SeaWheeze 2015 Race Recap: 1:47:05

The Seawheeze Half Marathon sells out in minutes every year, and holy crap you guys there is no doubt in my mind as to why.

I may be no marathon maniac, but I’ve done my fair share of races, none of which came even close to the level of freaking awesome that was Seawheeze 2015.

Where do I even start? There was the insanity of the Showcase Store that kicked off the weekend. I knew there would be a ridiculous line awaiting us after we arrived straight from the airport at 8am, but I sure didn’t expect this:

IMG_2042That is approximately 1/8 of the line, after it wound around the entire building PLUS about a 1+ hour wait inside. 

Before this trip I wasn’t even a lululemon addict. I mean, I absolutely love my clothes from there, because they are adorable and last forever. But I was just as happy to wear some random other shirt. And yet, there I was, waiting in line for OVER THREE HOURS just to spend $250 on limited edition workout clothes. When I confessed this to my friend a couple of days later, her jaw literally dropped.

After emptying my wallet, the rest of the day was spent at package pickup (surprise, another line!), then wandering around downtown Vancouver exploring. Since I lived on campus last year, basically all my experience was in the Kits area, so I felt like I was on vacation!

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Saturday morning started an hour later than Friday, at 5am. 😉 The standard ezekiel bread / PB2 / banana went down, and we took a taxi to the Vancouver Convention Centre with plenty of time to spare. There was an attempt at drinking Starbucks coffee to get the…ahem…pipes moving, but it was unsuccessful and 2/3 of it ended up in the trash. Never again.

After a cute group warmup and moseying my way over to the start corrals, the energy started to get even crazier, if that was even possible! The throngs of people made it a little challenging to get into a groove, but really they helped me start out nice and easy with an 8:34 first mile.

My plan was to average 8:20ish until about mile 7, then run 8:00 until the last 5K where I would drop the hammer. The first ~9 miles were STELLAR. I was grinning, high-fiving, and had the most ridiculous smile plastered across my face. I was completely unfazed by the hills as I was so distracted by the beautiful scenery, energetic volunteers and superb on-course entertainment. I literally listened to music for five minutes at mile 7 and then turned it right back off because it was distracting me from the experience. I always run with some sort of distraction, whether it is music or a podcast, so this was shocking for me.

seawheeze-course[Source.]

Mile 9 was when I started getting cranky. I was running 8:00, but the Seawall seemed like it would never end and 30 more minutes of running felt like an eternity. After finally finishing that stretch, there was a a super tiny hill (more like a bump, really), but my legs seized up and I stopped to walk for a few seconds and drink some water. Starting to run again was definitely hard, but I knew I would be furious with myself if I sabotaged the end of my race, so I pressed on! Out of the last six miles, all were sub-8 with the exception of 12, which was 8:10. Not too bad for walking, in my opinion!

Of course, the last 2K, and then 1K, felt approximately the length of a marathon. I basically gave up the idea of running fast and jogged into the finish, praying I wouldn’t throw up or collapse. (I’m being a little bit dramatic here, but I was NOT feeling good here, at all!) Although, my last mile was 7:52 so apparently I wasn’t going too slow. 😉

I crossed the finish line utterly spent and exhausted, but with a smile on my face. I had just spent close to two hours – 1:47:05 officially – doing my favourite thing in my favourite city. How could I not be happy?

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I didn’t even try for a sub-1:45, since I know I’m not quite ready yet. But this was a hilly-ish course, with 896 feet of elevation gain, not to mention the little walk break, and I still managed a 1:47. So I am definitely going for that goal sooner rather than later. Any locals up for RnR Vancouver this October?!

Overall, it was a perfect race, perfect weekend, and the perfect way to get me SO SUPER EXCITED to move back in LESS THAN TWO WEEKS. Vancouver, I am coming for you!!

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Fast Approaching: Half Marathons #3 and 4!

Um, oops? I was struggling for a while to get back into a running groove after my second half marathon, but I am TOTALLY loving being back on the grind now. Runs are mainly on the treadmill these days, initially due to the obnoxiously hot 30+ degree days we were having (86F), but now there have been mass forest fires in Alberta and the air is thick with smoke. Just walking outside is enough to put me in a gross, lethargic mood, so I know better than to attempt running in it.

