first half marathon race recap

I never thought I loved running enough to race for it.
I never thought I loved running enough to do it for over an hour, almost two.
I never thought I loved running enough to watch my pace.
I never thought I loved running enough to want to do it every week.

But, then something changed.

I started getting curious about races and how they work.
I started enjoying running for longer periods of time without stopping.
I started racing home after running to see how my paces were and if they had improved.
I started planning running into my weekly routines.

And, then I entered my very first half marathon.


The Oakville Half Marathon to be exact. Here’s my full race recap of it, which took place on Sunday, September 25th, 2011:

My goal time
My plan was to follow the 2:00 pace bunny, which is exactly where I started. With the 2 hour pace bunny, it was a run/walk combo – I wasn’t looking for the walk part, though. So I started off following her, but when she stopped to walk, I kept running.

I thought my pace was fairly good from there on, but about 5 minutes later, I noticed she had caught up to me even with her stopping to walk – this didn’t fly well with me. So I kept up running with her until her next walk break and I then never saw her again. My new pace marker was 1:55 – hello guy in short shorts (seriously?!?!).


How I felt the day of
Ok, so the crappy thing is, I caught this cold about a week before the race. Stuffy and runny nose combo, morning cough and just the feel of being sick. I don’t know about you, but I like to breathe out of my nose for the majority of my run because it reduces the energy I have to use breathing out my mouth (or is this just me making stuff up?), so when I say that I woke up Sunday morning with a running/stuffy nose, you know what I’m getting at.

Do you think I remembered to bring kleenex with me to the actual race? If you said, no, then you’re correct.

I had hoped thought this would have been gone by race day, but it wasn’t, so I just had to deal with it.

Overall, it sucked and I had to run with my mouth opened the whole time (just reiterating that fact that PB for breakfast was not a good decision), but I made it! (The answer is yes – I’m still sniffling three days later).

My pace
I managed to keep behind the 1:55 pace bunny for the majority of the run – sometimes closer to him, sometimes farther…and this probably gives you some indication of my finish time.


My pace was pretty constant, but I don’t know exact numbers since I don’t have a running watch and rely on a program on my phone to do that jazz (read: total bummer, since pace is pretty important to me now). But, I wasn’t about to carry around a blackberry for almost 2 hours, so I just ended up averaging total distance with my finish time to figure out pace.

Fueling up
I stopped at pretty much every drink station (remember: PB mouth!!), which consisted of gatorade and water. I usually only drank water, but double fisted the one time. This really meant one sip of gatorade and then 10 sips of water. I felt so rebellious tossing those cups to the curb – go me!

I think oatmeal was the perfect pre-run fuel (for me) because I didn’t feel hungry the entire run…just thirsty (have to fix that con for next time!)

The course
Thank goodness I didn’t end up doing a lot of hill training because the only hill that existed was a very small that didn’t last long at all. I kind of figured the track would be mainly flat, and flat it was! This was a huge advantage to me!

It was also nice to run in a very rich town. I ran by at least 30 million dollar houses – all huge, gorgeous and home-drool worthy. I had lingering gazes at the house, where other runners probably thought I was looking at them!

Fears?
One of my fears was a shoelace coming undone (which happened on my 7 mile run today), but luckily, this never happened on race day (yessssss, I can tie my shoes properly!). Because you know what stopping means…speeding back up to where you should have been if you hadn’t stopped! What do people do when they have to use the porta-potty during the race – did I seriously just go there??!!

Mu-saaac (aka music)
One thing I did want to do before race day was complete a race playlist in iTunes, but I didn’t get around to it and just randomly shuffled all songs in my library.
Pro: Everything has a chance of getting selected – new or old.
Con: I have about 100 motivation audio files on there which has a high chance of getting selected.

As much as I like my motivational audio shhtuff for long drives, I do not like it for long runs. It’s awkward trying to press the next button, but I somehow manage every. single. run.

Another pro: new music gives you the ‘omphf’ you need to almost repush you. The new Rihanna song came on at 14k (woulda preferred it at 20k iTunes, but we’ll talk about that later!), and put a little hop in my step run.

