Why You Should Volunteer At Your Local Running Event(s)

Volunteering – Is It For You?

Is volunteering for you?  Personally, I think volunteering can be for everyone!

Having worked behind the scenes at a number of different events in our city, I know the work involved in making an event successful.  For months and months, sometimes close to a year, there are people working to make the event a success for everyone involved.

Races are no different.  Whether it is a smaller local race or the city’s main race of the year, there is much work to do.  As a runner, I so appreciate the races available to me in my city.  As a way to give back I try to volunteer for a number of them. IMG_0168My kids have even come out to help when they can.  Races depend on their volunteers to help in a variety of roles, from race kit pick ups, water stations, safety/first-aid, bag check, the list goes on.

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Are You Training Your Mind?

There are a number of different “kinds” of runners.  The “I do it because I have to” runner who hops on a treadmill or gets out for a quick 2-3mile run to get their cardio in.  The “recreational” runner who enjoys getting out for a decent run to start or finish their day.  The “fair-weather” runner, who is content on running when the weather is good, but has no problem choosing another activity when the weather turns fowl.   The “goal-oriented” runner who likes to set some goals, train hard, accomplish the goal and then set a new one.  I’m sure there are a lot of other runners that could be mentioned, like “sprinter”, “distance runner”, etc.  What kind of runner are you?

I’m a “goal-oriented” runner, I use distances to accomplish my goals.  When I first started out running, I just ran.  I would sign up for a 5K or 10K race, train for it and really enjoy the experience of that race.  I didn’t really focus on time the first few races as I had little experience or knowledge of running.  I was new and happy with the outcomes of my races.  I still am, but often for different reasons.

As the distances grew further and the training required more of my time and money, I realized that running had become so much more than just lacing up.   I went from following a simple training plan to hiring a running coach.  My focus on nutrition is more about fuelling my body and less about cutting calories or eliminating fats.  Learning about food and the science of what and when to eat has become necessary for me.

Now when I register for a race I sign up with three time goals in mind.  My “I will cry crossing the finish line” time, my “within reach, if everything goes well” time and my “if I can finish strong and upright” time.  If you’ve been running for a while, you understand that every race is different, and there are factors that you cannot control.  Some races are beyond perfect and others can be a challenge from the start line.  By having three time goals in mind, it helps me to gage where I am on the course and if necessary I push a little harder when my 2nd or 1st goal is possible.

Learning to train the mind is equally as important as training the body.  Our minds are extremely powerful and can impact our performances greatly.  Training runs can be very effective in training our minds.  Self-talk can be positive or negative, so learning to speak positively to ourselves needs to be a priority for us.  Pushing past “hard” on a run shows us that we can get past it.

If we stress about the weather on race day, we are allowing negative thoughts to impact us.  Perhaps adjusting your time goals is necessary if you are dealing with extreme heat or winds.  Or maybe you are recovering from an illness and have to run just to complete the race and forget about any specific time.  It’s difficult to not get disappointed when months of training was required to get to the start line, but we cannot change what happens prior to getting to the start line. All we can do is work hard on our mindset to run our best race that day.

When I forgot my marathon bag for my first marathon I could have handled it in a number of ways.  I chose in the end to run my best race for that day, under the circumstances.  You can read more about that experience here:  Forgotten Marathon Bag

As I continue to set goals and run a variety of out of town races, there are so many factors that come in to play when preparing for those races.  Injuries, for one.  Even when doing the best we can, with proper technique, footwear, increasing mileage appropriately, and so on, stuff happens.  It’s a journey and our bodies continue to adapt under stress.  Putting aside time every week to stretch, do yoga and cross-train is now necessary.  Nutrition is another.  Understanding what foods I need to be adding to or eliminating from my diet is now very important to me as I see how it can hinder or enhance my performance and overall health.

For myself, running is a long term commitment and continuing to adapt and learn is part of the process.  Learning how to stay healthy and what I can do to improve are now included in my goals.

