So You Want To Run An Ultra?

Running my first Ultra just kind of happened.  Of course I had to train for it, but the opportunity kind of just worked out.  I was already training for the Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon end of May, so when the talk of doing the Niagara 50K came up, it seemed doable!  The 50K would be 3 weeks after the Ottawa Marathon, the plan we were using suggested getting TWO 42.2km training runs in prior to the 50K.  Okay, sign me up!

My running friends who started it all had enlisted approximately 17 other runners.  They put a Facebook group together and started sharing their training plans with the group.  The highlight for me was joining them often on a Saturday longer run.  My coach had already started me on the double long run idea for my weekends, Saturday being the shorter of the two. The idea was learning to run with tired legs.  It was nice to have others to run with again.

Training through the Winter for 2 big goal races sure helps get you out the door on some miserable, cold, Winter days!   Overall training went well, but I seemed plagued with lower leg issues throughout the fall/winter training.  By April/May I didn’t know if it was even possible to get through the marathon, let alone the Ultra.  I was doing everything I could to get relief.  I had chiropractic care, acupuncture, massage, graston technique and dry needling.  It helped, but it didn’t 100% get me pain-free.  I started making “deals” with myself.  If I could just get through and finish the 50K I’d take as much time off of running as I needed…until I was 100% pain-free, and I believed I would. 🙂

Being that it was an out of town race, it meant driving, so I enlisted my daughter (and her friend) for company.  We headed out early Friday morning (the race was Saturday).  I figured that I was now pretty much a professional for packing for out of town races as I had learned the hard way about forgetting race gear.  You can read about that here:  Forgotten Marathon Bag.  Apparently, there are always new lessons to learn.

As we were driving near Oshawa, ON a random thought jumped in my head.  I must have aimlessly been visualizing packing up my bag because suddenly I realized that I did not pack the clip to close the bladder that goes in my hydration pack.  What!!!???  How was I going to run 50K without a pack on!  I know that maybe I would have been okay with the water stations (every 5km) but I like to be in control of when I hydrate.  Plus I had a special hydration mix that I now use and didn’t want to rely on a different electrolyte drink. Ugh!

IMG_0434So, my sweet daughter, who is accustomed to handling my unexpected crazies prior to race day, was now on a mission to google local running stores and find me a new hydration bladder or pack.  After only finding 2 stores at a cost of approximately $80 I decided I just didn’t want a new one, this was stupid.  Okay, what could I do??  Think….Walmart!  
I’ll buy super big office clips and that should work.  So we pulled into a Walmart somewhere off Hwy 401 and found some clips.  This had to work, right?!

We arrived in Niagara mid-afternoon and decided to hit the outlet mall first.  Race pick up wasn’t until after 6pm so we had time to kill.  This is a smaller event and there was no expo, just pick up the cool sweatshirt and race bib.

IMG_0435

View outside our hotel

Quick dinner, check-in to hotel and then off to explore the falls!  Just so spectacular.  I was only out for a bit and then it was race prep and early to bed.

IMG_0457_2

Orleans Runners (missing some)

I had arranged to meet friends in the lobby at 5:45am.  Four of us drove out to the start line together and met up with the rest of our Orleans runners.

My plan going in to the race was to run my training pace for my marathon training.  About 40sec. slower than my marathon race pace.  It doesn’t seem much to add 8km to the end of a 42.2km run, but it really does ADD to the race!  Keeping an easier pace was just part of the plan, the other was just to finish.  I took time to take photos along the way and took a 17min. break to refresh, reload and refocus at the halfway mark.  

At the falls (halfway)

At the falls (halfway)

Lori, Jordan and I ran the first 25K together.  This is halfway

Lori, Jordan and I ran the first 25K together. This is halfway

It was a very cool experience.  I’m so glad I decided to jump on board when the others from my running group signed up.  Also, I had the privilege of running mostly behind a couple who ran the Ultra together and got married at the finish line.

Gonna Get Married!  Just need to run 50K first.

Gonna Get Married! Just need to run 50K first.

Only about 10K left to go before they say I do!

Only about 10K left to go before they say I do!

