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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Vastus Intermedius

No, no, I haven't started to speak/write in Latin. Rather, I've found the cause of my knee pain. After a wonderful physio session on Friday, the diagnosis is that I have a very tight muscle in my quad which is causing pulling on my knee which in turn is causing the pain. The therapist didn't feel any "clicking" or "crackling" like last time which means that the knee isn't damaged in the same way it was after the Bread and Honey 15k race. She did admit that my charge down the Red Hill Valley Parkway likely didn't help me at all.

So, with my therapist's blessing, I'm going to keep running. I'm very sure I'll be able to end the year at 1400 if not 1420km which is obviously my highest mileage ever for a year. I mean, in 2009 I wanted to get to 600 and had to give up when I keep puking during every run (I was newly pregnant at the end of that year).

This morning, I enjoyed a solo 13km run around town in the freshly fallen snow. I left the house just after 7am and enjoyed watching the sky brighten and being joined by other runners, dog walkers and church goers from time to time. There is something so fulfilling about being outside in the still morning and reminding yourself that you're alive (through running and a bit of knee pain!). I'm especially proud as I didn't want to get up when the alarm rang at 0630, but instead of using all of the excuses I came up with, I let the truth get me out of bed: I would have felt so guilty for missing the run.

By the time I was following my footprints back home like a breadcrumb trail, I was very happy to have gotten out of bed and out the door, even if my knee was feeling some of the effects of the 13k.

Totals for the week: 3 runs, 24k, 2h33m running.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

No, I haven't fallen off of the planet

I've just been busy.

Work has been MADNESS all of November. I've been in back to back meetings all day long and then I've been coming home and putting in another 2-3 hours just to catch up.

It is a good thing that my knee really bothered me after the Hamilton Half Marathon as it forced me to take a bit of a break and I didn't beat myself up about it.

This means that my November stats are not that pretty:

# of runs: 7
Total KM: 54.67
Races: Hamilton Half Marathon
Total time running: 5:32:22
Fitness classes: 4, my fave being BodyPump followed closely by Gravity - both are strength training classes.

I'm going to continue to try to get to those fitness classes throughout December and I'm slowing starting to build up my mileage again as my knee is no longer bothering me. My goal is to hit around 30k a week with two fitness classes until marathon training begins in January.

I'll also try not to be such a stranger!


Monday, November 14, 2011

The off season

I've started the off season.

My first ever.

Seeing as this is the first year that I've really run and trained and seeing as I've kept it up all year, I'm really glad to have made it to this point.

My goals for the next two months are as follows:

1) Lose those last 10 pounds (which means resisting the Halloween leftovers after supper).

2) Strength train to build up my leg muscles so that my knees don't get injured. Strength train to build my core for better running form and everything else that goes with having a better core.

3) Run at least three times a week - A shortie (5-6k), a mid-tempo (6-9k) and a LSD (16k or more)

Right now, my left knee is still a bit off as a result of the race and I felt it during a run yesterday. I'm going to work on goal one and two over the next two weeks and hope that the knee heals much like it did in the summer when I first felt this problem.

Marathon (!) training begins January 5th!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Hamilton Half Marathon Race Report

The seeds for running this race were sown the moment I crossed the line at the
Mississauga Half Marathon. Don't get me wrong, I was very happy to have finished and to have beaten my in-going goal, but I knew that I could have done better and I wanted to take the time over the summer to train for improvement and to get there.

On Sunday, I was not disappointed.

Race morning came early, but not too early as some brilliant race director decided that this race was to take place the day after daylight savings time ended, meaning that we got an extra hour of sleep.

I was up at 0530 as was Fergus and my husband and so we all headed downstairs to the kitchen for breakfast. Fergus joined me to help eat my bagel and I relaxed knowing that there was lots of time to get to the race and I was as prepared as I could be.

I got dressed and decided to wear a tank top under my Warrior Dash long sleeved top. I wore my summer tights and my light wind jacket. It was cold out with frost on the roofs of houses, but the sun was shinning brightly. I grabbed my dollar store gloves, my homemade pace band, and added a quick motivational message to my left hand:

We got on the road and got to the start line 20 minutes before my targeted time of 0730. Ken and the kids headed to Tim Horton's and to visit with some friends while I stayed warm, used the washroom and kept an eye out for Marlene, who was the 2 hour pacer. Before long, I spotted her surrounded by her groupies chatting with her friends and I went over to say hello. She was dressed in a rainbow tutu and leg warmers and had the bunny ears. I stayed back to allow her to do her own pre-race thing and get advice from her people, but basically stalked her kept her in my sights the entire time.

After a late (by 10 minutes) start by the marathon, I met up with Marlene again outside and we headed into the mass crowd of runners. I'm so short and she's fairly tall that I almost felt like grabbing a piece of her tutu least I get lost.

I didn't.

This is one of the complaints I had about the race. The start was really pathetic with no corrals or anything. It was just a HUGE crowd of people. I think they could start it on Highland proper and set up corrals as well. They could also ask the bunny's to carry pace signs for the first two kilometers or so, just so that people could find them. Lots of people were asking Marlene if she was 10 and 1s as that is who they wanted, but we never saw that pacer.

It was while waiting for the start that I realized that I had no need of my wind coat. It was cold, but warming up with that beautiful sun. Though the coat was free, I couldn't bare to throw it away, so I tied it around my waist instead.

Then we were off. I stuck right with Marlene, running either behind or beside her. I didn't talk to her at all and I don't know why. I'm normally VERY chatty while running, but I was very serious about this race. I had no time for idle chatter. I needed to get on pace, stick to pace and continue to feel good.

And we did. The start was crowded, but quickly thinned enough to allow us to run at the 5:40 pace per KM easily. I noticed that my Garmin was perfectly aligned with the KM markers and locked in the pace.

1k, 2k, 3k.

Check, check, check.

4k came out of nowhere. I turned to Marlene and said, "Fastest five and a half minutes EVER", to which she replied, "That's good. That's really good!". We chatted briefly about being over dressed and then were climbing the on ramp to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. I told Marlene, "Well, no offence, but I hope not to see you again today." There was no offence taken at all and off I went to bank some time on the downhill.

1k - 5:45, 2k - 5:32, 3k - 5:41, 4k - 5:38, 5k - 5:27

5k: 28:03, pace band, 28:26

Getting on the highway was very cool. People travelling southbound were honking at us and waving and there were spectators on the overpasses cheering us on. Under one overpass there were two guys playing the drums and that gave me a lot of energy. It was also the time of the race that people started stripping down. I ran with a few men who stripped down to nothing but shorts and women who stripped down to just sports bras. For November 6th, the sunny, 12C day was so unusual that I think many people were overdressed.

After about 3k, I noticed that my effort was needed a bit more and realised that the majority of the downhill part of the race was complete. I took a GU and told myself that I had about two minutes in the bank and that all I had to do for the next 5k was to hold on to the 5:40 pace.

6k - 5:09, 7k - 5:14, 8k - 5:25 (Gu), 9k - 5:37, 10k - 5:39

10k: 55:07, pace band, 56:52 - this is also a 10k PB!

The next 5k were along industrial roads, heading to Confederation park. The road wasn't shut down and we were forced to run pretty much in single file as we were confined to the bike lane. I was still feeling good, taking water in and staying on pace. I wanted to ask the people around me about their pace and goal, but I just wasn't feeling like chatting at all.

I was so, so, so focused. I always run with the same list of music, but put it on shuffle. I couldn't tell you what songs I heard other than the very first one (Ant's Marching, live at Central Park, Dave Matthews Band). Unlike the race at Mississauga, I wasn't singing along or joking. I was running.

I was racing.

11k - 5:47, 12k - 5:41, 13k - 5:34, 14k - 5:43, 15k - 5:32

15k: 1:23:24, pace band, 1:25:18

And then we were on Beach Blvd and I was boinking.

Oh man, it was pretty bad.

I took a Gu hoping to hold myself off.

I looked at my hand.

A lot.

I told myself that I had time to ease off a bit, that I could allow Marlene to catch me and then stick with her to meet my goal.

I told myself that the Gu was working and to just keep going.

10 mile run, 5k race.

And then, we were on the waterfront trail and the wind hit. Marlene describes this as a "nice breeze", but it might as well have been a full on tropical storm to me. Oh man I was feeling the effort. I saw a EMS golf cart and actually thought of how nice it would be to just sit down.

Of course I kept running all of this time, counting down the kilometers, looking at my hand, keeping my pace.

There was no giving up. I didn't even want to give up those two-ish minutes I had in the bank.

