Sunday, November 15, 2015

That's a hard question

Hey all! As promised, here is my introductory blog. I am Andrew Tobin. Ok blog over!

Just kidding!

I am often asked how long I've been running. Some people can answer this very easily, "two years" "oh only a month or so" but I find that question is very complicated. Lets begin.

As a child. I was never really good at sports (I'm still not truthfully), I couldn't catch, I couldn't throw, I wasn't very fast. In grade 4 I kind of had enough of being the worse in my class at sports. I wanted to prove to myself and my classmates that I wasn't the slowest around. So I joined cross country running. I went to several meets and competed in the 1500 metres race. Now it seems like ah that's nothing but I remember being at the Torbay rec centre and fighting through that kilometer and a half like it was hell. Anyways each time I got through it and each time I was not last. Usually second last or third last but never last, and that was the pint. I reached my goal and I was pleased.

After that I moved on, I did it I reached it and I never did it again. I was still trying to find a sport I was actually good at. I tried Swimming and that was no good either. In Grade 9 I tried rowing lessons, they had 4 weeks lessons at long pond at the time. I enjoyed it so much I did a second 4 week lessons. In Grade 10 I joined the high school team. We did a lot of running in rowing. At every practice we would do a warm up run, since I got my Garmin I've been meaning to see how far the warm up marker was. I never did but I imagine it was probably around a km. Also if it was too windy to row (which was more often than not) our coaches would send us on a run either around the pond on the trail (3.8km) or on the road way (6.2). Then I joined fixed seat rowing (what you see in the regatta) and eventually the provincial team. Through all of them we did a significant amount of running as cross training. For years people would ask if I was was runner and I would say "No I'm just a rower that runs", all it was to me was cross training.

Then in the fall of 2012 Kyla (my wife, girlfriend at the time) was trying to find her fit. The Town of Paradise has a learn to run program, separate from PRC that two members of ANE put off. I convinced Kyla to try it if I joined with her. So we joined up. Things never went according to plan however. They had two groups, a beginner and an experienced. They quickly caught  on that I ran before and threw me in the experienced group. Long story short I really enjoyed myself and she hated running. That summer was a tiresome summer when it came to rowing. I would leave the house at 4:45 in the morning row at 5:25am, cox (coach) at 7:10 go to work for 8:30 leave at 4:30 go back to the pond to cox at 5:05 and 5:40 then row at 8:00pm, go for a run, get home around 9:30pm, eat supper, go to bed and do it all again. So once that summer was over I decided it was time for a break, I was going to take a year off rowing and do something I said I would never do, run the Tely.

In order to keep me on track I joined the Paradise Running Club. It was a bit of a rough start trying to find a group my pace. My first night was hills night, it went pretty good, everyone was amazed I came hill night and returned though, I kept up pretty good with some of the runner....until after the hills, then I died. My second night Keith invited me to run with him, Andrew G, Craig P, and Ron. The first km was awesome, then I learned quickly that I was not any of their paces. My third run I started off alone and just clinged on to a group as long as I good. Eventually behind me came Pam, Susanne, and and Sharon. I was about to get lost and then told me where to go. I struggled  but in the second half of the run I managed to keep with them...well slightly behind them. Shortly after I met Joyce and Tanya. After a few run in the girls said "We have a boy in our group! We use to have a boy but he got faster and left us, you're not allowed to leave us". I'll never forget that. They basically wanted me to scare away dogs (which I have done) but their words meant a lot to me and it was then I knew I found my running buddies.

In October I did my first race, after being talked into registering by Tina L and Denise. It was the Turkey Tea 10k. At this point I was still new and still didn't know many of the members. The Thursday before the race was the first time I met Tanya who was also running the race, we ran 6k together. I thought to myself well I know I can run with her for 6k, so I'll try to keep up with her for the first 6 and then muster my way for the final four. Any time I got tired I thought to myself no they told me I could not leave them and I would dig deep to find the energy to stay with Tanya. I managed to stick with her for the full 10k, it was an unbelievable feeling to finish my first race. After that I did several other races, and though my plan of staying away from the pond did not go according to plan, I still managed to fun my first Tely. Planning to break 1 hour and 52 minutes I did it in 1 hour and 47 minutes. I have just entered my third year with the club, having completed most of the NLAA races and rocking two Telys now. I am continuing to improve and meet new running buddies. They keep pushing me and keep me accountable, I know I wouldn't of made it this far with out them. However now when someone asks me how long I've been running I just answer, "well I've been with the club for two years". It's easier that way.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

