Tannenbaum 10K Race Report

About a month ago my friend Erin mentioned that she was looking at running the Tannenbaum 10K. I’d never done it and I’m always up for trying out a new race so count me in!

Kev and Erin were kind enough to chauffeur me and it was nice not to worry about any timing or parking logistics. I just had to show up and they got me to the race a solid 90 minutes early – just how I like it. 🙂

Pre-Race Selfie Time!

The Tannenbaum course is an out-and-back (with a loopy bit at the turn-around) primarily on the Martin Goodman Trail – very flat with lots of nice long straight stretches. Good for racing! We also lucked out with pretty much ideal running conditions that morning: 5C, overcast, dry and barely a breeze.

December is a weird time of year for racing. I haven’t been following a plan or hitting any official mileage targets or workouts since Hamilton, so I don’t feel all that fit. On top of that I hardly ran through the first half of November while we organized Jelly Bean 5K followed by 10 days in the Bahamas. That being said, sometimes being well-rested while on hiatus from “training” can translate to surprising results. I had a secret-ish 45 minute goal in mind which I knew would be a stretch but possibly doable on a good day. I figured I would give it a shot and had nothing to lose. That’s the beauty of a bonus off-season race!

The path was pretty narrow and there were over 1300 runners, so I lined up close to the front and luckily had plenty of space right out of the gates. I found that sub-4:30 pace was coming pretty comfortably from the start and the first few kilometres ticked by easily as I tagged along behind the 45-minute pace group led by the wonderful Pacer Elf Laura. Hmmm, I figured this was either going to go very well or I was going to die a slow and painful death in the last few kms. Only one way to find out!

4:29, 4:27, 4:28, 4:26, 4:30

I still felt great hitting the turn-around, and started looking out for friends on the way back which is one of the best things about out-and-back courses. Before long I only had a few kms to go and realized I wasn’t dying at all and could actually do this! I hung in there just behind Laura (who was pacing perfect 4:30s) and just stared at her back as I started counting down those last 3K. I had a teeny tiny fade in the 9th KM (which irritates me more than it should, lol) but managed to rally for a strong final K.

4:28, 4:32, 4:31, 4:34, 4:10 (960m)

44:37
187 of 1380 overall
38/821 females
17/264 F30-39

Thank you Pacer Elf!

I watched Kev and Erin finish and then Erin and I jogged back along the route to find Jennifer and run her in to a big PB! All in all it was an awesome morning. I will definitely do this race again!

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Hamilton Road2Hope Half Marathon

I had big plans for redemption this season after my spring marathon didn’t quite pan out how I wanted it to. Unfortunately I had to bail on Erie Marathon after dealing with a hamstring issue for a few weeks in the summer. I took it very easy with running for several weeks, having some triathlon fun to keep sane and fit in the meantime which helped with my ho-hum pity party. Thankfully I was feeling much better by late September and able to ramp up my running again just in time to set my sights on Hamilton Half.

We congregated with our Road Runners crew in the morning, exchanging good lucks, hugs and pics between bathroom visits. I was lucky to run into “internet friends” Irina [thank you for the photos!!!], Emma and Jonathan in the morning too!

I knew I wasn’t going to be in shape for a PB, but my training runs have been surprising me week after week as I gradually started clawing back fitness and getting closer to where I want to be. I settled on a goal and plan (hoping for sub-1:45 at worst and 1:40 at best) and, lucky for me, Andy decided to run with me too. It started pouring rain just before the start and we hid out inside the rec centre as long as we could, but soon enough we had to face the elements. Still smiling in a downpour!

Off we went in the rain and wind, using the first couple of kilometres to settle in and get wet warm up. As the crowds thinned out, we dropped the pace gradually and got comfortable in the 4:40s. It was a huge boost seeing our “Frostmobile” crew waiting around 5K; our cheerleaders are the real stars of the day, being out in that miserable weather all morning and not even earning a medal for it! We carried on, chatting away as the kilometres ticked by. I was surprised at how easy it felt and Andy had to remind me a few times to calm down when I started surging ahead.

“internet friend” Cynthia to the right – we ran together briefly and it was nice to see her later on the out-and-back and at the finish

KM 1-6: 5:01, 4:54, 4:44, 4:43, 4:42, 4:47 (gel)

We ran conservatively all the way down, down, down the highway, maintaining pace and taking advantage of the reduced effort. People were passing us all over the place but it didn’t matter, we knew we’d catch them later. Before I knew it we were climbing up the ramp to exit the highway and got a nice surprise seeing friends Ana and Parastou cheering their heads off for us. We made our way toward the short trail section that would take us to the waterfront. I’m not a fan of this narrow, winding path with its short, steep ups and downs. It’s not long but gets me every time and I made the mistake of saying out loud that “this next part sucks.” Rookie mistake! I totally let it get in my head which inevitably made it suck more than it needed to. I felt myself slipping back from Andy, and even told him to go on ahead if he wanted to – hoping/knowing that he wouldn’t, of course.