And so on I ran. The crowds got thicker and lots of people were walking on the path toward the finish. This is my second complaint. The path should be sectioned off so that the public can't walk on the same path as the racers. It is wide enough to give everyone their own area. Seeing those people walking did a number on my head as well and I just wanted to stop and walk with them.

Of course I didn't as I knew that would be the end of my race. My mental chatter went like this:

Oh, it would be so nice to just walk for a few seconds.

Are you kidding? Once you walk you're done.

But I will see Marlene and then just run to the end with her.

If you walk and then try to keep up with her, you'll die.

And so on I ran.

I tapped the 20k marker sign. I did this at Mississauga as well and decided that I'd do it whenever I ran a big race. The signs were on the north side of the path and for some reason, I headed back towards the south side. Just as I looked up, I saw my son and good friend Trudy who were watching for me:

I booted it over to Alasdair to give him a high five and a kind of hug and then headed on to the end. I was so revived having seen them that I didn't feel any effort any longer. I was just running for the end. I knew I had the 2 hour goal in the bag, that I couldn't fail and I was finally enjoying it after a few kilometers of tough running.

I turned the corner after the final tiny uphill (that felt like a mountain) and saw the finish. While I didn't hear my name, I did hear the announcer congratulating us as we came in saying, "You've all done it in under 2 hours! Well done! Great job!"

That announcement made me quite happy:

And so on I went to cross the finish line.

16k - 5:42 (GU), 17k - 5:36, 18k - 5:40, 19k - 5:42, 20k- 5:44, 21k - 5:39, 0.1 - 0:58

Chip: 1:58:32 (that's a 0:15:18 PB)
W30-34: 51/102
Overall: 903/1721

I did it! I trained myself and was able to hit a major milestone and a major personal best less than six months after my very first half marathon. I ran through the finish, grabbed my water and medal and heard the announcer say that the two hour bunny was coming up to the finish, right on pace. I stopped and waited until I could grab Marlene to shake her hand. She asked if I had done it and I said, "Oh ya" showing her my Garmin, acting all casual instead of letting on about the hellish last five k. I thanked her for the start and headed into the crowd to find my family and friends.

So, races for 2011 are finished. I'm more than happy to go out with this one as the last one. One day soon, my quads and knee will stop yelling at every move I make and I'll be out running again, but until then, I'm going to enjoy the glow of hitting the goal and breaking that two hour mark.

Thanks for coming along on the journey with me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hamilton Half Marathon Goals!

Well, the goal for this half marathon has changed so many times since I signed up back in June.

At first I just wanted to beat my time from Mississauga, so that goal would have been sub 2:13:49.

Then, throughout this training cycle, I started gaining speed and started hitting PBs. Then I started to play with McMillan's Calculator and decided I could run the race in sub 2:05:00.

Then lots of peeps on Daily Mile started suggesting that I could run the half faster. And so I did some test pace runs.

And I gained confidence.

The final piece to the puzzle came together, when one of the people who inspires me most in my running life confirmed that she would be the 2:00 Pace Bunny.

As such, my goal is clear:


Or bust.

My strategy is going to be the one that Marlene suggested. I'm going to go out strong, right behind her and stick with her pace (which should be 5:40/km) until we hit the down hill portion of the course.

As the course descends the 142m, I will be letting my legs fly. I may attempt to keep my pace around 5:00/km, but the goal on the hill (which should last around 5-6km) is to BANK TIME.

Once the hill is done, I plan to stick to the 5:40s and keep my time in the bank. I'm worried about the turn onto the waterfront trail and the wind. Currently the weather is expected to be perfect, with partly cloudy skies, 12c, but with winds up to 35km/hr. We run along the lake for the last 5k and I want my bank of time for this part. If it all falls apart once I leave Marlene and the 2 hr group, my plan is to ensure I stick with them to the end.

I've already got some ideas of the way I'll motivate myself through the last 5k, and I'll be sure to take photos once I land on them.

So, there it is.

The goal.

The plan.

Now, I just need to lace'em up and toe that line.

See you after the finish!

Monday, October 31, 2011


Another great month of training!

In six days, I'm going to run a great half marathon and I owe it to many things, one of which is being blessed to be able to run and train around the rest of my life!

I didn't race at all this month, but I ran a lot of race pace runs as I figured out just what that pace is going to be on November 6th. My longest run was 22k on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and I did that cold run solo. I also ran a hard 20k with the last 14k at race pace despite wind gusts up to 35km per hour. This ended up being my cut back month as I ran about 27km less then in September, but I'm not complaining about the work I did.

I feel ready for Sunday!

# of runs: 16
Time spent running: 15:19:49
KMs run: 153.27
Average pace per KM: 0:06:00

Week 16!

I ended up with a bit of a taper week, but no problem!

Sunday:16k at half marathon race pace. We slept at my parents house on Saturday night as Ken and I were at a wedding and I ran home. I actually saw my peeps this time and waves as they drove by beeping the horn at me. 1:28:52

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 6.44k. I was going to run at lunch time, but the day ended up being too busy, so I sucked it up and went to the gym after the kids went to bed. I could have run outside, but it was raining and I didn't want to risk any kind of cold. 39:44 (I'm pretty sure I ran this faster, but this is what I put down on Daily Mile, so I'm going with that).

Wednesday: Rest - another busy day at work with a lunch and learn session.

Thursday: 5k. Gym run again. I was on my way back to the office after an early morning meeting and passing the gym, so I took the opportunity to go for a quick run. 29:40

Friday: 6.44k. I had to go into work on this day, so I hit the treadmill at lunch. 37:37

Total KM: 33.88, Total time: 3:15:53, Average pace per KM: 0:05:47

Monday, October 24, 2011

Hamilton Half Marathon Goal

I'm not writing an official goal post yet, but I'll let you do some math and figure it out based on my point to point run home yesterday (from my parents house).

Week 15!

It was a cut back week because I ran my LSD on Friday instead of Sunday. I had planned to try to make it up, but that didn't work out so well. Instead of beating myself up, I just ran everything at race pace.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 7.24k. Treadmill Tuesday! I hit the gym at lunch and ran hard for as long as I could. 42:17

Wednesday: 6.44k. Not as much time at the gym today, so I blasted this out a bit faster. 37:16

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 8.5k. A quick AM run. Working from home has made this possible as I don't have to leave my house by 06:25. 47:07

Saturday: Rest (we had a wedding).

And so... that's it! I ran all of these runs quickly and increased my confidence for the half marathon race, but I didn't run lots. Oh well. Sometimes life happens and that's okay.

Total KM: 22.18, Total time: 2:06:40, Average pace per KM: 0:05:43

Thursday, October 20, 2011



Too early?

Maybe it is too early to write this post, but I have 2012 race news and I want to share it with everyone!

Let’s back up a bit, shall we?

When I started running in late 2008, I never thought that I would become a runner. I thought that I’d run a few miles on the treadmill at the gym or in my basement and get into shape and that would be that.

Then, my friend enticed me to race my first 5k and I was hooked!

Hooked on running, hooked on racing.

That was May 2009.

I ran a few more races in 2009, but never got into a consistent running schedule. By October of that year, I had run my first 10k race at the zoo and had decided to run a half marathon and soon.

In November 2009, I got pregnant (and ended up puking every time I tried to run).

By August 2010 Fergus joined our family via C-Section and I waited to heal and get back on the horse treadmill.

Finally I did. It was October 2010 and I was determined to race the Mississauga half marathon in May 2011. I joined the running room program. I ran the race.

I spent the rest of this summer working on speed and racing to PBs in 5k (26:50) and 10k (57:15) races. On November 6th, 2011, I’ll PB at the Hamilton half marathon (yep, I’m calling it here).

And I became a runner.

And a racer.

And racers, race.

Two nights ago, I put my money where my mouth is and signed up for the following:

Robbie Burns 8k
Chilly Half Marathon
Around the Bay 30k

Mississauga FULL Marathon
(and the relevant Running Room clinic)

This will take my 2012 season to May. Stay tuned for plans for the second half of the year.

A year that will continue to see me evolve as a true runner, something I never thought I’d become.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Week 14!

As the end gets closer and closer and November 6th gets closer and closer, I keep challenging myself to come up with a good reason not to attempt a crazy time at Hamilton. This week included a test of sorts.

Sunday: 22k. LONGEST RUN EVER! And I did this Thanksgiving bad boy solo. This was a great run - it was cool enough to be comfortable, but not too cold so that I needed gloves or a coat. It was a great morning and as I watched the sun rise over a farmers field, back lighting the lone trees I realized that I had so many things to be thankful for on this day, least of which was the ability to run 22k straight into the arms of my wonderful family. Happy Thanksgiving indeed. 2:19:35

Monday: Rest. Duh.