The Half - Half Marathon

Hey all! So for November I will be your blogger. Generally people start off with an entry to explain who they are, however I'm going to be a bit backwards. Unfortunately I never got a chance to write an entry before I went to Florida and I really want to write about my Half Marathon in Disney World while it is fresh in my mind, so my introductory post will be my second post. Most of you who know me know I am a bit backwards anyways, so it kind of works. So for now you get I am Andrew T, the 5th of 5 Andrew's to join, I am your membership coordinator, and I have a reputation of bleeding somewhere on my body during a race.

So have many of you know, I just got married and headed to Disney World for my Honeymoon. Months before we left I discovered that Disney Hosts the Wine and Dine Half Marathon around the same time we were planning on going. After debating over it for a long while, I asked mt Bride to Be what she thought. She said it may be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I should take it now while I had the chance- I knew then I was marrying the right girl! We had a group going down with us, I quickly convinced Andrea, one of our bridesmaids and an avid runner who lives in Northern Ontario to run it with me and last March we signed up.

This race  was going to be different than anything I did before for various reasons:
  • It was in Florida 
  • It was in Novemeber when generally our racing season is over
  •  It started at 10:00 at night.
  • It went through three parks: Animal Kingdom, Hollywood Studios ( Formally MGM Studios) and Epcot.
To prepare for this  race I planned to do two things
  1. Get some night runs in at home
  2. Get some runs in at Florida as we were there a week before the race.
I did neither. I had my Garmin on while we were in the parks, and it would count my steps and give me an approximate distance I walked from my steps. This turned to be about 17-22km a day. So I was getting close to a half marathon of walking a day, plus we were leaving at 7am and getting back around 10pm, I was doing a lot of walking and my body was already tired, I didn't want to over do it for the race by then going to run about 5km or more.

Friday Evening myself and Andrea and my wife headed to the Expo at the ESPN to pick up our bibs. This was also like nothing I have ever seen. You first entered this huge gymnasium to pick up your bib number. In this gym there are also some merchandise for the race such as magnets, glasses, shirts etc. After there you go to another huge gym where you get your long sleeve shirt (Because it's "winter"). In this gym there was an expo with lots of big vendors such as New Balance  and Fit2Run.

Saturday we went to a waterpark, I felt like it might of been the best way to stay hydrated. I ran this idea off of hydration expert Mark Didham before hand, he said it would probably be good just to watch out for the sun, as it more likely to sun burnt in the water. So I sunscreened up a few times, and spent a bit of time in the pool and the lazy river. I then returned to the hotel and had a nap. Then I got up and went to get something to eat. I found this the hardest part of a night race, on what to eat and when, I pretty much have a routine for a race at 7 or 8am but this 10pm business hadme thrown off. Anyways I tried to follow the race guide's tips and hoped for the best.

The race started at 10 but we had to be on the bus by 8 and to our corrals by 9:15. We got on the bus around 7:30. One the way there Andrea pointed out some lightning. We then started talking to the people behind us who said that there was a big storm around, it was moving quickly but it was dropping a lot of rain in a short period of time. After doing Cape to Cabot in a Hurricane I wasn't really worried about the rain but I was worried about the lighting canceling the event. It was in the race guide that they would stop the event once the lightning got within 10 miles. But  we hoped for the best and soon got to the starting area. When we were out in the morning it wasn't too bad heat wise, but when I left to hotel at 6pm you could feel it was a lot more humid. they have a flag system for heat stroke risk. Green, Yellow, Red, and then Black. We were at red. It was about 30 degrees and 95% humidity. 

