Run for Women 2017 – Running solo in the woods

Yesterday I found myself unexpectedly solo at the starting line of the Run for Women.

My friend had to pull out last minute for very understandable reasons and I seriously considered giving it a pass myself.  I was feeling too tired and stressed and we had a lot to do that day. Quitting would have been the easy thing to do.

And as soon as I realized that I made the decision to go through with it and just walk most of the way. It’s such a beautiful course – most of it winding through an old growth forest – and it was for a cause that I think is so vitally important – mental health.

We set off and I found myself unexpectedly caught up with a group of runners that matched my usual pace well. So I went with it….

And despite tripping on an exposed root and nearly face-planting into a tree – I bet I looked so hilarious! – I kept moving and finished with a pretty respectable time.

Post race I picked up my incredible swag bag – seriously this thing was worth hundreds! – and got in the line for a free pancake breakfast where I ran into a good friend I hadn’t seen in ages. We chatted and caught up over pancakes – love those unexpected moments – and then it was time to head back to reality.

Was it a great run? Nope. Was it more than worth my time and energy? Hells ya!

See you again next year Run for Women.

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My First 10K Race Report & 5 Tips on Running Disney

On January 14th, 2017 I accomplished something that I never thought I would do.  I crossed the finish line of a 10K running event.

And I did so in the upright position, not in last place and without throwing up.

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Who just ran 10K? this girl did…

It felt amazing.

It wasn’t my fastest run. It wasn’t my easiest run. It wasn’t my hardest run.

It was the longest though…and the most fun.

Running Disney is a wonderful experience from the moment you pick up your bib to the last stride across the finish line. Not only is the event incredibly well organized (what else would you expect from Disney?) but there is something magical about running through the parks before the sun has even risen.

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Running through Radiator Springs before sun up…

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California Adventure park selfie!

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When you hit 7km and your feet hurt like hell and then you look up and realize you are about to run through Sleeping Beauty’s castle. So good!

The photo opps along the way are awesome.

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Oh hey Kylo Ren. Sorry…gotta run…

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I was so tempted to wait in this line…I mean I was R2D2 after all. But just couldn’t stand for 40 mins when I still had 7km left to run. 

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The final mile marker right before the home stretch…

 

And the medals are heavy.

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That said, I do have a few tips for anyone considering a runDisney race.

1. Don’t get to your corral too early.

Unless you are running in a highly competitive corral at the front you won’t actually start your race until at least 20 minutes after the posted start time of the event.  I was in Corral F for this 10k and we didn’t start until 6:05am. That meant I stood shoulder to shoulder in a packed corral for 34 minutes before getting to run. I couldn’t stretch and I got cold (remember this is before sunrise!) which led to a tough first few kms.

 

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Corral F – couldn’t stretch without putting my face in someones butt or vice versa. 

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Finally our turn to get running!

2. Don’t plan on running a personal best

RunDisney races are PACKED and it can be very difficult to find space to get moving at a good pace. For this 10k I had hoped to finish in 1 hour 20 mins but took nearly 1h45. I hit my first bottleneck at 1km where we all went down to a walk whether we liked it or not.

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I do love me some Stormtroopers.

3. If you do the walk/run method move to the side to Walk

I run intervals and always made sure that there was no one right behind me when I transitioned from run to walk. That said, there were several times when runners weren’t as courteous and stopped right in front of me. It’s really just a common courtesy people.

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4. Watch for Disney touches all over.

Yes there are character photo opps that are clearly posted – and you can chose to wait in line for 40 minutes (see what I mean about your best time) or just take a passing by selfie like I did.  But there are also little touches like illuminated shapes up on building walls or Disney staffers lined up with Mickey gloves ready to high five runners as they pass by.  I nearly missed Captain Phasma up on a bridge at the exit of Disneyland.

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Thank YOU Disneyland Third Shift Custodial…you rock!

5. Have fun!

If you aren’t in it for your finish time then be in it for a good time. There is lots of laughter and joy around every runDisney event. That Disney spirit is infectious…so get caught up it and enjoy every minute.  How many times do you get to run a route like this anyway:

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Bonus:

If you need a little motivation to get you to the finish line – get your friends and family to position themselves right near the end. My family was waiting for me at the 8km mark and seeing their smiling faces was all I needed to push me to the end.

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hello family! (my girls were still in their PJs – so cute)

So that’s it! My first 10k in the books and my first 10K medal ready to go up in a place of honour right above my Neverland 5k medal.

Maybe…just maybe…I may add that Half Marathon medal one day. And if I do…you know it will be a runDisney medal.

 

Star Wars 10K or Bust…

A few years ago I ran my first ever running race – the Neverland 5k at Disneyland.  It was a moment of great accomplishment for me.  It signalled the start of a new me.  I thought within a few years I would have several more medals to my credit.

There have been more races since then – an 8K, a very hot and sweaty 5K & a few other runs – but nothing longer than the 8k even though my goal had always been to keep running further and further.

