Three Fives, a 10 and a Half

Hi friends. Again, it’s been awhile. A busy summer of flying, a promotion, and then a job change and of course running have kept my hands full. Let’s see if we can catch up a little.

My last post updated the winter and spring races. As planned Coach Rick and I focussed on some shorter races for summer eventually keying in on a fast 5k followed by a half-marathon as an A race in the fall. 

This summer was definitely a learning experience. Armed with Rick’s workouts and some generous workout pacing by our Grand River Endurance leader, Josh Bolton, I got to work making my legs faster. I’ll be honest… My first few track workouts were horrendous. I could barely keep up with Josh (who is like a metronome by the way) at my target pace. He told me I’d get mentally tougher as my body got accustomed to the speed. I knew I had work to do. 

In late May I ran the Dairy Capital 5k in Woodstock. It was cold, pouring rain and hilly. Not ideal. It was my second ever 5k race. I pulled off a third place finish but the time was nothing to call home about. I didn’t even have anyone to chase! The two guys ahead of me were miles away. University runners I tell ya. They’re something else.  

Top 3 finishers of the Dairy Capital 5k

 

So, the next weekend I told Rick I needed another shot at it. Luckily, my teammates were running the Bread & Honey 15 and 5k in Mississauga. Perfect. A team outting. Surely something nice would happen. Josh and Tanis ran the 15k while Heather and I took on the 5k. Honestly, this race was more fun to see Heather succeed than me. She needed a breakthrough race. I told her from the start to “stay on my ass” and to not let me go. I gave it a good go and finished with a 30 second personal best with 18:17. Sweet! Sweeter still, Heather finished only a few seconds behind me! So much hype. I gave her the biggest hug after I was sure she wasn’t going to puke. This lady is amazing. A fast runner, a wife, mother of two, and in school. That’s GRE material.  

GRE at Bread & Honeyy: Josh, Tanis, Heather and myself

 About a month after Bread & Honey I ran the Peach Bud 10k. That was a good race and I felt consistent.Coach said I set a PB for the 10k on a non-Yonge Street course. I felt good but also tired.
I didn’t really feel like racing much anymore so I took the rest of the summer away from it. This gave me time to focus on my form, leg speed and overall fitness. During this time I also had a promotion at work! Busy times. I really stand by my gut feelings with running. If I don’t feel like racing, I don’t. If I don’t want to go fast, I rest. If I want a piece of chocolate cake…cake it is. It’s simple.Otherwise I just get burnt out

Sometimes I think people feel like they’re obligated to run races and so many miles. Some kind of social media pressure… That’s another blog post though.
Fast forward to September. I had been in contact with Megan Brown from the Yorkville 5k. Apparently I qualified for their race at Bread & Honey. Yorkville was also the Canadian 5k Road Championships. Run with Canada’s fastest? … I’m going to get absolutely smoked… But heck, it’s fast and flat. Let’s roll. I had been feeling great leading up to Yorkville. Running beside Josh now in the workouts he paced for me instead of behind him. Progress. After a rather deadly quick set of 800s the week before Yorkville I think we both knew I was ready to do some damage to my PB.

Track workouts are tough! Thanks Head Coach Rick and Offensive Coach Bolton!

 
Yorkville ended up being a great race. I barely looked at my watch taking Josh’s advice to just “feel it out”. It turned out to be great advice. I really hammered and actually raced for the first time, trying to go harder and pick off other runners as the race progressed. I swear I’ve never kicked as hard as I did at the end of Yorkville. I crossed the line with a 50 second personal best of 17:27 and still finished 13/14 in my age group. There’s a lot of fast runners out there folks! For my age, I’m a bit of a slow poke. 

Yorkville 5k – Canadian 5k Road Champs

 Also, Yorkville was a great race! I’ll be back there for sure!

Finally, we come to the crescendo of the season. The race where I layed it all on the road for Boston last year, the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. This time I decided to take on the half. With my new legs primed from a hard summer I was feeling good. A few weeks earlier I accepted a new job so I hadn’t been running quite as much but Coach felt I had maintained my fitness from Yorkville. STWM was great as usual. Lots of people running and spectating and GRE had a good squad out to battle with. John, Josh, Tanis and I all ran the half. The day was cold but I teamed up with a couple of good guys which always helps. Around 16k my right hamstring got a little tight so I had to pull back. Despite that I still ran a super consistent race and pulled off a 1:20:13. That’s a 4:33 improvement since the Chilly Half in March. I also split the half way mark at 37:33 which is only three seconds off my PB from Yonge Street which is a downhill course. The goal from the spring was to run 1:20 and I really can’t be disappointed with the results. This race was also just over 10 minutes faster than my first ever half-marathon in Hamilton three years ago. 

STWM

  

Coach Rick was really pleased with my race. He compiled a list of races I’ve run under his coaching over the last two and a half years. In that time I’ve run 29 races. 22 of those have been personal best performances. Here are the improvements in the numbers from initial time to present:

5k: 18:47 – 17:27

8k: 34:11 – 30:47

10k: 41:06 – 37:31 (37:50 on a non TYS10k course)

10 mile: 1:03:11

1/2 Mar: 1:29:02 – 1:20:12

30K: 2:22:12 – 2:03:25

Mar: 3:36:02 – 3:03:12

 

Left: Hamilton Half-Marathon 2012 – 1:30:30 Right: STWM 2015- 1:20:13

 
It’s great to have someone to look out for you and handle your numbers. It takes some stress off of the training so I can focus on my fitness. Rick not only gives me my workouts but also offers his opinions in my next race, goals and injuries. 

Additionally, I need to give a special shout out to Josh Bolton. Not only is he a great friend but also a talented athlete and was basically the offensive coach for racing this season. Without his advice and being with me stride for stride for most key workouts, I wouldn’t be where I am. Thank-you, Bolts. 

Learning from the best

One final note. Because of increased field size, my Boston qualifying time wasn’t quite fast enough to meet the new Boston standard… So, unfortunately there will be no Boston Marathon for me this spring. Instead, I’ll likely build to run another marathon after I have a good rest. I can guarantee that if all goes well over the winter the next marathon will be in a league of its own compared to the last one. Stay tuned.

 

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