Nerves-be-gone
Was I nervous to run?


I think so. There’s that moment that you’ve waited so long for something and then you just want it to begin/be over with. The picture above pretty much sums up the ‘get this thing started already!’ idea. Or was I looking for the husband in the totally wrong spot? Let’s play, “guess what’s going on in this photo.”

The weather
Signing up for this back in July, I was a little worried what the weather might be like at the end of September – sometimes it can be super warm, but other times it can surprise and lead into an early winter.

I didn’t really check the weekly forecast leading up to the race because I didn’t want to get disappointed if rain was anywhere remotely around Sunday…so, I checked on Saturday. It said rain in the morning (doh!), but I shrugged it off. And good thing I did because go figure, the weather was wrong. Again.

It was the most beautiful morning ever – I actually overdressed (you’ll see how I reworked my running outfit to get some airflow).

Run, Forrest, run!
I like running in miles, but being in Canada and all, they do the km thing. So the race was technically 13.2 miles, but was marked with km’s (for a total of 21).

The first 5k breezed by, and even til the 10 I was fine. It was the next 11 where I was fine keeping up my pace, but I knew it was going to get harder if I wanted to pick up my pace closer to the finish line.


(stolen from the race website – I didn’t wanna pay for it, so don’t mind the writing through me…more to come)

My goal was to pick up pace for the last 5km, but once those last 5k approached, I changed it to 3, and then to 2, and then to 1, and then it was like…just really run the final stretch. So I did just that.

I think I started fading a bit after 15k, which is when there was a station that was giving out gu’s followed by gatorade and water. I grabbed a gu and had planned to have it after the water. Water was drank and then when I was trying to open the gu package, I dropped it. Like stopping to tie a shoelace, there was no time to stop and pick up the gu. I silently screamed ‘noooooooooo!‘ in my head and kept going.

When I saw the 20k marker I was pretty stoked to know there was only 1km left because by this time I was thirsty, feeling a little sick-ish and getting pretty tired. I actually contemplated walking for a bit, but thought running was more efficient to make it to the finish line ūüėČ

Finally, I knew the line was coming up. There was no time to look around for the husband and the mother…my eyes were on that wee little pad I had to step on in order for the chip on my shoe to record my time. A lovely little pad it was. It signified the end to not only a great race, but a great accomplishment.

Total
Total running distance: 13.2 mi / 21k
Total running time: 1:55:11
Finish standings:

  • placed 13/33 for my age category (25-29)
  • placed 83/321 for gender, and
  • placed 307/715 overall

Overall
It was a great, great experience (enjoyed by the husband as well), and I’m so happy I chose this as my first half to enter in. Just another goal to cross off the list. I definitely want to run another one – preferably the Princess Half Marathon at Disney World in Florida in February, which just so happens to take place during my reading week from school. I think that would be a more manageable goal than the next one on the list – trip to Europe!

Here’s a few pictures to summarize this awesome day! Happy running!


I did it!!!


(can you tell the husband was amused by this guy? good thing I didn’t pick up my pace or I woulda finished close to him and might have missed getting my picture snapped!)


(me and the chicken – what a coincidence :P)

Advertisements

rock, paper, scissors

We all know that in the game of rock, paper, scissors, one trumps the other.

Paper covers rock.

Scissors cut paper.

Rock breaks (?) scissors.

I kind of compare this game to events  that  happened in the past couple of days. Except replace the rock, paper and scissors with negative and positive.

In my case, two positives trumped one negative. It also helps that one of my positives was a huge accomplishment on a personal level for me.

Shall I start with the negative? Get the bad out of the way first. Or at least that’s how I’ve always done it when someone has said, “do you want the good or the bad news first?”

The bad: I woke up this morning not feeling 100%. I joked that I was functioning at about 74% today. Normally getting 74% on anything would be considered good, but I’m telling ya,this 74%er just wasn’t feeling it today at work.

