Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Tely Train of Thought

It's Tely morning. 6 am.

Do I get up now or wait for the alarm to go off? I'll get up. It's not like I'm going to get back to sleep.

Should I still wear my singlet? It's foggy out there. Might be coolish. Don't want to be cold at the start line. Let's check the forecast. 16 degrees. That's 26 degrees once I start running. I'll stick with the singlet.

I should eat breakfast first, give it time to digest. A bagel and a banana should be good. And a Rice Krispie square. Get the rocket fuel in before I run. Should I have tea? I'll have to pee 10 times if I do. Maybe I'll just have a small cup. Use one of those teacups I have that are covered in dust in the cupboard. Yeah, let's do that.

I should put Body Glide on my feet today, just as a precaution. Don't want to get blisters. Should I wear my hat? It makes my head hot, but it blocks the sun from my eyes. But there's no sun right now and the forecast says not to expect any until after 10 am. I'll be finished running by then. No hat. I wish I had a visor like Sue or Ironman. Maybe I'll get one at the Maritime Race Weekend Expo.

I just made tea in the biggest mug in the house. Oh well, maybe I should wear a Depends under garment today.

I have one million messages from the girls. They are a little freaked out about getting to the race on time.

It's 7:35. Time to head to the start line. I'll park near Coffee Matters and walk up the trail with Sugar.

Hey, there's Ed doing a warm up run along the trail. He's stopping to have a chat.

It's a short walk, but that was a lot of talk about poop.

I wonder where the girls are? Text says in the 2 hour corral in the middle. There they are. Paula looks terrified. I'm sure she'll do fine.

There's the gun! And we're going...nowhere. Am I running for time? I don't know. Depends on the heat. And how I feel as I get going. Ok, here we go, a slow walk to the start mat. Push start on my phone. Let the fun begin! Don't start out too fast! Slow it down. You don't want to burn out too quickly.

I think it's starting to rain. No, I was wrong. It's starting to pour. Everyone's laughing. At least we're all good humored about it.

The weather man lied. That's the sun right there, beating down on my hatless head. I'm spending all day Friday before the half marathon shopping at the Expo in Halifax this September. I'm going to buy several visors. Maybe I'll buy some Bermuda shorts too because I'm going to end up with runner's tan. Tan lines just about the knees. Looks real nice with regular shorts and bathing suits.

I think I've lost the girls. Should I try and find them or keep going? I think I hear Renee talking. Maybe they're closer than I think.

Oh look, there's my parents! Smile and wave. No kids. Guess they're smart and stayed in bed.

I wonder if Aaron will be out taking pictures today. Better practice my running smile.

Kilometer three! I have the cold sweats. That's not a good sign. That means heatstroke. I think I better slow down for a bit. Don't want to be delusional by kilometer five. Although there's a good argument to be made that I'm already delusional since I'm running in this humidity.

That's a better pace. More to the beat of Thin Red Line. Alan Frew, I'm depending on you to keep me going. Shadows fall over me. 

There's Kim P passing me again. She's really rockin' it! She's really improved with her running since last year.

Water station up ahead. I think I'll be okay with my Gatorade. Plus there are one million people there in desperate need of fluids. The cups hitting the ground sound like someone is making Jiffy Pop. I wonder if you can still buy Jiffy Pop? I like popcorn. Maybe I'll have some when I get home.

Kilometer five! Time for Rice Krispies! Yes, lady, I'm eating cookies while I run. And they're delicious.

That's a big line up at the porta potties. And it's all women. Except for that one guy who doesn't realize all the other guys are standing in the woods behind him. If I could stand in the woods I'd stop now too. That giant mug of tea has turned my insides into a water bed full of jumping children.

Over and over, Her shadow falls over me.

Half way there. Gatorade. Cookies. It's HOT. H-O-T. Hot. hOt. hoT. HOt. hOT. HoT.


All for the thin red line.

I wonder if they'll have the hoses spraying at the fire station? I could use a cool down. Gotta try and keep my feet dry though. They're already wet from the rain and I can feel hot spots forming. I predict blisters.

I'm sure I just heard Renee again. She probably yelling at her brother. I still don't see her though. I can't stop to look or I'll never start again.

So many people walking now. The heat is ridiculous. Glad I have my fuel belt. A lot of people have nothing with them. I would still be in Paradise if I wasn't drinking every kilometer.

I love Cornwall Avenue. It has trees and shade. Think I'll run on the right where the sun can't find me. Shadow falls over me.

Another water station. More Jiffy Pop. I should go to Sobeys on the way home and see if they still sell it. Should pick up a few other things while I'm there. I think tea bags are on sale. Think I'll take some water this time and pour it over my head. I wonder how much further to the PRC pit stop? I could use a cold sponge right about now.

There's Aaron. Saw him too late. He probably already has my picture and I'm guessing I'm not smiling. Hopefully I don't look too much like death. Or insane.

Gina can't be much farther. I can see yellow! Bring on the candy and the sponges! Sorry lady, I think I just sprayed you with sponge water! My bad.

That kid has a sign that says 2.5 kms to go. Is he trustworthy do you think? He looks innocent enough but you never know.

The crowd of spectators is getting bigger. That means I'm definitely nearing the end. Good thing too cause my hip is starting to ache. And my legs.

There's the turn to Bannerman Road. Not yet. Still too far out. Wait for it. Wait for the right moment. Don't get caught up in the sudden rush of people going past you.

There's Newly Engaged Ryan offering me water. I'm too close to the finish to slow down now. Now! Go now. Increase your stride. Pick up the pace.

There's the clock. What does it say? I need to get closer or else get glasses - it starts with a one! I'm under two hours. PB! RUN! RUN! RUN! RUN! RUN!

