Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon 2017!

Woooo hi!

Just over three weeks ago I ran the Calgary Marathon and didn’t have the best day. Personally, it wasn’t my day, but I also didn’t find the event overly exciting, so I came home feeling dissatisfied with my overall spring marathon experience. Waiting until the CIM in December for the next marathon seemed out of the question, so I started looking into the possiblility of running another three to four weeks after Calgary. In many peoples’ eyes, this is crazy, but we aren’t going to get into that.

Living where I do, it’s impossible to take a weekend trip to just anywhere you want. In a perfect world, I’d have flown my personal jet to Duluth, Minnesota and run Grandma’s Marathon, which was this past Saturday on June 17th and has been on my bucket list since I fell in love with the marathon in May of last year. Since we do not, in fact, live in a perfect world, I looked into the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon. Pretty big event, awesome city, same timezone I live in, and accessible (in the grand scheme of things) from Prince Rupert! The course looked  challenging but since I was on the hunt more for a good time than “redemption” from the Calgary race, I decided to go for it.

Then, I convinced my friend Marcie to come along and run the half. We booked our flights, AirBnB, and registered for our races. WOOOOOOO!!!!

THIS RACE WAS SO AWESOME and I feel like the Rock’n’Roll’ness of it was just bonus because it was already such a cool route in a wicked city!

We arrived to the expo at the CenturyLink Field Event Centre in the early afternoon on Saturday to get our bibs, shoe tags, shirts and shuttle passes (purchased online before hand) and everything was organized and problem free. The race shirts are basic black t-shirts but I guess that’s safe…imagine trying to please twenty thousand people? The expo was pretty big, busy, and in a cool venue in an accessible spot. I’m not usually one to purchase things at the expo, but there was a huge merch area of Brooks gear, what looked like a gait anaysis treadmill station (with a big lineup) and then past that section was the exhibitor area. There were lots of free samples, and the girl manning the JellyBelly Sport Beans table LOADED us up after we obeyed the “2 per person” sign. LOL. Good karma! Love Sport Beans, thanks to my friend Sam for introducing me to them! Also worth mentioning was the diary-free cheesecake by Daiya. Legit. We also scored free sunglasses which I love.

Next we made a trip to the Oiselle flagship store and Lululemon in University Village (via Uber) and then it was time for a big, early dinner.

One of the girls at Lulu recommended Mama Melina just down the road, and YOU NEED TO GO THERE. Best pizza and pasta ever, Marcie and I agreed, and it was early-ish so it was happy hour and our bill was CHEAP. Score. Then we hit QFC for breakfast food and went back to our AirBnB to get as much rest as possible.

ended up being too muggy for the Canada socks..dang.

Both of us woke up on Sunday at 4am having slept WELL, which is so unusual for me the night before a big event! After getting ready and eating breakfast we took another Uber over to the CenturyLink/Safeco (finish) area to hop on a shuttle to the starting line at Husky Stadium. A sticker on our bibs that was given to us at the expo when checking in with the pre-paid shuttle table was all we had to show the driver to get on the bus. We had no problems or waits and arrived to the start area by 5:45 for the 6:30 start. I heard stories about shuttles getting lost one year and the race start being delayed, so it was nice that it was so organized!

There were good tunes blasting when we arrived and it was exciting from the get-go. I didn’t see any obvious signage pointing out where the gear check was specifically located, but it’s easy enough to follow the crowds or ask, and we did both and found the bag check UPS Trucks towards the very back of the start chute. Checking gear was simple and quick, but waiting for a portopotty after that was not. It was just so busy and slow because there wasn’t really an oranized lineup system, but regardless we both were able to use the bathrooms and head into our corral by 6:20, and we didn’t start running until after 6:30 since we obviously weren’t in corral number one! No rushing and no panic.

Go time! Speaking for the full marathon course, it was so scenic!!! We ran across Montlake Bridge over the shipping canal, through the beautiful Washington Park Arboretum, south along Lake Washington with lake and mountain views, and ran the full loop of Seward Park. The middle section was along Ranier Ave and Dearborn Street back towards the Centurylink/Safeco area. Then the last quarter of the race was a big out-and-back with amaaaazing views of the ocean plus all of downtown, running across the Alaskan Way Viaduct (apparently this is the last year it will be part of the course) and then all the way up towards the west side of Lake Union, getting to pass the ferries, Seattle Great Wheel, aquarium, and the Space Needle along the way, twice! SO GREY’S ANATOMY.

There were lots of live music set-ups along the way, and I loved running past and hearing covers of Foo Fighters, Passion Pit and I can’t remember what else. I knew coming to this event that Rock’n’Roll Seattle is not one of the most rock’n’rollie of the race series, meaning I didn’t come expecting the intensity of say, RnR Vegas, San Diego or Nashville, but that’s not WHY I registered. I went because Seattle is awesome and the event is big and fun, and it was easy for me to get there. If you are looking for a mind-blowing Rock’n’Roll experience, I probably wouldn’t suggest this one because I know it’s not one of the biggest or most popular, and you might be dissapointed theme-wise, but overall this event is SWEET. Also, if you really feed off of spectator support, I didn’t find it to be overly involved in that sense, so just something to keep in mind.

gahahaha

As for difficulty, I barely noticed any major hills during the first half, aside from literally about a 100m steep part up to where the half-way timing mat was located. In reality, there was a gradual incline for about 5k leading up to the half-way mark and that definitely took  more out of me than I was noticing at the time. Sneaky! I ran with the 4hr pace group for the entire first half, but at exactly half way I had a stomach emergency and had to make my first ever pit stop during a marathon. One in five so far, not bad. This didn’t throw me off much time-wise, but unfortunately my stomach was fairly cramped up for almost an hour after that…it interefered with my plan, but it did not mess with how much I was enjoying myself! I had lost my crew but continued on. My elusive 3:59 goal wasn’t going to happen, that’s for sure, but I’ve let that go now until the fall. I kept going and enjoyed the experience and worked on my mental game as it continued to get more difficult.

