Thursday, March 27, 2008

Back to the grind

I have been back at work now these past few days and I can really tell that I was off for a couple of days. I am scrambling to get things caught up and organized, and so far I would have to say that I am doing a pretty good job. This week of training has been average, especially compared to the second half of last week. On Monday I did an easy 60min spin on the bike, as my legs were still sore from the over 5 hours of running I had done in the previous 4 days.

On Tues. I attempted a run on the treadmill, and did not feel good at any point during the 41 minutes. I had to cut the planned 50 min run short due to feeling like crap and out of shape, and really sore legs (calves especially). I missed my swim Tues. night after coaching, b/c I planned to get up at 6am the next morning to fit my bike in (and I really didn't want to be finishing my swim workout at 10pm having to get up 8 hours later). I did a 60 min trainer ride the next morning, and found that it wasn't actually too difficult to get up and do that!

The reason I had to do the workout early was that I had to do a CPR renewal course after work from 6-9:30pm (yawn, yawn). Done and done for another year! I need to renew exactly every 12 months for my CEP certification (certified exercise physiologist).

Thurs. I went out for a 50 min run, which turned into 42 minutes b/c I had some stomach/digestive trouble and had to run back home to make it to the bathroom! This is very frustrating when this happens. Does this happen to anyone else, because I never hear anybody talk about it? Enlighten me if it does, so that I can rest assured I am not the only one who suffers from occasional/frequent digestive trouble during runs. My swim yesterday evening was an easy 2400m, main set was 2 x {8 x 25 band only, 4 x 50 DPS, 200 pull/paddles, 100 ez.

This weekend of training is going to be another toughie. Early swim at 7:50am (will try to get in 3600m), brick workout (90 min bike, 45 min run) tomorrow. Sunday I am going to do the Coyote Run, a 20km run starting at 8am that the St. Albert triathlon club does every year. Apparently you may see coyotes along the way. It is not a race, rather a training run, and you get a free pair of socks and brunch after (all for the reasonable entry fee of zero dollars)! My coach had me scheduled for only a 70min run, but he okay'ed me to do the 20km as long as I am feeling alright. So far, so good. The only thing is, it is supposed to be crap weather again this weekend. Why always when there is some kind of an outside run or race planned? Whatever, it certainly won't be as cold as the Hypothermic Half!

Bye for now, more later.

Monday, March 24, 2008

SF by the numbers

5:05 - Hours and minutes spent running in 4 runs in 4 days
90 - Minutes spent biking over the weekend

3200 - distance in meters of the Master's swim practice on Friday

30 - minutes spent open water swimming

1:14 - fastest 100 free at end of main set in Master'

14 or 15 - temperature in degrees celsius of lake

9.6 - temperature in degrees celsius of ocean

19 - temperature in degrees celsius of warmest day in SF

6.5 - episodes of America's Next Top Model watched

7 - Pugs I spotted out and about

3 - French Bulldogs seen

1 - Boston Terrier seen

2 - black bulls seen on trail run at Del Valle park

5 or 6 - wild turkeys seen running around on trail at Del Valle park

3 - gels consumed during runs

5 - bottles of red wine consumed over the 5 days

1 - huge spider found in Stephen's bed and relocated to the outdoors

4 - ice baths (2 in bath, 1 in ocean, 1 in lake)

3 - big bags of chips consumed

180 - dollars spent at the Sport Basement

2 - hours of delays spent in airport during flights there and back
Here are the pictures from my camera taken Thurs-Fri that I was unable to upload while away (more to follow as this is taking forever right now):

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pictures; update to follow

Above is Stephen and below is me right before the start of our run this morning.

Two hours and 5 minutes of running later, this is us below. This was my longest run of the year (actually in 2 years), and I was pretty hurtin' by the end.

The following 2 pictures were this afternoon at the Easter party in Dolores park. It was quite a gong show and I will not post the pictures we took of some of the crazy costumes we saw. Serge is the guy with the green shirt and Stephen's friend (he also came out with us on Friday night).

I will post an update of the last few days when I have more time tomorrow. Off to bed now, I have to be up at 5:45am to catch an 8am flight home!

More pictures from SF...

Here is the Golden Gate Bridge. The island on the left is Alcatraz, and the island on the right is Treasure Island.
View of downtown San Francisco with an outline of the Golden Gate bridge and Treasure Island. Alcatraz is hiding just behind the trees on the left side of the picture.

