Tuesday, December 29, 2009

the trainer is fun...

My late off season has now ended and I am back at it, enjoying my last week of unstructured training before geoff throws down the hammer next week with scheduled training. I took a full week off after the marathon, doing absolutely no workouts or training. After that I eased myself back into activity, doing only what I pleased which actually wasn't a whole heckuva lot, except for a couple easy swims, a few short treadmill runs (it has been c-c-c-cold here!), and a core/strength session or two! And I tried my first hot yoga class last week (actually 3 classes), which I really like and plan to keep doing.

Christmas was great - and it came and went before you could blink, as usual. My family was invited to Geoff's parents for Christmas Eve dinner, where wonderful food, company, and lots of wine always await. I brought the camera but unfortunately didn't get around to taking any photos of the night. Christmas Day was spent at my Dad's with my sibs, Geoff, Maria (Alice's BFF), and Donald's friend Ben from Thailand. After dinner we ended up getting into the wine which turned into a debaucle, and at the end of the night (or midnite when Geoff decided to shuttle me home) it seems there were a shocking number of bottles consumed (no, not just by me, everyone participated)! We played Taboo, Cranium, and Balderdash, and the volume of the room continually escalated throughout the evening,

Found a couple random pics of the party (couldn't include most of the rest!)

Youngest brother Mark and I:
Half of Gucci's face:

Donald, Mark and I (from top); from the looks of it, this was probably later in the evening as everyone looks pretty jolly...

I'm definitely looking forward to 2010! I'm in a new job (since July), geoff and I have a new addition to the house (Wylie), and a few vacays are in the works (N. Ireland and Vegas again, this time not for a race!). Structured training starts next Monday with geoff, and there are many exciting things to come, including lots of racing (more running races!), a big focus on strength/core/yoga work, and better scheduled workouts overall. Lots of running and lots of biking! Not quite sure on the race schedule yet, but for sure I will be doing the St. Albert 10 miler in April, Great White North half in July, and possibly Soma half in October. The details will be worked out, in good time.

Yesterday geoff and I headed to the gym for a core/strength sesh and an indoor run. I think I probably overdid it on the strength stuff as today I am so sore I can barely move! My lower back, a$$, hips, upper back, shoulders, you name it - hurts. I kept waking up throughout the nite last night with throbbing in my lower back and hips. Yeah I definitely overdid it...

something funny about the monster puppy: Wylie loves to come down to our basement when anyone is biking or on the tready. Today while Geoff was biking I had to come down there a bunch of times to bring him back up, finally I just left him down there as he wanted to watch Geoff do his bike workout! What a weird little puppy!

that's all for now!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

wise words

"It doesn't help to visualize a perfect race. It's better to play out bad situations in your mind and figure out a way out of them so you'll be ready."
Bernard Legat (2008 National Champion at 1500 meters and 5000 meters)

This is exactly what I need to start doing!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Vegas or .... bust

The Vegas trip was definitely fun overall, but the marathon didn't go as either Geoff or I'd have hoped. Does your first marathon ever go as planned?

We arrived early (Wed. night), and ate a LOT of good (and expensive!) food in the next few days. I was shocked at how much $$ we ended up spending on food, perhaps I wasn't entirely prepared for that. Things were very pricey in the fancy hotel in which we were staying (the Wynn Encore). Like $17 for a glass of wine expensive! Saw some cool sights, fabulous shows, and did some (lots) of shopping the next 3 days.

View from our 37th floor room:

Right before we saw Le Reve on Thursday night...
Inside the theatre prior to the start of the show (no cameras allowed once the show started). Le Reve was absolutely fabulous, and I was mesmerized for the duration. It was a mix of gymnastics, diving, dancing, acrobatics, synchro, and more. I would highly recommend it!