Tuesday: 6.44k. Treadmill run. I just put the speed up and ran for 4 miles. 40:05

Wednesday: 5k.Oh how I didn't want to go and run. I had all kinds or excuses ready, like the fact that my new shoes haven't come in yet. Or - I was wearing tights which suck to put back on just after a shower. But in the end I knew Jamie would be waiting for me and I sucked it up and ran fast just to get it in. 30:40

Friday: 18k. Telecommuting has its advantages, one of which is the ability to get an early morning, weekday long run in. I had to do this as we were away all weekend. I decided not to look at the pace at all and just run by feel. I was rewarded. 1:44:50

Saturday: Rest. And 50th wedding anniversary of my parents-in-law. With these two "smashers"

Another awesome (and confidence building) week!

Total KM: 51.44k. Total Time: 5:15:10. Average pace per KM: 0:06:08.
Congrats to everyone who ran at Scotia today!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 13!

Sunday: AMAZING solo 20k! Longest solo run ever and I did the last 14k at race pace, averaging 5:57/km despite a walk break at 10k for my one and only GU. This was a HARD run as at times the wind was gusting upwards of 35km/hr and it was the first real cold morning of the year. I had a very hard time around 17k and ended up cursing at myself (in my head) to keep running. Funny, when I motivate others its all, “You can do it! You’re amazing! Tall and smiling” When I motivate myself, I’m all, “F&$k YOU! Keep RUNNING and SUCK IT UP. DON’T even THINK about slowing down or quitting!!!” HA! 2:02:22

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Treadmill Tuesday! 6.44k at the gym in 40:00

Wednesday: Treadmill redux! 5k, 31:00

Thursday: Rest

Friday: Work remote day so I got out at lunch for 9.33k. My legs did NOT want to go, but the weather was beautiful and I kept the pace slow and easy. 59:00

Saturday: I realized that I hadn’t done short speedwork this week so I ran 5k with 1k warm up, 3k at descending tempo (5 seconds faster each k) and 1k cool down: 29:00

Total KM: 45.77, Total Time: 4:41:22, Average pace per KM: 0:06:09

Monday, October 3, 2011

Week 12

I've hit the training cycle blahs and am doing my best to continue to get out there for all of my runs and stick to my plan...

Sunday: Rest. I totally used the Zoo Race as an excuse - I could have run.

And so I felt guilty and so -

Monday: 16k - LSD after work. I got home at 6pm, dropped the baby off and headed out for the run. It was not very pleasant. Despite eating an apple and a Clif bar on the GO Train on the way home, I was starving by like 7k and the GU Chomps did nothing to help with this. When I got home, I ate my pasta dinner and drank loads of water, but ended up with major stomach issues. I drank some gatorade and ended up crawling up to bed. 1:40:50

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 11.44k - Intervals with the clinic again. We did 5 repeats on this night and I ended up running with a girl who was aiming for a 5:15 pace. Because my watch has a light, I ended up being the time keeper/pace bunny and cheerleader as I ensured she didn't wimp out on the last repeat. Splits were 5:13-5:18-5:12-5:14-5:14. Cheers included: "You can do ANYTHING for four minutes." This was a great run - lots of fun. 1:11:05

Thursday: 5k - Hit the gym for a treadmill run during lunch. Part of the No Excuses mantra. I was bored so increased the pace each mile, despite the hard work the night before. 32:25

Friday: 5.32k - I had the day off of work and was planning to run as soon as I dropped my oldest off at school, but a 4am wake up by Fergus saw me come home and have a nap instead. Then I met a friend for lunch and met my husband at the dealership to buy a new-to-us truck:

Then I had to shop as we were having people over for supper both Saturday and Sunday nights. By the time I got home, I had enough time to get just a quick run in before I had to pick my son up from the after-school program. 32:15

Saturday: Rest - I PLANNED to run, but there was just too much family and prep stuff to do and as I've mentioned, I've hit the BLAHS this week with running.

Total KM: 36.76 Time spent running: 3:53:35 Average pace per KM: 0:06:26

Saturday, October 1, 2011


September was a phenomenal month for me! I returned to work on September 6th and managed to keep up with my training plan and hit two personal best times in races.

On September 10th, I PB'd at the Energizer 5K Night Race with a time of 26:50.

I'm not in this photo

Two weeks later on September 24th, I PB'd at the Oasis Zoo 10K race with a time of 57:15.

My longest run was 20k which I ran with two lovely ladies around Milton. I kept up with the Running Room group and joined them on interval training. I have no doubt that this harder training has helped me to hit my time goals in the shorter races. McMillan is telling me that I can run a half marathon somewhere between 2:04 and 2:07 and I'm going to give a MRP run a try tomorrow during my long run. I have one month left before the Hamilton half and I'm going to use it to my advantage, training hard with quality runs.

September brought two more non-speed milestones for me: I hit 1,000km run on the year and I had my highest mileage month ever. Not bad considering I was worried what going back to work would do to my schedule!

# of runs 20
Time spend running: 18:52:02
KMs run: 181.03
Average pace per KM: 0:06:15

Friday, September 30, 2011

Oasis Zoo 10k Race Report!

Forgive me for the delay in writing this report; being back at work has seriously cut into my blogging time!

The night before the zoo race was not a good one for sleep in our house. Fergus was having one of his nights where waking up at 4am was the thing to do. We tried to get him to fall back asleep in our bed, but even that wasn't working.

I finally got up around 5:30 and made my way downstairs to eat a few pieces of toast with peanut butter and some OJ. This race was an odd one for me. I had a key goal in mind (PB at sub 59:59) and I had spent the summer speed training to get there, but I didn't have any nerves or anything.

I got on the road early as I needed to pick up my race kit and was planning to meet some friends around 7:30. Despite some slow traffic on the 401, I got to the zoo in plenty of time to get my kit, bring it back to my car (which got primo parking right at the gate), go to the washroom and eat my banana.

I met up with my friends and chatted for a bit. D and her husband were running their first 10k races as was N. They all had time goals in mind and were all going to start in the same coral. I had changed my coral to the <1hr one as that was my goal.

Soon it was time to head to the corals and port-o-potties. We stood in the worst line and were still there when the first two corals left. I got in and out just before my start, but lined up in the wrong area! Shouting, "Oh SHIT!" I booted it across the parking lot and caught up with the last people in the <1hr coral.

I started off with the goal of keeping my pace around 5:50 per KM. The first one was spent weaving and passing as I was at the back of the pack. I did run (literally, I guess) into my neighbour and ran with him for a bit and chatted, but he pretty much told me go ahead as he knew what I wanted to do in terms of time and he was aiming for about 1:10:00 (he finished in 1:03:45).

There is a nice long stretch along Meadowvale Road and Old Finch that allowed the runners to spread out and let me get into a groove in terms of pacing. Once again, I couldn't "feel" the pace and ended up checking my Garmin way too often for my liking. By 3k we started seeing elites coming back along the narrow path and it was great to hear the cheers go up from the crowd of runners as they passed.

Just after this, I saw my first animal: Zebras. It was cool to see them and I thought about how they must feel watching all of these people running past them. They looked like they were watching with the best front row seats in the house!

When the aid station came up, I decided to go ahead and take some poweraid. I don't normally drink sports drink during a run, but something told me that I'd want a taste on this day instead of straight water. I've learned a lot in my 11 races and I managed to get the whole drink down while still running and without getting any up my nose! Hooray!

4 and 5k made me realize that the course had been changed since I ran the race in 2009 and we were uphill, downhill, uphill, downhill. Across the bridge, through the woods and finally hitting the 5k mat.

(Times per Garmin, which was off by 200m)


I was feeling fantastic!

I had 100% confidence that I'd hit my goal without any trouble and I decided to hold on to a 5:40-5:45 pace least I burn out. I'm glad I made that choice. The course was very challenging with seemingly constant rolling hills and turns. I was starting to feel hungry! and so I accepted more poweraid at the station when I passed through again.

I did get into the enjoyment of running through the zoo at this point and I started noticing animals. I think a lot of my ability to do so was because of the woman in front of me snapping photos. I was awed to see the giraffes and watched them as long as I could because they were so close. When I passed the flamingos, half of them changed their stance as if on some kind of musical theater cue and it was so cool to see.

