My First DNF – Or Was It?

The Run

The i2P Run is a celebration of trail running and intended to highlight some of the amazing trails in Gatineau Park. The distances range from 10K – 100K so as to encourage a wide range of trail runners, it’s not a competition against others but instead against yourself! It is also a fundraiser for i2P (Impossible to Possible) with all proceeds from the run going to support this amazing non-profit organization.

My big training run was the Bad Beaver Ultra (BBU Recap) making my original plan for the i2P Run to volunteer. I asked my coach (Ray) a few weeks back if I should volunteer or run one of the races. His immediate response was to register for the 100K! I texted back a huge LOL and his response was “no I’m serious”. I then ignored him for a bit ūüôā This seemed insane to me. When I connected with Ray on the phone, he explained how the 50K night would be amazing night training for the Grand to Grand Ultra. He believed I could do the 100K but said lets focus on the 50K night and whatever happens the next day we can decide as we go.

So with just a week before my first stage race (BBU), I found myself now signed up for my first 100K! Just keep putting one foot in front of the other, right?

Fast forward 3 weeks, and with the experience of BBU now available to me I was not really nervous about attempting the 100K. I actually felt strong mentally and physically leading up to it. Last week I was experiencing a little bit of tight muscles, more noticeably my right quad, and my right arch continues to need attention but overall feeling very good.

The Night Run (50K)

Participants of the 100K met at Breton Beach at Lac Phillipe in Gatineau Park as this would be the finish line (and most check points). Participants were encouraged to drive and park there as it was a perfect option to go back to the car to rest and/or refuel, again allowing you to carry very little.

From there we were transported to Cafe Les Saisons in Chelsea where the owner graciously allowed the i2P Run Organizers to host a private dinner for the runners. After dinner Ray Zahab, John Zahab and Mike Stashin shared some amazing tips. There was then time to get our things organized, chat with some new and old friends and then walk over to the Chelsea Visitor Centre for the start of the race.

I believe my lessons started with dinner. ¬†As with BBU, dinner was provided, ¬†more than likely you will be eating foods you do not normally eat. There was a note sent out to us that dinner was casual and if you wanted to bring your own food that was certainly an option. I didn’t worry about it and honestly only one person did bring her own food. I’ve never had an issue with food or hydration (until BBU). BUT then again, I’ve never ran these kind of distances before. Even with my training runs my longest are usually 25-35km back to back runs, with my longest being just under 45km.

my view as we headed out

my view as we headed out

We started at approximately 9:45pm from the Visitor Centre, up trail #1 (3+km climb), a loop around trail #6, down #30 to catch #8 and make our way up King Mountain. Lots and lots of stairs, no doubt contributing to my quad issue. We then began to make our way back to trail #1 and this is where my stomach issues started again. Gassy, bloaty and a wee bit nauseous. ¬†By the time we hit the first check point I felt like throwing up. It took everything inside me not to call it quit right there, but I didn’t. Of course, I did not let the amazing volunteers know I was considering calling it!

From there we made our way to Wolf Trail and headed down. This is when the knee pain started. Pretty mild at first, but the stomach issue was getting much better. I was now only drinking water and eating a few pretzels and crackers. Obviously this is not going to sustain me but it’s what I had to do. I also had a ginger-chew which is a bit like a treat and seems to calm my stomach. We caught trail #1 again and continued down to Meech Lake Parking Lot for another check point. This is when it was confirmed that a trail runner was missing. She was not from Ottawa and had somehow gotten turned around. Short story is she was found, she was fine and I was crazy impressed at how well she handled it all!! She caught up to me (and passed me) just after trail #36 that was very dark and lonely to run in the middle of the night. It is a beautiful trail that I love to run on during the day, if I had company I might have enjoyed it more through the night.

I continued making my way back to Breton Beach going through Lac Phillip camp grounds. I am not sure how long I ran with the knee pain but it continued to get worse, especially all the downhills. I’m guessing at least 15km’s or so till I finally made it in. I had 1.5hrs. to rest, recovery and get ready to head out for the 2nd 50K.

