Race recap – Resolution Run 2016

Knowing that I already registered for a minefield of challenging races in 2016, I figured the Resolution Run was a good way to start the year off right. Set the tone for a year of running.

Otherwise, Netflix and I would be having a January 1st date that would last all day. In bed.  Nothing super great comes from that annoying message in the midst of an amazing binge: Are You Still Watching?  Um, yes, Netflix – this is my life right now. Thanks for the shaming.

I’m just wrapping up week 3 of my 19-week half-marathon training program, so I expected to run today’s 5K at my training pace, which is about 14:38 per mile, plus additional time for walk breaks. Yes…walk breaks.

The training program I’m following was designed by Jeff Galloway, who stands behind the theory that taking on a run/walk strategy right from the very beginning of a run will ultimately allow you to recover quickly, build endurance and finish strong.  It’s difficult for me to grasp the concept of walking almost right out of the gate, and the ego certainly pushes back as well (WTF? Why you walkin’, sistah?? #lame).

It makes sense, though.  When I went in (totally lazy, totally untrained) to the SeaWheeze half marathon in August, I did just that: pushed through to 14km without a break, but then once I stopped, I’d blown my energy stores and had to walk longer and more frequently to finish the race. AND I was cooked. Totally cooked. Runners in my pack who’d been taking religious walk breaks blew past me and I never saw them again.

So, after a night battling an attack cat determined to scrape my face off while I slept (our new cat is just a little too “playful”), I woke up late and realized I needed to get to the south side of the city pronto for the Resolution Run.  Bless the Running Room for setting the start time at a very reasonable 11:00 am.  My husband dropped me off at the William Lutsky YMCA, the beginning/end of the race, and in no time at all runners were lining up at the start, kicking off the race right on time.

The course runs through a south side neighbourhood near the YMCA, and with a blue sky day warm as can be (only -2C!) it was a pleasure to be outside.  The route was a bit slick at the beginning, and I had to be quite mindful of the ice, strollers and many squirrelly dogs in the race as I navigated through the tail end of the pack to find a comfortable running spot.

I totally forgot to bring my running watch, so I was a bit clueless as to my own pace and distance as I ran.  I tried to take short, slow, “easy” steps, with a pace that felt like my standard treadmill trot.  I made an effort to take at least three walk breaks but without having a timing device I was at a loss with when I should schedule them, and went with just how I felt.  I didn’t see any mile or kilometer markers along the route. Without music, I pretty much listened to conversations around me, and my own breathing.

Five kilometers came quickly, and in no time I was crossing the finish line, which I  must liken to the bottom of a mall escalator in Dubai: packed with people just standing in the way. Ha. Sorry – but it’s true. (C’mon folks, MOVE). My time – all unofficial and according to the running clock – was 37 minutes. Way faster than I ever expected this early in my training game (what’s that, around 12:33 a mile?) – I suppose that’s mostly race/pack mentality. I did huff and puff a little, but felt great at the finish. Hello 2016!!

The Running Room had a big ole pancake breakfast underway for the finishers, and took in tabs for draw prizes.  I skipped the snacks, thanked some volunteers, and hailed the husband for a ride home.   All together a nice, feel-good way to start the year.  I’m looking forward to a good year of running opportunities!

What was/is your first race/run of the year?





Training for a 5K without running

My February fitness challenge is to run a 5K.

Running, without stopping, and finishing under 40 minutes. My first 5K of the year was the Resolution Run on New Year’s Day and I finished in 43 minutes.  Okay, so maybe upping the time to 40 minutes isn’t much of a challenge… maybe 35 minutes.

Thirty five minutes will be crazy regardless, because this isn’t a straightforward treadmill 5K. This is outdoors, in the winter, in Canada. You know, where -30 C is pretty common. It’s a trail run.  There are hills.  There will be snow.  As well, it is a sort of participatory event… it’s the Dead Cold Run with GoT-esque White Walkers chasing the warm-blooded runners.

Hey – I need motivation to keep moving.  Zombies will do it.

The only catch with my newly inspired goal is the training regime.  The run is 26 days away, on Feb 22.  On Feb 3, my gym membership expires, and because I bought my brother a snazzy birthday present last week, I kinda spent my fun money.  So, between Feb 3 and pay day, which is Feb 10, I need to work out without a gym.

So, I can run from today to Feb 3, right?  Wrong.  My sports bra has become uncomfortably loose, and there is NO WAY I am running on the treadmill without proper support. (If I end up getting out the duct tape, I will be sure to let you know).  So, Feb 10 is the “big day” where I can buy a sports bra, renew my membership and start really running. (Is that enough time?? I have no idea)

P.S. Winter is still here

P.S. Winter is still here

In the mean time, I have to figure out a beneficial training plan.  Training for a 5K run without… running.

Here’s what I’ve got so far while I have the gym membership pre Feb 10: incline treadmill, swimming, tabata, rock bottoms class, zumba.

Here’s what I’ve got for my 7-day stretch of no gym: river valley stairs, medicine ball exercises, squats & sit ups & push ups (oh my!) and any other body weight exercise that will elevate my heart rate.

After that I can launch into some quick fix couch to 5K solution for the remaining 12 days prior to the run…

Easy to sit here and write all this.  Actually have to get to it…and cram it all in.  Here’s to a new goal! Woot!

Resolution run

I had to Google a snowshoeing training plan, God bless the Internet, in order to achieve my January goal. Cardio, strength and lots of interval training are on the menu for the 17 day countdown to the backcountry snowshoe adventure.

I kicked it all off with the New Year’s Day “Resolution Run” 5K for a spot of cardio and to earn the right to curl up in a blanket in the afternoon. Huzzah. Only -13C today and snowy. Thank goodness it’d warmed up because yesterday was freezing at -24C…

Running clothes.  That’s actually something that almost prevented me from getting out there this morning. The free jacket issued with my race bib was an XXL Running Room zip windbreaker type jacket.  I couldn’t zip it up.  And I really don’t have any special “running clothes” in my closet, so I had to improvise.  By the time I had on long johns, an Icebreaker shirt, stretchy pants, a vest, a buff, etc, I felt I could barely move.  Too much? Too little?  I’ve not had a lot of running in the cold experience. And I was chicken to wear actual running shoes, so I wore the hiking shoes my mom bought me two summers ago in Jasper.

My kind, supportive husband dropped me off safely at the race zone. I kinda bopped around in the crowd, keeping a low profile.  I felt really super nervous. Like I had no right to be there amongst all these happy, chatty clumps of runners in their sexy compression pants and head bands. I truly have no idea what I’m doing.

Turns out I was okay.  Once I started to move, and popped in my ear buds to some high bpm tunage, I forgot about the people around me and did my little shuffle.  Some people could walk faster than I could shuffle.  But that’s all right.  My ankles got a bit of an unexpected workout due to all the snow on the ground – it was like running on a frickin’ beach without the sun, surf and rum punch.

I got from start to finish in 43 minutes with minimal walking.  This could, of course, be the day I get pneumonia.  There was a lot of cold air sucking going on. I would’ve taken a sweaty victory photo but my iPod lost all life at the finish line. So, there’s the time to beat for my next 5K. Ultimately, by the end of the year, I’d like to run a 5K straight without stopping to gasp and wheeze.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must, just never give up.” ~Dean Kamazes, Ultramarathonman