I was lacking energy, sniffling, consuming constant water (not bad, I know) because my throat was like sandpaper (there’s the bad part) and longing for any bed to crawl into…which would have been pretty easy, considering I work in a long-term care/retirement village.

It all started yesterday when I woke up feeling like I had food lodge in the back of my throat (too graphic?) every time I went to swallowed. This didn’t stop me from my morning run though. In fact, I still went out and ran in hopes it would make me feel better…and it did…for a bit.

I’d give you those stats, but they were ok. And I actually have to show you some other stats, which have to do with my one positive (hint: it’s not the huge accomplishment positive).

I still carried on with the day, had that huge positive (I like to leave you hanging ;)), then went to a birthday party for one of my close friend’s daughter; she turned one and I couldn’t miss it, sore throat and all!

And that’s it for the sickness…I know it will be going away tomorrow.

The good #1:¬†I had mentioned above about not posting my stats for my run from yesterday, partly because I need to share with you my stats from Wednesday. This is when I ran an awesome negative split. We’ve heard about it before, from Angela, and I actually achieved one that I’m proud to show you.

Here’s the breakdown:

Mile 1 – 8:54
Mile 2 Р9:28
Mile 3 Р9:23
Mile 4 Р8:42
Mile 5 Р9:01

Doing the math:

Mile 1 + Mile 2 + half of Mile 3 = 13:04
Mile 4 + Mile 5 + half of Mile 3 = 12:35

I successfully ran the second half of my run 29¬†seconds faster than the first part…and this was with running 5.67 miles total (note: I didn’t include the mileage past the 5th mile since it was inaccurate due to not being a complete mile). I also ran this midday in the heat (about 90F) with pure sun and no wind…let’s just say my face was a blotchy red mess!

The good #2: What you’ve all been waiting for…the best of the best positive!

Yesterday, I had the pleasure of bumping into someone I quite admire. The best things are those you don’t see coming. Let’s just say, I wouldn’t have seen this one coming in a million years!

I was minding my own business at the Farmer’s Market on a lovely Saturday morning. I was actually sitting on the sidewalk with my sister waiting for the husband to get there so I wouldn’t have to carry around his cold smoothie anymore. While we were sitting and waiting for him to get there, I remembered that I had forgotten the camera at home (my plan was to take some much needed pics at the market), so I called him. Luckily, he was still at home and successfully snagged the camera along with the two other things I forgot to bring (Farmer’s Market LIST and reusable bags…what was I thinking?!). That’s when it happened…

Could it be?

No, it can’t!

Yes, yes it is her!

This is when I proceeded to follow her¬†and contemplate whether I should talk to her now and hope she wouldn’t mind me bugging her again when the husband arrived with the camera OR¬†wait til said husband got there with¬†the camera then talk to her.

I did it. I followed her for a bit, then decided I had to talk to her and hope that the husband was coming soon (in the meantime I was also texting Tyler like crazy telling him to HURRY!)

So who did I meet, you ask?

…..

….

..

.

Do you recognize this book?

Or this one…

Or this one?

How about this one?

Or wait…that’s not a book.

IT’S ME WITH TOSCA RENO!

I did it! I met Tosca Reno. Why was I so excited about this? Well, I was first introduced to her books even before she was famous. I was on a trip to Atlanta over 5 years ago and I asked my grandma if she had any good books I could take with me on my flight…she gave me Tosca’s book, “The Eat-Clean Diet.”

Not only has this been one of my favourite books, but it taught me a lot about eating! I love her concepts, recipes and her in general РI became an instant fan! After basically taking on the Eat-Clean Diet as my bible (I seriously referred to it ALL the time), I started looking more closely at where the photos in the book where shot. To my surprise (and I mean surprise), her grocery store pictures where shot in my hometown in the grocery store I frequent. This obviously made me love her more!

Never did I think I would ever¬†bump into her at the local farmer’s market…but luckily, yesterday it happened. She is super nice (which I never had any doubts that she wouldn’t be) and was super helpful. She answered some of my questions and was just amazing with every word she spoke.