The Morning Run (50K)

When Ray heard my knee was giving me some pain his response was, “okay then were good. You did what we wanted, you got the night run in.” ¬†I of course, had not even considered not continuing. I immediately suggested that I’d go out for the next 23k and if I limped in we’d call it. I argued that he knew me and that I recover quickly and I could do this. He agreed ūüôā

85km Lake Superior Gate to Gate Girls (top photo Lake Superior, bottom photo i2P run photo bombed by Ray

My running sisters! 85km Lake Superior Gate to Gate Girls (top photo Lake Superior, bottom photo i2P run photo bombed by Ray

So at 8am it was back out to do the next stage, 23km. We headed out onto trail #55 with a smallish climb and then at about 1km we hit a downhill. I immediately felt shooting pain in the knee, I had to stop and walk down. If I was smart I would have turned around right then, but I’m more stubborn then smart. I could manage the straights and the inclines but had to walk almost all of the downhills. I finally hit the 12.5km turn-around. My sweet dear friend was there for the check point. I should have stayed with her and hopped in the van to go back to the finish, but instead we ate some grapes and I told her not to tell Ray ūüôā Again, stubborn!

So now I had to make it back to Breton Beach. At this point I was at the back of the pack. There were 4 walkers behind me and that was enough motivation to keep moving forward. I could not let them get ahead of me. I was now practicing mental toughness and doing everything I could to rid myself of the pain I was feeling (still mainly on the downhills). I started singing out loud for every step, and it worked. I was mastering the pain, I was pushing through and I could now start to run more downhills.

At this point I ran in to Steve and Sylvie and admitted to feeling the pain. They both told me firmly that I had to call it. It wasn’t worth it and I knew they were right. This wasn’t my goal race, I had to be in good form for G2G just one month away. BUT did I mention I’m stubborn?

I was still contemplating doing the next loop of 12.5km as it is more technical which I love but it would also allow me to complete 85km. With 8km’s to go I knew I had to call it when I got in.¬†I finally shed a tear or two accepting that the right thing to do was call it. BUT I still had 8km’s to get back to the beach. I used that time to work on my mental toughness and pushed hard to run without pain! I was lying to myself and it was working. I knew that when I arrived at the beach I couldn’t look at my watch or talk to anyone before finding Ray and telling him I had to call it – I needed the accountability to not let me go on. In the meantime, I came upon 3 separate runners at 3 different times. With each one my goal was to run enough to pass them and keep them behind me. Just a little win for me at the end.

Here is what I’m walking away with:

  • I ran a night run even though I was scared/nervous to do this alone (yay me)
  • Every run gives me an opportunity to learn and develop as a runner
  • I am mentally tough (yes, and stubborn but I can push past hard)
  • I have amazing and wonderful friends that celebrate effort as much as completion
  • I get so much enjoyment at seeing others achieve their goals
  • If you don’t go through the hard stuff, then you miss out on the lessons
  • I’ve come a long way! I only started running trails 2 years ago. My very first trail run was the i2P 23km run. I only seriously considered doing Ultra running less than a year ago.

So as my husbands said to me, “Did you DNF or did you run an extra 23km?” The goal was the 50k night run, I just wanted to do it all ūüôā

Have you experienced a DNF before? What was your experience?

 

Building Up / Testing Out

Let the training begin…..or not

So my official training for Grand to Grand started on January 9th. ¬†A few km’s into my run I started experiencing pain in my left ankle, by 9km’s I was very uncomfortable and needed to walk more than run. ¬†I had no choice but to run/walk back to my car, limping. ¬†What happened, why so much pain?

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The previous week I had been out snowshoeing, and remembered rolling my ankle and thinking how lucky I was to have not been injured, could this be related?  There did not seem to be any other explanation. The Wednesday and Thursday following the snowshoeing I did have some mild discomfort but very minor.  So 6 days later could this be related to that initial ankle roll?IMG_0345

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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. ūüôā

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.

