2018 Running Wrap Up (Late, I know)

I’m not very on top of wrapping up 2018, am I? It’s almost the end of January and I’m just getting around to it now.

2018 was a year of trying to avoid injury and get back to enjoying running again. I signed up for two half marathons, one 5 miler, a 10k and paced a 10k race as well.

The Bluenose Half Marathon was my first race of the year (May) and mainly signed up because a friend of mine convinced me to (well in advance). We both started our training plans in February and both managed to get through it all. The course was in reverse direction from previous years so that intrigued me for some reason.

I’m not going to lie, it was rough! Well, the first 11-13km was great – really great and then it all went downhill for me. Actually, it was literally all uphill from 13k on…hill after hill, after hill but I sure wasn’t ready for some of those climbs. The rain wasn’t a problem – even the downpour of rain didn’t bother me during the last few kilometers but those hills were a killer. In the end, we both had a great run. I finished in 2:25 – not awesome but I was happy to finish.

Then came summer with no races planned but lots of soccer, swimming and cycling. I started training for my next half marathon which I’d run later in October.

September brought two races my way. I ran the Berwick 5 miler which I feel this could be one of my favourite routes to run in a race. It’s super flat with an incline that lasts forever but not bad. I hope to run this again in 2019. I look like I’m dying in the photo below, that’s because I was. I pushed the pace in this race, something I haven’t done in a long time. I was literally trying to catch my breath when this was taken. Note my kids on the right hand side of the photo are clearly NOT concerned about me!

In September I also ran the Maritime Race Weekend 10k and felt great during that run – another great event! It was an extremely hot morning once the fog lifted but a great course on run on by the ocean! Finish line photo from my running buddy Krystol, (the only race we ran together.

During the month of September I managed to run 123 km training for my October half marathon. I’ve never run this much before in a month and most of these runs were done at 5:30 am or 6 am. I was finally doing some speed work and seeing the result during my runs.

October arrived and I was lucky enough to be a pace bunny for the 10k (1:10 finish time) at the Valley Harvest Marathon with True North Pacing. This was my third time pacing this distance and time and finished in 1:10:06!! I’m pretty sure I love pacing races more then I do running them for myself. It’s a lot of fun, motivating and inspiring.

A week later, my husband and I drove over to PEI (4.5 hour drive) to run the PEI Half Marathon together. Well, not really together since he runs so much faster than me but you know what I mean.

We both had awesome races. Saï finished in 1:46 and I in 2:16. I managed to knock off 9 minutes from my May half marathon. We had a great weekend away with our kids – yes, we run races while on vacation without our kids. I’ve already said to Saï that we have to pick our race for this year to run together.

So, 2018 was a great year for running some great races in Nova Scotia and PEI. Though some were rough, challenging, some were amazing experiences and an chance to continue being active in the sports I love.

How was your 2018?

Have you planning out your 2019 races? (I have not)

Anyone repeating a race from last year? (I will be – likely many).

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Pace Bunny VHM 10k Recap

Over the past four years (minus 2016), I’ve paced the Valley Harvest Marathon 10k – 1:10 finish time. Pacing a race is an experience that is hard to explain to others.

I was really hoping to pace VHM this year but there was no pacing group organizing pace bunnies. Less then two weeks prior to race day, former pace bunnies received an email saying that True North Pacing (new group) was looking for bunnies, so I quickly replied YES PLEASE!  I wasn’t really sure I wanted to run the 10 k on my own since I was really supposed to be doing a 18 km long run as part of my half training. So when the opportunity came up to pace, I jumped at it.

I was lucky enough to be the 1:10 pace bunny for the 10 k. Knowing that this coming weekend I have my half marathon I’ve been training for, pacing a 10 k would be enough for my body. It was also Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada), so I planned to cook a turkey and roasted butternut squash for my vegan husband.

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Race Day!

I hardly slept and this seems to be a night-before-race-day-theme along with dealing with a head cold. The head cold was easy to deal with but lack of sleep just isn’t fun. Pushing both of those things aside, I got up and out the door and off to Acadia University. There were multiple events: wheelchair, ultra, full, half, 10 k and 5 k. As each race started, the crowds grew a little bigger. It was a little on the chilly side, around 7 C (44 F).

As the bunnies lined up, I met a few people that wanted to run with me, exciting!!! The gun went off and we moved forward a little, only to be stopped before the start line. As I passed over the starting line, I turned on my Green Garmin (Forerunner 10) and then my 230. Yes, I use two Garmin’s! I like how easy it is to set up my Forerunner 10 to keep me on pace but I wanted to have my 230 on to track my current pace.

