Sunday, 6 October 2019

Rum Runner's Relay 2019!

Hey everyone!

Last Saturday I got to participate in the super fun Rum Runner's Relay again! This year I ran once again with the BLT Runners on the Female team called "Tomatoes Will Ketchup." 

I was very excited for this run relay atmosphere. And even though I wasn't planning on racing my guts out there was a healthy sort of pressure to run well for the team, but still have fun! Last year I ran the first leg and this year I was excited to cheer at the finish of Leg 1 instead. It's a great one to do but it can be pretty dark and lonely.

Our team posing with our leg #! Missing from the pic is Lindsay.
There was some last minute leg shuffling due to injuries and I ended up with Leg 4. I'd never run this one but I have driven it many times cheering others. I remembered it as pretty flat and beautiful, but longish. Well, it wasn't that flat after all, lol.

Our team was also responsible for one of the water stops along my leg so Jillian made these amazing cartoons of the runners doing that leg!!!! I LOVE them!!

Craig and I along with Wil and Nicole were running this leg for the four BLT teams entered. Wil and I planned to stay close together if possible.

I had no idea what was in store for me after cheering on other teammates for previous legs. Everyone was running well and the weather was gorgeous, in fact maybe a little too warm for me. I like to be cool on the run. Matt was on a different team but did Leg 3 this year. He zoomed as I told him he would. That is one of my favourite legs for sure!

I warmed up with 2.5km and chatted with fellow Road Hammer teammate Whitney. She is super fit fast so I knew I'd be behind her but my goal was to try and keep her in my sights for as long as possible. This leg had a ton of fast speedy folks on it! It was inspiring.

At the "GO!" we were off and I was pumped. My goal for this leg was to keep the pace between 4:30-4:40. The first km was 4:06...I'm going to blame this on the big downhill and trying to get around all the runners since we had to keep single file because the roads are not closed to traffic.

That first km always feels so deceivingly easy. ;)

I had driven the route two days previous after school since the start line is right outside my school. I noticed three large hills for sure with some winding turns. Well, let me tell you that I noticed a few more inclines traveling the route on foot, lol.

 My Summer of avoiding hills had caught up with me on this run. But that was okay. I was happy my knee wasn't bothering me and just tried to work hard for each km.

Garmin obviously had a bit of a hissy fit around 20 minutes in but you get the idea.
I was so thankful to see the team at the 8.75km water stop! I usually race with music but the relay doesn't allow it for safety reasons so other than the cheers from cars driving by you basically just hear your feet and breathing,lol.

I grabbed a water from Rachael and it was so refreshing! I wished I had taken two since I was pretty warm. The water station was positioned at the top of an incline so I was relieved to have a super downhill after I passed them. ;)

Every car that drove by and offered support, THANK YOU! It was really very motivating, especially during the times I wanted to stop because I was getting exhausted!

By 12km my legs were pretty much toast. That's when I started running 4:51s, minus that final km where I passed a couple people clocking a 4:23, lol. I know, that was ALL I had left even for the final sprint.

This is a very beautiful leg! Definitely my favourite so far with scenery, but don't be fooled into thinking it's isn't!

I was thrilled to see the finishing pylons earlier than 17.1km. My leg ended up only being 16.8 since the measurements are approximate. The original measurements took place in 1985 by car odometer. :)

16.8km 1:18:36 4:40 pace/km
I can't say I was unhappy with my run. I actually put forth a good solid effort and I don't feel that I got 'lazy' as I do sometimes when I'm just tired of working hard, lol. You all know what I mean! All kidding aside it was tough but I did it! 

Hello ice bath! LOL. Actually the water was cold but not freezing. Either way it felt great.

Marg, Sarah, Meaghan and I at Queensland Beach.

