Sunday, April 29, 2012

Canadian Half-Marathon Championships Race Recap

Results: 1:19:01 (PR PB) 6th female.

What a ride.

Oh wow, where do I start! This is quite possibly the most amazing running experience I have had post-college. The entire weekend, from walking into my hotel room at 11:59pm on Friday to meet my sleepy-eyed roommate (now newly found friend) Erin Burrett, to now, in my hotel room with a glass of the least expensive wine on the Sheraton's hotel-restaurant menu, and a bowl of very Canadian french-onion soup.
I could not have had a better weekend.

Sure I finished 6th by a second. That one second was the difference of walking away with $250 dollars, to walking away with nothing. But running this race was not about money. It was just about feeling like my running was truly important in the eyes of Canadian Road Running.

You see, I have never ran well at a Canadian Championship. To go back..way back to the beginning of running for me, here are a list of my past Canadian Championship performances:

-As a senior in high school I went in to Junior Nationals with an 18:47 PR in the 5k. I got heat exhaustion and ran 19:30. I think I beat somebody..maybe.
-At cross nationals during my freshman year at state, I was looking for a top ten finish. I got a stitch and fell apart. I finished 17th.
-also my freshman year, I ran the 5k at Senior Nationals (track). My best going into that meet was 17:20. I ran 19:04. I beat one person.
-My senior year at state I, again, towed the line at cross nationals. I finished 33rd. That was 2005. I have not run a national race since.

So today was a very new beginning. And I have many people to thank for that.

Of course, the Montreal Endurance group, John was really awesome for helping me out and getting me in touch with the Canadian Road Running Series folks. Ryan was the awesome-st (is that even a word?) cousin ever.

I have to thank Alan Brooks, Brenden Williams, the Canadian Running Series folks for all their help. They comped my room, the arranged travel to and from the course, they loaded us up with pre-race food, gatorade, coffee. They were inspiring and so accommodating. I really felt like an elite runner. And though I hid in the corner most of the time as the "no-named blonde" I really had a great time and met some awesome people, like my fast friend Erin and her coach.

I would not have changed anything for fear of losing something.

Seeing Ryan, Virginia, my Uncle, my Aunt. How awesome was that! Beyond awesome. Ryan and I talked about running almost the whole time. It was so much fun! They really took care of me, I am so thank for for all the help and support. I have great family that I wish I could see more.
Ryan and I at the Montreal Endurance team meeting.

Now, about the race....

We will start with the morning.

Erin and I went to bed early, like 9pm. So by 5:30 I was wide awake. I felt good. These past two weeks leading up to this race I battled a sinus infection and stomach flu. This morning I felt normal for once. I was thankful for that.

Being that we were staying in a Sheraton, I was spoiled with Starbucks coffee in the room. We ate, showered, were dressed and race ready in the lobby by 7:45am. The elite shuttle took us right to the race start where we were shuffled into an elite holding area with cots and more free snacks. Wow, we were spoiled.

Soon after I started my warm-up, I found that my garmin was completely dead. Apparently it had not charged. Coach John ended up lending me his (seriously, wow, what an awesome coach, that's a big deal) after I asked. I was going to have to run this race without a single mile split.

For me, that would be "never in this lifetime" sort of thing.

The gun went off at 10am sharp and I found myself in 5th place. My teammate David was looking to run around 1:17:30, so we ran together from the beginning. I felt good, but not knowing what pace I was running, I ended up going out to fast. Caught up in the over-taper, and finally free of sickness feeling, I went through 5k in about 18:02. However, I had no idea at the time. I missed the 5km sign.

The course was kind of neat, nothing like I have ever raced before. I felt like I was re-living cross country days as most of it was on packed dirt trails and a race track. The start took us around the St.Helena Parc Jean-Drapeau and then the island of Notre Dame (Circuit Gilles Villeneuve). It is not what I would have pictured for a half, but it ended up being pretty fantastic...with the exception of the wind.

(Course Map)

Everything was going pretty good early. I moved up to 4th and felt great for the most part. Where things started to crumble was 7km when I got a sharp sudden cramp in my chest. This was a result of the stomach flu that has left me a little dehydrated the week before. I slowed quickly, moved to 5th while gasping for air. I spent a few kms trying to find a breathing pattern that did not hurt.

It wasn't working very well. I fell to 6th place and went through 10km in 36:55.
Working hard. In my Montreal Endurance singlet
I was probably on a pretty good pace at 10km, but I was slowing down at that point not getting faster. Not to mention that I found myself in no-mans-land during the sections into the wind (great) which mean I was doing all the battling alone. The early fast pace and the cramp in my chest were causing me a lot of problems. I kept staring at John's watch having absolutely no clue what the numbers meant, "what mile is this? 12km? What does that mean, exactly? What pace is this?"

