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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Defensive Running

Training Week in Review

Monday: Yoga/Extended Stretching
Tuesday: Steady 10K
Wednesday:  Steady 10K
Thursday:  Steady 10K
Friday:  PiYo
Saturday:  15K
Sunday:  10K

Nothing new to report in my training, still some pretty cold temperatures!

Winter running adds different challenges and dangers to your run.

I enjoyed running the three different 10K routes in training this week.  It allowed me to hit 3 different areas in my community, rather than sticking a little closer to home.  When I run outside, I am very much aware of my surroundings.  I have habits that I do automatically because I’ve been doing them for so long now.  However, I cannot predict how someone else is going to behave on any given run so it’s important that I stay intentional about my safety and be proactive about being seen!

Perfectly groomed conditions

Perfectly groomed conditions

Perfectly groom conditions are rare,  usually you can find them in and around schools.  School paths need to be cleared to allow walking students to get to class!  Unfortunately, these groomed paths do not occur often and are usually only 0.5-0.75 km’s.  So unless you want to run back and forth (and I do not) then you will be dealing with cars on your run.  (however, could be a great spot for speed work 😉 )

Defensive Running

We have two motorcycles, three licensed riders and passengers within my family.   I got my bike license before my car license.  The way they teach you to drive a motorcycle is all about defensive driving.  It was the best course I could have taken to learn to ride and ultimately to drive as I’ve adopted most of my learning into my everyday driving.  I am a defensive driver.  I am also very much aware of the dangers that are out there for riders.    A lot of accidents occur because drivers are not paying attention at all.  I cannot tell you how many times someone texting, eating, or who knows what has come close to hitting someone on a bike (I know there are some riders who simply ride dangerously, but that is not what this is about).

The same is true of running.  We need to be defensive runners, like our lives depend on it, because they do.

Make eye contact

On Tuesday’s run I was running down a main street (on the sidewalk), I had the walk sign to continue but slowed to ensure that the driver turning off the busy street to the side street saw me. I cautiously began to cross, ensuring we had eye contact, however he was not focused on me at all and instead was focused on the fact that there were no oncoming cars coming so proceeded very fast to make his turn.  The shock on his face when he saw me was very evident.  He almost hit me.  Thankfully, I was watching him and was able to stop running and allow him to pass.  It had nothing to do with the fact I was running, I could have been a parent with a stroller and he still would not have seen me.  He simply wasn’t paying attention, so we need to.

The direction of your run

Now what about facing traffic while you run?  The reality is that the sidewalks are often not cleared in the winter especially if you are an early morning runner.  This means that you will likely be sharing the road on a good portion of your run.  For myself, I choose to face traffic.  I wear bright colour clothing (I rarely run when it’s dark but I still like to be noticed), I run with one earbud in and the music is not loud.  If there is a bus or truck approaching I often jump onto the side walk while they pass or will slip into a driveway, just to be safe.

Running with blindspots

blindspotcross over

If you live in an area where snow is part of your winter running then you are likely dealing with high snow banks at times.  This makes visibility difficult for you and for the driver who is taking a tight turn onto the same street you are running on.  As much as facing traffic is good, if I am approaching the end of a street I will often cross over to the right hand side of the road.

sideroad crossoverAnother area of concern when out running is running on side streets, where there are often no sidewalks.  I want that extra distance between cars turning onto the same street I’m on.

Intersections with Yield signs

photo 2 (9)

Just because you have the right away does not mean a vehicle is going to notice you and stop.  So many drivers today are in a rush or driving distracted.  I will slow way down checking to see if there are any cars coming.  If there are cars, I stop and make eye contact with someone before crossing an  intersection.  I ALWAYS wave and say thank you.  OR if traffic is clear for them to go I often motion for them to go first.  Hoping to share a message that as runners we do not think we own the road, but instead recognize we are sharing it.

Be careful with slipping

I run with my regular shoes.  Most days this is not a concern for me.  I’ve tried Gortex runners and Yaktrax, both work great in different conditions.  I still prefer to run just with my shoes.  So I take corners carefully to ensure that I do not slip.  I also do a lot of shoulder checks.  When I cross over side streets I always glance back over my shoulder to make sure there are no cars turning.  I can count a few times where I’ve had to stop abruptly because a car somehow didn’t see me???

I carry an old drivers license on me for identity and my address in case of emergency. (I keep meaning to get a road i.d. but in the meantime I have something with me.)

I know it seems like a lot of things to think about, but like I said at the beginning, most of this stuff is just how I run.  I do not think about it as much as I just do it.