KM 7-15: 4:50, 4:47, 4:44, 4:44, 4:47, 4:42, 4:45, 4:47 (gel), 4:55

With a bit of extra encouragement, I was able to get out of my head as we hit the waterfront path. Just one last “chunk” of race left and I quickly got my pace back. Phew! Still had some fight left and I was gonna need it.

The last 4-5K were tough, but let’s be honest – they’re supposed to be. I felt like I was slowing down so much so it was interesting to look back after and see that I didn’t actually slow down at all – I was just working a lot harder for it. It was amazing to see lots of NRR friends along the out-and-back for a big boost. Andy did an amazing job of pacing and bossing me all the way to the finish. He was yelling at me the whole time (in a nice way…) and making everyone around us laugh. He used every trick in the book, reminding me that this would hang over my head all winter if I let it go now, pointing out that it was okay to be tired (actually I think he said “I don’t care if you’re tired”), and distracting me

KM 16-21: 4:42, 4:47, 4:51, 4:46, 4:49, 4:44

Finally we were making the last turn (after which my phone fell out of my pocket and I had to turn around to pick it up! This is why I don’t carry my phone in races!) and finished together – he didn’t even throw me to the ground this time!

1:41:21
13/98 F35-39
58/820 females
228/1522 overall

A few minutes off my PB but a well-executed race and one that I’m proud of as we close out the season. Sometimes I need to be reminded that progress doesn’t happen in a straight, steady line. Often we will achieve the most growth only by embracing the lows, facing some setbacks, falling down and getting back up, allowing ourselves to be vulnerable. This season (/year) may not have played out how I thought it would or how I wanted it to but I think I made the most of it, learned a few things and started laying the groundwork for what comes next.

Double Race Report: Wasaga & Guelph Lake Triathlons

Knock knock, anyone home?? I have a couple of race reports to share for the five people who still read this (thank you!) – the likes of which have not been seen around here for a while! Unfortunately my marathon training was derailed this summer thanks to an aggravated hamstring, but this hiccup led me to return to two former favourite past-times in an effort to keep fit and stay sane. Thankfully my trusty bike and goggles welcomed me back with open arms!

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After logging a couple weeks of swimming and cycling, I decided it would be fun to enter a tri to keep things interesting and lift my spirits after backing out of Erie Marathon. I wasn’t expecting spectacular results on such limited training but I felt good about my overall fitness and mostly I just wanted to go out and have some fun.

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so much stuff!

 

Wasaga Beach Sprint Tri

I lucked out with an absolutely beautiful morning for racing. It was cool to start (especially getting in and out of the water) but the sun kept things comfortable without getting too warm. Couldn’t have asked for a better day!

I got there nice and early, as usual, with Mark and Nancy in tow and seemed to remember the logistics easily enough. Number pick-up, body-marking, ankle timing chip, check wave start time, set-up transition, slither into wetsuit and wait!

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The swim start is very shallow and even with us starting in knee-deep water, we had to trudge and splash for a good stretch before we could start swimming. And once we could, it was absolute chaos! I had forgotten just how crazy a triathlon swim is, especially over such a short distance where there isn’t really time to spread out. It felt like non-stop contact and craziness. I had more than one brief wave of panic, but forced myself to keep my head down and ignore it. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. I was relieved after making the turn to head back. We hit shallow water again with a long way to go before reaching shore, but I kept swimming as long as possible with my hands brushing along the bottom because I knew that standing up and running through it would be much more tiring. Finally, I was out of the water!

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750m | 16:22 | 2:10/100m | 185/458 overall | 79/226 females | 15/30 F35-39

Run-up: 0:23 | Transition: 1:49

I tried to hustle through transition although I felt like I was in slow-motion. I managed not to forget or drop anything, so I’ll call that a win!

The bike course was out-and-back, mostly flat with a few gentle inclines, one sizable climb and a net uphill first half. I found it pretty crowded throughout and never really felt like I was settling in. The biggest problem I find with racing on my hybrid is that people seem to feel the need to pass me/do not want to let me pass them. I constantly had someone pull in front of me only to slow down and force me to pass again.

My favourite moment was when a fellow named Jerry hollered out that I “can really haul ass on that thing!” Thanks, Jerry! He also told me to go see him after the race to get a “real bike.” 😛

All in all, though, I was feeling good and having fun out there. Unfortunately I had a mechanical issue in the last 5K – I knew I wasn’t going as fast as I should be, especially for this net downhill stretch, but I had no idea why. I later found out that I had a dented rim, broken spoke and my rear brake was rubbing. Yikes!