This is the beach that we went to yesterday, it was pretty much deserted except for one or two other people. Very quiet and peaceful. Here is Stephen standing half in the ocean. We decided to wade in for some leg recovery. The water temperature was 9.6 degrees C. For some reason it didn't actually feel that bad!?
Here is me standing half in the ocean, just a few minutes before I lost my balance and fell over. The waves and current are very strong! The cold water was really good on the legs, though.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Some pictures from SF...

This is the view from Stephen's apartment, you can't actually see the outline of downtown in this picture but you can from the window.
Wanna buy a house in San Francisco? A cool $3.2 million will land you the property in the middle, which is currently for sale across the street from Stephen.

The view from the top of Stephen's street. His apartment is at the very top of the street. This picture doesn't do the grade of the hill justice - I would guess it has to be at least a 20% grade.

The view from the bottom of Duncan street (the street Stephen lives on). Gives you a better idea of the steepness of the hills here (we had to run up quite a few of them yesterday).

Stephen and I after our 'easy' 30 min recovery jog this morning. We ran through the Castro area (the gay district with rainbow flags on every corner). I discovered that having to run up several steep hills negates the purpose of a recovery run.

Here is us again right after the run. I don't know how to rotate the picture and I also was unable to remove it from this post after I uploaded it, so it stays like this!

Me, Stephen, and Mike (Stephen's friend) just before going out last night.

Stephen and I before going out. Again, don't know how to rotate the picture!

I will post the pictures I took today of the Golden Gate bridge and the ocean in a bit. Later for now!

Friday, March 21, 2008

The day that was never meant to be...

Today was another crazy day in San Fran. Both Stephen and I awoke pretty early, 7:30am, and I knew right away that my legs were SORE. Standing up and walking was hard due to the stiffnes. After breakfast and lounging around, we drove out to San Mateo for the Master's swim practice from 11am-12pm. Turned out to be a tough practice, and every time I pushed off the wall my legs were shaking due to being so fatigued. After the warm-up we did 2 rounds of 2 x 200 pull on 3:00, and 100 kick on 2:00. Hard set, but I made all the pull under 2:50 and the kick on 1:45. The main set was 3 rounds of 2 x 200 swim desc. 1 to 2 on 3:00 and then 100 fast on 2:30. The 200's were okay, made the 2nd on under 2:40, and the 100's I descended from 1:16 to 1:14. I ended up doing 3200m in about an hour, which is actually my longest swim of the year!

We went shopping after the swim to the Sports Basement, a huge 4-floor sports store which includes running and triathlon stuff. I bought quite a few items, including a bathing suit, running shorts/top, and some comfy pants and a zip hoody. We ended up in the store for at least an hour and a half. The first incident of the day occurred when Stephen was pulling out of his parking space and backed up right into a pole (which was not very high), denting the left rear side of his car (we're talking a huge dent, looks like a car hit it). Anyway, after eating lunch and relaxing for a bit, we drove to the Golden Gate park, which is right near the ocean, to start our 45-50 min ez run. Stephen wanted to do a 10 min warm-up in his Newton racers so we ran along the ocean side, where it was quite windy and cooler than the 17C temperature.

When we got back to the car, Stephen discovered that the keys had been locked into the car and we had no way of getting in. Second incident of the day right there. It was decided that we would have to run back to the house and retrieve the spare set of keys. The drive to that spot had seemed to take forever, so we had a looong run ahead. My legs were feeling pretty sore but did loosen a bit during the run. We ran through the park (about 5km), out of the park, through the Panhandle, and through the streets of San Francisco, back to Stephen's apartment. Once we got out of the parks, several ridiculously steep hills awaited us. These hills are so steep that you can barely run up, you kind of have to lean forward and just shuffle up. My legs were burning on these hills and I was completely out of breath.

One hour and twenty minutes after we started our warm-up run, we arrived back at the house and basically collapsed. So much for a 45 min recovery run. My legs were so fatigued they felt shaky. After stretching and a recovery drink and some leftover pizza, Stephen's friend picked us up and drove us back to the car in the park.

This is us just after getting back to the car. These pictures were taken on Stephen's camera as his camera actually works on this computer. We made dinner and then filled up the bath with ice cold water and poured in 3 bags of ice, plus numerous ice trays (6 or 7 altogether. Don't ask me why Stephen has that many filled ice trays in his freezer.?) Here is me submerged in the middle of a 10 min ice bath, which I have to admit wasn't quite as bad as I was expecting: Here is Stephen in his 10 min ice bath, holding a piece of ice for effect:
My legs actually feel much better after the ice bath than they did before. The plan to run tomorrow has been re-thought and will probably no longer go forward. We may head to the gym and do some weights and a bike workout. Another epic day of training in the bag.

