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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Running Adventures with Friends

Depending on where you live, this past week may have brought some snow!  Not everyone is an all season runner, but for myself it’s no longer up for debate.  My goals keep getting bigger and therefore my running season continues to expand.

My training in 2015 started pretty much in January, leading up to some early spring races, one of which was Around the Bay.  It only continued to grow from there!  Before I knew it I was booked with races in May, June, August, September, October and into the first weekend of November.  Not all marathons, but regardless I seemed to be racing most weekends.  I have one race left to go on New Years Eve.

The race I think I was most looking forward to this Fall was the Ottawa MEC Race.  I wasn’t originally going to run it because it was 2 weeks after running the Toronto Marathon.  After having a conversation with Chris Chapman, the race director, I decided I wanted to see how I’d do in what is quickly becoming known as one of Canada’s toughest races. Besides how many races offer poutine at the end! I had seriously considered running the marathon, however, after running Toronto I had a minor lower leg issue surfacing and did not want to risk an injury.

The morning of the race was beautiful.  I woke up excited and nervous.  I had gone up to Gatineau Park a few times for training but really did not know what to expect of the hills for race day.  I happened to run into a friend of mine before the race started.  She was already running with a friend of hers but invited me to join them if I wanted.  So I did, at least I figured starting out it would be nice to be accompanied by others.

The race start line is approximately a km from the finish line.  So it required a light jog or walk down the approximately 1km hill (the race is set up to require a km climb at the finish, brutal)!

By the time we made it to the start line we had about 30sec. to get organized and then we were off!  I believe the first 4 km’s or so were relatively flat with minimal climbs.  Then the hills began!

MECrace

The views throughout the race were spectacular, but this one was worth stopping for.

Beaver damn

Beaver damn

At the top of the longest stretch of an incline someone yelled out in victory and I think those of us within earshot celebrated with them!  The best part was the 4-6km decline towards the end of the race, followed up of course by the last km climb to the finish line.

Allyson, Kristina and myself managed to keep each other in our sights for most of the race.  During some of the more difficult climbs Allyson came up with a 10sec. run/10 sec. walk chant to get it done!  We used this near the finish line as well.   You can do anything for 10sec., right?!

mecracefriends

This was the first time I met Kristina. What an experience to share.  We ended up with a very respectable time considering we were only wanting to complete it!  I loved the company and would seriously consider doing the marathon in the future.

The week after this race I ran the Cookie Run.  I decided early on in 2015 that I was going to participate in more local runs.  This was the 2nd last race of the year for me.  The weather was perfect, the course was fantastic with a 5K loop, that we did twice.

What I love about the running community is the friendships you can make.  Your life can be completely different from one another and yet running can bring you together.

Start line

Start line

That’s how I met Agnes.  We are huge supporters of I2P and through mutual online friends we connected.  There was an event where Ray Zahab (founder of Impossible2Possible and adventure runner) and Christopher McDougall (author of Born to Run and Natural Born Heroes) were speaking in order to raise support and awareness for I2P.  Agnes was coming up to Ottawa for the event so she figured she might as well run the Cookie Run in the morning. 🙂

leannerace 2We made arrangements for coffee the day before to meet in person for the first time and then decided to run together the next morning.  It was a blast!!  We ran very well and talked throughout most of the race.  So fun!

I’m currently enjoying my down time from formal training.  I am continuing to get out for runs and doing back to back longer runs in the trails on the weekends, no pace in mind just a length of time on my feet.

2016 goals are now set and I’m working on the details.  I cannot wait to announce my BIG race goals!  This year will be more about training and much less racing!

How about you?  Do you have your 2016 goals set yet?

 

What Every Eye and Heart Wants

My absolute two favourite running accessories

Living in Ottawa, Canada means that I am blessed with four seasons.  My favourite season, for many reasons, is fall.  Running year round means having a collection of gear, accessories, seasonal clothing and a multitude of tried and true tips/tricks that I’ve learned over the years.

I love the running community!  It is a place where everyone runs for different reasons, has their own motivation and goals.  Some are just starting out, others have been running their whole lives.  It is a community where we share experiences, knowledge and simply the joy or love for running.  I know a number of recreational runners. However, most of the runners I hang out with have a schedule, are training towards a specific goal/race and have acquired a lot of stuff! Let’s face it, there is a ton of amazing running gadgets, gear, equipment, clothing, etc. that just makes running better!

