About Me

My photo
Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Mississauga Marathon: Race Day Strategy

I wrote this out last year and found that putting it all down really helped me prepare. So, here are my thoughts on strategy for this, my second marathon race.

Strategy Clothing:

This one is super easy. I'm wearing this:
Which I reviewed here. The additions will be my trusty Oakley sunnies which rest really well on the top of my hat if I don't need them but I will. Sunscreen and wrightsocks will complete the look.

Strategy Fuel and Water:

Breakfast will be around 5:30am at the latest and will be a small coffee, whole grain bagel with butter and peanut butter. Maybe a small apple juice. I pray to everything holy that this combo will help me use the washroom effectively. I will also bring a banana to the start line to eat around 6:45-7am. I will carry a 500mL toss away bottle of water with me at the beginning of the race and just like last year, I will toss it at a water station, likely around 8 or 10k. I will bring 5 GU gels with me and take one every 8-9k. I will take at least four and then evaluate if I need the last one. I will carry mint gum and chapstick to help with dry mouth and lips. My plan is to walk through each water station after about 10k and drink one cup of water. After 32k, I will likely add Gatorade to the mix. If it is going to be as hot as it says, I will likely be dumping water over me as well.

Strategy Pace:

Stick to pace. Especially in the easy beginning. Let the hills come as they come and worry about overall pace, not the pace I'm running at that very moment. If possible, find the damn pacer (and if s/he's good), STICK WITH THEM. Try not to think about the pace at all. Try to just feel it.

Strategy Mental:

I will start without music and take it in. I will put that music on if I need it to get through the doldrums that can be 15-23km. Be a cheerleader for Wayne when he needs it. Let him cheer for me. Embrace the run. Enjoy the day. Enjoy the view and the kids. High-Five. Fist Bump (but don't expend extra energy!). Enjoy the out and back down Southdown like I did last year. Don't let the climbs on Meadow Wood or Lakeshore at 32k (yes, it SUCKS) break me. SUCK IT UP and GET IT DONE.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mississauga Marathon, Training Week 17!

Each run this week served to solidify my goals for the race next Sunday. I have embraced the taper and have enjoyed all runs. The tipping point came yesterday on my drive to the Running Room where something clicked and I knew that I could go out and go for my A goal (details coming, but likely not surprising).

Monday: Rest. Calves were still a bit sore.

Tuesday: 0515 run before the sun rose. I wanted to get race pace for this, but did not and really I didn't mind. 6k, 33:50. That night, I went for a physio massage and got my calves and legs worked on. She did some active release on my Achilles tendon and things were feeling good. I booked a follow up appointment for April 30 and a post race massage for May 7.

Wednesday: Running Room free run.  Which inspired this post. We were all grumpy and just wanted to get the damn thing over with. Which we did. Quite quickly. 12k, 1:06:07

On Thursday, Phil text me and asked if I wanted to join him for Streetsville Hills. I asked him to join us at the Running Room instead for an easier run around the man-made lake. I was so happy when he joined us and I think that Wayne was glad to have different company as well. Man, Phil and Wayne run fast when the distance is under 16k. 10k, 54:04.

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Rest. I was feeling horrible all day on Friday with some lingering effects on Saturday, so I skipped the easy 6k run. Yay, taper!

Sunday: We were back to the Running Room with the masses and started our last 16k run at race pace. Wayne and I knew that we were running too fast the whole time, but it was hard to reel in. We kept chatting about the race and frequently said, "If we feel this good at Xkm, it'll be awesome." I wore my planned race outfit again and was perfectly comfortable in it. Chris caught us with about 7km to go and he started to push out pace down a bit more. We both hung on and the last KM was the fastest for me. 16k, 1:26:33

Total KM: 44, Total Time: 4:00:34, Average pace per KM: 0:05:28.

Well, there is nothing more I can do this week to help me prepare physically. I'm hydrating with my new best friend never far away:

I've printed out the race route to look at from time to time at work. I'm building a playlist (though I don't know how much of the race I'll run with music) and I'm continuing to hold on to that feeling that came over me yesterday while driving.

Six days left. I'm ready.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Taaaappper Madnesssss


Taper madness has struck the group I've been training with for the last 16 weeks.

We showed up for the free group run yesterday at 6:30 (in the freaking cold, windy RAIN), and all of us were like:

I may have It might have been suggested that we hit up Jack Astor's for a few pints instead of the rainy, windy, cold trails. But in the end, we all got out there and ran our 12k. In fact, Wayne and I did an impromptu race pace run, averaging 5:30/km over 12k even with some brutal headwinds.

Which lead to this:

10 days until race day.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Here we go again! I'm joining Jenn's party and posting my Tuesday eats. You know, LOTS of people make fun of blogger/instagramers who only post photos of food. I read those sarcastic words and often wonder if I should even bother, but you know what? I like this weekly party. It helps me focus on eating a lot better (for Tuesday at least) and I get inspiration from looking at the other links. So, without further rambles:

I started the day with a 6k run and then came home to breakfast. Leftover waffles toasted up in the toaster with maple syrup and grapefruit no sugar. Amazing. We are always doubling our waffle recipe from now on so I can have a quick amazing breakfast.

