Sunday, 13 January 2019

2019 Hypothermic Half Marathon!

Happy Sunday RUNday!

Today was the first race of 2019 for me and many other runner peeps of mine - The Running Room Hypothermic Half Marathon. It's one of those races you sign up for and pray that the Nova Scotia winter will be on your side. I've run it in the past where it was aaaand where it definitely was not.

Lee encouraged us to sign up for this one as a hard effort training run. This took a lot of pressure off of what I was putting on myself, (If the weather cooperated). A hard effort would be easy to achieve on the Chain of Lakes Trail System since the elevation is one I tend to avoid in training...just ask Stacey & Marg. ;)
Flat Heather & Lola are ready to run!

The weather was clear and crisp...very crisp. It was -17 with the windchill early in the a.m. and my lungs do not like running in the cold anymore.

Marg picked me up with her heated seats and I did not want to get out of the car.
Avery, Marg and I pre-race with warm smiles.
With the frigid temperatures doing a warm up was a must but no one wanted Janet, Annie, Sarah and I headed out for a very brief 2k warm up before the horn went.

The last time I did this race we were timed using popsicle sticks but today we were given anklets ... similar to the house arrest kind, lol.

My goal pace for today was out the window when I could barely feel my legs as we started. It would become a run by feel race.

I was hoping to stay with Janet and work together but I lost her before we were a half a km in. The woman I thought was her ended up being someone else. Darn winter gear making it hard to identify everyone!

I was very familiar with the route. Going up the first time (we went up and down the COLT twice), was okay. Not amazing or easy, just okay. I had to keep my mouth covered because the cold air irritates my asthma and of course you are running UP so, clearly that's not easy. ;)

I was so happy to see Christy cheering about a km and a half before the turn around. I looked like death and tried to say, "hi," although I'm sure it sounding like blarp blarp, LOL. Frozen face and mouth plus the before mentioned breathing in cold air running uphill greatly interfered with my ability to communicate clearly.
Your Running Race Photos braved the cold to get cool shots of the runners! Thanks!!
 I may be cold but I WILL try not to look like death for the cameras, lol. #potentialblogmaterial

At the first turn around I got to see who was where. I was very close to Janet and getting motivation from friends and teammates was just amazing, especially on a day like today!

I tried to make up time coming down the COLT but I also didn't want to blow up going up the COLT for the SECOND time...ugh! LOL.

I got lots of cheers and I tried to yell support and thumbs up to everyone as well, but at points the sun was so bright I couldn't see who was talking to me!

I took a Gatorade with a gel at 10k in or so and it was frozen! Basically a red Gatorade slushy!!!! Also, my legs must have been going numb because it felt like my chip anklet was sliding off so I stopped to tighten it and it was already as tight as it could go!

Going up the second time was very hard...breathing and frozen face and legs were just not awesome.  But I kept the downhill in the forefront of my mind so that I had something to look forward to...and of course the delicious brunch we were going to afterward! I am highly motivated by food. :D

The stats:
At 13-15 I'm pretty sure I stopped caring, lol. And then when life got flat again I was like, "GO!" LOL

I tried to zoom down the trail the last time to get to the finish but my legs felt a bit like lead. They were cold. I really didn't even look at my watch until the last two k and I saw that even if I did 5:00 min/kms I'd get in under 1:40 and I became very happy about that.

1:38:24 gun time! A solid hard effort on a frosty frigid day!
Check out the pace changes with the elevation. 
The course ended up being like 200m short...I was not complaining at all though. I wanted to get warm!

Congratulations to all runners and a GIGANTIC thank you to all the amazing volunteers! I do not know how you stood out in the cold but thanks!
Carrieann, Sarah, Janet, Annie, Me, Marg and Norma
 Check out our run crew! <3

This was as badass of a photo I could do. Marg had to help me get my running jacket off since I was FROZEN!

The Bling!

Post hypo brunch is something to get hyped about...

Cheers to many more miles in 2019!
Hilary, Annie, Sarah, Marg, Avery, Anna and I.

How was your weekend?
Every run the HYPO?
Do you enjoy winter races?

Thanks for the blog love!

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Friday, 11 January 2019

Friday 5!

Happy FriYay everyone!

Congratulations on completing the first full work week of 2019! ;)
Lola and I were very happy it was Friday on our walk this morning!

In an attempt to get back into regular blogging, I thought I’d begin with a Friday 5 post. Enjoy!