Have you seen yourself evolve as a runner?  What type of runner are you?



#Runfie – What’s the Point?

Online Friends or Foes?

I belong to a number of closed groups on facebook and to often I see posts from people saying, “I know you guys will understand, I can’t post this on my personal wall because my friends and family don’t get it” or “my friends and family are sick of hearing about my running, blogging, (insert whatever)”.  More hurtful, “my friends and family have posted for me to shut up, or messaged me telling me they do not appreciate or care about the things I post”.

I understand that what others post (myself included) can be annoying to some, I really do.  I also get that sometimes we simply do not relate or have any interest in what some people post about.   If you do not like what is coming up in your newsfeed all the time then you can choose to unfollow someones posts, this allows you to still connect or message one another (especially helpful if it’s family 😉 ).

Everyone uses social media for different reasons.  For some it is to stay connected with friends, for others it may be to connect with a special interest group, hobbies, favourite past times.  Still for others it can be used mainly for business.  Whatever the reasons shouldn’t we respect one another more and judge others less?  Why is it some people expect others to use it the way they do?  Why is their way correct?  Is there a correct way?

Why Post?

So why do I post?  Why do I take selfies or “runfies” as we call them. 🙂

If you know me it should not come as a surprise that I love to encourage people.  I think it comes out of my own life of being misunderstood and not really having people believe in me or support me much.   Our past shapes us and for whatever reason I believe in people.  I have a soft spot for people who seem to be misunderstood or not heard at all.  I am naturally open and vulnerable–“what you see is what you get”.  I don’t pretend to be someone I am not.  I have long since stopped trying to be liked by everyone, because the reality is not everyone is going to like me.

What really bothers me is when someone judges me and they know nothing about me.  OR worse, they actually should know me, yet they assume the worse.  This can be difficult for me as I naturally assume the best in people most of the time.  So it’s hard for me to accept that sometimes, someone is just plain mean, critical and judgmental.

Okay, so back to why I post about running/fitness.  It is a way for me to be accountable to myself!  I have many goals and if I share my journey it helps me get out the door.  It is a way for me to connect with some amazing friends I’ve met online who are also chasing dreams.  We encourage one another with cyber high-fives and way-to-go chatter.  I hope to inspire others to find something they are passionate about and do it.  I often help people privately who reach out and want support, encouragement and accountability.

I have also been blessed with being involved as an ambassador for a number of my favourite fitness products.  Part of being an ambassador is posting, tagging and doing shout outs to introduce others to the products that I love and believe in.  I am honoured to be teamed up with these companies and I love sharing about them.   I am also involved in a number of online fitness/sports related ambassador programs that require you be active on social media.  That means sharing your journey, with the idea of encouraging others to be active.

I feel bad for the people who feel they cannot post on their own facebook walls!  Seriously, it’s their wall.  We all have “negative Nellie’s” on our feed, again you do not need to follow their posts.  Why should someone be made to feel bad for getting in shape, or setting goals and achieving them.  Why should they feel guilty if they are changing their lives for the better??  Why should they have to seek a private group on facebook, with strangers, to be encouraged because their facebook “friends” criticize them.

At times, we may post an opinion about politics, movies, events in the city, etc.  This can open a door for others to jump in and offer their own opinions.  I think we can expect this, however, I also believe we should be grown ups about it.  Be respectful.

I also use social media at times to highlight how proud I am of each of my children.  I love to support them and over tell everyone the great things they do.  I am their biggest cheerleader and will forever be proud of them.  Social media allows me to share with others some of the neat things my kids do.  My intention isn’t to make someone else feel bad, I just want to give a shout out to my kid.  I’m also very respectful to my kids, I almost always ask their permission (to be that mom).

I understand that maybe you just do not want your feed filled up with things you just do not care about, that’s cool.  It’s YOUR feed!  As previously mentioned, you can control whose posts you see?  You can actually unfollow someones posts, but remain their friend (mine included).