The scenery was stunning, and it helped pass time being distracted with amazing views.  My “bladder” in my hydration pack worked out with the $2 jumbo clips.  During my recap after my race, my coach helped point out that I have an amazing ability to shut out negative thoughts, discouragement, pain, etc. once I cross over the start line.  During the race it’s all about completing it.  Even when in pain, I somehow shut it out and keep going.  Telling myself I’ll deal with it when it’s over.  A lesson that I will now carry with me as I continue to train for new adventures.

Oh, and my promise to take time off after the 50K? Well my coach helped me recover smart.  I didn’t have to stop running, but I did start more trail running during the recovery process.  I am currently 3 weeks completely pain-free for the first time since last October!  I also happen to be rethinking my future running goals, because I fell in love with trail running.

I enjoyed this race so much, that I plan on running it again in 2016.  It looks like there is a new group of runners wanting to join me.

Have you run an Ultra before?  What was your experience?  Would you recommend it?

Head, Heart and Foot Training for Your Next Race

racedayIf you have ever trained for a race then you know it’s so much more than just putting miles in.  Depending on the distance you are training for, it can also require you to be mentally ready.  There is a quote that I love. “Run the first two-thirds of the race with your head and the last third with your heart.” – Unknown

When I was training for my first marathon I was told to expect to run 2 races. The first 32 km’s and the final 10 km’s.  Sometime during the race it becomes about what you want. You draw from the countless hours of training, you reach down deep within you to draw the strength that you need to complete it.  It is no longer just physical, you need your mind (right thinking) and heart (the will) to get through.

Every race distance requires preparation, and I believe to prepare you need to set some goals.  Is it a specific time you want to come in under?  Are you running it with friends and just for fun?  Are you doing a new distance and just want to complete it upright and smiling?  The first step is to decide what you want to achieve from the race you just signed up for.

Then, get a schedule.  Whether you join a run clinic, pick up a good book or find a schedule online, you need to plan for it.  My favourite race distance is the marathon.  It’s a 16 week schedule, running 4-5 times a week.  I’m pretty consistent and usually run 5 days a week with Mondays and Fridays off.  My long run is on the weekend and I add to the distance every week.

It’s not enough to have a schedule, though. You need to make a commitment to stick to the schedule.  Sometimes you have to plan life around your runs, or plan your run around your life but if you do not put a priority on your training runs, life does get in the way.  You have to decide it is important.  I am blessed to have my family’s full support.  Once you start training for a half-marathon or marathon the time commitment can be taxing for some.  For some people, getting up in the morning before their families are awake is the best time to get a run in.  Others do it on their lunch hours.  The long run can be the most challenging as you can be out running for hours!  The key is figuring out what works best for you (and your family).  In addition to my schedule, I plan when I’m going for my run.  I look a week ahead and plan it accordingly.  So if someone has an appointment or there is a family commitment coming up, I’m not surprised by this and my run gets done.

It’s not just about the running.  If you want to do well, it should also be about nutrition.  Some people figure that running allows them to eat anything they want. But for myself, the more I run, the more focused I become on fuelling my body with food that serves a purpose.  It doesn’t happen overnight but you can learn how food can support you and aid you by providing energy and also helping you with recovery.

The mind also plays a vital role in running a race.  During training runs, using visualization can help prepare your mind for the race.  How do you want race day to go?  What are your ideal running conditions? spectators Can you visualize your friends and family members cheering for you?  Self-talk is also very useful.  When you are on a long run and everything about it is awful, remind yourself why you are doing this.  Remember the feeling you will have after getting it done, or knowing the sense of accomplishment that you will have for sticking to it and not giving up.  It’s helpful to write down some favourite quotes, your reason why you want to accomplish this running goal/race.  When you are out on a run if everything about it is perfect, write down what was so perfect about it.  Draw on that memory when things get hard.

I think for everyone, the race is about completing it.  As you evolve as a runner you begin to set different goals.  At least for myself, I set a few goals for each race.  Regardless, I think you need to be proud of every race, no matter the outcome.  If you trained, committed to the training process and gave it your best on race day, then you need to celebrate that.  We cannot control a lot of things on race day, but we can give it our best.

