Life's little adventures, accompanied by a running watch

Saturday, August 31, 2013


You’ve registered for the race.  You’ve created your training calendar.  You’ve followed your training calendar as close as possible.  You’re now injured with not enough time on the calendar to make up the mileage.  Enter “disappointment”.

Mom and I have had the Portland Marathon on our calendar ever since Mom committed to walking her first marathon.  So exciting!!  If you remember, I registered and then later found out Mom registered me as well.  The Portland Marathon race peeps were super helpful and understanding, and removed/credited back the duplicate registration.  Since then, Mom’s been walking up a storm in preparation!  She also bought a Garmin and some cute workout clothes (isn’t that why we do this?).  Then she got sick and lost some time.  Worse, when she got better, she may have done too much too soon and is suddenly unable to walk very far without pain.

She thought it out and we talked it out and decided that trying to move forward with only 4+ weeks remaining was probably not a good idea.  Even knowing this is the right decision, it’s still hard.  A number of years ago, I registered for Hartford Marathon and never made it to the start line.  I had done the physical training, but at the time, had so much going on that I felt mentally injured.  Even though I knew it was the right decision at the time, it was still a lousy feeling to be home on race day and not in Hartford. 

Missing a race because of injury (or anything really) is a mental blow.  But we’re already thinking about a Plan B!  I’m a big crybaby when I finish a race; I know it’s not a given that I’ll finish or that I’ll always be in good enough shape to run.  So, I’m always grateful and humbled when I'm able to cross another finish line.  I can’t imagine what a blubbering mess I’ll be when I get to cross the finish line with Mom at her first marathon (sniff)!!

What I ultimately said to Mom was this, “Hey, at least you injured yourself during an athletic activity and NOT by reaching the wrong way to retrieve the remote control while lying on the couch!”.  I think that helped J

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Quebec City Marathon - a race report

Quebec City sure knows how to put on a great race weekend!  We thoroughly enjoyed our first time visit to Quebec City and found the people super friendly – both on and off of the race course!

We arrived Friday by car, got situated at our hotel, and took off by foot to explore the city.  Grabbed our bib#’s and found a great place to have lunch around the corner where we immediately began carbo loading –

Friday evening, we spectated at the Fun Run held just about at the base of our hotel.  Lots of families with younger children donned their race event caps that were equipped with clip-on head lamps and took off at 8:00 pm.  Always cool to watch little kids running a race, faces flushed, and huge smiles as they gathered their medals.

Fun Run via headlamps!

View from our hotel room!

Saturday morning found us taking a little run around the city.  We took this opportunity to find the ferry and the Finish Line and make our plan where to meet up after we each finished the race. 

But as we know, the lure of walking all over a new/old city is not best practice when it’s the day before a marathon.  So, we had a picnic and did some chilling in the park, watching people and listening to some cool bluesy music. 

The 2nd event of the weekend took place on Saturday afternoon – the 5K run.  It was later in the day, so we were able to cheer the runners on as we walked to the hotel that hosted the pasta dinner.  Saturday was also the day to get my head on straight about my goal and my Garmin-less race day I was facing.  There were a few differences running a marathon in Canada that required some “reframing of my picture” –
  • Dead Garmin.  Turns out, it was the charger, not the watch itself.  But on race day, I had to rely on my Timex.
  • All splits were in Kilometers.  Not necessarily surprising to me, but something I needed to wrap my brain around.
  • The splits counted down; not up.  So when we started the race, we saw 42K, then 41K, 40K, etc.  Now THAT was tough.
Race day was a beautiful, clear, and sunny day.  The ferry and bus rides to the start were well organized and seamless.  Funny side story:  As we walked to the ferry at 6:00 am, we literally almost bumped into someone we know from home who was also running the marathon!  Crazy small world!  

Of course any race held in August reserves the right to be hot.  For me, it felt very hot from the get-go.  Salty sweat in eyes and immediately soaked, I couldn’t run fast enough to get to the shade.  There wasn’t much of it, but when I reached shade, I celebrated.  There was a bit of a breeze, so that was obviously helpful too.  From the start, I was already in a different and better space than I was at Mad Marathon.  Win!

My primary goal for Quebec City was to simply have a better day than the one I had at Mad Marathon.  For a time goal, I figured a 9:00 pace would be a good pace to shoot for.  Scott calculated what a 9:00 pace looks like by kilometer, so I knew I should stay in the 5:40-5:45/kilometer range.  I still started out too fast like many of us often do, hanging onto the 3:45 pacer group for awhile, and paid for it in my later kilometers.  Overall, I averaged 5:47/kilometer, so mission still accomplished!  

5:47 looks much faster than 9:16 :)
The heat definitely got to me during the race.  In the latter miles, I experienced some major dizziness.  Thankfully, the awesome volunteers handed out cold, soaked sponges at a few places along the course.  Add gels, salt tabs, an orange slice  and some mist from a few hoses meant just for us, and I stayed upright.  Once I collected my medal and goodies, I met Scott at the funky fountain where I attempted to collect my head.  That took longer than ever before, but eventually, my head and I reunited. 