Truthfully, I’m just being me, doing what I love, trying to enjoy life and hopefully connect with others along the way.



Can I perhaps challenge you? Maybe instead of being annoyed or frustrated, maybe you could message someone and encourage them on their journey. Tell them you are inspired by them or you are proud of them for their hard work.  Maybe their posts have nothing to do with fitness, but instead just maybe they’ve been going through a hard time and have been sharing their story of getting through it.  You’ll be amazed at what a kind word can do for someone.

Around The Bay Recap

Training in Review

March 23 – 29th

Monday: Yoga/Extended Stretch
Tuesday: 5K easy
Wednesday: 5K easy – TRX Basic Training
Thursday: 5K easy
Friday: – TRX Basic Training
Saturday: Nice long walk
Sunday: 30K Race

It was a different week in training as my coach gave me a taper week.  I wasn’t sure how I’d respond to it, as sometimes pulling back can be hard, but I welcomed the rest.  My eldest son was preparing to leave to Iceland, so there were enough things to occupy me.  Before I knew it we were dropping him off at the airport Friday evening. I still  had not packed myself to head out early the next morning on my own trip to Hamilton, ON for Around The Bay.

Road Trip

around the bay group

Bus Buddies

I was up at 5am Saturday to get ready and on my way to meet the bus and the rest of my traveling companions.  Run Ottawa hosted a bus trip to get Ottawa runners to Around The Bay.  It was a fantastic price and, in my opinion, a fabulous way to travel.  The cost included the bus trip and hotel.  We left Ottawa at 7:30am and were brought directly to the Expo to pick up our race kits.  We were given time at the expo to look around, go for a walk or do a shake out run.  At a predetermined time we were back on the bus and taken into Burlington to the hotel that was secured for us.  Once there, we were on our own for dinner but the hotel had prepared pasta for their menu and there were a number of restaurants across the street.

My little group chose to go to Boston Pizza. We didn’t kill nearly enough time during dinner, so we walked around and hit some of the few places still open.

Finally, it seemed to be a respectable time to head to our rooms and get ready for the morning race.

Rise and Shine

After a relatively decent sleep we were up by around 6:30am.  It was weird for me as the race wasn’t starting until 9:30am.  There was no real rushing around and we were to meet in the hotel lobby to board the bus for 8am, giving us lots of time once we arrived back in Hamilton for the race. IMG_5535

The Race

We all started out together but as most runners know, once we start, we are really running our own races.  So high-fives and a quick, “see you at the finish” and then we are off.

I really did not know what to expect, however I heard it was hilly and of course this year the “heart-break” hill was not a factor due to a rerouting of the course due to construction.  I can’t compare it to other years, this being my first time running Around The Bay.  As a member of Team Awesome for the Ottawa Race Weekend I was easy to spot on the course with my #TORW2015 shirt/headband.  Running past “Ottawa” I had to stop for a quick photo.


Ottawa Road Sign

I settled in to a decent pace quite early and maintained that pace through the rolling hills that came our way.  At around 18K or so I realized I was close to getting a PB for my half distance (21K) and picked it up a little.  Of course, this is when the rolling hills became more frequent, longer and I think steeper.  I somehow pushed through this to the 22K mark.  At this point I gave myself permission to ease up a bit.    Around the 22.5K  point I suddenly felt pain on the top of my left foot.  It was like my third and fourth toes were broken.  Every step caused me pain, so much so that I questioned if I should stop.  Then I had a chat with myself and concluded that if they were broken (or stress fracture), completing my run was not going to change the recovery I would need, so I tried to shut the pain out and kept running.