I am nowhere near the runner that I was when I first started out.  I started out walking by participating in a 60Km walk for breast cancer.  Eventually, walking turned into running.  From there my girlfriend invited me to run a 5K.  I enjoyed running and loved to challenge myself.  I started out just completing the events and I would raise $ for a cause and take in the experience.  Then 5K’s turned into 10K’s, and eventually I was running half-marathons.  Most of the time I trained on my own.  I seriously loved the challenge physically and mentally.  I felt accomplished when I set a goal to run a race, trained for it and completed it.

It was during my first marathon training that I decided to go out of my comfort zone and join a run club.  As my runs were getting longer and longer, I was wanting company in part to help distract from the long run but also for safety reasons.   I wanted to run along the river and other more isolated areas.  Joining the Running Room for their free running clinics allowed me to make new friends and learn from the experiences of others.  It also connected me to a running community to share my love for running.

I’ve learned that when you commit to your training, you need to trust in that training.  My very first marathon was out of town and I forgot my marathon bag!  I ended up running the marathon with all new gear (yes, every runners nightmare).  You can read more about that here:  Forgotten Marathon Bag

You can do everything right, you can eat properly, train properly and still race day can be unpredictable.  I’ve learned that it’s good to set goals and push yourself for a personal best or a bigger distance.  In the end though, you need to be proud of all the moments, of the journey to get to the start line.  During the race, take in the moments, learn from what the day offers you.

I’ve learned to be thankful that I get to run.  I’m constantly challenging myself with new goals and race distances.  I’m about to run my first Ultra (50K) on June 20th.  I’ve also learned to accept that every race offers a new experience.  Even if I do not get a pb, I can be proud of the day because of the choices I made either leading up to the race OR during the race itself.

In my last race I had the opportunity to finish with a pb (although it was a tough race).  Instead I chose to run in with a friend who was struggling, because in the end that seemed to be more important.  I walked away proud of my decision.  If you’d like to read about my last race experience you can read it here:  Ottawa Race Weekend

How about you?  Are you training for your first race?  Have you set specific goals for yourself?  If you’ve been running for a while, how have you evolved as a runner?

Race Day Preparations

Countdown is ON

Crazy excited is an understatement!  I am so looking forward to running the marathon in my home town.  Although I will likely need to keep it slow and steady, not getting any personal bests in terms of my time, I’m still excited to run.  I’ve been dealing with lower leg issues for over 6 weeks now and do not have any power.  I’ve pulled back in hopes of giving them some rest.  I still have 2 goal races to get done in June so I want to prevent a serious injury.

Preparing for Race Day

So what can be done leading up to race weekend?  Here are a few of the things I’m spending my time doing.  I hope it helps you as well.

1. Hydrate/Fuel

Do not wait for the night before the race to eat well.  You should be drinking more water and eating well most days, but at the very least, the week(s) leading up to your race.   Make sure you are loading up on healthy carbohydrates (avoid sugary zero nutrient junk), lean protein and fresh fruits/veggies.  Some of the things I like to eat are: bean patties, oatmeal, chicken breast, salmon, rice, quinoa, fresh fruit (snack mid-morning), salads and sweet potatoes.  Also, get some good fats in your diet.  Avocado and hummus are great for sides or dipping.  I will often add hummus as a side to my bean patties and use it as a dip for fresh cut veggies.

Recipe for bean patties:
can of black beans
1/4 cup oats (I use steel cut ground up)
diced onion (optional)
cumin (to taste)
Bragg’s Liquid (few sprays or 1.5 tsp)
salt/pepper (to taste)

beanpatties

I throw it all in a food processor and then make 4 patties.  I’ve also used a potato masher and mashed the beans then added the rest of the ingredients.  Add some coconut oil to the fry pan and cook the patties at a medium-high heat, both sides.  It makes 4 patties.

2.  Rest/Stretch

Make sure you are getting enough sleep.  Aim for 7-8hrs a night if you can.  Your diet and sleep are important aspects of recovery.  I also take extra time to stretch/do yoga once or twice in the week.  You want to be relaxed and ready for race day.

3. Playlist

Some people prefer listening to the music they trained with.  I personally like to mix it up with a few new songs sprinkled throughout my playlist.  Do not leave this to the night before.  Trust me.  I have had unnecessary stress trying to get my playlist organized the night before a race.  Usually, I scrap the idea and run with what I have.  Not this time.  Got it all done a week ahead of time. 😉

4. Race Day Fuel, Gear and Clothes

I like to plan what I am wearing ahead of time.  You should have already practiced with some long runs, but knowing what you are wearing ensures that it will be clean for race day.  The same goes for your fuel. Now is the time to do a quick inventory of what you have and go buy anything you will need.  Or, write a list and pick it up at the expo (but I like having everything prepared before hand).  This way there are no last minute panics.

