Monday, September 23, 2013

Pain cave

I've been very uninspired with running lately.  Not getting out as much as I'd like. 

But, I am.  And I'm getting back into the swing of things.  It doesn't help that I am training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront half - I should be able to easily PB - and knowing that, and knowing that - well, duh, it's easy to run 21.1k - I have been lazy.

But no more!  Yesterday there was a new addition to the pain cave, courtesy of Joe:

The leg machine.  Andrew, our RMT, is mixed on leg extensions, but I can do leg extensions and hamstring curls with this machine.  Extra strength is extra strength.  I'm really pleased Joe is lending this to me for the year.

Used it yesterday and today - my hamstrings are already sore!  Though I feel like I have shockingly weak hamstrings.  I will improve them, bit by bit. 

So for strength, I have started working on my core again - the whole shebang - and really targeting strength in my legs.  I'm putting living in a high rise to good use, loading up a backpack with weights and doing stairs.  It's good work! 

In other news, as an extra motivation for Haliburton, I've reached out to Centre for Addiction and Mental Health to see if I can fundraise for them for the run.  We need to talk, but they are interested. 

I am a bit torn - I'd love to fundraise - but it also means to some extent being 'out' about my story, and well - I am a very high functioning bipolar, but there is still a lot of prejudice - I don't really worry about it personally, but professionally.  I am out to my immediate colleagues at work, but if I ever left my job - would it impact me searching for another?  I don't know.  I think my work speaks for itself, but it is a consideration. 

On the otherhand, I think a lot of times people don't expect people as mentally ill as I am to be high functioning, so it's nice to model that and show that it is possible.  I dunno. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Haliburton Forest 50k Race Report

I was originally supposed to run my second 50 miler at Haliburton Forest, which was my 'A' race this season.
Things were going well - I ran the 50 miler at Sulphur Springs, then after my IT band calmed back down, was back into running.
Then I got sick. I had a terrible migraine, for a week and a half, and as a result missed Limberlost 42k and the Haliburton training run the next day. What followed was a bout of intense depression (though I've since learnt there is possibly a link between migraines and depression/bipolar). It was terrible. They say running is supposed to help your mood, but running just made me feel like I was suffocating, drowning, and short easy runs became more difficult than the 50 miler at Sulphur. The pain I experienced from the depression was worse than the pain of an extremely inflammed IT band for 57k. It was awful.
So I missed a lot of running. I just couldn't face getting out there. And when I did get out, the runs were short. I needed them to be over quickly, to end the pain, though usually I just ended up curled up on the couch in a ball or crying.
Toby became exasperated. He was worried. I know it's frustrating to watch someone you love hurt and not be able to help them.
Luckily I recognized quickly that this would be a bad depressive episode, and got in to see my pdoc quickly. We started on an anti-depressant, which was a bit nerve-wracking - being on an anti-depressant was how I was first diagnosed bipolar, but at the time that was all I was on and I'm now on other medications, plus I was put on an anti-depressant which is not as bad for triggering mania.
While it made me nauseous, eventually I started to come around. And run again.
But I didn't feel like my training was there for 50 miles at Haliburton. I firmly believe Haliburton is a far more difficult course than Sulphur - I'm not sure how different the elevation gain/loss is, but Haliburton is far, far more technical.
So I dropped down to the 50k. I knew I had the fitness to PB (my previous best, in 2012, was a 7:49, and that was in a rain/mud fest and with serious gut issues that had me stopping to go to the bathroom constantly. (Regular readers of my blog may notice I have gut issues when I run - NINE bathroom breaks at Sulphur, oh yeah.)
It pissed me off. A lot.
As we got closer to the race, runs started to go better. I toyed with the idea of asking Helen if I could switch back up to the 50 miler. But I truly believed my long runs hadn't been there. I knew I could complete the 50 miles, but I wanted to run it strong, and I wasn't sure I could do that. Most importantly, my head wasn't there.
So 50k it was.
This year we stayed at the Forest and brought the dogs, which was really nice. One day I'll convince Toby to camp (okay, maybe that will never happen), but the cabins were nice. Kind of like apartments. We had an easy drive up, stopping at Webers for a veggie burger (me), a hot dog (Toby) and a free hamburger courtesy of Cottage Life (Luc and Neb). Personally I think Webers is overpriced for what it is, but the veggie burger and hamburger were both free, and we could eat at the picnic tables with the dogs, which is worth something.
We got to the Forest, picked up my race kit and chatted with Helen a bit. Went to check in for the cabin - we were a bit early, but since we were staying in smaller accomodations they were ready so we got unpacked (travelling with dogs means taking a whackload of stuff!).
Then we took the dogs for a walk to Aid Station 2 (well just past it actually). Originally the plan was for Toby and the dogs to drive out to Aid Station 5, which is near the turnaround, to see me on course, but heavy flooding in the spring meant some of the Forest roads were in bad shape and there was no crew access to Aid Station 5.
Since you go through Aid Station 2 twice on the way back (you go through it, then loop around on Normac Trail around a lake, to road, back to Aid Station 2 again), I thought it would make sense for Toby to walk out with the dogs there and he could watch the racers come through and see me - since the loop around the lake is at least 10k, he'd have plenty of time to walk the ~2k back to the finish line to see me finish.
Race day dawned early (too early to be bright). I've been basically a walking bar of fibre in an attempt to regulate my gut issues - you should see how much fibre I eat, plus I take supplements - but I got up at 3:30 to eat to give plenty of time for digestion, then went back to bed. In the past I would've had oatmeal, but I decided to eat a regular breakfast - greek yogurt and blueberries. I was going to eat a banana but felt too sleepy. Was back in bed 5 minutes later, and rested until 4:45, when I got up to walk the dogs quickly and start putting stuff together and relaxing. It was nice, since we were basically at the start line.

