The Ups and Downs of Training

Training for the Toronto Marathon officially began June 19th at the Running Room I run with.  I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of runners who have chosen to run Toronto this year.  I’m loosely following the Running Rooms Training Plan but will switch some of my runs on my own to trail running as I’m trying to challenge myself differently this season.

We ran an easy steady run on our first Thursday night together and it felt good.  It was my first time back running with a group since my injury in February and I missed it.  Saturday I was out for another easy 6K on my own and again felt really comfortable.

Before I officially signed up for the marathon, I had the privilege of connecting with Ray Zahab, who is the founder of i2p (impossible2possible)and chat with him about my injury and my goals for this season.  I have been a huge fan of his for years, I recommend these books about his journey: Running To Extremes and Running For My Life: On The Extreme Road with Adventure Runner Ray Zahab.  He was kind enough to connect me to Mike Stanish who runs, a run clinic that teaches proper running technique (as well as raising money for local charities).  I took one of Mike’s clinics and have  since been working at staying relaxed during my runs, it seems to be a little more natural now.  Mike then connected me to Dr. Troy from Holistic Clinic who specializes in helping athletes through torture, ahem, I mean ART (active release therapy) treatments.  He has been helping me with my hip issue.  Dr. Beauchamp and Mat from Sante Chiropractic and Wellness Center are part of my wellness team for massage therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care, to help me get to the finish line injury free!

So back to training, on Sunday it was a 10K run with the Running Room and again felt really good.  Feeling rested, lighter on my feet, and encouraged that perhaps I was back from injury and ready to get into the fullness of marathon training again.

I need to learn to bottle that feeling up, as we all know that we will run into bad training days.

Week two proved to be less than stellar.  Easy 6K on Tuesday on my own and it was an okay run.  Wednesday met with the group and we headed out for our 10K Tempo run, which was my first 10K continuous since February.  I believe our temperature was 89% humidity and 25 degrees (not sure the ‘feels like’ temperature).  So it was hot and humid!  I was feeling pretty good the first 7K, even chatted a lot during the run (on a tempo run you should not be able to have a conversation with someone, you should be pushing yourself).  I even thought to myself, this feels good, I’m even able to chat.  AND THEN, I had to stop talking.

happypaceI found it difficult to keep up with the group but kept at it.  I realized I should stop and take a walk break but the others in the group seemed good, so I fought with myself for 0.5km.  I was wearing my new Bondi Band Headband that says “Find Your Happy Pace” and I was telling myself, this is my training, I need to run it smart.  It’s okay to walk if you need to and so on.  I smiled at the thought of my headband and the reality of finding my own pace.  I pulled back and took a needed walk break.  I then proceeded to run my own pace to complete the run.  I was disappointed and filled with doubt about my upcoming races, including the marathon.  I was already in a slower pace group than I was in the winter, in hopes of giving myself a recovery period to train smart and not over do it.  Then I asked myself, what would you say to someone else, and I started to encourage myself with those same words.

On to Thursdays 6K steady run.  I work long hours on Thursdays and need to bring my running gear to work and have a 15min. window to get to the running group.  As I was changing I realized I forgot my socks.  UGH!  This means going home and missing the group talk before the run.  Okay, no big deal, headed home.

Arrived as the group was about to head out.  Again, humid day, high of 28 and lots of sunshine!  We headed out and I intentionally pulled into the back to give myself room and run my own pace with only two others behind me.  I ended up chatting again and it was a decent run.  I turned to say something and missed the uneven sidewalk and for the first time in my life fell hard onto the ground.  I’m not entirely sure how much of my body hit the concrete, but it seemed my shin, my right knee, elbow, shoulder and both hands showed evidence of the fall.  AWESOME.  Of course, the entire group stopped and helped me up and then shouted out “footing” the rest of the way back, LOL!  I stiffened up after getting home but woke up feeling not too bad, the elbow/shoulder and knee sore but doing fine.  So thankful, as the first thing running through my head when I got up to continue running, feeling some throbbing, was am I injured, is it adrenaline that is allowing me to run, fearful of another setback.  Not concerned about much other than will this affect my training?  🙂

Isn’t training very much like life?  There are highs and well, there are lows.  I think we need to celebrate both.  The highs build confidence and encourage us, and give us a boost, a place of rest almost.  The lows build character and are a mental challenge that we all need to face and overcome.  One thing I do know, we get up the next day and we do it again.  We commit to the training and we work out the ups and downs on our runs.

Let The Adventure Begin – Round Two Booked!


It’s official, the marathon is booked!  October 19th, 2014 is my goal race and I’m so excited to return to Toronto.  I always look for ways that I can run for others in addition for myself, so this marathon I’ve decided to fund raise for the Children’s Aid Society.  If you would like to partner with me and donate, you can do so here:  My Fundraising Page

My first marathon was Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon in 2013 and I had no idea then that I would return for another year.  My plans for 2014 had included Ottawa and Calgary and then perhaps a different city or the Ottawa Fall Colours Run in the fall.