1. And so begins the Boston training again! :D
Most of my runs are evening dark solo runs. It's a great way to decompress from the busy day and it helps me sleep so soundly through the night!

2. Back to eating healthy post-Christmas Food Fest! It's hard to train for a marathon when you've consumed copious amounts of cheese, coffee and chocolate over the holidays, lol. I was happy to get back to work and the daily routine so I pulled out my Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow cookbook and got cookin'. Superhero muffins, Turkey Trot Meatballs and Thai Quinoa Salad are staples in our house, especially for lunches.

3.  Workouts with the RH gang! We support each other in so many ways! For example, yell "ICE!!!!" or "TOO FAST!!!!" when doing speed work, high five to encourage and join in those long miles at the end of a workout to help a friend get their distance for the day. It is so awesome to share my weekend training with them!

4.  I think my love for tacos is contagious...
My students LOVE to share anything taco related with me!

5. I'm racing on Sunday!!!!!!! Well, sort of, lol. It's the Running Room Hypothermic Half Marathon on the Chain of Lakes Trail. Lee doesn't want me to focus on time, but more for effort. This worked very well for me in Chicago by taking off all the pressure. Plus, it's going to be freeze your face off degrees outside and I am not a fan of that. So I'm hoping for a fun solid run with a hard effort. Good luck to everyone racing!!!!! 

Thank you so much for your awesome love!

Happy running,
Heather :)

Monday, 31 December 2018

A Look Back on 2018 and Onward to 2019!

Happy New Year's Eve Runner Friends!

I hope you are celebrating safely today doing things that you love with those close to you.

This time of year I like to reflect back on my experiences and it's always amazing at how many memories you can form over 365 days!

Right from the start of 2018 training for the Boston Marathon was high on the priority list. Winter training at that!

Our running group, the BLT Runners, rented out a few lanes at the Canada Games Centre so that we could get some solid speed work sessions with Coach Ian in. It was hot, tough and fun!

Winter was going by just fine! There were scattered snow storms here and there but nothing mind blowing or training hindering like the winter of 2015. 

The first real "race" of the year was the Moose Run 25k. Stacey and I did it as an easy Sunday long run, which was fine by us since the route is known for its elevation.

I didn't escape the winter completely healthy, of course. There was a cold that I got hit with, which comes with the job territory...first graders share everything! Other than that it was a pretty consistent healthy training cycle leading up to the Boston Marathon.

This year's Boston Marathon is still talked about regularly among runner friends of mine. The weather was just out of this world horrible. How I'm smiling in the below finishing photo I'll never know! LOL.

I realize it is a special thing to be able to run the Boston Marathon so complain I will not. But I will pray for cooperative weather for 2019. ;)

 Recovery from the frigid hilly Boston Marathon course took a lot of time for me. I was totally cool with that and neglected any speed work whatsoever. I kept running easy slowly building back up my base mileage in preparation for some spring races.

In May I was a Pacer for the Blue Nose Marathon's New 15k race! A challenging route that took runners through Halifax and then over to Dartmouth where we went up up up and up some more, lol. A cool race but was definitely tough.

My next big race was a Relay - The Cabot Trail Relay Race. I agreed to act as a fill in for the Halifax Road Hammers Women's team. These women were strong and fast...oh boy. I wasn't sure I had the speed to fill the shoes but I ran my best and our team was the first female team! The Men's team came first overall so it was a very exciting weekend.

 It was such an inspiring and motivating weekend. What a blast!

Riding the Cabot trail high I entered into the Tidal Trail 15k thanks to Nova Physiotherapy. On a crazy windy day in June I ran alongside Jeff for the majority of the race and tried not to blow away. It was a beautiful flat route along the Salt Marsh Trail. A definite must do race!

Next up I had my sight's set on the Johnny Miles 10k race. I have not broken the 10k PB I hold from 2012 so I was really determined to do it here. I did not reach my goal ... the course was long, by a noticeable amount and I did not have the strength or speed. This was the race where I realized that I needed to do something to get faster and stronger.
Matt and I sporting some Callaghan Bling!
 I thought it would be a great idea to finish off the school year with a on the evening of the last day of school. My brain clearly was not working properly because any teacher knows the exhaustion of end of a school year is not conducive to running a race, in 28 degree heat!

I ran the evening Epic 6k and it was fun, hot but fun. The course had a good hill that I was not trained for and I lost a lot of speed there but that was okay because I was also doing the 1/4 marathon that same weekend as a part of the Canada Day celebrations.

