Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A deep deep pool ... a deep deep fear ...

Sometimes I forget that I was ever afraid of water until I get *tested* ...

Recently, while out of town for work, I visited the local university pool for some training. Typical of university pools, the length was divided into two making it a pretty standard 25m. Difference though was the depth of the bottom and the "height" of the sides. This pool was all "deep end" and the edge was a good two feet above the surface of the water. This meant:

1) I had to jump into the pool to get in, something I've always hated doing and which still unnerves me. I remember having to jump in for the start of my Ironman Louisville swim and while waiting in line for the "time trial start", I dreaded this moment.

2) I'm not big on flip turns and will force myself to do some from time to time, but the thought of doing flip turns for my entire workout didn't make me comfortable. Pushing off the wall or the pool bottom was also very difficult. Stretching my shoulder up and my hand out to catch the high edge of the pool only strained and hurt my shoulder. So I dreaded finishing each lap as I floundered, trying to figure some way to push off or turn around without feeling like I was going to drown. And treading water while I took a break only made me more conscious of the fact that the pool was very very deep and that the sides were very very high and not easily reachable.

Not a very fun swim session and I was glad to finally get out of the pool and into the showers.

Let's just say that my life-long fear of water still resides/lurks within me ... sigh.


Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Ottawa Fall Colours 5k, Oct. 11: My only race this year!

The past year certainly has been fraught with injury.

Hip pain = no running = no marathons = no triathlons

Sigh ... I'd even taken a good three months completely off running which helped a bit, then started running again lightly in late July hoping to be able to enjoy some part of the racing season before it was over.

Thought I'd race a Half Ironman in Ottawa in August, then thought I'd settle for the Sprint Tri because of my lack of training and the fact that my bum hip was still fragile. Nope, didn't end up racing at all ... As the Gods would have it, I had a film shoot the day before race day AND my friend's baby came early, meaning that staying at his house would have been pandemonium!

Then I thought about running the Ottawa Fall Colours 5k and encouraged my friend RB to do his very first race ever at the same time. I hate 5k's but for a friend, I was willing to tough it out.

We drove up bright and early to Ottawa from Montreal. My kids weren't too happy when I woke them at 5am, well, when I *tried* to wake them up that is. (I wasn't happy getting up at 4:50am either.) I told them they could sleep in the car. And sleep they did. We let them continue sleeping in the car in the parking lot as we went to pick up our race kits and I registered my youngest son for his race.

It was a beautiful day, a little cloudy but sunny nonetheless. But boy was it frigid! BRRRR! The morning temperature was down close to freezing and the sharp wind pierced our many layers of clothing. We were happy to get back into the car and await the start of the race.

This cosy little race was well-organised and very friendly. The 10k racers completed a loop around the field before heading out of the park and then it was our turn to line up. Where was the start line? RB and I just went with it and stood anywhere. I bid farewell to my son GMH whose race start would come up after we finished running our loop in the park.

The thing I hate about 5k races is the fast start, and then unfortunately, it usually only gets faster.

RB was pumped with adrenalin, this being his first race and all, and sped ahead of me, though I think he thought he was running beside me. I, on the other hand, had absolutely no surge of adrenalin coursing through my body but only wished I did, since I think it would have helped me to overcome the sudden tightness in my lungs due to the cold air rushing in quickly. Damn asthma!

I've never been good at fast starts and tend to get faster only after a few kilometers of warming up, then I'm usually good to go for another 15 or more km! Ha ha!

Nope, 5k races are not my favourite ... Don't let the smile on my face fool you. I'm only posting the good pic, the pic where I'm aware of the photographer, not the candid pics caught of me grimacing from not being able to breathe.

I told RB to go ahead, since clearly his legs and lungs were ready to take him much faster than I. Great, more pressure on me to keep up. Course was quite pretty as it wound through the quiet neighbourhood and semi-countryside. Two good little hills which I creeped up slowly ... Are we almost done? Geez, I don't remember marathon runs being this arduous. Then back into the park we went for the last loop, and lo and behold, finally, the Finish Line! Yay!

My results:

Gun time 29:42
Pace 5:57
Category place 5/23
Gender place 44/188
Overall place 127/315

RB's results:

Gun time 29:42
Pace 5:57
Category place 9/13
Gender place 83/127
Overall place 126/315

Hmmm ... There must have been some walkers since we weren't running that quickly.

My younger son decided to run the 3k, though when he was 7, he ran the 5k with me in 37:16 totally untrained. I was able to convince him to run this time since there was a medal at the end :-D Like mother, like son! GMH didn't want to wear run-specific clothes though so he ran it with his clunky sneakers, big jacket and jeans. Oh, and of course, my race gloves since he got cold waiting for the race to start. What can a Mom do?

GMH's results:

Gun time 17:03
Gender placement 28/37
Overall placement 28/63

Of course, we had to celebrate with food afterwards ... yummy Italian in the Byward Market. Ottawa is truly a beautiful little city!

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