5.  Laying It Out

There is a reason a lot of us do Flat Race Runfies – having everything laid out and ready to throw on first thing in the morning gives peace of mind in knowing that you have everything you need for the race.  I use my dining room table to lay out my clothes, gear, fuel, electrolytes, etc.  I do not want to miss anything.   Once I have everything ready, I lay out my race day clothes and take my “flat runner”. 🙂  runme

When I head out in the morning for a race, I’m wearing or carrying everything I will need. Besides, you’ll sleep better knowing it is all together.

6.  Organize Meet Ups

If you are planning on meeting friends and/or family prior to the race or afterwards, choose that spot ahead of time.  Figure out where the road closures will be.  How are you arriving on race day?  Plan these details out in advance to make it easier and less stressful on race day.

7.  Trust Your Training

My last piece of advice would be to trust your training.  Regardless of the distance you are running, if you followed a plan, know that the training will get you to the finish line.  There can be a lot of variables on race day that you cannot control, so don’t try to.  When you get up, deal with the weather and dress accordingly, but do not let that sideline you from doing your best.  Get to the start line, believe in yourself and have fun!  No matter what your time is, whether it turns out to be your best run ever or perhaps your worst,  I guarantee you’ll learn something from it.  Celebrate the hard work you’ve put in and be proud of your well earned medal.

These are the things I like to do ahead of time, as it seems to work for me.  Are there things you do that work better for you?  Is there a tip you’d share with someone running their first race?

 

#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.

www.dontbeachicken.com

www.dontbeachicken.com

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.

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!

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?

Happy 2015!

Welcome 2015.

I don’t know what it is, but I’m excited about the possibilities for this year.  Maybe it’s the beginning of something new or the uncertainty that a new year  holds.  Perhaps it’s the start of a new year with the untold stories, the adventures or the memory making experiences.  Whatever it is, there is an awareness of this gift called life. What I do with it is up to me, it comes down to choices I make.

Today I will take time to write down specific goals that I want to achieve.  Not only in my running world but in my personal life and in business.  Writing it down and keeping it in my sights gives me focus, a purpose for what I am doing, and more importantly, why I need to do it.  I will also be working on my vision board, as being reminded visually helps keep me excited about seeing the goals achieved.  When you put your board in an area that you see daily it helps you do the hard work, to gett’r done!

One of my goals is to read more.  I haven’t been reading as much lately so I’d like to get back into a healthy habit of reading.  My mother was a reader.  When my children were little she bought them books and would read to them often.  She wanted to instill in them the love for reading.  She did.  My kids all read, a lot.  The older they get the more I can see my mom’s influence in their lives.  Each one of them has a piece of her with them.  She would be so proud of who they are and continue to become.

IMG_4896

January Reading Goals

Okay, so up on my reading list over the next few weeks (in no particular order as I often have 2-3 on the go 🙂 ):

The Compound Effect
Still Alice
In a Single Bound
Relentless Forward Progress
The Runners Diet

What are you reading?

Do you write down your goals?  What about a vision board, do you create one?  I’d love to hear some of your goals or see your vision board.

May 2015 be everything you dream it can be.

 

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!

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten Marathon Bag – Yes, It Really Happened!

When I chose to sign up for my very first marathon I had no idea the challenges that our family were about to face.  I could have chosen to wait and run another time but I had already made the mental commitment to run, I had already psyched myself into doing all that was required to run a marathon.  Running during that time became very therapeutic for me, almost necessary.  It became a place for me to process my thoughts and feelings, by talking it out with a new running friend, or being lost in my own thoughts and feelings on a long run.  I believe training for the marathon saved me in many ways.

So what happened when I discovered every runners worst nightmare and forgot all my gear in another city the eve of my run?

New Running Gear

New Running Gear

Read about it here on the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon where they posted my experience in their blog.  Honey, I Forgot My Marathon Bag!

Have you ever experienced something like this?