Monday, February 27, 2012

We did it!

We finished the Disney Princess Half Marathon in 2:31:02 according to my twitter/facebook notifications.  Our official time was 2:31 in the results.  This is only one minute off my goal for the race!!  My sister apparently crossed the mat just before me and is placed one ahead of me in the standings - darn!  More to come when I'm at home on my own computer.  Thanks for all the good wishes!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

And we're off!

It seems almost impossible to believe!  We're leaving in just a few minutes to catch our flight to Florida, where I will be running my first half marathon!

As we cleaned out the fridge I saw my training plan on it and thought about all the runs that I've done and how far I've come.  I can't believe how much time has passed and how many kilometres I've covered since I first stuck that training plan to the fridge.  And I thought about how hard I worked and how ready I am for this - taper madness and phantom pains be gone!  I am ready for this!

I will try and post from Florida either here or on Twitter if I am able to get some data for my phone (roaming outside of Canada = big dollars) or some time on my parents' computer.  If not, I will see you on the other side of this great big awesome thing called the Disney Princess Half Marathon!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Race Report: Winterman 5k 2012

(Also known as "the accidental PR".)

This Sunday morning I satisfied my craving for a starting line and some bling at the Winterman 5k, held at the Canada War Museum.  I delayed writing my race report because I was waiting for the official pictures to be posted.  Of 10 or so pictures, this is the only one I am willing to share:

I rocked my sparkle skirt from Run Team Sparkle for the first time ever, over my winter running tights and three top layers (I probably could have gone with just two) plus my winter running hat and sunglasses.  Not sure if it is possible not to look terrible running in that many layers.  At least my sparkle skirt looked awesome.

I also wore my Run for Sherry bib on my back:

I thought about Sherry a lot on this run.  I thought about what happened to her, and how lucky I was to be out there running when she wouldn't have that chance again.  I thought about how unfair it was that she was hurt in this way, and that she wouldn't be able to run again, and how it affected so many of us.  I thought about how I would feel if I got the call that something happened to my sister on one of her runs, or to my brother.  When I wanted to take a walking break I drew on thoughts of Sherry and running for her, and it got me through so many moments where I wanted to stop or slow down.  I thought about the bib on my back, and hoped that other people saw it and that they thought about her too, and maybe went home and read her story and hugged their family.

For music, I repeated my playlist from the 2011 Army Run as clearly it had helped me kick some butt before.  You can read that report and check out the playlist here.

This event was comprised of a 3k, 5k, 10k, half marathon and full marathon.  Everyone but the 3k runners started together, which helped it feel bigger than it was (there were only about 200 people running the 5k).  Everyone ran the same course, doing more than one loop if they were doing more than 5k, plus a little extra for the half marathon and full marathon runners.  There were also relay teams doing the half and full marathons.

Mass start with cannon starting pistol
The run overall went really well for me.  I meant for this to be an easy run but I settled into a fairly good but quick pace at the beginning, and let myself take advantage of a long hill that we went down around kilometre 2.  I fully blame the sparkle skirt for my speed.  (The American says maybe the four months of training since my last 5k helped a bit too.  I said pshaw it's the power of the sparkle!)

I walked through the water station because I needed a drink, then took two brief walking breaks near the end, mostly around that darn hill (what goes down must go back up on an out and back!)  At one point in a walking break an older gentleman gave me an encouraging tap on the shoulder (either that or I was in his way) and I started back running again.  Once the end was in sight I picked up the pace and finished really strong.

My official time is 33:02.6 and my Garmin ( 32:34.  My Garmin also recorded 5.04 km, although I did forget to turn it off until about 10 metres after the finish line.  I was not sure where to start my Garmin because there were no timing mats that I could see.  I realized afterwards there weren't any timing mats and everyone only got their "gun" time, which was a little disappointing as the start line was ahead of me somewhat and they were encouraging people to line up around the block, back from the start.  The difference isn't huge though so I'm not worried.

