GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon – Part 2 THE RACE!

Alright, we are back for part TWO of the marathon weekend! Yep, this brings us to race day.

Yesterday I chatted about the zip up jacket the marathoners got, and this is it! I love it so much. It is warm and cozy, and I of course had to represent on marathon morning! Ryan and I took tons of pictures before the race started, and yes, that meant me posing in front of the Parliament buildings. The start line was to the right of the building, so we had a bit of fun during the walk to the start.

And then Ryan suggested one pose in particular…

 

How embarrassing, ha! Do it for the blog though, right?

Pre-race I ate oatmeal, half a banana and a small scoop of almond butter. I tried this out during training as my pre-long run breakfast and it digested well and did not give me any tummy troubles, so I decided to stick with what works! I also filled my water bottle with some citrus flavoured Nuun and sipped on that, then brought my water bottle with me on the drive to Victoria. I try not to have TOO much water pre-run so liquid isn’t sloshing around in my stomach, but I did a TON of hydrating in the three days leading up to the race to make sure I was adequately hydrated. This meant that I just needed to top up on Sunday morning! About half an hour before the race started I took a HoneyStinger gel, a few sips of water, then headed to the port-a-potty line up for one last bathroom stop before the race started!

Of course, we had to take a few selfies, too. All about documenting the day!

 

 

Then, it was time for me to find my place in the crowd and start getting in the zone! Ryan made me tear up before I started and yep, there’s a picture for that, too!

All red-nosed and smiling. Happy tears, people. Happy tears! The crowd sung the Canadian anthem and counted down from 10. “Holy crap,” I thought. “I’m running a marathon!” I had thought quite a few times during the run because it was just one of those awe-inspiring moments. I put my headphones in and had my music ready to go for when I felt like listening to it, then made sure my sunglasses were on and clean and before I knew it we were crossing the start line.

Ryan and I had made a plan for him to make a few stops along the route to cheer me along, so I knew that soon enough I would see him. The first time was just before the 1km mark on one of the main roads, and then it was time for him to move to the next spot.

The first “official” place I saw Ryan was at the 5km mark. We were running into Beacon Hill park where we would then loop around and head towards Dallas Rd to run along the water. He took a lot of these pictures throughout all his stops along the route!

I probably went out a bit too fast, but I was feeling good at this point and decided to stick with one of the pacing groups to see how far I could go with them. I made a decision earlier on that it wasn’t about TIME for my first marathon, but for the experience. I wanted to enjoy myself as much as possible, and the first marathon is always a PR time!

Despite running with others during races, I am not a chatty person as I run. Don’t let the headphones in my ears fool you, either. I didn’t turn my music on until about the 15km mark as I wanted to soak in as much as the crowd as I could. Even in the residential areas people would come out of their house to cheer us on, and there were tons of great signs along the way!

Speaking of signs, my fam jam made some awesome ones that surely were a hit! Especially that WINE one ; ) We will get to that in a moment. First though, I saw Ryan again around the 27km mark, not long after the turn around.

My mantra for the marathon, which I had written on my hand, was “I can and I will.” I would look down at my hand whenever I started to feel tired and I knew that I was DOING it. I was following through on the plan I committed to and the big, audacious goal that I had dreamed of accomplishing for years. If not now, when? Running a marathon is scary, exciting, FUN, painful, and so fulfilling I can’t even begin to put it into words. I don’t think there are words that accurately describe how the whole journey felt, but it certainly was an experience I will never forget.

Now to the fun signs!

 

I saw my parents, sister, and Ryan around the 31km mark and I loved their signs. My mom had pom poms and I could hear them screaming my name as I got closer and closer. There was a mild incline at this point as we ran through Oak Bay, but their cheers were music to my ears. My mom pretended to run alongside me as she cheered my name, and my dad, sister, and Ryan were all cheering along.

At the 37km mark I saw Ryan again, which is what I needed to help propel me forward. If you have run this route before, you’ll know that there is a long, gradual hill along this waterfront section, so knowing that he would be there helped motivate me up that hill. My body was definitely tired at this point, but I pushed on and knew that there were only 5km to go before the finish line. 5km seemed like nothing compared to the distance I had already covered!

To fuel me along the way I took three HoneyStinger gels (I finished my last one around the 38 ish km mark) and also had my water belt with me. I did have water and Ultima from a few of the hydration stations which was great, too.

