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

Volunteering – Is It For You?

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

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

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

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Favourite Running Clothes and #STWM Marathon

Getting ready to run my third Toronto Waterfront Marathon was very different than the two previous years.  Perhaps it’s because I still had the Ottawa Mec Race to come, and that is the race that I’m nervous excited about.  It also may have had to do with the fact that I trained differently this time around.  September was a busy month for me and I was travelling and racing more.  I managed to get three 32km training runs in but they were a tad earlier than I would have liked.  I had also started training in Gatineau Park for my long runs, running on rolling hills for 22+ km’s.

After returning from Halifax, mid-September, I kind of lost my drive to run.  I was getting in the minimum but it was a struggle getting out the door some days.

The week leading up to the race I wasn’t feeling very confident in my training, I knew I would complete it but wasn’t satisfied with the last 6 weeks.  I also knew that if I reviewed my training I would be surprised and reassured that I didn’t do all that bad.  However, at this point it would be what would be and I needed to get my head in the game.  So, I refocused, did a head check and made the decision to do my best, regardless of how I felt.

I enjoyed girl time with a friend as we drove up to Toronto the night before the race.  We started discussing racing options for next fall.  Neither of us were convinced we would return to Toronto again the following year.  It’s an amazing race and if it was my home city I’d do it every year but there are so many races/cities that we want to experience.  We settled on a tentative game plan. 🙂

We hit the expo immediately when we arrived and I was able to pick up some Run Happy arm warmers!  (I actually got a different pair as well because they are so soft and I love sleeves!)

runhappysleeves

I wanted to have them as a friend of mine, Jean-Paul Bedard, was running the marathon 3x to raise awareness and support for sexual abuse.

photo credit: Edison Yao

photo credit: Edison Yao

He is sponsored by Brooks and had shared a post wearing the sleeves.  I figured it was a fun way to run happy and think of him during my race.  I would highly recommend that you follow Jean-Paul as he will continue to be an outstanding influencer.

You can read about his adventure running 126.2km’s on his recap of the race.

Okay, so the start line.  After going back and forth as to whether we should wear shorts or pants, we settled on pants.  It was a very cold start to the morning but it looked like it might get up to 5°C. 😉

I had been approached by MEC to do an honest review of their brand of clothing.  I had been given a few items to test out during my training runs.  I seriously loved every piece and have since only purchased MEC running clothes as I am that impressed with them.

I wore the MEC Agility Tights. Here’s what I loved about them.  The tights do not skimp on length and I suspect even if you are taller (which I am not) you would be pleased with the length.  They are incredibly comfortable, providing complete freedom of movement without feeling restricted anywhere.  The flexibility, breathability and moisture wicking features allowed me to almost forget I was wearing them.  They have a mesh backing behind the knees that allow for venting.  This feature was helpful in my decision to wear them instead of shorts.  There is a rear zippered pocket and a front smaller pocket that provided extra storage for gels, etc.  On top of this, they are a fantastic price. I purchased the Agility Capris after trying out the tights and I highly recommend them.

MEC tights/t-shirt

I also wore the MEC Vitality Short-Sleeved Tee.  This shirt is fantastic!  I was given the tank to try in the summer and it became my favourite tank to run in.  After testing the tank out I purchased a few more, including the t-shirt.  I love the length of the shirt.  Often I find I’m having to pull down t-shirts when I run and I do not at all with this one.  The shirt is highly breathable and light-weight.  It is made with flat seams to help prevent chaffing, and the colours are fun!  It also features some reflective elements to help you be seen when running in the dark.

Alright, back to the race.  My girlfriend and I started out together but got separated when I ran into Jean-Paul around 10-12km’s in.  I walked and listened to how he was doing at that point.  He would have been approaching 96km’s or so (having already ran 2 loops of the marathon route).  I could tell he was exhausted, you could see it in his eyes. After a quick hug I was back running.  In hindsight, I kinda wish I had stayed with him for the duration.