It’s all good, though, because running on the treadmill always motivates me to actually work hard and run at something other than an easy pace. Who would’ve thought that was possible?! 😉

I’m feeling very conflicted as to my goals for Seawheeze. I know I want to run a 1:45 half marathon, and ultimately 1:40, but I also don’t know how bad the hills are.

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The Edmonton Marathon is the following weekend, and has a pancake-flat course, but if my legs are trashed from racing 13.1 miles eight days prior I won’t have hope there, either.

The way I see it, these are my options:

#1. Run Seawheeze easy and race Edmonton. This is the easiest on paper, but I hate the idea of running a race easily! Especially one as expensive as Seawheeze, I feel like I should make the most of the massive adrenalin boost!

#2. Race Seawheeze and scrap Edmonton / run a shorter distance. Since I have zero obligation to run Edmonton this is totally feasible, but …

– What if I don’t PR Seawheeze?

– A friend is running her first half at the Edmonton Marathon and I don’t want to only do the 5/10K. Always the adrenalin junkie. 😉

#3. Run Seawheeze moderately and race Edmonton. This is definitely the one I am leaning towards. If the course isn’t super hilly, I could probably eek out a mini PR and then focus on truly racing the next weekend. I feel like I recovered so quickly after the MEC Half Marathon that this has a good chance of working!

Obviously for any PRs to happen, the next four weeks need to be a serious training block! Here’s what I did last week.

Monday: 5 mile tempo. 1 mile warmup, 3 miles @ 8:00, 1 mile cool down. 5:30am treadmill miles, BOOM.

Tuesday: 10 mile long run. There were no nerves and no mid-run fuel for this one. I ate breakfast about an hour before and then headed off! It was the only cool day of what seems like the entire summer, so I wanted to take advantage of it. The last mile my neck started cramping horribly, and my legs were feeling pretty Jell-O – like, but other than that it was a solid jaunt!

Wednesday: total body strength. I reduced my squat by like 50 pounds – maybe the day after running long isn’t the best day for weights, but it was the only time I could fit it in and neglecting strength workouts = INSTA INJURY for Emma.

PBR-Total-Body-Strength-WorkoutLoved this circuit from Jen! 

Thursday: 5 miles treadmill hills / easy.  I basically just played with the incline the entire time and it probably wasn’t as easy as it should be but the pace never strayed farther than 8:34 – 8:57.

Friday: 6 mile Rowland Tempo. THIS IS SO FUN. I’m not even joking, it is a genuinely enjoyable time and I would rather do this than a whole host of other things. I found the workout here, and it’s great because you never feel like you are absolutely going to die, but you’re working hard enough to feel badass and switching gears often enough to stave off boredom. I’d do this every day if I could. My paces were 8:13 / 8:00 / 7:47 and it honestly felt too easy.

Saturday: total body strength. 

Sunday: OFF

TOTAL: 26 MILES. A Much smarter re-entry into training than that random 30 mile week that I followed up with a total week off due to intense hamstring pain. That pain actually flared up again on Friday but is gone by now so I’m not too sure what to make of it – I am hitting up the chiro this afternoon though, just to make sure everything is in order. And I’m excited to hit 30 miles this week, with hopefully a 12 / 13 miler in there!

MEC Half Marathon Race Recap

Let’s just preface this recap with a little spoiler, shall we?

I DID IT!

Hills be damned (and they were pretty darn monstrous), on June 14 I ran 13.1 miles in 1:47:16, a six minute PR from my first half marathon last year.

I was honestly so excited for this race! I had absolutely no nerves (until the morning of, of course), and just couldn’t wait to put my fitness to the test and see what my legs can do.

readytorunMy moms phone was on black and white, so all of these pictures are as well. #facepalm

And seeing as this was only my second half marathon and the first one I’ve raced, I already know I can do better. 🙂

My plan was to listen to podcasts for the first ~10 miles, both to keep me distracted and from running too fast early on. I would then plug in some Eminem and drop the hammer for the last 5K.

Miles 1-3: 8:19, 8:14, 8:32. I didn’t even notice a hill during that mile, but apparently there was 150 feet of elevation gain. WOULD HAVE BEEN NICE TO KNOW since it seemed like I was just slowing down for no reason whatsoever and basically sucked at running. 😉

Miles 4-6: 8:09, 8:28, 8:36. It was a constant struggle between “woah, don’t go too fast” and “this isn’t a leisurely stroll through the park YA LAZY.”