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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.

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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?

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?

 

 

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. ūüôā¬†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!

Recovery/Flexibility Tools For Training

My Week In Review:

Monday – Yoga/Stretch
Tuesday Р Over/Under Tempo 6K Run.  Road conditions were awful with tons of ice but I managed to get it done.
Wednesday – 10K easy run
Thursday – temperature was a “feels like” -35¬ļC so I chose the treadmill, did speed intervals and played with the incline, felt good.
FridayPiYo (Strength and Flexibility Training at home)
Saturday Р1hr. run was scheduled BUT I did not get it in.  I was on my feet working the Health Expo most of Friday and then 14hrs. on Saturday.  I was just too exhausted.  My quads were done from the unbelievable amount of stairs that I repeatedly went up and down!
Sunday Р1hr. 10min. snowy run.  Footing was challenging at times but I enjoyed the run.

November and most of December was spent trying to figure out why I had this lingering pain in my foot. ¬†I’ve been taking it easy and getting treated and I’m almost pain-free now. ¬†Turns out I experienced a small tear of my peroneus longus tendon at some point leading up to or during my marathon in October. ¬† Thankfully, I am on the mend and January is all about building my base again. ¬†I’ll be adding to my Sunday long run and mixing up some strength training but the bulk of my weeks will look pretty much the same.

Monday and Fridays are my days off from running. ¬†Monday will be for active recovery only and Fridays I’ll play around with some at home DVDs that will focus mostly on flexibility and mobility moves. ¬†I might even get out on the canal for some skating.

Favourite Tools

Here are some of my favourite tools that I’m trying to use consistently.

Thermaband

Thera-Band Foot Roller

TheraBand Foot Roller is great for rolling the underside of my foot. It can help with plantar fasciitis, heel spurs and tired feet. ¬†It helps to stretch the plantar fascia and it will help with flexibility. ¬†The massage just feels good. ¬†It’s also great because it can be frozen and then used to help reduce inflammation.

Foam Rolling

Foam Roller

Foam Roller is a must for anyone who is running consistently.  It will help with flexibility and recovery.  Runners World has a great article on it here: Foam Rolling Tips

The Stick

The Stick

The Stick is a great tool to help self-massage enabling you to break down knots or trigger points in your muscles.  It can help relieve pain, increase your range of motion, help with flexibility and speed up your recovery time.

Lacrosse Ball

Lacrosse Ball

This little lacrosse ball was recommended to me by my massage guy who is truly brilliant when it comes to helping athletes get back in the game. ¬†This gets in areas that are hard to get at, like your groin or rotator cuff. ¬†It helps get in deeper than a regular foam roller. ¬†I’ve heard that massage therapy balls are a better choice but this works for me.

Yoga Mat

Yoga Mat

A Yoga Mat is also essential as you should be doing Yoga a minimum of once a week.  I am trying to do a little more than that but Monday is a must for Yoga.  It helps after the Sunday long runs for me and helps set me up for the Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday runs.  I have a few favourite home DVDs that I choose from that help give me some variety but also I can work it into my schedule better than trying to get out to a class.

I will break up when I use these tools throughout the day or evening. ¬†I’ll do more on a Monday and Friday as I’m not running. ¬†I keep the lacrosse ball in my family room and will randomly pull it out and spend a few minutes hitting some sore spots. ¬†The Stick is a great tool to ask a family member to get at your hamstrings or calves and it helps to not tire them out easily. ¬†My kids actually take pleasure in causing me pain. ūüėČ So this is not a difficult task for them.

There are numerous foam roller options to choose from, so do some research. I would, however, recommend that you invest some money in a good one as the cheaper ones will not last very long and this should be a long-term investment into your running.

What kind of tools am I missing out on? ¬†Do you have a must have favourite that you are using? I’d love to hear about your suggestions.

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! ūüôā

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 ūüôā ¬†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.

 

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. ūüôā

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. ūüôā

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 ūüôā (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. ūüėČ

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

 

 

 

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. ūüôā

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!