My plan was to run between 6:55 and 7 minute per km to keep us on track for a 1:10 finish time. We went out a little fast but I managed to slow it down and have the first km in 6:58. I chatted with runners, warned them of pot holes and upcoming water stations, along with hills either up or down. Most know the route though.

The wind picked up as we crossed over the Dyke Road/358 hwy and my bunny ears moved slowly backwards but never fell off. I’d see each bunny that was ahead of me with their pack of runners pass by. I also saw friends running their race which is always exciting and motivating. There is magic in the motivation of seeing other pace bunnies that just paints a permanent smile on your face. At least, that’s how I felt running as a True North Pace Bunny.

We hit the turn around point and it was mainly flat until a big long hill before a gas station. I had to keep my pace no matter what so I kept trekking along up that hill and passed a few people all while encouraging them and telling them I’d see them at the top.

Hennigar’s Hill was next…down then up. This can be a hard point in the race for many, it has been for me before. Down we went, me keeping the same pace and runners taking advantage of doing down a little faster. I caught up to some people and pushed up Hennigar’s Hill feeling pretty good.

As we neared the 2k mark, two women looked back and me and in shock let out a “oh no” and sped up – it made me laugh quite a bit as I knew they wanted to finish before me. I also had a man say that he was following me for a while, lost me and found me again. He then went far ahead of me and finished strong. I had one gentleman running with me for most of the run and he was great company. I hope to run with him again with a local running group.

We climbed the last incline and into the stadium and I thought I was 2 minutes under (but wasn’t) so I slowed my pace down a bit more while running around the soft track. As I encourage my group of runners to go for it and they all did. I crossed the finish line in 1:10:06.

Though I was over by six seconds, I was pretty proud and happy that I accomplished what I committed to doing.  I high-fived a few runners, grabbed some water, dropped off my medal into my bag and ate a banana. After that, I headed back out tackle Hennigar’s Hill again.

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A number of pace bunnies went back out to help other runner’s up Hennigar’s Hill – the last BIG hill. I think I ran up it 7-8 times before I felt too cold to run anymore and ran back with a group of women. They were running fast and were super motivating! It felt good to run with a small group of fierce women. I didn’t want to intrude on their run but also wanted to encourage them along the way as I ran back. As they circled the track, I ran directly to the finish line and finished 7 k for a total of 17 k for the day.

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I still don’t know how to explain how it feels to be a pace bunny, other then it’s hugely motivating, inspiring and awesome experience for me. I hope to pace a few more races next year with True North Pacing. And yes, then went home, cooked a turkey dinner, filled my belly with WAY to much food and desert and enjoyed the evening with my family. Full heart, happy body and my soul filled immensely on Thanksgiving weekend.

Have you ever ran with a pace bunny?

Anyone else race last weekend or this weekend coming?

Past pacing 1:10 – 10k: 

  • 2015: 1:09:59
  • 2017: 1:09:37
  • 2018: 1:10:06

Thanks True North Pacing and Valley Harvest for another great event! I don’t blog daily but you can follow me over on Instagram. I’ll be running the PEI Half Marathon this Sunday!!!

 

 

Half Marathon Update & Pacing VRM!

Though I haven’t been blogging about my half marathon training – I’m now 2 weeks out from my 7th half marathon in PEI!! Also, I literally had to go through my blog to figure out how many half marathon’s I’ve run to date.

Training

My training has been going really well. I’ve managed to log almost all my miles and surprisingly in September, most of those miles had me running at 5 or 6 am before my family was even up. September was the month of morning miles and I loved it! It’s starting to get a little colder and my early morning motivation is starting to dwindle.

October is off to a slow start with no running as of yet. I played three games of soccer over the weekend (we won the tournament and I scored a goal!!) so I took Monday off to rest. And rest I did. I was in bed last night at 8:49 pm – lights out! I’m coming down with a head cold which really sucks timing wise. I just feel lousy and have an 8 k run on tap for today. I’m really unsure if I’ll run at all today. Any tips on getting better quickly?

From runners to cleats!

Runner Soccer

Pacing!

On a more exciting note…….. I’m pacing the 1:10 – 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon again!!!!! I’m a wee bit excited as this is my favourite distance/time to pace! This will be my third time pacing this distance and race. I’ll be running with “True North Pacing”. They are the pacing group the came together recently to provide pacers for this race. Can’t wait!

Also – I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving). After I pace my 10 k and help out a bit more I’ll be heading home to cook up a turkey and a roasted butternut squash for the vegan husband.