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Hybrids have more fun!

20KM | 41:53 | 28.6 kph | 229/458 overall | 92/226 females | 16/30 F35-39

Transition: 0:53

It was a relief to rack my bike and throw on my running shoes. The only real climb on the course is right at the start and it felt like running through peanut butter on my way up, which had me a little concerned. Luckily I found my legs pretty quickly after that, even though my feet were almost completely numb. I hadn’t noticed on the bike, but now they felt like ice blocks and I wished I had worn socks. I kept wiggling my toes around as much as I could and feeling slowly started to return by KM 2.

The run course was pretty busy with just a narrow path open for two-way traffic with a lot of passing, but it made the time fly by. Before I knew it, I was past half way and on my way back. My legs felt heavy but I knew I could probably be going a bit faster so I tried to buckle down and push harder toward the finish. [Laps: 4:53, 4:51, 5:00, 4:43, 4:33]

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5K | 24:13 | 4:50/KM | 180/458 overall | 63/226 females | 13/30 F35-39

Final: 1:25:33 | 179/458 overall | 62/226 females | 13/30 F35-39

Was it hard? Yep! Was it fun? Hell yes! The bug was back and I couldn’t have been more excited that I would get to do it all again the following weekend!

Guelph Lake II Sprint+ Triathlon

Another Saturday, another early morning! This time Andy joined us to play cheerleader/photographer and couldn’t believe how many people were already at the race site with well over an hour to go. Usually I drag him to races so early that nobody else is there yet. 😉

Through the motions again and it was soon time to line up on the beach. It was an even chillier morning, only about 5 or 6 degrees C at the start. Thankfully the water felt nice and the sun was out!

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Guelph has a run-off-the-beach start which brings a different kind of craziness. I nearly chickened out and started off to the side, but put myself front and centre to go barreling into the water with the masses. It’s all part of the fun! I seemed to find space a lot faster this time and the swim felt much less chaotic and congested than Wasaga. I was able to settle in and relax a bit more – I might have relaxed a bit too much because I ended up with a slightly slower swim, but felt much better throughout so I’ll take it!

750m | 17:03 | 2:16/100m | 135/482 overall | 31/167 females | 5/30 F35-39

Transition: 1:42 

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The bike course at Guelph was longer at 30K, a distance I had only covered once in as long as I can remember (3+ years). I knew the rolling hills would provide a good challenge but I had an ambitious goal of completing it under an hour. A brutal headwind through most of the second half ended up making that impossible but I gave it my best effort. Any trace of disappointment was quickly erased when I realized I had the 3rd fastest bike split in my category.

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30K | 1:03:40 | 28.3 kph | 157/482 overall | 24/167 females | 3/30 F35-39

Transition: 0:56

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I could tell pretty quickly that the bike course had trashed my legs and 7K was going to feel long. I also realized the route was a lot hillier than I remembered from doing the relay a few years ago. At least my feet didn’t feel numb this time! (I had shoved my feet, along with all the sand and grit attached to them, into socks before the bike)

The first couple of kilometres ticked by slowly and I thought I was going to be in for a slog, but managed to gradually find a better rhythm. I was looking out for Emma and was excited to snag a high five from her shortly after the turn-around. She was looking strong and I spent the remainder of the run imagining that she was hunting me down to pass (she started 2 waves behind me). It seemed to do the trick! (Laps: 5:10, 5:15, 5:04, 5:07, 5:05, 5:05, 4:38)

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7K | 35:08 | 5:01/KM | 143/482 overall | 24/167 females | 2/30 F35-39

Final: 1:58:27 | 142/482 overall | 24/167 females | 2/30 F35-39

I didn’t think for a second that I might have placed in my age group so we didn’t stay for awards, but it was a nice little surprise on the way home.

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I’m eager to get back to marathon training again soon enough, but this has been a fun little side gig in the meantime. I have actually been enjoying swimming and cycling much more than I thought I would so who knows, maybe I will even keep this up.

Thanks for reading!

Mount Albert Sports Day 5K

Moving right along… we raced again on Saturday at the Mount Albert Sports Day 5K, a new one for me. The run starts and finishes alongside the fair grounds, and athletes are encouraged to “Come for the run, stay for the fair!” We lucked out with a beautiful sunny and comfortably cool morning, so we did just that.

We scoped out some of the course during our 3K warm-up and quickly realized it wasn’t going to be the flat route we expected. I knew a PB wasn’t realistic, but I thought something around 21:00 should be doable based on recent paces.