IMG_5541I enjoyed different parts of this run.  Particularly running the overpasses and on-ramps.  The famous hill at the end may have been omitted due to construction but the Grim Reapers were still around nearing 27K.   People were spread out along the route to cheer us on.  Of special note along the route, there was a sweet little darling standing on the road while runners ran past, holding out a kleenex box for the runners. 🙂  I am not sure if anyone needed a kleenex but it was hard not to run up to her and get one.  I love when I see little ones enjoying being out and excited to high-five runners.  I hope it’s a moment for them to be inspired to maybe one day participate in their own run/event.

Coming into the arena at the end was very cool and a new experience for me.  It was a little steep running down the ramp but coming into the arena as your name is being called out puts an extra ooomph into your step to push and cross that finish line. IMG_5544

I am very happy with my finish and proud of myself for pushing through discomfort.  As I have said in previous posts, this past winter’s training was about building confidence and this race sure did that for me.  My coach actually told me in our pre-race pep talk that this was what his hope was for this race.

Bridget and I after the race (my roomie)

Bridget and I after the race

I walked away with this: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”.  No doubt as I continue training this will be my mantra for a while. 🙂

Have you had to overcome anything during a race?  Pain? Negative Thoughts?

I Can and I Will

Training Week In Review

Monday – OFF
Tuesday – 5K (accelerations)
Wednesday – 15K easy
Thursday – 10K tempo
Friday – OFF
Saturday – 20K LSD
Sunday – 15K LSD

I think this has been my best training week so far in 2015.  Every run was good and I’m feeling healthy and strong.  Perhaps finally having some decent weather to run in has also put an extra spring in my step.  Saturday and Sunday brought snow and cold weather again, but knowing it won’t last makes it a little more tolerable.

Fundraising for the Children’s Aid Foundation is going very well.  There is a little extra bonus if you purchase a moisture wicking headband from me between March 13 and March 31, your name will automatically be entered to win this awesome mask.  mask

The mask was generously donated to me by Wasteland Artisan who created a special mask for me for an upcoming race and wanted to help me with my fundraising efforts.

Here are a few of my current favourite headbands:


Some days just get it done!


Just keep going


Yup, do not let others bring you down


Makes me think of my coach


Thankful for all the crazies in my life!

To find out more about my fundraising efforts and to see more headband suggestions please visit: Fundraising.

Spring Freshness

Spring has finally arrived, although it’s hard to believe as the colder temperatures have returned. Knowing it cannot last helps me hang on to the spring fever I felt last week.  I’m actually feeling very good and quite happy to have survived the winter training.

Last year due to my injury my training stopped around the middle of February.   I did not get to experience the benefits of making it through winter and how it would affect my spring training efforts.  I cannot explain the sense of accomplishment that I feel.  I persevered through a minor injury that greatly impacted my confidence.   I wrestled with the fear of being injured and not knowing how to discern the severity of my aches and pains.  My injuries to date have seemingly showed up out of the blue, so how do you avoid it if you cannot see it coming?  This honestly created a very fearful mindset.

My coach had to push me past the point of where my discomfort started, both physically and mentally.  I didn’t like how I was feeling.  Looking back it felt like a slow process but it was certainly building a solid base.

I feel strong as I head into my race season.  I know I’m going to have to tap into the lessons that I learned through the winter as my mileage continues to go up.  I’m aiming to cross a number of goal races/events off my list this year and I believe my mental health is going to help me achieve these goals.

Winter training helped me learn more about myself.  It was a time to face some fears that I hadn’t realized had snuck into my life.  I realized just how tough I am mentally.  On some runs I had to deal with physical aches, mental fears and crazy winter conditions, but I laced up and did it anyways.

I’m so very thankful for what running does for me.  Each training run offers a chance to push harder, have fun, get lost in thought, run with friends or just keep putting one foot in front of the other until it’s over.  Even then, the feeling you get for getting it done is worth it.

This week is a taper week for me as I prepare for Around The Bay.  Having a coach means he makes the plan and I just follow. 🙂  I’m sure I will go a little crazy but I’ll use the time to think about what I want the upcoming season to look like.  Either that or I’ll get some serious spring cleaning done around the house!  Ha!