I took a preventative Immodium at the start of the race, and just after the turnaround, and not a single stirring. YEAH!!!! I'm not even sure the Immodium was necessary, as my stomach has been pretty good lately, but I wasn't taking any chances.
The race starts in the dark, on forest road. Some people don't use headlamps, but they are crazy IMO. Headlamps weigh next to nothing and just make things easier. Plus if it is still a bit dark when you get to Normac you can give yourself some extra light to see rocks and roots.
I had a plan for my PB - move at a decent clip on the road section, at a slower but decent effort for the trail section, and then pick it up again for the road section on the way back.
The road section on the way out was a bit faster than I'd planned, but I was running easy and chatting with people, so it worked. I was pleased with my pace as well on Normac, and on the trails at first.
Eventually, what with the drizzle and cloud cover and wet leaves, my Garmin Fenix started cutting in and out. It's the first time it's done that, but it was annoying, because some kilometers were faster and some were long (one k was measured as 29 minutes LOL). The real problem is when it eventually cut out and didn't immediately pick up again, the screen just read that the satellite signal had been lost, and I wasn't sure how to turn that off so I could see the time and get my reminders to drink. I was flying blind, for a bit, until I figured it out. I was too busy running to problem solve, I guess, but I got there eventually. I was cursing it though and wishing I'd used the 310xt.
I hit the 50k turnaround in around 2:57. I hadn't stopped at any aid stations on the way out, but stopped on the way back for some straight water (was drinking Infinit) and orange slices.
I was running a bit slower, and walking a bit more. It felt like the hills on the way back were longer, while the ones on the way out were steeper, so it meant more walking. I suspect that this may not be the case and that was simply a function of me being tired, but we'll go with that.
There is about 10k between Aid Stations 4 and 5. It seemed to go on forever. And it's hilly and technical. Came through it fine - one poor soul managed to break either his ankle or lower leg in there though, and had to be extracted to the nearest road. Yikes. It happened after I'd gone through though. Poor guy.
Anyways, eventually I got to Aid Station 4 - yay! I'd been seeing some of the 26k runners heading out, but none caught me on the way back.
I saw Toby and the dogs at Aid Station 2 (you go through it twice, as I mentioned, so you actually hit it on the way back before Aid Station 3). The dogs seemed totally unexcited to see me, which was a bit insulting - yeah thanks guys, see if I care about seeing you next time I come home from work! Geez!
I was stopped for longer at Aid Station 2, as I wanted to fill my handheld that had Infinit powder in it up with water - I had to get Toby to open it since my hands were sweaty - and then - yikes - there must've been water in the handheld when I filled it that morning, just enough damp to congeal the powder at the mouth so that I had to push it all in and then have gross sticky fingers. I was highly dubious about shaking up the congealed powder - I think it was fine, but as it turned out my bladder lasted me the race.
I did a good job running up the long hill to Normac, and ran well on Normac. After Normac on the road section I wasn't quite as fast as I'd hoped, though I also slowed down and gave directions to two 26k runners who had gone the wrong way - they were both really pissed off. Whatever. No thanks, oh well.
I finished so-so. I didn't really run up the long hill - I figured I wasn't going to get 6:15, so why bother (nice mental toughness there me) but at the top I was like 'Oh man I gotta boot it to hit 6:20' so I started running again, 'fast'.
Crossed the finish line with a time of 6:18:31 (preliminary results just posted to OUSer).
OMG! PB by over an hour and a half! YEAH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
And even better, I was 20th overall and 7th woman.
I know, I know, big deal, but I'm usually BOP. I worked hard this year dammit! Set a new (non-race) 5k PB (smashed it, actually), did my first 50 miler, set a new 50k PB....
(Plus an unsupported 50k that was at the time a 50k PB and a marathon the weekend after which sadly was not a PB, but hey.)
Only one 50k runner passed me from the turnaround, and he was a guy (he was actually the only person period; none of the 26k runners caught me either).
It was really nice to be able to hang around the finish line and cheer in other runners, and cheer out friends and other people doing the 100 miles going back out for their second lap. And have a beer or two or three :) (Though no public drinking!) We hung out with Derrick for a bit, and lent our shower to Sara when she finished - 4th woman in the 50 miler, whoo hoo! - and then we all hung out to cheer Kelly over the line for her first 50 miler - Kelly did awesome!
Then Kelly, Toby and I went for dinner in town.
When we got back, I was pretty tired - but it was good to have eaten. I hadn't eaten much all day and was quite cold, until I had some pasta, when suddenly I became toasty warm. Duh.
The next morning we got updates on Joe, a friend who was running the 100 miles, and had breakfast - we just missed Stephen, another friend, finishing his 100 miler by 10 minutes - way to go Stephen! We had a great time chatting to people and watching as the dogs got lots of attention, and Joe came in for a strong finish at the 100 miles - YAY!!!!!! Way to go Joe! Was so cool to see him finish.
Very inspired by the race. I knew after Sulphur that I would do 100 miles in 2014, but it's definitely going to be Hali and I'm already putting together a team - Joe is in to help and to have someone with that 100 mile experience - totally invaluable.
All in all, a great weekend. The dogs were great, the race was great, the weather was pretty good - light rain off and on on race day, nice on Friday and Sunday. I love Haliburton - it's the best trail race in Ontario, I think - all the volunteers are AWESOME, the race organization is AWESOME, and the runners are AWESOME. It really is something special.
-compression shorts. Forget the brand and am too lazy to go look.
-k tape on my IT bands and hip bursitis (thanks Andrew!)
-lucky socks (I'm a terrible atheist) - PYP finisher's socks
-MEC merino t-shirt - bad choice, last year it fit tighter b/c I was bigger, now it's looser and I chafed like a mofo on my arms and armpits.
-Inov-8 shoes - only half a size up, I debated whether to wear these or the Salomon Speedcross 3 which are a full size up but the Salomon's I don't like in slippery weather on rocks and logs and it was calling for rain. My toes felt a bit banged though. Some tiny blisters on the ends of my long toes.
-Wet Platinum personal lubricant on my feet. Body Glide is for suckers.
-Moving Comfort bra. Worked well, but chafed around armpits. Must lose fat to combat this.
-UltrAspire Surge pack with 2L hydration bladder and Nathan handheld attached to the pack for most of the run empty save Infinit powder
-Sugoi hat
-running gaiters to keep stuff out

-S!Caps (electrolytes) every hour, roughly, except at 6hrs I didn't bother
-Infinit - ~330 cal/600mL, took in just under 2L. Not a lot of calories, but nervous about my tummy. 5 sips every 15 minutes, compared to 10 sips every 15 minutes for the 50 miler at Sulphur
-Water from course
-3 orange slices

Monday, May 27, 2013

Sulphur Springs Race Report - 50 Miler

Where to start, where to start....

This will be a long entry, but I'm at a loss for where to begin.  Well, I guess, in the lead up - I was SO nervous!  My first 50 miler!  Damn that's far!  Not 100 miles far, but still - far!

I wasn't sure how to pace, or if I should even worry about pacing, and I'd read every race report known to man about Sulphur Springs, pretty well every distance that is run there - read and reread the participants guide - I mean, it was kind of sad.

A few weeks out, I had a shake down massage, which appeared to have exposed an underlying imbalance, because I developed a groin pain that took a week to go away and which freaked me out completely.  But then it went away - however, I believe it played a role on race day - stay tuned!

A little more than a week out, I started rolling my IT bands.  I don't think I've had IT band issues for at least a year and a half, but an ounce of preventation and all that, I wanted them to be as loose as possible.  Ha.

Race day we woke up at 3:20 - got dressed, got the water jug filled, final packing, took the dogs out (they stayed at home and Steve came to take them out in the afternoon), had breakfast - left the house about 4 am to get to the race start for about 5, so that we'd get a prime set up spot for crewing.  And parking.  Both were accomplished.  It was a cold morning - about 5C maybe?  The car thermometer dropped to 4C at one point.  I wore tights over my shorts and a down jacket while waiting for the race start.

Picked up my race kit - great swag!  T-shirt - women's specific! - a hat, and a handheld bottle - and set up the crew station just in front of the timing mats.

