Sunday, 16 October 2016

2016 Valley Harvest Marathon Recap

If there is one run that I love doing each year, it is the Valley Harvest.  Last year I was injured (my arm....not my leg) and couldn't run.  This year, I am injured again and had to ask the race director to drop me down to the 5k.

The day started super early!  The day before, there had been huge traffic issues so Jill and I decided to leave super 5:30am early.  Luckily we didn't run into any traffic, but we were 1.5 hours early....cue nap in the car.

The finish line

Jill was running her 2nd 10k and lined up at 8am to run.  The 5ks lined up shortly after at 8:05 and took off.  I haven't run the 5k in a few years (this was my first half marathon 2 years ago) and was surprised when we didn't run the same way we used to.  We basically followed the 10k runners for the first 2km, and then ran through a small residential area before hitting up the dirt trail on the way back. 

I really watched my pace and forced myself not to go out to hard the first 2km...staying around 5:25.  I could feel my shin/right calf issue but nothing that I couldn't run through.  I had put icy/hot on it before running and that was actually starting to burn...LOL.  I knew that the 5k would not be a PB, but I still wanted to run as best I could.  I find no matter what distance I am running, the last 25% of the run is purely mental....knowing the finish line is so close!
A candid shot taken by a fellow TTPer

I love the medal this year.
 I stretched a bit before walking towards the finish line and waiting for Jillian to cross.
Classy one sock up and one down.  I had to wash
off the icy/hot!
 Jillian managed a PB on her 10k as she crossed shortly after 1:03.  I wasn't sure of my official time, but upon checking the chip times, I see that I came in 4th in my age....20s off 3rd place.  So darn close...One of these days I will hit my age class!
 There were some very yummy after race food including bagels, apples, and cookies.  I touched two cookies and said "Well I touched 2...guess I have to take 2."  Another runner heard me say this and he said "I saw you touch the whole box...I guess you need to take the whole box."  LOL
The run was perfect...the weather, the organization, the route...A-OK by me!!  Driving home is always beautiful with the fall colors...I love it!!  I'll be back again next year...distance to be determined!  

Monday, 10 October 2016

My Experience as a Pace Bunny

Happy Thanksgiving to all my Canadian readers!!!

As we receive the remnants of Hurricane Matthew, I thought it was a perfect time to cozy up to the laptop and catch up on some blogging!  I sure do love the sound of a good rain storm!!

Last weekend, I had the awesome pleasure of being a pace bunny for an all women's run here in the city.  We have an organization here called White Rabbit Pacing that organizes pace bunnies for any races that wish to have them.  Even though many of my friends have paced with this group before, I have not had the chance.  And I almost didn't this time.  I'm dealing with some right shin/tibia issues right now that causes a lot of pain when running.  An x-ray has been done with no stress fracture found, so up next is a bone scan.  In the mean time, I taped up my leg...and stepped up to pace!!!
I chose to pace the 30 minute 5k in this of stipulations of pacing is that you need to have run the distance at least 3 minutes quicker than your pace time...on a consistent basis.  This allows you to chat with the group that follows you and keep them motivated. 
Do you remember my half marathon speeding ticket back in July? just happens that this was the week that I lost my license...ya...really convenient.  Thankfully my friend Jill stepped up and offered to get up at dark o'clock and drive me to the run! 
The many other pace bunnies for the 5k and quarter and half marathon!
The quarter and half marathon runners went out first, leaving us 5kers.  I lined up near the start with my sign waving overhead.  The other pace bunnies were able to drop their signs at the first water stop, us 5k pace bunnies carried them the entire time.  I quickly reminded everyone around me to double knot their sneakers and to have fun! 
Rain had started to fall and I knew it was going to be a wet one!  As you can tell, the race director LOVES purple and it's always fun to see the tutu's and sea of purple running the roads.  We were off right on time with closed roads and fantastic volunteers!
I am not looking for superman....
Being a first time pace bunny, numerous thoughts went through my head.  One of the first thoughts, as witnessed by this photo, was "Wait....can they see my sign?  Is it facing the right way?"  I thought 30 minutes would be a popular time for followers, but almost from the start, there was no one around me.  That lead to my second thought, "Am I doing the correct pace?"  which then lead to the continuous looking at my garmin..."Nope....5 seconds to fast...nope....5 seconds to slow...oh lord...this is harder than I thought."  LOL  Oh the thoughts.
The course was a flat 2 loop course. On the first loop, a group of cheerleaders kept saying...only 1 more km to go.  I was like 'Huh?' are wrong....3 more km to  As I made the turn around point, I was alone with no followers but another thing about being a pace never change your goal time.  This was actually perfect for me, because it forced me to run at an easy'ish pace.

This is my "no one loves me' face
I am happy to report that I finished the race in 29.50 staying on goal for a 30 minute finish.  I would later learn that people were using me to pace their own race...keeping me either behind them or just in sight.  Just goes to show you that even though you may not have direct followers, you could be helping someone reach their goal!  I loved my experience, and will totally do it again.  Oh....I also learnt that wearing bunny ears and carrying a sign gets you in a LOT of photos.  LOL
If you love running, and seeing people reach their goals...I highly recommend being a pace bunny for a race in your area!!