I like running (really I swear I do!) but there were times that I questioned if it was really for me. I wondered if I was trying to push my body to do something it wasn’t really equipped to do. It was hard and I never seemed to be able to run farther than 5K. And I never seemed to manage to run any faster.

But I persevered because I loved the feeling when I finished a tough run. Maybe all I needed was a new goal.

Like another awesome RunDisney race maybe. But this time I’d do the 10k where I would get an actual metal medal instead of the plastic one you get for the 5k.

When I found out the run weekend in January had been re-branded to a Star Wars theme I knew it was settled. This would be all I needed to get back into running…to get back to what I started.

Plans were made. Tickets were booked. Hubby signed up for the half marathon and I for the 10k. And I decided to follow the RunDisney Training program this time and see if that helped.

And guess what – spoiler alert! – following a training program and actually committing to running on a regular basis actually HELPS! Crazy right?

I started out slow but then I got into a rhythm. And with that came running successes that I hadn’t achieved in years.

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And oh boy did those achievements feel good.  So good that when I realized my training program was calling for me to run 7km I was confident I could do it.  And I did.

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As we made have made our way into December my world has gotten a lot busier and my ability to commit to the training program has waned.  And while that’s not the way I had hoped it would go I now have the confidence to believe I can get right back up to speed when I need to.

Just over a month to go now.  Just keep running…just keep running…

 

 

 

Running goals (5k at a time)

It occurred to me recently that in just over two months I will be competing in my first ever obstacle course race and then in just over 5 months I will be doing my first 10k race.

And as I’m pretty much not doing any running at all it also occurred to me that I was likely setting myself up for failure and it was time to change that.

Since injuring my ankle in mid-June I went back to interval runs of 2mins running and 1min walking and that makes for a pretty slow pace. But it seems to work for me so I decided to keep that pacing and up my total distance.

My goal was to do 6k in 45 mins.  It didn’t happen…

The day was hot and humid and I (very smartly) decided to run on empty stomach…so in the end managed this:

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The views were pretty good – and my face wasn’t too red (that was at the beginning)…

And I was proud of myself for doing it. Next week I will try again for my 6k goal. And then in September I’m going to start the offical runDisney training program for the Star Wars 10k.

So for now my own pace is my own pace and hey…at least I’m not sitting on the couch all day.

PS – I was so very sweaty at the end of this run that going to bathroom had me like Ross in Friends with his leather pants…they just would not pull back up.

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Running Milestones

As a runner – and I think I can call myself that now – I hit a few important milestones this week.

I know I have been building up to these because my pace has been steadily getting faster the more regularly I run…crazy how that works right? I have been sticking with interval training – which seems to work best for me – and alternating between 2-3 minutes of running and 60-90sec walking. And everytime I run my regular route I go a little farther before the voice in my ear says “you are half way…”

And then – a breakthrough…last Sunday I passed the 5k mark for the first time in a really long time. Since last June to be precise when I completed the 5k at the Scotiabank Marathon.

And while that 5k was painful and pukey and sweaty and really not a lot of fun…this last 5k was actually fun. And it shouldn’t have been.

It should have been a slog because I hadn’t run in several days. I should have felt nauseous because I stupidly at a vanilla ice cream cone at Ikea about 30mins before I ran.

Apparently I do well when fueled by ice cream though because I managed to pull off 5.09km in 42mins.

All done on a new trail run…where I was dodging fallen branches every few steps and trying to avoid overly friendly dogs for the entire stretch…

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Cut to a few days later – we are still enjoying amazing spring weather, sunny and hot – and I haven’t run again since my awesome ice cream 5k.

My planned run from the night before turned into a 7km walk so my calf muscles were not happy with me.

Which is why – when I started out I immediately decided this one is going to suck. I had knots in both my calves, the sun was HOT and I got a stitch right away.

But this was my view:

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And my playlist was rocking…and so I went with it. And I ran. And something magical happened…

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I ran my fastest 5k. Under 40 mins. It was all kinds of awesome…

I even almost puked at the end…which is kinda becoming the sign that I pushed hard and the run almost killed me.

Now the next goal has to be a 10k. Oh god…that’s twice as far.

Better get me some ice cream…

 

 

I know It’s annoying but I’m not gonna stop…

I’ve turned into one of those people. The ones that post on social media all the time about their workouts and their runs and their physical accomplishments.
Ones that perhaps make you think this…
When I share the view from my run…

 

And a photo of sweaty post workout face…

and sometimes even pictures of my running shoes for heavens sake…

I know my oversharing in this area is probably annoying to some people. They may think I’m fishing for compliments or searching for validation. I’ve got news for them…they are totally f’ing right.

Damn straight I’m looking for likes.

Hells ya I want you to comment and cheer me on.

Because I worked hard on that run and it hurt and now I’m sore and I could’ve been sitting on my couch watching Downton Abbey with a cup of tea in my hand but I didn’t. I ran.