If you haven’t heard of her, please¬†go pick up one of her books or check out one of ¬†her site‘s. They never disappoint!

She was even nice enough to take numerous pictures.

With just me.

With me her, and her husband (and she even insisted that I stand in the middle…like I said, amazing)!!

Even me, her and my sister.

This was honestly one of the best days (can’t you tell from my smile?!).

Like I said, positives trump a negative! Always.


what to eat…

First off, I would like to note that I am so slow moving right now. I need to snap out of this if I ever want to accomplish the things I had set out to do today!

Actually, I know why it might be like this- because of the food, activities and catching up on zzz’s.

This morning the hubby had a golf lesson to teach over at the gym (and by this I mean, the gym that has a huge indoor sports dome, where he does lessons), and instead of being lazy bones and sleeping through him being productive, I decided to tag along and run while he taught.

I had a slower run today (lacking sleep?) and didn’t push myself very hard; I did 6.38 miles in 60mins.

The funny thing is before the weather was nice here, I absolutely loved¬†running on the treadmill and almost didn’t want to take it outside. Then one day, I decided it was time to make a route and see how my endurance was in the big bad world.

Ever since then (plus the combo of tanning while running, inhaling fresh air, seeing the world), I now don’t want to take it back inside. I did today, but with plans to run again outside on Wednesday.

This run left me huuuuungry…and I haven’t yet recovered from it! Which brings me to what to eat…

Nothing in the house is appealing to me right now. And if it is, chances are it’s an easy thing to consume, which normally means: not good for you!

The sensible thing would be to check out the grocery store, to buy what I really want right now: a banana covered in PB or coconut ice-cream (naturally!), but slow moving me needs some serious motivation. I’m hoping that’s coming…

Read the rest of this entry »


feeling fine on friday!

Everyone should¬†be feeling fine since it’s Friday! I don’t work this weekend – it’s the first in four that I don’t – so I took the time and headed out for a nice long run today. The temperature was perfect (sunny and 21 degrees C vs. on Monday when I went, it was 27 degrees C). Here’s my summary:

I swear when I was mapping the route, another website said 5.5 miles…but I guess I can’t be too¬†picky if that site was correct, since it’s only off by 0.1 of a mile.

When I got back it was time for some abs – my much neglected abs needed some loving today.

Friday ab burner!

Basic plank

[Source]

  • Hold for 60 seconds

Side plank


[Source]

  • Do 20 reps

The sprinter

[Source]

Targets upper and lower abs and obliques

Lie on your back with your hands at your sides, legs straight, and heels hovering about six inches off the floor¬†(A).¬†Start sitting up while elevating your left arm with the elbow bent so it resembles a sprinter’s pumping motion. At the peak of the situp, bring your right knee to your chest¬†(B).¬†Return to start, keeping your legs raised, and repeat with the opposite arm and leg. That’s one rep.

Perfect Form Control your movement through the entire exercise, bracing your core to keep pressure off your back.

  • Do 2 sets of 10
V-sits

  • Hand on floor behind you – legs out then in ¬†counts as one rep. Do 20 reps

Seated medicine ball twists

 

[Source]

  • Holding a medicine ball (between 6 – 10 lbs, I used an 8), with feet lifted off ground, twist to the right, then twist to the left – that’s one rep. Do 20 reps

After that, I made a fail¬†smoothie. Since recently getting the new vegan protein powder, I haven’t really experimented with it yet. I realize now that I put way¬†to much protein powder in for the volume of smoothie I was making; it totally took over the smoothie…and not in a good way. But since it looked¬†pretty, I have to show:

It was suppose to taste like mango peach coconut, but instead tasted like powdered vanilla protein powder РI do not joke! And I was very disappointed since I wanted something fresh and fruity to match the temp outside!

Now, I need to go get more coconut milk before I can try again. After the smoothie fail, I decided to have a Larabar instead and bake some red potatoes.

I’ve been addicted to these potatoes lately, so¬†I can’t wait until they’re nice and cooked. I will post the recipe later ūüôā

It’s time to shower, then venture to the grocery store and hopefully the hubby will be home from work by then!