Snacks around 10am

Lunch. You can't really see them, but I had some left over homemade meatballs with HP sauce with this massive salad. And yes, my new job has a patio and we ate outdoors in the sunshine yesterday.

I had booked a physio massage at 6pm, so I needed a snack before that as I didn't have time for dinner. She worked out my legs and calves and I'm going back next Tuesday for more work.

Dinner as made by my husband. Chicken breast on the bone, corn and long grain with wild rice. The sauce is a chipotle sauce. YUM.

After the kids when to bed, I watched the Jays come back lose again! I'm such a night time snacker! I know the key is to not buy these things, but well, um.... I don't have much shopping will power either. HAHA.

Off to join the link party and to see what you've all been eating. 

Monday, April 22, 2013

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 16!

Training week 16. The start of the taper. I'm in a good place this year, but of course confidence is not 100%. While I want to go out and set an aggressive goal for this, my second marathon, I also want to enjoy it and run (as much as possible) with Wayne. Time ticks away, but this weeks training allowed goals to firm up a bit more.

Monday: Rest. Glued to the news.

Tuesday: 5am run wearing my 2013 Around the Bay shirt, thinking of Boston and the victims. Decided to just run and see if it would get me race pace. 6k, 33:27 (perfect race pace of 5:34/km)

Wednesday: It was meant to be at least 10k with track work, but I spent the day at Toronto Star Blue Jays Fantasy camp!

Photo of photos, but you get the idea. We spent the morning with the coaching staff/ Jays staff (including 1991 world series MVP and former Blue Jay Jack Morris). 

Thursday: I was sore when I woke up. My right arm/shoulder was hurting from throwing so much the day before, but my legs were okay (see note about calves below). We had our normal clinic talk where Chris spoke about preparing for marathon day and got a few of us to share our first marathon stories, then we hit the paths for a nice run (with some heavy rain). Wayne and I ran together with Chris and Manish, but by 6k, Manish and I were not feeling their superior pace (5:10s/km) so we slowed down and finished together. 10k, 54:47

Friday: Rest

Saturday: Because I had missed Wednesday, I decided to run a few more KM to make up some on this day. It was SUPER windy out and my planned loop turning into an out and back instead. 8k, 44:14

Sunday: Wayne and I agreed to meet at 7:30am at the running room to get the cut back distance of 23k in early. My friend and neighbour Bridget joined us as well (she ran the half at Niagara with me and will run the half in Mississauga). I wanted to get a long race pace part in this run and after looking at the route, we decided to do 3k warm up, 10k race pace and 10k easy. This worked out well and we averaged 5:27/km on the race pace part. Confidence grows. I rushed home, showered and then spent the afternoon at the zoo with my fave guys:

Total KM: 47, Total Time: 4:22:40, Average pace per KM: 0:05:35

You guys? I'm a bit worried. Since last Sunday, my right calf has been... tight. Like I have kept it flexed eternally. It doesn't bug when running. I can feel it, but it doesn't cause me pain or alter my gait, it is just tight. I booked a physio massage appointment for tomorrow to get it worked on, so hopefully they can bring some relief. I have been wearing my running shoes at work diligently  I've been foam rolling and lightly massaging as well. I wore my compression socks at the zoo yesterday. I've never had calf problems so I really hope it gets fixed with little trouble. I'll keep you updated.

In other news, 13 days until race day! WooHoo!!!

Friday, April 19, 2013

Review: Lululemon running shorts and top

Look. I'm not a fashion person. I tend to always heed my mum's advice to buy "Classic" clothing items which are well made so that I can wear them for years to come and still be in style.

In terms of running clothing, I have a few things working against me:

1) I'm cheap

2) I don't really care about fashion over comfort

I've been racing pretty non-stop since 2011 when I ran my first half marathon:
Look. I matched my tops.

But I've always been more concerned about how I felt when I raced, than what I looked like:
Bread and Honey 15k, 2011
Zoo 10k, 2011
Hamilton Half Marathon, 2011
Chilly Half Marathon, 2012 - a windbreaker from MEC
Around the Bay, 2012 - I look good here, no? 
Niagara Falls Half Marathon, 2012 - another good look, right?

There have been man-shorts (what I deal I got on these! On clearance for $4 and still one of my fave pairs to run in)
Mississauga Marathon, 2012

Midsummer Night's Run, 30k, 2012

So I'm sure it is no surprise to any of you to learn that I've never purchased anything at Lululemon on my own. My husband has spoiled me by purchasing me items there (because all of his friend's wives had those hoodies too), but never have I set foot in the store to buy my own stuff. When I left my old job, the going away drinks coincided with my birthday and my lovely colleagues got me a $100 gift card for Lulu. I decided that I needed a new marathon outfit and for once, I was going to be vain and get something a bit more fashionable (though I'd be totally fine in my man-shorts again. They really are awesome).

