Monday, 28 April 2014

Run for the Diamond - Uxbridge Half Marathon

I had chosen this race because it was not too far from home and it was one of the many races that I had heard good things. It is a nice local race in which proceeds go towards the local hospital.  I usually like to read up on races and go over the course before a race so that I can prepare myself mentally and try to visualize the race course.  But, it's been pretty crazy around here lately, so I didn't have a chance to do this and I also figured out it couldn't be any harder than the Around the Bay Road Race that I had ran a few weeks prior. I decided to look up race reports the night before and found out that it was a hilly race and would also take me onto some trails. Duh, what was I thinking Uxbridge is Canada's Trail Capital. Needless to say, I started to FREAK out!!! I had never run a trail race before and when I finally saw the elevation map of the course, I was just beside myself. It was too late, the race was the next day.

I decided to take it easy and just enjoy the race, but the competitive side in me was telling me to try to push myself. I completed my usual night before race routine by checking the weather, setting up my race gear and laying out my race outfit. I  wasn't going to have to leave at the crack of dawn because the race was only 40 minutes from home and I was going solo; no kids, no husband.

I started to notice all the rolling hills on the scenic drive up to Uxbridge. It was a bit chilly  (-3 Celsius) but the sun was out and it was going to be a great morning for a run. The race was starting and finishing at the Wooden Sticks Golf Course. I was able to pick up my race kit the morning of the race and get ready inside the warm clubhouse. One of the highlights of this race is the diamond giveaway. Every runner has a chance at winning a diamond from one of the sponsors. Unfortunately, I was not the lucky winner this year.
The drive up and start line selfie
I usually run races with my friends, but this one was a solo race. It was one of the smallest races I have taken part in. There were only 179 participants in the half marathon. This was nice as the start line was not jam packed with runners. The course took us out of the golf course and downhill onto some beautiful tree lined country roads for about 9 kms, into the trails for about 5kms, then linking up with the paths of the golf course for the last 7 kms and finishing in front of the clubhouse.

Action selfie in the trails
Since I had read about the course the night before, I tried to pace myself according. I had hoped for a sub 2 hour finish, but knew that it would not happen with the trails. I started with a good steady pace while on the country roads, but wanted to save myself for the trails and the hills that I would be facing. The air was crisp and fresh which is a nice change from racing in big cities. The road was lined will tall trees and the sun was peaking overhead. The roads were free and clear of cars and after the first few kilometres the runners got into their pace, I was running with only a few other people. Once we entered the trails, we had to run in single file and for most that part I was on my own. My pace slowed down quite a bit here as the trials were partially covered with ice.

I was a rookie to trail running, so I had to walk for some parts as the path was covered with ice and then there were some mud puddles to jump over. I decided to enjoy the scenery and try not to think about my time. I just wanted to make sure I wasn't going to wipe out or throw my back out while trying to get good footing on the trails.  It was great to finally hit the paved cart paths of the golf course, but there were even more hills on the path then on the trails. The ups and downs on the winding paths seemed to be never ending. I looked down at my watch at 20km and I knew I wasn't going to make my sub 2:00, I felt a bit defeated, but stared down the last hill up to the finish line and gave it all I had.

Coming up the hill for the finish
Instead of bagel and bananas, all runners were welcomed into the clubhouse for a buffet style meal. I piled my plate up with goodies and sat down to enjoy my post race meal. It was so nice to be able to sit at a table and eat properly immediately after racing.

This was a challenging course but the scenic views are worth every hill I hit. I would definitely do this race again.  


Category Place - 5/28
Gender Place - 20/76
Overall Place - 87/129

Finish - Gun time - 2:03:40:1
             Chip time - 2:03:31:3

Have a Fantastic Week!

Have you run any trail races?

Monday, 21 April 2014

A Family Affair

Happy Monday. It's Boston Monday! 
Runners and non-runners around the world will have their eyes focused on Boston this year. Good luck to all those running this year. 

Ever since I started running I had hoped that my family would join me one day and that day is quickly approaching. My daughter will be running her first event at the Mercedes-Benz Oakville 10K Race this Sunday April 27.  She has been talking about this day to all who will listen and has already chosen her race day outfit. 

