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Beat Beethoven 8K race report

Sunday, June 05, 2011

I've been wanting to do this race almost since I started running. The orchestra plays Beethoven's Symphony #3 (Eroica) and you run the race, with the goal to finish before the symphony is over..in ~50 minutes. Music nerdery + running? YES PLEASE! emoticon

I signed up for the race only last week and went to kit pick up to discover that they only guarantee shirts to people who registered before May 16th. And KIT pick up? I left the store with just the bib in my hand.

Ate breakfast at the hotel, avoiding the quiche, because I know from personal experience that high protein breakfasts generally kill me. And I also pigged out the night before, but I wasn't feeling a food or alcohol hangover. But I got to the race start too early. And I didn't bring gummy bears.

Yeah you guessed it...started the race feeling mildly "empty" again.

It was cloudy when I left the hotel, but the sun came out and got very warm. I ran the 1st kilometer probably a bit too fast. The course was a loop and the first half was mildly uphill, I'd call them "road pimples" as they weren't really hills at all, but I didn't know whether to push it, or save it, maybe there was a bigger hill up ahead?

Those middle few kms I fell a bit off goal pace and I was very glad to see the first water station, I tossed the water in the general direction of my head to cool off and hydrate.

There was an extremely yappy guy, thanking all the volunteers and stuff. This is fine with me. What was NOT fine was my Garmin beeped a split and he said to me, I suppose as a joke, "your cell phone went off. Maybe you shouldn't answer it." I'm DYING at this point and certainly in no mood to have a conversation, so I just yelled, "shut up and run!" and he babbled on "wow, that girl is mad at me now!" and he took off (thankfully) but I saw him running backwards to yell at people behind him, and give full body hugs to friends on the course...well good that he's having fun but I want to PR and I can't talk while doing it!

As the downhills in the 2nd half came I flew down them as fast as I could, but I definitely wasn't 100%, and I didn't expect to be, only 21 days removed from the marathon. I got outkicked in the last km by a lady pushing a stroller.

I did get a shirt, size L. I can wear it as a mini dress.

I finished when the orchestra was playing the 3rd movement.

After I finished dry heaving, the orchestra played the last triumphal 40 billion perfect cadences.

3ish minutes off my old 8K PR. I think if I was well rested, I could have run 40:xx.

Official chip time: 42:42.3
Field Placement: 220 / 512 (43%)
Age group: 30 - 39
Group Placement: 17 / 77 (22.1%)
Gender Placement: 76 / 287 (26.5%)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ZIRCADIA 6/6/2011 11:35AM

    Hey I don't mind as long as they don't involve me in their chatter or get in my way - the cell phone comment would have made me NUTS. But that race sounds sooooooooooooooooooooooo awesomely fun! :D What a great idea. hehe. Congrats on the new PR. :)

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MADHADDER45 6/6/2011 11:05AM

    Those chatty people drive me batty - feeling well or not!

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NYC_NATIVE 6/5/2011 10:15PM

    That chatty Cathy at the race would've bugged me, too, esp. if I were aiming for a PR. Annoying!

I did my first 8K last week, and going into it, had no idea what to do about my pacing strategy. Then it was answered for me when I started running, and my body remained in the same pace zone for the entire time, lol.

Kudos to you for doing a great job on it. And the race sounds very cool - love the music nerdery behind it!

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Injury reserve - an unfamiliar and unhappy place

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Thursday morning I hurt my neck while washing my hair. Yeah, stop laughing. The even stranger thing is about 2 weeks ago, I hurt my neck in the exact same way, I think I tilted my head back to rinse and when I straightened up OWWWWW! Luckily, the first time, I already had an appointment to see the chiro/physio for a pre-marathon tuneup on my legs, and he fixed my neck as well.

This time, I got an appointment on Friday afternoon after some begging and pleading and Friday morning I set off to the gym to do some ST. My neck only hurt when I tilted my left ear to left shoulder and I thought I'd be ok because I don't know of many ST moves that require that head position.

My plan was to do ascending pyramid sets. So incline DB press, 1st set 15 lbs in each hand, no problem, 2nd set, 20 lbs, no problem either. I knew 25 lbs was pretty heavy for me but I can overhead press the 25 lb kettlebell for at least 5 reps so I thought I was OK.

I took one 25 lb DB, thinking if something went wrong, I could catch it with the other hand. I pressed up for the first rep, and at the top my shoulder gave out, causing the DB to crash down so fast I couldn't lower it safely and ended up flinging it awkwardly to the side. I sat on the bench catching my breath for a few minutes and stupidly tried again with the 20 lb. CRASH went my arm.