Sunglasses

I run outside all year round, this means I’m exposed to all kinds of weather conditions.  I have a hard time finding sunglasses that fit properly (What can I say, I have unique facial features 😉 ).  I came across Sundog Eyewear Sunglasses at a race expo and immediately fell in love with the fit.  I found them late fall and wore them throughout the winter!

helps keep wind and snow out of my eyes (vented so they do not fog up)

helps keep wind and snow out of my eyes (vented so they do not fog up)

My past sunglasses have fogged up during some cold winter conditions, but the Sundog sunglasses were vented just right and did not fog up.

I purchased two more pair at the next expo and haven’t worn a different brand since.  I now have several pairs, in a variety of styles and colours.  Every pair is awesome and allows me to match with headbands, etc. when I feel like it. (seriously I’m not usually a girly girl or do I care to be all matchy matchy but with running if I can, why not)!

IMG_5445 IMG_5411 IMG_5380 IMG_5643There are a host of other reasons to love Sundog Sunglasses.  Sundog is committed to offering outstanding value, impeccable styling, dependability and superior protection from the elements.  I have found all of these things to be 100% true!

They are passionate about style but driven to provide their customers with the very best in eye protection and focus on being a leader when it comes to technology.  I’ll leave the details of their technology to them by encouraging you to read about the technology behind their lenses.

I will say that there is an obvious difference in their lenses.  I often forget I’m even wearing sunglasses.  They simply provide more visual clarity than anything I have ever worn before.

IMG_0918I recently decided to try their more casual line of sunglasses.  I love the look of the aviator sunglasses but could never find a pair to fit properly.  They are always too big for my face, either overpowering my face or fitting too loose to fit securely.  I now have 3 pairs of aviator style sunglasses from Sundog and all three pair fit beautifully and I feel good wearing them.

So whether I’m running, driving, walking the dogs or simply out enjoying the sunshine, I can be found sporting a pair of Sundog Sunglasses.

Heart Rate Monitor

Something perhaps unknown about me, is I have a weird obsession with numbers.  Even during mundane tasks I catch myself counting.  So it’s no surprise to me that I also like numbers when it comes to running.  I like to track my kilometres throughout the year/month/week.  I appreciate knowing what my current pace is and my average pace after a long run.   I use the Runkeeper app to track my distance during a run and to keep a record of my overall km’s.  I also use my Garmin to monitor my pace during my runs.  Most recently I’ve been keeping a record of my heart rate during my training runs.  I love learning more about myself and how I can improve.  My latest “gadget/accessory” is the Mio Strapless Heart Rate Monitor.  I never ran with a heart rate monitor, as the few times I attempted to, I had to use one with a strap and I would chafe.  After discovering the Mio Heartrate Monitor I am now consistently using it to monitor my training zones and to get more out of my training.  I was able to pair the Mio heart rate monitor with Runkeeper so now my heart rate details are also being logged.  The monitor has the ability to monitor my heart rate, track calories burned, track distance, speed and pace.  It can also be linked to a variety of apps (using bluetooth 4.0 transmission), it can be used as a watch or as a timer. Also, it has a battery life of 20hrs.   Speaking of holding a charge, how easy is this to charge the monitor?!

USB plugs easily into your computer (or anywhere reallY)

USB plugs easily into your computer (or anywhere reallY)

Mio Heart Rate Monitors also play well with others!  Here is a list of apps that are compatible: Apps

However,  it isn’t necessary as there is a Mio Go App that you can pair with your wristband to track your heart rate, pace and distance, including a map and other cool features.   I’m still in transition from using some old favourites and discovering all the cool features of this new amazing equipment.  Find out how you can train smarter with a Mio Heart Rate Monitor: Why is Heart Rate Training Important? 

I have a small wrist and was not sure how the band was going to fit. Turns out you wear it a little higher on the forearm.  It is very comfortable and I forget I’m wearing it.  The face of the band is large enough to see a variety of the features available.  The Mio Go App will allow you to explore even more features.  There are simply way too many things about this heart rate monitor that I love to get into but seriously, go check out their website and have a look around.

mioblue

 

Worth mentioning is the blue, green and red light that is easily visible while I’m running.  It tells me when I’m running below (blue), within (green) and above (red) my target heart rate zones.  This helps me to adjust my run accordingly just with a glance down at my wrist.miogreen

I absolutely love the possibilities of this heart rate monitor to enhance all my training needs!  I was so impressed with this product that I reached out to the company and became an ambassador!  You can order a heart rate monitor of your choice here: Mio Global.  (see below on how you can save 25%)

I truly love both of these products and believe in them so much that I asked for a special discount for my readers to try for themselves.  Message me if you’d like to get the discounts.