Before the race, we saw Helen (race director of the best race ever, Haliburton, and an all-round great lady!) and Joe, who stayed at the same bed and breakfast for Haliburton as us last year - Joe was running the 50k today as he had a family thing to go to afterwards - he introduced me to Scott, who is going to the Adirondacks on the same running trip in June, so it was nice to put a face to the name.  Mom came - wow, early wake up for her - awesome.  I had some Clif Shot Bloks and G2, and before I knew it I was lubing up my feet and pulling on my wind jacket for the start.

Sulphur is loops of just over 20k, so I was doing 4 loops for a distance of 80.5k.  The race started at 6 am.

Lap 1 - 2:20:06
I tried to keep this lap easy, and pay attention to the course, which was harder to do than you would think, because people were still grouped together and it was easy to just watch the runner ahead.  However, the course was well marked so I didn't need to worry, and I was fairly familiar with the course anyways.  I settled into running the flats and downhills and walking the ups, a common strategy in long races to preserve energy.  I stopped to pee at the 9k aid station, but that was my only stop for the lap - I'd been running with Leanne, a lovely lady who is one of the race directors of Creemore, but from that break ran mostly by myself.  I came in to the 'transition' (Toby and Mom) with 2:16 on the clock (all lap times above include time in transition), went to the washroom (thank you inconsistent gut!), changed my bladder for one with more Infinit, quickly chatted, and headed out.  I clearly remember mentioning that my left leg (the same leg with the groin pain that was gone this day, but previously had been bothering me) was a bit sore.

Lap 2 - 2:30:20
By 3k in, my 'left leg feels a bit sore' had changed to 'holy shit my left IT band is going fucking nuts'.  Not a good sign.  Ever run 57.5k on an IT band screaming at you?  Well, until Saturday I hadn't, but I wasn't sure how possible it was.  I had exactly two extra strength Advils, and I hadn't planned on breaking them out that early in the race, if at all, but by 3 hours I decided it was necessary.  I have no idea whether the Advil helped - the pain didn't get better, but maybe it would've been even worse if I hadn't taken it?  Either way, I knew I was fucked.  Completely fucked.  I tried not to slow down, I felt great aside from the IT band (and why was my IT band bothering me?  I don't even REMEMBER the last time I had IT band problems, and I preventative rolled to make sure it was loose).  All bathroom breaks from this point on were thanks to my gut, and I had another stop at 9k, and when I rolled into the transition area.  I also had a piece of ginger at this point - I wouldn't say I felt nauseous, but I thought why not.  Switched my bladder for some more Infinit, had half a package of Clif Shot Blocks, some G2, and went on my way.

Oh yes, and I was taking S!Caps (electrolytes) at every hour, religiously.

Lap 3 - 2:43:39
I was very worried about my IT band at this point - I was trying to stretch it - but I knew Gary was coming to pace me, and I was damned if I was going to waste his time.  I had been a lot faster through laps 1 and 2 then I had expected, but I knew I would start to slow down.  Toby was worried about me finishing lap 3 before Gary got there, but I knew there was no way that was going to happen, even if natural slow down and the IT band hadn't been an issue.  A lot of this lap was running in pain.  At this point, I was starting to see more 50k runners, who would say they were 'only' doing the 50k - there's no only about it, 50k is far!  When it comes to that, I was 'only' doing the 50 miler!  Not the 100 miler!  But 50 miles is still damn far, so.

I saw a few deer this loop, and a baby raccoon crying - I stopped for a bit to watch it, worried - another runner passed me, I don't know what they thought I was doing - but eventually I realized I couldn't do anything for it and I was just wasting time staring at it and potentially keeping Momma away.  It wasn't there on the 4th lap so either Momma came back for it or a hawk or coyote got it.  I rolled into the 9k aid station, stopping for my bathroom break (sigh).  Saw some people I'd been running around during the first lap, but with the IT band pain, was concentrated on feeling miserable and didn't say anything.  We passed each other a few times, but nothing from them either so I assume we were all feeling about the same at that point.

Aside from the IT band pain, I was starting to get more tired, but still feeling pretty good and strong.  I did 50k in under 6:30 (I'm not sure exactly what it was but I know it was under that, I wasn't paying a lot of attention at the time but at 6:30 I looked down and realized I was over 50k), smashing my PB (okay, it wasn't a 50k race, so it doesn't count, but still.  Sulphur isn't technical and it shows in the times, I think, though it is quite hilly - there are some brutal hills there to trash your legs!).

I took my second Advil at 7 hrs.  Didn't make any difference that I could see.

Rolled into 'transition' and while Mom had to go to party, Gill (Toby's mom) was there - an awesome surprise - and Gary waiting to pace me.  Went to the bathroom (again).  Was very happy to see Gary!

Lap 4 - 3:07:27
Started off feeling good, aside from the IT band, which was going completely fucking crazy.  I'd been stretching it through loop 3, and stretched it in transition, but holy.  Still, was running - albeit slowly - for the first part of the loop.  Gary was a great pacer, nice easy conversation and a great cheerleader.  Just before the 3k aid station, we caught a girl I'd been trading places with during the race, and she was running with a pacer too, and then at the 3k aid station I stopped to - you guessed it - go to the bathroom!  WTH!!!!!  We caught the girl and her pacer again shortly after the aid station, and ran with them for a while, chatting about adventure racing and triathlons.  She wanted to walk for awhile, and while I was in pain, and not going fast, we left them.  Back into the 9k aid station, and yes, a bathroom break - Gary got some chips, and we headed out.  My IT band started to lock up more, and I would cry out and have to stop, but I think I kept it fairly under control.  Still, I was starting to walk more, and it wasn't all the IT band, though it wasn't helping.  I was starting to get excited to see a hill because it was an excuse to walk.  At the start of the loop, I said to Gary, I think sub-11 is possible, even if we are really slow, but I was really hoping that maybe we could hit 10:30.  However, sometime around the 9k aid station and my second bathroom break of the loop I doubted that would happen, particularly as I could tell I was slowing down.

I was slowing down a lot.  Walking all over the place.  Gary kept saying '80k!  That's AMAZING!' and at one point noted he was more excited than I was :)  I was too tired to be excited!  I was, but.  I was tired.  We got to the 12k (72k in) aid station and I decided to stop for another bathroom break.  Gary was eying the cookies - we went back through this aid station at around 79k, so he promised himself a cookie then.