I felt pretty good until about 25km’s where my right arch was giving me some pain.  By 27km’s my right outside knee and right hip were also giving me grief.  I continued to run with the right side of my leg causing pain for the remainder of the race.  I’m not sure what was going on as I had not had any pain going into the marathon.  At around 26km’s I made myself sit down and loosen my laces as I felt like they were tight and cutting off circulation. Either that or my feet were swelling and they became too tight? Not really sure.  It seemed to help, but by the time I adjusted the laces, I think the damage was done.  Around 32Km’s, I began having a serious discussing with myself about NOT running the MEC Marathon but instead running the half.  I told myself, to remember this moment and be smart moving forward.  I wanted to start 2016 healthy and ready for a great winter/spring training season.

The spectators were great!  I enjoyed the cheer stations along the route.  They helped keep me going when I felt like I wanted to just walk.  I felt like I was pushing myself to keep a decent pace, like I couldn’t possibly be holding the pace I needed.  Then I’d look at my watch and be like, okay I’m doing good, this is okay.  My legs felt tired early on but somehow I just kept running.  I know we all earn the reward of every race, but I felt like I had to dig deep for this one.  It felt physically harder, both in the pain I was feeling but also in the effort I had to put out (or felt like).  Of course this plays with your head and you end up battling through your thoughts!! I did terrible again at tangents and ended up running 44.2 km’s.  In the end, I’m happy with my results.  Another successful marathon in the books.

We did it!

We did it!

We drove home after a quick shower.  A little stiff on the ride home and the next day but by Tuesday I was feeling great again.  Of course by Monday I was already debating whether I should just go for it and run the marathon 🙂  I was out for a little jog on Tuesday and felt good, more reason to run, yes?  I decided to leave it up to my coach.  He agreed and we decided to stick with the half.  I was able to get out for a trail run on Saturday.

Next up is the Ottawa MEC Race and the week after the Cookie Run with an awesome fun medal!

Do you have a race coming up?  What about a favourite fall clothing pieces you love?

Fit-Fashionable-Friday-Link-Up-250x250

When Life Gets Busy

Hitting a Busy Season

Suddenly my life is feeling crazy busy!  I’m so glad I’m entering a taper period just to try and catch up.  Does anyone else feel like this, at least occasionally?   Here’s the thing, most of us will put ourselves last when life gets busy.  If you have a family, are working outside the home and/or have other commitments that keep you busy, you understand what I’m talking about.  I’m in a season of finding a new normal, I think.

Putting running or fitness as a priority in your life can be hard.  I have been struggling lately with getting out for my runs, period.  I’ve been training consistently for over a year and a half.  I think mixing things up and creating a schedule again will help me re-commit to what honestly is very important to me, running. 🙂

So what’s my plan?  Well, that’s just it, I need to create a plan and set some new goals for the rest of the year.  My two big races are coming up this month and then I have two months to play.  So I’m looking at mixing up my workouts, working on some core/strength exercises and keeping a running base.  Come January I’ll be back to training, but in the meantime I feel like mixing up my fitness goals.  In the end, it’ll benefit my running.


PinkRunner
Last week I ran the CIBC Run for the Cure.  The weather was perfect!  I love witnessing the variety of runners/walkers who participate in this run.  Most, if not all, have in some way been touched by cancer.  My mother passed away after a 7 year long battle with breast cancer, my mother-in-law beat breast cancer and most recently my sister-in-law has just completed her treatment for a rare form of breast cancer.  Raising awareness and support especially for those who are battling this disease is close to my heart.  Our team raised over $1,700!

You’ve Got 24hrs!

How do you spend your 24hrs?  Let’s face it, many of us live very different lives.  BUT in the end, we all have 24hrs, correct?  So, what fills your time?  What is important to you?  Are you giving time to the things you “say” are important?  If not, how come?

Sometimes we need to look at how we spend our day and weeks and see if they line up with our overall goals.  Are there hours that are wasted online or watching random tv shows that we could instead use to achieve some of our goals?  Can we find even 30min. extra in a day to do something for our health?

I know I can!  I can use time online and television as “down-time” that I tend to relax with. It’s a mindless activity and quite frankly I enjoy it 😉  However, if I am complaining I’m running out of time, I think I can re-prioritize some extra time for working out.  I have a number of home workout DVDs that I LOVE.  I find trying to get to the gym and working a fitness class into my already busy schedule is difficult, so working out at home lets me control the time I do it.

