Wednesday, 6 June 2018

Tidal Trail 15k!

Well I'm clearly on a racing roll!

What I mean is that I never race this frequently...I haven't for a while anyway. Between April - now I've run 4 races!!! That's unheard of for me.

This past weekend I raced my second Tidal Trail 15k put on by Maritime Races. I last raced this event in September. During that time I didn't race as hard as I could have since I ran my butt off the night before to get a 5k PB. Not to mention how incredibly hot it was! This past Sunday the weather presented us with a challenge of another type - major winds! (At least the air was cool???)

I received free registration from Nova Physiotherapy which was awesome!!! At first I thought I wouldn't be racing since my sister was here from Newfoundland visiting, but we decided that because of her flight time and the late 1:00 p.m. race start we could make it work. :)

The only downfall about racing this past weekend was that my allergies had struck in full force! I could not stop sniffling and sneezing. My eyes were also a watery mess. :(  I was struggling with breathing smoothly on my Saturday run so I thought I'd run the best I could in the wind on Sunday and see what I'd get.

Marg and I headed over just around noon. The winds were certainly gusting and I was motivated by the 10k runners who had already run the race earlier in the morning. The winds were gusting around 60km/hr!

I did a short warm up because the wind was quite strong and I decided I'd be best off saving my energy for the race! That wind was strong!!!

We headed to the start and saw so many BLT Runners there!

Runners were assigned a corral system because of the narrow trail I assume based on finish time. At the horn, we were off! 

Jeff and I ran together for just about half the race. We were pushing a pretty fast pace but I was fine with it because I wanted to work hard. I get 'lazy' racing sometimes and I wasn't going to let that happen today.
 It was kind of nice to 'hang out' with Jeff when he wasn't sticking needles in me! LOL.

Matt was also racing this event for the first time! He broke an hour with 59:something!

I was finding the wind and dry air tough on my throat which was quite sore, perhaps from all the sneezing. I took water as much as I could.

Heading across the causeway area we were completely exposed to the elements...including getting splashed with salt water!!! That's how windy it was! I took this photo off of the Tidal Trail facebook page to show you. It's truly spectacular and beautiful, but a force to reckon with if Nature is up and at it!
Every step I pushed hard to fight the wind and to run fast. The wind was pushing us sideways! Jeff yelled, "I'm kicking myself!" And I could only muster enough energy to grunt, lol. The bibs we were wearing were flapping in the wind so loudly I could hear it over my music! My sunglasses from tiux, which never slide kept being pushed down my nose so I kept adjusting! It was mayhem.

I enjoyed the out and back because you could see all the people you know! Except if you're super focused on not blowing over and you miss many friends yelling your name! LOL...I did that.

My pace was decent but I could easily tell which miles were when we headed across the dyke area with full on wind.
I was getting so tired! I knew my body shouldn't bee this exhausted for this distance at this pace, but my nose was so runny, my breathing was off and the wind was ruthless!!!!

The finish was a glorious sight!!!

We all chatted and of course took photos before heading up to get a toasted bagel from Izzy's Bagels!!! Such a nice touch. :D
I took this photo from the Tidal Trail facebook page. :)
These runners move on the medal!!!

The Callaghans both took second place!

A 15k PB!!! (it's a distance I've only raced 2 times lol).

Next up...Johnny Miles 10km!

Thanks for stopping by the GGR Running Blog and have a wonderful day!

Happy running,
Heather :)

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

Cabot Trail Relay 2018!

Consider me inspired - exhausted, but inspired.

This past weekend at the 31st Annual Cabot Trail Relay the small role I played to help fill a team was actually a part of something epic!

A few months ago I was invited to take part in the Relay with The Halifax Road Hammers/Women's Team. This was slightly intimidating to me knowing full well that they are strong and FAST! What business did I have running with ladies of that calibre?! Jennie was strategic at talking me into it and I agreed to take part...I'm so glad I did!

Friday afternoon I picked up Charlotte and we headed to Antigonish where we then added Hillary to the mix. My car is small, like very small. Some last minute emergencies meant a lot of shuffling for team captain Britney with legs and drivers. I ended up being a driver and I was a little concerned but it all worked out...not without some stories of course!