This is just a few thoughts that came to mind during a run 🙂  Do you have other winter running safety tips that you incorporate into your runs?

Groundhog says early spring! Here’s to winter running in the meantime

Training Week in Review

(Missed posting last week pretty much the same kms as this week.)

Monday: Yoga
Tuesday: “Over-Under” 6.3K crazy greasy outside (snow/slushy conditions) plus TRX training
Wednesday: “Volume Builder” 10K treadmill run (conditions still terrible outside) plus TRX training
Thursday: “Hill Tempo” 5.5K footing was a challenge still but I ran the circuit as hard as I could.
Friday: Upper Body Strength Training
Saturday: 1hr treadmill (trying out new shoes)
Sunday: “LSD” 15K lots of snow, most sidewalks not cleared but got it done and overall felt pretty strong.

Need help sticking to your winter training plan?

Know your WHY,  have a PLAN and JOIN others.

WHY did you sign up?  Do you have specific goals?  Are you supporting a charity?  Perhaps it’s a motivation to get healthier.  Understanding your why will help you on those days when you just do not feel like getting a run in.  If you want to have a successful race then you need to get your training in.  My suggestion is, make your “why” big enough to help push you to get it done.

Here are my whys:

  1. Fundraising for the Children’s Aid Foundation (my heart connects with this cause).
  2. Running my first Ultra Marathon (50K)
  3. Participating in a World Record Breaking Event in a fall race (using it to fundraise).
Moisture Wicking Headbands

Moisture Wicking Headbands $15 ea. Proceeds go to the Children’s Aid Foundation

You need to have a PLAN.  You cannot just hope it happens, or figure you’ll get it in when you can.  By putting together a schedule it will allow you to work around your life.  Plan ahead and know what distances you need to cover.  If you have an appointment or perhaps you are going on holidays, you want to be fairly consistent with your training.  I have a month planned in advance, review it, break it down for the week and then schedule it in for the day. My days do not all look the same.  Most days I run outside, but as a back-up I have my treadmill.  I try to get my run done early but some days it’s afternoon or evening.  Before I go to bed I know what distance and where/when I’m running for the next day.

JOIN others.  I was mostly a solo runner until I trained for my first marathon.  Now I try to do most of my long runs with the Running Room.  The Running Room has a great program for all race distances, including a Learn To Run one.   Aside from having a variety of personalities along for the long run, I particularly enjoy just following along.  It allows my brain to be shut off for a bit. I do not need to think about pace or directions for the most part.  It gives my brain a “rest” while enjoying conversations with others or a great song on my playlist.  If running with an organized group is logistically difficult, connecting with a friend or two for the entire run or part of the run also helps.

The online community is also an amazing way to stay motivated and connect with other runners.  Most races tend to offer a special group of runners who are passionate about running and helping others on their running journeys.  Check your race website for groups such as Digital Champions (as in The Scotiabank Waterfront Marathon) or Team Awesome (as with Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend).  Follow some of these runners on social media for support, encouragement, motivation and just plain fun in sharing the journey with others.

Last but not least, BELIEVE you can do it.

My coach and mentor Ray Zahab says this:

The challenge is believing that overcoming obstacles is 90% mental and the other 10% is all in our heads.

Going the distance means pushing beyond our perceived limits…

Leading to a discovery that we are ALL capable of achieving the extraordinary!

How about you?  Do you have suggestions to help others get their training in?  I would love to here your thoughts.

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?

 

Setbacks or Injuries – Do They Hold You Back?

When I’m training for something, I’m all in!  I am dedicated and focused and try my best to follow a plan.  My husband is always amazed at how committed and disciplined I can be.   That’s not to say it’s easy, however I try not to think too much and just do what is scheduled! 🙂

So when I’m injured, or taking things down a notch to allow for recovery, it’s hard for me.  It’s hard not to be “on” all the time.  I like structure and being focused.  Not being able to run drives me crazy!  I tend to fall back on nutrition, tweaking my “fuel” more and finding new ways to get good nutrition in.  I get on Pinterest more during this time!! (Are we following each other?)

Just before the marathon at the end of October I started getting a pain in my right ankle/arch area.  It became quite evident on marathon day that there was an issue there.  I took the appropriate time for recovery before getting back into my running but the arch pain has  lingered on.