When we got there they has a huge field where all the runners were, there was a big stage with a giant screen where they were keeping people entertained through announcements music, making people dance,  interviewing participants, etc. Someone even proposed to their girlfriend on the screen, it was pretty cool. There was some characters, so we went in line to get our picture with chef Pluto and then we got in line for the portapotties.  These were lined up ina row in a parking lot roughly the size of the parking lot for the Paradise arena.  It was about 9:00 when there was about 3 or 4 people in front of us for the bathroom.  We figured we'd use the bathroom and then we'd go line up in our corral. With that we had officials come and say they were "evacuating the area" and we all had to move immediately. We decided we were too far in the line not to use the bathroom so we ignored their 15 announcements in a minutes and  proceeded to leave after we finished our "business".  They brought us to the baseball field, where the braves play, where we just waited for an update for what seemed like an eternity. We had two announcements stating that they'll let us know when they know something. At 10:00 I  started thinking that the name of this blog would be "The Race that never was" Around 10:10 we saw crowd of people moving. We decided to follow the crowd. Eventually I saw a volunteer and asked what was happening. He said that the race was going ahead. They were suppose to get to the start line before us but everyone started following them so that didn't happen. Shortly after we heard an announcement "The weather authority of Florida has given us the go ahead to start the race" We then heard a WOOOOOO from the other runners. We got to the corrals aroun 10:15 so we were about an hour behind.

The corrals when from A to L. We were in Corral D. I was pretty impressed with myself that I was in the 5th fastest Corral our of 15,000 people.  As we got into the corral they mentioned that they were altering the course. At this point we had no idea how. Shortly later they said they were talking 6 miles off the 13.1 mile course.  Then you heard BOOOOOOO from all the runners. Obviously we were all pretty disappointed, Andrea was especially as it would be her first half marathon and now she didn't get to take that off her bucket list. As corral D started we got excited and decided we weren't going to let the lack of 10 kms ruin our night , we were going to go a bit faster than planned, and still have fun.  We kept walking forward and forward..............DAMMIT......We got in Corral E instead of D. That ticked me off but nothing we could do then. Shortly after We started to go, We both started off awesome, but we had a lot of dodging and weaving through people due to A. There being about 1000 people in a corral, and B. We were in a slower corral then we should of been. Km 1 was a bit slower because of this but we were doing great. The road ways were filled with music and lights. They had djs on the side of the road and as one got out of ear range there was another one. There was also characters on the side of the road that you could stop and get a picture with. We never saw anyone that was worth the line up at the beginning. There was a water station at about every 1.5 miles (2.5km). We'd stop and get some water and powerade and go on. By the time I got to km 5 I was really feeling the heat. I slowed my pace about 40second/km. I told Andrea to go on but she refused and stayed with me. As much as  I was said I was slowing her down, I was relieved she was sticking with me, she really kept me going. At this point I would take a powerade and 2 waters at the water tables, I'd drink the powerade and 1 1/2  waters. The other 1/2 would go over my head.

Shortly later we ended up in Hollywood Studios.  We then discovered they had cut out Animal Kindgom, as much as we expected this would be the case I was a little sad s I was looking forward to running around  the tree of life (it's a giant tree in the park with all kinds of animals carved into it). Hollywood Studios was a lot bigger than I remembered it being. I knew at some point we were going to be at the Osmond Family Spectacle of Lights but it seemed to go forever.  We then ended up underneath a bridge. It had flashing lights and "Let It Go" Playing it was pretty cool and it helped get my second wind. It was then I discovered that even though it was the dead of night the shade was helpful in keeping me cool. I don't know why, it might of been a mental thing but from that point on I looked for Shadier places and it seemed to help. We passed the Incredibles but didn't realize they were there until we passed the line, we decided to go on as it would be too hard to back track in the masses of people. Then we got to the  Osmond Family Spectacle of Lights. This was a street filled with Christmas lights that went off  to Christmas music. It was really cool and got me going a bit more. Here are some picture from our non race visit of it.

  We kept going and at 7.5km we stopped and got a picture with Genie. It was in this line I looked at my heart rate and noticed that it was coming down to 154, which is my average racing heart rate. I think the stop for the picture was the best thing I could do a the point. We then proceed it to Epcot - the last park. At the point there was a lot of people there cheering us on and at the 12 mile marker (which wasn't 12 mile) I managed to be able to pick it up again. We got close to the finish line and there was loads of spectators watching including my wife and our friends. It was awesome to see them all there. We got to the end  I did my traditional sprint  and finished it off. I did the 11.1k in about 1:15. It wasn't my best race but I got it done and it was one I will certainly remember.  From there they gave us a box of snacks, a banana, and most importantly our complementary bottle of beer/glass of wine. We then met up with our friends at the after party to eat a bunch and drink some more. It was certainly a memorable race!  Oh before I go, check out the bling!

 Hope you enjoyed the blog! Until next time!