Friday night's stay at the Gaelic College involved a motivational team meeting with captains and then we headed off to get some of the only z's we'd catch all weekend.

The relay starts bright and early at 7:00 a.m. with hundreds of runners cheering on their teams. Charlotte and I found a ton of our friends and everyone was buzzing with excitement. The leg 1 runners were off and it was awesome!
Charlotte, Rachael, Meaghan and I at the start of leg 1.
 I was not the most awesome photographer on this relay unfortunately since I was driving and frozen for the majority of the time. But here is Britney finishing leg 2!

The big mission as the runners were conquering each leg was to locate a bathroom AND a coffee. I pretty much survived this weekend on copious amounts of caffeine. Everyone appeared to have the same idea.

Team "Where's My Bike?" had super awesome Pac-man characters that we saw at the finish of leg 2! They won best water stop and I saw them handing out water during my leg. It was so cool!

We had such strong runners on our team and actually I was so amazed by the talent all around at the relay. Runners come from many places to take part and there are many super fit and strong people there. You can check out Leg descriptions and elevations HERE!

After the completion of the first three legs the rain had definitely moved in. It was also quite chilly and the wind was picking up.

The very long bathroom lines proved to be a challenge when I tried to get a warm up in and there were strict rules on using natures rest stop. ;)

I was so nervous for my leg (5). I really wanted to do well and I wasn't sure I was in racing condition, especially after watching my teammates pull off such amazing paces on insanely tough courses!

There was no horn, just the officials yelling, "RUNNERS...ON YOUR MARK, GET SET GO!!!!!" I hit my Garmin to start and my wet cold fingers were frozen! They were stinging actually. I was glad I decided on the tall socks.

I LOVE the relay atmosphere! Once the cars are allowed to leave the start area (it's staggered for traffic control and safety based on time increments), you get the most encouraging cheers and beeps from runners of many teams! It really helps when the course gets tough.

We need to talk about the brief period of rain we encountered on leg 5, Legs 3 and 4 also experienced huge downpours but there is something in particular that stood out for me.

There were mega puddles and the rules are VERY strict on stepping off the pavement for oncoming traffic...for obvious reasons. The struggle was that each time I hopped off, it was basically into a puddle or on soft gravel shoulder. Not fun.

At one point a huge white cube van splashed me and many runners and officials saw it! It was so wet and cold!!! But also slightly funny, lol.
This is me in the white next to the truck...I had just gotten splashed and was giving onlookers the double thumbs up to show that I was embracing it, lol. Randal was an official and he took this photo as I got splashed!!!! It was pretty hilarious.

After pushing through the first few miles at a pretty good pace it became increasingly evident that my lack of speed work since Boston was blatantly slapping me in the face from mile 7 onward, especially on the hills at the end. I continued to grind and work very hard and I cruised at super fast paces down the final kilometre-which is a huge downhill. I finished and was pumped! 10.8 miles at 7:27/mile.

And then...

I was seeking out my team who greeted me with Gatorade and my jacket. Then I asked to get the trunk popped so I could change into dry clothes. I was now freezing! The trunk wouldn't pop and the doors weren't opening. It became very clear that the keys were locked inside!!! My only set of keys I took on the trip. Oh boy.

I was shivering like crazy and Charlotte's friend Kenzie gave me some of his own dry clothes to wear!!! #runnershelpingrunners Thank you!!!

Apparently runners are very nice people because with several of us yelling, "Can anyone break into a car???" we got no success, lol. Courtney and Hillary were quite resourceful in quickly finding a mechanic from the local Irving who was on his way home to Jimmy into the car. We all cheered!!! Oh and did I mention that cell service was basically non-existent in that area where we were locked out?!?!?

When the chaos settled we headed back out on course without barely missing a beat to cheer Charlotte during leg 6 (who by the way was not knowing of all the car key drama that had ensued). The girls agreed that a future team we'd have would be known as "Keyless & Clueless." LOL.

After Charlotte smashed her leg a hot shower at a high school and THIS FOOD TRUCK really saved the day!!!!!!

I ate THIS grilled cheese burger and I thought I was in heaven.

