Sunday, May 31, 2009

Calgary Marathon Report

Hold on tight and come for a ride with me!

First of all, my hat is off to the organizers of the new Calgary Marathon and all the volunteers! A job well done and you get 10/10 in my books!

I only had one monkey on my back and that was wondering if I would find a good parking spot or even a parking spot. As it turned out, there was tonnes of parking in Bridgeland. That was my only worry and once I got that dealt with I could focus on the task at hand. I checked my bag at bag check, made two bathroom visits then headed to the start line where I seeded myself accordingly. After a few minutes the gun went off, and off I went. Well, not right away, it took a few minutes to get to the matt then once I beeped I said "game on" and off I went.
My game plan was to do 10&1's, run at a pace of 6:30 min/km and have a gel every 55 minutes. The weather was perfect. I was enjoying the new route especially along 17th Avenue. I remember turning onto 14th Street but I don't remember how we got onto Memorial Drive. I was glad when the half-marathons did their turn around. I'm not use to having lots of runners around me. I realize hills are my strength, thanks to all that mountain climbing. Shaganappi Trail was not an issue. I slowed my pace by about 1 minute and enjoyed the scenery to the west and when I looked to the east, I wondered if any children were watching us from their hospital rooms.
Then it was on to spend some time at the University. No new lessons to be learned here today. My game plan was going as planned. I was on target at 2:20 at the halfway mark where I got a hi-5 from Karen. After my term at the University, it was on to window shop at Market Mall. I didn't have my binoculars with me so didn't see much. Then we veered away from main drags and big buildings and meandered through residential neighbourhoods. The kilometers passed, the houses passed and before I knew it, I rounded a corner and was back on Shaganappi Trail for the long downhill. Here I was able to take 30 seconds off my pace and enjoy the cruise to the bottom and getting ready for the long, straight stretch ahead.
I had my last gel (4th one) but it didn't sit well in my stomach and I didn't feel the lift from it like I did from the previous three. It could have been cancelled out by the fact that I was getting on with the game and reaching the mid 30 something km distance.
Then between 38 and 39 kms a wall popped up. It wasn't brick, but more along the lines of a wooden fence where I could weave from side to side through the pickets. I was still with it but not to the extent I was for the first half of the race. I knew I could finish but I knew too, it wasn't going to be in my goal time of 4:42. I was O.K. with this and was at the point, I would take the finish any way I could get it. I got it in 4:48:52! There's something about the cheering and hollaring and clapping coming down the home stretch that gives me a boost of energy to get the job done.
I had only an ounce of energy to finish smiling, upright, making the victory sign! But that was it! Thank you to the medics who softened the blow when I hit the pavement on the other side of the finish matt. I wanted to get up and go celebrate but they seemed to have other plans for me and started to walk me to the medic tent. I said I was fine that I could carry on and I really thought I could until they let go of my arms and down I went again. Geesh! I went with them where I got to sit in shade with ice on my legs, a blanket around me, with two cups of gatorade and a bucket at my feet. That last gel was just not doing me any favors. Thirty minutes under their care and I was good to go!
Climbing mental mountains is not my forte but climbing physical mountains is. Bring on those mountains, I am ready to hike. It's time now to start training to hike 5 days straight!
I am proud of what I did today!
I love my big honkin belt buckle medal!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

So Close, But Yet... far!
It took forever to get to the fitness expo. I'm always so anxious to get my race number and shirt that I wanted to get there as soon as it opened and that meant fighting Friday rush hour traffic. But hey, I'm tough, I can handle it! When I got home I noticed my age was off by a year on my bib but I still fit into the same age category.

I like the shirt and it fits me too!
I'm excited for tomorrow! I don't feel the nerves like I remember I did for the previous two marathons. My hope is to have a finish time of around 4:42. I'm not going for a PB marathon time but more for a smartly run marathon by sticking to my plan that is based on my training. As usual, I want to finish upright and healthy with a smile on my face!

Stayed tuned!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Jeff Galloway Says!

Over the last couple of days, I have been putting things aside, in my spare bedroom, that I will need for Sunday. That's where all my running memorabilia hangs out, including my medals. In the past I have questioned the symbolism of medals in a blog post called "Meaning of Medals", not really finding the right words to express what I was trying to say or what I felt about the medals. I have been going through my book called "Marathon!" by Jeff Galloway and came upon this quote in the Power of Rehearsal chapter that hits the nail on the head!

"And so we end where we began. The positive flow of energy toward the finish line is your destiny, pulling you past the challenges, through the doubts, and out of the depths of uncertainty itself. You've done this yourself, and you've developed a lot more than physical capabilities along the way. That medal symbolizes a significant internal journey which has unlocked treasures that will continue to enrich you."

Oh boy! When I have time on my hands, the INFJ in me really shows!

