Tag Archives: Running

Qualifying for the Boston Marathon

18 Jan

When I started this blog many years ago I was hoping it would help motivate me to train hard and finally qualify to run the Boston Marathon.   I tried personal training, running more miles, doing more speed work, losing 10lbs…. but my marathon times stayed in the 3:40-3:50 zone.  After running a few trail races I decided to quit marathon training and start ULTRAmarathon training.  My first ultra was the Grizzly 50km ultra in Canmore, AB in October 2014.  It was tough, but I didn’t cry or puke, so I signed up for the Iron Legs 50 miler the following summer in Kananaskis, AB.  Iron Legs (2015) race day was rainy and a pretty good running temperature for me, and although I was disappointed there were no mountain views I was happy to not be running in 30 degree temps.  Running the 54 mile race took me less time than expected, and I was happy to finish the race in under 14 hours (and before dark).    After having completed a few ultras (that summer I also ran Rundles Revenge 50k and the Mount Robson 50k), I figured it was time to try running the Vancouver Marathon again in 2016, which I would use as early training for my main 2016 goal- the Black Spur 108k.

I felt confident that I could qualify for Boston at Vancouver because my training had gone well, and running at sea level after training in Kimberley always feels easier.  Buuuut on race day it was HOT, and I clearly hadn’t trained enough on pavement because half way into the marathon my legs felt very heavy and I couldn’t keep the pace I needed to BQ.  I still ended up with a personal best, but was 1 minute short of the time needed to qualify.  This meant I wouldn’t be running Boston in 2017.

After researching all the fall marathons (fall=cold temps), I signed up for the Hamilton Marathon which took place in November on the weekend before my birthday.  Supposedly it is the best race to BQ in Canada, and it meant we would be able to spend some time in Toronto afterwards to celebrate my 33rd birthday.  I don’t think I trained any differently for this race, but maybe running 108km a couple months before did help.  After the Black Spur I took a few days off before jumping back into marathon training.  I didn’t do any speed work leading up to Black Spur, so I incorporated a few yasso 800s and continued to do runs of between 30-40km on weekends.  And most importantly, I ran mostly on pavement.
Brett and I flew into Toronto a few days before the race and were able to check out the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.  I was thankful to visit at this time of year because it meant fewer tourists.


My mom flew in the night before the race, so her and Brett made a plan to meet me around the half way mark.  I drank many litres of Nuun the day/night before the race, and had a dinner of butternut squash ravioli.  My friend from Edmonton was also running the Marathon, and her husband was running the half.  Her sister gave us a ride to the start, where we spent the 30 minutes before the race waiting in a port-a-potty line until just before it was time to start. My initial plan was to stick with the 3:30 pace group for the first 10-20km, because this was the time I needed to make sure I could actually register for Boston.  In previous years you need to have finished a marathon about 2-3 minutes faster than your qualifying time to actually get in.   I also planned to take a gel every hour, and drink water from the aid stations if I felt thirsty (which ended up being just 2 or 3 times).  By the end of the first km, I decided to run based on how I was feeling.  I didn’t want to regret running slower than I felt I could.  The race is very flat and starts on back country roads.  The first half went by very fast, and I was on pace to finish in under 3:30.  I saw my mom and Brett, threw them my arm sleeves, and was happy to start the second half of the race.  There is a long slightly downhill section in the second half, and then a very short trail section, before an out and back along the waterfront trail by the lake.  I enjoyed the short section where you could see other racers heading back to the finish.  For the last 5 or 6km I ran with a girl from Halifax, who had also graduated at St.FX.  It was her first Marathon AND she was going to qualify for Boston!
I finished the race in 3:25:22-FINALLY qualifying for Boston. I stuck around and waited for my friend to finish and then it was time for recovery beers.


Terrible photo near the finish- I think I was yelling something at my mom as she took this.


Weekend Recap

21 Mar

So I had hoped I could figure out how to use the WordPress app for my iPad, but as you can probably tell from looking at this blog- I am sometimes a little electronically challenged.  AND I forgot my camera so I didn’t get to take many pictures to document my trip.

It went something like this:

Saturday– Watched nan open birthday gifts and had brunch.  Ran 6km around Glymill Inn pond.  In shorts!  Got ready for St. Paddy’s Day (Night).  Sherman Downey and his band were playing a Pogues tribute at this bar called Whelan’s Gate.  I’m assuming not many people have heard of him, but he’s awesome!  This summer me, little sis, her boyfriend and Mr. Ex were in his music video for the song BLUE at Gros Morne National Park (I’m somewhere in the lineup of people clapping and holding balloons as he rides by on his bike).

the band!

Our drink choice of the night was a modified “Frenchy’s special”…. basically we had 2 shots of vodka, 2 shots of sour puss, plus some 7-up.  Probably not the best thing to drink all night, but common.. it was St. Paddy’s Day and I was on vacation.

cousin Kathy, Me, and little sis

Needless to say after 8 hours at a bar (gotta love Newfoundland and the bars that stay open past 2 am) we weren’t feeling to great the next morning.. but a night out with my favorite people (my aunts and a few friends from high school also joined us) was just what I needed to stop feeling like a sad little loser.

Sunday- The next morning we met some of the family for breakfast at a place called Aroma’s (“some” of the family consisted of 33 people besides myself).  I tried to make the healthy choice by ordering toast and oatmeal.  The oatmeal was $4 and so I was expecting something a little more than this:
At least it was the reduced sugar kind, right?

I just can’t handle nights out like I used to.  I felt like crap all day, and was forced to walk around walmart for an hour so mom could pick up some things she needed (the town I’m from has 4000 people- fortunately not big enough for a walmart). After a nap and a 7 km run on the hotel treadmill we headed to  my cousins house for a BBQ (and red wine). Finally we had a good meal:  greek salad, grilled peppers and broccoli, and fresh trout.  I don’t normally eat fish unless I’m in Newfoundland, or occasionally dragged to a restaurant like The Keg.
My plan for the next week is to watch the documentary Forks Over Knives so I can get back on track and remember why I was trying to be a vegan a few years ago.

Monday– Skiing at Marble Mountain!  The slopes were kinda icy and we didn’t have much time, but it was nice to do some downhill skiing.

Me and little sis:

Fun day with the sis and momma.  Back to Edmonton Tuesday morning.

Anyone else have sore ankles/whatever muscle goes from your ankle up the outside of your leg from downhill skiing?   Is St. Paddy’s day your favorite day of the year?  It’s always been one of mine!