The next section was mostly flat and the less interesting part of the course, and finally, my ass got handed to me by the final 12-ish kilometeres where you see those three giant bumps!

I’m really glad I went into this with a main goal of having a good time and scratching that marathon itch before having to wait until the CIM in December!

Finishing along the viaduct and back into the stadium area was seriously so cool. I loved this course! The finish-chute wasn’t anything to write home about but there were lots of photographers as usual and quite a lot of snacks, CHOCOLATE MILK (my favourite) and Gatorade and water. Marcie was there for my finish, and she found me at the exit of the finish area and we went to grab my gear (easy) and head to the concert area, which wasn’t very busy at all but had an awesome energy.

We stretched and relaxed on the stairs, took photos and enjoyed the post-race vibes. There was a free beer ticket on the bottom of each bib, so lucky Marcie, she got two free Michelobs hahaha. Full marathon finishers also received a finisher’s jacket, which in the pics online that I saw before hand looked super cheesy, but they actually are kind of awesome! I won’t be rocking mine around daily life or anything, but it’s a really good wind breaker and tucks up super small. Useful swag, and so great to have it to throw on as another layer while hanging around being sweaty and getting progressively colder.

The medals for both the half and full marathons are sweet. I love the colours and the glitter and the boldness of SEATTLE.

Marathon number five, in the bag! The weather was perfect for running, it was overcast, a big muggy but not too warm, but it wasn’t ideal for hanging out at the concert stage afterwards, and we wanted showers, so it was time to head back to the AirBnB.

Post-race epic meal this time around consisted of Mexican at Poquitos (YOU NEED TO EAT HERE) in the Capital Hill neighbourhood (so great) and then dessert at Kurt Farm Shop (omfG, CHEESE FLAVOURED ICE CREAM!!?!?). Such a bang-on post-marathon meal.

In summary, the Alaska Airlines Rock’n’Roll Seattle Marathon & Half Marathon was a really fun, exciting event. I love big, busy running events, and they said there were approximately 18,000 runners lined up at the start line on Sunday to run either the half or full.

pic from the event site

The course was so great with some cool on-course music and features, although challenging and maybe not for PR chasing, the medals rock, the organization was without fault, and Seattle is just a very cool place! The expo was basic, and the post-race concerts didn’t seem too exciting, but the finish venue and general area was super cool. I had a really great weekend and I would definitely run this race again and I recommend it to anyone to who has easy access to Seattle!

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the Calgary Marathon 2017

The Calgary Marathon, eh. I’m going to be honest in this review, and I’ll start off by saying it wasn’t the best race experience I’ve had, but overall my weekend was very fun!

First off, how did I come to register for this race? Well, I wanted to run a spring marathon, already ran BMO Vancouver in 2016, it’s in Canada, and there was a big theme around Canada’s 150th birthday, which sounded fun. I looked at the course map and profile and it looked alright, so I went ahead and registered…more on that to come. LOL. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t seek out marathons to run simply based on the course profile. However, I am still new to the 42.2 km distance. I’m working on getting familiar with the beast that is the marathon, and trying to improve at it. So yeah, I don’t look for difficult courses at this point in my marathoning!

After I registered, my friend Jeph told me about a flag bearer contest that the Calgary Marathon was holding. Represent your province or territory plus receive complimentary travel, accommodation and registration! We both entered, but since Jeph lived in Quebec at the time, he didn’t actually plan to run Calgary unless he won the contest, understandably. Pretty far! I wanted him to win soooo badly! They were vague about what they were looking for, and how and when they’d select winners, and then after Tweeting at them repeatedly, they stated that the winners would be announced at the end of November. But then it was next week, then in a few days, etc. Then after saying that, they put out a last call for applicants! They finally revealed the winners in mid-January, if I remember right. The site for entering was terrible and you could see who else had entered and it was barely anyone, so our hopes were high! I kind of got a bad taste in my mouth cause it seemed like Calgary was out to lunch on their organization. Lol. Neither of us won, if you were wondering hahaha.

The other thing before race weekend that had me a little skeptical was when I emailed to have my predicted finish time updated slightly, (I was registered over 6 months in advance) and the reply informed me that the start chute is self-seeding so I’d be lining up wherever I wanted. Um, then why did they need a predicted finish time? The half marathoners, full marathoners AND the 50k ultra runners all start at the same time in this race. No corrals? Hmm…it’s not a huge race by any means, but it’s not tiny! I think this year they said there were twelve thousand participants over the course of the weekend.

Anyways, my travel to Calgary was painless (thank you, West Jet!) and I arrived at the host hotel, the Westin, to find it was FANTASTIC. Great hotel, a Starbucks and The Keg attached, plus another hotel restaurant and bar area, super clean and even kinda fancy. Most importantly, they had a race shuttle that got us right to the start area with no waits or stress.

The Westin is in a great location and my 3 mile run on Saturday morning was around the  Prince’s Island Park area and so beautiful!

Later in the afternoon I took a nice slow walk to the expo at the Big 4 Building at Stampede Park, but it was  further than I thought and I’d definitely Uber next time. As for the expo, it was pretty basic but very quick and easy to get bibs and shirts.