Full Disclosure: After purchasing 3 pairs of Sundog sunglasses I was provided with a few pairs to do a review on.  In addition I was provided with the heart rate monitor to do an honest review and have since become an ambassador.

 

 

 

 

So You Want To Run An Ultra?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IMG_0435

View outside our hotel

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

IMG_0457_2

Orleans Runners (missing some)

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

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

At the falls (halfway)

At the falls (halfway)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Around The Bay Recap

Training in Review

March 23 – 29th

Monday: Yoga/Extended Stretch
Tuesday: 5K easy
Wednesday: 5K easy – TRX Basic Training
Thursday: 5K easy
Friday: – TRX Basic Training
Saturday: Nice long walk
Sunday: 30K Race

It was a different week in training as my coach gave me a taper week.  I wasn’t sure how I’d respond to it, as sometimes pulling back can be hard, but I welcomed the rest.  My eldest son was preparing to leave to Iceland, so there were enough things to occupy me.  Before I knew it we were dropping him off at the airport Friday evening. I still  had not packed myself to head out early the next morning on my own trip to Hamilton, ON for Around The Bay.

Road Trip

around the bay group

Bus Buddies

I was up at 5am Saturday to get ready and on my way to meet the bus and the rest of my traveling companions.  Run Ottawa hosted a bus trip to get Ottawa runners to Around The Bay.  It was a fantastic price and, in my opinion, a fabulous way to travel.  The cost included the bus trip and hotel.  We left Ottawa at 7:30am and were brought directly to the Expo to pick up our race kits.  We were given time at the expo to look around, go for a walk or do a shake out run.  At a predetermined time we were back on the bus and taken into Burlington to the hotel that was secured for us.  Once there, we were on our own for dinner but the hotel had prepared pasta for their menu and there were a number of restaurants across the street.

My little group chose to go to Boston Pizza. We didn’t kill nearly enough time during dinner, so we walked around and hit some of the few places still open.

Finally, it seemed to be a respectable time to head to our rooms and get ready for the morning race.

Rise and Shine

After a relatively decent sleep we were up by around 6:30am.  It was weird for me as the race wasn’t starting until 9:30am.  There was no real rushing around and we were to meet in the hotel lobby to board the bus for 8am, giving us lots of time once we arrived back in Hamilton for the race. IMG_5535

The Race

We all started out together but as most runners know, once we start, we are really running our own races.  So high-fives and a quick, “see you at the finish” and then we are off.

I really did not know what to expect, however I heard it was hilly and of course this year the “heart-break” hill was not a factor due to a rerouting of the course due to construction.  I can’t compare it to other years, this being my first time running Around The Bay.  As a member of Team Awesome for the Ottawa Race Weekend I was easy to spot on the course with my #TORW2015 shirt/headband.  Running past “Ottawa” I had to stop for a quick photo.

Ottawa

Ottawa Road Sign

I settled in to a decent pace quite early and maintained that pace through the rolling hills that came our way.  At around 18K or so I realized I was close to getting a PB for my half distance (21K) and picked it up a little.  Of course, this is when the rolling hills became more frequent, longer and I think steeper.  I somehow pushed through this to the 22K mark.  At this point I gave myself permission to ease up a bit.    Around the 22.5K  point I suddenly felt pain on the top of my left foot.  It was like my third and fourth toes were broken.  Every step caused me pain, so much so that I questioned if I should stop.  Then I had a chat with myself and concluded that if they were broken (or stress fracture), completing my run was not going to change the recovery I would need, so I tried to shut the pain out and kept running.

IMG_5541I enjoyed different parts of this run.  Particularly running the overpasses and on-ramps.  The famous hill at the end may have been omitted due to construction but the Grim Reapers were still around nearing 27K.   People were spread out along the route to cheer us on.  Of special note along the route, there was a sweet little darling standing on the road while runners ran past, holding out a kleenex box for the runners. 🙂  I am not sure if anyone needed a kleenex but it was hard not to run up to her and get one.  I love when I see little ones enjoying being out and excited to high-five runners.  I hope it’s a moment for them to be inspired to maybe one day participate in their own run/event.

