Track Tuesday & August Wrap-Up

This morning I hit the track solo because my track buddy is recovering from the Quebec City Marathon; Congrats, J!

We’re “enjoying” another heat wave here and the thick, humid air settled in early this morning. I was a sopping wet mess after my warm-up at the park and even stripped down to my sports bra once I got to the track. (Thankfully nobody was around to witness my flabby white tummy!)

My real speed work is on Thursday (8×800), so I set out for longer, slower intervals of 3 x 3200 (= 8 laps = 2 mi) at tempo pace of sub-5:00/KM (8:00/mi) with short (200) recoveries.

3K warm-up

3200m (2mi) @ 15:43
3200m (2mi) @ 15:57
3200m (2mi) @ 15:53

1K cool-down

Average interval pace: 4:55/KM (7:56/mi)

And that wraps up August with an all-time high of 347.6 KM* (217.3 mi) – including three races in three weeks.

*If I hadn’t been sick, I could have surpassed 350 easily! &*$^@!

How was your month?


After Saturday’s race, I decided I was well enough to tackle the long run on Sunday.

Our group met at a local golf club for the start/finish; one of our runners works there and scored us a great deal on brunch as well as access to the facilities for a post-run shower. By that point I came this close to jumping into one of the water features on the golf course… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Running from a different location afforded us the opportunity to experience a new route. We enjoyed mostly quiet country roads, which is always a nice change from the hustle and bustle of running in town.

The first 6-7K took us through the hills of Kettleby.

Kettleby is surrounded by the rolling hills of King Township. The hamlet sits predominantly on a rise of land between two valleys of the looping Kettleby Creek. Hills surround the western, southern and the central parts of Kettleby while taller hills ranging as high as about 350 metres (1,150 ft) are to the north and reach close to the highway linking Orangeville and Newmarket.

The morning started out nice and cool, but warmed up promptly as the sun rose. In Kettleby, some of the hills were so drastic that we felt a significant temperature change from bottom to top. It would have been nice to hang out in the valley because it was getting hot.

The majority of the route after this initial section would be relatively flat, but the sun would be relentless.

We were running mostly on wide open stretches of road surrounded by the farm land of Holland Marsh, which offered zero shade. The sun was pounding down and started getting to many of us early on.

One of our runners is tapering for a 100-miler (!!!) and set up a travelling aid station for us, with two pit stops offering an abundance of cold beverages (not the kind we really wanted!), fresh fruit and candy. This helped immensely in breaking up the run and allowed us to tackle it one leg at a time. I was going through fluids like crazy and the fresh, juicy orange wedges tasted like heaven.

After the final pit stop (with about 5K to go), I was really feeling it. I knew my body was run-down from being sick and running a hard 10K the day before. In hindsight, I probably should have called it quits and taken advantage of a ride back. Instead, I filled up on whatever I could, stuffed ice cubes down my top and decided I could stick it out. I knew I would have to slow down and incorporate walking in order to finish, and I was okay with that. Someone else from my pace group was also suffering, so we agreed to stick together and make our way to the end one way or another.

We walked. A lot! Near the end we could barely run 1 kilometre at a time. We would agree to run to a certain tree, where we would then linger in its shade as long as possible. I had to stop at a farm house to beg for a water refill when I had already emptied my bottle after just 20 minutes or so.

The extent of our “conversation” during this final stretch:

me: “It feels like we’re running in an oven.”
him: “What?”
me: “Oven.”
him: “Yep.”

him: “Just let me know when you need to walk.”
me: “Okay…”
him: “Do you want to walk?”
me: “Okay.”

me: “I think my Garmin is broken.”
him: “Why?”
me: Everytime I look down, we have only covered 100 metres.”

At long last, we reached our target distance and agreed to walk it in to the golf club.

Toward the end, I noticed that I had goosebumps and my skin felt cold to the touch; definite signs of dehydration. I was glad not to be alone out there. Having taken 3 Salt Stick capsules and consumed as much fluid/gels/fruit as I could handle, I knew there wasn’t anything I could/should have done differently. My body was likely out of whack from being sick and it was a tough run all-around. The frustrating thing was that my legs felt pretty good; the rest of me didn’t.

33.8KM – 21.0mi
5:55/KM – 9:32/mi

This is one “character-building” long run that I’m happy to have behind me.

The cool shower post-run felt fantastic and the extravagant brunch at the club really hit the spot. Suddenly, it all seemed worthwhile.

Toronto Women’s 10K

After coming down with a cold last week, I took it extra easy on Thursday and Friday. When I woke up on Saturday, I decided I was feeling good enough to run (but not race) the Toronto Women’s 10K.

We headed to Sunnybrook early for race-day kit pick-up. Last year we got awesome Lululemon race shirts, but this year they switched to caps. They aren’t bad, but it’s still a bit of a disappointment and not something I will likely wear often. The full size bottle of Immunity FX, on the other hand, was a major score; especially given my current condition!