It's Friday and that can only mean one thing! Adventure Seeker is hosting T.G.I.F. Fotos. Be sure to drop by and see what pictures she and other fellow bloggers have to share.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Because of Blogging!

That's where I am placing blame for my decision to get caught up in this whole marathon thing in the first place!

It's been totally mind consuming where thoughts of where to run, when to run, what to wear have interrupted me in the midst of preparing gas pricing charts, reviewing royalty regimes, calculating operating costs per barrel of oil. This marathon thing has even distracted me at weekly meetings I would attend and has taken me to another place during monthly report presentations. I have woken up in a panic in the middle of the night realizing I needed to figure out a function on my Forerunner or I forgot to recharge it.

I have had to make alterations to my lifestyle over the past five months and that is all because of getting caught up in this whole marathon thing! Thanks again to blogging! I couldn't eat what I wanted to eat when ever I wanted to eat it, which I am so use to! I had to spend money on things I normally wouldn't like Gatorade, power bars and power gels, special socks and hair clips. I had to give up late nights and sometimes beer and nachos or wine and a strip-loin steak.

I have lost sleep over this, I have made mistakes at work because of it, plus it has cost me money and also time with my friends. All thanks to blogging! Because it was your photos I looked at, your stories I read , your medals I admired, your inspiration your motivation your success that I decided I wanted to experience what you were experiencing so signed myself up to get caught up in this whole marathon thing!

I would not change anything I have experienced over the past five months! I am so thankful for blogging. I have learned so much! It's all because you that I am so excited about being on the cusp of doing something I never thought I would again!

Thank you my blogging buddies!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tapering is not my Forte!

...but I am trying my best and I think I am not doing too bad!

So far though, it's been a productive but expensive taper! I'm taking advantage of the opportunity to do a lot of sitting around. Like sitting around waiting for the new brakes to be put on my car. Then I sat around waiting for new tires to be put on my car, you see, my front tire got nailed twice! One day this week I will be sitting around waiting for the plumber to do his thing in my kitchen. Yet, another day, I'll be sitting around while the stylist does a number on my hair. Yes, an expensive taper!

With seven more sleeps to go, I have started a weather watch! I realize the forecast will change a baker's dozen times in the meantime but I can't help myself, I have to watch! Just in case we could be so fortunate, I did yesterday's run at high noon in the heat of the day for practice. It's all relative, our high noon heat was hot for us here in Calgary, but others would probably consider it bundle up type weather.

I picked a different route this time, which I liked and will be sure to frequent it. This was my last easy, slow, short long run. I covered 8.9 km on this out and back route in 58:58 at a pace of 6:37 min/km.I am working on my plan of attack for next Sunday and will share that with you once I get all the meat on the bones. Stay tuned!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Long and Short of It!

It's been short runs and short walks over the past days. Long naps and long hours of sleep. What I really long for though, are long hours of sunshine and long hours of warm temperatures where I can wear short sleeve shirts and shorts for long periods of time.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Two Weeks From Today!

It will be all over and that can't come soon enough! That sums up how I am feeling right about now! I'm ready to get on with my summer and my life.

This morning's run was my last quasi long one! I didn't pay as much attention to the pre-run logistics for this one as I did last Sunday. My feet hit the pavement around 8:15 am and 1:55 later I had covered 18km which ciphers out to a pace of 6:22 min/km. I'll take that! It felt comfortable and effortless.

I tried wearing my Forerunner 305 over top of a wrist sweat band and that turned out being the cats pyjamas. On the lengthy runs, the watch was sweating on my wrist and was a distraction.

I stuck with my post-run ritual of slurping down my recovery drink, soaking my feet in cold water then elevating them while I had some one on one time with my sofa. That seems to be what gives me that "happy feet" feeling!

The tall orders are all taken care off! All that's left on my plate are a handful of short runs.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time To Forget Winter...

...but Forget-Me-Not Ridge is not quite ready to let us forget just yet! I started out in my short sleeve top, part way up I had to add a heavier long sleeve top and then the top toppers were hat, gloves and warm windbreaker jacket.

The temperature plummeted and the winds howled. Adventure Designer took this shot as I'm setting up for our summit shot. On a normal day three poles will make a tripod but for security reasons due to prevailing conditions, today we went with a sextpod!!! Check out the google map, it gives the lay of the land for today's trek. The gate to the playground in this neck of the woods just opened on May 14th and the masses swarmed in for the weekend. Thankfully not many were hikers like us.

With this sign in the sky, we felt safety was on our side. As much as I am tired of snow, I have to admit, the new white snow on the mountains against the vivid blue sky made for breathtaking beauty. Even horses and their riders, along with the family dog, came out to play today. The river is dry this time of year, just wait another month and it will be fast flowing with river rafters riding the flow. The bottom right photo in the foursome below shows how strong the wind was as it blows the snow over the edge.