I am not a fan of the race shirt, as many other people I talked to weren’t. There is gorgeous artwork on it, it just looks dumb on a shirt!

shirt

Also, the shirts are identical for all six different events (5k, 10k, half, full, 50k ultra and 150k relay/solo) with the only difference being the distance on the back. It’s too bad, because it’s fun when you’re super proud of the distance you tackled and get to wear your race top with your chest puffed out haha. A complaint I have about the expo was there was nowhere at all within or nearby (that I could find) to get anything to eat or drink! Obviously I brought a bottle of Nuun with me but when I ran out I couldn’t believe there was no water. Didn’t even see a drinking fountain to refill my bottle, though I’m a bit blind. Being hungry/thirsty isn’t something I’m into ever, especially not the day before a marathon. I know a race expo isn’t a food fair, but they can be fun to hang out at for a while and people spend a fair amount of time at them in some cases!

Crystal joined me at the Big Four to grab her package, and then we met the #werunsocial crew out front at the fountain for a visit and some pics.

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small crew, but good times.

 

From there we easily took the C-Train back to the downtown core and walked the two or three blocks back to the Westin.

Come race morning, Crystal and I arrived at the start around six via our hotel’s school bus shuttle, very easily checked our gear bags, and had no long waits for toilets inside the building or for porto-potties either. At this point, the porto-potties were still super clean and non-stinky. Bonus.

It wasn’t actually that bad getting into the start chute where I wanted to be, but I was in there by 6:45 and wouldn’t have wanted to try to squeeze in closer to the 7 am start. There was a massive line of runners shuffling in through one of the chute gate openings around the 3:45 marathon indicator flag a ways up in front of me, and they all just slowly merged in as the race began. I don’t actually know how anyone but the full marathoners were supposed to know where to go, unless they could find a pace bunny for their distance. I only saw big red flags for certain marathon times. Not much order, but I didn’t encounter any problems with it at all. Like YogiCrystal told me, just get there early and get into the chute where you want to be before it becomes a sardine can. This would have been a big problem if I’d needed one more bathroom visit before starting…

This race course has so many turns, but I managed to run the tangents much better than at Disney! I thought it was a nice course, pretty decent scenery-wise and less residential than Victoria, if I’m remembering correctly. There were lots of excellent aid stations with water, Ultima, some with Honey Stinger gels (not my jam, but still awesome) and cold sponges! The course description said thirteen aid stations I believe but I felt like there were more. Maybe both sides of the out-and-back portion counted as one. It was very well-aided! Okay. But now let me show you this. HAHAHAH

If I had know the course was this difficult, I think I would have have still registered, but I most definitely would not have come with a huge goal! I have to say I think it’s lame that Calgary uses this depiction of their marathon’s profile. Extremely misleading! Here’s another version of it on findmymarathon.com that I came across as well.

Combining this course with late-May hot weather (at least for me, coming from the mild north coast of BC) and my race plan was out the window. I’m very proud that I accepted this without becoming completely heartbroken or miserable. The fun of the Canada 150 theme, the spectator support (especially Lululemon YYC!) and my newfound love for the city of Calgary, and I managed to let go of the fact that this was nothing at all what I was expecting. I’m so happy I was able to finish the race with a good attitude, aside from a few hiccups. It was a serious struggle in the sun and knowing that a PR was out of reach, but I didn’t go to the dark place. Even though I fueled like a boss with Huma Gel, Clif Shots and Salt Stick Chews, my stomach still felt like it was eating itself and my legs felt like complete jello, but I made it.

Crystal had caught up to me by kilometer 39 and we took on the end of the run together. As we were running down the final hundred meters to the finish, I grabbed her hand and we finished together and it reminded me that running a marathon is running a marathon. It’s hard AF and a huge accomplishment to cross the finish line! Love my training buddies!

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I’ll buy the pics, they just aren’t all up yet on Marathonfoto!

The post-finish line area was great! There were some outside showers to wash off the salt all over us, lots of photographers to take our pics with the SWEET gigantic toonie-like medals that are also BELT BUCKLES hahaha, and there were lots of bananas, water and Ultima. I honestly don’t remember if I was given any other snacks because of post-marathon brain, but I know there was a tear-off strip on the bibs that could get you food somewhere after exiting the immediate finish area. It was also really nice that everyone got a cloth shopping bag from one of the sponsors, made it easier than trying to carry water, banana, possibly headphones for some people or a handheld water bottle like myself.

I have a bad habit of going home the day of the marathon. I like to go home! So I went back to the Westin to clean myself up and eventually make my way to the airport in an Uber. Sigh. I am never doing that again. Next time I’m planning a longer trip around the race. Thankfully both flights were just over an hour and I did a lot of stretching (and eating and drinking) at the airports.

During this marathon I discovered that I’ve become a much more mature athlete. Am I really sad that I didn’t run the sub-4 marathon that I’ve been training towards for months, or even come remotely close? Of course I am. But like I’ve said before, I’m a person not a robot, and on Sunday I was too hot, feeling weak and delirious and was getting my ass kicked too badly by the incline to execute my plan. I also was running a course nothing like what I expected! So I’m good! I have a 14.2 km race to run next weekend in leg 10 of the Skeena River Relay, and then it’s time to rest! Next marathon is in December and will be my only main focus of the fall, and I know Coach Andrew will help me be really ready for it.