Not only did I not get a single split, but I couldn't talk to anyone. Most of the men spoke French...not English. I would be running with someone and they would try to talk to me, I would answer back in my Southern-Canadian, "What? What pace are we?" that was the end of most conversations.

It was probably a good thing, anyway. I think I dropped some 6:15s felling sorry for myself.

It was around 8.5 miles that I decided that things needed to change. I don't remember what section of the course I was on, but I needed to find a fast man to latch on to or I was going to get eaten up. I could see out of the corner of my eye that there was a huge pack behind me. It was around this time that a man in calf sleeves came flying by. I grabbed a hold.

We started rolling.

It took me about a half-a-mile, but I started feeling good again. I thought for a second that I may be able to catch 5th. I could see Josiane ahead of me, maybe too far but worth a try. We were really moving along now. I looked and saw a sign for 15km. I didn't know if I could hang on for 6km at the pace we were going but I was going to try my best.
Somewhere around 18km, I managed to smile for my Aunt. All I remember is my legs screaming. 

I kind of tried to tune out here. From 15km to 18km I just let calf sleeves drag me along. I thought of races and workouts that I just gave it all I had, I felt like we were about 5:45. With about 2 km to go, I finally caught Josiane. I also was cramping bad in the chest and hurting badly. I tried to move but she responded to everything. With about 600m to go I felt a sudden surge of adrenaline. I kicked like crazy, as hard as I could and felt her slip just a bit. I went harder, and harder, my legs kept responding to every shift in gear. I ran up through the crowds of spectators, my legs pounding forward hard and fast. I really thought I had 5th in the bag heading into the line..this would be my day.

Then from nowhere Josiane slid right in front of me. Bam, done. Damn. I would finish 6th. 1 second.

As disappointing as the finish was, I was so happy with myself for getting back on it at the end. I really didn't have any more gears at the end of that kick, and I have never kicked like that- ever.
Me at the finish, just got out kicked and coming home empty handed. Hurt for a moment there.

A 1:19:01 today was also good, for me that is a PR. Being that it was windy, not many people ended up with a best time. It could only mean that there is a bigger race in me this year.

I believe with a little more time (and no chest cramping) I will get my 1:17:30. My quick trip to Montreal to run a 37 second PR and visit some awesome family, well worth every penny. I am so motivated by these past weekends events, it has only made me realize that I am doing what I need to do, and I am heading in the right direction. I want to work harder, I want to run more, I've got a long way to go but I'm still moving forward.

Last year at this time it seemed impossible that I would every run 6:01.8 pace for 13.1 miles. I did that, today. I still can't believe it. Maybe with a few more glasses of wine :)

Tomorrow I will travel home. Back to work, family, Maddy, Daddy. I am so excited to see my family. I missed Maddy so much. Those little hugs will be well worth the wait. I can only imagine the fun she has had at her grandparents. Hopefully she is excited to see me as I am to see her.

Its been fun! And, well worth it. I might just go back next year.


Friday, April 27, 2012

On the Plane.

I'm that person.
Seriously though, this flight is three hours long. If a coke is $5, I might as well pay $5 for internet too.

I really wish I would have had a better two weeks leading up to Montreal, but you get what you get. What I got was a sinus infection and the stomach flu (awesome). Whatever, fit is fit. If I feel good Sunday then so be it, if I don't...I'm still going to run the best race I can. On a positive note: I got a pretty good taper. :P

I'm not changing my goals, I may go out just a tad bit more conservative then I had originally planned. I say that, but I guess we will see. The lack of miles in my legs will probably make a fast early pace seem slow. I will need to be careful of that.

Monday: 9 miles @ 6:55-7:10 pace w/ 2 miles of short/fast speed fartlek intervals
Tuesday: 55 minutes, no other running after that. Really busy work day
Wednesday: lunch break w/o: 1.5 mile w/u, 2 miles @ pace (5:54, 5:51), jog 3 minutes, 1 mile at pace (5:55, was suppose to be 2 miles but had a massive chest cramp at the mile mark) jog 3 minutes, 2 miles worth of short/fast speed fartlek intervals, .5 mile c/d (7 miles)
PM: 3 miles @ 6:50 pace while Maddy ate a snack watching me on the treadmill
Thursday: 9 miles at 6:53-7:08
Friday: 40 minutes easy (travel day)

I've had a really busy April with work and Houston traveling so it is a little nice to get a way for a few days and visit some family. The last time I was in Montreal...I can't remember the last time. And I am pretty worried about my french (really worried).