Unfortunately BFF Stephen got sidelined with H1N1 the day before he was supposed to arrive so he was forced to cancel his trip. Good news is that he is finally starting to feel better and the worst is behind him now :)

Package pick-up on Friday was actually a well organized process (I suppose it would have to be for 26,000 people). I was actually surprised to see a fairly long line of people in the 'not yet registered' queue. Wha-Huh? You're registering for a marathon the day before the race?

Hit up the aquarium in Mandalay Bay hotel after picking up our packages.
The sharks were spectacular but slightly scary!

On Saturday, we walked down the strip and did some shopping. We relaxed in the hotel room for the rest of the afternoon and planned to eat a light dinner around 5:30pm. In hindsight, should have skipped the restaurant and eaten much lighter than we did.

Since it was a 4am wake-up call, Geoff and I hit the sack around 10pm, and after that I literally got about 2 hours sleep. Geoff got less than IAround 11pm, our wonderful drunken neighbours proceeded to party in the hall/doorway of their room until about 2am. That's AWESOME. In the morning when we had to get up [actually 4am is still the middle of the night to me], I took the liberty of watching MTV as loud as possible and banging my things around the room, to Geoff's disapproving eye in the background. Our toast and juice arrived shortly thereafter through room service and we were soon on our way.

Coming out of the elevators was quite comical, as the casino and hotel lounges/bars were still in full swing at 5am with party-goers dressed to the nines and drinking and gambling their lives away.

Getting to the race site was a bit frustrating as the shuttles were leaving from the Wynn (next hotel over to ours), and there was a line up when we arrived. I knew it was going to be cold and windy but it still came as a shock to me, the temperature was hovering around zero (32-33F). We managed to get in the shuttle around 5:15-5:20am, and since the strip was closed for the race, it literally took almost half an hour to actually get to the race (which should have been a 5-10 min drive). There was a McDonald's right where we were dropped off so we headed in there to use the facilities, and stood in line for about 15 mins. By the time we got out of there and headed to the corrals, the race was supposed to start in about 5 mins for the 6:15am start! Geoff gave me his warm up clothes so I could check the bag, and he headed off to his corral as he was scheduled to start first. I wandered around for a few minutes unsuccessfully looking for the bag check. I ended up just giving the bag to someone who was heading over there who wasn't starting until corral 9 who offered to take it for me, so I guess it's a good thing we actually found the bag where it was supposed to be later on!

The race

Mile 1-2
The race started right after that, and although crowded, I didn't have any issues with dodging people or people getting in the way. I was slightly chilled (wearing Lulu shorts, a t-shirt, arm warmers, toque, and $0.99 gloves, and found I didn't really get warm for the duration of the race. I made sure to go out very easy, as I have a tendency to get caught up in the excitement at the beginning of a running race and go out too hard (pretty much every running race I've done this happens). Went through 2 miles in about 16:36, so a little off pace - which was fine as I wanted to go out easy!

Miles 3-10
Around mile 3 I started having a stomach issue and thought I may have to make a pit stop at a porta potty. However, each one I passed seemed to have at least a few people waiting in line. I was able to keep going as I really didn't want to have to waste time waiting around in the middle of a race. I started getting back on track for my pace through 5km (25:40), and 10km (50:14), and although I didn't feel amazing, I didn't feel horrible either. I began to notice my hips feeling sore after just an hour, and right hamstring very tight and nearly cramped, which didn't improve. I went through 10 miles in 1:20, which was right on my target. I remember feeling worried about how my legs were already feeling and wondering how I was going to keep pounding the pavement for 16 more miles!

I recall feeling very bored during the first 10 miles and thinking that the race was going by very slowly, something I don't think has ever crossed my mind during a race! The race definitely had a different vibe than any other race I have done, especially compared to triathlons.

Mile 12-15
Just before mile 12, I saw someone come out of a porta potty up ahead and nobody had gone back in by the time I got there, so I ducked in as I was still experiencing tummy trouble. I didn't realize till then but my fingers were completely frozen and I had a lot of difficulty unravelling the toilet paper. It didn't help that it was 1-ply and was breaking off 1 square at a time, either! Finally got out of there and got back in the race! I hit halfway about 1:46-something, which was just off my pace but I owed that to my pit stop. There was a gradual uphill around mile 14, which slowed me a bit somewhat but I figured I wasn't really that far off where I should be.