Overall, I am glad that I went to the 2017 Calgary Marathon Weekend. I enjoyed the city, the event theme and the spectator support, and the host hotel was great. Personally, I think they should update the scale of their race course profile, and re-think the organization of the starting chute, and I think they should consider making the race shirts unique to the various distances.  I had a great weekend, but not outstanding enough to return since it was a ways for me to go. If I lived in Alberta and it was closer to me, I would likely participate again, but not with any goal aside from possibly a course-PR.

@jammiekomadina

Tenacious Ten weekend in Seattle!

When Oiselle announced that they’d partnered up with the Snohomish Running Company to host a race, I wanted to register immediately. Oiselle is my fave running apparel and girl-power brand, and the SRC, I learned, is an event production and promotion company with a goal to empower all runners and walkers of any ability to reach new goals and heights through a premium running experience before, during and after their events. Sounds like a good combo to host a racing event called The Tenacious Ten!

In January I joined the Oiselle Volée team, and I knew the inaugural Tenacious Ten would be a perfect opportunity to see what Oiselle is all about in real life, and in the city the company is based, Seattle! I knew I’d get the chance to meet some of the other Canadian runners, including our team leader, who I am in contact with on the team portal and get a feel for the Oiselle community for my first time at a race.

After travelling solo on my last big race trip and having an awesome time, I wasn’t worried about going to Seattle by myself if that’s the way it worked out, but my friend Whitney was stoked when I told her about it so we started planning our weekend! Airmiles tickets booked, accommodations arranged on AirBnB; we were set. Just had to wait three months for April to arrive haha. It did! Friday started early (like 4 am early) and our weekend was exciting, hilarious and interesting right from the beginning.

Arriving at the Terrace airport (more than an hour early), Air Canada told us we didn’t have seats on the flight we booked in January because we hadn’t checked in online. Since when is this a thing? What about people who aren’t  internet savvy or don’t have computers or smart phones?? The flight was oversold (again, how the eff is this even a thing? Happens all the time with Air Canada..) and if we didn’t get on, we could go tomorrow (Saturday), they said. Uh, no. Anyways. After an hour of trying to stay calm and me checking my heart-rate on my Garmin (lol) while mildly freaking out, an agent let us know we were “in luck” and had seats. It seemed she felt they’d done us a huge favour! Sorry for the rant but I can’t even believe all of that. So thankful my Calgary Marathon trip is with West Jet!!! Poor form, Air Canada!

We made it to YVR and then SeaTac where we cabbed straight to the Watertown Hotel for bib pickup. It wasn’t busy and getting our race stuff was very simple. The Tenacious Ten trucker hats are legit, although I would have picked a different colour if given the choice, and we also got a bunch of temporary tattoos for race day. Whitney had bought a race shirt too when she registered and it’s really nice! There was a pop-up shop of Oiselle gear, but we were heading to the store so we continued on.

From the hotel we took another taxi to the Oiselle flagship store in University Village and got down to business, aka shopping.

I wanna make this!

We hit Lulu as well (more success), and then took Whitney’s first ever Uber ride to our AirBnB in Fremont! She looooved it and on the way we enjoyed howling with laughter at the shirtless frat boys playing beer pong on a patio. LOL. ‘Murica.

I’m not going to get into too many details about our accomodation, but it wasn’t exactly what was expected. Shirley the dog greeted us along side our host, and let’s just say the house smelled strongly of Shirley and looked like a chaotic vintage museum…BUT, it was a fifteen minute walk from Gasworks Park where the race started and finished, the neighborhood was awesome, and the place was fabulous in its own ways, as was our host, Lisa. 🙂 Oh, it was also steps from the Fremont Troll. Ahh. Next, pizza time at Tutta Bella and early bed time!

On Saturday we were up at six to get the day rolling. WOOOOO RACE MORNING SO EFFING FUN!!!!!!!! I was so pumped to rock the Volée singlet for this race! Breakfast was a mocha protein shake, banana, melon and bakery biscuit, and then we put on our bibs and fake tats and hit the road on foot to Gasworks Park. I brought a disposable bottle of Nuun with me for the walk.

What a sweet place for pre and post race! This park is beautiful! It has a great view of Lake Union and surrounds the remains of an old gas plant! The weather was cooperative too. This is NOT my pic, obviously, but here’s Gasworks.

I met the Canadian Volée members for a team pic and then Whitney and I went into the stage area to join in the warmup, lead by some guys from Kinetic Sports Rehab. The warm up was full, fun and people were into it, and then it was time to make our way to the starting area!

 

Volee Canada!

The start was self-seeding based on the min/mile pace a participant planned to run. I squeezed in a little ways behind the 8 min/mile sign and then chatted with Shannon from the Washington Volée and listened to the music blasting. No throwaway clothing was needed, not cold at all. It was a narrow mass start of all the 10k and 10mi runners (about 1200 people) which made the first 100m or so fairly congested, but after that it was smooth with lots of room. This course is not flat, but I would not call it “hilly” by any means and in my personal opinion as a Rupert Runner, there were zero significant hills. I can see how someone from a very flat area could find this course a bit hilly, so please keep in mind my opinion of the profile is subjective to where I live! In the last few hundred metres of the 10 mile route we had to run around a big grassy knoll, up and down some very short but steep hills (you can see it in the pic of the park) but I still didn’t find it “hilly”. It was great! My Garmin registered an elevation gain of 66m.

route

There were just a few water stations but that seemed adequate, a few small but inspiring cheer stations with lots of cowbell, and enough course directors and arrow markers (big bright stickers on the ground) to keep things organized. The route was really nice, and running over the bridges was soooo sweeeeet. The out and back portion of the 10mi course was on a bike path and I enjoyed seeing other runners both ahead of me and behind me, and hearing and giving encouragement.