The race draws a fast field with lots of youth track clubs, so I expected it to be a fast start and didn’t worry too much about lining up behind a few rows of kids. Turns out, that was a mistake. The first couple hundred metres were mayhem, trying to get around people without trampling anyone. To make it extra chaotic, there’s a fairly steep climb into a sharp left turn right out of the gates. Oof! The way was clear after that, but the hills continued.

KM 1: 4:19

We had an out-and-back stretch on a rolling country road to the turn-around at 2K and it wasn’t long before I could see the lead pack headed back toward me. It was fun to see Andy as well as Instagram-friend Erin for waves and cheers as I made my way to the turn. They were both looking strong near the front of the field.

KM 2: 4:21

I felt like I was pushing as hard as I could, maintaining effort up the hills and reminding myself not to let up, then trying to barrel down the other side to make up valuable seconds. I didn’t think the numbers on my watch were reflecting my output but there wasn’t much to do about that except keep plugging along (and stop %*&#ing looking at my watch, as Andy would tell me. Lol).

KM 3: 4:22 

At the 3K mark we turned into a residential neighbourhood for a long loop to the finish and I knew from our warm-up that the worst of the hills were over. Unfortunately I was pretty much spent and didn’t think there was a hope in hell of picking it up, so I just tried to hold on. I found myself neck-and-neck with Tyler (whose name I learned learned later when we officially met in the food line) and hung on his tail for a while. I made a move to pass a few times but he always fought back and we found ourselves jockeying for position through most of the final 2 kilometres.

KM 4: 4:21

“Racing” against Tyler actually made the time fly by and suddenly we were making the final turn. I had gained a few steps on him but he flew past me on the home stretch yelling “Let’s go!” as he did so. I tried to chase him but there was nothing to give as I ran down the chute seeing the clock tick over to 22:xx.

KM 5: 4:19 (+80m garmin nubbin: 0:18)

I wasn’t exactly thrilled with the result and may have chucked my water bottle in the ditch during a minor hissy fit (not going to live that one down…). That being said, I put in a solid effort, my splits were consistent and I placed very well so it’s still a good day at the races! And then we went to the fair to eat ice cream and get dizzy on spinny rides. 🙂

22:01
26/386 overall
12/236 females
2/50 F30-39

 

Race for Plunkett 10K

Just 3 days after Whitby Half, it was time to race again at the Law Enforcement Torch Run for Special Olympics on Wednesday evening. It was at our local park which gave us the perfect opportunity to run there and back (3.5K) for a warm-up and cool-down. Mark and Andy ran the 5K while I decided to do the 10, and we met up with a couple of our fellow Road Runners too!

I knew I shouldn’t race all out so soon after the half, but I thought a tempo/LT effort would give me a good workout without overdoing it. I made the mistake of not going close enough to the front, so I spent the first several hundred metres trying to weave through people on the path before finding some space. Finally I could settle in!

The lead female wasn’t too far ahead but I tried not to get caught up in racing (yet) and focused on keeping my own pace under control. The 5K had started just after us so Andy soon came flying past me with a huge lead! It seemed like a full minute before anyone else ran by. I soon heard familiar steps and looked back to see Mark gaining on me as well just before the first turn-around.

The 5K was an out and back with the 10K running it twice, so we were soon headed back toward the finish line. I remembered feeling completely spent already at this point last year, at a much slower pace, so I felt pretty good about that as I chugged along feeling strong. It was awesome to see friends Scott and Parastou and exchange some encouragement along the way back.

As we neared the next turn-around (being the half way point and also the finish line) I could tell that I was steadily gaining on the lead female. I got some huge cheers from my crew along that stretch and picked up the pace just enough to pass her as we made the hairpin turn.

making my move 😉

4:36, 4:38, 4:38, 4:36, 4:30

The race took on a whole new feeling and meaning for me in the second half, knowing I was in the lead. I had no sense of how far #2791 was behind me and I had to constantly resist the urge to look over my shoulder. I knew that looking back would do nothing for my own race, so I kept eyes ahead and focused on staying strong. A few times I asked myself if I had enough in the tank to pick it up if she caught me again, and I was pretty confident that I did.

It was such a cool feeling being in 1st place and I soaked up the extra special cheers (“First female!” Go girl!”) from spectators, volunteers and other runners. Remembering the frustration of being unable to close the gap at Whitby only fueled my fire not to let this go. Finally in the last kilometre I allowed myself to peak over my shoulder, just a quick glance, and there was nobody in sight. Holy crap, I was going to win! I knew my team would be waiting anxiously and it felt so good to make the final turn and see them going nuts!

4:35, 4:38, 4:41, 4:33, 3:38 [820m – short course | 4:27 pace]

45:08 (9.82 KM)
5/51 overall
1/19 females