Check out the runners icing their legs in the fountain
I highly recommend Quebec City Marathon!  Everyone was so friendly (even to us non-French-speaking tourists!) and the race was very well organized.  The drive was easy enough (just long) and once we arrived, we quickly realized Quebec City was clearly a walking city.  The course was generally flat, but did have a few stinging hills and a bad a$$ bridge that brings runners back over the St. Lawrence River at approximately mile 14.  I also highly recommend you bring a camera like Scott did :)  

The finish line is literally lined with a red carpet and feels very Boston-esque with its crowds cheering everyone on.

Talk about feeling welcomed!
We will definitely go back, but until we do, I needed something unique to reflect the differences of this particular marathon –

Quel beau voyage! 
(what a great trip!)

Monday, August 26, 2013

How far was this marathon? 42.2K or 26.2M.....

Just a quick teaser to let you know I ran Quebec City Marathon on Sunday!  Had a great long weekend with Scott exploring this beautiful city and covering 42.2K!  And more to come on the title of this post :)

For now, some unabashed posing....

...with my very first flashing medal!!!
Race report to follow!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bringing back the fun in the run – Step 3 (a running “blind date”)

(Recap of Step 1 and Step 2)

Find a running buddy.  Better yet, find a new running buddy you’ve never met before AND have your first run together amount to a 20 miler.  True story….

Two weeks ago, Scott was on his long run and bumped into Carrie.  Ironically, they were both at the same point in their mileage and struck up a conversation.  Scott returned home and relayed how he thought she and I might run at approximately the same pace and better yet, because we live in close proximity to each other, perhaps we might help each other on long runs or trail runs.  On a lark, I took the little information I had and found Carrie on DailyMile.  I hesitated on what to do next because after all I did not want to be viewed as some freaky stalker runner.

I quickly threw caution to the wind and emailed her via DailyMile and introduced myself.  What could I lose?  You only live once, right?  We emailed a number of times and somewhere during the email conversation, we planned to run our next long run together.  We didn’t start small; oh no, that would be way too safe!  We went for 20 miles!  As the week progressed, Scott commented, “Maybe you should’ve gone for a shorter distance for your first time out together?”  To which I replied, “Naahhhhh!” 

We had our “blind date” today and it was great!!  It was greater than great J

We immediately got talking and getting to know each other and before we knew it, we were done.  20  The pace was much faster than I would have maintained had I been alone and the time just flew.  With a steady few weeks behind me consisting of “blah” runs and diminishing motivation, this was the kind of run I needed.  Refreshing.

I hope we’ll have future running dates, but for now, it’s safe to say my first “blind date” run was a huge success!  Thanks again Carrie!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Bringing back the fun in the run – Step 2 (run in the rain)

Recap of Step 1 here.

Step 2:  Run in the rain.  

Better yet, smile while running in the rain.  Better yet still, get splashed by cars AND voluntarily splash through puddles, all while laughing at yourself.

Yep, done it all today.

And can’t wait to run tomorrow!  I might just splash myself out of this running funk J

Happy Friday Friends!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Bringing back the fun in the run - Step 1 (trail run)

Go for a trail run.  Better yet, go for a family trail run!

Although the picture may not clearly depict how soaked and dirty my shoes are, rest assured they got a workout this morning.  And our family trail run has brought me a step closer to bringing back the fun in the run!

Hope you're having some fun on your run today!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

When Goals Change

I’m feeling burned out. I’ve got a lot going on that includes all good things: starting my new job finally, some business travel, and even some fun personal stuff. Hence, writing has taken a back seat. And running too has joined writing in that same back seat.

This past Spring, I started frequenting the StoneCat website again. I thought I might give the 50 mile trail race another try. As challenging as my first ultra was, I think I’ve known there would be a 2nd. Then I applied, interviewed for, and was extended an offer for my new role at my company. For me, that changed everything.

Knowing my personality, I know I need to be careful with overloading my plate right now. I want to do well. No, I want to better than well. And as hungry as I may have been to launch into a training calendar filled with back-to-back weekend long runs, I need to back off. That decision didn’t come easy. When StoneCat registration opened, I had second thoughts. Then StoneCat registration closed and I felt immediate regret. That wore off quickly though because I know, deep down, that my decision is the right one for me. This doesn’t mean I will stop running and only focus on my new job, but it means I’m being real about my need for balance.

Before I made the decision to not rev up my training, I had already registered for two marathons as part of my ultra training plan: Mad Marathon (back in July) and Quebec City Marathon in August. Here’s where the burnout comes into play. In May, I ran my best marathon to date at the Maine Coast Marathon and talked here about how I managed my race for the first time. That race resulted in a new PR, a Boston qualifying time, and legs & mind that reflected that hard work. Tired.

Enter Mad Marathon. By race day, I had already made my non-ultra decision. I found it difficult to get my head in place for that race, since initially it was to be run as a training run for StoneCat. Now as I prepare for yet another “training marathon” in Quebec, I’m feeling mentally and physically burned out. I still plan to be there and still hope to have a good day, but without the goal I originally set, I’m struggling with my motivation.

This lack of motivation has been creeping in ever since Mad Marathon. Although I got my 18 miler in on Sunday, that’s actually the last time I ran (as I write this on Thursday). I just haven’t been diggin’ running lately. My hope is that, by giving into that feeling for a few days, I'll realize I miss it and WANT to get back out there.

What do YOU do when lacking motivation/energy/drive?