Friday, August 2, 2013

My races in July

July was a busy month for taking part in races. 3 different events, 3 different distances, and 3 different goals.

Being goofy at the start line.
My first event of the month was the Run Canada Day 5K out at UBC on July 1st. Being part-time staff at the Running Room meant I got a special promotional race entry so I had to take them up on the offer. It was exactly 7 days after my surgery, so I knew that I had to take it easy. My good friend and running buddy, Patti was running this one with her baby in a chariot, so I opted to take it slow and easy with them. We had a good pace and took a couple breaks when it was uphill (hard to push the chariot) and to soothe a crying baby another time. :-) This was a lovely run, mostly because it'd been since before Patti gave birth that we had run together. It was with Patti I trained for the Victoria Half Marathon back in 2011 - my comeback to running. So great to be in her company again! And an awesome way to celebrate Canada's birthday.

Just before the 5K mark, photo credit: Keith Dunn
It took a couple weeks after this before I realized I was iron deficient. By the time I figured it out, there was only 1 week until the VFAC Summerfast 10K race on July 20th which I had been looking forward to as a chance to see what kind of 10K time I was capable of. But I was able to give myself a good dose of perspective knowing I was slower than usual, that I was just starting to supplement my iron, and went into this race simply looking to have fun.

Leading up to this day, my goal pace of 5:25/km for my Thursday tempo training runs had been impossible to hold consistently. So I was certain that finding the 10K race pace I know I'm capable of might be challenging. I'd run two 41min 8km races this year, and had previously wondered if I could run a 10km in 52:00. But soon I realized this race wasn't going to be where I'd achieve that and I was ok with that. I was excited to take part as I knew a number of people running this race, including lots of the members of my Tuesday interval group, and this race was put on by our coach, John Hill, benefiting VFAC, and organized by my friend Alexa's boyfriend, Steve.  Us girls from the Tuesday group were excited about doing a race together and indulging in baked goods after.

I started the race at a "middle ground" pace of 5:15/km, slower than what I'm capable of but still respectably speedy, to see how it felt and it was OK. But it didn't take long before I realized I couldn't sustain it, especially when we got to the sunny side of the seawall. I caught myself slowing down at about the 6km mark and finished the race in 55:01, averaging at a 5:28 pace. I was very pleased with this given the circumstances. I got very close to a pace that had previously eluded me, my tempo pace. I averaged that over 10km, which is a decent distance, and a confidence boost that I'll get my tempo runs back to where there were. That to me was progress and the signs of a successful day. I have other 10km races in which I can achieve 10km race time goals.

With Kristy at the finish line
So the big question would be whether another week would allow me to sustain a good pace over 21.1km at the Kamloops Half Marathon on July 28th. Knowing this course well from doing it last year, I knew what I was in for. The temperatures had cooled down quite a bit, and I was feeling pretty confident in what I could do based on how some of my shorter workouts were going. My intervals are getting better, stronger, and faster every week. But I hadn't proved the long stuff yet was back on track. My goal was to take this race at a 5:35 pace, so a touch slower than what I averaged over Summerfast. Again, I managed to maintain that consistently over 14km, but then ran out of gas, and slogged on to the finish. One of my slowest ever half marathon finishes at over 2:12 (I haven't bothered to look for official time), but not beating myself up for it. I am not at the top of my game, and it's still a half marathon finish!! It was also really fun as I now know so many people in the Kamloops running community and saw lots of familiar faces that weekend. And some of my TNT buddies were there too and it was great watching them cross the finish line.

Next goal, the Victoria Marathon. I'm starting to wonder if I should run the full marathon given my iron levels and how I've been feeling on and after long training runs. Part of me thinks focusing on shorter more quality runs is better than slogging it out. But I'm not making any hasty decisions until I give it a few weeks and see how training goes. Until then, I will continue to work hard and dream of my 4th marathon finish.


  1. Yay you!! Wow-- 3 races in one month! Awesome! Do you find races a source of inspiration when many runs feel sluggish? Or do races add negative pressure to the slower pace times? (and by slower, I mean, slow to your personal pace goals because wow-- I dream of every being able to run at faster than 6min/km). To me, you are a speed demon that is not slogging it in the slightest! xx

  2. You're sweet Monica! To me slogging it is more a's feeling tired and not enjoying myself on he final miles of a long run even if overall my pace is still decent. How I feel about races really depends on how I frame my goals going in. If I go into them all expecting a personal best and not honouring how my body is feeling then yes that's negative pressure. But if I go in with the attitude of knowing I'm not at my game, if it's just about enjoying a run, being part of the community, and with little expectation around finish time (except a willingness to try) then its all positive. I laughed at myself and how disappointed I was at first with how Kamloops went, then realized I ran a half marathon despite my circumstances. And that's pretty awesome.