After my run I got very stomach sick which was so weird! I felt like I had just done a long run in the hot sun but it wasn't that hot really. I traveled with Tom and Marg for a good chunk of the relay and Tom fed me to help me feel better. As it turns out he makes a pretty good PB and J sandwich! :)

I also replenished my salt with copious amounts of complaints here. AND!!!!!!!!!!!! At the end of Leg 8 Sarah, Stacey and I hit up the annual Ice Cream spot. We have also made Rum Runners Bread a thing. Seriously pick some up next year!

By the time we got to Mahone Bay we got to see some of the Scarecrows that everyone designed. This was my favourite.

I love seeing all my running friends during this event. It's cool because instead of everyone running together you get to run and cheer for 110.4km. What a great day!

Also, I was very eager to chow down late that day when we finally reached Lunenberg!

Everyone ran well and we had a great time! Our team finished 18/70 with an average run of 4:42/km!

Thanks to the organizers, volunteers and my team!!!!!!! Hope to see you all next year at the Rum Runner's Relay!

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Friday, 27 September 2019

Maritime Race Weekend 10k!

Well it was another start to the school year and another Maritime Race Weekend. Even though I believed that I would not take part this year and hadn't registered with a week to go I STILL ended up running the event. This was due to the Fiddler's Half Marathon being canceled because of Hurricane Dorian. So when Coach Lee said the 10k at MRW would be a good fit at race pace or the half at marathon pace, I chose the shorter...which was still not easy! ;)

Race morning prep involved the Pirate tattoos, run happy bows and fast braids. 

I was feeling pretty heavy and sluggish from adjusting to being back to school. It's pretty great to have eight weeks of summer vacation with the freedom to eat, sleep, run and pee whenever you want! LOL. Then boom! The school year begins and you are at the beckon call of 23 six year olds who can ever so skillfully blurt out Ms. Callaghan, Ms. Callaghan! MS. CALLAGHAN! While at the same time say a "bathroom word," accidently mark on someone else's paper and spill their water bottle all within 3 second time frame. Yeah, that takes mad skills and somehow in the first grade tornado I still come out standing upright at the end of each day...smeared makeup and messy hair, but I'm standing! HA!

So basically running a 10k with only one week of grade one endurance training in the middle of marathon training is not always the best idea, but it's still great fun and a very good test of fitness and kick in the butt just before the fall marathon. ;)

I headed over to Eastern Passage pretty early on race morning because parking and bathrooms are tricky over there. I did a 3k warm up as Coach prescribed and then met up with Dave, Doran, Christy, Joanna and Heidi.

Matt was running the 5k so it was cool to see them all at their turn around and head back to the finish.

I also got to see David from Newfoundland! He's super fast and every time I meet a fellow Newfoundlander it makes me feel all homey. :)

We were supposed to head out around a 4:35 pace per km from the plan Lee gave me but of course we're keeners and decided that 4:21 for the first two km was a better idea, LOL! OOPS! Don't worry, the hill at km 3 definitely helped us keep the reigns on. I went extra cautiously up that crazy hill because my knee had not been happy with inclines so I quickly watched my crew slip ahead. I wasn't too concerned or defeated because I knew I had a major race in 4 weeks and I was working hard so that was the main goal.
Look how happy we all are with only 1km in or so! :) Fun fact: Jonathan in the front is my dentist!
At the top of the big hill was a waterstop so I took in some and worked hard to catch up with Christy and Joanna. It took a 4:14km to do it but I did, lol. They were fresh and fit and I knew I couldn't keep up what they were laying down. 

Cruising down the hill at nearly 4k you see all the other runners who are heading up the hill and I LOVE that! Thanks to everyone who cheered us!

The race completely flattens out after that one hill. The scenery was absolutely stunning and we could not have asked for better race weather. Running along the ocean gives you a big breath of salty air that really smells like home to me. It was a great day and I was super happy to be working hard with friends. Christy was so awesome to get me a water when mine completely dropped, lol!

At 6k I slowly watched Christy's pink hat get 5+ steps ahead. I tried to hold onto the 4:30 pace that Lee suggested I do but they were hitting the kms faster and I just could not. But that was okay. 