We headed out on the I guess western part of the course, though Hamilton always screws me up directionally because the lake is on the wrong side - but towards the infamous 3 Sisters (3 hills, duh!  Big ones!).  I had taken some ginger ale at the aid station - I'd finally had some immodium at the 9k aid station, but thought the ginger ale might settle things some more, though that's not really for that kind of stomach upset - but anyways.  It was quite carbonated, and I'm not sure it really went down right, because shortly after we saw Helen heading towards the finish of her race, I said to Gary, 'I think I'm going to throw up' and I puked, and puked, and puked some more.  Toby always says there's nobody who pukes more loudly than me, and I think Gary would back him up.  I don't just puke, I heave and I retch.  There was a lot of fluid in me.  I don't think this was an electrolyte issue, as the Infinit has some electrolytes and I was taking the S!Caps every hour, and it wasn't that hot.  Once I was done puking I didn't immediately take in more nutrition, for probably obvious reasons, and we started walking - I was really tired, and also wanted to settle my stomach and wasn't sure about running for that.  Eventually we were joined by a lovely man, who was super chatty, which was nice at first but after awhile I wanted to scream - which I feel bad about, he was super nice, but it just seemed like so much effort to listen to him talk.  I don't know why, I mean, Gary and I were talking, but this guy just talked and talked and talked.  He was interesting, I think it was me, not him.  Anyways, we started running again, but he was a bit faster and we were in a long downhill section and my quads were screaming at this point, so we walked a bit again.  I was taking nutrition again at this point, but not quite as much - still, every 15 minutes I was sipping on Infinit, so I wasn't bonking or anything.  We got to the last aid station, I had some water, Gary had a cookie (he joke he gained weight on the run), and we started walking up the road towards the monster evil hill and the finish line.  Once at the top of Mount Doom I ran it in, for a 10:41:32 finish.

Holy damn.  Running 50ks does not prepare you for how sore you will feel after a 50 miler.  Not even close.  Toby helped stretch me, and then of course I went to the bathroom.  (HA!)

But I was thrilled - I figured I would be 11 or 12 hours on the course, so to do it in 10:41:32 - I rock!!!!!!  So happy!  Yeah, I'm a slow runner, but who gives a fuck!  I'm not the slowest (not that there's anything wrong with that either).

Gary was an awesome pacer.  I'm so glad he was able to come out, he was the perfect friend to talk me through the loop, cheerlead me along, and not freak out about me puking (he has a baby at home and joked that normally he gets puked ON).  Toby was an awesome crew, and my number one supporter!  Derrick did a great job getting me prepared, and friends and family supporting me on the day of both there and from afar were huge.  

There's really no words to explain how bad and inflammed my IT band was.  None.  We headed home, and honestly I ate two bites and couldn't even finish my post-race beer.  I have trouble taking in food after long efforts, but the beer??!!!!  That's just wrong!

Everything hurt - my quads, holy shit, sitting down, getting up, walking - Toby called me the old crone through Sunday - and my IT band.  Hot damn.  Not to mention my upper arms and my rib cage from breathing heavily for that long - I've never had THAT get sore before - anyways, nothing prepared me for how sore I was.  It was a real shock.  Did the ice bath, warm bath, by the next day Toby was massaging my quads ('masses of knots') - my left leg (IT band leg) was worse and I cried a bit though tried to act like I wasn't.  Toby was a huge help though, despite calling me an old crone.

Two days after the race (today), I went for an official massage - I'm getting around a lot better already, and had rolled out my IT bands and quads as well - the quads feel way better too post-massage, and I got some ultrasound on my IT band and kinesio tape but on. so hopefully that does the trick.

Moral of the story - I don't recommend running 57k on a really fucked up IT band.  But sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.  And, I rock!  I need to work out the gut stuff - which may be med related - but I am going to play around with nutrition strategies too, though I've been through several already.  We'll see.  Maybe I just need to take immodium at the start, before things get upset, instead of waiting until they've been upset for awhile.

But 50 miles!  10:41:32!  Now that I am not so tired, I am SO happy!  When the pics get posted I will try to add some here! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Toronto Marathon - May 5, 2013

This will be a quick race report I think.

I wasn't sure what to expect going into this - it's been a long time since I've done any major run on a road!  Some mid-length runs, but nothing that long.  I wasn't sure what I could expect, pace-wise, and I failed to factor in my 50k (Derrick says he's measured the Frontenac Perimeter closer to 50k than 47k) the weekend before the race.

I have been having some digestive issues, as I think I've alluded to, so I decided to drink my nutrition pre-race.  I woke up at 4:45 am to drink a bottle of Infinit (~330cal), to give me time to pee it out before the race start - as I joked to Toby, my A goal for this race was to do the distance without stopping to use the bathroom.

I also had a bit of a Stinger Waffle.  Not all of it, but I'm guessing I approached 400cal pre-race.  We got to the race start (point to point) nice and early and chilled out before the 7:30 am start time.

I wanted to run between a 4:15-4:30, but preferably 4:15, so I lined up accordingly.  The start wasn't too busy - the marathon starts an hour before the half, and it is a small race, though still huge by the standards of most trail races I do.

I kept wanting to look for ribbons blazing the trail.  None.  But always around tonnes of runners, and they use pylons to mark the course!  Fancy!  Man it has been a long time since I've done a road race!

The first 10k were a bit faster than planned, but I felt comfortable - fueling well, heart rate comfortable, running easy.  I saw my mom at about 10k, which was really nice.  By 20k, my legs started to HURT.  I couldn't figure it out - why would my legs hurt so much, after only 20k, and I wasn't running that fast.

I started to slow.

I figured out, after a while, why my legs hurt so damn much.  a)I don't have road legs, for lack of a better term; and b)I ran 50k the weekend before.

Tapers apparently do serve a purpose.  Because running further than a marathon the weekend before is NOT ideal race prep.  Of course, the point wasn't to race this, but to use it as a long training run and practice nutrition etc.

By the time we were getting into downtown (around St. Lawrence Market), a fire engine came blaring up and two firefighters rushed out ahead of me over to a runner on the ground with a crowd around him - I assume heat, or dehydration, because the crowd had poured water on him.  As I was running past, another runner started to collapse but there were three people there catching him and firefighters 2 metres away so I didn't stop as I didn't see what I could do to help.

It was hot, but I'm not sure it was THAT hot.  Maybe 22, 23C?  I think though nobody is acclimatized to the heat.

I saw Toby as I hit the lakeshore path for the out and back that goes past the start, at around 27.5k.  He ran with me a short distance and I told him my legs were really hurting.  It didn't help that my GPS went wonky running through the downtown office towers, so it was measuring long.

Anyways, I took a few walk breaks, but mostly I just ran slow.  A pain, because I'd planned to run non-stop.  However, I kept going.  So I suck, what are you going to do.

Around 36k, I had a resurgence of energy - an ass in a Mercedes on Lakeshore pulled into the runner's lane through the traffic cones, and started arguing with a race volunteer.  He pulled back into the traffic lane, and all of us runners yelled at him as we went past and hit his car.  I love being a jerk, I try not to be lately, but everyone else was so I was like 'YEAH!  I DON'T LIKE YOU JERKFACE ASS!'  It was just the pick-me-up I needed.

There were a few people who I'd seen throughout the race, who eventually I dropped on the final section, which was satisfying.  I knew - had for a while - that 4:15 and a PB was way out the window, but I figured I'd be around 4:30.

In the end, I finished in 4:31:05.  I saw Mom and Toby and a lady from work running to the finish.  And then I got the world's most ridiculously large medal.  Ironman medals aren't that big.  It's hilarious.