After 7k, I allowed myself to speed up a bit and push for a finish with the best time that I could get. I never went out so fast that I thought I would have to stop or puke, and I managed to hold on. I knew that I had the goal in the bag and I allowed myself to enjoy it, smiling at the photographers when I saw them:

When I got to the last 500m, I noticed a lot of people passing me (especially men who were struggling - I guess there is some pride at stake?) and I realized that I've got to get into the passing mindset at the end of a race instead of in a "thank-God-this-is-done-and-I-hit-my-goal-and-oh-my-goodness-I-can't-wait-for-more-poweraid" I think I'll work on this in the next few weeks.

When I was about to cross, I listened for my name and when I heard it, knowing that I had hit my goal and then some, I did what any normal person would do: The Fist Pump:

Seriously, look at how happy I am:

And why shouldn't I be? The stats say it all:

Chip: 57:15 (that's a 5:50 PB based on my last 10k race - the zoo in 2009)
W30-34: 84/307
Women: 325/1339
Overall: 832/2194
5k split: 28:55, 10k split: 28:22

5:46-5:43-5:32-5:32-5:26-4:45 (last 200m)

That's PB 2/3 complete.

PB 3 comes November 6th.

I have no doubts!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Week 11!

This week was a bit messed up for me and I ended up running less than normal because I did my LSD on Saturday.

Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: No excuses. Ran at the gym during my lunch hour and got in 4 quality miles. 6.44k, 42:30

Wednesday: I ran intervals with the running room group again. We did a 3k warm up the 4x 4 mins at Ipace, 3 mins jogging. I was aiming for a 5:20 Ipace and finished with 5:19-5:16-5:22-5:19. 10k, 1:01:09. This is when I knew I'd be able to race a sub 59:59 at the zoo on Saturday.

Thursday: Another lunch run at the gym. I bit the bullet and changed my membership, so I'll be trying to hit the gym on lunch at least 2x a week. 5k, 31:42.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Zoo Race! I totally hit my goal, running the 10k in 57:16 per the chip. This is a 5:49 personal best! I'm very happy. I'll write the report when the pictures are ready.

Totals: 31.44k, Time spent running: 3:12:37, Average pace per KM: 0:06:08.

It was a speedy week for me!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Oasis Zoo 10k Race GOALS!

That should really read race goal.

Sub 59:59


That's it.

Once goal.

For real.

Bib #1536.

I'll be at the big world outside the gates meeting friends at 7:45. If you see me, say hi. I think I'm going to run with my phone (because I think I've lost my iPod!) so will try for photos this time!

I think Saturday will be a great day for a PB.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 10!!!

I can't believe it is already week 10 of the training plan. The time has flown by since I started and I'm so, so proud that I've stuck to the plan. The weather is changing and we are getting perfect running weather these days (I love the fall) so it is nice that I'll be able to finish up the weeks that way.

Sunday: I was at my parents house as my husband was away for the weekend and us sleeping over would make the whole morning routine a lot easier for everyone (as they would be dropping children off everywhere). I decided to sleep in and then after dinner I ran 14k to round out a total 1,000k on the year. 1:30:00 (My times will be rounded as I don't have access to my Garmin files).

Monday: Rest!

Tuesday: I got up bright and early (well, Fergus got me up and after he went back to bed, I did not) and ran under the morning stars. This is part of my "no excuses" mantra. I'm not allowing myself to make any excuses about not running due to work. There is always time to find time. 6.21k, 0:40:00.

Wednesday: Back with the running room half marathon clinic. They were doing speed work that night and I decided to join. 3k warm up then 4x (4 minute interval pace (aiming for 5:20’s), 3 minute jog). Intervals were 5:19-5:13-5:21-5:25. I can't wait to do this type of run again. 10k, 1:02:00.

Thursday: Rest!

Friday: I had the day off as I was headed to a girl’s long weekend retreat in Prince Edward County that day. I got up and walked my oldest to school and then headed straight out for a run. This morning was the beautiful fall weather that I loved. I ran in a long sleeved shirt and light wind jacket and was perfectly warm/cool enough. 8.01k, 0:50:00

Saturday: I had a great Friday night, but didn't indulge too much so after a leisurely Saturday breakfast and more than a few laughs I headed out on Highway 33 (Loyalist Parkway) for my long run. Many of the 23 ladies were either going on a cheese tasting or spa trip (or both), but I just wanted to relax and run. I was originally going to run 16k, but decided to run entirely through the town of Bloomfield so I ended up going 18k on my out and back. The last 6k were at 10k race pace with no problems. 18k, 1:53:00.

Whew! What a week for me - my highest yet!

Totals: 56.22k, Time: 5:55:00 Average pace per KM: 0:06:19

I won't hit such high mileage this week as it is the week of the Zoo Run! This is a goal race for me and I'll be sharing goals after Wednesday's interval run.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Energizer 5k night race

On Saturday, September 10th I ran in the inaugural Toronto night race put on by Energizer. I had decided to run the 5k race because a few of the ladies that I did the Warrior Dash with were suppose to run this 5k as well. Well, life got in the way and they all dropped out.

Not I! I had decided that this race would be a PB attempt and I'm too cheap to lose my fee I was excited to be part of this first time event.

The race pick up was easy and the shirts were very nice. Black with bright yellow strips down the side. The headlamp was great and I put it together on the Subway back to work.

On Saturday, I did my best to take it easy during the day and to eat a higher number of carbs than I normally would. I was okay on both fronts. My husband was away camping, so I was solo parenting and where I would have normally attempted to take a nap in the afternoon, I couldn't do it because someone had to actually parent the kids! :-p

When Fergus woke up from his nap, the kids and I headed to my parents where I had an original Coke in lieu of sleep! HA. We had dinner with them (steak, potatoes, beans) and I ate about half of what I normally would have because I didn't want stomach issues during the race. This turned out to be a mistake as I was starving by 3k.

I left Mississauga with plenty of time to get to Sunnybrook which was good because the 401 was a mess (seriously, is it EVER any other way?) and I ended up parking in lot 8 at Sunnybrook (aka a long, long, long, long, long way from the Start/Finish). I hopped on a shuttle bus to the start line (Brilliant idea!) and we started rolling when I realized that I was still clutching my sunglasses and I hadn't taken any gum with me (yes, I like to start runs with gum). No problem, the shuttle guy stopped and let me off and I sorted myself out and got the next shuttle.

I got to the start and used the port-o-potties, joined the warm up and watched the 10k race go. Then it was time for the 5k race to line up and I seeded myself accordingly behind the 25-35 minute sign. We all ensured our headlamps were on and that our earbuds were out of view (they were prohibited) and the race began.

I started really strong and concentrated on keeping my pace at 5:20/5:25. I had put my ear buds in and had the music going very low as I don't like running without music unless I have someone to talk to. It got dark super fast and the head lamps were awesome! It was fun to run with everyone and their lights and I found that I had no problem passing people or letting them pass me. I just kept repeating that I'd get my sub 26:45 (a goal I had in mind) if I just kept it at 5:20ish and ran strong in the last kilometre.

The race really just flew by. My only complaint was that I was ALWAYS checking my watch to check my pace. I just didn't find anyone that I could pace off of so I really was all on my own. It is good practice for Hamilton as I will be running alone, but it was annoying to look at the watch every 300-500 metres.

Before I knew it, I was in the final KM and I kept myself running at the 5:20ish pace, telling myself that I'd ramp up in the last 500m. I heard a man behind me talking to himself saying, "You got it! You got it!" and then a 70 year old passed me trucking along on his way to a great finish. It was great to see.

I crossed the finish line and was looking at the 10k time clock so had no idea what I passed in. I looked at my watch and it said: 5.07km, 26:53. WOOT! I had totally done it! I had gotten my 26:45 FOR SURE. I did some quick math and determined that my time was 26:35!!! WOO-HOO! I posted on Twitter and on Facebook claiming my unofficial 5k time.

Then I got home and looked up Sports Stats. Hmm.

27:00 time
26:50 chip

I guess the race was long or my Garmin was off. I was mad for a bit, but after a few days I'm happy. I met my A+ goal and beat my April time by 1:54. That's nothing to be upset about.

Then I looked at Sports Stats a bit harder.

74 out of 574. I was on the FIRST page for the first time ever!

21 out of 396 females.

10 out 130 in my age group.

I'm happy. It turns out, the race was great for me and my stats!

5:13-5:20-5:18-5:26-5:17-4:42 (last 70m), Average pace: 5:18

(according to McMillan, I can run a 2:04:02 half marathon - now that is something to think about...)

Zoo Run next Saturday, I can't wait!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 9!

Another great week in the books!

Sunday: I ran 20k with two ladies (one who I met at the Thomas Street Hill). I was so glad that they were able to run with me as the Ks ticked by and I was able to get it done without any problems. I only took one gel on this run which was an all time low for me, but I felt okay throughout. I hope this means I'm getting stronger. 2h11mXXs (I don't have my garmin with me right now).

