta dinner the night before and watching some inspirational movies such as Rudy, Remember the Titans and even Run FatBoy Run. I won't sleep too much the night before my race which puts even more emphasis on sleeping well two nights before the race (Friday night).

The following passage is something that I've written before every race, hope you enjoy it.

If I forget to smile during the week,......... please forgive me it's race week!

If I feel like crying when I see someone run, knowing that I can't......please forgive me, it's race week!

If I feel like I've gained 20 pounds after carbo loading for three days....please forgive me, it's race week!

If I seem like I have the "deer in the headlights" look all week...........please forgive me, it's race week!

If I have a hard time sleeping this week..........please forgive me, it's race week!

If I start wondering if I've trained enough for my race........please forgive me, it's race week!

If you hear me mumbling to myself about what the hell I was thinking about when I decided to run the Scotiabank Marathon.......please forgive me, it's race week!

If I run to the bathroom every 5 minutes from all the water I need to drink this week.......please forgive me, it's race week!

If you see me eating 6 blueberry bagels in a matter of a minutes......please forgive me, it's race week!

If I start going through withdrawl from the fact that I can't run for most of the week..........please forgive me, it's race week!

And finally.....If I forget to thank all of you who read my blog and have wished me well with my race this week.............please forgive me, it's race week!

Friday, September 30, 2011

It's getting closer and closer now

It's hard to believe that I have been training for 14 weeks and that my race is just 2 weeks away.

Have I done everything I needed to do? Have I trained as hard as I need to? I honestly think I have but I won't know for sure until I get to the race. This past week was rough as I had to fight through some health issues but still managed to complete my 36K run on Saturday. I took Sunday and Monday off and did some speed work but avoided the track as I didn't feel 100%.

I'll be running 22+ K's on Saturday and another 10K run on Sunday. After that I will be reducing my mileage right up until the race on October 16th. Race week will be a different "animal" all together as I fight through nerves and anxiety. Race Day will be filled with lots of emotions for sure and I have to make sure that I stay motivated between now and then.

Monday, September 19, 2011

REST is NOT a dirty 4 letter word

Sometimes you have to listen to your body and that is the lesson I learned this weekend. After running 31.5K's on Saturday, I decided not to run on Sunday as my legs were feeling tired. I was very pleased with my run and even decided that I wasn't going to use a gel (sugar gel) for my 3 hour run. Typically I would use 2 of these along with my electrolyte drink. I have read studies on how to improve fat utilization by not ingesting carbohydrates during a long run so I thought I would give it a try. I did bring along the gels just in case. I found that I didn't need the gels and it didn't affect my running at all.
I completed the 31.5K run in just under 3 hours which was my goal.

Tuesday begins week 14 and I will have to make a few more adjustments to my schedule. I typically do track work on Tuesday mornings but since I have my kids with me I will skip this workout and do a speed training run instead. I was happy with my mile repeats from last week and next week I will do another one. Everything is starting to come into focus and it's hard to believe that the race is one month away!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Trying not to flame out!

Marathon training is brutal! I'm sure that doesn't come to much a surprise to anyone. Avoding burnout is probably the toughest thing that I've been dealing with recently. I am just about to finish my 13th week of training and have 4 more week left until my race. This week, even though I was pleased with my training, I found myself just wishing that the race was here. As I think about it, though, these last few weeks will mimic what the Marathon itself will be like. I will have to fight through these mental battles now more than ever. A friend once told me that the Marathon is "one long walk to 30K and then it's on!" It's something that I've tried to remember this week. I know that 30K will be challenging but I've run that distance many times during the last 12 weeks and I know what that feels like. These last 4 weeks will prepare me to run those last 12.2 K's. I will be tired both mentally and physically but will have to fight through the pain and finish the race as strong as possible. There is something called the "Runners Wall" and I'm sure I'll hit it at some time. I've hit that wall many times before and sometimes multiple times during a race. It's something that is hard to explain but it forces me to overcome many demons and negative thoughts that creep in my mind. The better prepared mentally I am, the easier it will be for me to not only hit that wall but smash through it!
This weekend I will be running 32K on Saturday and then 16K on Sunday wish me luck!