Miles 7-8: 8:57, 7:40. THAT. HILL. It was one of those that just kept winding and winding around, so right when you think you’ve reached the top you really have around 28 miles of climbing left to go. Well not really but you get the idea. The faster downhill mile that followed was not fun AT ALL because all I could think about was how I would have to run right back up it.

Miles 9-12: 8:09,8:02, 8:08.  These really deserve like eleven paragraphs because they felt sooooo long. Once we reached the bottom of the hill, we ran through some trails in a park and it just took forever to get to the turnaround. I spent the entire time dreading that hill – the further we ran, the closer it moved to the finish line. I seriously gunned it when we finally hit the turnaround, though, because I knew I would lose time on the hill. I actually walked for 5 seconds because I was just so tired but somehow I pulled myself together and maintained a solid split.

Mile 13, 0.1 nubbin: 7:37, 6:31. OMG I’M GOING THE WRONG WAY THERE IS NOBODY AROUND ME AKSJDHAJSKD. I’m going to stop at exactly 13.1 miles and die before wandering back to the race seven hours later to console my poor mother. <– my exact thoughts. I made it to the top of the last downhill just before mile 13 and knew I was nowhere near the start/finish line! What gives! I was all alone, there were barely any signs and I was stressin’ big time. Luckily I kept running because finally I made it to a course marshall who ensured me I did in fact go the right way.

^Also, it should be known that I actually ran 0.35 miles at that 6:31 pace but am chopping off the extra distance because I don’t have an official time yet and I do what I want!

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Overall finish time: 1:47:16. 

No age group / placing stats yet, but I will update this as soon as they are available! THIS WAS SO MUCH FUN!!! It was totally no frills, but I had such a great time from start to finish and crossed the line feeling like a million bucks. I actually joked with my friend that ran the 10K that I could go lift some heavy things instead of going home. Obviously I didn’t, and I crashed hard a few hours later, but it was a cool feeling while it lasted. 😉

Of course now my brain is all: hmmm, 1:47 on an obnoxiously hilly course, find a flat one STAT and get that 1:45, girl! On it, brain. On. It.

What was the most exciting part of your weekend? 

Should a hill at 18km be illegal? 

Friday Favourites + An Attempted Taper.

Happy Friday friends! Even though today is technically my Monday, after a one day weekend… womp womp. The life of a part-time shift worker. 😉

^ Funny story: on Monday, I had to ask my coworker what day of the week it was because I genuinely had no idea. My random start times / days off from work are throwing me off like no other! So although it might not feel like it for some of us, let’s cheers to the weekend anyway! It’s been a minute since I linked up with Heather for some Friday Favourites action. Here’s what I’ve been loving this week! 🙂

Friday-Favorite-Link-Up-Botton-Life-In-Leggings

Half Marathon Excitement. I can’t say I’ve been loving the (self-imposed) taper week, but I’ve got all sorts of butterflies for my race on Sunday! There are differing opinions on whether or not a taper is necessary / beneficial for a half marathon, but my legs did not feel very rested going into my first 13.1 so I figured I might as well give it a shot! I did my longest run of 12 miles 10 days out, and yesterday ran my last “hard” run of 1 mile each: easy / HMP / easy / HMP / easy. I’M. SO. EXCITED!!! I can’t wait to see what these legs can do!

New Closet Organization. After going from approximately two feet of closet space at UBC, to two temporary racks on a wall, to absolutely nothing while my floor is painted, putting together a fancy new closet organization system has me all sorts of giddy. We purchased this IKEA PAX Wardrobe, so now it’s just time to tackle the construction!

pax-wardrobe__0312338_PE402685_S4

 

Cappuccino and Macchiato Mastery. Well, maybe mastery is saying a little much, BUT YOU GUYS!! For the longest time I just could not make these two drinks. Because they are on the small side (6oz and 4oz, respectively), the milk is much more difficult to steam correctly and pour. After trying (and failing) approximately 7 billion times Tuesday afternoon, I finally got it on Wednesday! I’m so impressed with myself.


cappucino2

 

Frozen Smoothies + Granola. This girl is incapable of functioning before a peanut butter berry protein smoothie topped with dark chocolate granola. I’m not mad about it.