How about you?  Do you find that running has helped you overcome anything?  What do you love about running the most?


Running Towards Something

Training Week in Review

March 9 – March 15

Monday – OFF
Tuesday – 5K easy
Took a good 3K to warm up.  Crazy tight calves.
Wednesday – 5K easy
Calves still very tight.
Thursday – 6.5K treadmill
500m 6x with 2min. recovery between sets
Friday – OFF
Saturday – 15K
Nice and steady. Felt good.
Sunday – 30K
Ran with running group, it was a good run.   Finished the last 3K on my own.

Do you have dreams?

Maybe they are not so much dreams but perhaps personal goals to one day achieve.  How do you check something off your list?  Does it just work out for you or do you need to plan it?

For myself I think it is both, often.  I like to plan for things but often things seem to fall into place.  That doesn’t mean I don’t have to work for something, but while working towards one goal, sometimes another goal just falls into place.  Or I’ve decided to jump in and go for it even when it wasn’t part of the bigger plan when I started out.

2015 seems to be like that for me.  I had some goals I was working towards, then other, bigger, goals seemed to present themselves in such a way that I didn’t want to say no to them.  Sometimes I think we are just mad. 🙂 photo (31)

So for me that means a busy race calendar.  We are all different and our personalities play a role in how we tackle our goals.  I like to plan, even when a race wasn’t part of the original plan.  I think it is important to be as prepared as possible to avoid injuries.  For myself, it might mean using a race as a training run for the bigger goal races.  Listening to my body more to understand when to pull back or perhaps to shut the mind off as I’m over thinking things.  I’m also being more proactive with acupuncture and massage.
photo (32)

Fine tuning my nutrition is becoming more important to me to ensure that my body is getting the right fuel to handle the amount of training that is required this year.  Limiting some of my favourite things, or perhaps giving them up all together.  I’m also looking at ways to improve my training.  I’m researching more about heart rate training and running in my specific training zones.  I’m not there yet, but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

My first race of the year is coming up at the end of March and it will be the first time I go with a group of strangers on a bus trip.  I’m excited about this, as this is my first time doing this race and the whole experience will be new for me.  I’m excited about how running has challenged me not only physically, but emotionally and socially.  I keep being encouraged to get out of my comfort zone and do new things.

Spring is around the corner and with its arrival is a real sense of new adventure awaiting for me.  My bucket list continues to grow with the things I want to do.  Some of my dream goals only require additional training. Some, however, require a budget and the hope of getting into the race itself.

How about you?  What is on your bucket list?  Do you focus and work hard to achieve those things or are they a someday goal that seem to fall into place at the right time?

Never stop dreaming!

Flipping Forward in Training

Training week in review

March 2 – March 8

Monday – OFF
Tuesday – was feeling very tired and stiff, had a busy day and finally decided to take an extra rest day…felt like I needed it.
Wednesday – 8K, added in 4 hill repeats but kept it at an easy pace.  Felt very good.  TRX Basic
Thursday – 7.5K treadmill
Friday – 30min. CORE workout
Saturday – 24K LSD, great run.  Felt great the whole way.  Ran in a different neighbourhood, and it was great to switch up the route.
Sunday – 15K LSD, feeling good, but tired.

Hello springtime!  What a beautiful welcome to some nicer weather.  Having survived winter running I cannot believe how amazing it feels to be out running with some sun shining.  The only thing I had to worry about this week while running was avoiding puddles!

As my long runs are getting longer I’m having to be a little more creative in carrying fuel, water and anything else extra I might want to have on hand.flipbelt4

I happened to come across the Flipbelt online and they graciously offered me one for an honest review.  I’ve been using it now for over a month and it’s amazing.

flipbelt7Mostly I’ve enjoyed the convenience of having my phone accessible.  February was an extremely cold month.  I use my phone with a running app and for music and there are days that the phone will actually shut off because of the extreme cold.