The temps..not something I am looking forward to. I will go from running in a sports bra and shorts for freezing my butt off. At least it will not be as cold as Mercedes was. SO that is POSITIVE.

TO all those racing this weekend, good luck. When you complain about the sun, heat, sweat....think of me.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Just a log...

Sorry...this is just a log...

Monday: 11 miles
Tuesday: 11 miles
Wednesday: 3 mile w/u, 5X1 mile @ 5:30, 5:30, 5:27, 5:24, 5:18 w/ 2 in recovery jog 3 mile c/d, PM: 3 miles (~15)
Thursday: 11 miles
Friday: 10 miles
Saturday: 3 mile w/u, 5K race in 18:01, 8 mile c/d (sick w/fever) 1st, course record) (14.5)
Sunday: Sick, easy recovery run
Monday: 15 miles @ sub-6:45
Tuesday: 10 miles @ 7:10 pace
Wednesday: 8 miles (little sleep, sick again)
Thursday: AM: 40 min easy, PM: 20 min jog (sick)
Friday: 62 minutes @ 7:05 pace (lunch break run, starting to feel better)
Saturday: 16 miles in 1hr 45 min w/ 3 miles @ HMP (sub-5:55) and 3 miles @ MP (sub 6:20) (on leg 2 & 4) (much better!)

So yes, I got sick and 4 quality days became 4 days of jogging. In the end, it was probably a blessing. I felt amazing on my long run this morning and had two really good sections of tempo.

Today was the Boardtown runners reunion, so Micah, David and I were joined by Tiffany for most of the run which was awesome. There was pop in my stride today and I haven't felt this good on a long run in a few weeks. Obviously, this is because the last few days have been recovery, but all my training leading up until this point has been fantastic.

Going into Montreal, I know that I am capable of a good time. If it happens, great! If not, there will be another race later this year to try for a big PR. I am looking forward to the next few weeks of racing, a good summer, and then prepping for a fall marathon...possibly Chicago Marathon? :)

We will see.

Friday, April 20, 2012


I've had some good training but I've been really busy. I also got sick this week and 4 quality days became recovery jogs. It happens.

Finally getting over it. Still, running before Tuesday has been very positive. I'll blog later.


Sunday, April 8, 2012

Just this weeks log...

Monday: 11 miles (11)
Tuesday: AM: 2 mile w/u, 8 miles at goal Half-Marathon pace, 47:33, 1.5 mile c/d
PM: 3 miles with the jogger (14)
Wednesday: AM 40 minutes on the trainer (I twisted my foot the night before and couldn't run on it so biked so hard my legs burned the whole time, I'm counting this as 5 miles because it felt harder than running 5 miles)
PM: 61 minutes w/ Houston & the jogger (very easy) (12)
Thursday: 78 minutes w/ 5X (1min hard, 45 sec hard, 30 sec hard, 15 sec hard) w/ short recoveries. I left my garmin at work so I don't know how fast I ran these, I really just ran them as fast as my legs would move. My legs were dead by the end so I know I did this right. (11)
Friday: 12 miles @ 7:08 pace (12)
Saturday: 18 miles @ 6:35 pace. (I did stop at the water this time to pour and socialize. I also got out worked not once but TWICE (on the second and final leg) by C. It made for a fun day being that my regular running friends were not present. I missed a couple splits because I forgot to restart my watch, but I still glanced down every so often to see the reading on my Garmin. I really felt good today. Must be all those Jet Blackberry GUs and my shiny new pair of Brooks Launch:) (18)
Sunday: 8 miles with Houston & Maddy (Maddy in the jogger) There could also be a 3 mile run w/ the jogger in the afternoon, but this is only to help put Maddy to sleep, not add miles. (8)

Miles for the week: 86

I think that ties my highest week ever. Felt pretty good. Hopefully can run my first 90 mile week next week. We will see!

Friday, April 6, 2012

8 Mile Tempo Grind

So every other Thursday, I will post on the Montreal Endurance site: and repost here the next day. I'm still working out the wordpress thing. For those of you that don't know, has some great running blogs (some are in french but that is why they make google translater). They are also on my blog roll and typically somewhere near the top because the site is updated often.

Now for the blog...

On Tuesday I had planned on running an 8 mile tempo at goal half-marathon pace (5:55-6:00) with one of the MSU distance girls. To not embarrass this young lady, I am going to call her Rachel.
Rachel is a red-shirt sophomore.  Her freshman year she ran 19:30 for the 5km after battling a year of injuries and fatigue. For two years, she continued to train hard, hitting all her weekly mileage and work out times.  Rachel’s efforts did not go unnoticed, but most of the time her performances were dwarfed by other (faster) runners on the team.  Still, Rachel kept plugging away, getting faster in smaller, consistent steps.
This past Spring, Rachel became one of the fittest ladies on the team. Though her race times do not accurately show her current fitness, she recently ran a 17:12 5km at a small meet at the University of Mississippi (Ole Miss) in Oxford.  Her coach (my husband) is expecting a 16:40 performance later this season. Rachel really fit…Rachel is an underdog.

