Tuesday, 31 March 2015

That's not a goose

Yesterday while I was in the driveway of my house, taking my youngest out of her car seat, she pointed up and said, "Goose Mommy!"  In the fall we would see lots of Canada geese flying past, so every large bird in the sky is a goose to her.  When I looked up, I was surprised to see what she was referring to was definitely NOT a goose.  It's huge wing-span and very distinctive white head made it easy to identify as an adult bald eagle.  It circled slowly, many times above the tree tops as my 3 girls and I watched.  That was the first time I have seen a bald eagle from my front yard.

I see them quite regularily on my long runs.  I meet my running group at a parking lot on the banks of the Grand River, and bald eagles love to nest in the limestone cliff that surround the river near Cambridge.  I love seeing them.  Whenever we do, we always stop and watch.  A nice treat during our urban-trail runs.   Bald Eagle-count for 2015 - 1.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Around the Bay 30k pictures

Thank you Scott for taking a few action shots during the run.  He was standing at around 22k.

Anna looking cozy as she was watching her mommy and friends running the Bay.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

Around the Bay 30k race report

So I'm back at home, a little less stinky, a little tired, and feeling pretty good about the race I just ran.  I traveled with 3 of my running buddies Anita, Joyce, and Andrew (along with Anita's husband Scott and their adorable baby Anna).  We had the usual pre-race nerves, but otherwise we were feeling excited about the race ahead of us.

Andrew and I have similar starting paces, so our plan was to stick together for the first 15k.  Hopefully to control my pace early on, so I could get a negative split.  That was the plan - sorry Andrew, I got squirrelly and had to increase my pace at around 10k.  Here's the breakdown of my race (with my 5k lap splits!!!)

Race start to 5k 24:38
Not being in a faster start coral, Andrew and I had to struggle to get a decent pace going, while dodging people of all paces.  We bobbed in and out of the crowd which was a challenge.  Andrew is amazing at finding a clear path - and I just followed his lead.  We felt good, and began to get a feel for our 5min/k pace towards the end of the first 5k.

5k-10k 23:52 - running time 48:35
Ha!  the part that stands out the most for me during this part of the race, was the flashing railroad lights.  When Andrew and I saw this, from a far, we panicked, thinking that we would be held-up as a train passes (this has happened to several of my running friends in past Bay races).  We surged to the train tracks - hoping to get across before the train - luckily no train was in sight, but it was fun to do a panick-pick-up.  At the 10k relay exchange, I was feeling like cranking out a faster 5k, so I said goodbye to Andrew and pulled away.

10k-15k 23:22 - running time 1:11:52
I put in my ipod, and cruised along to my favourite running songs.  My legs felt fresh and strong.  The course was pretty flat to this point so it was nice to be able to get my speed up a bit.

15k-20k 22:40 (whoa!) - running time 1:34:31
I didn't realize it at the time, but I had increased my speed a lot!  I felt great, and I think I was just so excited to be feeling good during a race again - it's been a while since racing has felt good - since the Pelee Island half marathon last June.  So I was feeling more confidence in my abilities and I was very happy to be racing.  Rolling hills started during this part of the race as well.

Half marathon split - around 1:39 - woot woot!

20-25k 24:20 - running time 1:59ish
More rolling hills, but nothing insane.  I was happy to see a time under 2 hours as I passed the 25k mark.  I started feeling more tired.  My legs felt heavier and less "springy" than they did for the previous 10k.  I was still cruising along and feeling good.

25-30k  25:10 oops there goes my negative split- although it felt like a similar pace as the other 5k's.  Finish time 2:24:10
This part of the race felt harder - closing in on the finish I wanted to be done, but I didn't redline.  I felt as if I was at cruising speed.  I enjoyed that last stretch as you can see Copps Colosseum and I really enjoyed finishing in the building in front of a bunch of cheering friends and family.  I happily wore my medal as I greeted Andrew, Anita and Joyce as they finished.  I was happy with my time, and my only-slightly-positive split.  A nice start to my 2015 racing season.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Time to get serious about my running. Time to learn how to use a Timex.

My new coach has asked me to keep track of my splits (every 5k) at the race tomorrow.  I usually have my watch running during the race -stopwatch-style, but I have never taken splits before.  My current watch doesn't have that capability.

Luckily my friend Joyce had an extra Timex that she offered to give to me.  I accepted, and after my run today, there I was, getting a tutorial on how to operate a Timex.  I think I have the hang of lap splits, but no guarantees.  Have I mentioned how I barely function when it comes to using technology?  A stop watch is as high-tech as I get right now.  But tomorrow I venture to new territory with lap splits.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Around the bay 30k is Sunday!

Well, there's emails flying around between myself and 3 of my running buddies as we get ourselves organized to run the Around the bay 30k in Hamilton this Sunday.   I love going to races with a group of my running buddies.  I'm excited to run in my first race of the season.  I don't have any specific time goals, but I would like to try something that will be a challenge.  I am going to start my run at 5 minutes a kilometer, and at 15ish k, I was going to begin increasing my speed so I can pull off a negative split.

This is an extremely hard thing for me to do.  I have difficulty holding back my pace at the beginning of any race, so I almost never get negative splits.  That's my goal - Negative Split at the Bay. My friend Andrew is planning on running a 5 min/k pace, so I'll stick with him to control my speed - hopefully.  Apologies in advance to you Andrew, if I can't control my speed and I break away early.

