Bags and Hills

So thankful to see the temperature rising!

Making the decision to tackle a huge stage race, completely out of my comfort zone, was for a reason. If I wanted to inspire others to dream big, then I had to believe I could accomplish a big goal for myself.  Read my previous blog on Bringing Together My Two Loves for One Grand Adventure for more information on who I am running for.

Wishing does not accomplish much, you need to commit to working hard for your goals/dreams. Training for Grand to Grand Ultra (G2G) is so very much more than the event itself (although I’m sure it will change me forever), its about the journey getting there.

Once your application is accepted for G2G you are invited to join a private facebook group. The members of the group are either previous G2G participants or current participants training for the race coming up. Grand to Grand Ultra 2016 will be the events 5th year and as a way to celebrate, many past participants have been invited back to run it again. It’s hard not to feel intimidated knowing that there will be very experienced runners way ahead of you on the course. However,  I can imagine that these faster runners will be great cheerleaders for the middle and back of the pack runners, on the course hours longer ever day. Just as intimating is knowing that, like previous years, there will be some who will not complete the race. For some it might be lack of training, but I think for most, there are things that can happen outside of our control. Regardless of why, anyone who does not finish would likely be devastated. There are months and months of training required and sacrifices that need to be made to put long runs in week after week. There is also the cost involved, registration, flights, hotels, etc.

I could not imagine tackling this kind of race without a running coach. I had no idea when I first met my coach that I would be even considering anything like this. My goal when I hired Ray was to have an experienced coach take my running to another level. I’m pretty sure neither one of us could have thought that I’d be training for G2G just 16 months later.  Less than a year ago the thought of an 80K was on my radar, although just barely and that for me is a challenging goal. The way this race came together was bigger then ourselves, and I knew I had to go for it!

Okay, so update to my  training! Ray agreed to the big goal of G2G if I made the commitment to run a local stage race coming up the beginning of August. Bad Beaver Ultra will introduce me to stage racing and Ray’s  goal for me is to build my confidence for G2G. This is the first year for this race and he happens to be one of the organizers. Currently our focus is getting prepared for this 3-day stage race covering 150km in Gatineau Park.

Another focus, is figuring out the right back pack, this has been a wee bit of a challenge. It appears Ottawa is limited in trail running packs, so I’ve had to order online. Obviously this is not ideal as you cannot test it out beforehand. As a Canadian runner participating in an International event I was really hoping to find and use a red pack, I know silly but hey why not. The Inov-8 is a great pack and met that silly ideal, however it only comes in one size/unisex.

I’m only 5’3.5″ and do not have a very long torso so playing with the pack and figuring out just how it can fit right is challenging, although likely can be custom fit if required by making some adjustments to the pack and the straps.

I recently tried an Osprey Hornet 32 and it worked pretty good, but again seems a bit large and I have most of the adjustments on the smallest setting. My coach and I were searching for a women’s specific fit to try out and think that it might be worth trying the Osprey Rev 24.  Most of the packs recommended to me can only be purchased online, so tracking a Rev 24 here in Ottawa was amazing!  I managed to get the very last one and put it on hold so I can go retrieve it.

My favourite spot on the loop I'm running.

My favourite spot on the loop I’m running.

Training now includes a lot more hills to help build up strength and no doubt mental toughness!  We’ve changed my double long run dates, giving me Sundays off completely.  I’m loving this!  It gives me a day off to relax and enjoy before a new training week and work week commences.  Mondays and Wednesdays are now easy runs (for now),Tuesdays are all about hills and Thursdays are off.  Friday and Saturday are back to back long runs with hills throughout the run, increasing the distance on both days every weekend. I’ve only completed two weeks of this and am amazed at how encouraged I am. I feel like I have nothing left at the end of my runs and then I get up and do it again the next day. I’m also encouraged in the improvement I’m seeing in my ability to tackle hills.  Hills that used to be daunting to me no longer affect me the same. It’s not that they are no longer tough, but I view them, or go at them with a different mindset.