Q: What are your plans for the weekend?

I cannot wait for the Farmer’s Market tomorrow and hopefully, if the weather permits, I’d love to do a hike on Sunday!


eat, bake, run…repeat

I had other ideas of things in mind that I was going to do today…but that’s ok because today still turned out to be pretty successful. And yes, I would repeat it everyday if I could.

Morning:
Started it off right with some oats – in went 1/3 cup oats, 1/3 cup water, 1/3 coconut milk (unsweetened), 1/2 a naner. Stir in a pot over med-high heat until desire consistency, then mix in your toppings. Mix ins: 2 tsp ground flax, 1 tsp chia seeds, sliced almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut and white chocolate PB. Top it off with a tea and voila – perfecto breakfast.


I squeezed in a little time to study chem (hello, teacher call me, so I can get this final written by next week!). Somehow studying chem always turns into going into my Google Reader…it’s a mystery to me… ūüėõ

Afternoon:
I have been on the hunt for a banana bread for the past day now (banana’s won’t stay overripe forever…haha) and finally just scraped the search and made my own variation on two recipes I was looking at.

Coconana Bread

Inspired from here and here.

Coconut and banana fusion!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups whole wheat flour¬†
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 small very¬†ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 flax eggs (2 tbsp flax + 6 tbsp water)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup ¬†*next time I would up the amount of this
Directions:
1. Preheat over to 350*
2. Combine all dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, soda, powder, coconut, salt)
3. Combine all wet ingredients in a medium sized bowl (start with bananas, mash with a fork, add milk, flax eggs and maple syrup)
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and combine
5. Add mixture to a loaf pan and bake for 40-50 mins *I eventually increased the temp to 375* in frustration ūüôā

mashed bananas!

Things I would do differently next time:
  • sweeten, sweeten, sweeten! I definitely neglected the sweet aspect of this recipe (and also didn’t have any vanilla on hand which might have made a difference)
  • increase the temperature of the oven from the beginning. This took way too long to bake. I’m not one to hang around for an hour while a banana bread bakes!
  • coconut oil, anyone?! I’m kicking myself for not adding it.

Once you added a little Earth Balance, it definitely increased my liking for it.

A little pre-run carb load up and I was good to run!

My workout outfit :
Which happens to all be lululemon…except for the shoes!

Today’s run was 6.56 miles¬†in 60 mins. Hubby got home from work when I was 10 mins away from being done my run. We had just enough time to talk for about 10 mins post-run before he was heading out the door to go teach a golf lesson. In that time, I squeezed in a quick workout on top of the run.

  • shoulder press on stability ball – 3 sets, 12 reps, 8lb weight in each hand
  • lateral shoulder raises sitting on stability ball – 3 sets, 10 reps, 5 lb weights in each hand
  • tricep dips on stairs – 3 sets, 12 reps, body weight
  • hip lifts lying on floor – 2 sets, 10 reps followed by 10 pulses at the top , using two 5 lb weights
  • leg extensions on stability ball – 2 sets, 10 reps
  • 50 crunches with feet on stability ball
  • 20 stair jumps (to get that heart rate back up) – I jumped 2 steps
  • lunges – 2 sets, 10 reps (each leg), 8 lb weight in each hand
  • dead lifts – 2 sets, 12 reps, 8 lb weight in each hand

After racing through that, I managed to convince the hubby to make a pitstop at Starbucks (this is how dedicated I am – we drove separately, so he wouldn’t be late to teach his lesson, because I wanted Starbucks so bad and I knew he needed it after his early morning start today). So I met him after a 3 min car drive to Starbucks, we ordered together, then he was off. Nothing like some quality time with the hubby ūüôā

The reason for the need to go to Starbucks? 1/2 price frappuccino’s obviously! I got the new¬†mocha coconut with soy milk and it was delish!

yum in a cup!

I’m afraid that I might get sucked in and get one each day the 1/2 price deal is on (which goes until may 15th…yikes!)

