I hope everyone is recovering well from ATB 30k this weekend! I don’t know what hurts more my calves or my ego but I will get over both of those ;).
I haven’t done any race recaps yet this year so I’ll post about my last 4 races for this post.
Robbie Burns 8k
JAN 28: This was added to the roster last minute. My workouts had been going so well I was antsy to check my fitness, so the week of the race I signed up. My original plan was to open my season at Refridgee. In my head I figured I could hold 3:35’s (my current 10k pb pace) based on my workouts and since it was a rust buster. I went out ready to run
hard and averaged 3:37 by the end to finish in 28:57. I had my eye on top 3 and some fast women showed up to finish 4th. I was really happy with how hard I pushed and was super excited to run that fast with it being only January. I was really thankful to have Alan Brookes give me a shout out for my performance on social media – thanks Alan! I was very proud of my racing as well. I had put in some heavy mileage up to this point including two 130k weeks and one 140k week in the previous 4 weeks. I followed this race with another 140k week and a solid long run with Krista and the GRE crew along the ATB course.
FEB 11: Refridgee-eighter has become a tradition for us! 2 years ago Josh proposed during this race (that year it was held on Feb. 24th) so we have come back each year! This year’s race almost didn’t happen for me. The week of the race I pulled my calf during my tuesday night run and from the slipping in the dumping of snow we had that week. I missed my wednesday workout and cross trained on the bike for a few days and luckily by the saturday it was ok. This year the conditions matched last year’s snowmagedden. It was cold and the forecast showed that it was going to start freezing rain during the race – and the weather man was right for once! It was cold, snow covered roads (including a 2k section that was unplowed), and after about 8k in to the 8miler the freezing rain started. I had a goal to match Krista’s pace from last year’s horrid condition which was 353’s and I ended in 355’s so I was close! I actually felt super strong during this race and my form felt really good as well, my knees were driving and I felt powerful in my stride. I was able to win this year and that’s never to be taken for granted! Josh also won the men’s 8miler so it was awesome to snag a double-team-win, another rarity!
Chilly Half Marathon
With two more weeks of steady training and mileage of 140k weeks post Refridgee and some great long-runs. I had been fighting a cold on-and-off this winter and the week of the race it hit me hard. I had a fever the weekend before the race so I moved my longrun from saturday to sunday but still didn’t feel great. I worked on Monday but tuesday I cancelled my day feeling worse yet again. This trend of feeling ill/feeling better had been continuing for a few days on/off for at least the last week or so. I took tuesday off completely and stayed on the couch all day. Wednesday I was able to workout since it was a reduced taper workout. As the last few days before the race I fell on the better end of the trend, I decided to race. My original goal was to beat my pb of 1:19:10. Based on my workouts, I knew that I was in the best shape ever and I was nailing 3:40’s in my sleep during workouts. I felt like I could run that for the half marathon no problem.
*BANG* The gun went off and I went out on my goal. It was a chilly day with quite the wind, pretty typical of that course the last two years. I felt great off the line but very shortly after my plan began to unravel as only 4k in we hit a strong headwind and since the course is basically out and back… this was not good. My head was not in the game today, that was clear. All I could focus on was one of the women in front of my getting away from me and how awful I felt. I contemplated over and over dropping out, I so badly wanted to stop. But I had committed to this race and to staying tough this year so I buried my head deeper in the pain and just focused on what I could control – the rest of the race. I knew I was WAY off pace, even off pace for my course pb of 1:20mid which was about 348s. I was seeing 353-355s on my watch and just suffering. I worked on getting to the turn around as hard as I could and hoped that the wind would subside by then. It did not. The wind somehow was from just about every direction, how?!?! But I stayed tough even though those cheering for me from the sidelines made me want to sink further into myself and just hide. I thought, if my pace was going to be awful at least I can use this toughness later if I have a race that doesn’t go to plan. I crossed the line as 5th female happy to be done. I had a great time afterwards cooling down with Krista and Reid getting to talk with them and hanging out with Kelly the race director – she always does such a GREAT job with this race! All in all, a learning experience not to count my chickens until they’ve hatched – just because I think I SHOULD PB doesn’t mean I WILL. I have to be on (not sick!) for that to happen and read the weather and course accordingly. I also wasn’t mentally rested. I had been studying like crazy for one of my tests for the course I’m taking and the day before the race only studying for 5 hours was a SHORT session (on top of work and 140k weeks).
Achilles St. Patrick’s Day 5k
After Chilly, I was exhausted and sore. I got back into training to help get my mind off the race and to focus forward to ATB. I wrote my test that following thursday (with a fever… good the trend continues) and didn’t touch a book for 2 weeks to allow myself the recovery I clearly needed, I was running too much on all cylinders. I was still sick for the long-run the week after chilly and reduced that to make it more manageable.