I am now entering a stage in training that is new for me. Like when I was training for my first marathon, every weekend promises new challenges but with it new reward.

What about you? Are you experiencing anything new in your training? Are you continuing to challenge yourself with your goals?

 

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

Setbacks or Injuries – Do They Hold You Back?

When I’m training for something, I’m all in!  I am dedicated and focused and try my best to follow a plan.  My husband is always amazed at how committed and disciplined I can be.   That’s not to say it’s easy, however I try not to think too much and just do what is scheduled! 🙂

So when I’m injured, or taking things down a notch to allow for recovery, it’s hard for me.  It’s hard not to be “on” all the time.  I like structure and being focused.  Not being able to run drives me crazy!  I tend to fall back on nutrition, tweaking my “fuel” more and finding new ways to get good nutrition in.  I get on Pinterest more during this time!! (Are we following each other?)

Just before the marathon at the end of October I started getting a pain in my right ankle/arch area.  It became quite evident on marathon day that there was an issue there.  I took the appropriate time for recovery before getting back into my running but the arch pain has  lingered on.

I have a fantastic team around me and trust  them completely!  They have  been working on dealing with the soft tissue damage and I’ve scaled back the running to give time to heal while we figure things out.  In fact, I haven’t ran at all in the past 7 days!  Seriously, 7 days and it’s driving me crazy!  It’s such a minor issue, however being in the foot it is not one that I can ignore.  I am usually a very optimistic person, however, mentally this is a bit of a battle for me.  Having suffered from stress fractures in the past, this is now a new fear of mine, and it can kill confidence!

With such huge goals for 2015 I cannot start my year with this nagging issue going on.  I must get to the bottom of it.   We are 99% sure it is soft-tissue related and can be dealt with, but it’s funny how that 1% can over shadow things.

Today I am getting out for a run.  I will pay close attention to how I’m feeling and report back to my team.  I’m also having a scan that should confirm 100% if it is only the soft-tissue affected.

Throughout my years of running I have  been the one to make decisions about what, when and how I do things.  Choosing to trust others to make the decisions for me when it comes to my training schedule is hard but it is the decision I made when I enlisted their help!

piyoI’m not sitting around doing nothing though 🙂  I’ve started Basic Training with the TRX to build some core strength, I’m doing PiYo 2-3x/week, and I’m focusing on my diet with an emphasis on avoiding  inflammatory foods and more protein.

More than anything I need to get my head in the game, build my confidence again so I can go into January confident and strong.  Training is as much mental as it is physical.  So I am working hard to trust myself, to trust my body and believe that I will have a very successful running year in 2015!

Have you ever had to overcome fear, disappointment or a lack of confidence related to overcoming past injuries or setbacks?  Would love to hear your experience.

 

A Quick Look Back – Exciting Things For 2015

This time of the year excites me!  I love looking back and evaluating how the year went.  Often, the year didn’t go quite the way I plannedfoot. Through every experience, highs and lows, personal bests and setbacks or injuries, there is always an opportunity to learn and discover more about myself and, if I’m lucky, about others.  This year was no different and through my injury I was connected to my now running coach and a ton of other great people.

2014 Year in Review:

Around The Bay and Ottawa Marathon were misses due to injury.  My planned marathon for Calgary was downgraded to the 5K just so I could experience the race 🙂 My daughter and I volunteered and loved it, as usual, and I dressed up for the first time ever in a race to celebrate running through the decades.   I started training for the Toronto Marathon as soon as my boot came off, and had a PB on race day.  I ran my very first trail run, a 23K with the I2P run  in Gatineau, QC, dressed up for the Ghost Run and ran one of my favourites, in the pouring rain, the Army Run!

Some Highlights of 2014

Some Highlights of 2014

Ottawa Foam Fest

Ottawa Foam Fest

My husband and daughter participated in their very first races this year (Strides for Ethan and Ottawa Foam Fest), it was amazing to do these with them.  A few other smaller races and to top the year off I hired a running coach.  Lots of firsts this year!