I kept grinding towards the finish and before I knew it after cruising around a ton of 5k walkers to get through I was at 9k. Then suddenly my belly was churning. Uh oh. That was an all too familiar feeling and I knew I'd either have to pray it went away, stop and throw up or drastically slow down. Clearly I just kept pushing and hoped it would disappear but it did not. And then red gatorade was gushing out of my mouth and all down my leg. I was throwing up on the run with only 300-400m to go. :( The women walking next to me definitely got splashed so I'm so sorry!

Courteney got some great photos of me doing the post-puke death march to the finish.
That's my koala clip sticking out of my shirt in case you were wondering. Oddly enough you don't even notice it when you're wearing it but it sure looks strange!
I finished in 45:11 but I'm totally pleased, especially since someone pointed out to me that the course was long. :)

Post race pics with PBs for Joanna and Christy!

Avery and I. :)
 Finish lines make me smile.

It was a rough race for me at the end but isn't she a beauty?!
I was not too thrilled to have an extra 19km to do post-race but I did it. Alone. Without my ipod. LOL.

 And then Lola and I spent the rest of the Saturday in our favourite way. <3

I do love this event and the routes! There is always a great pump you up start, great on course support and spectators AND totally awesome bling! You do need to add it to your race roster for next year! Huge congratulations to all the runners!!!!!!!

Thanks for checking out my MRW blurb and I hope to see you on the roads!!

Happy Running,
Heather :)

Monday, 19 August 2019

The 2019 Tely 10!

It's been a while, but that's okay. Better late than never right?

 As a part of my annual travels home to Newfoundland I like to strategically plan the trip around the famous Newfoundland ten mile race. This year was my tenth consecutive Tely 10 - A race known very well in the running world for its net downhill route on the third Sunday in July. It usually hosts somewhere around 5000 runners give or take a bit. 

This race never disappoints. Right from the very first time I ran it I knew it was pretty special. You see when I typically take part in road racing my family members can only 'watch' via social media. Well of course you could say that for me to do what I love with family present it's pretty special. 

I even have relatives who run the race too which is cool! Aunt Brenda runs this race each year as well so we spent some pre-tely hours exploring and visiting her running friends.

This year the traditional start line was under construction so there would be a new start location. It was in the same area just on a different street so that now there would be no right turn during the first few hundred metres. I have to say now that the new start had a bit more of an incline than I had hoped, lol.

Another reason my visit to NL is sooooo awesome:
These are Dad's snowballs. A recipe he has perfected but refuses to share. ;) These are like little drops of sugary creamy bliss. This year I had the job of adding sprinkles. I think I did okay, haha.
The night before the race I stayed at Carla's. I do this each year and she drives me to the starting area where I run as a warm up to the line. I got my gear all ready and battled very awful race nerves.

This year's race was very different for me for a few reasons. At one point I considered not taking part but decided against it. Training had not gone smoothly since Cabot with a knee issue that has come up. Jeff, Jillian and I are working on it. ;) But also, my mom is dealing with cancer right now. This is a fairly recent challenge our family is facing so of course running was not on my mind for a good chunk of the last couple of months. She is tough, like real tough and I only hope to draw on her strength during my most challenging times.

Race morning:

I got up after literally only sleeping for 3-4 hours (I just could not sleep). I even called Matt at 11:30 and he said, "You should really get some rest!" I just laid there not tired thinking. The worst!  But when the alarm went off, I knew it was GO time.
I used this tie dye shirt I made at a PD day for my throwaway. It was pretty flashy.
 I ate oatmeal packed by Trudy, lol and drank a coffee before Carla drove me to the race. I ran about 2.6km and then I saw Christy doing her warm up! I was so excited to see her! Then we ran into a bunch of runners who had also traveled there from Nova Scotia. Scott lined up with us and we chatted race strategy. We chatted numbers but I knew my energy, knee and mind would dictate the actual pace I ran today. But Christy's words at the start resonated withe me, "We are fortunate to be able to do this." So this run would be something I was grateful for no matter what.
The Tely 10 so graciously let me borrow this photo from their page, lol.

