Monday, November 29, 2010

Race Route Decided!

I got a great piece of news in my inbox the other day; the race route for the Hypo Half Marathon in Feb is going to be an out and back course from Shearwater! Yay, that's only 3kms from my house! The race director mentioned a portion of it was a bit "hilly" and, having run that trail a few times I can attest that "pancake flat" would be a more accurate description. Not sure if this guy was making a joke, trying to egg people on to get out a train on the trail beforehand, or what, I spoke with a coworker who's taking part in the Running Room clinic for the half marathon. She wasn't sure what he meant either, so I said I would run most of the route this weekend. 
I got out late in the day Saturday, but thankfully the sun had warmed the temperature up a bit so I didn't have to wear gloves or a toque. I took off at a steady pace until I hit the trail at the 2.75km mark. Then I worked on being faster or meeting my pace goal of 7:10 for the next 5kms. I got to the end of the trail, where the main road meets the division between this trail and another separate trail system, and decided that any hills were going to be met in the subdivisions off that main road. That means only 4km can have any kind of hill, and knowing the area, that's nothing to get too concerned about. The snow started falling as I made my way back making a pretty scene over the lakes, but I was determined to get a negative split on this run so I pushed myself past my 2.5k walk break and went straight out until I was 1km from the trail end. I did an extra loop around a small road to make sure I would hit my 16kms and finished at 1:57. Not bad, considering it took that long to do 14kms last weekend. Now if I can only keep working on my speed, I should be able to pull off that 2:10 or better I'm hoping for. Good thing I love trails :-)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Paying Tribute

Being a former teacher I know the ups and downs of the profession. One of the biggest downsides is losing one of your students. I have lost three students during my time as a teacher. Two were to battles with cancer. The last death though was a horrible accident. A student I had taught during my first years as a teacher slipped off the rocks during a storm at Peggy's Cove and drowned. Thankfully (for his parents) his body was finally recovered after 11 days. He was a happy, kind and spontaneous person. His personality could fill a room. And now his short life, one that was just starting to take off, is ended. I've cried, reflected and emailed condolences to his family and friends. But I need another way to honor his life. So I am going to run 27kms in honor of Stephen. He was 27 this year and running one kilometer for each year of his life seems like the most appropriate way I know to pay tribute to him. I hope somewhere, he knows how much everyone around him loved him and enjoyed having him as part of their lives. Rest in peace Steve.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Let the Training Begin!

Today I start training for the annual Hypothermic Half Marathon in February. I've decided to go with Runner's World's Smart Coach program. Besides begin free and easy to use and customize, I think the mileage build up is perfect for where I am at right now with my minimalist/barefoot running.
Last week I ran a total of 40kms, with 20kms of that being done totally barefoot. So finally, I've reached that 50/50 barefoot/minimalist shoe ratio I've been aiming for. I hope to keep that ratio until the spring when the streets and weather in general are a bit warmer and I can handle going outside barefoot.
But, for now, and really until May, I'll be going between my VFFs and barefoot runs (on the treadmill and indoor track). Today's schedule has me running just 6kms at a 7:06 per/km pace. I've got a whole hour to do it, so that shouldn't be an issue. I've programmed my Garmin to do 7 min./per km for 6 rotations, with 1 minute rest intervals.
The big question though is where the race will be held. I know, I know, "You signed up for a race that doesn't have a route?" Well, the race has been traditionally held between a local park and the waterfront area of Halifax, but in the past year a new market has taken up residence right smack in the middle of the route so the race directors have had to change the route and they haven't quite figured out where exactly yet. The two options they appear to be considering are the BLT trail and the Cow Bay/Shubie Trail area. I would love it if the race was held in the Cow Bay area, since that's just down the road from where I live and I'm much more familiar with the terrain. Hopefully they will decide soon so if I need to make a few training trips out to the BLT trail I'll have time to do so.
Either way though, me and my purple VFFs will be making an appearance and I'll be going for a PB of 2:10. Let the training begin!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Spreading the Word :-)

I had a neat conversation with a woman this past weekend about barefoot/minimalist running. She noticed me wearing my VFFs and asked if they were comfortable. I told her they were like wearing a second skin for me, and I've run as far as 20km in them. Her jaw just about hit the floor. "20kms?" She said, "you don't need arch support?" I said, "No, you don't need arch support, unless there's something structurally wrong with your feet to begin with." "Well, you must have been born with perfect feet then." she retorted. Nooo was my reply and I listed off the running injuries I've had and how they no longer bother me wearing VFFs or going barefoot. She asked what I wore previously to going VFFs and I told her I used to love my Saucony's, but now I can't imagine putting my feet back in running shoes. She thanked me for letting her quiz me like that. I told her to give them a try at least, you never know, you might like it.

Going minimalist/barefoot is still SO new in Nova Scotia, even seasoned runners are reluctant to give up their tried and true running shoes. Maybe, though, just maybe, she'll try them (or something similar) and she'll start telling people about them never know!