Anyone running Valley Harvest this weekend?

Favourite Thanksgiving dish?

Best advice to get rid of a head/throat cold? (Vit C, honey, garlic, sleep – what else). 

Don’t forget, you can follow me over on Instagram – I post there almost daily.

Year of Running 2017

Sometimes it’s hard to look back on the year and see all the things you’ve done (or missed out on). Running for me has always been something fun to do, a stress reliever, time to myself, an opportunity to be a better mom/wife and also to take care of my physical and mental health. This year sure gave me a challenge with my running.

For the last few year’s I’ve been doing the “Year of Running” wrap up hosted by Courtney at “Eat Pray Run DC”.  Therefore, I’m doing it again!

Best (and worst) of 2017

Best Race Experience: Pacing the 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon  with White Rabbit Pacing was my best race experience. I ran with two Garmin’s this time pacing just to make sure I was on pace.  It’s such a fun local run and  so rewarding when you bring runners to the finish line on time!

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Best run: Running Cape Split with my husband in September. We don’t get to run together often but when we do it’s awesome. I love that he loves to run (and cycle etc.) but when you can go for 1-2 hour run with your husband it just makes it that much better. Best run hands down of the year.

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Best new piece of running gear: My new Garmin Forerunner 230! This was a mother’s day present from my girls and husband. Love it! Well, and my Tiux compression socks – man they were a life saver for me!!

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Best running advice you’ve received this year: There were many nights when I wanted to run but was just exhausted from the busy day at work and with our girls. On those nights my husband would always say “you’ll feel better if you just go”, “put on your gear and just start”. Without those nudges, I would have just missed the run.

Best Advice I Can Give: Listen to your body. When it’s saying enough is enough – listen.

Most inspirational runner:  I’d have to say Shalane Flanagan.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: It’s not a race photo, though I do love the photo above from pacing the Valley Harvest Marathon. However, my favourite photo is this one bloew – running with my husband and daughters on January 1st. We now have a tradition of running our first km on January 1st together….even in the rain or snow!

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: Pacing the 10k – 1:10 finish at Valley Harvest. I love this pace and finishing time. Hands down, I’d pace this race again. I’d also repeat running the Berwick 5 miler Road Race – that was a fun distance and I really enjoyed the course.

Worst Running Moment: Hands down, finding out two days before my half marathon that I was having some heart problems. It was strongly suggested that I didn’t run my half that I worked so hard for in September. I was devastated. Luckily two weeks later, I passed my stress test and told to get back to running. But, oh the disappointment was HIGH!

Favourite Medal: These are my daughter’s medals after they both ran 800m and 1200m respectively. They both had a blast and finished with a smile on their faces. I love that they both love to run and enjoy it as much as I do.

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If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be?  Physically hard (car accident/heart problems), rewarding (pacing the 10k) and challenging.

Eat Pray Run DC
That’s how I’d sum up my running in 2017. With a car accident in late March I struggled to get back to running but managed a half in June. Only to train hard over the summer months to be told I had to stop running and then to finish off with pacing a local race made up for some of the devastation of missing my goal half marathon.
What was your best race or run of 2017?
Race you’d repeat in a heartbeat? 
Worst running moment?
My 2016 year in running can be found here. 

 

October Mileage & November Goals

Another month bites the dust! Can you believe that it’s November already? I seriously can’t believe how fast this year has gone by!

October wasn’t a high mileage month but it was busy. We managed to get out for three Sunday bike rides which just seems so weird as we’re normally done with outdoor bike riding by then.

Running Mileage: 47 km; 2 Yoga classes, 3 Soccer Games, 13km Cycling and lots of walking!

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October Goals:

  • Pace Valley Harvest 10k – 1:10 finish time. Finished in 1:09:37.
  • Enjoy time with family; especially on Thanksgiving – Oct 8th – YUP!
  • Visit Pumpkin People and do a Corn Maze with our girls. Nope! But they both went with others!
  • Complete October’s “Journal the Run Project”. Completed! Loving capturing my running and other workouts this way. 
  • Continue to get my back/chest better (related to car accident from back in March). Working on it. I started to see a Chiropractor in September and this has made the world of a difference! So thankful for our healthy care practitioners.

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Not a bad month. I tried to keep it simple and planning to do the same in November. The best part of October (running wise) was pacing the Valley Harvest Marathon 10k. I had a blast and can’t wait to pace a race next year.

November Goals:

  • Run 2-3 times a week.
  • Design a half marathon training plan for Hypo Half (Jan 14th 2018).
  • Strength Training (Core workouts, IronStrength and old PT exercises).
  • Run outside as much as possible.
  • Dust off treadmill.
  • Start thinking about races for 2018.
  • Renew Blog (yeah, i’m going to give it a go for another year).