We are still going to check out some of the sights, such as Fisherman's Warf, the Golden Gate bridge, and ride a streetcar. I will take some pics of this and post them.


Thursday, March 20, 2008

Update from San Fran

Well here I am in San Francisco and so far it is great. After several flight delays in Vancouver I finally landed at about 10pm, and got to Stephen's just before 11pm. It is a very interesting city, with neat architecture and very different houses from Canada. Stephen lives at the top of this street that is so steep I would not want to venture to drive a standard up it, as I would probably roll backwards all the way down. I took some good pictures today but have been unable to upload them to this computer as it does not seem to be compatible with the camera (must be the Windows 98). Too bad, but I will be sure to post them as soon as I return home.

Today was a killer workout day. Stephen and I drove out to Del Valle Regional Park (about an hour's drive from downtown SF), with our swim and running gear. Very scenic area, with some huge hills that would be deathly for cycling (but good training). It was a perfectly sunny, cloudless day but there was a cool wind blowing, which made it seem a bit colder than 16-17C. We put on our bathing suits and walked down to the completely deserted beach (which might tell you something about the temperature of the water), and proceeded to put on our wetsuits. It took quite some time to actually get in the water, as our feet went completely numb and after a few minutes you just couldn't feel them anymore. The water temp was probably about 14-15C, I would guess. I had an ice headache going on for a lot of the swim. We were able to do a 30 minute swim, with some difficulty due to muscle stiffness and numbness. After a while I just kind of got used to it and it didn't bother me anymore.

After our chilly swim, we put on our run gear, downed a gel and some gatorade, and began with a just under 20 min warm-up in the new Newton racing flats. This turned into somewhat of a tempo run, as those shoes make your turnover faster and force you to land right on your mid-foot. Then we switched to our training shoes and did another hour, which included 2 times through of the following: 5 min hard, 1 min ez, 4 min hard, 1 min ez, 3 min hard, 1 min ez, 2 min hard, 1 min ez, 5 min ez. Not too bad, you might think. But when it involves mountainous trails so steep that you nearly have to hike up it, it is a different story. The trails keep going up and up and up until your legs are burning and shaking so much you feel they might buckle under you. On just the first interval I was already redlining it as the whole 5 mins was uphill. After the run finally ended we stood in the lake for 10 mins for a much needed ice bath. Right now my legs are stiff and sore and tomorrow they are probably going to be very sore.

Tomorrow we are going to attempt to try out an ocean swim, which may not last long as apparently the temperature is a 'balmy' 10C. At the 'Aquatic Park', where the open water swimmers train, a lot of them do not wear wetsuits which is hard to believe. I will check it out for myself tomorrow and keep you posted. It is possible I might not get farther than dipping in the toes, but maybe I will toughen up and venture in.

Gotta go, we are going to order pizza now and then have to get some groceries. Stay tuned for further updates from California!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Better days ahead

I am so glad it is the weekend, I have been feeling very tired and non-energetic this week. The rest of my workouts for the week were mediocre to poor. Wednesday was a 75 min ride with 2 x 20 min at high cadence (kept it at or above 100rpm), which was an alright workout. Thursday was another story, as both my run and swim were on the poor side. I was so tired after work on Thursday that I watched t.v. for half an hour, then went upstairs to lie down for 10 minutes prior to running. I ended up falling asleep and woke up at the exact time I needed to be starting my run in order to get in 50 minutes before coaching. For a minute I thought about skipping the run entirely and going back to sleep but then I decided I might as well do it and not slack off. I quickly got ready and went downstairs to the treadmill, as my calves have been very sore and tight and I needed a run on the softer surface. I felt like crap for most of the run, and cut it short at 40 minutes. Sometimes you need to modify your workouts according to how you feel. If you feel like s%^t, then cut it short. Adaptability is an important aspect of training and you need to modify accordingly.

My swim was also kind of crap and I just did an easy 2400m, with the main set as 6 x 300 (#1, 3, 6 were pull/paddles, #2 was drill, #4 was 3 x 100 kick, and #5 was 4 x 75 IM). I usually get through Thursday's workouts by looking forward to the next day, Friday, which is my complete day off. I had a massage booked yesterday and it was much needed. It was a new massage therapist and it started out as almost a relaxation massage and I was lying there thinking, what a waste of time (if the massage doesn't hurt, I feel it is not useful). When she got to my calves, it turned into the most painful massage of my life. It was crazy. My calves are sore from it today but overall they feel less tight and better.