I have a fantastic team around me and trust  them completely!  They have  been working on dealing with the soft tissue damage and I’ve scaled back the running to give time to heal while we figure things out.  In fact, I haven’t ran at all in the past 7 days!  Seriously, 7 days and it’s driving me crazy!  It’s such a minor issue, however being in the foot it is not one that I can ignore.  I am usually a very optimistic person, however, mentally this is a bit of a battle for me.  Having suffered from stress fractures in the past, this is now a new fear of mine, and it can kill confidence!

With such huge goals for 2015 I cannot start my year with this nagging issue going on.  I must get to the bottom of it.   We are 99% sure it is soft-tissue related and can be dealt with, but it’s funny how that 1% can over shadow things.

Today I am getting out for a run.  I will pay close attention to how I’m feeling and report back to my team.  I’m also having a scan that should confirm 100% if it is only the soft-tissue affected.

Throughout my years of running I have  been the one to make decisions about what, when and how I do things.  Choosing to trust others to make the decisions for me when it comes to my training schedule is hard but it is the decision I made when I enlisted their help!

piyoI’m not sitting around doing nothing though 🙂  I’ve started Basic Training with the TRX to build some core strength, I’m doing PiYo 2-3x/week, and I’m focusing on my diet with an emphasis on avoiding  inflammatory foods and more protein.

More than anything I need to get my head in the game, build my confidence again so I can go into January confident and strong.  Training is as much mental as it is physical.  So I am working hard to trust myself, to trust my body and believe that I will have a very successful running year in 2015!

Have you ever had to overcome fear, disappointment or a lack of confidence related to overcoming past injuries or setbacks?  Would love to hear your experience.

 

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.

StartCorals

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

Acknowledging the Wins!

Do you set goals?  Are you always looking ahead at what is coming up or do you take time to reflect on where you have come from?

How often do we take the time to just enjoy the moment or take in the day of a particular event or race.

I always have another goal or race coming up.  It’s how I get up the next day and keep going.  There is not a finish in sight for me but just moments and events to check off one at a time.

Having hired a running coach I am no longer “in control” of my running schedule and have submitted myself entirely to his plans and schedule for me.  Part of my fall race plans included the Army Run.  My coach suggested I run it hard.  Now this can be up for debate with people as I’m training for a fall marathon (just 4 weeks away from the Army Half).  Some choose to run it as such, a training run, slow and steady and others will race it.  The difference when it falls into your training and is not your goal race is that you do not taper for it, you just run it.  Tapering allows your body to recover before the race, and of course you’d take time to recover after as well.  Army Run

After being told to race it, I had a time goal in mind.  To beat last years time.  I was short 18 sec. to accomplishing this and a tad disappointed when I realized how close I came.  When sending in my weekly report to my coach, I reflected on my week in review.  I quickly remembered that it was only 4 short months ago that I was removing a cast that I had on for 3 months!  I had come back from a serious stress fracture (including a secondary minor one).  I built my running back up quickly and most importantly I remained injury free!

So in fact, my race really was a victory for me.  I had been training differently, focusing on building strength and using different muscles for only 3 short weeks. I went into the race after a hard training week, including a long run the day before, and I experienced some special challenges the morning of the race, and yet I still came in ONLY 18sec. short of my time last year.

My disappointment very quickly turned around and I was proud of how I ran.  Proud that I have worked hard at correcting my running technique to run more efficiently and injury free and the Army run wasn’t my goal race. 🙂

Next up is my second marathon in Toronto.  I hope to beat last year’s time, but again I have to celebrate the fact that after an injury I am going to be back running a full marathon and therefore need to be proud of that accomplishment regardless of my time.  Getting a “personal best” is the bonus I hope to experience, however the real win has been the journey of getting to the race.  The countless hours and kilometres that I’ve invested to achieve this goal.

ArmyRun DoneI’ve had an exceptional training season, new friends, new connections, being part of special groups including the opportunity to be a Digital Champion for my goal marathon and being given the incredible opportunity to test out new running gear and become an ambassador for some of the gear I’ve tested out and loved.

So my question to you:  Have you taken a moment to celebrate where you are today?  The personal development or steps that you’ve taken to achieve a goal you have.  Again, it doesn’t have to be running related.  Are you still moving in the direction of the goals you’ve set for yourself?  Are you better today than you were say, even one month ago?  Remember why you are doing what you are doing and celebrate what you have already accomplished.

Keep going. 🙂

The Running Continues With Some Help

Adapting to change was evident in this past weeks training.  Although I felt good with my cardio my legs were tired.  It was all I could do to complete an “easy” 5K on Wednesday!  My mind kept trying to convince my legs to go faster, my legs were just not capable, but I pushed and got it done in probably the worst 5K time ever.