 

 

Waving and putting on a happy face! I made a conscious effort to SMILE and relax my shoulders. This may seem easy, but when you are 40km deep into a marathon it can be tempting to tense up and power through. I’m all for powering through, but I did it with a SMILE because as hard as it was, I was truly enjoying the moment and soaking it all up. The crowds on the sidelines got thicker as we got closer and closer to the finish line, and with 500m to go, I ran my little hiney off. Ryan caught this finish line shot of me just STEPS before I became a marathoner.

 

I remembered to raise my arms and SMILE as I crossed the finish line, then immediately shut off my Garmin as all runners do. I high-fived the race directors that were waiting for all the finishers, then grabbed one of those space blankets (I think that’s what they were called) so my body temperature wouldn’t drop too drastically, and heard Ryan and my family calling my name from the side. They got the perfect spot in the finishers area! I headed over and gave them HUGE hugs (or as big as I could) over the fence, then told them “I need to keep moving!” and headed towards a more open spot in the finisher chute where they could meet me. As soon as I saw them I gave all of them BIG BIG hugs now, then carried on to the FOOD!

They always have a great selection of food at the finish line. Granola bars, TONS of cookies (I’m an oatmeal raisin girl at heart, so I grabbed one of those), oranges, bananas, hydration drinks, water, juice, etc. I grabbed pretty much one of everything, ate my orange right away and chugged water, but my appetite wasn’t quite there yet. My body needed to cool down a bit and my heart rate needed to slow before I could even think about eating more!

We found a quiet(er) spot to take pictures and chat about the race. Then, I ate some of my cookie and banana, and my mom snapped a bunch more pictures as moms do. I secretly wanted ALL the pictures because I needed to document this amazing moment!

 

I felt tired but so damn accomplished after the race! 16 weeks of training, early wake up calls, putting one foot in front of the other despite feeling tired, unmotivated, or downright exhausted. I always knew that I wanted to run a marathon, but I never knew WHEN that moment would come. When I signed up for this marathon December of 2016, race day felt so far away. However, it doesn’t matter how FAR away your race is or your target date is, because no matter what you do, the time will pass anyway. I thought about what I would be doing if I didn’t sign up for the marathon and how much I would kick myself and wish that I had signed up. If you would’ve told me two years ago that I would be a marathoner in 2017, I probably would’ve laughed, but I would be curious to know if I could do it. However, there is no wondering. There is no guessing. I accomplished what I set out to do, and I am damn proud of myself.

 

I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Ryan for being the best boyfriend of all time. He has been at every finish line in our almost four years together, and was such a trooper throughout my 16 weeks of training. He is never afraid to jump in when I need help, and he always encourages me to go for my big crazy dreams. I am so damn thankful to have him in my life as he is such a big part of my support system and never fails to make me feel loved and cared for. Okay, sappy part over!

Also, another shout out to my sister for coming along this crazy journey with me too! She came to the expo with me, made kick ass signs for the race, and was always there to encourage me. Plus, she has such a good sense of humour that kept me laughing throughout training when the runs were getting longer and harder, so I am thankful for her positivity!

 

Andddd of course a shout out to my mom & dad for being there throughout it all and especially being part of my race day! I am completely overwhelmed by all the love and support I have around me and couldn’t be more grateful for the family and friends that I have.

To anyone who has “liked” an Instagram post about my training, given me well wishes on my training journey, congratulated me, reached out, wished me good luck, texted me, called me, supported me throughout this journey. Hell, for all of those who said I was crazy for doing this… THANK YOU. I am forever grateful!

 

 

There are NO LIMITS to what you can do if you set your mind to it. You are amazing and incredible and strong and you can do anything you dream of. What happens from here? Well, I am still basking in the post-marathon moment and it is all settling in for me. Believe it or not, the day went by in such a flash that it is taking some time to process the fact that I actually ran 42.2km/26.2 miles this weekend and it’s all over. I am feeling a little bittersweet, but I know that there are more finish lines and milestone moments ahead for me, and I can’t wait to share more with you all!

 

 

On Sunday, October 8th, 2017 I became a marathoner. I will forever remember this milestone moment!

GoodLife Fitness Victoria Marathon – Part 1

Good morning, party people!