There was some confusion at the finish line because some people were finishing and some people were looping or doing a relay exchange.  I felt really bad for the volunteers because there were no signs as there had been on the route when the half and full marathoners split off.  There were a couple volunteers trying to yell above our headphones "finishers this way!".  After that though it was quick through the chute - they removed your ankle timer, gave you your medal and there was plenty of bagels and bananas.  There was water too but it was freezing in the glasses so I was glad I brought my nuun!

The "bling" was very nice.  The medals were runners in a snowflake shape and the shirts are a nice cotton with some sponsor logos and the race series schedule on the back.  The medals for the other distances were slightly different but there was no indication on the medal or ribbon what your distance was, which would be nice to have.  There is a place for an iTab on the back but I won't be ordering one this time.

T-shirt and medal
I placed 111/188 runners and 8/14 in my gender/age group (my new scary age group based on my "running age" of 30 although I won't be 30 until July!) and 62/116 women.  I realized later that if I had signed up for the Athena category (which includes all women over 150 lbs regardless of age) I would have won my category!  There were only 2 others in the Athena category and the first place finisher in that group ran in 37:47.7.  Maybe next time.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Winterman 5k Pre-Race Thoughts & Goals

I had meant to post about signing up for this race earlier, but did not get around to it.  This race wasn't something I planned very far in advance for or even ever imagined I would be doing the week before the Princess Half, but here I am, the night before my first 5k of 2012.

A few weeks ago on Twitter someone mentioned missing races, and I thought about how I did too and wondered if there was an event I could sign up for between then and the Princess Half that would satisfy my craving for a starting line and a medal.  A little googling lead me to the Winterman, an event here in Ottawa that has races of all distances.  I checked whether a 5k would fit with my training schedule and it did - I had a 6k planned for tomorrow.  I signed up shortly after that, in time for a slightly cheaper rate and a souvenir shirt.

I picked up my race kit today at the race location.  The race kit includes a pretty nice cotton t-shirt, some free samples (including Udderly Smooth body cream, an intriguing useable blister prevention bandage called ReSkin, and Zax's Heel Spur Cream, which I'm going to save for after my half marathon I think).  There were also the usual pamphlets and ads, and it came in a reusable bag.  Not a bad race kit at all.

The race starts fairly early tomorrow (8:30 a.m.) which I suppose will be practice for the Princess Half where we have to be in our corrals for 5:00 a.m. for a 6:00 a.m. start (for our wave anyway).  I believe it is a fairly small event - less than 1,000 people in all the events combined - but all the courses are loops and  all distances start at once so I shouldn't be too lonely.

I don't have any real goals for this race other than to run the whole thing because I've had a mental block about running lately - I've been taking walk breaks at least every 10 minutes.  While I don't plan to run the whole Princess Half, I would like to increase my distance between my walking breaks if possible and to have the confidence that I know running a whole 5k will bring me.  My current PR is from the Army Run last September, which was 34:09.  I do not think I'm going to hit that, mostly because I plan to go pretty easy on myself given the Princess Half being only a week away as of yesterday, but I'm not concerned.  The plan is to get out there, enjoy myself, and add some more bling to the collection.

I have also printed off a Run for Sherry bib to wear.  I participated the weekend of the run by dedicating a treadmill run to her, but did not remember to print the bib to put on my treadmill at the gym.  There is also something about running outside in the open air and with a large group of people that is somehow different.  I wanted to dedicate one more run to Sherry and spread more awareness about her story.

After printing the bib I saw a tweet from Beth at Shut Up and Run that included a link to her latest post about Sherry, as more details have been released about her death.  As I recounted the details to The American I got a little teary, and am again now.  It seems fitting to honour Sherry again as these details come to light.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Running with Jeff Galloway!

So I know I said that I wasn't going to try and get into the meet up with Jeff Galloway at the Disney Princess Half Marathon.  I know.

And then last night they said the announcement would be this morning, and I began to think about it again.  But I knew I couldn't go without my sister.  So I sent her a very garbled e-mail about how we might get to run with Jeff Galloway, which was enough to get her interested.  We made a very loose plan that consisted of her saying "call me when it's time to sign up" and me sitting at my desk this morning refreshing the Disney Parks blog every ten seconds until the blog post went up.