At the start we sang Ode to Newfoundland which always gives me chills. When the horn went off I just ran. My body and legs felt really sluggish. Like each step forward was like trudging through water. I did not know what was going on but soon realized we were heading Yes, it was only slight but my body noticed. ;) Also lack of sleep was definitely having its' impact now.

I ran with Scott planning to work with him and fuel off each other. He was fit. Like real fit. On Lee's advice I didn't want to go faster than 4:30/km for the first km. This was easy with the incline - 4:33. Then there came some downhill. Scott is blasting out 4:18/kms and I say, "this is too fast for me!" "I like to call this 'insurance!;" he so confidently tells me. I just love Scott's racing attitude. He's out there to work hard and show no mercy...not to mention his finishing kick!

My family was around the two mile mark where they know I'll spot them each year. They also know they've been nominated Race Photographers since I digitally document everything that is running, lol.
 I knew that after I ran by they'd be high-tailing it to the finish so that helps me push forward. Clearly I'd never get there before them, haha. Until then my running goal is to get to them. The first benchmark in my mind. But that's when I really begin "Destination Finish Line!"

Scott and I are smooth here, we are chill. Stay chill Heather. And stay smooth.
 The paces were not easy for me. They weren't horrible but the effort was high. I knew that it should be and I continued to work hard. I smiled a lot and hydrated A LOT. It was merely 17 Celsius and even the little bit of humidity was really working on me.

I hit the 10km mark in 44:00 exactly. Another year that I could have a 10k PB, lol. But of course not officially!

I tried to take it all in. I loved the kids high fives. I loved the fire hoses and locals out offering support. I loved the lulu cheer station at mile 7. The only sign I was able to read said, "Fast finishes are not embarrassing today!" LOL! I laughed hard at that.

Scott and I drifted together back and forth for many miles. At least until mile 8. And then I had to let his teal shirt go. I could not keep up the push. I was not giving up but I was finding it tough now. I would not let myself stop. There were not many inclines at all but the slight ones were giving me a tad of knee pain so I really tried to push on the downhills.

I was getting so tired though!

I am grateful for this run. You've done much harder runs at Road Hammers practice! My mom is fighting cancer - if she can fight cancer, I can fight this race. I am healthy. That is a blessing. Work now and be tired later! Carla, Trudy and Dad are at the finish. Get to them! 

I was exhausted, emotional and working hard. I am going to do this. I'm almost there!

Then at the early parts of mile 9 I spotted Greg Greening. He takes amazing running photos and I was thankful to see him then.

I also looked for Stacey but it is SO tough to see anyone during the last mile! It's a huge downhill and your mission is to get to the finish, upright without puking - that's usually my goal anyway lol.
 I didn't see Stacey but she saw me!

Thanks so much for cheering and for the photos Stacey!
I knew my initial goal I set in the spring of a sub 70 minute run would not happen but I was pleased that I hit in 71 minutes with all things considered. I was very happy to see the clock knowing I gave it my all.
I crossed the mat and puked twice. Then of course had to convince the medics that I WAS okay and that this is normal for me lol. They were not really buying what I was selling but they let me go when I said my family was nearby.

Thank you Tely 10 for having such great volunteers!
 We did it!
Robyn, Christy and I post run. They had amazing runs that day!!!!!!
 Scott, Craig and I. I am happy to have such cool speedy BLT friends.

The fam jam cheer squad. <3

And I headed home to show Mom the bling. <3

And of course here are the digits:

out of 4000 runners

This was my second fastest Tely 10 and I am pretty pumped. We celebrated with tacos for lunch!

And the Halifax gang got together for dinner. :)

What a great race with great people! Go do it next year!!!!!!!

Thank you so much to my family, friends and Coach Lee! And of course to you guys for reading!

You rock <3

Happy Running,
Heather :)