Man, this weekend was incredible. I mean, I love Thanksgiving already enough as it is, but couple that with race weekend and you have one happy Canadian girl.

I wanted to break this marathon recap up into two parts. This post, Part One, will be all about the expo and what I did leading up to race day. So, let’s get into it!

Friday afternoon my sister and I drove to Victoria to pick up my number at the race expo. The expo was held at the Victoria Convention Centre in the Empress hotel, and they always have a good selection of clothes and (most importantly) samples. That being said, a few more vendors would be nice, but the ones that were there definitely had a lot to offer, whether it was compression socks, race pacing tips, books, other race events, etc.

I picked up my number and race jacket (the female marathoners got a black zip up jacket with the marathon logo – you will see this in tomorrow’s post!), then it was time to check things out!

 

As we worked our way through the expo, we found a huge poster that had all of the names of the runners on it. I immediately went to find my name – can you spot it!?

It didn’t take us long to work our way through all the vendors. Before we left though, I had to get a Boomerang, of course!

 

We stopped by Lululemon while we were in the area, and I am proud to report that I didn’t even buy ONE THING! Granted, I saw a TON of stuff that I liked, but when I just spent $80 on two things at the expo, I couldn’t justify spending that much or more on one thing. Sigh. It’s hard being pratical, ha ha!

At this point it was around 2:30pm and I was getting HUNGRY! I did a shake out run on Friday morning of 5km, had a good breakfast, but I needed to start carb loading and get more fuel into my system. So, we went to the Spaghetti Factory where we had fresh bread, salad, and spaghetti with meatballs. It was perfect and left me feeling full almost all afternoon!

It’s funny because up until Saturday I was not feeling nervous about the marathon whatsoever. I was calm, cool, collected, and just excited. However, I had a moment on Saturday night while Ryan and I were sitting on the couch watching TV where I was like. Holy crap. I am running a marathon tomorrow! The nerves started to settle in, but I began to think about my positive affirmations. I can do this. I am strong. I have put in the work. I believe in myself. Repeat those over and over again. Plus, I made a list of everything I could possibly need during race day and had started checking things off said list starting Friday night, so I knew I was prepared. Happy tears were shed and Ryan assured me that “you got this! You have worked so hard these last few months!” and I knew that he was right. All that was left to do was to go to bed and do the damn thing!

My marathon race outfit: Under Armour running capris, Lululemon run swiftly shirt, Adidas sports bra, Asics running socks, my trusty Mizuno runners, and SUNGLASSES because I knew it would be sunny during the run. Garmin and race number? Check, check.

Alright, folks. Here goes nothing!


Stay tuned for the RACE RECAP tomorrow! It is a long one with lots of pictures, so more to come : )

Times Colonist 10KM RACE RECAP!

Good morning friends!

How’s it going this morning? I am back on the blog today with a recap of the Times Colonist 10km run that I ran yesterday.

If you guys have been reading the blog for a couple weeks, anyway, you will know that I ran the race as part of the Lululemon Victoria team. I would be lying if I said I didn’t have high expectations as being part of their team. I mean, they certainly delivered with their race kit (hello, running capris!) but the actual race day organization itself – not from the Times Colonist race organizing team but as part of team Lululemon – was different than I thought.

My expectation: Yay! I get to meet lots of new running friends. This is going to be great! We will run as a group and they will have lots of pacers for everyone’s goals.

Reality: Three pacers. One for 45 minutes, the other for 55 minutes, and another for 1 hour and 10 minutes. I ended up running with the 55 minute group, though after zig zagging through the crowd and running paces that were a little all over the place, I decided to take it solo. No new running friends were made, but it was great!

Running as part of a team is certainly a great thought, and I’m happy that I had the experience. It just goes to show me that my own running style is much different than someone else’s. And that’s okay! All good. I guess my only complaint is that pacers should have a plan of action. The “under an hour, 50-59ish” was very vague and I feel like other people felt that it was confusing. What if you FOR SURE wanted 55? Unless you were wearing a running watch (which I know most people do OR they use a running app to track on their phone) then how would you know where you’re at? Maybe you are actually at 57, or 59. On the other hand, I do understand that being a pacer can put a lot of pressure on you. I was thinking about people who pace marathoners to a 3:30 marathon – which is a Boston qualifying time for most – imagine how they must feel?!