Overall, this was a great race.  Wonderful crowd support, pretty good aid stations (one at around 37k had run out of cups, but otherwise), and a really nice course through Toronto from the north end down to and along the lake.  I'd definitely run this one again.

I need to figure out nutrition though.  I took in 450-500cal throughout the race, which is fine for a marathon, but won't cut it for Sulphur and the 50 miler.  I need to up my nutrition, so I am going to figure out how much I am taking in for X sips and then calculate how much I need to be sipping and how often.  (I used my hydration pack again, so I can't SEE what I'm taking in.)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Frontenac Perimeter Run - April 27

"Are you military or doing this for pleasure?"

The greatest words anyone has ever uttered to me while running.  I was tickled. 

I haven't been great about updating this blog, but thought I would for this run.  Originally I'd planned to do it with Luc but someone's rampaging case of the olds means he's stopped running (still hikes) and so I was solo for this unsupported run. 

The Frontenac Perimeter is, as the name suggest, the perimeter of the quite substantial network of trails in the park.  So I ran a lot of trails, but just bits. 

I got an early start on the day (ughh, 4:45 am) and drove to the park, eating two Stinger Waffles on the way (for what,230-250 calories?  Big start to the day me, way to fuel!  I ate lots Friday night though, and my stomach has been very temperamental lately, so I was a bit nervous about taking in the number of calories I normally would for a run this long.  I stopped by Derrick's first - on Friday, I was telling him that I couldn't decide whether to use a bottle or bladder for the run - he suggested a 2L bladder, which I no longer have - but he had extras of some with kinked hoses he couldn't sell - and my 1L bladder has a compatible hose - so I stopped by.  Picked up the bladder, got some Clif swag (he is a sponsored athlete) and met the dogs.  Nice to see him and Sara. 


Then it was off to the park - I got there just before 8:30 when the office opens, perfect, went in and got my pass.  Headed off the the big parking lot, did all my stuff, including spraying my legs with DEET as protection against ticks (early season this year - the DEET was running out of course) and set off by about 8:45.  Perfect.

The first bit went by quickly - I ran part of the perimeter at the start of April with a fastpack, so it was fresh in my mind.  I did the southern section first, at Derrick's suggestion, but I concurred - it is the most technical and it's best to get that out of the way while you are fresh.  And damn is it technical in places.  It's tiring, not because of the hills (though there are some) but because it's just so technical.  As a comparison, if you've run Haliburton - it's not a comparison.  Near the junction to campsite cluster 1, the trail gets a bit less technical for awhile, and it was near here I ran into the hiker who asked me if I was in the military.  Best.  He'd seen two runners out on the trails the day before, so presumably was aware that non-military run, which just made it even more flattering.

I stopped for a needed bathroom break at cluster 1 - thank you, unreliable stomach! - and headed on.  I took a couple of pics in the next section, my only ones of the day.

This is a neat part that doesn't really show up here - you are running on a narrow bit of land with lakes on either side.  Very cool.

Then I saw a barred owl!  COOL!  So I took a terrible picture - the zoom on the iPhone isn't very good.  The owl is in the bottom left-hand corner.

I had lost the trail a few times, to my chagrin, but shortly after crossing a bridge I just flat out lost it.  Spent a while looking for it!  It felt like ages but I'm sure wasn't.  Still, a waste of time.

I had set a goal for myself, if you know the park, of getting to campsite cluster 5 by around 3 hours - I beat it by a couple of minutes.  Pleased with myself, and pleased that I was done the most technical part of the run, I planned on making good time.

Of course, I positive splitted the run.  Not that I had thought I'd do anything else, but I was hoping for a little less of a positive split.  I got to the old logging road section happy for some faster running, and I'm not sure I did that, but at least it was mostly steady.  This was my first indication though that the technical stuff had made me tired enough that walking hills seemed like a great idea.

At least this section wasn't muddy.  Derrick figured the Corridor Trail would the worst, but frankly the whole Rideau section was pretty muddy, and bits of the park throughout.  I was caked by the end, and I even tried to avoid the worst of it (as if).

I got to the turn off for the northern sections, happy happy happy!  But hungry.  For this run, I was fueling with Infinit, meaning I was drinking all my fuel.  And my stomach REALLY wanted something solid (note to self:  when doing unsupported runs, there are not aid stations to grab a quick snack from).  Luckily I had taken on of the Shot Blok packs Derrick gave me, so I had half at 3.5 hours and it really hit the spot - had the section half at 4.5 hours.

I was also very thirsty.  I think I was taking in enough calories, as I didn't bonk, but experience has also shown me I need to be running a pretty decent calorie deficit to bonk.  The Infinit was just not quenching my thirst - I was SO thirsty - I probably wasn't drinking enough, in hindsight, and I'd also forgot my salt caps though the Infinit I have does have some electrolytes.  So I started taking my supplemental electrolytes, and when I got to a clear stream, I stopped, washed my face, then drank from my hand the water.  SO good.  Somewhat refreshed, I pressed on.

The northern section of the park is hillier.  Southern Ontario hilly, and even then, it could be hillier, but hilly enough.  Especially when you are tired.  I started walking the hills, and walking some of the muddy sections, or the technical bits - a sure sign I was flagging, and it meant I was walking too much.  A challenge with a solo run like this is motivation - at a race, it's a RACE, and there is people around - here, even though I wanted to do a good (for me) time, when my mind starts saying 'Who cares about time' there aren't people around like at races to get me going again.

Still, I pushed through it, and ran when I could.  I started to run into more people - the northern section was busy - also, hikers/backpackers are easily startled.  I announce myself, but apparently I run quietly.  Actually, more people around did get me running more.

I stopped at campsite cluster 11 for another bathroom break (sigh) and to refuel.  I dumped out what remained of my bladder (and while I wasn't doing terribly, I could've been drinking more).  Here it was annoying - the bladder wouldn't fill with water enough.  I had to take off my shoes and socks, and wade out into the lake (taking advantage to drink some more water) and fill up the bladder that way.  I got the purifier in it, and the Infinit, reattached the hose, then washed out my socks (why not, it was a long stop anyways) before heading off again.  I left feeling quite refreshed.

I knew at this point I was getting closer and closer to the end.  I had been told the perimeter was 50k, but I also knew from reading some blogs that everyone's GPS showed around 46k - and the elevation is not enough to account for a mis-read, and, well, April - not a lot of tree cover.  So I was excited, but tempering my excitement because if I got it in my head that it was 46k and it ended up being 50, those last 4k would suck.  Stopped to check the map a few times and estimate distance.

Got to the Birch Lake Trail - walked more here, because the leaves were quite deep in places, and I couldn't see what I was stepping on.  Let's just say I walked a lot the second half of the run.  But, I knew I was closer to the end, and when I got the Arkon Trail, memories of the best backpacking trip ever (4 silly girls) came back and I cheerfully kept on.  I was checking the map a lot, and when I got to the Bufflehead Trail intersection, I estimated another 4k left, for about 47k on the day.

Crossing the access road back to the Corridor Trail was amazing.  I headed down the Corridor Trail, and got back to the car with 46.92k on the Garmin - go distance estimating skills!