There always seems to be something unique each and every time I head to the hills. You never know what you might do or experience or see. Like these trees! Rocks! Poles! What's next!

Due to conditions, we altered the plan of attack by adjusting the kilometer tally by a few and realizing we still accomplished a significant amout of elevation. As I said previously, safety was on our side today. We noticed Cornices lined the side of the mountains so stayed back from the edges.

Quite the profile displaying approximately 11.3 kms was covered in just over six hours. At the river bed we measured our elevation starting point to be 1617 meters (5305 feet) and at our summit we measured 2254 meters (7395 feet). In my opinion, 637 meters (2089 feet) of net elevation over a 4 km hike up the side of a mountain is nothing to sneeze at.

I'm so glad I decided to tag along with the eight fun folks today!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Not Forgetting Protection!

'tis the season! Spring has sprung! The wild flowers are blooming! Buds are showing on the trees! There are pot holes galore! But most importantly, the bears are awake from their long winter's nap, so it's time to bring protection when heading to the hills!

Forget-Me-Not! And I didn't! Last year at summer's end, I did my very first ridge hike and I enjoyed it so much that I vowed I would never forget it and I would return. I'm looking forward to seeing you again. I will be dropping by tomorrow for another long visit!

Stay tuned!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

City Run & Urban Hike

...all in one day! That's my kind of day!

My 6.4 km run at noon combined with my 5.2 km hike in the evening is what I have to show for the day, well other then the many hours sitting at my desk before and after the run. The 6.4km was covered in 40:44 at a pace of 6:21 min/km. While the run was pretty much just outside the front door of my work, the hike was pretty much just outside the front door of my home.

You can see in the google map where the 5.2km urban hike took place. I have driven by here numerous times and always wondered what was there, now I know! Who knew, another gorgeous playground so close to home. This was a great hill workout, with lots of ups and downs.
Here are a few photos depicting the lay of the land. One day I will check out the history of this area. Many of the rock formations were embedded with shell pieces and what looked like could have been fossils. Some areas looked like sandstone, other places looked like water erosion took place. Even the color variations proved interesting.

This is getting close to the end of the hike. I'm sitting on a rock big enough to hold, oh probably a dozen or so folks.
This is definitely a place I want to check out again, maybe even with my runners on instead of my hiking boots.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Rehearsed and Ready!

If May 31st turns out to be an instant replay of today then I would be the happiest girl ever and feel like I was on top of the world! My dress rehearsal went better than planned!

This is the tale of the tape:

Distance: 36.3 km Time: 4:01:47 Pace: 6:39 min/km

I had hoped for an average pace of 6:30 min/km but I will take what I got and run with it. I started my run at the Curling Club at 6:45 am. I wanted easy access to my car to drop a shirt if need be. I should be calling this a "skirt rehearsal" and not a "dress rehearsal" because I tried out my new skirt and absolutely love it. I love the shirt that goes with it too! They are keepers! It was +2 degrees C at start and I needed an extra layer over top, up top. I used the long sleeves to cover my hands for the first 45 minutes too. An hour into the run, I ditched the extra top and was perfect for the balance of the time. I have many pairs of shorts that are most comfortable but this skirt beats all those. It is so light weight, for the first while I kept checking to make sure it was still there!

I had a gel at every hour, that works best for me. At no time along the way did I feel I needed extra long walk breaks or feel like I needed to slow the pace. No aches or pains to show for the hard work done today. I actually enjoyed the whole run, that may sound sadistic to some. Although, I will admit, I was glad when it was over. Once back at my car, I walked around savouring my recovery drink, then drove home. I was tired once I got there, soaked my feet in cold cold water, then elevated them while I napped. I know it is important to eat but I didn't have much of an appetite right away. That came much later!

Today was my last long run and I was praying to walk away from it feeling confident and ready! Well, that's exactly what happened!

What more could I have asked for!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Dress Rehearsal

This weekend is my dress rehearsal! Tomorrow is my last looonnng run before the official day. Then it's taper time and next weekend will be about 20km but relatively speaking, that will seem like a shorter run. I am going through the motions today of what I plan to do on the 30th and I have my plan in place for tomorrow which will be my rehearsal for the 31st. I'm trying to do whatever I can to give myself a fair chance and to try and get as many unknowns out of the way as possible.

I always wanted a running skirt! I can remember talking with my friends about eight to ten years ago that there should be running skirts. This was long before they made their debut. I found one this morning that had my name on it. After reading many reviews on skirts, it seems they have improved over the last little while and it's about time I became an owner of the one with my name on it. Only time will tell if it will work for me!

Hhmm...I wonder if there is such a thing as a hiking skirt!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting Around & "B" Buddies

What a great day to be out in the great outdoors! My lunch break was spent on pathways and my dinner break was spent on trails.

