Archive for September, 2014

The Heartbeat Run 2014

The last time I posted here I was in a foul mood over missing runs, missing riding, and just being generally helpless. Who knew a toenail injury would affect every single aspect of your life so much?

After a week and a half of waiting, I was finally able to see the doctor who could remove my nail. Before he began, he asked if I had any questions. Ha. Of course I do. “How long until I can run again?”

He frowned and said “two weeks.” My face must have reflected my horror, because he then said, “you were expecting less, weren’t you? I’ll give you an answer when I’m done.” He froze my toe, removed my nail, then updated his answer to one week.

One week. I had three weeks until the first of two fall 10K’s I’d been working towards and had already had nearly two weeks off. That meant I’d basically only get one real week of training in before beginning to taper. No thanks. A week is like three days, right?

Turns out that a week in RunnerSpeak is actually four days. I did a few short runs and was dismayed at how much ground I’d lost. A chat with Coach Ron on the phone reassured me somewhat, and he still believed I could beat my 10K PR at the Heartbeat Run on September 14.

This was the third year for the Heartbeat Run, in support of the heart health clinic at RUH in Saskatoon. It’s a small but very well organized race, and includes a lot of staff and patients from the heart clinic. It’s very inspiring to see people who have come back from a heart attack or heart transplant out running in an event.

The 10K in this event isn’t quite a full loop, so 10K runners gather at the finish line and then walk together about 400m down the paved Meewasin Trail to the 10K start line. A crowd of just 40 runners (there were 89 in the 5K) got ready to begin the 10K race and before long we set off. Within the first 500m I was able to pick out a young woman ahead of me to keep an eye on. I liked her pace, and her long blonde pony tail made her easy to follow. I tucked in about 40 metres behind her and we passed the other women ahead of us within the first kilometre or two.

This being such a tiny race, I was alone most of the time. I train alone, so it doesn’t bother me, but I do enjoy having other runners around during a race. Ron had warned against easing up behind another runner (pass with authority, or they’ll find energy and match your pace), so I hung back behind Blonde Ponytail, keeping her at a safe distance.

The Heartbeat Run is run along the picturesque Saskatoon riverbank. Rolling hills, bridges and fall colours make it a very pretty area of the city. The drawback to racing on this trail is that it curves around quite a bit, and has a lot of switchbacks where wheelchair ramps bypass staircases. After seeing on the event website that the course was measured at 10.09 km, I tried my best to run the tangent of these curves, to minimize any extra distance and keep my run as close to that as possible.

Coach Ron had advised me to pick up my pace in the last three kilometres, and that that was when I was to start passing people. Blonde Ponytail was the only person I could see, so I picked it up and prepared to show her my own ponytail. At almost the exact same time, she picked up her pace too. I tried so hard to catch her, and I do feel I ran with everything I had that day, but she put more distance between us and I just couldn’t catch her.

I crossed the finish line in 53:36, 23 seconds slower than my PR. I was disappointed, but knew I had another chance at the next race. Blonde Ponytail was waiting for me at the finish, and said “GOOD RUN! I knew you were there the whole time, you motivated me to keep going!” I laughed and said she’d done the same for me, and that our similar race strategy had kept me from catching her. The results showed we had been first and second for the women (8th and 9th overall), but she was a bit younger so we both won our age groups.

Finisher’s medals for distances less than a half marathon are few and far between in Saskatoon, but this race has them for everyone. They also have gold, silver and bronze medals for every ten year age group, and I was thrilled to receive a gold to match the one I got last year. All top three age group finishers also received a discount card to use towards next year’s race registration. Bonus!

I'll confess to loving race medals!

I’ll confess to loving race medals!

Another phone call with Ron reassured me that I had run well, especially coming back from an injury and having not raced for several months. He asked about the distance (it’s not a certified course), and I said they’d listed it as 10.09, but that my watch said 10.13. He said, “Michyla. That’s PR pace. If you’d stopped at 10K that would’ve been a PR. You just had to run too far.” I plugged it into my pace calculator app and he was right! I’d had fun, run well, and was ready to crush it at the next run, just six days later. Ron said, “There is no reason you can’t absolutely destroy your PR on Saturday.” Hmmmmm. 😉

Powered By Chocolate Milk Contest!

Two sessions per week with a personal trainer for a year, a gym membership and a consultation with a sports dietician? Yes, please! Powered By Chocolate Milk is giving all this away to one lucky resident of western Canada over the age of 18. Click here to enter! Contest closes September 21, so go fast!