Tag Archives: resolution run

Rain and Orange Jackets

4 Jan

On New Years Day, I woke up feeling a little tired, but without any trace of a hangover.  This has less to do with any miracle cure than with the fact that our festivities (a word I use very loosely for lack of a better term) were somewhat restrained in nature.  I got dressed in my running clothes, and while the rest of my household was still sleeping, I drove out to Whitby to take part in the 2011 Resolution Run.

The weather was absolutely foul.  It was cold, and there was so much rain that when I got to the venue, I almost needed a canoe in order to cross the parking lot.  On a day like that, I was grateful that the event was starting and ending at a community centre with enough real washrooms to accommodate the crowd.  This is a big deal for female runners.  I mean, have you ever tried peeing in a Porta-potty while it’s raining cats and dogs?  If you haven’t, don’t.  It’s not pleasant.

I was struck by how many runners there were.  This was New Years Day, the day after what was, for many, a long night of hard partying.  Among a couple of thousand runners, there must have been more than a few hangovers or, at the least, people feeling totally exhausted.  And it was cold.  And raining so much that at the end of the 5km my shoes were squelching.  All of the runners who were there were showing some pretty incredible insanity obsession dedication.

I was also struck by the sea of orange.  Every year, the Running Room gives away running jackets to Resolution Run registrants.  The jackets are always different: this year, they were orange.  And because the vast majority of us were running in our new jackets, the crowd as a whole looked kind of – well, flourescent.  We were probably visible from the moon, like some kind of beacon.  I felt sorry for anyone with a hangover who had to look at that.

The jacket is really very nice, though.

The run itself went well.  It’s been a long time since I ran in a 5km event, and it was kind of nice to just be able to go hell-for-leather and not worry about pacing strategies.  I finished the run in just over 32 minutes, which I was happy with considering what the weather was like.  Hell, I was happy to just get out and run, considering what the weather was like.  If I hadn’t been registered for this event, there’s no way I would have gone out for a run.

What did you do on New Years Day?  Were you nursing a hangover or starting to make good on your New Years Resolutions?

2011: Aiming for 1:59:59

30 Dec

Today is the first anniversary of my pinched nerves.  I am almost tempted to go out and buy a cake with one candle, in recognition of the day I went to the chiropractor and left with a bundle of pinched nerves in my neck and going down my left arm, that put me out of action for three months.  I would not want to celebrate the incident itself, but the fact that I got through it and am now in the process of planning out my 2011 running season.  Or maybe I just want cake and I cannot come up with a better excuse.

Either way, I am oddly superstitious about this day.  I feel that if I can get through today without incident, I will be fine.  I just have to avoid walking under ladders and avoid the cracks in the sidewalk.  I am planning a treadmill run at the gym later on, on the assumption that I am not tempting fate.

Be that as it may, my running has taken a little bit of a dive over the last few weeks.  I had a bout of bronchitis that sidelined me for three weeks, and getting back into it has been surprisingly difficult.  It’s not that I’m in bad physical shape.  It’s that I came back from my illness setting ridiculous paces at the start of my runs that I can only sustain for 5km or so.  I’ve always been perfectly happy to start slow and build up to my target pace.  Why the sudden need to be a speed demon?  It’s not like I’m winning the Olympic Marathon anytime soon.

My poor pacing has the effect of making me feel a bit despondant about my running.  I fade at the fifth or sixth kilometre, and one of two things happens.  Either I finish my planned distance a lot more slowly than intended.  Or I simply cut the run short.  Neither scenario goes well with my psyche.  Both make me feel like I have a big red L on my forehead.

It is time now for me to pick myself up, dust myself off, and start running again properly.  That means proper planning, proper pacing, proper nutrition, and not being too lazy to take five minutes to stretch at the end of each run.

I have just gone online to order the 2011 Runners World calendar.  This calendar is amazing.  It has gorgeous photographs of “Rave Runs” – beautiful trails and paths that people run on.  It has race listings, running tips, inspirational quotes, and space to plan.  Simply having this thing on my wall on 2010 has been a great motivator for me.