Finishing in the park was so perfect! The short but steep hills around the grassy knoll seemed so cruel at the 10 mile mark of the race but I joked about it with the volunteers who were giving us our last directions. Whitney and my friend Justin were both at the finish when I crossed and we got a pic with the amazing COWBELL medals!!!!!

This was a race size that made it easy to find someone you were looking for and easy to get a Porta potty. It wasn’t overwhelming, but there were enough runners to create a really good vibe! The DJ was WICKED and I’m pretty sure he was playing Ma$e and Nelly just for Whitney and I while we hydrated, snacked on donuts and Picky Bars, Snapchatted like it was going out of style and stretched in the stage area.

#weartheloveCS

ahhhhhh!!

We stuck around for about half of the awards announcements which were hosted by Oiselle founder and CEO, Sally Bergensen, and Oiselle’s “master of shenanigans” Dr. Sarah Lesko. It was nice that the announcements started promptly at 9:30; there wasn’t much waiting around at all. One thing that will stay with me forever, was when Sally said that “everyone is invited, but you are the ones who showed up“.  It’s true. We showed up to race and be awesome and did just that. Official chip time results were accesible on multiple computers available to the runners which was so convenient, so we got our results and then took the walk back to our place to clean up and chill out.

I am happy with the race I ran! Although I didn’t do a very good job at pacing (went out too fast in the first kilometers, sagged in the middle, wasn’t able to shit-kick the end..) I am still content with my overall time and that I felt strong during almost all of the race. I din’t have any soreness or injuries, gut issues or any other unwanted suprises while running. Also, I experienced what I needed to to really understand the importance of holding back at the beginning! As for hydration, next time I’ll run with my handheld water bottle because I’ve decided I officially dislike drinking from the little cups and always spill all over myself and swallow air or choke!

What I gather from talking to other runners is that the results look a tiny bit fast..most people said their official time was close to a minute faster than Garmin time, which was true for me too… but we go with official results! Hahaha so here is how I fared and I am very good with it, and feeling stoked to make a precise pacing plan with Coach Andrew for Calgary in less than FIVE weeks!!!!!!

Whitney and I spent the rest of the weekend winning the tourist Olympics! We ate everything, went to Pike Place (and of course the first Starbucks), met Loounch the Bull Terrier, gave REI all of our money and then wrapped up our day with the most delicious Caribbean sandwiches at Paseo and then gelato at the Fainting Goat, all in Fremont. You need to go there! Also highly recommend Roxy’s Diner for brunch, which is where we ate on Sunday morning! Our final Uber ride back to SeaTac from Fremont was about thirty bucks.

The weekend in Seattle for the Tenacious Ten was SO good. Weather was awesome, Uber’ing around was simple, the race was a wicked experience and the “tourist Olympics” was a success! I would definitely recommend the Tenacious Ten to anyone in the area or anyone with a special place in their heart for Oiselle and/or Seattle. The race is quite small and many people only like to travel to massive events, but I will return to this race again if my schedule permits it!! Excellent vibes and lots of girl power, even though it’s a co-ed event!

training recap Apr. 10th – 16th

MONDAY April 10th

Recovery day from Rupert 1/2… much needed! Lots of stretching.

TUESDAY April 11th

8km easy – spent the first few kilometres literally trying to get away from a cute little dog who wouldn’t stop following me! I liked running with him but didn’t want him to get too far from wherever it is he lives..

WEDNESDAY April 12th

30 min of strength and stretching because that’s just all that happened

THURSDAY April 13th

Track workout! – 3km easy, 6×800 & 2×400 with 90 min rests, 2km easy

Omg. Kicked my ass. Need to work on pace consistency on the intervals, but awesome workout and really good confidence builder!

FRIDAY April 14th

Planed: 6.5 km easy with strides at the end

I didn’t read the file so ended up just running 4 easy miles… duh

SATURDAY April 15th

14km as workout – 4 mi (6.44km) easy, 4 mi working hard towards threshhold, 3 min rest, 1km hard

Awesome run!! I sometimes wish really badly that we had a 4 or 5 mile FLAT spot in town or on the highway, but this is not the case…BUT it’s great training so whatever. That was hard. Last kilometer was more like “whatever I had left” combined with a brutal side cramp that came out of nowhere on the 3 minute rest but oh well! Feeling ready to race next Saturday!

SUNDAY April 16th

60 min crosstrain planned, opted for a recovery pace trail run with husband and we walked the steep hills to really keep it easy and the heart rate low

look closely, there’s Kane

This week felt like a blur. I have been completely preoccupied with the Boston Marathon and all the coverage happening for the race, which takes place tomorrow! Speaking of the Boston Marathon, it’s basically my ultimate dream above all else to qualify and run it…

2019. That’s the plan. I am going to make that happen. Mark my words.

 

ONE week out from the Tenacious Ten!!!

oiselle

SIX weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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training recap April 3rd-9th & the Prince Rupert Half Marathon!

MONDAY April 3rd

8km easy – Grand Trunk Pathway in Terrace BC, gorgeous TANK TOP weather!

TUESDAY April 4th

Planned: speed workout – 3km easy, [4x2km intervals with 2 min rests,] 3km easy

This was a hard day for me and I’m sad to say I quit early. It just wasn’t happening, I got to the second interval and after a long internal argument I jumped onto the side rails and called it quits. I planned to try again later at the track, but then opted for an easy 8km with my Tenacious 10 partner Whitney.