Things that worked well:

-my Sugoi gripper shorts.  The grippers mean the legs don't ride up.  And the chamois somehow fell out (WTH) so that they are tri shorts isn't annoying.
-the Infinit - I could've drank more, but it kept me from bonking.  I think I would've had more energy if I'd drank more though, or more motivation.  And been less thirsty.
-S!Caps - the electrolyte tabs, when I started taking them, helped.
-Clif Shot Bloks - I need solid food on runs that long, particularly when I have such a small breakfast.  They were amazing.  At least, I need something sitting in my stomach.
-bladder - it's harder to figure out how much I'm taking in - enough, but not too much, or too little - but it meant less stops.

Things that could work better:

-my t-shirt - shorter sleeves, and I got some arm chafing.
-Drymax socks - I hate to say this, because these are supposed to be the anti-blister socks - but I had rubbing under my arches that was uncomfortable and annoying.  This is the second time in wet conditions this has happened.  Perhaps though, in other socks, they would've formed blisters.  I don't know, the jury is out on that one.
-psoas - I think, if I have my muscle groups right, this is the cause of my significant lower back pain as the run went on.  It was sore last week too.  While my hip flexor is fine again (yay!), not loving this.  I need to see Andrew.  I suspect it is carrying the pack over a longer period of time - all my longer runs lately I've been using bottles for, and just recently switched back to a pack.
-breakfast - I need to eat a proper one.  Not too much else to say on that.  

 Animals sighted:

-4 deer
-Barred Owl
-Canadian Geese
-Garter Snake

 Total - 46.92k, moving time 7:08

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

March 11-24

I should remember more about these two weeks, but I don't. 

Sometimes when I'm not stable my memory isn't as good.  It's part of the cognitive effect of bipolar, I guess.  Anyways, I rode a wee little bit, and mostly ran.  Missed a run or two - partly because of birth control-related nausea (confirmed by GP and pdoc to not be related to my instability, yay, I guess), and partly because I'm crazy.  But I substituted. 

I hate times like this.  I guess my runs didn't go terribly - in fact, some went well.  It's just a fog.  Toby did one of my interval runs with me because he is a stabilizing influence on me and I didn't want to leave the house without him.  He's only been riding lately, not running, so this was very sweet of him.  And in good news, I'm now faster than him!  Mwuahahahaha.  I ran the warm up with him, then ran the intervals on my own, jogged back to him on the recovery, repeat.  We did part of the cool down together too.   

Neb got some runs in.  We enjoyed the mud.  My ankle bothered me some, but I worked through it.  Stupid icy trails, stupid microspikes.  I fell twice and had to crawl to the side of the trail to get my microspikes on.  Talk about dignified.

So yeah, stuff happened, and when I look back at this blog - I didn't persevere perfectly through this time, but I did pretty damn good.  And my GP agreed to raise my Saphris last week, so that got me stable again, and I saw pdoc on the 25th and he said the dosage was fine, even though it's higher than the 'maximum' dose (the efficacy has not been demonstrated, but the side effect profile is worsened).  Luckily he helped research the drug and is pretty cool about that stuff. 

I had some upset tummy though, which I don't think is Infinit-related.  Infinit has always been fine tummy-wise for me.  But I do have an *ahem* sensitive system when it comes to running - and yeah.  Toby said 'What would you do if you were in the woods?' but in the woods would be fine, it's when I'm in the city I'm screwed.  My hormones have been a little out of whack though and that could be part of it.  I can always take Immodium at the start of runs if this is a consistent problem, but I don't think it will be. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

March 4-10

Very happy with how this week went. 

I ran 6 days, with 5 core sessions and one lower body strength session on my rest day. 

My strength is really improving - which is to say, my speed is.  I had a couple of good sessions, including a great progression tempo run on Wednesday. 

Monday's run was a strong run.  I followed it up with a run with Neb on Tuesday, so a slower pace, but it set me up for Wednesday, and it was a great pace for Nebbers.  He's improving, just in time for it to get hot and for his running to be absolutely destroyed.  Humidity is not the friend of the Husky. 

Wednesday is showing me that my top end speed has improved a hell of a lot, now it's just a matter of getting that speed consistent and holding it for longer runs. 

Thursday was a trot - there's no other way of putting it.  I felt terrible though - on the way home from work I was hit with terrible nausea.  I managed to get some rice in me, watch 'Unbreakable' (the ultra running movie, not the other one), and then go for a run on my brand-spanking new road shoes I'd picked up at lunch that day - Brooks Ghost 5s. 

They're comfortable.  What can I say.  They are shoes.  It's not like trail shoes where you care about grip, not really.  But they are comfy and that's what matters.  Not too heavy. 

Friday was a rest day, so I did lower body strength. 

Saturday I was up eaaaaaaarly.  I was out Friday night - my cousin was in town for reading week and we took her out for dinner - and Kelly had invited me to run with her and some folk on Saturday morning.  We met at 7 am up in Palgrave so I got up at 5:40 am get out there - I'd packed up everything after work on Friday.  It was forecasted to be about -3C on Saturday morning, but driving out there the car thermometer dropped to -6.5C. 

I got there and a few other runners showed up - and who should be there but Marylou!  I know her through Toby, so it was really cool to see her and get to run with her that day.  She'd just gotten into Badwater, which is amazing.  Kelly and I ran for 3 hours, everyone else ran for 8.  One day, one day.  We ran a mix of trail and country road.  To be honest, the post-holing was so brutal at one point when the trail popped out onto road someone suggested sticking to road for a bit and it was a relief.  I love running on trails, but running is the operative word.  Running was very difficult.  I didn't need my microspikes though, and if my ankle held up under that beating, well - I think we can say it is healed.  Or as healed as it's gonna get. 

I have strengthened as a runner though.  The run was an easy run that I felt fresh afterwards - my legs felt great. 

Sunday was an easy run.  To be honest, we were out Saturday night too and I was feeling terribly tired - so sleepy.  I was up early, plus it was 'spring forward' time change and I'm just sleep deprived.  I wore the Brooks for their second run - figured I'd go to High Park and run on the roads/paved paths - but as I was heading down the hill on Spring - water flowing - and I saw how slushy the ice was (and the trails have all been icy) I decided to run on the trails through the mud and ice-slush.  And massive pools of water.  It was awesome.  I came home covered with mud splatter.  And dirty, dirty shoes.  The road shoes have been baptised.  Ran up one hill on trail this time last year I thought was steep - now my reaction is that it is a bit of an incline.  So that was pretty cool to realize that.  Plus I was just thrilled at my pace, for trail period, let alone mud and slush covered trail with crappy footing.  Yes, some path sections in there, but still.  A great run.  All the better because I started off feeling crappy and ended feeling strong and great.  

Another reminder this week of how much stronger of a runner I am becoming. 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

February 25-March 3

My ankle was a factor this week, so I ended up not running as much as planned.

