Archive for May, 2012

Less Than A Week Away!

In six days I will toe the start line in my very first half marathon. This month marks the second anniversary of my running life, and I’m so excited to venture into longer races. When I started running, I decided to do 5K races until my then 8 month old twins were in school. Well, anyone who runs will understand when I say that that got old fast. Last spring I tried a 10K and loved it.

I still hadn’t considered running a half marathon until I read an article in Runner’s World about running your first half marathon. In looking at the training plan I discovered that the training wasn’t that much different from what I was already doing – only the weekly long run was longer than my current plan. That settled it, I would run the half marathon in the Saskatchewan Marathon in May, 2012.

Two weeks before my 10K tune-up race, I got sick. Crazy sick with a cold, where I coughed constantly, often until I actually threw up. I missed runs, and cut others short. I made it through the 10K race (see previous post!), and continued to get sicker. Finally, after more than three weeks of being sick, I was finally ready to admit that this was more than just a cold, and went to my doctor. I was diagnosed with a sinus infection and was put on antibiotics. She said that because I’d left it for so long, the infection was starting to spread into my lungs. My asthmatic runner lungs had just avoided pneumonia. When I phoned my Mom to tell her about the diagnosis she said “did you tell her you’re planning to run a half marathon in two weeks?” Um, no, are you insane? She might have told me I couldn’t!

The day after I finished my anti-biotics, my daughter was generous enough to share her flu with me. More runs missed as I spent a day throwing up and another so completely exhausted I could barely move, let alone run.

The day after my flu was gone, my side started to ache. By bedtime I could tell that the side pain was just referred pain from my back. As I write this, the pain has shifted around to the front of my ribcage. I can tell you exactly which rib is out, and am pretty sure it happened while violently throwing up with that damn flu! The same flu which forced me to cancel the pre-half marathon massage therapy and chiropractic appointments I had carefully scheduled for last week. Grrrrrrrr!

Somehow, I’ve still managed to get through all my runs this week, and am feeling fantastic. Well, other than the piercing pain from my rib that forces me to breathe much more shallowly than I’d like (chiro and massage appointments have been rescheduled for the day after tomorrow), and the fact that my ears are STILL plugged from my cold (doc insists they’re fine, but I seriously only have half my hearing right now). I’m beginning to consider abandoning my sub-2 hour time goal for Sunday, but after doing my last LSD run last night of 15 km in 1:28:45, I still think it’s a realistic goal.

In the end, I will stand near the 2 hour pace bunny on Sunday feeling nervous and scared, but also excited and optomistic.

(Oh yeah, and the speaker for the pasta dinner is BART YASSO! I’m so insanely excited to meet Bart and have him sign my copy of his book.)

Help me out! What tips and wisdom can you share for my first half marathon?

Gotta run.

Saskatoon Police Services Race

Last Sunday dawned my first official race of 2012. It had been cool and rainy all week, a trend that has continued into this week as well. The kids and I went into Saskatoon the day before the race to pick up my race package and stay overnight with my parents to minimize race morning drama – my kids do not do well with 5 a.m. wake-up calls! (And yes, my husband works seven days a week, often 12 hours each day, so no, he couldn’t watch them for the morning.)

I had some wardrobe indecision on race morning. I hate being cold when I run, but also get over-heated easily. Rain was threatening, and luckily I had stuffed a bag full of every different clothing option imaginable. After a quick consultation with some of my Twitter running friends I settled on a long-sleeved technical shirt and my favorite running tights. I started with a hat due to the threat of rain, but the clouds started to break up as I arrived downtown near the start line, so switched the hat for my favorite Bondi Band.

If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll be familiar with my woe-is-me week of illness leading up to this race. I caught a wicked cold that just wouldn’t go away, and coupled with my cold air and exercise-induced asthma, the result was that I struggled for breath a lot. I had increased my inhaler dosage for the week, something I hadn’t had to do since being pregnant with the twins. I took several extra rest days as well, and chalked it up to an extra cautious taper. All these things considered, I had abandoned my hopes of a PB in this race and was planning to just run for the sheer joy of it. Of course, anyone who knows me knows I still couldn’t bring myself to leave my GPS watch at home. 😉

I was entered in the 10km event for this race. The plan was to use it as a tune-up for my upcoming half marathon at the end of May. The race was replacing my long run for that week, so I did a couple slow kilometers as a warm-up to make up a bit of the lost distance.

The Saskatoon Police Half Marathon is a small event, with just 129 runners in the 10k, and just over 100 in the half marathon. It seems to attract a group of more serious runners though, and the field set off at a good pace. I settled in after the first kilometer or so and used my watch to find a steady, but conservative pace around 5:45 min/km.

What a beautiful route this was! Saskatoon has truely some of the best urban scenery in Saskatchewan, and most of our races are centred around the river that runs through the middle of our city. Most runs are a simple out and back along the river, but this one looped around several different areas of the city and finished with a loop across one bridge and back across another. I absolutely loved this route and may use it for future training runs.

Here’s the part that surprised me: I felt amazing! At the 5 km mark I felt great so started to push my pace a bit. We crossed the river and I could see a group of runners going the opposite direction, coming towards us. I knew it had to be the Running Room’s Sunday morning run club! My good friend Glenda is running with them in preparation for the same half marathon I’m working towards, and I was thrilled to see her near the front of the group. We high-fived each other as we met on the road and she cheered loud enough for me to hear her over the blare of my ear buds. That simple gesture gave me such a boost that I flew through the last two kilometers. (The downhill slope of the Broadway Bridge helped too!)

I crossed the timing mat at 54:11 chip time, a personal best by 2:27. WHAT? The race I went into with no expectations and still coughing up a lung? Seriously? To say I was excited is an understatement. I ended up 46th of 129 overall, and 6th of 28 in my age group.

From this race I learned that my half marathon training is really helping me in all areas of my running. My legs are stronger and I can cover longer distances, obviously, but also shorter distances, faster. This race was the perfect start to the season, and has given me the mental boost I needed going into the last month of my half training.

I’d like to send a huge thank you to the Saskatoon Police Service for organizing this race, and for supporting their chosen charity, the Recess Guardians.

(I delayed posting this as I was waiting for some pictures to go up on our run club’s web page, but none have. If you know of any pictures from this event, I’d love to see them!)

Gotta run.

What races have you run lately? What goals have you reached without even trying? I’d love to hear about them!

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