Having the ability to just pop it into the Flipbelt was easy and allowed me to access it if I wanted to get a quick photo while out or pause my running app.  Wearing the belt around my waist and under layers kept my phone from freezing.

The Flipbelt can be worn down on your hips or around your waist.  I haven’t had any issues of the belt bouncing or moving around.  I’ve been wearing it around my waist under my jacket.  I plan to try it on my hips now that I can run without the extra layers.  With my long runs getting longer I will now be running with my hydration pack and this belt is a perfect add on to carry the extra things I need.

flipbelt5 flipbelt6


I love how the belt is so easy to slip on.  It has slits in the front and the back of the belt that allows you to slip in your phone, gels, fuel or basically anything you need to carry with you on your runs.   There is even a clip that secures your key.  You can either wear the Flipbelt with the slits showing for really easy access OR you can flip it to add extra security to ensure nothing slips out.  Although so far there has been no risk of losing anything.flipbelt9 flipbelt10

The Flipbelt comes in so many fun colour choices.  I chose black for my first one as it will go with everything 🙂  However, I do want to order another one and will definitely go for a fun colour.

Depending on how long you are running, the belt does absorb the sweat and therefore does need to be washed.  For me this is not an issue as I am washing a ton of running gear every week and it dries very quickly (hang dry).

flipbelt11If you are looking for a great running belt to help carry the extra things we often need on a run, I can honestly say this is a great belt that is sure to not disappoint.

Do you have a favourite running gear that you would recommend?



Enough with the laundry already!

Training Week in Review

This week we mixed things up again and it was a great week.

Monday: Yoga/Extended Stretching
Tuesday: Steady 10K – Urban Running (lots of fun, basically looking for all the conditions I usually avoid 😉 )
Wednesday:  5K EASY – wasn’t so easy LOL the run before with all that fun made for some tired legs.
Thursday:  7K Alternate fast/easy – practiced running at my max for a km then eased it up and repeated 3x.
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  17.5K – the weather improved to a feels like -20ºC, light snow throughout the run.  Overall great run.
Sunday:  15K – temps even better at -10 or so.  75% of this run was messy….very greasy running conditions.  Add to it tired legs from the long run on Saturday and this was a challenging run.  Stayed consistent and felt good about it.

With all this outdoor running you can imagine the amount of laundry that builds up!  Some days I find getting out the door to be a bit of a chore.  Running indoors is so much easier.  Grab some shorts, a sports bra/tank, socks, shoes and you are good to go.  Running outside requires layers, fuel, hydration, music/phone, etc.  If I miss a midweek laundry day it’s crazy how much laundry accumulates with all my running attire.  I probably have more running clothes than regular clothes now.  (hint 😉 if you ever need to buy me something)

treadmill vs. outside

treadmill vs. outside

The above winter running photo is just one run worth of clothes, now multiply that by 5 and add a jacket or two in the mix.  My husband is amazing and is so helpful around the house.  He often will do laundry, but even he hates how much running clothes need to be washed every week.  We often negotiate who transfers the wash when it’s my running stuff as it all needs to be hung to dry 🙂

I was given the opportunity to try a Toilettree Bamboo Product for review and I immediately requested their bamboo laundry hamper.

contents of box - easy to assemble

contents of box – easy to assemble


I love the double compartment for sorting

I love the double compartment for sorting









When I opened the box I was relieved to see how easy it was to assemble.  The fresh smell of bamboo was amazing.  I don’t know if I’ve smelled bamboo before.  The outside structure of the hamper is very solid and there is a hinge top to keep things tidy.  The separate insert is very easy to remove if you want to wash it.  I personally love the two compartments that allow me to sort the laundry before laundry day.  It makes grabbing a quick load easy.  I would 100% recommend this product for the simplicity of assembling it, the practicality of the double compartments and of course the beauty of the product itself.  I will likely purchase a second one for the laundry room.