So that was frustrating.  I had hoped for some more consistent running this week but I also wanted to make sure that the ankle is strong for Sulphur.  It ached and ached Monday, so a run was out (it was supposed to be a rest day, but I was also supposed to do a long run on the weekend, so yeah).

Tuesday it was doing better, and I got a interval tempo in before the storm hit.  It went really well, I was a lot faster than the planned speed and felt comfortable and in control the entire time.  I just focused on form and turnover and the rest was easy.  I was never running all out.  Derrick commented that it 'was faster than planned' and I notice I'm supposed to stick to the plan this week coming up :) 

Wednesday the conditions from the slush blizzard were still bad so I didn't run.  Tuesday after the run definitely hurt the ankle, so I wanted to be careful.

Thursday I got a run in with Neb, just an easy run but it was good to get out.

I did strength/core work most days in one form or another.  Friday morning I did some lower body in the morning, among others, and it really set the ankle off.  Friday was a planned rest day but I was going to do a short run, but decided to (again!) bow out to make sure that my ankle was in good shape for Saturday's long run.

Originally I was supposed to race The Yeti 10k snowshoe race on Saturday, but between my ankle and missing my long run the weekend before, I decided not to.  I'll be doing a 5 Peaks race this summer instead, they're letting me switch my registration which is awesome customer service - go 5 Peaks!

Saturday morning I slept in til 8:30, and woke up to Neb outside the bedroom lying there staring at me.  I had 2.5hrs to do, and Mr. Hypoglycemic has never run that long - he's generally up to 40 minutes, but 30 minutes is a good length for him.  Anyways, because I'm a sucker, I decided to take him for part of the run and see how long I could go for - I was running around the house on road so that I'd have stable footing anyways - so we ran nice and slooooow and he did 1:20, which for him is great.  He could've gone longer but it was a logical place to end and I figured finish strong.  I hadn't had breakfast, or taken any nutrition, so I dropped him off and grabbed some Infinit, took some and had the rest in a bottle with me for the road.  Nice to get a better pace going, and both portions of the run had a nice variety of flat and hills, so I felt really positive coming out of the run, and the best part.....MY ANKLE FELT FINE!  MORE OR LESS!  That deserves all caps, awesome.  My left hip (it's my left ankle too) got tight but it worked out as I ran and I'll have to roll it this week though my pathological hatred of rolling has me avoiding that.

Sunday my friend Steph came over and we went out for 30 minutes and then we made brunch.  It was a fun run, we went to High Park and ran through the zoo (Neb was quite taken by the Musk Ox) and up Centre, so that's a nice little hill to get in.  Neb stopped for a bathroom break halfway up the hill (sigh, at least there were garbage bins at the top) so I got to book it to catch up to Steph.  Post-brunch I did a 40 minutes easy spin on the computrainer - great to stretch out the legs and the quads.

This upcoming week should be a good week - some solid running planned, and I am going to avoid lower body strength until at least later in the week to try to let the ankle heal some more.  But I feel very positive going into the week.  And at least even though in the week recapped I didn't get a cardio workout in every day, I did do something each day.  So that's something positive.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

February 18-24

The week that wasn’t, basically.  Let’s see….

Monday – rest day – I rode the computrainer for 30 minutes.  Light watts.

Then the depression hit.  The joy of the bipolar, I guess.  Tuesday and Wednesday I struggled to leave the house (read:  I didn’t) but I did managed to ride both days, light watts, nothing long.  Still, I think getting the exercise in helped with the depression, because by Thursday I was returning to normal – a little bruised emotionally, but getting there – I didn’t get Thursday’s tempo in, but I did get out for a run with Neb.  It was really good mentally to get that done.

I was actually pretty proud of myself – generally when I get depressed exercise goes out the window, but I was able to really commit to good self-care and continue to work out through it.

Friday I took as a rest day, and Saturday I went out to Hilton Falls for a 2.5 hour trail run.

Which didn’t work so well.  I wore my microspikes, since it has snowed a bit and I figured the trails would have ice under the snow – but I was sliding around a lot.  The microspikes were being a pain, I had to keep adjusting them.  I never went over on my ankle, but at 45 minutes in it was really starting to hurt.  I decided to hike it back and to do my long run on Sunday.  Towards the end of my hike back, I thought I’d try running again – ouch.  I think I only ran 430 metres before deciding that was a bad idea.

Sunday the ankle was still quite sore – dusting the apartment and cleaning the kitchen in the morning set it off, so I reluctantly decided that a run wasn’t in the cards.  Bah!  I need to be getting in my long runs!  But it will be fine.  Absurdly, perhaps, given my lack of experience at the distance, I am not worried about finishing the 50 miler at Sulphur – I am worried about how long it will take me.  If I could run a 50k race on a long run of 12k a few years ago, I’m way ahead of the curve for the 50 miler, and I’ve got plenty of time to get in other good long runs.  But how fast will I be?  Absurd to worry about with my first one, but I am a professional worrier and I need something for my soul to gnaw on….that or I need more Ativan hahahahaha.  Seriously though, Saphris has been a great med for me, and Lamotrigine continues to plug away, but I do have more anxiety on Saphris.  Seroquel I wasn’t as anxious on, but I gained about 40lbs and was constantly sedated.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

Edit for pics from Saturday!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013 Dion Frozen Ass Snowshoe Race Report

It was a fun day.  Not a fast day, not a day that went as planned, but a fun day.

As my shins were bothering me, I had the best snowshoe sherpa EVER (Toby!) work on my legs before the race, so everything was feeling in tip-top shape race day. 

We woke up about 6 am Sunday morning for the race, I got dressed, got the dogs out the door, and then made up some travel oatmeal and yogourt to eat while we drove.  The drive went pretty smoothly - one stop for coffee (Toby can't function without it, yech on my part) and then we got to Trenton and found our way to the Batawa Ski Hill.  It had snowed in Toronto, and I wanted to make sure we'd get there in good time, but it hadn't snowed east of the city and we got out there in great time.  I think we were the first ones there! 

Toby brought out his fancy pants camera and helped me set up the Go Pro which I wore on the chest harness to make a video which if I can work it I will link to here. 

Since the race is part of the Dion Eastern Ontario Snowshoe Race series, we got a Dion beer glass with the race entry (which is awesome, now I have two) as well as some Clif products, who are another sponsor of the series. 

The race started down the road near the power lines.  After some race instructions, which I did not hear over the crunching of people walking on snowshoes towards the race director (more on this later), we got started.  There was a 4k race and an 8k race.  I was doing the 8k.

I know the race was likely to be short, as Coach Derrick's wife Sara who was running and had done the race previously told me it felt short.  The race started on the hydro lines before entering snowmobile trails.  Fairly soon we hit the 4k turnaround - I had passed the one guy I was pacing off of, and traded places with another runner who had passed me again and was running not too far ahead.

Then we got to a spot on the trail where there was a small tree down across the trail and the red marking tape on it.