Now I am planning my racing calendar for the year.  I am going to start out this coming Saturday, New Years Day, with the Running Room Resolution Run.  This is really more of a fun run than a race.  It is not chip timed, and I don’t even think the course is officially certified for the distance.  But that’s OK.  What better way could there be for a struggling runner to start off the new year?

My next racing event will be Harry’s Spring Run-Off on April 2nd.  It is only 8km, but the location – High Park – has so many big hills that it will feel like 10km.  I am doing this race specifically to have hills to train for.  I need the discipline, and when I am registered for races, I am actually pretty good at sticking to the right kinds of training programs for them.  Here is a promo video for the race.

Usually I would do the Sporting Life 10K down Yonge Street on the first Sunday in May, but since I am getting married the day before this year’s event, I should probably give it a miss for 2011.  So my next run will be the Toronto Women’s Half-Marathon in Sunnybrook Park.  I am really looking forward to this, not only because a fellow member of my running club is running it with me, but because the water station manned by shirtless firefighters.  Not to mention the chocolate station.

After that, I will do either the Acura Ten-Miler (which I hated in 2010, and feel the need to conquer) or the Midsummer Nights Run 15km (follows the same course as the Ten-Miler, so it will be just as much of a victory).

In late September I will do one of my favourite runs ever – the 10km Oasis Zoo Run.  I had a blast at this event a couple of months ago, and it has earned a permanent place in my annual racing calendar.  I cannot find a promo video for it, but here’s a montage of pictures I found of the 2009 event.

Then, on October 16th, I will run in what is by far the most important event in my race calendar.  It is the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half-Marathon, and this is my reason for running.  This is my Run for Autism, the race I do for my son George who has autism, and his little brother James, who is experiencing the challenges of being sibling to a child with autism.  This event is loaded with emotional meaning for me.  Every step I take is for my boys, these beautiful people without whom my life would be empty.  Here is a nice video showing some highlights of the 2010 event.

I have a lofty goal for this year: to break two hours for the half-marathon.  That means shaving 22 minutes off my best time.  I’m going to have to train my ass off.  Literally.  With the amount of training I will have to do, I have no doubt that part of my ass will indeed come off.  Which is a good thing.

Anyway. I am excited about the new year.  Just planning it out is helping me break out of this funk I am in.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone all the best for 2011.  Aim high and whatever you want to achieve, go for it.

Running: A Great Hangover Cure

20 Dec

On Saturday night, Gerard and I went to my work Christmas party.  It was quite a fancy shindig, in the grand ballroom of an expensive hotel.  The waitstaff were wearing black tie and gliding elegantly around the room carrying huge platters.  There were elaborately wrapped guest favours, a lineup for the photo op that reminded me a bit of senior prom, and a dessert table that included two chocolate fountains.  There were free drinks both before and during dinner, so I drank far more than my usual sedate one glass of wine.

Predictably enough, I woke up on Sunday morning with the mother of all red wine hangovers.  You know the kind – dry mouth, queasy stomach, little men with little but very real jackhammers on the inside of your head.  What I really wanted to do was eat Tylenol like candy, and then roll over and go back to sleep for the rest of the day.
Instead, I got up, with every movement feeling like torture, and got dressed.  With a fuzzy head, I drove to the community centre, and when I saw my fellow running club members, my “Hi” came out as a weird-sounding croak. When the other runners started running, I gritted my teeth and ran too.

It was a hard run.  Very, very hard.  Of course, I had three things again.  First, I had this massive hangover.  Second, I hadn’t run for three weeks.  Third, I was recovering from a nasty bout of bronchitis. Considering all of this, it’s a miracle that I was able to get out and run in the first place.  A hard run was made harder by snowy, slippery conditions, and by the time I’d run 4km, my heart rate was way up.

In the end, I managed just over 5km, and I didn’t do it very well.  The distance runner in me was disappointed with this dismal performance, but the plain old runner in me was thrilled to be back on the road again after an enforced break of three weeks.  The best part of all?  The run knocked the hangover right out of me, and I felt great afterwards, and happily joined the other runners for breakfast (side note: breakfasts contain a huge amount of protein for one meal).

The key to all of this for me is that I am back.  Yes, I had bronchitis and no, I am not quite 100% yet.  But I am well enough to run again, and confident that I will start the new year on a strong note when I do the January 1st Resolution Run.