Sunday, November 16, 2014

#flatrunner (and Last Chance Half Race Review)

If you run (or even if you don't), and have an Instagram account, go check out the #flatrunner.  I stumbled across it one day and it gave me a chuckle.  It also serves as great inspiration for running costume possibilities!

Last Sunday I ran my last race of the year.  Saturday it was mid teens here, but with a warning Arctic air was coming and it would be our last day of Fall (er more like Summer really).  It was really hard going to bed Saturday night knowing we would wake up to Winter the next morning.  Even harder knowing I had a half marathon to run it in!

The race started at 10am, which

at first I thought would be great giving a chance to sleep in (har har with three kids), and have a bit of a relaxing morning without the usual crazy morning race prep.  I found 10:00 to be too late.  I was really ready to go by 9am.  I also  knew that the temp (with windchill) of -15C was going to continue to drop throughout the day.  Let's get this done!

All runners hunkered inside until we started shuffling out to the cold at 9:55.  As many races are going, this was a no headphone event.  Some still wear them, but as mentioned in my previous post, I'm trying to learn to do without.  Both my Nano and Ipod batteries were low, so it was an easy decision to leave them in the car.  I also left my phone behind (so no photos to share which is unfortunate as there were some great opportunities), but it was equally nice to disconnect.

I had moments where my elbows were freezing (around 7K), and then my hands (around 12K), and alot of time to think, partly about my running gear.  I have some FAVORITE pieces.  I've been running off and on now since 2002, and most of my pieces date back to those early days.  They have held up well, and some pieces I'm starting to replace, but trudging along on Sunday, I was sporting my favorites, and thought I'd share them.

Here's my flat runner, reconstructed after the race, with the help of my kids (leg position thanks to my son!).

My favorite pieces are:

Sugoi Speedster - really can't say enough about this top, and it's unfortunate to see it's impossible to purchase now.  It has mitts that fold down from the cuffs, and a hood you can flip up.  I can't count how many times during the race this past weekend that I flipped the hood up or down when I needed just that little bit more warmth.  And those mitts that flip out, BEST thing when my hands were frozen and needed one more layer.

Sugoi Midzero Bun Toaster - I'm pretty sure these are what mine are anyways.  They have wind protection which is awesome to keep my thighs and butt warm.  These are a must for me in the winter.

Compression socks - the ones pictured are from Lunatik athletiks.  I'm new to wearing compression socks on my longer runs, but these were great as an extra layer of warmth on the weekend.

Sugoi Wind Jacket - I'm not sure what this jacket is even called, that's how old it is, but it's phenomenal.  Has underarm zips, a big zip pocket on the back, and it keeps the wind out.  A good wind protection is essential.  I briefly checked out getting a new one, but can't part with this one yet.

Flip mitts - I love that they can be gloves, or mitts.  Easy to flip the cover back to grab a gel or snack, then flip the top back over for wind protection.

Other random bits shown here are a long bra tank, a toque from Lululemon, my Rudy Project sunglasses,  and Buff.

I decided while running I needed to treat myself after the run to some new gear, and quickly decided it would be a new Speedster.  Since that isn't available now I'm on the search for a great thermal layer.  Do you have a MUST in your wardrobe you would recommend?

Overall, this race was fantastic and I will most likely run it again.  Amazing cheering volunteers (some even with cowbells!), that made the colder weather feel warmer with their enthusiasm.  Aid stations were well stocked (and I took amusement in the fact that the gatorade was a slushie by kilometer 15).  The medals were nothing to rave about, but warm french toast, scrambled eggs, and fruit salad, were delicious to warm up with.

The race ran short with a final distance of 20.7K.  If the distance had been accurate this would have been a personal best for me of 2:03:14.  Unfortunately, the perfectionist in me just can't rationalize with that, given calculators tell me my finish of the actual distance would be closer to 2:05.  Still, I'm really happy with the finish given the weather conditions.  In 2014 I ran 5 half marathons, and each time have slowly chipped back my time.  My first half of the season was 2:15:14, and I have managed to chip off 12 minutes off of  that!

I'm glad I raced it, glad I'm finished it, and happy to have a bit of a break until marathon training starts up again in January.  Until then, going to keep warm and enjoy the upcoming Holiday season.

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