Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Call Me Sophia

"Picture it, Random Island, 1985...

A group of school age children are playing outside - hopscotch, tag, jump rope, war, riding bikes. Suddenly, the street light comes on and everyone groans because they all know it's time to go back inside. Nobody wants to go home because being outside is way more fun."

My kids are staring at me like I'm on a day pass from the Loony Bin.

In actuality, I'm trying to convince them of the merits of coming with me for a run.

The weather was crap last night so I skipped the group run. Since I hate the treadmill, I also skipped running at home with a promise that I would run in the morning. As I laced up my sneakers this morning, a conversation I had with my eldest came to mind. I had suggested to him a week or so ago that he should join our LTR program the next time it was offered. To my surprise, he seemed to consider it. I thought I would float the idea again this morning, see if he wanted to try some intervals.


The beauty of being a parent is you can counter the "no" with "yes" and win automatically. In the end, we reached a compromise. The kids would come with me, but they would bike while I ran.

After a lengthy struggle with the bike rack we made our way to Neil's Pond. My two Ronnie's took off down the trail, laughing all the way because I was so far behind. They'd stop and wait for me every once in a while with a look of "poor, slow mom" on their faces.

But by the time we made it around the pond the first time, I could tell they were starting to wane. They turned towards our vehicle, but I was having none of that. My "One more lap!" was met with looks of misery, but they pushed on. Sort of.

One stopped near the gazebo and started walking, pushing his bike next to him. The other kept pedaling, but it wasn't long before I was passing him. Seriously?? I'm 40 years old and I can outrun an 11 year old on a pedal bike. Those kids need to get out more. Looks like I have a new motivation to keep me running.

After lap two they sat on a rock on the side of the trail, looking like they had just finished a marathon, while I ran on a little further to get my 5k. I have to say, I really enjoyed this run. Maybe it's because the temperatures were ideal for a run. Maybe it's because it was only 5k. Or maybe it's because I was able to spend some time with my kids without iPads stuck to their faces.

Despite being disproportionately tired, Thing One and Thing Two seemed pleased that they managed 4k on their bikes/feet and even hinted that they might do this with me again.

I'm going to hold them to that.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Four Weeks and Counting

I seriously wish the half marathon was this week. We've been training forever and I'm really looking forward to going back to doing regular easy, shorter, lazy distance runs.

I did two noteworthy runs this past week. One was an 18 K run with Renee on Sunday (she wrote about that over at the PRC blog) and the other was at the Thursday night group run.

On Thursday, my regular peeps were AWOL and since most everyone seemed to have ran in the morning, we were down to a skeleton crew. It was hills night and with the C2C ever present in my mind, I couldn't skip them, even though there wasn't anyone there to hold me accountable. In fact, the group I had figured on running with weren't doing hills at all. However, I made the mistake of asking, "Is anyone doing hills?"

Carol Ann heard me and the next thing I knew, I was running with her towards Mockingbird. Carol Ann is a much faster runner than me and she was obviously running a little slower so I could keep up. Being aware of this, I attempted to run faster so she wouldn't have to go too slow.

Mistake #1.

Carol Ann chatted away while I responded with grunts while trying to breathe. This should have been the first sign that I was well out of my depth, but Carol Ann was very encouraging and really seemed to believe that I could keep up with her.

We made it to the hill and connected with the others that Carol Ann usually runs with - Cathy B, Ed M and the Energizer Bunny, Madeline. If there was a flashing neon sign that said "SIGN TWO - YOU ARE OUT OF YOUR DEPTH!" it couldn't have been more obvious that I was well out of my league with this group.

I think I did six hills to their eight and was about to make a break for it at the top after my last repeat, but they caught me trying to sneak away. I was then informed that instead of heading back our usual route, we were running the opposite direction and adding in a cul-de-sac. I tried to decline and play the "I'm too slow for you" card, but it didn't work. I followed along, like the kid brother, lagging behind the group while the others ran in circles at the end of the road until I caught up. Again, I tried to pick up the pace so the others wouldn't be waiting for me.

Mistake #2.

When we make it back to the community center Carol Ann said we did around 8 K. I was glad that Sugar was already back and waiting for me so we could leave right away. I could already start to feel the strain in my body from the extra exertion. I hadn't fueled for the extra effort because, let's face it, I really hadn't planned on putting in any real effort at all.

I spent the rest of the evening reading all the positive posts about our run on Facebook while I lay in bed trying not to die. I calculated our pace to be about 6:30, hills included. I'm not that great at math, but I'm pretty sure that means our pace on the flat sections was under 6:30. Looks like I added tempo runs to my training.

There are only two more long runs before the half and I don't think I've ever looked forward to finishing something so much. I know the C2C will be on the horizon when we get home but I've decided to stop thinking about that race and just run it on the day. Right now, all my energy is focused on Halifax and being done with training for a while.

Four weeks and counting.

Monday, 15 August 2016

It's the Final Countdown

Running Calendar

Week of August 14 - 2 groups runs + 18 K training run (3)
Week of August 21 - 2 group runs + 19 K training run (3)
Week of August 28 - 2 group runs + 20 K training run (3)
Week of September 4 - 2 group runs + PRC Five and Dime (3)
Week of September 11 - 2 group runs + MRW Half Marathon (3)
September 18 to October 15 - C2C training (12)
October 16 - C2C (1)
October 17 - quit running

The countdown is on. Cue Europe.

By my calculations I have 28 more runs left to complete before I can quit.