It’s funny when you switch up what you’re doing how quickly your body reacts to the change.  I combined two training runs into one on Friday which started off slow but ended up feeling fantastic and strong.  By Sundays run I felt like I was back, feeling strong and marathon ready!  Sunday was a 29K run and I was back running with my running group for a change, it was awesome!  Weather was a cool 3 degrees and didn’t rise much more than 9 I think.  This is my kind of weather!

I have been using Pro Compression Socks for my recovery after my long runs and love how amazing they feel!  purplecompressionOn Friday (15K) I decided to try them running for the first time and could not believe how much support I felt with them.  I believe that is why my run started off with tired legs but within the first 4K or so I literally had a bounce to my step, I felt strong and could have easily ran further.

Recovery after long run

Recovery after long run

My routine after a long run is to put compression socks on for recovery immediately after my shower, as it helps with muscle soreness and blood flow (circulation).

The pro compression socks are so light weight and comfortable I will now be using them for most of my runs for additional support and to help circulation during my long runs.  They have the added bonus of keeping me warmer as we move into fall training.  Not to mention they have the most amazing fun colours to choose from.

So here are the reasons I think you should try them:

  • PRO Compression helps increase blood flow which relieves discomfort and assists in recovery.
  • Super comfortable to be worn during and/or after your runs.  Try them and see for yourself just how comfortable they are!
  • FUN cool colours to choose from.
  • Variety of styles to choose from (my favourite is the marathon sock).
  • Special discount code to get 40% off – Use CODE BLG14 at checkout Pro Compression Website

Would you like a chance to win a pair of Pro Compression Socks?

Simply share with me what you do to stay active and your name will be entered to win.  You can comment below, facebook me or send me a tweet 🙂 (deadline is Sunday, Sept. 21st)

You  might also want to sign up for the Sock Of The Month Email List for special deals and new product announcements (scroll to bottom of homepage).

You can also follow them on Facebook and Twitter to stay informed.

I now realize that I want a few more pairs, as colour choices are just too fun not to have a few, plus I can’t keep up with the wash. 😉

Don’t forget to message me and get your name in for the draw!  Good Luck!

 

 

 

For The Love Of Running

As a Digital Champion for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon I’ve had the amazing privilege of connecting with so many wonderful people online.  Many training for their first marathons but a number of ultramarathoners as well.  Interacting with so many runners motivates and inspires me daily!

August was a busier than usual month for me in regards to races and boy did I have fun!  It’s hard to pick my favourite one however the Ottawa Foam Fest focused on FUNCORE.   This is a quick video of what I experienced with my husband and daughter running their first official races Ottawa Foam Fest Video.

23K Trail Run - Halfway and still smiling!

23K Trail Run – Halfway and still smiling!

Equally as awesome was my first ever trail run.  I absolutely love Ray Zahab’s passion and vision for Impossible2Possible.  So when I found out there was an organized trail run with distances ranging from 10K – 100K I wanted to be a part of it.  All proceeds went to support the youth ambassadors with I2P.  With a little encouragement I signed up for the 23K.  Thank goodness two friends decided to run as well, as it would have been a completely different race experience without them!  I think I’m pretty much hooked and am now including more trail running in my training.

My training has been going very well, I’m actually enjoying my progress and am having more fun!   Long runs are getting long, like really long – today I will be running 32K.  I still feel really good and cannot believe we are 6 weeks out from my goal marathon for the fall.

Oh and I have new shoes!  I’ve finally made the transition (okay, making the transition slowly) to a lower profile shoe to encourage a more natural running form.  So far so good, I still have happy feet!

Fun, right?!

Fun, right?!

Most recently (but certainly in my thoughts for 6 months or more) I’ve decided to get a running coach.  I realize that there are so many amazing athletes who have expertise beyond my own experience in running.  Running is not just recreational for me. I do run for fun, for therapy, and for the challenge and overall feel-good feeling I get by getting outside and running.  However, I want to be challenged more and accomplish more than I think I can accomplish.  I want to achieve some really awesome running goals and for that I will need someone who is more knowledgeable than me to help me achieve the goals I have.

I’ve decided to go all in (well, because that’s what I do! LOL)  My training schedule has changed and I’m trusting in the plan and of course my coach.  Week 1 of my new training schedule is now in the books and I accomplished everything I was told to do. Nothing more and nothing less.  Okay, maybe a wee tiny bit more BUT I’m learning to do a little less for now 🙂  AND I’m happy to be dragging a few running friends along for the ride, making memories, having fun and simply getting out and running!