Tuesday morning at 5:00am, I met Rachel in a poorly lit parking lot beside the Carl Maddox Track, we jogged a couple of miles before heading into 8 moderately painful miles.
Quite honestly, I really underestimated Rachel’s fitness.  I knew she was fit, but I did not pay enough attention to the workouts that my husband said she had been posting.
On a typically tempo day, she will start out at about 6:20 and works her way down to goal pace. This time, I figure we could meet somewhere in the middle…6:07…not as conservative as Houston would have liked but about as slow as I wanted to be in mile 1. By mile 2 we were 6:03 and I knew she was laboring just a little. Still, she hung tough even though she was fighting to stay relaxed.
Rachel was just a few steps behind me at about 4 miles (which we went through in about 23:20 on the loop marker).  After looking at my Garmin to see a 5:48 on one of the hardest miles, I felt Rachel slipping farther behind me.  Her footsteps trailed and thus I decided I would try to get 30 seconds on her in the last 3 miles.  If she was running 6:05, I would need to keep a stead 5:50 pace.
 I could do this.
Heading up the hill by sorority row in the final 2 miles, my legs began aching and I started to feel sorry for myself. I thought about slowing down just slightly to a more relaxing tempo pace…before I heard some heavy breathing behind me.


I turned my head slightly to see Rachel RIGHT on my ass.  I was so shocked and impressed with her ability to “grind it out” that all I could thing to say was “wow”. I realized quickly that she had every intention of making me work before we finished it out.
My hip was cramping and my legs were heavy, but I tried my best to kick for home…somewhat expecting to get passed by Rachel in the final straight.
I finished the loop in about 46:30, which Houston later told me was about 10-15 seconds shy of the actual course maker.  My Garmin clocked me at about a 47:33 for 8 miles, just slightly slower than goal pace for 13.1. Given the hilly loop and the lack of daylight, I figure I was right where I needed to be.
Rachel, on the other hand, finished the loop less than 15 seconds behind me. Probably a PB and a team record (for that course).
My whole reason for writing this post? I was so completely fired up about Rachel’s run this week that I barely even noticed my own tempo.  She taught me a very good lesson.
Small successes, daily, this is what we all need to focus on. Setbacks?? They are temporary.
Take it day by day, and in the back of your mind – never let go of the big picture.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

How I spent my weekend

The terrible twos?? Madison's got em.

Our Maddy...she is a girl when it comes to shoes and colorful outfits, but she hates getting her hair brushed and refuses to let me touch her head. She is a mini perfectionist, I have watched her spend a hour putting objects in perfect order on random shelves....she often puts the dog dishes up for me in the cabinets...that would be wonderful if they were not dirty and the animals wouldn't need to eat. She is busy...never stopping for a break. Sometimes she plays so hard she just lays down on the ground anywhere to take a nap. 2 minutes later she is up and running FULL TILT ahead.

She freaks out if we happen to get her out of her routine, even just a minor change. She likes to read while she eats, she is bossy, demanding, and IMPOSSIBLE when she is tired and hungry. She only likes to eat 4 if you don't have those 4 things on hand, you can forget it.

It's a war.

You can't get her distracted if she has something on her mind- don't even try, its not worth it. If she wants to read "Monster at the end of this Book" and you hid it from her (because you have already read it 4 times today), you best find it.....shes not giving up the search...ever.

Who is this child???


This child is ME, the 18-month-old version of ME.

I feel sorry for my parents on a daily basis.


Saturday: 16 miles @ 6:40 pace (started off relaxed until we were all running 6:30 for almost the whole second half ) After mile 9 I ran 15 minutes at tempo (6:00 flat pace) felt good but I didn't feel good enough to do another one. All and all a successful day. I am very blessed to have very fast friends to run with on Saturday.

I tried a new flavor of GU, and even though it was not my favorite flavour, I am still loving the GU. I carry Gels in my hand when I am running, and the GUs are smaller and easier to take without water. I am really liking the GU. Finished with a .5 mile jog back to the house for 16.5 miles total
Sunday: 10 miles in two runs finishes of an 80 mile week.

Tuesday I have 8 miles at goal half-marathon pace (5:56). I am a little nervous, I know I can do it but I'm not sure I'm going to feel likes its "easy". We will see.