I have 2 really hard training days this weekend, which will start in about 5 minutes. Today is a brick, including bike for 90 mins, followed by a 60min run. Tomorrow I am doing a 90 min run, and a 90 min bike in the evening. I have to find time to do a whole bunch of work related stuff (reports etc.) that need completed by Wednesday, when I leave for San Fran!! Right now it is 19C and sunny there, so I hope it continues. Stephen and I have a lot of hard training planned (swimming and running only as I am not bringing my bike), as well as shopping, the beach, and a night or two out on the town. Should be fun! I will post lots of pictures while I am there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

What are your fears?

If you want to face your fears, you must first be able to identify them. Identify your fears, then you can begin to work at overcoming them and putting them behind you. What are your fears? What are you afraid of? Although I love going outside my comfort zone and pushing my limits in training and racing, I fear not being able to handle and withstand the pain that comes along with racing. I fear succombing to it and letting myself back off, and thus not giving a full 100% effort. This is something I am now beginning to work on, and it all started with my half marathon race from a couple of weeks ago. I decided to embrace the pain and suffering, and work through it, rather than back off. And the result - a PB and a boost in my confidence that I CAN do it.

This is a picture of me starting the bike leg of the only race I have ever started and not finished - the Sylvan Lake 1/2 Ironman in July 2005. It was below 10C, raining (which turned to pouring), windy, and I made the mistake of not dressing appropriately for the conditions. I may be smiling in the picture, but little did I know what lay ahead. I made it through 80km of the bike, at which point I was hypothermic and shivering, barely able to switch gears or brake, and I made the decision to just drop out. There have been occasions in races since then (and prior to that) where I have been feeling absolutely terrible (always on the run) and the pain of exertion was so great that I wanted to just drop out and end it, but I didn't. I will face my fear from now on and push through it and the results will follow.
Other than that, training is going well. I finished off the rest of Sunday with an 80min easy trainer ride, and yesterday did some full-body weights and core exercises. Legs are not feeling sore yet, but I am sure they will be as I have not done leg weights in many weeks. I have a massage booked for Friday evening and am very much looking forward to that!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Trust in Your Coach

This has been a very tough weekend of training for me. Saturday morning I got up early and made it to the pool by 7:45am, and jumped into the water at 7:50am. It was a good workout, 3100m in total (longest of the year so far!), and consisted of 400 sw, 8x50 k/sw, 8x50 dr/sw, and the main set was 5 x 100 sw on 1:40, 50 ez, 4 x 100 sw on 1:40, 50 ez, 3 x 100 sw on 1:40, 50 ez, 2 x 100 sw on 1:40, 50 ez, 1 x 100 sw. Each set of 100's was to be done faster than the previous set. When I got to the 2 x 100, my right hip suddenly jammed up and became very painful. [It was probably from the day before, when I had to drive there and back to Cold Lake for an assessment, which is 3 hours one way. My hip flexor area was quite sore after I got out of the car and I was limping a bit, but in the evening it was feeling better.]

You don't realize how much you use your hips when swimming until one of them becomes very sore!! I couldn't kick properly and I really noticed the soreness on my flip turns. The last few 100's unfortunately weren't faster than the first 12, and I wasn't able to pull out a sub-1:15 on the last one as I'd planned. Oh well, at least the workout got done.

Yesterday was also my first brick workout of the year! And I forgot how tough they really are. I biked for 90 mins, including some 3 min high cadence intervals (which are challenging), and some 2 min big gear intervals. I got ready pretty quickly for my run, but my stomach didn't feel so hot so I didn't get out the door as quickly as I wanted. The first 15 mins were supposed to be a steady pace, but by mistake I went pretty hard instead of steady. The last 30 mins were supposed to be easy, and by the time I got about halfway through the 45 min run, I began to experience the familiar feeling of the dreaded bonk beginning to occur. First bonk of the year, too! I pushed through it, and still felt pretty good running although with very little energy. I managed to finish the run fairly strong after all, so not a complete bonk, but I was completely dead after that workout was finished.