So I’m re-focusing some of my goals to what is important to me.  I’ll be making a plan, writing it out on a calendar (I still use a paper calendar 🙂 ) and staying accountable with a few friends online.

Do you have a plan written out that you follow? OR do you pretty much wing it when it comes to getting a workout/run in?  Do you prefer to workout at a gym?  Or does working out at home benefit you most?

 

Run, Race and Run Some More

Training, Racing and Tapering

I’m someone who thrives on a schedule, knowing what is coming up and working backwards helps me to have focus.  This year has been a completely different experience for me.  I still have a schedule, but I have added races to my schedule more on a whim than part of a bigger plan.  I don’t know if that’s particularly good or bad thing, but I’ve been having a lot of fun!  However, I’ve been less focused on what I want to accomplish with my running.

I still have a number of races coming up and am looking forward to them all, however, putting some focus back in 2016 will be good for me.

IMG_1595This past weekend I participated in the first ever Girls Run Ottawa, hosted by Run Ottawa.  It was amazing to chat with other runners who were running their very first race.  There were a lot of teen girls running and many women of all shapes, sizes, and ages.  There was a sense of celebration.  Some women were walking it and when the last walkers came in many stuck around to cheer them on.  The course started out at the Terry Fox Facility and ran along Mooney’s Bay, to return to the facility for a second loop.  If you are in Ottawa and a woman you should have this on your list for next year!

Up Next

This Sunday I’ll be running the CIBC Run for the Cure in memory of my mother and in honour of my sister-in-law who has just completed her treatments. This was the very first race I ever participated in (2008), I’m looking forward to sharing this day with so many people who have their own stories and reasons for choosing to participate in this event.  If you would like to donate to the cause please visit my fundraising page.

The Toronto Marathon is also coming up (Oct. 18th) but I’ve been training more for the MEC Race two weeks after Toronto.  This will be my third year running the Toronto Marathon and I’m hoping for a PB.  However, this is my first year running the MEC Race and anything new or unfamiliar makes me want to get ahead of it somehow.  Last week I went out and ran up Gatineau Parkway – 8.5km and then turned around for a total of 16.5km road.  I veered off the parkway and hopped on the trails for another 6.5kms before returning to my car.

Trails have been an important part of my training this past summer and has enabled me to be injury free finally!  I’m trying to still get a few kms of trails in every week.

This week I went the other direction on the Gatineau Parkway and got confused 4kms in 🙂  Usually I’m a planner, as I’ve mentioned, but this year I’ve been so much less “rigid” and more just flowing with it.   This is an example of that.  I should have looked at a map before heading out but just assumed that the parkway would be a loop and I’d just follow it until I returned to my car.  Well, that appears to not be the case!  I mistakenly ran up Dunlop (1km climb) to Camp Fortune.  Then ran back down as it was a dead end.  I ran into some cyclists and asked for some clarity.

I was wearing my I2P patch and one of the guys saw it and said, “I see you are connected with I2P, you must be doing crazy a$$ sh*t”!  Ha, I responded with “well, I’m learning to do crazy a$$ sh*t!” IMG_1615

My coach reminds me often the achievements that I accomplish in my running/training.  I don’t always recognize it, I’m just doing my thing and getting the training done.  Maybe it’s because I am surrounded by so many amazing runners that I look up to.  I appreciate when he tells me though, it’s a good reminder. 😉

After getting some directions I ran up Fortune Parkway and headed towards the Champlain Lookout (this would add on extra kms).  As I was still unfamiliar with the route and had limited time, I returned the way I came from for an out and back.  Besides, after running up Fortune I felt it was my reward to run back down!  I now know what the route should be, so likely next week I’ll head back for an easy go at it.  Total kms was 22km on a very hilly route.  Worth mentioning, 2kms into my run, 3 small black bears ran across the road in front of me (off in the distance but I saw them)!

