Sunday, 29 June 2014

A week of new adventures and some long term goals

So just a few short weeks ago, I was adamantly insisting that I would never trail run, and how my bike riding was going nowhere fast.

My, how things have changed.

I decided to start running trails at least once a week until I don't hate them anymore.  I can't say that trails have suddenly become my new BFF, but I am enjoying the scenery (most of it only a 5-10 minute drive from home), I haven't fallen or broken anything..yet, and I have been eaten alive by mosquitoes a couple of times but I noticed both times I was wearing the same outfit, so maybe mosquitoes are particularly attracted to my red CEP sleeves and striped ivivva skirt.

Last Monday, I ran in Bronte Creek as the sun was rising.  My legs were feeling peppy and I was thrilled that the run was going so well.  I took a path that ended within sight of my car parked across the street, but there was a chain link fence that I followed for a bit.  It looked like the fence ended, so I waded through waist deep grasses only to find..more fence!  I ended up with scratches all over my legs and a bite on my finger and a run that was about 1K longer than anticipated.

Then on Wednesday, I got really brave and mapped out a route through the RBG.  

It was beautiful, but the weather was humidity soup. I quickly sweated off all the Off I had put on, I got lost and when I stopped to consult Google Maps, I promptly got attacked by mosquito swarms from hell. 

On the biking front, Emma explained gears to me in a way that my dense self could finally comprehend and I achieved my first distance PB of the week on Friday when Beth and I rode 12.7K but I failed twice to make it up a hill. (more on this later).

Saturday, Irina and Zin arranged a group bike ride.  I was totally freaked that I would be in over my head, but Zin rode with me for the first 12K.  Right away, there was a big hill heading up to Guelph Line, I shifted gears and Z yelled, "OTHER WAY!" Explains why I couldn't make it up the hill on Friday, eh? :)

I originally planned to ride 15-20K, but I felt fantastic so kept going a bit more and ended up with a giant bike distance PB of 23.83K! I forgot to restart my Garmin at one point so I think the actual distance was closer to 24. I realized that my rides weren't slow due to me being a shitty cyclist, but rather just half-assing the effort. Suddenly speeds of 15K/h+ felt easy after Zin gave me some tips on pedalling. 

Standing out in a sea of black shorts and fancy bikes. (photo by Irina)

Finally, on Sunday I was going to do my long run with Nicole, but she cancelled.  Greg and I scrambled up a sitter for Bryden, and ambitiously planned a 15K bike/10K run brick that got cut short after the sitter informed us that we had exactly 2 hours from drop off.  Since the bike was mainly through city streets, I didn't get a chance to pick up speed like I did on Saturday.  But I did get up the nerve to ride in the bike lane all the way downtown!  On the way back, I tried again to take one hand off the handlebars to wipe a drop of sweat that was tickling my nose and promptly went flying off my bike, face planting on the (side) street.  Greg informs me that I flew through the air very gracefully.

I find that now that I am getting the hang of the bike, I am enjoying it A LOT and now I totally understand Greg's disgust when we were dating 10 years ago, I tried to convince him that Spinning was the Most Fun Exercise Ever.

*deep breath*

So here's my long term goals:

Get a better bike for my next birthday and a duathlon in 2015.  Start to learn to swim in 2015.  Triathlon - which once seemed like an impossible dream - before my 40th birthday (June 2018).

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Girl power - Niagara Falls Women's HM/SkirtSports virtual HM race report

I'm 3 for 3 at this event. The first year I signed up on a whim, horrified by the $100+ price tag and volunteered to pace in 2013. NFWHM has gotten better each year. The first year the atmosphere seemed a bit forced. I wasn't actually planning to run this year but I got the email calling for pacers. I asked Nicole and Amy to join the pacing team, mainly because of the free wine in the race kit but when I mentioned the lululemon outlet they were like YAH LET'S GO!!!!
Originally I was given the 2:05 continuous assignment but when Nicole ended up with 2:15, I had to offer to switch. It turned out for the best because I really didn't feel like remotely running fast after Mississauga anyways.
I was really looking forward to Saturday. Race kit pickup at a mall that was completely dead except for the runners.
Race kit pic stolen from Amy obviously. I don't feel like laying out all of my swag, plus I've drank 3/4ths of the wine already.


Amy, spying the rack of pacesetters. Followed by a very nice lunch with Nicole, Fergus, Brigette and Amy.

Race morning dawned absolutely flawless, if a bit warm. I had also signed up for the SkirtSports virtual half because hello, free skirt?
arty sideways pic by Nicole, posing with my SkirtSports bib.
Visited the porta-potty, which really was lavender scented and had flowers inside. Then the most horrible thing that could have happened happened. My penis bottle fell into the porta potty. Fortunately (?!) it landed in the blue stuff, not in a pile of shit and without thinking I actually reached in and picked it back out. I rinsed the bottle off the best I could at the sink and rejoined Amy and Nicole. We were approached by some lady who asked if we had seen Anna, I was momentarily shocked in wondering how a random person knew that we were friends with Anna, but it turns out that Anna had told her to look for the 3 pacers. 

You didn't really come here to read about me running a slow half, did you?

Some random thoughts from being in the corral and during the race: 

  •  I saw the mythical runner in the yellow lace strappy nightie again. I guess she didn't die of chafing after last year's race. 
  • During my first pacing gig, someone asked me to hold the sign up higher because they needed to see it every moment. I was totally floored by the request and complied at the time but then got angry about it later. I'm wearing bunny ears and a flashy outfit, I'm sure you can see me at any time, and if I'm not in sight, then perhaps check your race plan instead of bitching to the pacer about it. Today, I was again asked, quite rudely, to hold my sign higher, around 5K. I should have said, "if it's so important to you, why don't YOU hold the sign up high the rest of the way?" But what I really said was, "I'm sorry, I can't..I'm wearing bunny ears and it shouldn't be hard to see me." and one of my pacees yelled, "Don't you know her arm will fall off?!" 
  • The double out and back course made for many cheering opportunities. I must've blinked and missed Amy during the first out and back but saw both her and Nicole on the back half.  
Pacee: you pacers get a lot of love! 
Me: Oh, they are my running buddies and I drove. They have to be nice to me if they don't want to walk home! (I kid, I kid!) 
  • lots of skirts! tutus, running skirts and sparkle skirts galore. 

Not going to bore you with the splits, but suffice to say even though my goal pace was 6:09/k and most of my 10 minute running segments were 6:11/k, I still came in faster than my goal of 2:14:5x. Oh well, better to be under than over so I really shouldn't complain. 

Official chip time: 2:14:24 
Field Placement: 609 / 1994 (30.5%) 
Age group: 35 – 39 
Group Placement: 129 / 372 (34.7%) 
Gender Placement: 604 / 1978 (30.5%)
What an awesome looking group of pace bunnies. Totally nailed our pace assignments too! Must've been the Power of The Skirts!