Running Year In Review – 2016

Well 2016, a lot of people are happy that you are gone. I am relatively pleased with how my running year unfolded.

Numbers

I’m not always a big fan of numbers as I prefer quality over quantity so the fact that I logged ~900 km of running this year makes me happy. Truth be told it’s probably closer to 1000 due to unlogged or dropped runs but again I’m not too concerned….the bottom line for me is that I still ran a lot and was INJURY FREE! That last point is always my biggest accomplishment every year, if I can run consistently without injury, I know that I am doing right by my body.

I ran a total of 9 races last year; my 4th marathon, 3 half marathons, a 16km, 13km, two 5km races and a 4km race. 

Lorneville

In April I ran the 4th annual Lorneville Loop, a tough, hilly, 13km course which gets your blood and legs pumping for the new racing year. 

I wasn’t pumping much however as I had a horrible race, which more or less mirrored my winter of running…I just wasn’t feeling energetic and felt off all winter long. As a result I was about 15 minutes off of my time from the year before. Add in the fact that there was a howling gale and the race didn’t do much for my confidence.

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YFC Runway Run

In May we ran the 2nd YFC Airport run to benefit Mental Health in New Brunswick and Canada. The course is run on the runways of the local airport which is flat and fast. Unlike last year when it was cold, this year was warm with no wind. I had a much better race this time around and as always got to run with a lot of my friends for a great cause.

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Shipyard Half

In May I ran a new race for me, the Shipyard Half Marathon in Maine. My partner and I were looking for new races and had initially looked at the Bay of Fundy race in June but the course details had not yet been published when we were planning our calendar, so we registered for this race instead. Funnily enough shortly thereafter the course was published for the Fundy race so we registered for that one too! 

This race was held in Kennebunk/Kennebunkport Maine, south of Portland. As Nicola and I both enjoy craft beer we decided to run this race and then sample a few beers from the area as Portland is a hot spot for craft beer.

The race was warm for May in Maine, with little wind, even though we ran by the coast. The views were spectacular and support of the course was also very good. Nicola had a bout of vertigo sadly which knocked some wind out of our sails but overall we would rate this run as excellent and recommend it to anyone looking for a new, close-by destination race.

 

Bay of Fundy

Towards the end of June we ran the half marathon on Campbello Island in New Brunswick. This race begins in Canada and ends in Maine, which makes it somewhat unique. The island and the town really get behind this race which shows in the volunteers with their enthusiasm and knowledge. I wouldn’t say the on-course support as far as cheering was concerned was excellent but overall I thought it was a well-run race. 

And brother, let me tell you, it is hilly!!

This race has been, so far, the hilliest race that I have run over the last 5-6 years. It was, once again, pretty warm for June and there wasn’t much wind. However, the views were amazing and when you finally finished you knew that you had accomplished something. This was one of those courses where you thought to yourself,

“this must be the last hill!!”

When, of course, it wasn’t.

The finish line area and the food were both excellent, the medals were hand made and are different every year, normally in the shape of a sea animal; this past year it was a Starfish. It was a lot of fun running through both border stations without having to show your passport too!

A funny side story to this race..we almost missed it.

Due to the proximity to the USA, our phones had slipped, quietly, onto Eastern time. So when our alarms went off we thought that we had more time that we actually had! Luckily Nicola ran into some friends in the campground who alerted us to our error and we managed to make the start…sadly without much breakfast.

Travel and running should be an adventure, right?

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Canada Day 10 Miler

About a week later we travelled to Grand Bay to run the Canada Day 10 miler on Canada Day. Maybe it was the fact that we had run a tough race the week before or that the race was pretty bare bones but neither of us really enjoyed the race. There weren’t any people cheering on the streets and other support, i.e.. water stations didn’t seem to be adequate. I can safely say that we won’t run this race again the future.

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Beer Run 4km

Over the long weekend in August Nicola and I ran the 4km distance at the Fredericton beer run. Though it’s not a serious run for us, we tried to treat it as a speed workout. Nicola, in fine fashion, somehow managed to step on a rock and twist her knee a little. If she hadn’t, she might have finished ahead of me, she can really scoot!

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Marathon By The Sea Half

This may have been my best race of the year. Nicola and I were treating it as a training run for our fall marathon and were running a prescribed pace which I had no trouble maintaining. This course is also fairly hilly but I never really struggled. It was a cooler, drizzly day which I’m sure really helped moderate the summer heat. This race had paired earlier in the year with the Bay of Fundy race to offer a challenge medal, which ended up being very nice.

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Terry Fox Run

In September we met our friend Ahmet and ran the Terry Fox run to benefit his cause. Nicola and I had already run 15km on this day, then turned around and ran 5km with our friend on what was definitely an emotional day.

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Run For The Cure

This was my first year running the Run for The Cure to support Breast Cancer. It was an easy run/walk around Halifax. I had a lot of fun on this day and could really feel the emotion of the women present.

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Prince Edward Island Marathon

My last race of the year was my 4th marathon, the PEI marathon. A short few hours drive away on the island of PEI, Nicola and I tackled our latest marathon. The weather was almost ideal and we were in good spirits because we had trained well, hard and smart. We stayed at the Great George hotel which is always a lovely place, however their pillows caused us no end of grief and played a bit of havoc with our sleep. Note: bring your own pillows to away races.

The course was a point to point race which required a 45 minute bus ride to the start line which turned out to be enchanting due to the moon setting on one side of us and the sun rising on the other. We started in Prince Edward Island national park then ran back towards the capital city, Charlottetown.

Things started out well, we felt good and were running with one of our good friends, Rod, who was taking part in the marathon relay. We then ran with Joanna, Rod’s better half for a few more km allowing for the first part of the race seemed to float by! 

At this time the wind picked up a bit and a few of the rolling hills made their appearance, honestly they were a bit inhibiting but compared to the hill work we put in during the summer, they weren’t an issue.

At about the half way mark we turned onto a crushed gravel trail and started a lengthly, 12-14km slow descent towards the city area. My left leg started to give me problems near 21km and only grew increasingly tight on the trail but I managed to maintain our pace.

At about 32km Nicola had a bout of vertigo, she dropped to her knees for a short period then popped back up and we continued. Despite this we were still on pace for a personal best for Nicola.

We finally exited the trail and started on the road towards the downtown core. In front of us were 3-4 large hills then a downhill finish. We ran the first without any problem but walked portions of the others and for portions of the road between the hills. During this time Nicola and I didn’t communicate well, each was walking to give each other a bit of a rest when neither of us was really wanting or needing one!!

At the finish we discovered that we had come in slightly over a PB for Nicola and she was devastated! After a while, and a few pints Nicola was feeling better and we both agreed that we had trained and had run a solid marathon AND that we needed to communicate better, no guessing and no assumptions about each others physical/mental state was to be tolerated from now on.

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Due to my work schedule I didn’t get to run any other races after the marathon but I am satisfied as to how it all progressed, especially considering how I felt in April.

What’s up for 2017? All will be revealed in a future post but let’s just say that marathon #5 and Canada’s 150th birthday will be involved.

Thanks for Reading

One Foot in Front of the Other

Chris

 

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