Time to Taper

Just over two weeks to go before the marathon.  I’ll start to taper now but likely will do one more decent run in Gatineau in preparation for the MEC Race over what I need for Toronto.  Then I’ll take some time to go stir crazy, ummm I mean time for the body to recovery and get prepared for the race.

Fall is by far my favourite running season and one of those reasons is when the leaves start to change.  The next few weeks will be such a colourful reward while running.  Just a little motivation to go up to Gatineau.fall

What are you training for?  How is your training going?  Do you have a favourite season?

 

Sticking With It

In the middle of another week of summer weather! Actually, we’re talking mid 30’s°C or higher all week!  I really do not mind summer weather but fall is by far my favourite season.  As I’m preparing to head out to the Maritimes for my upcoming Tartan Twosome Race, things are seriously getting busy!

This stage in marathon training requires some consistency and the long runs are very necessary.  This is when some sacrifices often need to be made, the long run needs to happen.  Last week I managed to get my long run in on Saturday (instead of the usual Sunday morning with my running group).  I really enjoyed this run.  I put a shout out on my facebook page looking for runners to join me on part of my route, hoping to have some company for at least part of it.  Two friends responded, so we planned a route to accommodate the pick up/drop off of each runner.  I started off with 3km to meet the first runner, we ran 5km together and picked up the 2nd runner, together the three of us ran 10km.  We then dropped off the first runner and continued for another 7km or so where we split and I finished the last 7km on my own.  It was perfect!  I loved starting and finishing on my own, but really appreciated having a mix of company to get through the hours of running.

I absolutely love the running community.  I really enjoy hearing about the lives of my fellow runners.  We obviously have running as our common thread, but when we are in the company of others over a longer period of time, we get to hear about other aspects of each other’s lives.  I have always believed that I am who I am today because of where I have come from. My past has shaped me, not defined me, but played a large role in who I am today.  I think the same is true of others.  We all have a story, we are all experiencing life differently.  I love hearing how others have overcome their past or have achieved different success in their lives.  One of the runners I ran with on Saturday just completed her first Ironman and I got to hear a little about her experience while we ran.  She had a goal and she worked insanely hard for years to achieve it.  She didn’t give up.  You should check out her blog and the recap of her experience, it will be worth the read!

This week I will need to get my long run in on Friday.  Getting my long run in a day early this past weekend worked out beautifully. It allowed me to have Sunday off, run Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, take Thursday off and be out for a very early, long run on Friday.

Do you have a running community?  Do you run with a run group?  What about online, are you connected with other runners online?

Falling Forward

Last post I revealed that I’m a numbers girl.  Maybe because I’m a visual learner and numbers help me see how I’m progressing and how I can improve.   I like tracking my runs and have recently started tracking my calories (ratio of fats, carbs and protein).  It’s at this stage in my marathon training where my nutrition counts the most.  Not just for fuelling my body for proper energy but also eating the right foods to help with recovery.

I usually run by “feel”, however I get excited when my coach lays out a training schedule that includes specific pace targets (numbers), doing ladders (progressing from slow to fast and back down to slow, repeats), etc.  I haven’t done any speed work this summer as we have been avoiding injury focusing on getting healthy.   Another thing with numbers, does anyone else round up their runs?  I mean, heaven forbid stopping at 10.23km, at that point I must continue to make it an even 11km!  I usually just add a bit to round it off to a nice even number.  Yesterdays run I was at 13.32km and had to round it up to a 14km run. 🙂

I like having a schedule and working with a plan.  I set goals and then work backwards to make a schedule that allows me to complete my goal.  I can be flexible with where I run, who I run with, most times at what pace I will run at, etc.  However, I need to know what the overall month looks like so I can work it into my life.  I usually have my races/goals figured out well in advance.  This is the first time I can remember still working out fall races.  I’m in a transition of moving towards more trail running.  After running the Niagara 50K, the focus was on getting healthy.  I had been dealing with nagging lower leg issues and my coach believed trail running would be beneficial to my overall running (I think he was setting me up, personally). 😉

Turns out I’m pretty good at it.  I love being out on the trails and it has helped me tremendously!  I’m not about to win any races anytime soon, but I’m pain-free and having fun.  Just this past weekend I ran the I2P Run which celebrates trail running and supports Impossible to Possible.  Last year I ran the 23K as a great introduction to the race.  This year my coach suggested I run the 15K to experience the more technical trails of the race.  Next year I will do either the 50K or 100K!  Just putting that out there.