I had first heard about this race a few years ago from my running mentors. They had told me that it was a scenic course, the medals were one of a kind and there was a chance of winning a Mercedes-Benz.  I had put it on my bucket lists of races to run. I was even more excited to find out that there was a 'Family Fun Zone' to keep the kids busy and races for children from 1 year old and up. 

I had all my friends, husband and daughter sign up for the race and I was going to be their personal cheerleader this year. To my surprise, I was contacted by the race organization and was generously given a bib to participate in the 10k. I am thrilled as I will be able to run alongside my husband and our many friends. I will also be that crazy running mommy cheering my little one to the finish. I am looking forward to some warmer weather and having the whole family out for what looks to be a great weekend for running.

Have a Fantastic week.

Do you enter your children into races? 

Is running a family affair for you?

Monday, 14 April 2014

Around the Bay Road Race 30KM

The Around the Bay Road race is a bucket list race  as it prides itself on being the oldest race in North America, "older than Boston. It is a great spring race to start of the racing season or if you are planning to run a spring marathon.

This year was the first year that I ran the full 30 kilometres. In the past I have ran the 2 and 3 persons relay and had a great time in both races. The course was changed this year due to a train crossing that made runners stop last year and wait for it to pass.  With the change, it meant a few more hills.

I can't say that I've been able to train much this past winter. It has been a tough trying to find the motivation to get outside and the thought of the treadmill is just depressing. I am fortunate to be able to get away on my layovers to some warmer destinations, however with the jet lag, I am definitely not at my best. My goal at this point was to finish the race. I knew that there were going to be quite a number of hills to tackle and I just hate hills. I'm thinking that these hills will be nothing in comparison to what I may battle at the San Francisco marathon later this summer.

Elevation from my Garmin
It was perfect day to run, the temperature was 7 degrees with a light breeze and the sun was peaking through the clouds. I had driven in with my run buddy Karen and met up with our friend Richard who was running Around the Bay for the first time.

I had decided to take it easy on the race as I had not run this distance since the summer and had only done a 27km long run a few weeks prior. After reading a few race reports from previous years and looking at the map, I knew I would have to race smart to finish well.

I had decided to break the race into 3 sets of 10km and start off the race with an easy pace for the first 10km. The first 10 km was not what I had remembered as I had run the first 15 km of the race a few years ago.  There were a few more hills than I recalled and took them all in stride. I tried to keep at a 6:00 minute pace for the first 10km which I think was totally reasonable considering my lack in training. Once the crowd thinned out I was able to settle into my pace.

Once I hit the first exchange point at the 10km mark, I decided to try to pick it up a little bit as I knew it would be a tad flatter than the first 10km. I was starting to get warm as the sun was finally out and shining bright. I found this section quick relaxing as I had settled into a comfortable pace and had a beautiful view of Lake Ontario beside me up to the 17km turning point. 

Staying strong for a good finish

I knew I had to run smart as the last 10km would be the most challenging. My first ever experience with this race was running the last 10km of the race, so I knew what was ahead of me. As I was nearing the 20km mark, it was all coming back to me.  I pushed on and tried to use every downhill to my advantage as I knew there was one huge hill at the end before coming up to the 27km mark that I had seen on the drive in. I gave the hill all I had a ran up without stopping until it seemed like I was crawling to the top. When I finally made it up to the top, I knew it would be somewhat easy considering what I had just gone through. A fellow runner asked me at this point if there were any hills left and I thankfully yelled "no more hill, flat to the end". I was looking forward to seeing the Grimm reaper and running into FirstOntario Centre. With 3km left to go, I pushed with all I had.

Finish inside the Centre is the highlight of this race

I feel like I ran a fairly conservative race. I wasn't completely spent after the race and was still able to walk and joke around with my run buddy.  I now feel like I could have pushed a bit more. I'm happy that I finished. I hope to run this again next year and will have a new game plan and hopefully more training under me.


Category Place -  235/492
Gender Place - 1537/3305
10KM - 1:01:35
15KM - 1:31:17
20KM - 2:01:02

Finish - Gun time - 3:11:33:8
             Chip time - 3:02:44

Pace 6:06

Group shot and medal selfie

Great Race Swag

Thanks for reading :)

How has your race season started?  Any Personal Bests? How has winter training been for you?

Do you have any Races coming up?

Monument Valley 50 Miler Race Recap

Alarms were set and I was ready to go! It was my first ultra marathon.  I had spent the last 4 months of the Canadian winter training and co...