Setting Goals for 2015

Dream Big

Dream Big

This is also a time that I am looking ahead.  I’m planning new race goals, distances, training schedules, and making arrangements for out of town events.  Some events are still under wraps but staying true to myself, I am setting goals that take me beyond my comfort zone.

One of my goal races this year is The Ottawa Race Weekend Marathon.  I originally planned on running my first marathon in Ottawa (and second) but due to injuries was side-lined from accomplishing this.  I ended up running my first and second out of town.  I am determined that 2015 is my year to run the Marathon in the city I call home.

I am so thrilled to have been invited to join The Ottawa Race Weekend’s Team Awesome. This is such an incredible honour for me.  To share my love for running, encourage others to set race goals and connect with other runners throughout our journey to race day is something I’m already so passionate about – being able to do all of this as part of Team Awesome is a forever memory in the making!!

You can follow the entire Team Awesome on a variety of social media sites.  We will be using #TORW2015 to connect and chat with all of you.   We all have different strengths, personalities, interests and experiences so you’ll likely relate to more than one of us.  Meet Team Awesome

If you’ve ran the Ottawa Race Weekend before then you know it’s a fantastic race and an incredible way to see the city.  If you have not experienced this race for yourself, it’s a must and you should seriously register.  Register Here 

IMG_0168

Night Race Kit Pickup

I also love volunteering for race kit pick up every year for Ottawa Race Weekend, as this is something my daughter and I do for numerous races in Ottawa.  We even convinced my son to come with us for one event.   This is such a great way for your kids to be inspired by others, share something with you that you love to do, and in their words, get cool free stuff!  You’ll see me at Race Pick Up again this year – say hi if you see me!

 

 

Acknowledging the Wins!

Do you set goals?  Are you always looking ahead at what is coming up or do you take time to reflect on where you have come from?

How often do we take the time to just enjoy the moment or take in the day of a particular event or race.

I always have another goal or race coming up.  It’s how I get up the next day and keep going.  There is not a finish in sight for me but just moments and events to check off one at a time.

Having hired a running coach I am no longer “in control” of my running schedule and have submitted myself entirely to his plans and schedule for me.  Part of my fall race plans included the Army Run.  My coach suggested I run it hard.  Now this can be up for debate with people as I’m training for a fall marathon (just 4 weeks away from the Army Half).  Some choose to run it as such, a training run, slow and steady and others will race it.  The difference when it falls into your training and is not your goal race is that you do not taper for it, you just run it.  Tapering allows your body to recover before the race, and of course you’d take time to recover after as well.  Army Run

After being told to race it, I had a time goal in mind.  To beat last years time.  I was short 18 sec. to accomplishing this and a tad disappointed when I realized how close I came.  When sending in my weekly report to my coach, I reflected on my week in review.  I quickly remembered that it was only 4 short months ago that I was removing a cast that I had on for 3 months!  I had come back from a serious stress fracture (including a secondary minor one).  I built my running back up quickly and most importantly I remained injury free!

So in fact, my race really was a victory for me.  I had been training differently, focusing on building strength and using different muscles for only 3 short weeks. I went into the race after a hard training week, including a long run the day before, and I experienced some special challenges the morning of the race, and yet I still came in ONLY 18sec. short of my time last year.

My disappointment very quickly turned around and I was proud of how I ran.  Proud that I have worked hard at correcting my running technique to run more efficiently and injury free and the Army run wasn’t my goal race. 🙂

Next up is my second marathon in Toronto.  I hope to beat last year’s time, but again I have to celebrate the fact that after an injury I am going to be back running a full marathon and therefore need to be proud of that accomplishment regardless of my time.  Getting a “personal best” is the bonus I hope to experience, however the real win has been the journey of getting to the race.  The countless hours and kilometres that I’ve invested to achieve this goal.