Then we got back to the super fun cheering and driving along the remainder of the daylight legs.

I really enjoyed cheering on legs 7 and 8...I think mostly because the feeling had returned in my body and my belly was full. :D

We cheered with some motivational messages for the runners. ;)

We were loving cheering the runners up North Mountain! Those guys were working hard!!!
Sarah did this leg for us and completely killed it! 

From our look out point which was already up very far and you could see that the mountain top was still a far ways away! P.S. there was snow on the sides of the hills!!! 
We were now approaching the night legs. These are so cool! Runners and their crew have to coordinate sleep and driving schedules to accommodate runners running the late night sections. Hillary was going to tackle MacKenzie Mountain for us. She is a super strong runner and it was crazy cold and windy out by this point! I was terrified driving my tiny car up and down the mountains in the fog so I can't even imagine running that part. She finished second female on that mountain and we were crazy impressed! These runners receive a special photo at the banquet because the spectacular view is clearly not obvious when they completing it at night. Check it out!
Seriously though...
Courtney was completing leg 11 and there was major construction so we had to park as they ran the serious downhill. Her leg was SO cold! When the runners finished it was very hard to locate our runner because it was dark and everyone was wearing a headlamp. The officials were calling out on the microphones to come pick up your cold runners because they were freezing. Those guys deserve major kudos!


I was starting to feel sleepy after this. We filled up at a gas station and I bought a bag of sour candy to keep me awake. We pulled off somewhere around leg 13 or sort of is all blending together now and I passed out in the drivers seat for about 2 hours. I woke to Charlotte, who had a crazy amount of energy looking in the window commenting on all the wrinkles on my face, lol. Runners had just started the sunrise leg and we went on a serious coffee mission! The Dancing Goat Cafe was open and it was filled to the brim with tired runners.

The sun was out and we were sort of rested and warm. We cheered more of the Hammer Women as well as friends on other teams like Meaghan and Christy. The speed of some of the elite runners was even that much more impressive as teams tried to close the gap between themselves and the others.

We headed onward along the Cabot Trail and made our way to the start of the final leg, 17. This was so exciting!!! We were pumped because we realized that we had a bit of a lead heading in and our runner Morgan was incredibly strong and would no doubt finish the job. It was crazy exciting!

We waited in Baddeck under the sunny skies for a very exciting finish for the Halifax Road Hammers Men's Team as Matt Mcneil finished to secure a much sought after win!!!

And we soon discovered that the Women's Halifax Road Hammers Team were also the female champions when Morgan cruised in! It was incredible. We finished the 185 mile/276km relay in 21:01 for 11th team overall out of 70!

We ate lobster at the banquet and received awards as a team - so amazing! 

We each got a plaque!

I had the most fun this weekend...even with being wet and locked out of my car, haha!
This weekend has motivated and inspired me to train even harder and I am so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of an amazing story! Thank you Halifax Road Hammers!

Congratulations to ALL the runners and a huge thank you to the amazing volunteers at Cabot this past weekend!!! I hope you stayed tuned in until the end and if not well happy running anyway! ;)

Thanks for stopping by the GGR blogspace and have a beautiful day!
Heather :)

Monday, 21 May 2018

Bluenose 2018 - The Pace Bunny Version!

Hey guys! 

I hope you've had a great Victoria Day long weekend!!!! It was mostly sunny skies here in Halifax but no matter what the weather an extra day off of work is always welcomed. ;)  AND it was Bluenose weekend here in the city!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

There are many amazing races around here in the spring and fall, but The Scotiabank Bluenose Marathon weekend draws out approximately 11000 runners! Wowzers. :0

On Saturday I headed down to check out the kids in the Youth Run. They are amazing! It is seriously cute to see them shuffle up the hill to the finish and how they carelessly slosh the water cups in any direction at the water station, lol. I managed to meet up with two of my first graders and their families for some post-race high fives and photos. They were so pumped to show me, Ms. Callaghan (their teacher who always talks about running) their medals. <3 It was so cute.