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: Rest. It was my first official day back at work! I also had my last baseball game of the season, so fitting in a run would have been difficult. I went 1/3 and scored a run.

Wednesday: Amazing tempo run! 7.32k, 42min

Thursday: Treadmill run at the gym during lunch. I will have to figure out if upping my membership is worth it for lunch time runs, but I was happy to get it in. 7k, 45min.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Energizer 5k Night Race. A PB for me at 26:50! Race report to follow tonight.

Totals: 39.32k. Time: 4:04:50 (give or take a few). Average pace per KM: 0:06:14

Friday, September 9, 2011

Energizer 5k Night Race - Goals!

When I signed up for this race my entire goal was to run the race in under 30 minutes. I've never done this in a Chip timed race.

I did run a 5k under 30 minutes back in April, when I raced the Avery Bravery 5k in 28:44 (per Garmin).

Since that time, I've run a half marathon, kept training and have really focused on speed-work. I've had some speedy runs as of late and as such, here are my goals:

C: 28:43 - Just beat the fastest time to date

B: 27:59 - Shave some time off of that April time

A: 26:59 - Based on my tempo run on Wednesday, I should be able to do this.

A+: sub 26:45

My other goal is to run the race smart.

I don't want to get caught up in the start. 5k can be a LONG race if you go all out too quickly. My goal is to go out at a 5:30 pace per KM and speed up after 2k and run like I'll never run again in the last 1k-500m.

The headlamp is ready and so am I.

Bib 2375.

See you after the race.

Amazing Wednesday Tempo!

Now that I'm back at work, I've decided that the best way to keep up with my running schedule is to use the no excuses mantra that has seemed to work for me during all other busy times.

With this in mind, I took off for a 7k tempo based run on Wednesday night after the baby had gone to bed. I decided that I'd run 2k easy, 4k at tempo pace and then the last 1k easy. It was a cool night so I wore my long-sleeved Warrior Dash shirt for the first time and was glad to have made the decision to do so (I started the run around 7:45pm).

The first 2k ticked by very easy and a bit fast and I decided that I could probably up my tempo time to a 5:40 pace (per KM) based on the interval training I had been doing. I hadn't run a true tempo run in over six weeks and I had previously been doing them at a 5:45 pace. When I started to run, I ran fast. I first looked at my watch and saw a pace of 4:xx and reeled it in. But I couldn't reel it in too much. It just felt too slow. I quickly made a decision to go with it and ended up running a 5:17 first KM of tempo.

Having that in mind, I decided I'd try to hit 5:20s for the next three k. This is faster then the pace I want to run Saturday's 5k in and I realized that it would be a great test of my ability to achieve the results I want at Sunnybrook Park.


Average pace per KM: 5:21

I was pumped! In all, the 7.23k I ran had an average pace of 5:45 per km and I'm confidant that I'm going to achieve my goal tomorrow night (which I'll share with you in the next post).

Man, this no excuses thing really helps doesn't it?

Monday, September 5, 2011

Week 8!

Half way there! I have a 16 week training plan with week 17 being the half marathon race. This was a cut back week FOR SURE as we were out of town on Sunday and Monday, but I made up for it with great feeling, speedy runs for the rest of the week.
Sunday: Rest

Monday: Rest

Tuesday: 10k. I took my oldest to the dentist so my youngest stayed with my folks. When we got back to their house, it was still mid-morning and they had no problem with me leaving the kids so that I could run. I headed out to the trails around the man made lakes that our clinic ran often and discovered that the route from my parents house was exactly 10k. 1:02:22. (Also, fast pitch - 2/3 with a run).

Wednesday: 6.24k. I had spent the day at the Ex with my neighbour who has kids the same age as mine and we did a lot of walking, but not a lot of junk eating (we packed lunches). I did get Tiny Tom Donuts though (and I'm not linking to their website because, wow is it annoying!). I knew I had to get out for a run and didn't expect much but I had speedy legs again and rocked out the run. 39:17

Thursday: 9.4k. I had both kids so off to the gym it was. I love that I can get two hours of babysitting for $7 for both kids while I run and shower. I decided to see how far I could get in an hour. I'm sure I could have pushed for 10k, but I'm happy with the run the was it was. 1:00:00

Friday: I took Friday off because I got my hair done:Back to work hair!

I didn't have time to run in the AM (plus I wanted to enjoy some of my last sleeping in for a while) and who wants to run with freshly done hair?!?

Saturday: 6.77k. I ran in the later afternoon at the gym during the big thunderstorm that rolled through the GTA. It was humid even in the gym. 42:00

All in all, it was a good week with a lot of running even though I missed 20k on Sunday.

Totals: 32.41k Time: 3:23:39 Average pace per KM: 0:06:17 It was a speedy week! I'm wondering if I should keep up with tempo and interval training for the last eight weeks. Right now I've only got intervals planned, but a short tempo run during my lunch hour may also work out well. I'd love some advice!

Thursday, September 1, 2011


August was an amazing month for me! I really got into my Hamilton Half training and I haven't fallen off of the plan in a major way yet.

I joined the RR group for hill work almost every Tuesday and I got some great long solo runs in, including running from home to my parents house. I added Track Intervals to my training and really started to see the results from them. I also discovered that I really liked them.

More then straight tempo runs I think.

I continued to get out with local friends when I could including meeting up with a girl from the RR group for a long run and various runs with Jenn with and without our boys:

In total I ran 155.92k in 17h19m55s for an average pace per KM of 0:06:40.

My longest run was 18k and I completed that easy in 2h16s. I'm feeling good about my upcoming races in September and the ability I'll have to run PBs. My only anxiety is that I return to work from Mat Leave on September 6th and I don't want to loose this training momentum. I'm sure racing twice in September will really help to carry me through.

It was a great August. I'm so lucky to be able to participate in this sport.

Week 7! (excuse the delay!)

Rather late, but I'm filling the last days of my leave before returning to work on Tuesday!

Sunday: I met up with Alison from the current half marathon RR group and we ran together for about 13k while I got my 18k in. A great run with great company and it flew by. I kicked up the pace in the end. 2:00:16

Monday: Rest. Fastball: 2/4 with an RBI.

Tuesday: Thomas Street Hill. 8 repeats with VO2 max on the last two repeats. It was a gross night running for me as I felt pretty slow and ragged on the hills, but hit paces of 5:24 and 5:12 on the VO2 max parts. 9k, 1:00:21

Wednesday: I went to the gym as the sky looked like rain and decided to go a bit longer then I would have with the jogging stroller. 7.2k, 0:49:26

Thursday: Rest

Friday: I was kid-less all day but was getting ready for a small cocktail party with my girlfriends all day. When I finished early, I decided to go for a short, quick run. Quick it was - I was 7 seconds off my PB from April. 5k, 0:28:50

Saturday: No time. We went away and we were busy organizing kids and packing.

Totals: 39.2k Time: 4:18:53 Pace per KM: 0:06:36

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Week 6!

Another great week, even if I did miss a run.

Sunday: I ran from my house, to my parent's house. This is something I always wanted to do and it was a great feeling to complete the run. 16k, 1:46:18.

Monday: Rest + Fastball. I went 1 for 3 with an RBI and run scored. I also made a sweet catch at second base. Anyone who thinks women's softball is easy should watch a few games.

Tuesday: Thomas Street Hills! 7 repeats with VO2 max on the 7th repeat. This was a hard run, but 100% worth it. I'm so glad I made the decision to get out with the group for hills and that the clinic leader let me join in. I also got to talking with another woman who lives in Milton and it looks like we're going to try to hook up for some runs. 8k, 54:36

Wednesday: I was planning to run an easy 8-10k with my friend Sarah (and maybe Alison), but Sarah cancelled so I decided to run my intervals instead. A run I didn't want to complete turned into a great workout and 10k PB!. It just goes to show you that getting out there even when you don't want to bring surprises. 11.23k, 1:08:54

Thursday: Rest.

Friday: I put Fergus in the stroller and ran over to meet Jenn with her baby, Jackson and we ran through downtown. A quick stop at her place for the washroom and then home again. 8.62k, 1:09:32

It is hard to run with the stroller, but how cute are these besties?

Saturday: 5k Rest. We had a busy day as we had a family party in Whitby at 2pm and I wanted to go to the farmers market. I met up with Jenn and Jackson again at her house and we ended up walking, so I did get a 3.5k walk in with the stroller, but more importantly, I got loads of potatoes (including PURPLE ones), strawberries, meat pies and a lovely bunch of flowers for my cousin at the market.