That brings me to this¬†point in time: writing blog and thinking about how I should have showered before I wrote this blog post (today’s run was a sweaty one…TMI?). And that is that. Happy Friday!

Q: What is your fav drink from Starbucks?
I normally love chai tea latte’s, but love when Starbuck’s does great promotions like this because it allows you to try other great products for a fraction of the price!

What gear do you like to workout in?
I love lululemon, especially since I stocked up on gear when I worked there, and haven’t really branched on to new things!

What’s your favourite way to sweat?
I love running, and when given the chance also like to use the stairmaster! I used to dance and loved that as exercise and would like to get back into it. I haven’t done yoga in a while (especially hot yoga for the sweating purpose of this question) and think I should do more of that just to make sure my flexibility stays intact!


where the cookie crumbles

I haven’t blogged in a few days. I’m still trying to figure out how to balance life, writing a blog and reading tons of other amazing ones. Are there really any good methods to achieving this? …Didn’t think so!

Oh well, isn’t that just the way the cookie crumbles?

And I’m not talking about a metaphorical cookie, but an actual cookie.

It can get on your keyboard while reading said blogs; it can get on important chem notes while studying; it can even get you coming back for seconds. Damn, crumbly yet oh so good cookies.

As soon as I read Angela’s post – oh wait, I didn’t even get through her post before attacking her cookie recipe – I knew I had to make them. They were exactly what I needed post-dinner and¬†I’m a big fan of when I find a good recipe and I have all the ingredients.

So I hopped, err, crumbled to it.

They were chocolatey, banana-ey and oatey goodness all scrunched into one delightfully fluffy cookie. Eight hardly seems like enough, but I’ll do my best to refrain.

Ok, I’m sorry, but I didn’t refrain. I had them the next morning crumbled up in some coconut milk.

You cannot deny a good cookie eating.

I’d like to say it kept me going for a while, but unfortunately it doesn’t do it like oats do (although there are oats in the cookie).

I went on to study for my chem exam, with hopes of writing by the end of this week or early next week. This means that once I write the exam, my focus can switch to spring/summer and reading whatever else I want…and for this, I am happy.

And later in the day, I moved onto running. It was glorious and the farthest (to date) I’ve ever ran: 10.3 miles. So, I am oh so tired and ready to relax!

I’m off to enjoy some tea and back to studying! Goodnight.


matcha green tea goodness

Ok, I only have time for a quick post, as I got distracted today and didn’t quite accomplish as much chemistry as I had set out to do. But that’s alright! I won’t let it stop me from reaching my goal of finishing a unit this week. The more I read, the sooner I get this class outta my life!

One of my distraction’s was running; I ran a lovely 6.47 miles. So what better thing to have after a nice run than a nice smoothie!

Matcha Green Tea Power Smoothie

Hold the protein bar, will ya!

green goodness!

Ingredients:
whey protein powder (I used just under 2 tbsp)
1 tsp matcha green tea powder (I use this one)
1.5 tsp unsweetened shredded coconut
dash of honey for sweetness (or any other sweetener such as maple syrup or agave)
8-10 ice cubes
1-2 cups of unsweetened coconut milk

Directions:
Combine all ingredients together in a magic bullet/blender and enjoy!

I might add a banana next time to form a better smoothie ‘paste’ as I basically just sucked all the goodness out of the ice, but I just didn’t want banana in it this time!

I’ve also tried adding vanilla frozen yogurt and that makes it reeeeally nice!

If it does get really chunky, just add more coconut milk, because who doesn’t love a little more coconut milk!

I’d like to apologize for the crappy picture of the actual smoothie (ie: camera on phone), as the hubby stole our only camera to use at his golf lesson today. We all know what I’m asking for, for my birthday!

Well, time to go shower, so I can get a bit more chemistry done before dinner. Dinner is looking like it’s going to be a quinoa salad (based on what ingredients I have waiting for me in the cupboard and fridge) and maybe a small batch of broccoli and cheese soup! Then the hubby and I will try and squeeze in a workout later tonight.

What are your favourite smoothie flava-flaves?!