Usually my noon hour run is made up of just hills or just flat out running. I mixed it up today and included both. I got the hill section out of the way first and then coasted for the balance of the run. This was the first time I ever ran up the Center Street Bridge and onto McHugh Bluff and up that hill. That was what kept my overall pace at a slower pace. It was a slow and steady grind! I knew once I made it to the top I could fly down the other side and then set sail.

I still haven't tried the heart rate monitor part of my Forerunner but wish I had it on today only to see what the downloaded information would look like. Just after 10th Street behind that old little building, there would have been a gigantic peak in the heart rate graph. You see, a snake slithered across the path right at my feet. I could feel my heart at the tip of my tongue and I stopped dead in my tracks! I enjoyed today's run and didn't want it to end because that only meant, it was time to head back to the concrete jungle. Today's stats looked like this: Distance: 6.7 km, Time: 42:35. Pace 6:20 min/km.

It's a large city but such a small world! This evening I tried out the orienteering at Edworthy Park as suggested by Karen who is my "Blogging Buddie". "B" A coordinator from the group that I do hiking with put the event out there for those that wanted to give it a try. As it turns out "B" and Karen are "Bus Buddies"! When we realized this small world and that our acquaintance was intertwined, Karen referred to it as two degrees of separation! Here we are after running and walking and strolling along trails, through bushes, up hills then down again and along dirt paths and over railroad tracks. That's me, B and Karen holding maps we needed to find our way.
It was a fun day being active and outdoors!


Finding my way the old fashion way! Time to try something new which involves lots of my loves: trails, running and maps! I am off this evening to see what orienteering is all about. I hope I don't get lost trying to find my way there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Runner's Lounge Book Project

Back in January Runner's Lounge came up with an idea to publish a book filled with motivational stories from all us runners and I told you about this in a January 31st blog post titled Toy Story under the "My Story" section. They asked that we keep it under wraps and that it would be the property of the book. The plan for the book has taken a different direction so our stories will not be published in a book but are now posted under the "Inspirations and Stories" section of their website. Be sure to check out my contribution "Soul Full of Consequences" !

Monday, May 4, 2009

Rejuvinated Psyche!

I couldn't wait to see if I could get that monkey off my back! My morning at work was consumed with praying I could have a good lunch time run to get my running psyche back to a healthy state again! I wanted to get on with my day and the only way I could was just to get out of the office and get that run in which I did shortly after 11:00. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect, I wore a colorful cheerful short set, pinned my hair up, hit the pathway and it was smooth sailing the whole way! I came back to the office a different person! Although this run was short in comparison to the one where the monkey hoped on board, it nevertheless got me to a place where I needed to go. It only took 37:55 to do the trick over a distance of 6.2 km at a pace of 6:09.

My mind has started to drift off periodically back to 2001 and 2002, the years I ran a marathon. It's strange how vividly I can remember the details of each one. I wonder what will it be like this time. I don't particularly care that I am consumed with this but I can't help myself from thinking about it. Over the last couple of weeks, not a day has gone by where I did not vision myself crossing the finish line.

I have one reeaalllly loooong run left this coming weekend. It is already occuping every free moment in my mind. After that one is complete then it's time to get into taper mode. I keep looking at my schedule verifying I am doing what I am suppose to be doing.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Not What I Had Hoped For

Distance: 27.4 km
Time: 3:03
Pace: 6:42 min/km

These are not the stats I planned for today! My goal was for a 29 km run with an average pace of 6:30 min/km. Dang! I'm feeling disappointed! I was at the river running by 7:30 am after a good night sleep, healthy breakfast and feeling full of spunk. I even had my speedy (Police Half) shirt on and it was nice enough to wear shorts.

I was on target for the first 20 km then my spunk split and left me lifeless. I was at Edworthy, stopped for a bathroom break and sucked back a gel. I took off my speedy shirt to wrap around my waist because I knew it would be warm heading into the sun. For the first 20km I had to work at keeping my pace up to 6:30 but the last 7.4 km, I had to work to keep the pace down to 6:30 which became impossible. At times it hoovered around 7:00 min/km and at times I took lengthy walk breaks. I hate having to say that! My watch was nagging my wrist, my bangs were irritating my forehead, my sunglasses were annoying my nose and that shirt around my waist was driving me up the wall. Maybe I hit the wall! That's it! But that can't happen at 20km when I have had six runs already over 20km in the last month and a half. I even switched the play list on my IPod to rock but at this point it didn't really matter because the ear buds were sending me over the edge!

I was so thankful for this one to be over with! I walked around for awhile afterwards before heading to my car. I had my recovery drink, drove home, cleaned up, had lunch and spent the afternoon on my sofa either sleeping or feeling sorry for myself!

Tomorrow is a new day!