I finished an 80 min run a couple hours ago, and have an 80 min easy ride planned for later this evening. The run went alright, my stride feels pretty good right now and the pace was 'comfortably uncomfortable'. It has been beautiful this weekend and the snow is melting very quickly. The days of skirts/shorts/sandals and running shorts/capris are near. In fact, I wore capris for both of my runs this weekend. Every time I run outside I see more and more of the pavement and less ice/snow which is awesome for running.

Recently I had been thinking and wondering (or perhaps worrying) if I was doing enough training. I tend to compare what I am doing to what others are doing, and determine if what I am doing 'measures up'. Some of my workouts weren't necessarily very long [Bonnie if you are reading this I am sure you are disagreeing!]. I talked to Geoff about it a few times and every time he disagreed with me and said 'Your coach has a plan for you. Anyway you have still been pulling out best times in swimming and running.' Which was true of course.

Those thoughts and doubts completely dissolved back on Monday after checking out my scheduled workouts for the week. Trusting what your coach is prescribing for you is very important and vital in your relationship with your coach. This is the first year I have actually had a coach of my own and so I am still in the midst of grasping this concept. I realize now that everything is part of the Coach's 'Master Plan' and that each prescribed workout serves its own unique purpose, and that each workout is a stepping stone in the path to achieving your ultimate goal of the season. This week has just been my biggest week of training yet this year, and I am sure that it will just continue to increase (it is only March after all!).

Friday, March 7, 2008

Git 'er Done

Yesterday when I was driving home from work I saw a truck that had a sticker on the back that said 'Git 'er Done'. I kind of laughed to myself and then thought that the theme actually kind of fits with my training this week. When i got home from work yesterday, I felt really tired and sat on the couch for half an hour watching the last episode of season 2 of 'Lost' (which by the way I was a little disappointed with; it seemed to kind of go downhill the last few episodes and doesn't leave you yearning for the next episode as it had during Season 1). Anyway, 6:20pm rolled around, which is the time I need to start getting ready for my run (leaving at 6:30pm), and I felt like I really didn't want to get out there and do my run. I thought about the bumper sticker (read: huge poster plastered across the back of the truck) I had seen earlier and decided that was exactly what I needed to do: get out there and "Git 'er done". So I got off my ass and went and did my 50min run. My legs felt good at first but as the run went on (which happened to be on a slightly hilly route), my calves became tighter and tighter. I am still experiencing some residual soreness from the half marathon last weekend and apparently am not quite recovered from the race!

This week was pretty good so far training-wise. Monday i did some weights (upper body and core strengthening, as my legs were SORE). I felt like taking a day off but really needed to get in the weights as I had not done them for 3 weeks. Tuesday was a 50min run on the tready (it was fairly warm outside but I really just didn't feel like going outside and my sore legs were screaming for the softer tread compared to the hard pavement). My legs were so sore during the run that I had to stop part way and stretch the calves. Ouch. And my hamstrings were also really sore, mainly at the top right under the glutes, and they rarely get sore. But I really noticed them during that run. Tuesday night after coaching I did my swim, which was a grand total of 2800m. I managed to get the whole workout in and finished my last length at exactly 10pm, with the lifeguard standing over my lane. "It's time to get out", she says. "I know!", I said. I mean, aren't I at the pool every Tues/Thurs evening week after week, month after month? I know what time the pool closes!!

The workout was 500m warm-up, 8 x 50 IM order (and I did full 50's of fly, which I haven't done for years), and 3 x 600 broken (as 100 pull, 2 x 50 fast sw, 200 pull, 4 x 50 fast swim), followed by 100 cooldown to make 2800m. I felt a bit flat on the fast and wasn't able to give a full fast effort. On Wednesday I did a 75 min bike while watching America's Next Top Model, including some 3min high cadence intervals and some 2 min big gear intervals. Didn't notice how hard the high cadence was because i was preoccupied with what was going on in the show.

After my run on Thursday, I coached swimming and then did my own swim workout, 2500m. Main set was 4 x50 band only, 400 pull/paddles, 4 x 50sw 3ez/1F, 400 sw (-) split, 4 x 50 band only, 400 pull/paddles. Felt a bit stronger in the water but very tired. And today I am feeling exhausted, so it is a good thing I have a day off training.

I am planning to get in a swim really early tomorrow 7:50am, as I have to coach at 9am. I guess I will need to get to bed early tonight!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Embrace the pain and suffering

Today was the Hypothermic 1/2 Marathon. Note to self: always check to make sure exactly what time the race starts and don't rely on what time others tell you it starts at. Rookie mistake. Anyway, yesterday I decided to re-think my time goals for the race after seeing the forecast: low of -17 overnight (-25 with windchill), and same thing in the morning. I didn't believe this could be true as yesterday it was +3 and I ran in capri tights. It was beautifully warm and how could it change so dramatically in one night? Answer - we live in Alberta.