Due to my injury, my plans of course changed.  In hindsight it is crazy ridiculous how things have worked out and I am actually thankful for the experience and the connections I’ve made through the journey.  Maybe everything does happen for a reason 🙂  Hmmmm…..

As I train this year the experience will be completely different as I’ve been invited to be a Digital Champion (DC) for the race!  As a DC I get to do what I am passionate about doing, I get to encourage and connect with other runners online to help them achieve their own personal goals and have an awesome experience doing it!  Here is the list of all the DC’s:  Digital Champions

If you are married with children then you get how much of a sacrifice the whole family makes when you are training for a full marathon.  I am in awe of the parents who get it done and are still raising a young family.  I am at a stage in my life where my kids can help out and that they do!

There were so many nights where my daughter (15 at the time) stepped in and would make dinner on the days that I knew I’d be working late, or if I was heading out for a run she would take over and get the family fed.

Countless times my family would help me stick to my goals by keeping me accountable to what I said, or question if I should be doing something.  They always asked me how my run was or how many km’s I was doing on a certain day.  They made an effort to take an interest in what I love to do, or at least to pretend to, ha!


I am already looking forward to the cheering and support that they provide.  Yesterday, my daughter rode her bike ahead of me while I ran so I could run along the river and not be alone!  It was so great to be chasing after her, I just need to figure out what she could carry on her back that I want bad enough to run hard for!!

There will be other long runs that I think I’ll have my son meet me on the route to provide a smiling face and needed nutrients, especially on some of the hot summer days that are coming.

Even my eldest son who is living in another province will ask me about my training when he calls, how many kids do that??

My husband tries hard to ensure the kitchen is cleaned after dinner if I head out for a run, which I cannot adequately express how much I appreciate that!

If you do not already have the involvement of your family, might I suggest that you look for ways to include them.  Depending on their age, by including them you show them how much running means to you.  You demonstrate to them that it is healthy for mom to have a dreams and goals that she is striving for.  You might even spark a passion in them for running.

My daughter is the first to admit she has no desire to run.  She’s been watching me for years, coming out to many races to cheer me on, volunteering at countless races to hand out race kits, giving me massages when required, cooking dinner, and so much more.  This year there is a Foam Fest coming to Ottawa.  A 5Km obstacle course that she is so excited to do.  Say what!?

So much so that she has convinced the family to do it all together.  No one else in my family runs. It will be so much fun and you can be sure great memories will be made.

What are some of the ways your family supports you?  Have you found ways to include them to be apart of your journey?




Celebrating Others and Overcoming Obstacles!

As I sit relaxing on the eve of the Ottawa Race Weekend 2014 my mind is on all those that are hopefully sleeping on the eve of their marathons.  Many for their very first ones.  I’m happy and so excited for them!

My thoughts are also reflecting on what was to be the first of two that I had planned on running, Ottawa and then 1 week later Calgary.   After being injured and placed in an aircast I knew my goal for completing the two was going to have to be pushed back, probably till the following year.

It’s not always the finish line that is most important but perhaps the journey that we are on to get there.  Like in life, there can be detours, setbacks, injuries and unavoidable circumstances that cause us to be derailed or sidetracked from our original plans.

Throughout my life there have been many moments that could have derailed me and taken me down a different path, but instead I headed in a better direction.  These past few years, have been especially hard with circumstances that have caused tremendous grief, pain, fear, anger,  and loneliness.  During that time I’ve had to re-evaluate the people in my life and what I was doing, then make choices as to how I could heal and move on in a healthy way.

Just over a year ago we were hit with some news that we thought we would never hear.  My life suddenly was unrecognizable and I was in so much pain.  During this time I was just beginning to train for my first marathon.  My training runs became therapeutic for me and I met some amazing people who I have come to appreciate so much.

During my long runs I began to discover just what I was capable of.  I could celebrate every week  with new milestones and mental toughness.  I began to build a bond with these once strangers that I spent much of my time with.  I even was blessed with someone who I could share my heart with, freely, without fear as I had no one else to talk to and she was so faithful in being a friend.

I’ve learned that giving myself permission to do what I feel is best for me is important and I do not need to apologize if I’m not where someone thinks I should be.  People have opinions, but they do not have facts.  People think they can judge but they do not ask how you are or what is going on in your life.  You have to choose the ones you are surrounding yourself with, find people who believe in you, build you up and encourage you so you can rise above the circumstances that sometimes are just unavoidable.  Remove from your life the ones that are toxic and negative, that are holding you back or dragging you down.


I did manage to finish my first marathon, which proved to be more challenging then I had anticipated but I did it! (another story for a different post).

Some of you are running your very first marathons, perhaps some are just deciding now to train for your first marathons, congratulations either way!!!  Stay focussed, trust the training and ease into life as it happens, life is really like a marathon and you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other and try to enjoy the moments for what they can teach you, not just survive them!