Over. Done. Dying. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Medal. Water. Banana. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Yellow. Go. Eat. Drink. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Walk. Tree. Shade. Stop. Stretch. Breathe.

Where's Sugar? Wonder how he did. Batman is sitting on the ground and can't get up. There's Renee! I wonder how Paula is doing? And where's Lori?

Everyone is discussing their time. Mine is one hour something. I didn't even look at the other numbers when I saw that I was under two hours.

There's Paula and Collette! Paula has her knee bandaged and she's in tears. Joy or Pain? Maybe both. Maybe more pain than joy. But she crossed that finish line upright.

We did it. All four of us got a PB. Well, since it was Paula and Lori's first Tely, the automatically get a PB, but myself and Renee also beat our previous times. And of course, like all crazy runners, we're already talking about "when we do this next year". I wonder when registration opens?

My Results: 1:49:53 (chip time). 12:36 faster than 2013
Team Results: Rice Krispies placed 6th (out of 6 teams)

Monday, 11 July 2016

The Race Nemesis

If you are a regular participant in road races you have undoubtedly discovered that you have a race nemesis. A race nemesis is that person you see at every event who is just slightly faster and 99% of the time crosses the finish line just ahead of you.

The race nemesis plays a very important role. Their main purpose is to motivate you to dig deep, to encourage you to push yourself just a little harder, to make you believe that you can catch them if you really put your mind to it. And to drive you slightly crazy when they beat you yet again.

My race nemesis is called Walter.

I know his name because it's always above mine in the race results. He probably doesn't even know I exist and yet he is one of my biggest motivators.

For three years Walter has beaten me at every race (except one) that we have entered. For three years he has unknowingly encouraged me to try and catch him.

So when I spotted him at the starting line for the Mews 8 K on Sunday, running along Mundy Pond Road for a warm up, I decided for the first time this year, I was going to try for a personal best. My last PB was three years ago and it was time to try and change that. Sorry girls, you're on your own.

A last minute bathroom break left me racing to the start line with about 10 seconds to spare before the starting gun. I didn't have time to find Walter so I decided that I would just run on my own and hopefully spot him somewhere along the route. If I could keep up with him, I was fairly certain I could beat my previous time.

I managed to find Renee and Paula and we ran together for a few minutes before I decided to pull ahead and see if I could catch a glimpse of Walter. I don't know why I chose him as my person, but I think it had something to do with the fact that he wears a headband when he runs. I am partial to a runner in a sweatband. 

I wasn't running with my phone so I had no idea what my pace was or how many kilometers I had clocked. I tried to listen to the voice feedback from the apps of the runners around me for some clue but I was too preoccupied with finding Walter to really take in any data or do the math to see where I was.

I pushed onward but as I neared King's Bridge Road, I realized that my chances of running across the finish line with my motivator were quickly diminishing. I hadn't even been able to catch a glimpse of him this time around. Then I saw the clock and I realized that despite not finding my pace bunny, a PB was within my reach. I crossed the mat with a chip time of 51:12, five seconds faster than my best Figure 8 time and a minute and a half faster than my last Mews. And it's all thanks to Walter. I never would have ran like I did if I hadn't been looking for him.

So Thank You, Walter. Maybe next time I'll get that finish line photo. For now, this one will have to do.

Walter and I after the race

Oh, and just a word of encouragement to those who have yet to finish ahead of their nemesis - there's one thing you should always remember:  you're someone's race nemesis too.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Just Like Bad Underwear

It's less than three weeks to the Tely. When I really think about that I can't help but wonder how it crept up so fast. Just like bad underwear, as Sugar would say.

I'm not panicked or freaked out. I've put in the time training and I know what I need to do to have a good run. I have good shoes, I know how to fuel and hydrate and I've got a bazillion PRCers running with me. Bring it on.

It seemed like the majority of the running community decided to run the Tely route on Canada Day so I jumped on the bandwagon. Snap, Crackle and Pop were either out of town, running other races or had previous commitments so I joined another bunch of PRCers (I will call them Batman's Angels, or BA for short) for the practice run. BA were doing the full Tely route, but since I only had 15 K to do (yes, I said ONLY) and planned to finish at Quidi Vidi where Sugar would be waiting after his run, I started further along the route, between the one and two mile markers.

It was humid. For the first eight kilometers or so, everything I was wearing or carrying was pasted to my body. I felt like a roll of Saran Wrap. Or Scotch Tape. But at least it was overcast, or it was for the first half hour of the run. Then the skies cleared and the sun came out in full force, beating down on us like ants under a magnifying glass. As we passed the Village Mall, I decided to cross over to the opposite side of the street where there was at least partial shade. Many of the other ants followed my lead. 

It was difficult to run in the heat and I started having flashbacks of Tely's past. I kept reminding myself that it would be different on race day - the firemen will be out with the hoses, Gina will have the PRC pit stop set up, there will be water tables around the next turn. And maybe it won't be this hot on July 24th. 

When I reached the Mile 10 marker, BA were all lying in the grass enjoying cold beverages and relishing being finished. I stopped for a brief chat before heading on to the lake where Sugar and his Crisps were waiting to take me out for tea. 

I made it to the lake and hit the finish button on my phone. My FitBit app always has an encouraging message for me after I finish a run. This time it was "Bring it!" I thought it was fitting considering my next long run will be the Tely. It pretty much sums up how I feel.

And maybe it's also fitting that the map showing my route looks like a smile. My app is happy and so am I - this is the longest I've run since my last Tely and I felt great after. No aches, pains or discomfort of any kind. 

With every long run, I'm more and more encouraged that the half marathon will be a success. It's only eleven weeks away and I'm sure it will be another pair of bad underwear. I think when Maritime Race Weekend is over, I'll buy myself a nice pair of bloomers.