My new goal would be simple: plan to suffer as much as possible in the race while giving my best effort. This is something Matt Fitzgerald alludes to in his 'Brain Training for Runners', which I learned yesterday. The idea is that you experience as much pain and suffering as possible in the tune-up race so that when you get to your key race, it will seem much easier. As the temperature dropped quickly in the evening, I began to feel as though I didn't even want to start the race. After talking with Geoff and getting some advice about racing the 1/2, I planned to go out there and make it hurt. And I would be that much tougher and stronger as a result.

I had a great sleep and got up around 8:30am, planning to leave the house at 9:15 so I would arrive by 9:45, with plenty of time to spare until the 10:30am start. I got out the door at 9:20, and checked the weather on the t.v. just before I left. Much to my dismay, it was -21, and -28 with the windchill. Oh, that made me really not want to leave the warm house but I did anyway. After I got about 3 minutes from my house, I realized I forgot my gels! I headed back and retrieved them from the kitchen, now over 10 minutes later than the time I had planned to leave.

Of course the gas was nearly empty, and the needle kept dropping the more I drove. I decided to stop for gas when I neared the race start (I definitely could have made it) as I had "lots" of time. I really really had to pee by this point. I paid for the gas and drove to the race. I parked at 9:55 and had a few minutes' walk from there in the freezing cold to get to the clubhouse/start. I was just strolling along, taking my sweet time. I saw quite a few runners milling about the start line as I walked by. As I walked down the stairs to get to the clubhouse (and the chip pick-up), many runners were coming up the stairs heading toward the start. I asked the guy as I picked up my chip 'It starts at 10:30, right?', and he said 'Nope, it starts at 10:00, in one minute'. Holy crap - I need to get my ass up to the start! I threw on my running jacket, attached my ankle chip, and grabbed my stuff (gel, inhaler, 2 pairs gloves, my #, and pins), and proceeded to run up the stairs, while at the same time attempting to pin my # on my jacket [for those of you thinking, why didn't I have my # pinned on already - I always do except in this case b/c I wasn't sure until I picked up my chip which # was mine and which was Geoff's, and he was not running due to sickness. I picked up both our race packs and wasn't sure whose number was whose. And for some reason, nowhere in/on the race pack did it say your name!]

I made it to the startline, still trying to pin my race # on. My hands were completely numb from the cold by this time so it was a difficult task. I finally got all 4 pins in and was ready to go. Did a couple jumps up and down, and the race started. No warm-up, no porta-potty. I began at a comfortable pace, as per Coach's instructions, for the first time in my life. I felt really good the first few km's, going at a comfortable pace. I was absolutely freezing for about 10 minutes, and my hands and fingers were so numb and stiff. I began to warm up, though, and felt at certain points that I was almost too hot, but then the cold wind would blow into my face for awhile and I would realize that I was not hot after all. At about 5km I was feeling like crap, my legs were dead already and my heart and lungs were burning. I settled into the pace a bit after that, and began to feel better. I started feeling stronger, but it went in waves so I would feel like crap for a bit, and then good for a time. The course was icy in places so occasionally you had to step gingerly so you didn't bail out on the ice, but for the most part the roads were quite clear. I made it through 10km in 49:30, which was pretty decent for me. After about 12km I really really really had to pee so I made the choice to duck into the porta-potty at the aid station. Lost about 30-45 seconds, and lost the couple women I was kind of running with since I had caught up to them at the halfway point. Damn!

With 5km to go, my calves were tightening up and so sore, and my lungs were burning, and I was getting various cramps in my neck and ribs. I pushed on, and anytime I felt crappy I would say to myself 'make this hurt', 'harden the *&^$ up', and 'suffer through it'. I would say 'this pain is just your body's way of saying that it needs a break and doesn't like what you're doing, but your brain says that you can do it and you can handle it so keep it going', and then I would start feeling better. I kept pressing on, until I neared the finish. As I entered the finishing chute with about 100m to go, I felt strong but at the same time weak and like I almost couldn't go another step! I did, though and finished in 1:45, a PB by exactly 5 minutes!! I was happy with the time, but more importantly I was happier with my effort and mindset, as I left everything I had out on that course and honestly gave 100% effort. And it was hard and it hurt like hell!! Mission accomplished.