ArmyRun DoneI’ve had an exceptional training season, new friends, new connections, being part of special groups including the opportunity to be a Digital Champion for my goal marathon and being given the incredible opportunity to test out new running gear and become an ambassador for some of the gear I’ve tested out and loved.

So my question to you:  Have you taken a moment to celebrate where you are today?  The personal development or steps that you’ve taken to achieve a goal you have.  Again, it doesn’t have to be running related.  Are you still moving in the direction of the goals you’ve set for yourself?  Are you better today than you were say, even one month ago?  Remember why you are doing what you are doing and celebrate what you have already accomplished.

Keep going. 🙂

Travelling for Training

Again, life has been busier and I’ve missed more runs with my running group than I had hoped for.  Still getting my runs in but more and more on my own.  I started hills and felt like a pro while doing them. 🙂

Being a part of the amazing  Digital Champion Team (DC’s) for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon means that there are a variety of events happening in Toronto.  There are a handful of us DC’s who do not live in Toronto therefore we must travel if we want to participate in these events.  The event I chose to travel for was the Beaches Jazz Run 20K Training Run.

I managed to get 3 others to join me and our travel plans were set!  We’d leave on the Saturday morning, drive to Toronto, relax Saturday night and be up early for a 7:45am meet and greet with other DC’s before the run began.

Travelling with others that you do not know well can be risky, but when you have health and fitness as a common denominator there is always lots to chat about!   Turned out to be a great group to travel with!  We happened upon an amazing restaurant for dinner, relaxed and managed to get to bed at a reasonable time.  We had three alarms set and were all awake for  5:20am, because we needed time for coffee and of course proper fuelling for our run.  Everything went smoothly and we were off to the Beaches.

I enjoyed meeting other DC’s who I’m getting to know through our connections online.  It’s so nice to meet in person the people that you are cheering for and believing with to accomplish the goals they have set for themselves.  Also, knowing that others were not there as they have had to put their plans on hold.  Knowing all to well, how very difficult it is to be “forced” to post-pone your dream because of life’s circumstances or injury.  When you are passionately driven to go after your dreams, it’s hard to have to sit back or change and adjust your goals so that you remain healthy.  It’s making sure you have balance and that the timetable will work with what is going on in your life.  I admire and respect these people for picking the hard choice and doing what is best for them!

It turned out to be a HOT day!  The humidity was ridiculous and there did not seem to be much of a breeze, even though we ran along the water for a time.  There were pacers for the training run but as far as I could tell only for continuous runners.  I choose to do 10/1’s for my long training runs.  So I lined up near the back, also noticing the slowest pacer was for a 4hr. 10min. marathon.  Realizing that I’d be slower than that, my position in the back seemed to be appropriate.

I had the awesome privilege of travelling with two new friends who were both running their first official 10K’s.  They were there to see me off (10K race started 45min. after the 20K).  They took pictures and cheered me on when I headed out.  I kept up with the 4:10 pacer for the first 2-3K and then gave myself permission to pull back and commence my run/walk plan.  This was clearly going to be my own run.

I was not alone at the back but we were not many!  This surprised me as I really believe I’m an “average” runner, so where were the other average runners?!  It was a fantastic route, having met a number of people earlier on, it was so nice to pass each other on the out and backs and give high fives or simply yell “you’ve got this!”  I think the hardest part of the run for me was when we turned off to do a 5K out and back towards Tommy Thompson Park!  The air felt dead with little or no breeze and the sun just beat down on us!

Because this was a training run and not a race we were sharing the path and road with other runners and bikers.  There were less people in front of me and I unknowingly followed a random runner across Lakeshore Blvd!  This seemed very odd to me and didn’t feel right.  There was a lot of construction and I realized seeing the Loblaws parking lot that I had made a wrong turn!  There was a volunteer  at Lakeshore and Leslie St. directing runners to turn down Lakeshore–not across it–BUT with my luck they must have momentarily stepped away and I just followed the runner ahead of me!

