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 :)

Monday, 27 May 2019

Cabot Trail Relay Race 2019!

Wow - a weekend filled with blending the incredible strength of the human body, nature's breathtaking creations and solid teamwork has left me amazed, grateful and humbled. 
Halifax Road Hammer Male and Female Champions!!!!! 

The 2019 Cabot Trail Relay Race is another one for the books. I am truly thankful for being a part of the experience to compete as well as witnessing some talented performances.

Friday after school we left Halifax and headed up to Cape Breton! I was so nervous this time! After our victory last year I knew we were going to face some tough competition yet again. I knew it would not be easy but it would be another fun filled weekend with so many amazing runner friends!

We stayed at the Gaelic College again this year and I had a tough time sleeping due to a cold that moved in the day before we annoying. I was still determined to do my best and have fun #lifeofafirstgradeteacher

There was so much excitement in the air as we gathered temporary tattoos, hair ribbons and glow bracelets for the relay. We had a fantastic team meeting hosted by our awesome captains Ian and Britney where we got our race swag and of course reviewed the rules of the relay.

Morning breakfast fuel was a must for a marathon session of spectating, running and searching for bathrooms & coffee. ;)

Team Van 5 cheer squad!
Bea, Annuka, Holly, Denise, rubber chickens and I, lol.
Captain Britney took the first leg with a strong solid performance! You can check out the legs here!
What an absolutely gorgeous day for the relay!
I LOVED the outfits of the Femme Fatales this year! They are always so creative!! Some of them even ran their leg in the full wedding gown!!!!

Rachel checked off Leg 2 for us in fierce fighting fashion!!! She's so tough!

Leg 2 had a coffee shop at the end and I hit that up right away!!!

It was great fuel to cheer Rebecca on Leg 3!

The temperature sure was rising which was great for spectating, not so great for running. These views were a great distraction from the heat!
Our cheer spot on Cape Smokey!!!! 
We were SO excited to cheer the runners up the mountain! Seriously, these hills are no joke and we did our best to support everyone! I was so inspired by the strength I witnessed!!!!!!

Colleen totally rocked the mountain! I nearly lost my hearing from how excited we were lol!!! 

I also saw James from the Men's Road Hammer team showing the mountain who is boss!

Sy lookin' pretty fly as Mario! :D

And I found Rachael on the mountain!!!
Rachael is incredibly tough! She rocked Leg 2 at the CTR after battling a crazy injury!
Cheering worked up an appetite. Thankfully Coach Lee's mom set us up with amazing tea biscuits!

It was getting real hot now!

Charlotte ran Leg 5 - this is the leg I did last year.

It was crazy warm out but she flew through each km like no big deal!

By Leg 6 people were getting sick and sun burnt!!!! Morgan still managed to destroy it!

Next up was Holly who was travelling with us in our van..after that we were heading straight to Cheticamp to get some zzz's! (It would be short but necessary).

Holly ran the super hot Leg 7 and looked amazingly strong! Honestly guys there was so much inspiration this weekend and I am so motivated!

On our drive to Cheticamp it was incredible! People were suffering heat exhaustion down below and at the top of North Mountain, this was the sight!
It was so cold out.

We unfortunately did not see the runners of Legs 8-12 (Courteney, Liz, Kali, Shannon and Anneke). The girls sure worked hard and ran well though!!  We did see this guy however on MacKenzie Mountain!!!
This was so amazing to see!
And this...

As I said, it's tough but one of the most beautiful places you'll ever run!

As we traveled through the mountains that had basically no cell service, we made several attempts to call the pizza place in Cheticamp, Wabos. After a few tries we successfully had a pizza ordered for our arrival!
I devoured one slice, brushed my teeth and tried to get some sleep before my leg at 3:45!!!

It was super hard to sleep with it being earlier than my bedtime, being exhausted and slightly sick. I think in total I got somewhere between 1-2 hours but having access to a bed, bathroom and running water was like one of the best gifts!

Greg (who was on the men's team also doing Leg 14) and I left shortly after 2:30 A.M.! Yes, I know, lol - crazy. My body was in some sort of shock. Do I eat now?!?! Do I warm up?!?! Am I even awake?!?! LOL. I ate two of my peanut butter energy balls that I made and a sip of water before leaving and hoped that that would be good enough!

We drove to the start of Leg 13 where Ian and Denise were running and Annuka was just finishing a strong Leg 12!