And to be honest – sharing every post about every run and getting the love and support from friends and family – is huge motivation for me to pick my running shoes over my couch.

I’d like to say that I’m doing it all for me…because I love the feeling of running…and I know it’s good for me…yada yada yada…but I’m still working on becoming the me that always chooses the healthier way. That will come…I know…but for now I use social media as my motivation to keep it up.

The way I see it is that I’m more accountable to my exercise regime if I share it with everyone. If I post about my great runs for a few weeks and then do nothing…I think it might get noticed. And people would say…”well…looks like Kelly is back on her couch. Figured that would happen.”

And the thought of that doesn’t feel good. The drive to make sure that doesn’t happen is what keeps me going.

So please excuse me while I blatantly use you all for my own needs and self indulgence. Because – fingers crossed – you all are going to have to get used to seeing my pretty views, dirty shoes and sweaty face in your timeline a lot…

I’m only kinda sorry…

Scotiabank 5k – Race Report

I can’t believe it’s been 18 months since I ran my first 5K race.

Since that time I have run an 8k (that almost killed me) and two more 5k races. And despite my best intentions of working hard at my training and graduating to a longer distance…it just hasn’t happened yet.

So that’s how I found myself running alone this past weekend in the 5k event at the Scotiabank Half Marathon weekend. With a goal of running my first sub-40 minute race.
 

I was running solo in my race but I was not alone at the event. My husband and one of my best friends were both running in the half marathon.

Lindsay was running to raise money for the MS Society in honour of her dad who is battling the disease. She was the top fundraiser at the event – raising nearly $2,600! I’m so proud of her.

 

I dropped them off at the start line for the Half Marathon at UBC with a slight feeling of regret. I’ve been working towards my goal of being “real runner” for more than 2 years now and I really thought I would have been able to tackle a half marathon at this point.

I have no one to blame but myself of course. And I know it’s not like I haven’t accomplished anything. I’m proud of the medals I have earned…but still. I would have liked to have been running along with them.

Next time…red bib (?)

After dropping them off I drove over to the finish line at Stanley Park and snagged one of the last few parking spots available before they closed the roads.

And – amazingly – I got to see the first half marathoners cross the line. Just 1 hour and 10 mins after they started!  I mean that’s just crazy.

As I was making my way over the start line for the 5k race I ran into my favourite morning radio team – Kevin & Sonia from The Peak. They were MC’ing the event and running for the first time.

We chatted for a while and I pretended to be a veteran 5k runner – I mean this was my 4th event – and they were kind enough to listen to what I had to say as if I was actually some kind of expert. 

Then…it was time to start.

And we were off.  My first kilometre was great. I was in a good rhythm. My playlist was rocking all my favourites. I was in the shade for most of the time.

Then we hit Second Beach and moved out onto the seawall and the full sunshine. Did I mention that it was almost 30 degrees out…at 9:30 in the morning? And the tide was out so the fishy/seaweed smell was pretty ripe.

My pace slowed considerably. My breath became ragged. And I got a wicked stitch. But I kept going…grumbling with every step.

And that’s when one of the runners slightly ahead of me fainted. Another woman and her teenage daughter were right behind her and immediately stopped to help. And I did too. The lady who fainted was clearly suffering from heat stroke. She didn’t have any water on her so I gave her some of mine and we tried to figure out if she was running with anyone.

I offered to run ahead and notify one of the race course marshals that there was a runner that needed first aid help. There had been marshals all along the course up to this point so I figured I wouldn’t have to go far to find one with a radio. I was wrong.

For the next 2km I ran (slowly and still with a stitch) looking for someone that could help and worrying about the woman I had left behind. Finally…just past English Bay as the course moved up onto Beach Avenue…I found one and was able to relay the news.

But to be honest…the whole thing had totally messed up my run. I was off pace and stressed and hot and sweaty and the sea-smell was starting to make my stomach turn.

Of course…puking at the finish line of a race is kind of my thing…so the turning stomach part was not surprising. But I really wanted to end that tradition at this race because I was pretty sure my husband and friend would be at the finish line and that’s really not the way I wanted them to see me.

Alas…that was how they saw me. Being assisted by the first aid attendant and wiping off my face.  Oh well…at least I’m consistent. 

Finish time: 45:21. 656th out of 1239 women that entered the event. Given all that I battled through…I will take it.

And it was really great to see both faces waiting for me at the end. They had both battled the heat and exhaustion through their race and I was frankly in awe that they had both run more than 21km and were still standing (and puke free)

It was time for our reward…

All in all…I have to say this race was a disappointment to me. Because I really wanted to do better. I wanted to beat that 40 minute mark. I wanted to cross the finish line with my hands thrown triumphantly in the air rather than covering my mouth.

I wanted a lot of things I didn’t get. But I did get this:

And that’s another one to add to a collection of medals I never ever thought I would have the strength or will power to earn. So there’s that. And it will have to be enough.

For now…