No big deal, right? That’s not what I thought when I added almost 0.5km to my run.  Once back across Lakeshore I was on my way again to get this thing done!  Heading back towards the beaches, I welcomed what little shade there was along the route.  It was a lot busier now with people enjoying a family day and watching all us crazy runners actually running on an exceptionally humid day!

The end was in sight, once hitting the boardwalk my main goal was to not fall!  Legs were tired, heck I was tired, so watching my footing was my priority. Oh, and hitting my Garmin when I crossed!

Met up with others, chatted about the experience, celebrated with everyone and then signed up for a quick massage!

IMG_3571My travelling friends and I quickly freshened up, found a great spot for an amazing brunch and we were back on the road again to make our 5hr. trip back home.

During the trip home our two friends who ran their first official 10K’s had decided that they would go for it and signed up for their first half marathons!!

All in all, it was a fun 34hr road trip!

 

 

 

 

The Forgotten Marathon Bag – Yes, It Really Happened!

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

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

New Running Gear

New Running Gear

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

Have you ever experienced something like this?

 

With Or Without Others

The past two weeks are somewhat of a blur!  I have had to run many of my training runs on my own because of my schedule.  It’s been a great two weeks, my runs have been amazing and I’m feeling really good.  It’s almost like I’m in a stage of newness again, like rediscovering running for the joy of solitude.

Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE running with a group.  However, I’ve come to realize that maybe I’ve become a tad dependent on the group.  Having to be somewhere at a specific time helps me get out for sure.  I’ve had some unexpected things come up forcing me to get out more on my own which made me realize I’ve missed the long runs on my own.  I’ve missed the strength I feel when I’m pushing myself at a faster pace OR pulling back forcing myself to slow down for the slow/long run.  I’ve forgotten the satisfaction that comes from being in control of the course and the pace, the feeling of being lost in my thoughts and feeling renewed in my heart, thankful and grateful for my family and life.

I have always been a solo runner and  I’ve trained for most of my races on my own.  I never considered being part of a running group prior to training for my first marathon.  When the kilometres started to really climb,  I realized the benefits of group running.

Group Run Celebrating Canada

Group Run Celebrating Canada

I thrived in the group and loved getting to know other runners and feeling inspired and empowered by many of them while out on runs.  Running in a group also allowed me to run in areas I wouldn’t run much alone, allowed me to just run without thinking about pace or direction and it certainly kept me company on those 3-4hr training runs.  It was the perfect timing for me to connect with the Running Room and train with the marathon group.

This training period  feels different though.  I know I will get out  with the group when I can, and it’ll be just as amazing when I do, however, some of my goals have me being away or training for different events, requiring me to do more training on my own.  I think it’s good though, it’s kind of the best of both worlds.

What about you?  Are you a loner?  Do you like to run on your own or do you need to belong to a running group?  Have you ever been a part of a group?   This certainly can apply to anyone going to the gym, taking fitness classes or whatever new adventures you might be taking on.  There are benefits to doing it alone and certainly joining up with others.

For myself, I think there is a time for both, and I’m thankful I can experience both as I continue to train for all the races coming up in 2014.

Being a part of the Digital Champions (DC’s) for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon has also allowed me to connect with some pretty inspiring runners and a fantastic online community that I am truly blessed to be involved with.  So although many of my training runs will be on my own, I’m not really alone.  A supportive online community can also be just what you need!

Ottawa Digital Champions

Here is a shot of the Ottawa Team, a small portion of the DC’s that are encouraging runners who have chosen to make the Toronto Marathon part of their fall racing goals.

Running alone has its perks and for me it is so therapeutic.  It brings me back to the reasons I love running.  It’s a place for me to really be in touch with who I am and process through the events in my life.  However, I will never give up the joy of running in a group. The friendships, encouragements and challenges that come from pushing yourself with others, especially on those long, hot summer runs or, not so long ago, those unbelievable long, cold, snowy ones!

However you run, may you get all you can out of it and be renewed in your love for running!

 

 

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 runeffortlessly.com, 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!

training

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?