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!!

A Week of Solid SeaWheeze Training!

AKA my most productive training week in who knows how long! It wasn’t my highest mileage, but it also

a) didn’t end in an injury

b) didn’t end in burnout

c) included a long run, tempo run, speed work AND easy/recovery run

d) included two strength training sessions

YUP. I am impressed with myself this week. I also took a rest day on the day I needed it, not when it was planned. Now if I could only figure out how to take care of my body and eat well, I’d be on a serious roll.

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Monday: 6 miles with 5 @ 8:00. 1 mile warmup, 5 at goal half marathon pace, and a few minutes walk home to cool down and stretch. This was a 5:30am treadmill workout for me to be at work by 8am, so I didn’t have time to get fancy! This was a grinder but I managed it relatively well.

Tuesday: total body strength

Wednesday: 12 miles @ 9:00. Slow and steady wins the race. 7.5 miles outside and 4.5 on the treadmill once it got too hot out. I didn’t feel amazing during this run but I also didn’t feel awful, although I battled serious nausea for the rest of the day.

Thursday: 4 recovery miles

Friday: OFF. This is definitely the new plan post-long run: short, slow recovery run followed by an off day. I had almost no soreness!

Saturday: 6 miles with 8 x 400m. Read about that workout here! It was my first attempt at formal speed work and it was definitely a success. Now it’s time to nerd out on all the different types of workouts I can do. 🙂 🙂

Sunday: total body strength

TOTAL: 28 MILES. The plan was 30 miles, but since I cut Saturday’s workout short it dropped a bit and I didn’t feel like running 2 miles just for the sake of a weekly total. Plus, maybe a gradual increase in miles will keep me from getting injured again…just maybe. 🙂

What was the highlight of your week?

Are you training for anything right now? 

Easing Into Speedwork.

Until Saturday, I had never done speed work before. My running history can basically be summed up into: slow running and fast ish running with a couple near-vomit-inducing 5 & 10Ks thrown in there.

SunRunPre Sun Run 10K photo-op

But since I’m trying to actually train hard and all that these days, I decided it was high time for me to start doing some speed work. The lazy / cheap college student in me didn’t want to make the trek over to the university track and pay for it, so I decided to do 400m repeats on a flat stretch of pavement about a mile away from my house!

I also had NO idea how to pace myself. The plan was to:

1. Warm up for 1 mile

2. 12x ( Sprint like a bat out of hell for 400m / jog for 400m )

3. Cool down for 1 mile

Well, apparently sprinting like a bat out of hell is not very conducive to 12 repeats while still (albeit slowly) running in between, especially for a newbie like myself.

I ended up doing 8 x 400m, walking the first 200m rest and jogging the second.

My interval times were: 1:45 / 1:46 / 1:36 / 1:38 / 1:39, so between a 6:29 and 7:02 pace!

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To be honest, I had no idea I was capable of running anything with a 6 in front of it, regardless of how short the distance is. 🙂 I actually started a 9th repeat, but stopped when my watch told me I was hitting a 9:00 pace (turns out it was 6:15 so I shouldn’t have given up).

Regardless I am incredibly happy with my first attempt at speed work! I’m going to do this again next week, but focus on hitting 1:45 for all (12 this time) repeats, and jogging slowly in between (no walking!). Depending on how that goes, I might move up to 800m. But I attempted 800m repeats on the treadmill once and never quite recovered…so we shall see. 😉

Do you do speed work regularly? What kind? 

We Nipped THAT Injury In The Bud + I Freaking Love Chiro.

Sometimes I consider making my titles more eloquent like “The Importance of Injury Vigilance + The Benefits of Chiropractors”, but that sounds revoltingly arrogant and preachy and in my humble opinion, the more honest a title, the better.

liesMy feelings on click bait. 

I’ve had a very interesting few weeks when it comes to these muscles of mine.

1. About a month ago, I (think I?) tore my glute. It sure felt like it, I couldn’t put weight on it and the pain was horrific. But it also went away after a couple of days rest and foam rolling, so I’m not 100% sure.

2. A week later, I developed intense upper hamstring pain. Every stride hurt, and being paranoid as I am these days, I took a week off running. The pain disappeared.

3. The pain returned the day of a tempo run, but it was more sore than actual pain, so I decided to go through with the tempo. Weirdly enough, they felt better immediately after running than before, and the soreness was gone the next day!