It was very cold and my winter coat was in another van somewhere ...brr. Denise is such an incredible runner. I was so happy to be on her team and get to work together! She was ready to rock Leg 13!

After the start, Greg and I headed to the finish so we could get ready for OUR leg!!! I was so cold, nervous, exhausted and oh did I say nervous? ;)

We chatted a bit on the drive and cheered Denise and Ian. Then suddenly a HUGE coyote ran out in front of the car!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Not cool. I knew we'd be out there in the dark with the wildlife in a matter of minutes so yeah, gulp.

I did a six minute warm up (where basically I was looking for that monster sized coyote) with my jacket and clothes over top of my running outfit. I was freezing. We had to get our vests approved by the officials and of course take part in the port-a-pottie marathon line up (which was super short actually on this leg due to it being crazy o'clock).

Rachel (from Leg 2) was at the start and I was so happy to have her there to talk me down from doubt...and possibly phantom injuries/pain. ;)

At the start I took a french toast Gu and I could not even tell who most runners were since it was so dark! Everyone looked like a glowing beam, lol. I got to say 'hi' to a few people I know who were standing right by me.

As we were given the "GO!" I was filled with adrenaline! What coyote?! Ha!

I knew our toughest competition (Glory Dames) was among the crowd that stampeded from the start but where was she? Then suddenly she zoomed by. I tried to stay with her but as I saw my watch saying 4:10/km, I decided that would be very unwise of me, lol.

I stuck with two guys for the first 10k. They were slightly ahead and I worked my way toward them. Bouncing beams of light in the distance were my targets. Everyone told me what a great leg 14 was. It looked pretty flat form the elevation profile so I was happy to do it. Of course pretty flat on the CTR profile just means it isn't a mountain, lol. There were definitely a few rolling hills and gradual climbs AND it was 19.8km long! At Insane O'Clock! That's why it was a 4/5 difficulty. ;)

I loved it though. I loved working hard and focusing on the km I was in. I loved hearing Ian and Denise cheering, "Stay smooth!" I loved hearing my feet and knowing I was doing it for others and not just for me.
I crushed any doubt of not running "fast enough" with knowing that I would not ruin the relay for my team, but that everyone was working in a collaborative effort FOR the team. One person doesn't win the relay...We all do whether you're first or last!

Seeing figures in the dark and hearing calls of encouragement made my legs go faster and my stride go stronger.

The Coastbusters must have had a runner near me. I got so many encouraging cheers from a female on the team that I was grateful for. She stood out there supporting all by herself and it really helped me! It takes a special type of person to come out at this hour and cheer lol.

My teammates were also out there and I thought, 'this is my turn to work now.' Rachael knew I'd love photos lol and she did an awesome job at capturing the sunrise final kms!

When I saw 1km to go I tried hard to push. It was hard, like real hard so my push was basically just maintaining the fight.

Hilary caught my near collapsing finish, lol. I was beat. It was also hard to catch my breath with the cold I'd run through but I knew I'd given it my all.
19.8km, 1:30:10, 4:34 avg. pace. I had no idea where we stood in placing but I left everything I had out along the road to Margaree Harbour.

Leg 15 had Bea running for us and she is such a fighter!
 It was really fun to support after having run my leg.

Meaghan ran Leg 16 and did amazing!!!! Guys, she missed Boston this year with a broken foot!!!! This was her comeback race and it was so awesome to see her doing what she loves!

We then headed to Leg 17 for the epic finish! This finish is so unique and one day I'd love to experience it. The runners get to run down a tunnel of cheering teammates and looks freaking amazing!

The finish line was buzzing and we all waited for Gavin and Hilary to zoom in!

And then Gavin cruised down the finish to give the men the First Place Title!

When we saw Hilary things got nuts!!!!!! LOL! We were the FEMALE CHAMPIONS!
Meaghan's husband Brett took the incredible shot and I just LOVE it! 
This was my attempt at a picture of our Glory Leg Finisher Hilary...I need practice, lol.

Seriously though running a relay is an awesome experience. You're all working together, helping and supporting each other towards the same goal.

Congratulations to ALL the teams on conquering the amazing Cabot Trail Relay Race! What an accomplishment.

I would like to thank so many dedicated and kind volunteers, organizers, locals, spectators and my team. You guys rock!

Another thanks to my teammates for NOT locking my keys in the car this year! LOL!

I'm so glad you guys stopped by to read my CTR recap...I know it's long so thank you!
Did you take part in the CTR this year?
how do you like the relay experience?

Happy Running,
Heather :)