We recently renovated the master walk-in closet and this hamper fit in beautifully.  It holds so much laundry and really helps to keep our closet tidy.  This hamper is so clean and fresh looking.  I’ve been using it for about 8 weeks now and I know it’s just a hamper but honestly it’s so nice!

Fit perfectly in my closet - love it!

Fit perfectly in my closet – love it!

ToiletTree Products has graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win one of these hampers (Available to US and Canadian Residents Only)

Comment on this post why you would like this beautiful new hamper for yourself.

Please go and like the following facebook pages and twitter accounts:

Leanne’s Facebook

Leanne’s Twitter

Toilettree Facebook

Toilettree Twitter

The winner will be announced next Monday, March 2nd.  Good Luck!

What’s that? Things didn’t go as planned?

A day in the life of training for a race.

Last week I made a mental note to get my hill/speed work completed BEFORE my massage/acupuncture appointment.  After my appointment last week I was feeling pretty beat up and could not imagine running.  So, I made a deal with myself 🙂  Do half.  The road conditions were not great so I opted for the treadmill.  I started out with the first km and a bit feeling pretty stiff, but then things started to loosen up.  By three km’s I figured I could get it done, so I did.

I decided during that run that Thursdays I would need to get my run in early.

I woke up this Thursday, relaxed and no big plans on for the day (obviously forgetting about my “note to self” from last week).  I planned on getting some computer work done for our business, get my TRX training in, then lunch, then do my run on the warmer part of the day.  It was only when I was in shorts and about to start on the TRX that it hit me, I had an appt. at noon and I needed to run first!!  GAWD!!  Did I still have time?

Those who run outside in the cold winter months understand it’s not like throwing on running shoes and getting out the door.  You need to layer up. Like, a lot.  Everything just seems to require more time to run outside.IMG_4938

I’m usually a bit of a planner.  I like to know in advance what my training week (well, month) looks like.  I work my life around my runs to ensure I make them happen.  So for the month of January my Thursdays had been pretty relaxed and I could basically run anytime I wanted to.

Once I was all dressed and had my Garmin strapped on, the battery light showed up!  *sigh* Never a good sign.  I have a routine, and I am pretty good at charging it so this doesn’t happen (often).  But I didn’t, I guess.  I need the Garmin to help me know my pace during my speed drill portion.  I’m recording it to see improvement and to know how to push myself.  Well, today would have to be on “feel”,  I need to get my run in.

My usual routine is to run 2K for a warm up, then a 1km hilly route to run at my fastest pace, then recover, stretch and run the 1km route again at full speed, then repeat.  Then easy 2K’s home.  Yesterday, however, I didn’t have a lot of time.  I ran at a good pace to get to the hilly part.  Then I didn’t do very much recovery time between hill sets.  Then ran quickly home.

When I realized I had to get out for my run and the available excuses came my way (including compromising to find 2 layers of pants), I didn’t have time to entertain them.  I just had to run!

How about you?  Do you have those training days, where it is easier to give up or say the signs are saying stay home today??  How do you handle them?


Done and Done – No. 2 Completed

The Toronto Marathon did not disappoint!!  What an incredible experience.  Compared to last year’s adventure (read about it here), this race was everything I had hoped for. My goals for 2014 did not include having 2 stress fractures (same time, same foot), wearing a boot for 8 weeks, no running for 12 weeks and therefore not sure if running a second marathon was going to be possible.

If I was to run another one, I hoped to run again in Toronto to see if, with training and the right gear, I could do better.  When I was invited to join the STWM Digital Champions I jumped in and fully committed to doing my best.  This incredible opportunity gave me the extra motivation I needed to train hard and believe for a good race.  My boot came off mid-May (official training started mid June). I did not have a solid base because of the injury and tried to ease back into running.  My injury caused me to miss  Around The Bay, Ottawa Race Weekend and Calgary Marathon.  The boot came off in time to run Calgary, but with no training for the full, I ran the 5K just to experience it.  I even dressed up in an 80’s running costume, something I never do as it’s way out of my comfort zone. But I thought, so what?! Participate, have fun and let loose. 🙂  What a beautiful way to see the city! I’m hoping to still experience the Calgary Marathon in 2015 – but we’ll see.