Thoughts from my chiropractor:

  • I did in fact, at least partially, tear my glute.
  • During the recovery process, it stopped firing, putting extra stress on my hamstrings and hips.
  • Hamstring pain and soreness.

$45 dollars, 30 minutes of intense(ly painful) active release treatment and 2 physio exercises later, all is well in the world again. I’m to do them before every run / workout to ensure that my glutes are firing. Honestly, I was expecting her to tell me that I have high hamstring tendinopathy or some other activity-ending disaster claimed by Google.

life-is-pain

Back to chiro. I’M A FAN. I know that there are a lot of differing opinions on it, and many physicians prefer physiotherapy & rehab, but why not combine both? Physiotherapy will ensure muscle strength, balance and function, while physiotherapy helps to rid you of those nagging pains, knots and imbalances.

^ Plus lots of other things. I don’t have a professional background in either of these fields, this is just my experience from 10+ years of being the patient! 

When Megan was working out the knot in my hamstring, it was NOT pleasant. AT ALL. But it was a thousand times more effective than trying to hammer it with my foam roller / spiky ball and felt better instantly.

Morale of the story: Take severe and/or recurring pains to the experts, and leave Mr. Google out of it. Be open to new ideas. Pay Emma $8000/hour when she is a licensed physiotherapist for your treatment. (Okay you don’t technically have to do that last one but I personally think it is an excellent idea.)

Oh yeah! And happy Bastille Day! European History and the French Revolution will forever be the only subject I enjoyed out of twelve years of social studies.  YOU STORM THE BASTILLE GUYS, YOU GO FOR IT.

^ In all seriousness, for any of you wonderful French peeps out there, here’s to 226 years of you fighting for your independence. I will forever admire your country’s bravery, class and strength.

Chriro or physio? 

Are you struggling with an injury / almost injury? 

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!

On Finding Passion + Burnout: Life + Running

Oh hi there! You might not recognize me, seeing as it’s been a solid 2 weeks since I blogged and about 2 months since I was properly involved in the blogworld. As I get closer to my nineteenth birthday (ZOMG I’M SO OLD CAN I HAVE A QUARTER LIFE CRISIS YET?!), I’m noticing more and more that I’m looking for learning opportunities in every experience. This little blogging hiatus is no different. And it also just so happened to coincide with a running hiatus.

*cue dramatic gasp*

I KNOW. I just ran a huge PR in the half marathon, was totally fired up about running and training, and then…I stop running altogether for a week. Long story short: I took zero recovery time post-half, focused on nothing but running, and entirely burned myself out. It got to the point where I wasn’t even running fast, it was just slow slogs to “put the miles in” because I felt like I had to reach that magic number every week.

Yesterday capped off eight days of zero running, and my hiatus most definitely went out with a bang – I barely moved from my backside all. day. long. Honestly, I cannot remember a day where I just allowed myself to rest, recover, and do what I wanted! So instead of forcing myself to get it in gear and do life things / go to the gym / be a functional human, I curled up with my BFF Harry and took breaks to eat peanut butter and bake.

Yeah. It was a good one. And it reminded me that burnout is real. It doesn’t matter how passionate you think you are about something, or how much you think you are enjoying yourself, there is always the potential to push too far. And once you jump off that cliff, climbing back up is a different story.

I’m lucky to have avoided it with running, but I fell hard off the blogging bandwagon. I turned it into a chore, something that I “had” to do, and once I had that mindset everything I wanted to post about seemed pointless.

You don’t have a degree or any sort of certification, Emma. Your stupid musings about your stupid running are stupid and a waste of time. 

^ The things I said to myself every time I wanted to blog, hence why there was no blogging.

Welp, that’s all about to change, for two BIG reasons.

#1. RECOVERY. It’s not just for fitness, people. Our minds need it too.

#2. CERTIFICATION. IN. PROGRESS. On Monday, June 29, I was accepted into the Faculty of Kinesiology at UBC! I was rejected twice and wait listed once, so to say this was a huge surprise is the understatement of the century. But I am SO incredibly excited to announce that I am now pursuing my Bachelor of Kinesiology, CSEP training certification once I complete two years of study, and then a Master of Physiotherapy following graduation! Having a plan laid out is pretty sweet…especially when it leads right to where my heart lives. ❤

There’s the requisite obnoxious cheesiness in Emma’s blog posts. Moving on from that, I’M SO EXCITED TO BE BACK. YAY. HOORAY FOR PASSION.

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?