First treadmill run of the winter last night.

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Though it’s already Nov 9th and I’m just sharing these goals now, they have been on my mind for the last two weeks. I love running and hoping to keep that up in order to potentially run the Hypo Half in January. I desperately need to do more strength training and core work to keep my back and SI joint happy. I’m starting to get excited about races next year which is really early for me!

How was your month of October?

Have you thought about races in 2018 yet?

Any November Goals you want to share?

 

 

Valley Harvest 10k Pace Bunny Recap ’17

Where to start? I had an absolute blast running this race. I was pacing the 1:10 pace (7:00 minute/km) and enjoyed every minute of it!

I started the day pretty early at 5:15am and snuck the dog out of the house for a quick pee without waking up the whole family. THIS was a big mother runner win! I needed a little time to wake up, change into my running gear but managed to get out the door about 6:08. With no traffic in sight, I made my way to Acadia University and parked on a side street to later avoid crossing runners on their route.

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I met up with with a few runner friends from the city and then got my 1:10 pace sign and bib. It was such a beautiful and WARM day….17c and it wasn’t even 7am at that point! It was a little muggy but still overcast which would later clear and just get hotter. I was able to see Ben Brown take off (Para Track Athlete) for his 10k, the full and half marathon runners start and then it was time for the 10ker’s to line up. We started at 8am.

My running buddy Krystol managed to find me (even with my sign not visible at the time) before we started. I had a few people say that I was their pace bunny or that they wanted to stay between me and Sherry (1:15 bunny). Perfect! As the gun went off we all shuffled forwards only to be halted abruptly as you are at the start of any race. A few laughs later and we were on our way again. Garmin’s chirping all around.

Traditional Pre Race Selfie with Krystol.

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KM: One to Six

We weren’t very far into the first kilometre and I was worried I was running too fast. That first km is always the hardest to run the slowest but when you are a pace bunny you’ve got to be really careful. I slowed my pace down a little and kept moving forward. It was rather quiet during the first few kilometres but a lady in red (sorry, I can’t remember your name) started chatting with me. She had paced races before and asked how my pacing was. I said pretty accurate and she said “oh good”.

After climbing Hennigar’s Hill (on the way out) my pace slowed down a bit but I got it back on track and we were about 15-20 seconds ahead of the 7 minute/km pace. I thought I had missed the bucket to drop my sign in and was trying to decide what to do with it. Do I just drop it and pick it up on my way back, do I run with it the whole time – no???? Eventually, there was a volunteer collecting them and I gladly gave mine over and shook out my upper body.  You know, it’s not easy running with a sign!

Down the hill we went to the first water station where I gladly took some water – it was getting HOT! It was extremely flat at this point and runners (50 minute pace bunny) were coming on the opposite side of the road. I always love seeing super fast runners. I enjoyed a few conversations with some runners and made the turn around at the 5k mark. I started to lose a few runners who wanted to finish between 1:05 and 1:10. The sun was blasting on our faces at this point and occasional gusts of wind would stir up and push against us. Luckily another pace bunny (Greg) reminded me of this at the start and I was prepared.

After the wind, we hit the water station again (yes please). We then climbed the hill by the Irvin gas station which I think is the hardest one on runners. The location and the incline and really can get you and as a continuous pace bunny, there was no stopping. I just kept going but slowed down my pace slightly, cheered on those running or walking and made my way up the hill to recover at the top with a slow pace before picking it up again.

KM: Six – Ten.

As I mentioned, I lost a few runners at this point – they either picked up their pace or dropped behind me but I always had small groups of people near by. We had half marathon’s zoom by us which was amazing!

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Back towards Hennigar’s hill – the last major hill to climb – I again, just kept moving forward and encouraged other runners. From there it was smooth sailing at a nice and steady pace. Towards the last kilometre there is a long incline that most people forget about or don’t realise they still need to run UP before entering the track. As we got to the top I was a little worried I was too fast for my time but managed to smooth it out a bit.

The track is like heaven on your body at the end of this race. The pounding on the pavement vs pounding on the nice soft track is like night and day. I managed to find my running buddy and kept going to the finish line.

One ear up!

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I crossed in 1:09:37 out of my 1:10 pace time! I’m pretty happy with my time though there is a little part of me that wished I was closer to the 1:10 like I did two years ago (1:09:59). I had a blast!  I had a few runners come up and thank me for pacing them which was awesome. To know that you did the job that was expected of you during the race is pretty darn sweet.