Coming into the arena at the end was very cool and a new experience for me.  It was a little steep running down the ramp but coming into the arena as your name is being called out puts an extra ooomph into your step to push and cross that finish line. IMG_5544

I am very happy with my finish and proud of myself for pushing through discomfort.  As I have said in previous posts, this past winter’s training was about building confidence and this race sure did that for me.  My coach actually told me in our pre-race pep talk that this was what his hope was for this race.

Bridget and I after the race (my roomie)

Bridget and I after the race

I walked away with this: “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable”.  No doubt as I continue training this will be my mantra for a while. 🙂

Have you had to overcome anything during a race?  Pain? Negative Thoughts?

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?

 

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.

flipbelt8

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.

flipbelt5 flipbelt6

 

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?

 

 

Enough with the laundry already!

Training Week in Review

This week we mixed things up again and it was a great week.

Monday: Yoga/Extended Stretching
Tuesday: Steady 10K – Urban Running (lots of fun, basically looking for all the conditions I usually avoid 😉 )
Wednesday:  5K EASY – wasn’t so easy LOL the run before with all that fun made for some tired legs.
Thursday:  7K Alternate fast/easy – practiced running at my max for a km then eased it up and repeated 3x.
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  17.5K – the weather improved to a feels like -20ºC, light snow throughout the run.  Overall great run.
Sunday:  15K – temps even better at -10 or so.  75% of this run was messy….very greasy running conditions.  Add to it tired legs from the long run on Saturday and this was a challenging run.  Stayed consistent and felt good about it.

With all this outdoor running you can imagine the amount of laundry that builds up!  Some days I find getting out the door to be a bit of a chore.  Running indoors is so much easier.  Grab some shorts, a sports bra/tank, socks, shoes and you are good to go.  Running outside requires layers, fuel, hydration, music/phone, etc.  If I miss a midweek laundry day it’s crazy how much laundry accumulates with all my running attire.  I probably have more running clothes than regular clothes now.  (hint 😉 if you ever need to buy me something)

treadmill vs. outside

treadmill vs. outside

The above winter running photo is just one run worth of clothes, now multiply that by 5 and add a jacket or two in the mix.  My husband is amazing and is so helpful around the house.  He often will do laundry, but even he hates how much running clothes need to be washed every week.  We often negotiate who transfers the wash when it’s my running stuff as it all needs to be hung to dry 🙂

I was given the opportunity to try a Toilettree Bamboo Product for review and I immediately requested their bamboo laundry hamper.

contents of box - easy to assemble

contents of box – easy to assemble

 

I love the double compartment for sorting

I love the double compartment for sorting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I opened the box I was relieved to see how easy it was to assemble.  The fresh smell of bamboo was amazing.  I don’t know if I’ve smelled bamboo before.  The outside structure of the hamper is very solid and there is a hinge top to keep things tidy.  The separate insert is very easy to remove if you want to wash it.  I personally love the two compartments that allow me to sort the laundry before laundry day.  It makes grabbing a quick load easy.  I would 100% recommend this product for the simplicity of assembling it, the practicality of the double compartments and of course the beauty of the product itself.  I will likely purchase a second one for the laundry room.

We recently renovated the master walk-in closet and this hamper fit in beautifully.  It holds so much laundry and really helps to keep our closet tidy.  This hamper is so clean and fresh looking.  I’ve been using it for about 8 weeks now and I know it’s just a hamper but honestly it’s so nice!

Fit perfectly in my closet - love it!

Fit perfectly in my closet – love it!

ToiletTree Products has graciously offered one of my readers the chance to win one of these hampers (Available to US and Canadian Residents Only)

Comment on this post why you would like this beautiful new hamper for yourself.

Please go and like the following facebook pages and twitter accounts:

Leanne’s Facebook

Leanne’s Twitter

Toilettree Facebook

Toilettree Twitter

The winner will be announced next Monday, March 2nd.  Good Luck!

Defensive Running

Training Week in Review

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

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

Winter running adds different challenges and dangers to your run.

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

Perfectly groomed conditions

Perfectly groomed conditions

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

Defensive Running

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

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

Make eye contact

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

The direction of your run

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

Running with blindspots

blindspotcross over

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

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

Intersections with Yield signs

photo 2 (9)

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

Be careful with slipping

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

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

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

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

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

Training Week in Review

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

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

Need help sticking to your winter training plan?

Know your WHY,  have a PLAN and JOIN others.

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

Here are my whys:

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

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

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

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

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

Last but not least, BELIEVE you can do it.

My coach and mentor Ray Zahab says this:

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

Going the distance means pushing beyond our perceived limits…

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

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