Then I knew I was not OK and made my way to the front desk to ask for ice. As they were getting ice, I got dizzier and dizzier. I put my head down on the desk, tried to walk over to where there are a couple of chairs and I guess I didn't make it, because the next thing I knew the gym staff was picking me off the floor and carrying me over to the chairs.

Fortunately after pouring some Gatorade down my throat, I felt better and didn't need the bucket the staff had thoughtfully got for me. And even more fortunate that the staff is much better trained in emergency situations than the gym where I used to work!

Because the injury was acute, the physio couldn't make a diagnosis and I have an appointment on Tuesday to see him again. The trainers and physio thought that my neck injury may have weakened my shoulder and me being overly ambitious trying to press 25 lbs didn't help either. On Friday, the physio tried to put the injured arm in a certain position to work on my neck, and a tendon slipped out of its groove, causing me to scream bloody murder. I'm afraid to move my arm in that way now, but I'm pretty sure I still have full range of motion.

I hope hope hope I don't have a muscle tear and a week or 2 of rest and some physio is all I need to get better. I also guess I should be grateful that in 11 years of working out, this has been my first serious injury (knock wood) besides a couple of ankle sprains in step class years ago.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEATONCEADAY 5/31/2011 10:50PM

    i missed this. i hope you are feeling better soon. neck issues are such a pain in the neck!

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LOGDIVA 5/29/2011 7:17PM

    Dear me....that's not good....sure hope you're back to fightin' fiddle very soon.....

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SEPPIESUSAN 5/22/2011 6:01PM

    I'm so sorry :( I hope you're up and running soon...

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MADHADDER45 5/22/2011 3:26PM

    Wow - what an experience! I hope they are able to figure out what happened!

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NYC_NATIVE 5/22/2011 2:00PM

    Hope you make a quick recovery!

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-H0LY-Y0GA- 5/22/2011 10:07AM

    So sorry! Praying for speedy recovery. Take care.

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ZIRCADIA 5/22/2011 9:43AM

    OW! Scary! Take care!!!!

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Mississauga Marathon race report

Sunday, May 15, 2011


The morning of marathon #4 dawned gray and rainy, with the prospect of winds of 35 km/h coming from the northeast. And kilometres 25-42.2 of the course we would be running in, you guessed it, a NE direction.

I couldn't decide between arm warmers or a jacket the night before, but I went outside this morning wearing the arm warmers, I immediately went back in for the jacket.

Pre-race planning was a bit tight. Race started at 7:30 and got to the start around 7:10, with a long walk from the parking lot, finding the bag check and then combined with the last bathroom break, Beth and I got into the corral around 7:27.

One thing that I've been doing lately that's worked REALLY well for me is to take a gel right before the start, but with the rushed start, I completely forgot to take my gel, which was in my checked bag. My breakfast was already more than 2 hours in the past at that point, and I felt "empty." Not a good feeling with 42.2 kms to go, and I needed to save my gummy bears for the actual race.

The first 10K went by fairly well, there were some long downhills . I used the same strategy as at Around the Bay and Sporting Life 2 weeks ago; I let myself fly downhill as fast as my legs wanted to go. But I couldn't shake that empty feeling and I was really worried that there would be a meeting with The Wall later on. Even though I was eating gummy bears right on schedule, every 7 kms. It was hot and I would have taken off my jacket if I hadn't pinned my bib over the zipper.

Around 14K, I saw a lovely familiar symbol on a sign. A Spark logo! it was GOEGIRL and she recognized me and we high fived so hard that my hand hurt for quite awhile (sorry! it was still appreciated though)

Favourite things I saw/heard on the course:

- a guy (running the race) wearing a shirt that said, RUNNING SUCKS.

- a guy wearing a shirt that said, 80 year old running Grandpa.

- there were some people with big speakers on the street playing music. Just as I ran by, the music switched to the 4th movement of Beethoven's 9th symphony (Ode To Joy to those of you who are not music nerds). I thought this was hilarious, as I wrote a paper analyzing this symphony in my university days, and remembered that the poem that the choral parts are based on has its roots as a glorified drinking song.

Made the turn at 25K and into that wind. The rain throughout the race was not bad at all, never more than a light shower, but a headwind in the later stages of a marathon was just murder. I tried to make it to 32K without a walk break, but couldn't do it. I took short walk breaks almost every kilometre but I know from previous experience that walking doesn't make anything feel better, it just makes you finish slower. Also, the wind made it really, really cold and I was finally glad to have chosen the jacket over armwarmers.

The course is a net downhill but I didn't realize there was at least 10K of rolling hills in that final section. EEEK. Recently I read some advice about hills: "attack a hill like you would a sleeping dragon, not by hacking at its tail, but by attacking its head." This advice turned out to be very helpful.