I can eat these like candy, right?

After hanging around for a while and looking for some friends who were also running, it was soon time to line up. I kept my jacket on until the last minute because there was a nice chill in the air.

After some urging from hubs, I decided to move a little closer to the front. I was feeling pretty relaxed about it, but I didn’t want to start off dodging people and weaving all over the place. At this point, I knew I was in no condition for a PR (and had no intention to try!) but I hoped I could still pull off a decent time. I planned to play it by ear, see how I felt and use that as a gauge to determine whether or not I could handle a long run the following day.

Off we go!

Naturally, I was too fast out of the gates. I glanced down to see a 4:30/KM (7:14/mi) pace several times during the first kilometre and concentrated on reeling it in. Unfortunately I realized after it was too late that I had left my handheld with hubs. Doh!

KM 1 – 4:47

My throat was already feeling dry (likely from coughing so much in the previous days and even that morning) and I really regretted not having my own water. Thankfully we hit the famed water station hosted by firefighters at 2K. It was a nice touch.

I had also forgotten my sunglasses (gah!) which resulted in a nice squint for these photos snapped near the beginning of the race.

KM 2 – 4:48

We were running along the paved paths through the park. It was open to the public, but luckily there didn’t seem to be too many people out and those who were cleared the way. We ran over several bridges, some with speed bumps (ouch) – all of which was familiar from when I’ve run the half marathon and 5K previously.

At 3K there was an short but steep climb followed by a sharp turn; we ran down the other side, but it was too steep to feel good. I was still feeling alright; no coughing spells, which I was most worried about.

KM 3 – 5:00

Around 4K we got to see the leaders running back toward the finish. I was ecstatic to see that my physiotherapist was in first place!* I gave her a little cheer and enjoyed watching all of the leading ladies as I made my way to the turn-around.

KM 4 – 4:50

We ran downhill to the 180-degree turn around. The sharp turn around a pylon killed some momentum, especially when followed immediately by a climb back up the hill. At least we were on the way back!

KM 5 – 4:55

I enjoyed looking out for friends headed the other way and it offered a good distraction. I was tiring and trying hard not to slow down.

KM 6 – 4:55

The most noticeable climb on the elevation chart above (with the map) came at 7K and it wore me down. I slowed pretty significantly and couldn’t seem to find any steam after that.

KM 7 – 4:59

Just after 7K, the 5K’ers joined in from their turn around point. The pack was moving a lot slower than we were (they had started 15 mins. later) and it immediately became congested as I wove my way through. I even ran off the path on the grass several times to avoid a traffic jam.

KM 8 – 5:11

I was drained at this point and wishing I had taken it easier, telling myself I was too sick to be running this fast. I was tormented by all the usual thoughts that arise toward the end of a race when you’re suffering; I even considered stopping for a walk.

KM 9 – 5:12

Finally, with one kilometre to go and the finish line within ear shot, I found something in the tank to pick it up. My friend Patricia snapped this pic as I made my way toward the finish. Finally smiling.

The following photos were also taken on the home stretch as I worked on passing the 5K’ers in purple bibs.

Official Chip Time: 49:18.7
Average Pace: 4:56/KM = 7:56/mi
Overall Pace: 28/332
Gender Place: 28/331 (yes, there was one male)
F20-29: 12/102

It certainly wasn’t my best 10K race performance (now I’m itching for another 10K this season for redemption), but I’ll call it a good effort and a decent tempo pace.

Stay tuned to find out how the long run went this morning!

*My PT went on to win the race in 37:03!

Foto Friday

I’m siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiick. *whine*

I’ve been fighting a bit of a cold all week. It wasn’t too bad until yesterday when I was a coughing, sniffling, sneezing, congested mess by the end of the work day. After much internal debate, I made the smart decision to call off last night’s run. I can’t remember the last time I missed a run! It stings, but I need to get healthy.

Today was a scheduled rest day and I took the day off work. I actually feel quite a bit better this morning but I will be taking it easy all day and hoping to be well enough for my race tomorrow and long run Sunday.


Three Things Thursday

1. I had a “maintenance” appointment on Tuesday night at physio; after a good rub-down, I walked out feeling nice and loose. Unfortunately I found out that my PT is leaving the practice for 20 months to work in another country. I’m definitely bummed becuase I have really come to know and trust her over 2.5 years; hopefully she will return. In the meantime, she has referred me to the owner of the practice (a.k.a. Dr. Pain – uh oh!) who is also an experienced runner and I know he’ll take good care of me.

2. Tonight I’ll be running 800m repeats at clinic. I’ve really been looking forward to taking up speed work again with the group to push me along, but tonight I’ll be taking it on the easy side because…

3. This Saturday I’m running the Toronto Women’s 10K – 3rd race in 3 weeks if you’re keeping track (4th next weekend). Interestingly enough, my (former) PT will also be competing. There goes my chance at winning… 😉 Anyone else going to be there??

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!