Mile 16 - Things Fall Apart
Not sure why but as soon as I hit Mile 16, my stomach became painful knots and cramps and I found it really hard to keep running, so I walked through an aid station. Darn! My hips at this point were so sore and tight and seemed to be pulling on my hamstrings, and my right hamstring and one of my calves were very close to cramping up. It was not a pretty sight!

Miles 17-22
Were a complete sufferfest, with tons of walking/shuffling along/stopping to stretch on the curb. There was a turn-around at Mile 19, and basically from about Mile 17 or 18 until the end of the race was a long out and back section. I watched helplessly as the 3:35, 3:40, and 3:45 pace groups proceeded to pass me by. I think I had stopped looking at my watch at this point and was definitely past the point of being concerned with my final time. At Mile 21 or 22 I had to duck into another porta potty.

Miles 23-26.2
I remember thinking at Mile 23 - it's only 5km to go now, you can do that! It still seemed so far, though. I had to keep stopping and walking, but each time I walked all I could think was that walking wasn't getting me anywhere and running (as painful as it was) was going to get me to the end sooner! Once I hit Mile 24, I thought - only 2 miles to go then this pain can end! The last mile was tough, and I forgot about the 0.2 that is tacked onto the end of 26 miles. My body was in so much pain, the hips and legs were screaming at me. That last 0.2 seemed to take a long time, and the course kept winding around so you couldn't see the finish line. Finally - there it was! I hobbled across the line in 3:52, about 20mins off my target goal time.

In all the chaos and being strapped for time before the start, Geoff and I made the mistake of not planning a rendezvous meeting spot after the race. There were so many people everywhere and after I finished I had to curl up on the pavement for about 10 mins as I felt very nauseated. After that I walked around for nearly an hour, not being able to access my warm clothes in the gear bag - as Geoff and I had the genius idea of putting all our stuff into one bag with his race # so he could collect the clothes when he was done before me. Finally I found him throwing up into a garbage can! He looked ashen and I found out he had unfortunately also had a terrible race.

We proceeded to get the hell out of there, and realized our biggest mistake of the weekend then was not staying at Mandalay Bay, the race hotel! Trying to get out of there was a logistical nightmare. There was a line up of about 100 people for taxi, and no shuttles that we could find. We waited in line for about 15 mins, with Geoff hovering over a garbage can, and the line barely moved. Suddenly one of the concierges called out 'anyone for shuttle to the airport?', and we decided to hop on that, and just get a cab from the airport. There was a lot of traffic and both trips took forever, but it was still better than waiting in the cab line up for hours!

We napped in the afternoon and ordered room service for lunch, which really hit the spot! I was limping around and my hips and legs were completely throbbing. Funnily enough, my legs were the sorest on the actual day of the race! Of course they were still sore the next few days, but the worst was on Sunday! Usually there is a delayed onset soreness that I get after every race but this time was different.

We hit the buffet up for dinner that night, but I found I was only able to eat one plate of food! Plus 3 desserts. Yum!

This is the temperatures we arrived home to in Edmonton very late Monday night (or Tues morning):

We were VERY lucky the car started as it was sitting at the airport for 5 days not plugged in. I hadn't realized that extreme cold was coming!

Considering how bad I felt the last 10 miles and how much walking was done, can't say I can really complain about my finish time. I was so happy to have finished and just to have completed the damn thing! It was sooo long! Of course I was disappointed; disappointed with how my body reacted and felt on the day, and disappointed as my result doesn't reflect my fitness and all the hard training I'd put in. But that was the hand I was dealt on the day and I'm proud to have simply gotten through it as those last 10 miles were excruciating! Geoff and I have done a post-mortem on our races and although the experience was not great, I have learned a lot from it.

No plans for another in the immediate future, though!