I guzzled a bottle of water, stretched and grabbed a cookie and banana before heading back out again. WHAT? Yes, that’s right. Most of the pace bunnies when back out on the course to help other runners in. This was a whole other experience.

Post race….happy runners!

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Pacing others.

Though my race pace duties were done, I went back on the course and cheered on the runners. You know sometimes that little boost is all a runner needs. I saw some runner friends and lots of people I didn’t know. I came across this lady (which I never got her name) but she wasn’t feeling great and just done. So we walked together for a bit and then ran and walked some more. She had run a half marathon the week before (amazing, eh!!!!) but just wasn’t feeling great during this half.

We talked a bit more and made our way into the stadium on that sweet soft track where we walked again. I took her water belt as it didn’t seem to be comfortable for her, so I figured I could carry it and she’d feel a little better. She made her way to the finish line and I stayed with her for a bit. This was probably the best part of pacing – helping a complete stranger finish her half marathon when I believe, all she wanted to do was stop. I wish I would have gotten her name as I’d love to connect with her to see how she made out.

I went back out a few more times and some runners where really having a hard time with the heat. I reminded them to slow their breathing down along with their pace and ran them through to the finish area. There is nothing better then the finish line at a race. To see the faces of all the runners (the fastest to the slowest) is amazing. The blood, sweat and tears that have gone into all that training and their final run – a great accomplishment achieved!

I’ve had a few people say “how do you pace a race?”. Well, you run your run. You trust yourself (practice your pace). You use a Garmin or two like me. You do the math in your head constantly and focus on the other runners not yourself. In the end, you cross the finish line when you cross the finish line and more then likely if you’ve done your job right, you crossed as close to your finish time as possible.

Eventually, I had to leave to get back to my family and make the trip to the city for Thanksgiving dinner with my larger family. That meal was THE BEST MEAL EVER! I ate so much and then crashed hard at 9pm. My body was done!

A big hats off to all the pace bunnies with White Rabbit Pacing last weekend. They all did amazing! I’m looking forward to pacing again next year.

How was your weekend/Thanksgiving?

Anyone race? 

Love hot races in the fall or hate them?

 

 

Pacing It Up at Valley Harvest Marathon

Only a few days away until the Valley Harvest Marathon oh, AND Thanksgiving Weekend! You know there is nothing better then a good run (race) and then eating all the Thanksgiving food you can!

Sunday, I’ll be lacing up my runners and pacing the 1:10 – 10k (and eating later that day). Two years ago I was lucky enough to pace my first ever race with White Rabbit Pacing at Valley Harvest Marathon. I ran the 10k  – 1:10 finish and finished in 1:09:59. You can read about how it went here.

I may have had a lot of fun!
Finish photo at Valley Harvest marathon Pace Bunny

Valley Harvest Marathon is a great local event and it’s celebrating it’s 25th year!!!! I’m excited to be apart of White Rabbit Pacing again and hoping I manage to finish in one hour and ten minutes.

Pacing for me is a way to help other runners accomplish their goals. It’s a way of meeting new runners. A way of contributing to the running community – and local community at that.  I plan to wear my tutu and bunny ears again, fingers crossed the weather holds out!

1:10 – 10k Plan

My plan is to run a continuous pace of 6:55 – 7:00 per kilometre (not 10/1’s) to ensure that we finish in 1:10. Below is roughly the pace I’ll be aiming for – give or take a few seconds on the few hills and to recover.

  • 1km – 6:55
  • 2km – 13:50
  • 3km – 20:45
  • 4km – 27:40
  • 5km – 34:35
  • 6km – 41L30
  • 7km – 48: 25
  • 8km – 55:20
  • 9km – 1:02:15
  • 10km 1:09:10

So if you are running the Valley Harvest 10k this weekend and wanting to finish under 1:10 or around it – come find me. Introduce yourself and let me know what time you are wanting to finish in (well before me or with me). I’m really looking forward to having people to run with but also having people reach their goals and finish before 1:10 as well.

You can pick me out in the crowd!

And maybe one of my ears 😉

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Good luck to all those running Valley Harvest this weekend! And good luck to all those eating Thanksgiving dinners – don’t forget your stretchy pants!!! Check back on Tuesday for an update on my run as Monday I’ll be recovering from eating all the food 🙂 Or you can follow me over on Instagram for some updates.

Have you ever paced a race before?

Have you ever used a pace bunny (pacer) to finish in a certain time?

Have you ever avoided a pacer to finish in a certain time? (I have!)

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving this weekend!