I started with the group and we seeded in between the 50-59 minute corral. Then the zig zagging began and I was looking at my running watch wondering how an 8:35 minute mile pace = a 55 minute finish time. It didn’t add up, but I told myself to keep going. Nevertheless, I followed the pacer and stuck with the group until one of the women in front of me said, “Do you think this is a bit fast?” Well, you said it, not me! That’s when I knew I was running my own race and flyin’ solo. It’s all good!

The Times Colonist 10km is a beautiful race. I think it has only rained once in the years that I have been doing it, and it was BRIGHT and SUNNY and WARM out there! Originally I was freezing my butt off waiting for the race to start. I almost made Ryan go back to the car to grab my long sleeve shirt, but then after we did a little group warm up and got running I knew that a t-shirt was a much better option.

I must say, it was windy, especially down on the water (as per usual). While the wind was cold, the weather as a whole was awesome, the crowd support was great, and I felt confident crossing that finish line – almost like there was more left in the tank! My big 10km goal isn’t too far out of reach – more on that on the PODCAST on Wednesday!

The finish area. Ryan and I brought Nala with us to the run, so I knew he would be in a grassy area waiting with her. So, I took a moment to snap some pictures and get in line for the refreshments tent!

Water, juice boxes, chocolate milk, probably five different flavours of cookies, oranges, bananas – lots to pick from! I grabbed a cookie and a chocolate milk for Ryan, then headed over to see him and Nala.

From our place on the lawn looking towards the finish area & food tents.

Like I said before, I felt super strong during this race & I’m looking forward to racing more 10kms. I know I am just about to start my full marathon cycle, but speed work here and there will do me good and help me reach that 10km goal!

Huge thank you to the organizers of the Times Colonist run and the Lululemon Victoria team for having me as part of their team. Stay tuned tomorrow to see my little running gear haul from the weekend! : )

How to Make RUNNING Suck LESS!

eugene
Running is hard. You know this, I know this, we all know this. You may have a super hard run where it feels as if your head and legs are not on the same page. You may try a new route that is filled with hills and be exhausted after. However, on the other hand there are great runs out there waiting for you, too! You gotta take the good days with the bad days, because with anything, they are bound  to happen. That being said, today I wanted to share a few ways to make running suck less.
1. Create a custom playlist OR listen to a podcast: I am a huge advocate for listening to music that you love while on the run. During the Victoria Half Marathon I tuned into a playlist I made on Spotify. If you are interested, you can check out my running beats playlist here. Alternatively, during a run is a prime time to check out a podcast to pass the time. A few favourites of mine are The Skinny Confidential Him & Her podcast and The Bitch Bible. Be sure to check them out – they will keep you thoroughly entertained!
2. Take walk breaks. Running for 20, 30, 40+ minutes can be hard whether you are a newbie runner or if you have been running for a while. Don’t be afraid to take walk breaks! This helps mentally break up the run, that way you can run for 9 minutes, say, and know that you have a 1 minute break coming up. I took this approach during the Victoria Half Marathon and it was an excellent way to give my mind and body a bit of a break. Plus I was able to refuel and rehydrate during this time, too!
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3. Find a workout buddy. Running is easier with a friend. That is, if you like running with someone else. Your running partner can help make you accountable, and there is nothing better than chit chatting and catching up with a friend (or family member!) while you are getting your sweat on. Time tends to pass by when you are sharing stories too, and if you are racing, you have crushed a goal together, too!
4. Buy some cute workout gear. No, seriously. Having nice workout clothing gets me pumped up. There are few things I love more than shopping for exercise clothes. If you had to choose between a baggy pair of old sweat pants and a new pair of Lululemon capris, which ones would you pick? I know the answer is different for everyone, but I’d reach for the Lulu’s and kill my run with confidence. Now, I’m not saying go by a new pair of shorts or a top every time you want to work out. No, treat yourself to something here and there to help keep you feel motivated. It’s all part of that feel good, look good plan.
5. Document your journey. For me, I like to document my running journey on this blog. For others it may be a journal, a planner, or in list form. Whatever it is, keeping track will allow you to visually see your progress, and you can always look back and reflect on your journey. It’s important to give yourself credit for all of your hard work, and seeing all the great things written down on paper will help you look forward to another good run later on!
For all the runners out there, what are some things YOU do to make running suck less?