I am finally ready to add some more intentional focus on training.  We’ve been in a “let’s stay healthy and build up slowly” mode for almost 2 months.  Clearly it worked!

I’ve been going back and forth on whether I can/should run back to back marathons in the fall.  It was a Spring goal I had that was replaced with running the Ultra instead (3 weeks after my Spring marathon).  I’m still undecided but am leaning towards doing my marathon and following it with the MEC half marathon (a challenge on it’s own), with the option of doing the marathon if I decide I’m able to.

Fall Race Schedule:

Tartan Twosome Maritime Race Weekend (Sept. 11/12)
5K/21.1K

Check out the BLING!  I’m so excited for this race.

Sunrise Run

Sunrise Run

Sunset Run

Sunset Run

Tartan Twosome (bonus for doing the Friday and Saturday Runs)

Tartan Twosome (bonus for doing the Friday and Saturday Runs)

Girl’s Run Ottawa (Sept. 27)
5K

Run Ottawa has organized the first-ever Girls Run Ottawa, a new race for all women in the National Capital Region.  The goal is to bring together women of all ages to build a social circle based around physical activity and having fun.

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (Oct. 18)
Marathon

This will be my third time running this marathon.  The details are still being worked out but I may be running this one in costume!

MEC Ottawa Race (Oct. 31)
21.1K OR Marathon

MEC Ottawa presents THE 2015 must do bucket list race in the Ottawa/Gatineau region.  Lots of people are talking about this race. It promises to be challenging and incredibly beautiful.

Cookie Run (Nov. 7)
10K

This run is a major fundraiser for Girl Guides’ travel initiatives and the last major event hosted by Run Ottawa for the year.

Resolution Run (Dec. 31)
10K

I can’t remember when I started this tradition but it is a great way to finish off the year.  Also, this year’s vest and hat combination is awesome.

The Army Run (Sept. 20) is still up for debate but regardless I will volunteer at the event.  I decided this year that I wanted to support more local runs.  I became a member of Run Ottawa and I’m looking at more events with MEC Ottawa.

Speaking of MEC, there are sales going on right now and I just ran with this awesome tank (happens to be on sale!) and it just might be my new favourite!

Of all the races, I think the MEC race is the one that I’m more nervous excited about.  I like that!  It means that I’m continuing to challenge myself and doing things that scare me just a little.  I love that MEC has training groups to help encourage people just starting out with trail running.

Knowing I have the MEC race coming up and that it is a hilly route has motivated me to not skip my hill workouts!

hills

What are your fall goals/races?  How do you continue to challenge yourself?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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?

 

 

I Can and I Will

Training Week In Review

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

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

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

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

Here are a few of my current favourite headbands:

rungirljustrun

Some days just get it done!

unbroken

Just keep going

Ican

Yup, do not let others bring you down

buddy

Makes me think of my coach

madhere

Thankful for all the crazies in my life!

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

Spring Freshness

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Running Towards Something

Training Week in Review

March 9 – March 15

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

Do you have dreams?

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

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

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

So for me that means a busy race calendar.  We are all different and our personalities play a role in how we tackle our goals.  I like to plan, even when a race wasn’t part of the original plan.  I think it is important to be as prepared as possible to avoid injuries.  For myself, it might mean using a race as a training run for the bigger goal races.  Listening to my body more to understand when to pull back or perhaps to shut the mind off as I’m over thinking things.  I’m also being more proactive with acupuncture and massage.
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Fine tuning my nutrition is becoming more important to me to ensure that my body is getting the right fuel to handle the amount of training that is required this year.  Limiting some of my favourite things, or perhaps giving them up all together.  I’m also looking at ways to improve my training.  I’m researching more about heart rate training and running in my specific training zones.  I’m not there yet, but I’m always looking for ways to improve.

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

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

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

Never stop dreaming!

Flipping Forward in Training

Training week in review

March 2 – March 8

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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