Monday, May 30, 2016

Bucket List of Races

Every runner has a bucket list of races they would love to run. For some it’s exotic destinations like the Great Wall of China, or an ultimate runners challenge like the Boston Marathon. I have a few races in my bucket, all of them in Canada, in cities/areas that I already have a connection too. That’s not to say that I wouldn’t love to one day travel far and wide, logging miles and collecting bling along the way. For now though, I’m keeping my bucket list more on the realistic side, complete with the dates I want/plan to run them.

  • April 2017 Fools Run - Gibson to Sechelt BC
    • My In-Laws live in Sechelt, and I think it is one of the most beautiful places in Canada. 2017 is the race’s 40th anniversary, which is why it’s on my list for next year and not later. It’s a point to point course, starting in Gibson’s (home of the Beachcombers) and finishing in Sechelt. I really want to do this race next year, but an April race means training through the worst weather months in Halifax, and that worries me. That, and I need to step up my game if I’m going to do another half so soon, since my plan is to stick to 5ks in 2016.
  • July 2017 -Epic Canada - Dartmouth NS
    • Double in a Day is a 10k race followed immediately by a 5 k. This is a close to home run that I’ve wanted to do for a while, I just never thought that I could run 15 k. But I ran 21 k last year, so I know I can do this!
  • October 2018 Niagara Falls Half Marathon - Niagara Falls ON
    • I love Niagara Falls. My grandparents lived there and I spent a lot of time there when I was growing up. I would fall asleep listening to the roar of the falls in the summer because their house was so close. This looks like a great half to run, not just because it is either completely flat or downhill. The end of October should have great weather too.
  • September 2019 - Oasis Zoo 10k Run - Toronto ON
    • What could be better than running past lions and tigers and bears? Oh my!
  • May 2020 - Blue Nose Marathon Halifax NS
    • This is my ultimate bucket race. I want to run my 1st (and maybe only) marathon the year I turn 50 and I want to do it close to home. The Blue Nose is such a great weekend in Halifax that it only makes sense that I choose it for this experience. Even though it’s 4 years away, every run I do is working towards this grand goal.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Blue Nose Johnson 5k

This was my first year participating in the Blue Nose. It’s a whole weekend affair and includes everything from a 2k kids run to a full Boston Qualifying marathon. This year there were over 12,000 runners between all of the events. There were over 2000 people running the 5k with me, which is the largest race I’ve ever participated in.

When I ran the Lung Run 2 weeks ago, I thought afternoon races were the best. I no longer feel that way! The Blue Nose 5k started at 3:00 Saturday afternoon. It just so happened that this was the first hot day we’ve had all year and the temperature at the starting line was 26 °C. There wasn’t a cloud to be seen or a breeze to be felt; it was HOT. I knew before I even started that I wasn’t going to be able to run the whole thing without walking. In fact, there were a few points where I wasn’t even sure I was going to be able to finish. But I did, in a time of 53:49, a full 7 minutes slower than the Lung Run. At least I didn’t throw up, though I came close a couple of times. I do not handle the heat well at all.

Even with the heat, it was a great day. There were so many people out to cheer the runners on. My friend Jody and her team mates from Team Myles, were one of the loudest groups I passed. They were all running their first 10k the next morning, but that didn’t stop them from putting all their energy into cheering on Saturday. Jody had even made a sign just for me!

I made it up the last hill (why do races end at the top of hills? Someone should really plan these things better), through the finish line and was given my medal. But my Blue Nose experience wasn’t over.

I’ve never gone to a race as a spectator before. I wanted be there to cheer Jody on for her first ever 10k, so Hilary and I made her a big bling-y sign and I headed out Sunday morning. There is just as much excitement to the day when you are cheering people on as when you are in the starting chute waiting for the gun to go off. It was great to see Jody come around that first corner and head out on her journey. It was an out and back course, so I waited for everyone to pass by me a second time. I loved clapping and cheering for random strangers, shouting out their names (yay for names printed on bibs – all races should do this) and seeing them perk up a little bit from the encouragement. Jody went by with a smile on her face and still running strong.

I loved the whole experience so much, and can understand why it’s become such an important part of Halifax culture, that I’ve already signed up to run the 10k in 2017!!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Lung Run 2016

The Nova Scotia Lung Run was my first 5k race of the year. This is the 3rd year that I’ve participated in this run and it’s one of my favorites. It has many things going for it, not the least that it’s an afternoon/evening race. I love my Saturday morning lie-ins, and getting up at the crack of dawn for a race greatly interferes with that. Other great selling features include their awesome long sleeve technical shirts, the very flat course and free beer at the end of the race. I mean, really, what’s not to love?

This year I went down to the race with my friend Jody and some of her friends. They are all part of Team Myles and are training for their first 10k for the Blue Nose in a couple of weeks. We hung out together before the race and took lots of pictures (Jody attracted every photographer there, can you guess why?) Everyone ran at different paces so we were separated during the race itself, but it was great to pass each other along the way and to shout out encouragement.

Jody and a couple of the Team Myles gang finished before me but waited at the finish line for everyone to finish. It’s great motivation to have people cheering you on at the very end so that you can dig deep and finish strong.

This was my first race where I RAN the entire 5k – no walking at all. During training I follow a run/walk method that I used when I first started running. This year I had not managed to get past the 5/1 mark – run for 5 minutes, walk for 1 minute. Yet I knew that I could do better. Running is as much a mental sport as it is a physical one. There are times when my watch has beeped at the 5 minute mark that I would stop to walk even though I felt like I could keep running. It’s such a Pavlovian response though… the bell rang therefore I HAVE to walk. So on for the race I decided to not set my watch and to just run as long as I could and to walk when I needed to. The first time I checked my time, I had already run 9 minutes without even thinking of walking. I figured if I could 9, why not 15? Then it became a mind game…. “You can keep running till that next turn.” “You’ve already done 20 minutes, why not go for 25” till very quickly it became “You can run this whole thing!” So I did.

I finished in 00:46:48 with an average pace of 9:42. I am very happy with this for my first race of the year. My goal for 2016 is to run a 5k in under 40 minutes, something I have never achieved. The closest I’ve come is 00:41:59, coincidentally at the Lung Run in 2014.

So now the training continues.