Up next for me is the Army Run.  Not sure if I’ll be racing it or using it as a training run at this point but I know that it’ll be amazing and I’m looking forward to it.

How is your training going?  What was your summer highlights?  Would love for you to share.

 

 

 

Travelling for Training

Again, life has been busier and I’ve missed more runs with my running group than I had hoped for.  Still getting my runs in but more and more on my own.  I started hills and felt like a pro while doing them. 🙂

Being a part of the amazing  Digital Champion Team (DC’s) for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon means that there are a variety of events happening in Toronto.  There are a handful of us DC’s who do not live in Toronto therefore we must travel if we want to participate in these events.  The event I chose to travel for was the Beaches Jazz Run 20K Training Run.

I managed to get 3 others to join me and our travel plans were set!  We’d leave on the Saturday morning, drive to Toronto, relax Saturday night and be up early for a 7:45am meet and greet with other DC’s before the run began.

Travelling with others that you do not know well can be risky, but when you have health and fitness as a common denominator there is always lots to chat about!   Turned out to be a great group to travel with!  We happened upon an amazing restaurant for dinner, relaxed and managed to get to bed at a reasonable time.  We had three alarms set and were all awake for  5:20am, because we needed time for coffee and of course proper fuelling for our run.  Everything went smoothly and we were off to the Beaches.

I enjoyed meeting other DC’s who I’m getting to know through our connections online.  It’s so nice to meet in person the people that you are cheering for and believing with to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves.  Also, knowing that others were not there as they have had to put their plans on hold.  Knowing all to well, how very difficult it is to be “forced” to post-pone your dream because of life’s circumstances or injury.  When you are passionately driven to go after your dreams, it’s hard to have to sit back or change and adjust your goals so that you remain healthy.  It’s making sure you have balance and that the timetable will work with what is going on in your life.  I admire and respect these people for picking the hard choice and doing what is best for them!

It turned out to be a HOT day!  The humidity was ridiculous and there did not seem to be much of a breeze, even though we ran along the water for a time.  There were pacers for the training run but as far as I could tell only for continuous runners.  I choose to do 10/1’s for my long training runs.  So I lined up near the back, also noticing the slowest pacer was for a 4hr. 10min. marathon.  Realizing that I’d be slower than that, my position in the back seemed to be appropriate.

I had the awesome privilege of travelling with two new friends who were both running their first official 10K’s.  They were there to see me off (10K race started 45min. after the 20K).  They took pictures and cheered me on when I headed out.  I kept up with the 4:10 pacer for the first 2-3K and then gave myself permission to pull back and commence my run/walk plan.  This was clearly going to be my own run.

I was not alone at the back but we were not many!  This surprised me as I really believe I’m an “average” runner, so where were the other average runners?!  It was a fantastic route, having met a number of people earlier on, it was so nice to pass each other on the out and backs and give high fives or simply yell “you’ve got this!”  I think the hardest part of the run for me was when we turned off to do a 5K out and back towards Tommy Thompson Park!  The air felt dead with little or no breeze and the sun just beat down on us!

Because this was a training run and not a race we were sharing the path and road with other runners and bikers.  There were less people in front of me and I unknowingly followed a random runner across Lakeshore Blvd!  This seemed very odd to me and didn’t feel right.  There was a lot of construction and I realized seeing the Loblaws parking lot that I had made a wrong turn!  There was a volunteer  at Lakeshore and Leslie St. directing runners to turn down Lakeshore–not across it–BUT with my luck they must have momentarily stepped away and I just followed the runner ahead of me!

No big deal, right? That’s not what I thought when I added almost 0.5km to my run.  Once back across Lakeshore I was on my way again to get this thing done!  Heading back towards the beaches, I welcomed what little shade there was along the route.  It was a lot busier now with people enjoying a family day and watching all us crazy runners actually running on an exceptionally humid day!

The end was in sight, once hitting the boardwalk my main goal was to not fall!  Legs were tired, heck I was tired, so watching my footing was my priority. Oh, and hitting my Garmin when I crossed!

Met up with others, chatted about the experience, celebrated with everyone and then signed up for a quick massage!

IMG_3571My travelling friends and I quickly freshened up, found a great spot for an amazing brunch and we were back on the road again to make our 5hr. trip back home.

During the trip home our two friends who ran their first official 10K’s had decided that they would go for it and signed up for their first half marathons!!

All in all, it was a fun 34hr road trip!