Total KM: 43.85 Total Time: 4:59:20 Average Pace Per KM: 0:6:50

Actually, that wasn't a bad week at all! Hope you had a good one.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Excuses, excuses

Last night, my training plan called for me to run 7x400m intervals at the track. Originally, I was going to meet up with my friend Sarah to just do an easy run for 8-10k and hit the intervals later in the week, but she cancelled and I realised that I should just get them out of the way.

The problem was that I really, REALLY didn't want to.

I thought up every single excuse under the sun (and then ridiculed myself for them).

-I had a tetanus shot yesterday and my arm hurt (oh, princess!).

-Fergus hasn't been sleeping well and I was tired (poor muffin!).

-It would be almost 9pm by the time I got home and then I'd have to shower, make a lunch for Alasdair to take to camp and be too wound up to sleep until 11pm, thus making me tired for when Fergus woke up in the wee hours (again and again) (life just isn't fair!).

Of course, I got dressed as soon as I put Fergus to bed and headed out for the run. I decided to run to the track and then see how I felt. I figured I could just do the 10k easy I would have done with Sarah if nothing else.

50m into the run (when I had to stop to tie up my pants tighter as they were falling down), my legs felt like lead and I almost started into my 6k route instead of toward the track. That's when I really told myself to suck it up and kept heading for the track. Somehow, in the next 2.9k I managed to convince myself to get the intervals completed.

And so I did. I also only allowed myself to walk 20 seconds on each recovery lap, so that my heart rate didn't dip too much in the 400m rests.

I was aiming to hit 2:00 time (4:45 pace) per lap and I think I did rather well, considering I ran 7 hill repeats the night before:

1:54 (4:37)
1:57 (4:43)
1:56 (4:43)
1:57 (4:47)
1:57 (4:47)
1:59 (4:51)
1:58 (4:48)

I was really and truly spent by lap 5. I kept talking to myself throughout. I was telling myself to run tall, to keep my hands loose and not to cross my arms over my midsection while running. I used my arms to pump the strides in the last turns. By the time I was about 75m from starting my final lap, I was giving myself a pep-talk about lap 7:

This is the end of your zoo 10k. If you run this in under 2minutes you'll get a time under an hour. This is the last 400m of Hamilton. You'll break 2h10m in you run hard here

I pushed and pushed and ended up getting around the track in under 2 minutes.

Then it was 3k back home.

I was tired and running easy, happy to have gotten the laps in when I noticed that I would be able to best my 10k time from the 2009 Zoo Race if I just bumped my pace up a bit by 30 seconds. So, I did! I made sure to hit the lap button at 10k exactly and was very pleased when I got home to find a 2m33s PB of 1h00m31s.

Not bad for a night where I almost didn't even run.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Something I've always wanted to do

Every since I started running long distances (you know, like back in Feb or Mar), I have wanted to do a Sunday run from my home in Milton to my parent's home in Meadowvale. The route is a perfect 16k (10 miles) and my mum is a fantastic cook! I figured we could combine a Sunday night dinner with a training run.

Yesterday I was able to make this happen!

Today is Fergus' first birthday, so my sister and family were in town and we decided to enjoy the leftovers from Saturday's party at my parents house.

I set out at 13:34 after Fergus had gone down for his nap. I wasn't worried about the distance as I had run 16k the week before, but I was concerned about the time of day as I had been doing my long runs in the early mornings (and really enjoying them). I can say that I did have quite a bit of stiffness and fatigue in the first few Ks, but I think a lot of this had to do with the fact that I was on my feet all day on Saturday, hosting Fergus' birthday party.

I was also worried about having to run on the shoulder of Derry Road, but that ended up not being a problem as I probably only had to run about 5k on the shoulder and the traffic was fine. In fact, the first 6ks or so clicked by even with the stiffness and then I started to feel a bit low. I decided to stop at the next intersection and dig out my Gu Chomps and eat a few. I also had the epiphany that I could use my large water bottle to fill my handheld for easier water access, so I did all of that while walking. This happened to be at the exact time that my husband and the kids drove by and I didn't hear them honking or see them! My husband did take the time to BBM me to "Quit walking!" (I ran with my iPod on lower than normal and with my phone, just in case).

As I started running again, I felt good, until I noticed some movement out of the corner of my eye. It was a rather large German Shepherd who was following me along as I passed by his property. I promptly stopped as I'm not the biggest fan of dogs, much less big dogs. The dog also stopped. I started walking. So did he. I was running on the north side of the street so that I faced into traffic for safety, but decided that the imminent danger of being bitten by a strange dog was more pressing then the off chance that a car would hit me in broad daylight, so I zoomed across the four lanes of road and started running again.

So did the dog.

In fact, he came out closer to the road as if HE was going to cross the street as well, so I walked again with a wary eye on him until he turned back into his property. Once I was well clear of that property, I crossed back to the north side of the road for safety.

The Ks kept ticking away and I was having a hard time because of the constant headwind but making good time anyway. I just focused on keeping myself running tall, running easy and eating chomps and drinking when I needed to. Before I knew it I was at the 407 overpass and past the sign welcoming me to Mississauga (Meadowvale is a community in the north of the city). I welcomed my Garmin flipping over the 11k and let myself enjoy the boost that comes with knowing there is only 5k left of the run. At this time, I was also running with a lot of short breaks as there are lots of traffic lights, so I'm sure that also helped.

Before long, I was making the turn off Derry Road toward my parents house and then on to their street (as I turned onto my folks street, my mum turned in as well having just been out to pick up some rolls for supper!). I was very happy to be finished and out of the wind! I was also super excited to have fulfilled this goal of running from my house to my parent's house.

16k, 1:46:18, Average pace per KM: 0:06:38

Just think, next year when I'm in Marathon training, I can stop for a break and then head back home to complete a 20-miler!

Hmm, I guess I just set the next goal!

How as your long run this weekend?

Week 5!

Looking at my blog these days, I think you can pretty much tell that I am very busy enjoying the last days of my year-long Maternity Leave. I actually officially go back to work today, but I took three weeks holidays so I don't go back to the office until September 6th! Yippee for full pay!

Last week looked like this:

Sunday: 16k with tempo. This run went amazingly well! I ran a strategy from the clinic where you warm up for 15min, run tempo for 3x (6min tempo, 1 min rest), then 35 min easy and 2x (10min tempo, 2 min rest), then easy home. I averaged a 5:38 pace on the tempo parts and blasted the last one with a pace of 5:31! I also got totally soaked during the last part of the run and suspect that this is what made me run faster! 1:42:40.

Monday: Rest. And I played fastball that night.

Tuesday: 8.15k. The Thomas Street hill! 6x hill repeats, but I took them easy due to Sunday's workout. The running was great, but two people got their water belts with their car keys stolen at the base of the hill so it was a crappy night in that regard. I ended up running with J from the group to the GO Train station after the hills just to make sure everyone had a way home (they did), this is why I got 8ks in. 54:53


5.06k with the stroller. Easy. And fun. While I love to run with music unless I'm running with someone, it was great to run to the sound of Fergus babbling away as well! 33:39

Thursday: J was going to meet me for track intervals but ended up with a conflict and I spent the day at Wonderland with my four year old and some friends so this ended up being a rest day as well.

Friday: Supposed to be a rest day, but swapped it due to Thursday. My husband was home so I met my other friend J who is just picking up this running thing and we ran to the track (her with her new jogging stroller and her almost one year old) and then I did my 6x400m intervals. These were tough, but worth it! I started out too fast with a 4:29 loop, but only didn't hit my targeted pace of 4:45 on the last lap (4:50). Warm up: 1.5k, 13:26. Intervals and cool down: 6k, 35:54

I was supposed to run 5k on Saturday, but we did this instead:

Yep, Fergus is one year old TODAY!

Total KM: 36.71 Total Time: 4:00:32 Average Pace per KM: 0:06:33

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Week 4!

The weeks training for the Road To Hope half marathon in Hamilton are really flying by! I can't believe that I've already completed four weeks of training and that I've managed to pretty much stay on schedule.

Last week was a bit of a fall back week in that I kept the LSD run at the same distance and then took three days in a row off in order to go camping with my family and family friends.

So, the week rounded out like this:

Sunday: 14.75k. LSD solo run at 0635 again. I am really loving this time to get out the door for a run on Sunday. I'm already up anyway with Fergus and sure I could sleep in as it is my day (my husband sleeps in on Saturday), but I love the empty roads, the cooler temperatures and getting back to the house in time for breakfast and Mass with my oldest. 1:37:40

We left for the Pinery at lunch that day and so I had Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday as rest days. I was planning on running something on Wednesday evening, but I came home with a sore throat and was in bed by 8pm.