If all goes well it puts me at 2:20-2:30, not a PB, but if I do a negative split with a time like that, I'll be thrilled.  2 more sleeps until Bay Day!

Thursday, 26 March 2015

An early Easter Gift for Colin and Terri

I have a new niece.  Marissa-Lynn was born yesterday weighing 7lbs 13 oz.  Congrats Colin & Terri.  I crocheted the hat below for Marissa-Lynn.  I thought a bunny hat would be appropriate for an Easter baby.

Goodbye Grandma Mimi Leskien

Greg's grandma Muriel Leskien died this morning at the Brantford General Hospital.  Luckily we were able to go there early this morning and say goodbye.  The last time I spoke to her, she told me that she was very proud of my running accomplishments and that she told many people about her granddaughter the national team ultra runner.  I am so thankful for her love and support.  Grandma Mimi is someone that I'll have on my mind as I race this year.  I know she's cheering for me from above.  We'll miss you a lot Grandma Mimi.

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Doggie Towels

The only way I can get these two out of the bath, is with the promise of the matching "Doggie towels".  There is a lot of barking and howling as these two dry off from bath time.  Love these hand-made towels from Bonnie (a friend of Grandma's).

Cute kid in big shoes

My youngest little bean - wearing daddy's size 13 shoes - and having a great time.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

I love you Springtime running!!!

Remember this?!

This is not a guy in the Yukon, or a mountain climber mid-expedition.  This is Cambridge Harrier Mitch Free after a long run, near Cambridge, Ontario this winter.  Soo glad it's spring.  Not seeing massive amounts of snow makes me want to get out there and run long - really, really, long.  Yay spring!

Monday, 23 March 2015

My Amazing Flying dog

Holly took this picture while we were at a cottage in Godrich this past summer.  She was calling Oscar, and he was so excited that he's jumping vertically (something that we're all very used to).  I love this picture.  Oscar, my very energetic german sheppard/golden retriever cross is mid-jump.  He's over 10 years old and acting like a puppy.  Oscar is a very enthusiastic running partner (even as a senior citizen).  Let's go for a run tomorrow Oscar!

New total for our Rock your Socks run for World Down Syndrome day

Together we raised a total of $417.65!  Thank you Harriers.  Jenn has expressed her appreciation of our running group, and the love and support she felt on Saturday.  People living with Down Syndrome should feel acceptance and encouragement in their abilities, and I think the Harrier's were great supporters of Oliver and family.  It's going to be fun watching him grow and supporting the family along the way.  The Harrier's are, without a doubt, the best running group around!

Eventually, I hope to be "on the EH team" again

I couldn't resist buying these today.  The one with the slogan on it is totally corny, but I would rock it on one of my pieces of travel gear.  Here's hoping I can use these in the next few years.

Why on earth did this picture load sideways?  Oh computers - I wish I had the patience to figure you out.

Sunday, 22 March 2015

To be coached or not to be coached

I'm considering hiring a coach.  When I mentioned this to some of my running friends, they were surprised at the idea of me needing a coach - because I have been competing without one for over 10 years.  I have been running well, I usually place in my age category - or overall, in lots of races.  I have even made the national ultra running team and competed for team Canada without the guidance of a coach.  Hiring a coach wouldn't only be because I would like to improve my speed,  I would like some insight and guidance on the direction of my training and racing.  I have been steadily building my mileage since the winter, and I feel strong enough to start adding some variety to my training.  I would like to run some ultras again, and who knows, maybe try for a spot on the national team again.  This is where a coach would be ideal.

I have a very full schedule right now.  I work and I have 3 young children.  That alone means I am cramming runs into weird parts of the day (really-silly-why-are-you-up-so-early runs before the kids get up, or the-kids-are-finally-asleep-i-can-get-my-workout-in runs).  I need to run everyday though, so I will do this anyway.  I would benefit from some direction regarding these running sessions.

I worry about injury too.  What if the program created for me causes me to get injured?  I don't handle not running well.  What if I can't cram the workouts into my schedule?  Will my coach be flexible enough to change workouts or the schedule if the demands of family present themselves.  What if my coach and I just don't "click"?  Would my coach be available when I need him/her?

So that leaves me wondering -should I take the risk and hire a coach?

 This is me - racing the 5000m as a junior for team Ontario sometime in the late 90's.  I was being coached by an excellent coach Terry Goodenough as part of the Laurel Creek Track Club.  Terry helped me achieve many PB's and several OTFA medals in junior girls 2000m steeplechase.  His unique workouts and quiet way of encouraging me helped me to perform my best.  I hope my next coach is a lot like Terry.

Rock your Socks photo bomb!

Rock your Socks Run 2015

We rocked our socks yesterday for World Down Syndrome day.  The Cambridge Harriers turned their usual Saturday morning long run into a celebration wearing wild socks as they put in their miles.  After we gathered for coffee and cake at the nearby Grand Cafe.

I organized the run to support my new nephew Oliver, who was born on Christmas day last year.  He has down syndrome, and I wanted to show my love and support for the cause by doing a special run for him.  The Harrier's donated a total of $322.65 to the Canadian Society for Down Syndrome.  Thank you Harriers!