At the end of the day, I really wished I could have given those intervals another go, but after the first attempt which was about 6km, + the 8km with Whit, I was tired so I slept. In the grand scheme of things, will this affect my performance at my #1 goal race of the season, the Calgary Marathon? Probably not. Coach said it’s all good. Hoping for a confidence booster from my next hard workout which comes on Friday. Moving on!

WEDNESDAY April 5th

Non-running day! One hour of easy yoga was my intention, but that didn’t happen. TJess and Michelle, the PR 1/2 + 8K race directors, myself and Emma were busy putting race packets together and getting organized for Sunday.

Oh OMG  and my TREADMILL was delivered today!!!! I wish I was equally as excited to assemble it…

race prep!

THURSDAY April 6th

6 miles easy at Lakelse Lake! One of my favourite places on Earth ❤ felt good, but slightly heavy. Look at this place!

FRIDAY April 7th

8 mile out-and-back: 4 out, controlled & easy, 4 back @ threshhold pace

The 4 miles back felt impossible. Took a couple breathers which discouraged me, but all in all an excellent workout.

SATURDAY April 8th

Planned: 14 miles (22.5km) nice and easy. Coach Andrew changed this to 10 miles on Friday night due to the struggle on Friday and the half-marathon on Sunday. It was definitely smart and worked in my favour. We are also going to Skype next week and talk about dialing back the weekly mileage just slightly, since the last increase has seemed to cause quite a bit of fatigue.

Ran with my girls Sam and Jess. Jess is co-director of the race this Sunday here where we live, and training for her first half on May 7th! She’s running the BMO Vancouver half and it’s a REALLY good one! I hope the weather for her is better than it was for me in 2014. This run felt great. Amaaaazing sleep on Friday night!!! Then we headed to the Civic Centre for race registration and packet pickup.

SUNDAY April 9th

Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon! I planned to run to be part of the day and our running community. Running by feel was the plan since it hasn’t been a goal race, and I’ve had some pretty burnt-out feeling workouts lately. We met early, set up the awards area and then headed out the highway to set up the race course.

Coach didn’t delete the training run on Saturday to accomodate this race. Saturday & Sunday combined serve as a long run; a high mileage weekend in preparation for the Calgary Marathon!

BUT, it was one of those perfect days and everything felt amazing. I felt rested and excited but calm at the same time, and I ended up just shy of a SEVEN minute PR in the half marathon distance!!! BEYOND PUMPED!!!! Such a great check-in with training progress and a crazy confidence booster for my two upcoming goal races. Could not be happier!!

I have mixed feelings about racing on the highway here where we live, because it’s where every single long run happens every single weekend! Our races are also very small, which obviously feels different than a massive event. This time, however, I tried to see it as a good thing, knowing the course inside out, instead of thinking about it as a drag, knowing where all my least favourite or most challenging segments are. I also reminded myself that I race against myself, and that can be done in any setting.

As commonly happens, myself and many others went out from the starting line a little too quick, but I was super conscious of this and started to hold back soon after starting, to get my heart rate and lungs under control along the first incline. I like to use the McMillan Running Calculator to get a rough idea of the pace I should be okay to run on a day when everything is feeling good, and that was a 5:16/km so I stuck around 5:20 for the first third of the course since everything was feeling REALLY good!!! The “big hill” which is what you see in the middle of the course, is a doozie. Going down is great, and I was sitting at a 5:15 average pace after going down it, but after the halfway turn-around I refused to look at my watch going up that hill. I told myself to just run by feel and keep pushing and doing my best, and that I was allowed to look at the overall average pace once the course had levelled out again for a bit!

I worked my way back to a 5:19/km average by about 17km and then during the last 4ish kilometeres there are some decent declines, and I found some extra gas and kept at it really strong. I just about caught up to the two girls in first place, and in the last 800m or so I tossed my water bottle and literally bolted to chase them down. I can’t believe my 21km split was 4:11 ahaha what the!?

Stealing the win didn’t happen, but that was truly my best effort and I have NO REGRETS, which is a powerful mental tool I’ve learned from following Kelly Roberts. Our club was gracious enough to award TWO gold medals to Erin and Jessie, who finished holding hands and tied for the female winners, so I ended up with silver!!!!!! WOOOOOO!

myself and Jessie, one of the TWO gold medal winners!!

I have never run that pace for that long and I feel really good about this!!! Bring on the next races!!!!!!!!!!!!! Amazing Sunday to finish off a week that felt slightly shakey. I can’t wait for Seattle in less than 2 weeks!

 

Two weeks out from the Tenacious Ten!

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Seven weeks out from the Calgary Marathon!

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A Rookie’s Guide to the Rupert 8K Road Race and 8 reasons to participate!

First and foremost, let’s get something straight – the term “race” can be very intimidating for anyone who isn’t super competitive, experienced or confident in the activity at hand. BUT, what many new runners aren’t aware of, is that “race day” is totally synonymous with “an exciting, organized running event with high energy and community atmosphere that gives the runner an opportunity to push a little more than usual and prove to themself how physically strong and self-willed they can be.” So, going forward, let’s just call it a running EVENT. 🙂

This Sunday, April 9th, is the Prince Rupert 1/2 Marathon, two-person 1/2 Marathon Relay, and 8K Road Race hosted by Rupert Runners. You can find everything you need to know by clicking the link, but for extra simplicity, HERE is the registration form! Both routes are out-and-back, 21.1km course starts at 1pm and 8km course starts at 2pm. The reason this post is focusing on the 8K distance in particular is because as you may or may not know, the Learn to Run Clinic has been in full swing now for seven weeks, and eight kilometres may now be a very realistic distance for participants to tackle, whether it’s running, run/walk intervals, or even signing up with the intention to walk and testing out a few short jogs along the way. That’s right, WALKERS ARE WELCOME! Come one, come all. Also, lots of other runners are coming out of their winter hibernation and 8k is a sweet distance if you aren’t down to run a half marathon at this point or split it with someone.