This morning's beauty: Strawberries +  PB protein powder + coconut milk +  dark chocolate granola.  Heaven!  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that my bodyweight x 5 squat had a little something to do with this.

And a random assortment of things making me happy this week that will go unpictured:

  • disgusting white converse thrown into the washing machine –> my babies are beautiful again
  • couch time is the best time
  • fudgsicles as post-run mid-morning snack DESSERT.
  • re-watching Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone for the 37th time and quoting the entire moving / driving my dear mother absolutely insane. (She’s secretly impressed)

SPEAKING OF WHICH… I may or may not have had a little freakout Wednesday morning due to the chaos in my room that comes with not having a closet. This quote was the first thing that popped into my mind and I’m still laughing about it. You know you’re a true HP fan when…

But seriously. That was me to a T. Have a lovely weekend everyone! I’ll catch ya on the flip side with a race recap, so stay tuned. 🙂

What is your favourite breakfast dessert? Fudgesicles are definitely making a comeback for me.

Any one movie / book that you ALWAYS quote? 

My Second Half Marathon: Training Peak Week

I totally did not follow a training plan for this half marathon. Back in December, I recommitted to running regularly and focused on lacing up 4x per week, building up to a weekly long run of 10 miles. I ran whatever distance/pace I pleased, but it was generally pretty easy.

Once I arrived at home, my running definitely took a hit! There were a few weeks where I did less than 15 miles, and I skipped a long run on more than one occasion. The one run I didn’t want to skip, though, was a twelve miler! I felt like I needed that run mentally just to remember that I could actually run that far, hah.

I also ran fast last week for the first time in who knows how long! It was the day before I ran long and MAY not have been the smartest plan, but it was pretty darn fun.

Here is what went down for my last week of “training”:

HalfMarathonTraining

Monday: 5 miles easy. 

Tuesday: OFF. I was expecting to do my 12 miler on Wednesday, National Running Day!

Wednesday: 6 miles speed. 2 miles @ 7:15, 1 mile @ 8:04, then 3 miles treadmill progression @ 7:44 average. I spent some time around 6:57 pace and felt surprisingly good!

Thursday: 12 miles @ 8:30. I think the part of this run that I am the proudest of is that I actually ran UPHILL. 993 feet of elevation gain later, I stumbled in my front door and just about died.

Friday: OFF. I was too busy eating donuts for National Donut Day to bother with exercise.

Saturday: 7 miles easy

Sunday: total body strength. Man I suck at strength training these days. I love it, but it’s so much harder to fit it into my schedule than going out for a run! Plus I’ve been prioritizing running lately with races coming up so everything else has been taking a hit.

TOTAL: 30 MILES. 4 runs, 1 long and 1 speed. Time to taper! Who knows how to do that, anyway?

Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

I can hardly contain my excitement. There are exactly twelve weeks remaining until my second half marathon!!

And you know what that means – TRAINING PLAN TIME! My fellow type As can relate to the magnificence of having an exact schedule to follow. I based this off of several training plans that I’ve researched over the past ~4 months while obsessing over this race. I also knew that I wanted to run 4x per week, incorporate different activities and have a rest day. I’ve kept it both specific and flexible, though.

For example, “5 miles speed” – this allows me to do basically whatever I please, keeping running fun and preventing it from turning into an obligation. I may have big dreams with running, but at the end of the day it is still a fun hobby and I never ever want it to turn into more than that.

There are infinite possibilities – repeats, fartleks, or substituting an easy run if my legs just aren’t feeling it. That’s another reason why I didn’t want to pencil in specific workouts – I never want to push myself to hard and end up feeling burned out, or worse, injured! Been there, done that my friends.

Some more highlights of this training plan:

1. Long runs start at 10 miles. It just makes no sense to follow the buildup that is common in most plans when I can already run for 90 minutes! So this will help me get more comfortable with the distance.

2. Long runs include half marathon pace. I just wouldn’t feel comfortable attempting to run 13.1 miles @ 8:00 if I had only ever done that in speed / tempo runs. So there are a few long runs with miles at HMP sprinkled in there, and  a slightly slower test run one month out.