I had an e-mail ready to go and hit send while texting my sister.  I called her soon after to make sure she got the message.  Then we had to wait another few hours before the e-mails went out to let us know whether we got into the meet-up.

It turns out we both got very very lucky and made the cut of the eighty people who will be lucky enough to go on a training run with Jeff Galloway on Friday morning before the half marathon, along with a question and answer I believe and some other surprises!

This sudden change of plan, plus the sudden decision to book a hotel room, has me even more excited about this holiday and the half marathon!  I'll admit I'm a little worried about maintaining the necessary pace at the meet-up, but I know I'm capable of it, just like I know I'm capable of finishing the half marathon two days after.

Eight sleeps until the half marathon!!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Princess Jennie, head to toe!

I had planned to dress up as Cinderella for the race, but then I watched Tangled and I just couldn't resist the temptation to dress up as Rapunzel.  I found my inspiration on the Team Sparkle website:

My costume will be made up of the following awesomeness:

Silver Sparkly Soul thick headband (I might layer
my thin pink one on there too)

Princess Pink Run Pretty Far arm warmers

Lululemon Run Free tank top in a pale purple
Purple Team Sparkle Skirt

My running bra is also from Lululemon and it's purple too!  (Yes, I planned that.)  Underneath my skirt I'll be wearing my current favourite running capris, and on my feet will be my trusty Nikes which conveniently are grey and pink.  It will probably be their last run - a grand farewell!

What are you planning to wear?  What's your favourite running "costume" that you've worn?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Half Marathon Training: Weeks Ten and Eleven

Wow time really got away from me there!

Here's a brief update on my training:

Week Ten
Tuesday - 3 km (25:00)
Thursday - didn't run as scheduled - went to a networking/drinks thing
Friday - 6 km (47:00)
Sunday - 18 km (2:17:00)

Total mileage: 27 km (highest weekly distance to date!)

Week Eleven
Tuesday - 3.5 km (30:00)
Wednesday - 4.3 km (35:00) - bumped from Thu because of plans with a friend
Friday - bumped to Saturday because my laser eye consult dilated my pupils like crazy
Saturday - too cold!  Didn't run.
Sunday - 10 km (1:26:00) - on the treadmill because it was too cold - shortened my last planned LSD to 10 km because 20 km on a treadmill is just madness

Total mileage: 17.8 km (not quite the 39 km I had scheduled... my training plan was maybe overambitious)

And suddenly the countdown is on!  Only eleven days left until the half marathon is here.  WOW.

I am planning three more runs before we leave for Florida - this Thursday, Friday and Sunday.  The Friday run *might* be a 20km LSD but I can't decide.  I might just do 10km again.  I am worried both about not doing a 20km before the half marathon and about doing one.  I know I am physically capable of completely the half marathon based on the training that I have done, but worry about the mental aspect of running further than I ever have before.  On the other hand, I don't want to push myself too much in the last eleven days before the race.  Another issue is my shoes are on their last legs and I don't want to pound too many more kilometres onto them.  What are your experiences?  Any tips?

In related news, last night my sister and I decided to book a hotel room for the two of us the night before the race.  We were planning on staying off resort with my parents as we will be for the rest of the trip, but wanted to reduce the stress on race day and let our support team sleep in a bit more.  Of course leaving it to almost the last minute means we ended up with a more expensive room than we would have liked, but it also forced us to book a studio room which will have a kitchenette - definitely a good choice for race morning!  We might have booked something cheaper if we had the option and been left scrambling at 3:00 a.m. to find coffee and breakfast.

Lastly, it's been confirmed there will be a Run Disney Princess Meet Up at some point during the weekend, which I understand means running with Jeff Galloway and getting some other treats and tips.  It sounds like it would be awesome and I was fully planning to try and go.  But when I think about it in the context of everything else we've got going on during the trip and all the other people who will be at my parents' house, I've decided not to try and sign up.  Best of luck to everyone who is!