Apparently the race director had said 'turn left at the tree'.  This was probably said while everyone was crunching, because I didn't hear it.  And it was a hard left, leaving the snowmobile trail and going onto smaller less defined trail.  The girl ahead of me went straight, and even though I felt some disquiet - why was the tree taped?  Were we supposed to turn?  Or was it taped so that people would see it? - I followed her. 

I then spent a fair bit of time wondering if we were on the right trail, and when we would start seeing the leaders coming back.  I wondered if the girl in front was looking to see if she could see snowshoe tracks on the trail. 

Eventually I passed her, and couldn't really see any.  As I was deciding that in fact there were none, we came to a spot where there was an intersection and no flagging tape.  There had been flagging tape, old compared to the course flagging tape, but still flagging tape.  So the girl and I consulted and decided to go back.  At this point I was certain the tree was flagged so that you didn't go straight.  Sure enough we got back to the tree and saw the front-runners coming down the big hill.  I have to admit, I walked up the hill - I figured I had added at least a kilometre onto the course, and wasn't racing anyone other than the other girl who went off course, and she was now behind me.  I saw Sara on her way down, and started running again once I got to the top.  Heading towards the turn around I saw the guy I'd passed ages ago and he said I was almost at the turnaround (which I got to and realized that the course was definitely short).  I headed back up another good-sized hill and saw the other girl heading towards the turnaround.

I was ahead of her, but I wanted to beat her - totally MY fault I went off course, my responsibility to know the course, and my dumb for following another racer - but I still wanted to beat her.  So when I got to the start of the hill I tried to run at a good pace and heading down the big hill I figured I had an advantage with my Dion snowshoes and good cleats (she was wearing the Northern Lite running snowshoes, and I have Northern Lites for backpacking and the cleats suck on the descents, one reason why I went with the Dions). 

At the Dion Frontenac Snowshoe Race, I got passed in the last 50 metres or so,  and wanted to avoid this happening, so when I got to the flatter section (some slight rolling hills, I suppose, but mostly going down) I tried to stay consistent and speed up a bit.  I crossed the road and headed back into the powerlines and knew I was almost done.  In the end, I put quite a bit of distance on the girl and came in ahead very comfortably. 

My Garmin showed 8.28k.  I played the track in Garmin Connect and going off course for the additional out and back added on 1.2k.  I finished in 1:02, so not fast, but I'm still good with it.

I realized I need to learn how to pace a snowshoe race.  Obviously I need to do more snowshoe running.  I can run a lot faster not on snowshoes (duh) but since snowshoe running is so much harder I think I pace myself easier than I need to.  That said, my legs were tired biking the next day, but not terribly so.  I just hadn't expected them to be at all.

One positive - when I ran the Frontenac race, which was shorter, my core was tired at the end (cardio and legs fine).  This time, my core was fine - I've been doing some easy core work 3X/week and it looks like it is paying off.  

Coming in at the finish:

Despite going off course, I had a great time.  I got to see Derrick and Sara, which was nice, and picked up some new UltrAspire product from Derrick as well as borrowing a Joe Strummer book, which is a good read so far. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Feb 11-17

Another good week. 

A couple of rides in there - including on Valentines so I could help with an ill-fated meal - and a decent interval workout despite having cramps the whole run (chocolate for lunch bad!).  Despite hating the computrainer, I'm starting to enjoy the rides.  I'm paying more attention to the watts I'm riding, though I still shudder to think what my watts/kg ratio is, but I haven't done a FTP test in years so we'll pretend mine is good even if I don't ride heavy watts on my easy training rides.  Mwuahahahaha.  I am going to try to get some more rides in on off days (shhh don't tell Coach Derrick ;) ) and so we'll see how that improves. 

I don't think I've had big speed improvements lately, but I've also not been doing a lot of tempo/interval workouts due to some medical stuff, so that should improve now that I'm dizziness-free! 

And, of course, I need to be better with eating.  Losing more weight will help with my speed too - I need to get this back under control.  Hopefully not feeling good about my eating will help with this.

My shins are doing okay, which is good as well.

Friday I took off - mental health day, except it's called 'vacation day'.  Bah.  Went for a little hike on the Sulphur Springs course and decided I'm not going to worry about pre-running it - where does the little cutoff from G. Donald down to Martin go?  WHERE?  I am just going to incorrectly preprogram my head into thinking where I think I should go, so yeah.  I know the terrain, the trails aren't technical, so it's all good.  Though the hill at the start/finish is going to make me want to cry.  Especially by the fourth loop.

Neb and I also did a short run later that day.  Saturday was a planned rest day and I took it since I had a race the next day and wanted my legs to be fresh. 

On Sunday (the 17th) I had the Dion Frozen Ass Snowshoe Race.  I had fun, and will write a race report later.  My wonderful snowshoe sherpa helped me prepare, took great pics, and in general was awesome as always.  I don't know how to pace snowshoe races - I don't get how to do a hard sustained run without killing myself.  I can do it without snowshoes, I know how to push that, but since snowshoe running is harder, I tend to take it easier.  I guess I need to run more on snowshoes to really work that out. 

Oh!  And I got some new UltrAspire gear.  Can't WAIT for my long run this weekend, get to use, use, use, the Spry vest.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

February 4-10

A decent week of training.  Realizing how close I am starting to get to the 50 miler at Sulphur Springs on May 25, and starting to worry.  Low volume, as my shin has been bothering me, but all enjoyable.  Took Neb (the dawg) with a few times - he slowed me down (and I'm already slow), as he's not a fast runner, but he had fun.  I'll try to get out with him a few times a week during the cooler weather (hey, part Husky, doesn't love the warm). 

Highlights of the week - hill repeats on trail after the blizzard (without snowshoes, WHAT was I thinking!!!???  Damn near killed me), and a family snowshoe outing on the 10th to Dundas Valley Conservation Area to scout out part of the Sulphur Springs course (me, Toby, and the dogs) followed by a 19k long run. 

May seem far away but isn't.  I have some good things to look forward to before then, including some snowshoe racing, fastpacking, and self-supported trail runs (including the very important Runaway Golf Cart Marathon/Half-Marathon/10k on Masters Weekend...for the golf fans).  I can't forget the Toronto Marathon either, three weeks out from Sulphur, so I'm running it as training.  I have a goal time for Sulphur, though ultimately I'd just like to run respectably and finish.  My first 50 mile race, so it will be a matter of sorting stuff out.

I moved back to Infinit from gels for the long run on the 10th.  Since I lost ~30 minutes, if not more, to tummy troubles at Haliburton Forest in 2012, and that was down to not taking in enough water with my gels, I think Infinit may be the safer option.  I need to be aware so that I'm getting enough calories, but it shouldn't upset my stomach.  I'd rather take myself out of a bonk (though I think I can manage to avoid it altogether) then try to calm an angry digestive system - Immodium did not help at Haliburton.  Ordered some new Infinit, as I'm currently training on expired stuff (heh) and I lowered the protein, to try to help with the foaming, and added caffeine.  We'll see how it goes.

Weight-wise I remain plateaued.  I need to get serious about this again, have the fear of slowness put in me - I have races coming up!  Time to get in gear!