3. Increased midweek mileage. In my head, 6 miles is a longish but relatively easy run that I could do in the morning without much thought. Bump it up to 7 miles, though, and all of a sudden it is “OMG LONG RUN I’M GOING TO DIE”. So by doing this every week, that will hopefully disappear.

4. Running specific cross-training. Up until now, I’ve basically continued with my usual heavy weight lifting and running around that. I know it hampers my recovery, though, so these two cross-training days will be more bootcamp-style workouts and yoga. Each day specifically will depend on how I feel!

And without further ado, here it is!

Intermediate Half Marathon Training Plan

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Remember, I am not a certified running coach nor a super experienced runner! But I absolutely will run the Boston Marathon one day, and 1:45 half marathon is the first step in qualifying. So I’ve come up with a plan that I hope will get me there! I’m so excited to be training for a race again, not to mention ALL the half marathon / running posts over the next few weeks!

I do want to keep it interesting, though, so please comment / email me with anything you would like to read about! Like I said, I’m not a running coach or pro runner by any means. I hope that makes a difference in a good way, though! You can follow along with an ordinary university student and hopefully be able to relate more. 🙂

What running posts interest you the most? 

Are you currently training for anything? 

Weekend Recap + Half Marathon (Training) Prep

I’m so sorry for abandoning y’all yesterday, but my lovely mother came to visit me in Vancouver this past weekend, so I was busy enjoying every moment I could with her! Only six more weeks until I’m home for good – it’s pretty surreal.

Friday was spent devouring some delicious happy hour appetizers – roast beef croquettes, mushrooms in gravy & “OMG cheese bread” from The Flying Pig. I’ve been there three times now, and every single thing I’ve eaten there has been beyond phenomenal. I can only vouch for the Gastown location, but if you’re in the area, it’s a must-see! Or must-eat, I suppose.

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It was a bit too dark for pictures, but don’t worry – I got several shots of some pretty darn attractive food for tomorrow’s WIAW. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ve seen the preview to my new favourite breakfast spot:

My kinda place in the morningI mean, what else could you possibly need in life? 

In between eating delicious food at every available opportunity, there was some shopping done, – for clothing OTHER than running attire, I know – much needed haircuts, several hours of wandering and a good chunk of laziness with the bestie McDreamy.

I feel so so lucky and thankful to have had this weekend with my mom! Before she came, I was feeling pretty overwhelmed at the idea of two remaining months of school, but I am so refreshed now. There are only four weeks of class and two weeks of exams until my first year of university is dunzo! I can totally do it. 🙂

Okay – now onto the #runchat.

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This is hard to believe, but I’ve actually been running 4x per week consistently for almost four months now! Following several months of sporadic running  after my first half marathon, I went from barely finishing a slow 2 miler to sprinting the end of 11 miles. I’ve had a handful of long runs within 10 seconds of my half marathon goal pace, which made me feel absolutely amazing! But recently, all of my runs have felt difficult and slow – some clear evidence of cumulative fatigue.

The last thing I want is to be burned out on running before I officially start training on March 23, so my plan is to do a “taper” of sorts. Last week I did only three easy 5 mile runs, with no long run on the weekend. And this week, I will do three 5 milers plus one 7-8 mile run on the weekend.

My run last night was absolutely phenomenal! After saying goodbye to my mom yesterday afternoon, I dropped my stuff and headed straight out to hit the roads. I managed to time it perfectly with the sunset, and it made for a beautiful evening. Somehow, I ended up with a perfect progression and 7:59 average – aka goal half marathon pace. It’s crazy what a little rest will do, hey?

Obviously Snape

Next Monday I will be posting my official training plan! I’m going to be making it myself based off others that I’ve seen and what I know works well for me. I’m incredibly lucky with the fact that I will only have class during the first three weeks of my 12 week plan, and the rest I’m either studying for finals on my own schedule or on summer break!

So this next week is going to be all about the rest, recovery & nutrition. I baked lots of sweet potatoes over the weekend thanks to oven access, so at the very least my beta kerotene levels will be safe and sound. 😉

Tell me the best thing you did last weekend!

^ And happy St. Patrick’s day! I just remembered this after hitting “schedule”, hah. Apparently I don’t have enough Irish blood in my hot mess of European genealogy. Try not to get pinched and eat some delicious chocolate, okay?