So, what can one expect if deciding to participate? First, I advise you to register before hand. This simplifies things for you, and it’s a huge help for the event directors and volunteers. This form can be filled out and given with cash or cheque made out to Rupert Runners to any of the club execs, dropped off on Tuesday or Thursday this week between 5 – 5:15pm at the CHSS track before Learn to Run starts (even if you aren’t participating) or, you can mail it in. There will also be an in-person sign up and bib/shirt pick-up from 10am-noon at the Civic Centre this Saturday, April 8th, the day before the event.  All runners who register before Sunday will be entered to win this Momentum Jewelry Motivate Wrap for yourself or to give away as a gift. #swag

Once you’re all signed up, you can relax until Saturday, go down to the Civic Centre between 10-noon and pick up your bib and souvenir shirt, or you can get it on race day. Again, it’s easier for you and everyone else to grab your stuff before the day of the event. If you don’t live in Prince Rupert, see you Sunday!

Sunday Runday!

The 8K begins at 2pm on Sunday, so sometime prior to that you’ll decide what you want to wear on your run, taking the weather into consideration and planning to leave something in your vehicle/a friend’s vehicle for after you finish. You may want to bring your own water bottle too, even though there will be water and snacks provided after. There is a big awards ceremony for overall and category winners, plus TONS of door prizes, so stick around! Once your body cools down you’ll want a hoodie or jacket, and maybe some sweats. When you’ve decided what top you’d like to run in, you’ll pin your bib onto the FRONT of your shirt (or shorts/pants if you prefer.) The bib goes on the front because as you are finishing the course, the volunteers in charge of timing need to be able to see it. Four safety pins will be provided to you.

Bibs also make good keepsakes!

Other things to pay attention to on Sunday are staying hydrated before and after you run, and eating something decent a few hours before hand. And use the bathroom before, washrooms available inside the Lester Centre as well as the Civic Centre.

Since the 1/2 marathon and relay start first, at 1pm, this is a great opportunity to get down to the Lester Centre (where it all starts) nice and early to give yourself time to take in the energy of the event, yell really loud as 1/2 runners take off, chat with your friends, and warm up. Oh, and to park, if you’re driving. Please, don’t think that warming up for a race means you are “super hardcore” and trying to win or break records or something. Warming up is necessary to prevent injury, feel ready, and so that you don’t give your body a rude awakening sending it from resting to a high heart-rate in just a few seconds! Try an easy little jog part way down Wantage Rd or even in the Lester Centre parking lot, then twirl the ankles, try some leg swings front to back and side to side while hanging on to something for support, the runners’ warmup that Kerrie demonstrates sometimes, and then some stretching is okay after your muscles are no longer cold.

When 2pm approaches, 8K participants gather in the little undercover drop-off area right in front of the Lester Center main entrance. This is the same place the first race started, so if you are there early you can see how it goes down, but it’s nothing fancy or complicated whatsoever. You’ll see a giant timing clock set up and cones and volunteers in vests. Once you begin, you’ll be running out onto the highway keeping to the right side of the road, and staying on that side after turning around at the 4km half-way point, which is just a little further than the turn off to the Industrial Site. There is no crossing of the highway. WOOO. If you think you’re nervous, try converting it to excited.

 

The Course!

Think of this course as SIX parts. Six manageable chunks, many of which you have already run if you take part in Learn to Run. /  \  /  \  /  \

 

1/6: Lester Centre to BCHydro

  • not the time to giver’, this is a time to see how you feel, settle in, find your breath
  • yes, it starts on an uphill, but you got it

first part

nice work Cookie aka Superman [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

2/6: Hydro to the SPCA

  • downhill, yayaa
  • if you’re feeling a little out of breath from that first incline, this is a great place to let your heart rate and breathing stabilize. Relax. This is fun. Unclench your jaw and fists haha.

8k

enjoying the descent! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

3/6: SPCA to the half-way turnaround point

  • there is a water station here! Have some! and thank the volunteers 🙂
  • if you are in Learn to Run, you’ve already run this hill! Yep, you did it last Tuesday! I was there.
  • think about maintaining your effort level, not your pace. Shorten your stride slightly and use your arms to work your way up the hill.
  • keep a tall posture, don’t hunch – it squishes your lungs

4/6: Half-way mark back down to the SPCA

  • turn around and run back down that glorious hill you just tackled!!
  • look around, take it in. We live in a beautiful place! and this is fun.
  • stay in control of your body on the downhill. Engage your core.

5/6: SPCA to Hydro

  • This is a sneaky hill, not steep, but still a hill. You can do this. Clinic runners have already defeated this hill. I was there.
  • Tell yourself it’s the last uphill
  • Once you get to that Hydro turn off, which is now on your left, it’s all downhill to the finish-line.

coming back

6/6: Ya buddy. Back to the Lester Centre! DOWNHILL TO THE FINISH!!!