Some of our run crew before the races!

So much bling!

Once school was out for summer I made the decision to join the Halifax Road Hammers. I would receive coaching from Lee and the support of training hard with a group during intense speed workouts. I did not realize that I would also meet so many amazing people who I now consider my friends. Isn't running amazing that way?!
Photo thanks to Gavin Hatheway
I was getting amazing training and pushing myself well beyond my comfort zone while at the same time still enjoying the social runs with my BLT Runner friends! The best of both worlds. 

I had been training with the Road Hammers only a few weeks when I headed over to Newfoundland for my annual family visit and Tely 10 visit. Unseasonably humid temperatures made the Tely a tough one this year but I clocked my second fastest time ever there and felt strong.

I quickly grew to love escaping the humidity of training in the summer by getting up at 4:45 and heading into the city to warm up with Christine before RH Practice on Wednesdays. I miss that now with the school year going on. The workout was done and I was headed home by 7 a.m.!

All of this intense training would have to pay off eventually I just knew it. It was a tough summer of running but amazing at the same time.

Next up was a Chase the Pace Mile race at the SMU track on a very warm Summer afternoon...yikes! I hadn't raced a mile in years and my time to beat was 6 minutes 13 seconds. Oh boy. I do not enjoy short fast sprinting races. 

I ran as hard as I could and got 6:07!
It was a lot of fun but it was tough!

When September rolled around it was tough juggling back to school busy life with peak mileage training since the Chicago Marathon was just around the corner...but I did it. 

Life also got very stressful because in mid-September Lola had to have back surgery and I was so upset. Thank God she got through it. <3

I decided to have another go at the 10k race since I knew my fitness should have improved over the summer. This course is my current PB... Maritime Race Weekend. I knew I could do it, everything just had to 'click.'
I LOVED how Michelle let us personalize our bibs!

I felt hot and not good the entire race. I raced the 10k after a 92km week and tried my hardest. I came within seconds of my goal so I know I CAN beat this time some day, lol. 

A few weeks later I raced one of my favourite local races - The Rum Runner's Relay. I was on the BLT Runners Women's team and we had so much fun!!! I got to do the first leg which started 6:30 a.m. Ian and I got the BLT Teams going and then we could enjoy cheering the rest of the day. ;) 
 Team "No Mayo"

Next up -> Chicago! 

This was a marathon where things definitely did 'click.' I kept working and focusing. I did not give up. I waited for that part to come where you can't imagine running another single step but it never came. I just kept running and I had the best race of my life and Matt and I came home with shiny new PBs! 

Best race ever!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I was strong, fit, determined and mentally ready. I still cannot thank Lee enough for the amazing coaching!

That Chicago Marathon high lasted a while. It was amazing. I still remember that day vividly. 

At the end of October Lee thought it would be okay to use another Chase the Pace race (5k) as a speed workout. I was NOT in racing shape. I was fighting a cold and my legs were still not ready. 

It was a fun day but I ended up puking during the last lap well before the finish line so definitely no PB for me, lol. 
This photo shows the hurt we were all feeling and I actually really like it! Thanks Jeremy!
At the beginning of November I got sick...real sick so I needed a break. I was totally okay with some rest and rejuvenation.

On December 1st Courteney and I headed out to take part in the Santa Shuffle. It was crowded but festive & fun!

A nice festive 5k to kick start the holiday cheer.

Every year the BLT Runners meet and run to the Bike and Bean Cafe...which is super close to the school I teach at. 

We ran 15km along the Rails to Trails and then enjoyed some great coffee afterward. 

And of course took some very artistic photos, lol. 

And we can't forget the annual BLT Runners Christmas Marathon! Check out my last post for more details. But basically we dress the part and run from Starbucks and back where the coffee awaits. :D

Check out our crew!
 Don't mind us, just runnin' some Merry Miles!

I closed out my 2018 year of running with some pretty amazing running pals!

Happy New Year!

2018 has been great! Thanks to all of my friends for making this year so awesome. A huge thank you to Mizuno and Tiux for decking me out in the best swag!!! 

Have an amazing New Year everyone! Be kind, be safe and happy running!

2018 stats:
Races: 15 
Miles: 2110.1
Kilometres: 3395.9
PBs: 2! Marathon and 1 Mile! 

Thanks for visiting and following my running adventures for another year.

Heather :)