MARCH 18: 2 weeks after Chilly, Josh and I signed up for Achilles 5k in the hopes of free beer! (those hopes were later dashed as this wasn’t the prize this year 😦 ) I felt great in the days leading into this race and decided to just put it all out there (unlike I did at Chilly). I wanted to run with everything I had. My PB is 17:08 which was 325s. So I went out in 320s and tried to hold on as long as I could. I had after all recently did 10x 1k where half of them were in 320 so I knew it wasn’t completely unreasonable. I was lucky to have my fellow Skechers athlete Matt Leduc basically pace me through the first 3k. I sat behind him and everytime I started to lose the group a bit I dug in deeper to bridge the gap. This felt so great to actually TRY! I hit the turnaround on this out and back course well ahead of the other leading women so I did slack a bit. I also was pretty whipped from going out so hard, maybe next time 322s… I was able to cross the line in 1st in 17:33 and last year I was 2nd in this race so that was pretty exciting! Again Josh and I took home the team-double-win again a rare thing! We were both about 25-30 sec off our pbs and were happy with that since we had been training for longer races not speed. My dad came out to watch (always appreciated!) and I talked my brother into running his first 5k and he was 23low so I was pretty excited for him!
Around the Bay 30k
I was primed, ready to roll. I started tapering 10days out (including leading into the 5k) and was only running about 10k a day (vs my 18k days as of late). I was preparing myself mentally as well – no studying, thinking positively, going over my workouts and mileage to build confidence, I created a pump-up playlist for the morning of, and I visualized different parts of the course and how I was going to run them. My legs felt a bit flat the day before the race but that’s typical whenever I bring my mileage down.
MARCH 25: Josh and I started the day with some car-ride karaoke, a good sign – typically when I’m going to race badly I am overwhelmed with stress the morning of. We arrived at First Ontario Center and eventually found all our family and teammates. About an hour before, Josh, Rob, Mitch, Krista and I all went out for a 4k warmup. I felt great and excited to race! After finalizing my clothing choices for the day (it was cold -6 at race start!) I headed out to the start line to perform my drills and strides.
1-10k: The race gets off and I’m out a bit too fast but within 3k I got myself settled. My goal pace was 350s-355s (A to C goals). We had a decent wind off the start so I knew I had to find someone to tuck in behind. I found a guy but he was going too fast (hence my first 3k) so I had to slow down or I knew I’d pay later. I felt really good and mentally on, I was staying focused and my legs felt strong. As I rolled through the K’s I had a hard time finding a group to run with. The wind was quite gusty and blowing me around, I was working hard but the wind was eating me alive. Around 7k Sarah Elliott went by me looking super strong and I wished so badly I could go with her, my legs wouldn’t respond. I went through the first 10k just over 39minutes so 3:55 pace. I knew the race was going to be tight on whether I could get under 2hours or not at this point (knowing my pb from last year was 1:59:00).
10-20k: I rounded the corner to head up on the over pass and hit the first relay exchange, which was nice for moral to have more cheering. I was doing some mental math trying to figure out how fast I needed to go to get under two hours. I knew I was well within the top 10 women but I seemed to be slowing down a bit so I knew I had to keep working hard or get passed. I got passed. A few km later as I struggled feeling as though the wind was pushing me sideways this whole section. I tried to break it down into 1k at a time to at least stay focused. Focused I was – I was giving myself pep talks the entire time and just aiming for placing at that point since the time was unlikely. When we got onto Lakeshore I had a bit of a second wind and I thought maybe this will turn around for me. As I headed towards the hills I thought back to my training runs.
20-30k: The hills eat up most of these k’s. I felt really strong and was starting to catch a few men up them. I knew I needed to be around 1:20 through the 20k mark in order to be anywhere close to my pb and went through in 1:20:15 – so if I could finish a bit faster than my first 10k (without all that wind) I could still maybe PB if I put everything into it. I had rolled 3:50s in training up these hills so that wasn’t completely unreasonable. But alas, I had a pretty seized up left calf (that still hurts today) and I tried my very best only to be passed AGAIN only 4k out from the finish. I had moved back into 7th female which I am pretty happy with overall. As I climbed final hill towards the finish, the last 3k into the wind (nobody around to block the wind) I just ran with what I had left. Luckily Steph Hortian ran with me for a few k to help run me in.
I crossed the line in 2:01:47, not a pb, but with everything I had left out on course. Everyone thought I would be upset with this time but it was all I had, I couldn’t lie to myself and say I didn’t have a good day, my body just had what it had on that day, that’s it. Unfortunately, not every race will be a breakthrough race and I had more than my fair share of those last year to be honest. I will use my effort that I put out there this weekend and use that to drive me. I appreciate all the support out there on the course! Congrats to the GRE boys for crushing it! I’m really proud of Josh and Mitch who both had less than ideal years last year and finally had a good one! They inspire me to work through my own “rough patch” to eventually come out on top. I’m just going to keep SHOWING UP, keep working hard until that pays off. And it will.
This week will be about evaluating my recovery and deciding if i’d like to modify my training at all for the rest of the season. After looking at it, it’s likely due to an untimely cold that ATB didn’t go as well as my training/fitness showed.
Next up: Race Roster Spring Run-off 8k. Until then, GRIND on.