Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Next race on the horizon, thinking of speed!

I'm excited to have another race on the horizon! It feels like it's been a very long time since I raced, when it's only been a month. I think I would happily race once or twice a month if I could afford to splurge more often on race entry. Anyway, I digress!

The beavers...
My next race is the BMO Sunshine Coast April Fool's Run which I'll be running for the second time. Last year I had an amazing experience there, one of the most fun racing atmosphere's I've had, and this year promises to be just as great as I'll be heading over there with a couple of my friends from Team In Training and of course, my favourite cheerleader, Cam. Last year I ran it slow, as a training run, only really pushing myself in the second half of the race. I kept it a social run, taking it easy the first half of the race with my friend, Patti, and socializing with other runners on the course, poking fun at the guys dressed as beavers and so on.

 I'd been thinking I'd do something similar to that this time around given that I'm really upping the ante on my training volume now and don't really want to rest up too much before the race. But this week I've been really feeling inspired to toss that idea out the window. If I'm running this race, I'm going to give it my best effort. I will simply move some of my higher intensity sessions so they're not too close to race day, but I'll keep the volume as planned. I have a few reasons for this change of heart:
  • Half marathons aren't what they used to be for me anymore. Before I needed significant recovery after the effort, and now I can whip them off and bounce back the next day no problem. So throwing this into the mix won't impact my ability to train hard in the days following the race, and I can simply resume where I left off. I may not be lining up at the start well-rested, but the effort of the 21.1km won't take a lot out of me that one day's rest after can't fix.
  • Each half marathon I did last year, there was a progression of better finish times each time I raced. My race last month was my fastest yet, and I want to build on that momentum and confidence. I don't yet have my next half marathon planned beyond April Fool's so I don't like the prospect of not knowing when I can run and try to better my time again will be. I do have another race at the end of April I am considering and a couple in the summer I might end up doing, but nothing in stone. After this race, the only thing for certain is the June marathon. If I'm chasing sub-2, I need opportunities to try to get there.
  •  Today I met with a local elite runner, David Palermo, who just happened to be the athlete that won the April Fool's race last year and is back this year again to defend his title. No coincidence here I think - the universe is trying to tell me that this race I ought to take it more seriously. After talking a bit about the race with him today, I've decided why not give it my all! 
It's not like I'm a beginner runner anymore, I know what I'm capable of, I know how much I can push myself and see results, and I know what's too much to handle. This isn't. My last two half marathons were the ones I felt the strongest and most consistent throughout. I want to keep going with that confidence and momentum. I'm positive that if I simply move some of the high intensity stuff out of the the few days leading up to the race (ie., just one day of weight training and no speed work that week) it won't matter if I did a 20-miler a week before race day.

David Palermo, at the front of the pack, bib #1
The more David talked about the race, the more I realized how much I want to take on this course with a harder effort, given I didn't give it my serious all last year and I still finished with a respectable time considering. He said to me that despite it's undulating nature, he still managed to get his personal best time there, so it's a great race to try fast - hills can be restful. So why can't I too try for a personal best?! Why not!
I remember the hills not bugging me at all last year either. Hills add variety to a race and different uses of your muscles and I'm well used to them living and training in North Vancouver - I find overly flat courses tiring in ways as my legs don't get to try anything new to get up or down a hill; it's the same monotonous motion over and over again. As I'm home now writing, I'm still thinking of what David said to me at the end of the conversation about this race, "See what you can do!" And that's exactly what I'm going to do - see what this girl here is made of!

26 days to go!

My 2012 Finish Photo!


  1. There should be a 4-6km easy run with 4X 100meter strides the day before a race. A stride is where you take 100m and slowly make your way up to full speed and then slowly back down to nothing again.
    It will get the cobwebs out of your legs and make them feel fresh and fast on race morning. Also don't stop running for anymore than 4 days prior to an event or you will lose speed. Unless of course you are sick, injured or just beaten up. A taper is a slow decline of mileage not a drop of running all together for a week before. One thing you can vamp up is your whole food and nutrient rich diet and your water consumption! After that, the money's in the bank, let's go spend it!

  2. Thanks so much for the great advice, David! I have learned lots about the art of a taper, even if it's just a mini one like what I plan before April Fool's. Still working on perfecting it. I have read about tune-up drills to do the day before a race, and didn't really know what to do until now. I'm going to give your suggestions a try. Makes sense and I'm excited to see how it'll help.

    Thank you so much for all the support, encouragement, and the awesomeness! I'll see you at the finish line at April Fool's (if not before, which I hope I will). At said finish line, you won't have to wait long before you see me, as I plan on getting there fast :) Maybe not quite as fast as you, but fast enough to make me proud!

  3. See you at the April Fools Run, I'll be there too and also trying for a PR!

  4. Oh that's awesome, Krista! Hope to see you there! I'll try to tweet a pic when I decide on my race kit, so it might be easier for you to find me post race (or pre!). Would be great to meet you! Happy training!!