Ok, maybe I won't actually quit, but my life will stop revolving around running. I won't be getting up early on my one day off to go on a long run. I can stop pouring over Google maps, looking for routes that end near a coffee shop. I can spend a Friday evening out with friends and not leave early because I have to run in the morning. I can miss a run and not feel like I have to make it up. Basically, I can stop thinking about running altogether. 

But until then, the training continues. 

There are 32 days left before the half and it's getting harder to schedule the Rice Krispie long runs together. Luckily there are enough PRCers doing long runs that we can join in with them if our schedules allow. And sometimes, other PRCers are able to join us.

Take this week for example. Renee was working and Paula was on vacation so on Sunday morning I met Hardcore Lori and Roller Derby Amanda at Peter Barry Duff for a 17 km run. We set out on a route that I chose because it had a couple of nice hills. I figured if I have to train, might as well train for both the half and C2C at the same time. 

It was a bit of an odd route - lots of side roads and backtracking that caused a bit of confusion and the possibility of getting lost. The two major hills were horrible and I had to stop myself from thinking that they weren't even half the length of the ones we'd see at C2C. Maybe I will quit after all. It's the only way to make sure I never register for another race again.

Hills aside, the run was a success. Amanda, who is a much faster and stronger runner, ended up running 19 km because of all the running back and forth she did making sure we were still nearby and not lost on a side street somewhere. Myself and Lori finished our 17 with no ill effects which continues to make me confident that the half will be just as successful.

My FitBit was pretty pumped about the whole thing too. 17 km is now my longest distance and I know that adding four more clicks won't be a problem. Sorry 4.1. Can't forget that point one.

32 days and counting!

Monday, 8 August 2016

Knowledge = Fear

Nothing makes you question your sanity for registering for the Cape to Cabot like running up hills.
Thursday night's hill repeats took on a whole new meaning. I've run that hill hundreds of times but my first trip up this week made me panic. Why did I ever think I could run the C2C? There's no way I'll be able to do it. I'll die. They'll find me at Maddox Cove Road curled up in the fetal position praying for an earthquake that will reduce all the hills on the Avalon Peninsula to rubble.

The same thing happened on Saturday at the Figure 8 race. I thought the run would be fairly easy considering I had home field advantage, but when I started up hill from Octagon Pond back to the T'railway, all I could think was that in October I'll be followed by an ambulance for 20 kilometers, which is probably a good thing since I'm going to end up in one before the race is done.

Maybe I'm over reacting. Maybe I should do some research, figure out exactly what I'm in for. Knowledge will slay the fear.

I decided to look at the course elevation. There are four up hill sections. For some reason I thought there would be more. Race starts out downhill for one kilometer. So far so good. First uphill is one kilometer followed by another kilometer downhill. See, that's not so bad, right?

Hill number two is two kilometers. That's a long way up. It's like running Neil's Pond, only all uphill.

Ok, don't panic, that's probably the worst of it.

Downhill for two kilometers, followed by uphill for three kilometers.

I was wrong. Knowledge feeds the fear fire and it's like Guy Fawkes night over here.

After pacing back and forth trying to stop from hyperventilating, I give the elevation chart one more glance. Downhill for three kilometers followed by three kilometers flat along Water Street. That I can do. I think I'll ignore the final slog up Signal Hill Road for now. Most people walk at least a portion of that section and I know I'll do the same.

That's enough knowledge for one day. I don't think I can handle knowing any more.

Instead, let's think about how this will be my last race of the year. Maybe of my life. Maybe I'll quit running after this. I'll become a race volunteer. Or I'll start sleeping in on weekends. Think of all the drawer space I'll have when I get rid of all my running clothes.

Yeah, that probably won't happen.

I'm sure Renee and Paula will be at Cabot Tower with tea when we finish racing. That's a good thought. I'll have an awesome new running shirt - Sugar says his C2C shirts are some of his favorites. I'll have that really amazing medal with the Forget Me Not's on it. I'll finally get to go to the post race reception. And I hope that I'll be able to say that I'm glad I did it.

It's going to be okay. I think it will really all be okay.

That is, until I run hills again this week.

Tuesday, 2 August 2016

I'm Not Sure What Just Happened

I'm not sure what just happened.

One minute I'm scarfing down a bag of Nibs while watching Ice Age: Collision Course with my kids and the next thing I know I'm looking at the confirmation of my registration for the Cape to Cabot.

What did I just do?

I blame Lori. She decided that running her first 5K, 8K, 10K, Tely and half marathon wasn't enough accomplishment for one year and added the C2C to her list. She was panicking all day and suggested I do the race with her.

Um, no.

But she had planted that seed somewhere in the back of my mind. Never mind that I swore I would NEVER run the Cape. Never mind the visions of all the strong PRC runners I've witnessed struggle up the Munn Mile, looking like death. Never mind that it's promoted as the HARDEST and TOUGHEST race in Northeastern America.

I should never have checked my messages after the movie. Lori had sent a screen shot of her registration confirmation. I checked with Sugar to make sure he had registered and casually mentioned that "Lori wants me to run the C2C with her." "Do it," was his response. No doubts there.

It's probably sold out by now. It sells out fast. I'll just log in and then I'll know for sure that it's sold out and I have a good excuse.

24 spots left. 

There's no going back now. This brings a whole new meaning to our hill training.

One thing is for certain - if Lori decides she wants to add her first marathon to her list this year, I'm definitely looking for new friends.