So after an adventure filled summer of training runs and races, the day finally arrived for the marathon but so did feelings of doubt and anxiety.  I fell on a trail run just 2 weeks before the marathon which caused a slight injury in my groin.  I couldn’t run for a solid week because of the pain it caused.  I got out for a shake out run a few days before and felt okay but not solid.

Toronto Start 2014My goals the morning of the race were to enjoy it, take more in, and be more aware of the people and my surroundings.  My time goal obviously was to beat last year’s time.  I didn’t know if I could get under 4hr. 45min., as I didn’t feel I was trained up enough.  My, “I’m going to cry, can’t believe I did it goal,” was under 4:30 but I honestly had no expectations of that going in.  The mental battle of self-doubt was strong and I wasn’t even sure I could complete the second half.  I even gave myself permission that if I was in pain at 19K, near the split, I’d make the decision to end the race early and come in for the half-marathon instead.

I had hoped to meet up with the other DCs before the race, but got lost and ended up missing them.  I coincidently bumped in to a few of them near the start corals, said a quick hello, grabbed a quick photo and then we were off to line up.


Christine, myself and Susan

Once in the corals with over 25,000+ other people Susan from my running club – who I had no plans to meet up with – happened to find me!  This, I believe, was no coincidence!  We ended up running the first half together, pacing really well!  I ran my first ever continuous 1/2 marathon and pb’d it.  I had loosely planned on walking at water stations but because I really wasn’t sure how much pain I’d be in due to the injury I was open to do 10/1s or whatever I had to do to get it done.  I hadn’t expected to feel so good. My biggest concerns during the first half was if I was overdoing it, was my pace too fast, should I pull back?  What if I tank for the 2nd half?  BUT Susan and I talked most of the time and I didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard. Even when I suggested we pull back a bit, within moments we were back running the same pace, feeling good.

For the 2nd half I decided maybe I should switch to 10/1s to be safe–still concerned that maybe I’d tank after the 32K mark, knowing what was ahead still.  I had seen Laura (also from my running club) earlier and she was focused, had a plan and was doing her 10/1s.  I saw her ahead of me and kept her in my sight.  When she walked, I walked, when she ran, I ran. I did this for awhile (I hadn’t set up my app for 10/1’s so this was just logical to me).

At around the 30K mark I was feeling a lot of pain in my right foot.  My foot pronates inward and I had been transitioning into newer shoes trying to solve my issues. Add the groin injury on the same side and I think I was overcompensating a bit.  I had to push through quite a bit of pain the last 3-4K.  BUT I still felt overall pretty good.  I was smiling at the camera whenever I saw it, I was enjoying the cheering stations and the people along the route and I even took time to pull alongside fellow DC – JP, aka Batman, to introduce myself in person as we had only been connecting online up to this point. JP is doing amazing things to raise awareness and support for Sick Kids Toronto (you can see more here: Batman Runs For Sick Kids Toronto).

There was a moment when a 4:30 was in my reach, but at around 39K I realized I was going to miss that so I allowed myself to ease up a bit as my foot was killing me.  BUT, not too much as I could still come under 4:35.  As we rounded the corner entering the final 500m run to the finish line I was hurting a lot!  I was considering walking it in when I saw two guys ahead of me, and something in me decided I was not coming in behind them.  So I pushed a little bit harder picking up speed for the final 300m passing them both and coming in strong!

When I kicked it up and passed them, the announcer called my name and Christine (pictured above) who had ran the half marathon started yelling my name from up above me somehow….and then it was over.  It was amazing and I knew immediately I would do this race again!

TO Finish 2014

Official Time 4:33:52