I came home and laid Flat Bunny Heather out on the bed. The race was calling for rain and the horrible flashbacks of Boston came running through my head...just kidding. I knew we would not turn to runner-sicles as we did a month ago in Boston. ;) I did however get a garbage bag, just in case from Marg when I was at her house.
Don't you like my Bunny tail?!?
 Lola says, "Hmm, actually no. Are you leaving me here...again? To run?" <3

Marg and I headed downtown early to meet up with John from White Rabbit Pacing to get our pace signs. We also saw a ton of our friends!!!

Some friends even got photos. :D Thanks Michael!

We only carry the signs for a bit more than a km and then we ditch them in the barrel at the first water stop. 

A lot of runners told me they wanted to hang with me at the start line: I was the pace bunny for the new race 15.3 km in 1hr 20 minutes. This pace was comfortable for me and the route was quite challenging. 

Mother Nature cooperated for the race thank goodness! I didn't want it to pour from the heavens, especially for the marathoners. They had a big day and we could all use some good running weather. 
 Tim Chesnutt snapped this photo of me in Dartmouth as we were cresting a serious hill and I could not help but notice how he is usually at an unflattering part of the race for me, lol. In Boston he got me at the top of Newton Lower Falls and here at Bluenose heading up the hill back to the bridge. Just sayin'.

The guy in the red shirt behind me stayed with me until the last 2k. He finished just a few seconds, maybe a minute behind me but he said he got under his goal time!

I knew the route would have some tough sections because the 15k headed over into Dartmouth which at least meant the bridge...TWICE, plus Nantucket hill and ANOTHER huge hill after that...boy! There was some super sweet downhill after that where we ran down a trail into the Lake Banook area. It was gorgeous! There was a kayaking group going on there and all the runners were running around the lake like some scene from a super cool movie. ;) I also saw Kendra in this area and she was pacing the marathon!!!!

The weather was great and we all chatted about how thankful we were that it was perfect running weather! There was an occasional pocket of humidity that was annoying but there was a bit of a breeze too so that was great.

As we turned down Ochterloney Street the wind actually became a bit of an issue. It actually made my hat lift a bit and I had to tighten it. I was thankful I did not have the pace sign with me! I told the runners around me to also be grateful since I predicted that someone would have lost an eye!

Heading back over to Halifax was tough for many runners. The bridge now had a mega headwind and is a huge incline in itself. Most runners drifted back from me here but one of the two that stuck with me the entire time was right next to me. He had never run further then 12km and this was very tough for him but he had grit and would not give up. Plus I was yelling at him, lol.

Right before the finish you go down a crazy big hill and then up another incline. I saw most familiar faces there including Michael, Corinne and Charlotte. They had sweet signs and took awesome photos!

This is me, liking the sign, haha.
I saw Stacey a little further up with her kids and she caught me finishing. Can you see me??? Well just to the left of me is a guy in black pants and a red t-shirt. He worked so hard!!!!! But he did it and was psyched at the finish. :D Pace Bunny win!

Myles thought so too. :D I got in with a time of 1:19:51 so I'm calling that success.

I saw Matt along the course once on the bridge. He was running the 10k and finished in 38 minutes winning his age category on a super tough course!
Apparently the secret to speed is not to let your feet touch the ground??? ;)
I headed inside to hunt for Marg. She paced the 10k so was long done!

Found her!

 Post race run ins with friends are the best! Everyone is always so cheerful and chatty not nervous and intense, lol.

I even got to see a pal from the past, Janet! Janet and I did our very first run together back in I want to say 2007! We felt like rockstars that day on the trail. <3

I love that they gave the Bunnies bling!

Can we just take a minute to appreciate the cuteness of this Bluenose fan??? Seriously xoxox

Here's some elevation in case you're interested! I am definitely sure you do not care about my
If you're looking for fun with a challenge the Bluenose is your bet. Awesome spectators and volunteers, even a bagpipe band! Band? Group? 

Thanks to White Rabbit Pacing for having me!

Next up is the Cabot Trail Relay Race in the Cape Breton Highlands!!! I'll be running with the Halifax Road Hammers Women's Team!!!! I'm sooooooo excited. :D :D
Did you run the Bluenose????
How did it go???
Are you running the CTRR?

Thanks for stopping by the GGR Blog on this sunny Sunday!

Happy Running,
Heather :)