For the first time EVER, I considered dropping out..but that would have been cowardly, since there was nothing specifically wrong, I wasn't injured, just feeling "off". The thought that kept me going was the fact that I was still on pace to be sub 4:30, a time I have been chasing since my first marathon back in 2009.

So, running at 40 secs/km off my goal pace, I made my way to the finish. Greg and Bryden were there, I wasn't sure they would come, given the poor weather. My hands were so cold that volunteers had to open and close the zipper of the changing tents at the finish line. I stayed to cheer Beth in, it was her first marathon and I am so proud of her! More than my own performance! While waiting for her, I saw a guy and girl finish. The guy looked really familiar, I saw him in the chute and sure enough..it was someone in my program at university. I knew the girl as well, both of them lived on my floor in 1st year. It was their first marathon too.

I don't think there were any flaws in my training. I know in my heart that given better conditions, I could have run sub 4:15 and that will come in time.

Official chip time: 4:24:02.5
Field Placement: 749 / 1093 (68.5%)
Age group: 30 34
Group Placement: 43 / 71 (60.6%)
Gender Placement: 256 / 463 (55.3%)

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOOFY4RUNNING 5/16/2011 8:24PM

    Way to go on digging deep and finishing... Even though you were feeling off! Great run! You will catch that 4:15 soon enough. Just keep running. :)

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-H0LY-Y0GA- 5/16/2011 4:26PM


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ANNIE0514 5/16/2011 2:52PM

    Wow, Patti - you're one tough mama!! That sounds like a heck of a hard race. Great job sticking with it. You'll get your sub 4:15 next time!

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SWEATONCEADAY 5/16/2011 1:19PM

    congrats on a hard race. i can't believe you ran a marathon with that empty feeling. it is hard to run with that feeling for 5k let alone a marathon. you are hardcore! wow the weather sounds awful. the weather can only be better for your next! my husband has that "runing sucks" shirt but he doesn't run. he likes to wear it around me.

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ZIRCADIA 5/16/2011 10:32AM

    WOOHOO on getting that sub 4:30! :) I know with better conditions you would have gotten that sub 4:15 - it is going to happen. Great job toughing out the tough conditions. - OH and big congrats to Beth! :D

Comment edited on: 5/16/2011 10:34:15 AM

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NYC_NATIVE 5/15/2011 10:56PM

    You did incredibly awesome on this race, esp. given the wind. Ugh, how I hate the wind! And speaking of the "running sucks" t-shirt guy, I have the same tee. A pic of it is on my SP page, lol. Major kudos to a job well done!

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LAURIE5658 5/15/2011 10:10PM

    Patti, you are seriously AMAZING! Congratulations on finishing Marathon #4!! You are a rockstar in my eyes!

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SMURFETTE18 5/15/2011 9:43PM

    Way to go! I woke up this morning and my first thought was ah man, the poor marathoners today have to run in this crap!! Good to hear you made it through the wind and rain!

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Mississauga Marathon goals

Monday, May 09, 2011

Base: sub 4:30. If I can run 30K at a 5:45/km pace on a challenging course, there is no reason I can't run 6:18/km on a net downhill course.

Stretch: sub 4:15. Every single race prediction website puts me in this range or better. If I put in my 10K time from 2 weeks ago, it projects to a 4:02 marathon. I believe that I have finally run enough miles during training to reach my marathon potential.

Reach: sub 4:10. Stranger things have happened...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SEPPIESUSAN 5/9/2011 5:48PM

    Good luck!!

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ZIRCADIA 5/9/2011 4:31PM

    Good luck! :) I thoroughly expect to read a race report of sub 4:15. But hey, who knows - the race day gods are fickle. No jinxing from me!

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Sporting Life 10K goals

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

base: PR
stretch: match my unofficial PR of 53:20, set during last fall's HM.
reach: sub 53 minutes.

I don't run a lot of 10Ks because I really hate them. They hurt just as much as a 5K for twice the distance. My official PR (56:19) is from my VERY FIRST 10K back in May 2008. It is unbelievable that after 3 marathons, 7 halfs, 3 30Ks and a sub 25 minute 5K I still haven't managed to do better.

I like to go for PRs at this particular race because it is downhill and easy. I didn't do the race in 2009, as I was training for my first marathon (and in hindsight didn't know how to rearrange my schedule to fit the race in), last year I was going for a PR, but my internal organs were still in disarray, being 7 weeks postpartum at the time.

PR or bust!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SWEATONCEADAY 4/27/2011 2:39PM

    you can do it. i know you will!

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ZIRCADIA 4/27/2011 1:33PM

    Good luck! :) Not that you need it, you know you are PRIMED for a PR! :)

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