Thursday: 10.17k. INTERVALS!!! I rocked them out! 1:05:37

Friday: 6.4k. I ran a super easy run at the gym on Friday on the treadmill. I had both boys all day and I loved getting a mini break while they were taken care of by the in-gym daycare. You can't beat $7 for two hours of child care for two children. The run was boring and I even suffered through a horrid reality show called "Holly's World". 0:44:45.

Saturday: 3.3k. Another learn to run with my good friend Jenn. I took Fergus and the jogging stroller and chatted her ear off while we did a short loop around my neighbourhood. The great thing about running with friends is that you can then do spontaneous Farmer's Market trips after the run. We celebrated a great LTR by stocking up on good fruit and veggies after. 0:28:59

So, there you go. A fall back week for sure, but a good one with some hard work as well.

Total KM: 34.62k Total Time: 3h57m01s Average Pace per KM: 0:06:51

Friday, August 5, 2011

Foto Friday

Camping at the Pinery!

Ha! This was the tent we bought as a "play" tent for the kids. My four year old couldn't even stand up in it.

The Beach was beautiful!

And we all loved it.

Thursday, August 4, 2011


I ran my second set of intervals last night. I ran 5x400 with 400 recovery's in between. It was difficult.

It was the first time I was able to go to the high school track to get the intervals completed. Last week I ended up at my parents house and while they watched the kids, I ran at my old elementary school, but the track is just a paved path, not quite 400m long. That first week ended up being okay though as those four repeats let me know a few things.

1. I can run intervals
2. I can run them at a 5 minute pace per KM

My intention this week was to run them when we got home from our annual August long weekend camping trip on Wednesday. Unfortunately, I was unable to do so as I was not feeling very well at all and ended up in bed right after the baby (at 7:30!). I think the sore throat I had combined with being kept awake until 2:30am the night before (due to a boisterous Euchre game at a neighbouring site) caught up with me and I just crashed.

Thursday rolled around and we got back to normal life, including hosting a play date and I decided that I'd run to the track for sure (about 3k) and turn around if I wasn't feeling up to intervals.

After the baby was in bed, I headed out into the lovely setting sun and 25C temperatures toward the high school. I got there and there was a Men's League Flag Football game in progress, so I decided that an audience of strangers would be enough motivation to push through the 5x400s (with 400m recoveries).

Somehow, I ended up averaging 416m per lap, but I am very pleased to say that I did it!

Time per lap (pace per KM): 1:52 (4:30)-1:55 (4:34)-1:57 (4:44)-1:58 (4:44)-1:55 (4:45).

I am having a hate/love relationship with this type of training so far. I hate running them, but love seeing the great times!

The run home (which I extended to get a full 10k in), was slow and difficult. I was bang on a 7:00 per KM pace and am glad I took my time. Can't wait to see how I fare next week with 6 repeats!

Week 3!

I know this is late, but we headed out camping on Sunday, so I didn't have time to get on a computer until now. It was a great four days away with lovely company and the kids did great! Photos to come of the beauty of Lake Huron at the Pinery.

Sunday: 14.5k My Longest Solo Distance EVER! It was an amazing day for a run. 1:35:59

Tuesday: 5.81k. Hills! I returned to the Thomas Street hill with the group and battled my way up four hills, rocking out the pace again (5:49-6:01-5:59-6:15). Yeah, the last one was brutal! 0:38:51

Thursday: 9k. My first time running intervals! I dropped my kids off at my parents house and then ran the slightly shorter than 400m track at my old elementary school. The plan called for 4x400 with a 400m recovery and I hit the planned 2mins per 400m each time (2:07-2:00-1:59-1:57). I then did a long recovery jog home to get the KMs in. 0:57:29

Friday: 6.18k. Just a short run in my subdivision to get it in. I felt alright, but it was just a run, you know... nothing special. 0:39:59

Total KM: 35.49k Total Time: 3:52:18 Ave pace per KM: 0:6:33

Another great week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Week 2!

Here we go! Week two recap:

Sunday: 12.27k. A pretty good run on a new route that was just a huge door to door rectangle. I totally miscalculated the sun and ran in the direct sun too much, but was okay anyway. I got out the door around 0730 and was hot. I did manage to get home in time to nurse the baby down to his 9am nap and I made it to 10am mass with my oldest as well. 1:21:35

Tuesday: Thomas Street Hill. I gladly joined the new half marathon clinic to run hills. A short warm up and three repeats and we were done. I was happy to be close to tempo for all three repeats. My plan is to keep up with them when I don't have a baseball game conflict. 5.12k, 0:33:26

Wednesday: I decided to do a medium long run on this night rather then the tempo I had planned because it was still stinking hot at 8pm. I wavered at 6k when I could have turned for home, 300 metres away. Instead I continued on the route and finished strong at 8.2k. 0:52:42

Friday: Tempo run on the treadmill at the gym. It was HOT last week. My oldest was at camp, so the baby and I headed to the gym so that I could get this in. It felt good. Actually, if I admit it it felt a bit too easy. No worries though - I start intervals in week three, so I'm sure there will be pain again. 6.4k, 0:41:13

Saturday: My friend has started a learn to run program on her own so I told her I'd run with her anytime. We agreed to meet Saturday, so I ran to her place. It was 16:18 when I started and the temperature was +37C. It was a hot run. 4.3k, 0:27:12. We then went on to do her LTR (4 and 1s) for 2k (0:16:48).

Total KM: 38.29 Total Time: 4h12m56s Average Pace per KM: 0:6:36

Longest Solo Distance Sunday!

Yesterday, my training plan called for me to run 14k. I gamely sorted out a route via Gmaps on Saturday afternoon and then watched the weather before deciding to set the alarm for 6am (have I mentioned that Sunday is my weekend day to sleep in?), to get up and out and back before the real humidity and hot weather hit (I had run on Saturday afternoon in +37C sun and had absolutely NO intentions of repeating that kind of run, especially for a LSD).

This was to be the longest distance I have ever run alone. Yes, I did race the Bread & Honey 15k road race alone, but it was a race; you're never alone during a race. I actually didn't think too much about it before the run other then calculate that it should take me no more then about 1 hour 40 minutes or so if I kept the pace easy. To be honest, I was more worried about being over-heated than being lonely.

Turns out I had no reason to worry on either account. I got out the door at 0635 and was off. I made a point of looking a the digital temperature display I pass during long runs and it said +22C. I was very happy to read that even though I was sweating buckets and it was only 2k in. It was pretty humid out, but I had come prepared with an extra 500mL of water that I carried in my hand (my hand-held is only 10oz). I didn't find carrying a water bottle too bad and I loved the idea that I could finish it by 7k.

It was around 7 or 8k that the weather changed. The sun went behind the clouds and the sky turned dark enough that I was able to take off my sunglasses. There was a breeze. A COOL breeze. It was like heaven after days of breezes that blew at you like the ones that come from the depths of your oven after you open it when the broiler has been in use. I was running along a new street for me; an old part of town. The houses were post-WWII bungalows with carports and mature trees. It was nice to zone out and enjoy the breeze, the quaint houses where the monotony was only broken by the different hostas planted in front gardens.

Before I knew it, I was close to 10k in and I decided to take a GU, least my legs give out on me in the final push. By this time, I was headed to Main Street (Milton, ON) and was able to put the empty water bottle in the garbage and run on hands free. Running up Main Street to the new end of my town was awesome. I didn't see one single soul. It was too early for church and coffee and too late for late-night barfly's. I loved the feeling of being alone. I can't accurately explain how great I felt to just run on, knowing that the run would soon come to an end.

As I headed up the final hill to the subdivision that would lead me across the major road and into my own subdivision, I passed a women who I had passed very early in my run. I took a few seconds to ask how far she was running, "I dunno... maybe 15?"

"I'm going 14" I said, "Have a good one!" And with a wave and a nod, we each ran on (me going west, her going east) happy to have shared the camaraderie of a long Sunday run and glad to be left alone with our thoughts again.

Distance: 14.5k, Time: 1:35:59, Pace: 6:37/km on average

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Three Things Thursday

I might as well play along!

1. I was wrong about my Hamilton Half Marathon training plan. I'm actually doing a 17 week plan; 16 weeks of training with the 17th week being race week! This happened because I, um, missed a week in August. HA!

2. So far this week has been great! I completed a great 12k run on Sunday on my own, ran hills with the current half marathon clinic (and ran them speedy!) and did a great medium-long 8k last night. Today calls for 6k tempo... If it happens, it'll be at the gym on the treadmill as there is no way I'm attempting to run in 50C heat (and yes, I DO live in Canada).