  • getter done
  • smile! Phuong will probably be taking pics!
  • be proud of yourself!

race

half marathon finisher killin’ it [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Cross the finish line, which is exactly where you started, and keep moving so you don’t get in the way of any runners behind you. Make your way to some water and a snack. Take some pics! Do some stretching, walk around, and find those warm clothes you packed for after you finished kicking ass. That’s right, YOU KICK ASS!

 

Jamie’s 8 Reasons to Run the PR 8K Road Race

  1. Because you are stronger than you think.
  2. To be part of a community event
  3. To get some exercise
  4. There are over $1500 worth of really awesome door prizes! (local too)
  5. Get out of your comfort zone, it’s good for us! Do something different
  6. To feel proud and ride an endorphin-high ALL day on Monday
  7. Do something outdoors now that Spring is here
  8. WHY NOT?

 

If you have any questions that this post isn’t answering, contact me! Hope to see you on Sunday! If you know anyone who may benefit from reading this, please share! And one more time, here is the registration form 🙂

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cross your fingers for weather like 2016! [Phuong Nguyen Photo]

Spring is (hopefully) here!

AHHHHHHHHHHHH.It’s officially Spring as of yesterday. It has been truly winter-like for us here on the northwest coast of BC where it’s usually super mild! It has lasted longer than I can ever remember in the past and since I’ve pretty much trained straight through between Fall and Spring racing seasons due to Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend in January, I’VE NOTICED.. I’m not complaining, just noticing and feeling ready for the weather to change!

 

I BOUGHT A TREADMILL AND I’M SO EXCITED!!! (is that weird?)

I’ve spent a fair amount of time on a treadmill since the fall and I have actually come to love doing certain speed workouts and hill intervals on the infamous “dreadmill”. I EVEN BOUGHT MY OWN. Never thought I’d say that. My machine hasn’t arrived yet, but it’s shipped and soon this baby will be mine…probably the day the last bit of snow melts hahaha.

treadmill.png

NordicTrack C1750 coming my way!

I plan to use my new treadmill throughout the year (and probably decorate it to reflect festive times) to throw in a few extra miles here and there when I have spare time at home, for specific workouts from Coach Andrew, and when the weather is BRUTAL.

Over the snowy months I also invested in some (run)Yaktrax and have not only come to highly appreciate them, but to love them! So awesome! If you like to run outside regardless of the snow and ice, you need to get a pair of these. Unreal. I wonder if they go on sale in the non-snowy months?

yaktraxI’m ready for any late(r) dumps of snow that decide to suprise us, AND I have the option to train in the comfort of my own home any time I feel like it now, too. Yess.

 

Okay, back to Spring.

The things I’m most excited about, besides feeling my runners come into direct contact with the pavement, are more daylight to accomodate both super early and after work runs, spring & summer gear, and RACES. Duh.

Bring on the shorts weather! Shorts & fun compression socks! I have a few new pairs of new shorts from Oiselle that I can’t even wait to be free in! And speaking of compression socks, I was recently contacted by a rep from Tiux who asked if I’d be interested in trying their new endurance socks. (Duh). He sent me the True Red/Maroon Endurance graduated compression socks and they are REALLY awesome. My feet are crazy (and gross) and I really don’t like socks that are too thick, thin (blisters & calluses), slide down, don’t breathe, etc, etc, etc. These socks are awesome. I tested them out on a treadmill run of about 8km in a pair of shoes I don’t wear outdoors, and then again in my usual long-run Nikes last weekend for a very long, very soggy 33km with Sam, and my feet were feeling totally fine by the end of it. The leg compression feels good, not too tight but tight enough, and the colour is sweet. They are also specific to left and right. I’m sold. If you want to get yourself a pair, here is my link for 15% off! http://tiux.refr.cc/jamiek

 

What is Coming Up?

Now that my two goal races for spring are approaching, I’ve decided to recap each week of training on Sundays here on the blog going forward so stay tuned for that on Sunday if you are a runNerd like me and enjoy that type of thing! This is going to be mostly for accountability and reflection, but who knows, maybe it will be interesting to you, motivating, or spark ideas.

First goal race is THE TENACIOUS TEN presented by my most favourite running apparel company, Oiselle. I love Oiselle and I recently became part of their Oiselle Volee team, which is a global community made up of women with diverse running backgrounds and competitive goals.


This race is happening in Seattle on April 22nd which also happens to be Earth Day, starting and finishing in Gasworks Park. There is a ten mile as well as a ten kilometer race. I’m running the ten miler, while my friend Whitney is taking on the 10k. I CANNOT WAIT FOR THIS WEEKEND TRIP! The medal is A COWBELL and all runners get a Tenacious 10 trucker hat.

Woo. I look foward to leaving it all out there – shit is gonna get (the good kind of) ugly – and then I will use the experience as a way to refine my goals for…

The CALGARY MARATHON on May 28th! This will be my first time attempting to break 4 hours in the marathon. I have run three full marathons so far and I feel ready, but anything can happen on race day. There is a crew of #rupertrunners heading to Calgary for various distances during this event weekend and it’s going to be a very Canadian time as the weekend theme is Canada’s 150th birthday. Canadian flag compression socks from Running Skirts will be a must at this race. Will report back, of course.

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New, very far in advance plans

OH and lastly for today..I have a problem. I want to run every race. I’m also pretty impulsive, not afraid to run alone or travel alone, and I like planning shit. So yeah. I picked out my fall marathon already, California International Marathon, and then, when I somehow came to notice that registration for the BMO Mesa-Phoenix is already open (a February marathon I’ve been interested in for a bit) I did some more reading to find out that it usually sells out, so.. yeah I registered for that too. Whoops. At least defferals are allowed.. 🙂