3. I'm pretty very sure my ePace has changed. I can't seem to run slower then 6:45 these days no matter how hard I try. In fact, during the hill repeats on Tuesday, I actually almost hit my old 6:00m/km tempo pace for the first time ever on all repeats (6:04, 6:09, 6:05). As a result, I'm not going to kill myself trying to go slower then 6:45m/km on my easy runs anymore, but I am going to do my best to stick with that speed least I re-injure myself. For the record, my tempo pace is now 5:45m/km. I start intervals next week, so we'll see how they go!

Have a great day, and if you're in the GTA stay cool!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hamilton Half Marathon Week 1 Training Recap

Last week I kicked off my self directed training plan to get me into shape for the Hamilton Half Marathon. I'm both excited and nervous to be attempting a self-directed training plan for only my second half marathon, but because it is the summer, because I'm heading back to work from maternity leave in September and because my Running Room's current half clinic is targeting the Scotiabank Marathon, I decided to do it on my own.

The Running Room program calls for 17 weeks of training with week 18 being the race. I've reduced this to 15 weeks with 16 being the race as I already have a good base. I was supposed to run 21km and ended up with 26km in (Su-Sa)

Mon Jul 11: Ran 8k at the gym on the treadmill. I stuck to an easy pace for the first 5k and used the last 3k as a tempo run: 0:54:00. I also played baseball that night (and Tuesday night).

Wed Jul 13: 5.81k in a door to door loop before I went to dinner with the girls. It was a hot, fast run, but it allowed me to stick with the program: 0:35:46

Thur Jul 14: 7k door to door again after I put the baby to bed. I did not want to run and felt so tired before I headed out, but I couldn't keep my legs slow: 0:44:21

Sat Jul 16: 5.13k with the jogging stroller and Fergus. This should count for much more as it is HARD to run with the stroller. It did allow me to keep my ePace easy though: 0:35:28

Total: 26km
Time: 2:49:25
Pace per KM: 0:6:31

This is right where I want to be right now. I'm planning on increasing the distance and pushing the speed in the weeks to come as I start to incorporate a 10k speed plan within the half training schedule in order to get ready to PB the Zoo Race on September 24th.

Happy Running!

Friday, July 15, 2011

When you don't want to run

I didn't want to run last night. Not at all. I was tired after spending a lot of the afternoon outside yesterday and generally from fighting a cold all the while being woke up 1-2x a night by the baby.

At 7pm, I nursed the baby to sleep and almost joined him.

Instead, I resisted the urge to curl up on the couch and watch TV and got out with my tunes and shoes, settling in for 7k. It was pretty crazy. I was tired and sluggish, but I couldn't keep my body from running fast. I don't know if it is because I only ran one 3k stretch of tempo this week or if it was because I was only mentally tired, but at the end of the run, even after doing my best to run conservatively, I had held a 6:20 pace on average (my half race pace was 6:23).

I'm going to get a quick tempo in tomorrow and then a 12k long run on Sunday. My goal for Sunday is to keep my pace at 6:50. I've got to slow down. I don't want to end up back in physio.

Do you have any tips for keeping it slow?

Monday, July 11, 2011

Warrior Dash (non) Race Report!

Let me say first off that had I actually ran this race, it would have been the most difficult race I have ever done in my entire life. As it was, the girls I was running with had a hard time (as did many) and so we walked the entire race.

We headed up to Barrie around 12:30 and hit traffic on the 400 highway as we suspected. We had lots of time to make our 4:30 wave start so we cruised, chatted, stopped for Ice Capps and texted with our fellow racers who were ahead of us.

We got off the highway and made it to parking after a bit of confusion being turned around a few times by officers telling us we couldn't go this way or that way. We met up with our fourth and her boyfriend and got on the school buses for the 2 minute drive to Horseshoe Resort. The scene was awesome with loads of Warriors milling around pre and post race. The mud on those who had completed the race was amazing.

We then saw that people were lining up to be sprayed off by fire hoses after their race. Wow.

We checked our bags, hit the washroom and then started to line up but not before I ran into my cousin (watching her complete her first marathon at Mississauga in 2009 really inspired me to become a runner). She had just finished and repeated what we were hearing all around us: The hills were BRUTAL, the obstacles were nothing, we would get muddy.

Soon, it was time to start and the gun went (as did the fire at the start line!) and we were off. The very first obstacle we hit was a mud pit and while we all thought we were prepared with shoes tied on super tight, one of the girls lost her shoe. She dug it out and we stopped to let her empty it and then put it back on.

This is where the 'race' part of the race went out the window. The three ladies I was with were all out of breath (all smokers, all with asthma) and we decided to walk it. It was brutally hot and we literally were walking up a black diamond ski hill. We were in the back of the pack and I was doing fine, so I settled into my role as cheerleader.

I don't have much more to report. As I wasn't racing, I didn't pay much attention to times or anything else. After the halfway point, we caught up with another group of 4:30ers who were struggling up yet another steep hill and we joked around with them. It was at this time that the 5:00 wave front runners started to pass us and I started to cheer them on as they could barely run up the hill (it was that steep and trust me, these people were FIT). I was doing leg kicks and cheer leading moves saying, "Go 5:00, go 5:00, go 5:00 wave! You're doing it! You're lapping us 4:30ers! Keep racing! Keep racing! Keep racing shirtless please!"

At least I got some laughs from those who were struggling badly up the hill (even though my friend Flo (who I did the Santa run with) was ready to kill me and my positive attitude!). We made it up that hill and from that point on it was mainly downhill through the last obstacles. I climbed the final cargo net, jumped the two fires but did not get down on my stomach for an army crawl through the final mud pit. At that point, I wasn't feeling it. I am short enough that I was able to crouch down to get under the chains even though some people were walking over them.

We finished and grabbed some water and photos:

As you can see, I'm not muddy!

We then went to the fire hose to clean up a bit (I donated my shoes), changed to cleaner clothes and got our free beer (the timing chip was good for a free beer):

I would do this race again. 100%. I would race it though, but with someone who could stay with me. It would be no fun to do it alone. I'm very glad I stayed with these four ladies throughout. If you decide to do this race next year I only have one recommendation: Get ready for hills!

Time: 1:10:29
Place: 9417
Place F30-34: 864

Friday, July 8, 2011

Races and goals

These past two weeks have really been great for me. I've totally gotten back into my running routine and have even gotten out for morning runs before my husband goes to work (these are needed as I am now home with both of my sons and I can't run while my four year old bikes beside me - we've tried!).

With the success I've been having any my husband's blessing, I bit the bullet this past week and signed up for the Road 2 Hope Half Marathon taking place in Hamilton on November 6, 2011.

The goal for this one is pretty simple:

Personal Best (sub 2:13:58)

I also signed up for the Energizer 5k Night Race on September 10, 2011. The goal here is fuzzy, but a sub 28 minutes is the current goal.

Of course, I will also look for a 10k PB at the zoo run on September 24th.

For this weekend at the Warrior Dash, I have no goals.


Actually attempt the jump over the fire.

Not get hurt.

Drink a lot of beer (post race).

I'm having a great summer!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


Yesterday I was discharged from Physio! Yippee!

My knee is on the mend, but I need to ensure that I keep up the stretching and strengthening routines that I learned. My knee is still "tracking" slightly off, so I need to get back in to see the therapist at the first sign of something odd to ensure I don't end up with a very bad injury. He also suggested that I ice my knee after every run whenever possible.

I'm also back in the running game! According to Daily Mile I ran 32k last week (M-Su) for a total of 3h32m spent running over four workouts. I'm very pleased to see those numbers! I ran my LSD on Saturday morning as we were attending a party later in the day and sleeping over so I wouldn't have been able to get it in on Sunday AM. This strategy worked out well for me and I didn't feel one iota of guild as I loaded up on the 12 kinds of amazing salads on offer at the buffet (or the piece of chocolate Canada Day cake!).

I kept up the early morning routine this morning, heading out the door at 0715 to start my day with 5.7k around my neighbourhood. It took me about 2k to get my legs working and less stiff, but it was great to get back in the house knowing that I got the workout in (I have baseball tonight, plus both of my kids are home with me now that school is out and it is really hard to run with the jogging stroller and my four year old on his bike!).

I'm eager to put some speed work back on the plan, but I'm unsure if I could handle a tempo run so early in the AM. I guess I can test the theory tomorrow morning as I think my husband is off for a bike ride tomorrow evening, meaning I can't run once the kids are in bed (as he'll be gone).

This weekend is also the Warrior Dash, but that will be more about the post-race drinks having a great time, then racing. I'll write about that one later in the week.