So I bought this:
I even got a manicure to match my nails!
Groovy Run Shorts and Mile a Minute Tank (in freaking hot PINK!). I'll give you moment to have a good chuckle at those names.

 My hat is my beloved Nike Golf hat which the Globe and Mail gave out at their golf tournament last year. My shoes are Brooks Ravenna 4s:

I ran in this outfit last Sunday when I did my final LSD run of 34k. I wasn't expecting to find true (running clothes) love.

But I did.


Are you kidding me with this tank and these shorts? The are seriously AMAZING!!!!! 

Shorts: Sit below the belly button and stay in place. They have built in gel pockets in the waist band and a drawstring for a tighter fit. They didn't rise up with the potential to show my 36 year old mum-ass to the world and with the build in undies (and some strategic Vaseline), I had NO chaffing (none. Nada).

The top. When I tried on a million four different tops in store, the sales girl (I can call her a girl, I've got at least 15 years on her) kept telling me that I'd love the Mile a Minute Tank (Jesus, that NAME!) because it was really supportive. I kinda rolled my B-cup eyes (in my head), but thanked her for the tip. 


Never have I been more supported. I mean, I never really noticed the fun-bags flipping and flopping around in the past.

(in fact the only time I've been bothered is when I was nursing and out for a long run and had gone too long between feeds. Rocks. Man. If you've nursed, you know. If not, carry on)

Support has never been a concern for me. But. 


Being properly supported with this silky, soft (stupidly named) tank top was amazing. Like the shorts, the top stayed in place and didn't chaff at all. I didn't use the internal boob key pocket, so I can't comment on that. 

This outfit is so seriously amazing, that I'm considering spending $126 of my own money to go buy the exact same thing in a different colour. That's the price of shoes for the sake of John Stanton!

So, you've got a convert you over priced reasonably priced for the value, hippy, yoga store. 

And now, my fashionista running friends can freely run with me instead of just pretending that I'm a good pacer. So my friends, if you're planning at being at the finish line of the Mississauga Marathon on May 5th around 11:30am or so, look for me.

I'll be the fashionable one.

Lululemon did not give me a thing for this review. But I will take anything they have to offer.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday

Featuring the food I ate on Tuesday, April 16, 2013

 First, I ran 6k and dedicated the run to Boston. Then, I came home and enjoyed this lovely breakfast of whole grain Cheerios and strawberries in milk.

Hungry around 10am, so I ate my yogurt while I finished my coffee.

instagramed this awesome lunch (follow me there!)

Snacks! Look at those beautiful nails!

I could not resist this when I saw it in my desk.
This is my spaghetti sauce being made on Monday night. Ground beef, peppers, onions, mushrooms and zucchini  Amazing.


We went swimming and of course, once the kids were in bed I ate some nibs (not pictured).

So there is my day in eats! Today I get to go to the Blue Jays fantasy camp!!!! Look for a post about that tomorrow.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 15!

And just like that, I'm in the taper! WooHoo! The race is so, so close now. No burnout, no injuries (knock wood) and continued love of running. Things are looking good!

Monday: Rest. Of course I was starving all day long after the 32km run the day before. So I ate as well. Lots.

Tuesday: Because the weather forecast was for complete crap weather, I made the decision to hit the gym in the early morning to run on the treadmill. When the alarm went off, I so didn't want to get up, but I forced myself out the door and was able to get in an awesome tempo run on the treadmill. I increased my pace to 4:58/km during the 20 minute tempo part and this felt fine! 6.44k, 34:35

Wednesday: Back at the track. I'm not going to lie. This was one spot where my motivation was severely lacking. It had been raining all day and I decided that if the rain was going to continue I would NOT be running on the track that night. But, the rain stopped and I sucked it up and got out there. It was actually warm enough once I got going to get down to just a long-sleeved shirt and I executed some great laps (6x800s with 400 recoveries - net time is for 800s) 3:39-3:33-3:41-3:39-3:38-3:39. I am stoked about the consistency here. Of course when the run was over, I was glad I had done it. 11.35k, 1:00:57


Friday: Rest. And thankfully too, because the weather wasn't that much better. We had our neighbour come over and her kids played with ours and I drank some wine with her which may have compromised 

Saturday: But the wine from the night before played no part in this awesome 0615 out and back run. I felt good and just eased on up and down the road before settling in to the rest of the crazy day. 6.01k, 33:59

Sunday: Our last big training run before the taper! We met at the 7.5km mark of the Mississauga Marathon course inside University of Toronto, Mississauga along with Paul's clinic and hit the road for the last 33km of the marathon course. This was invaluable last year and will be of significant value again this year. Peter, Wayne, Yan and I started off together and missed the turn on Lorne Park which added to our day (by about 1km) but we enjoyed a mainly quiet run as we all reflected on where we'll be in three weeks (Peter is running the Goodlife Marathon in Toronto though). Personally, I had some tough bits along Southdown to Orr road due to the wind, but Peter encouraged me to keep going strong which I did. Then in the last few KM on the park trails, I really quieted down which Wayne remarked on, but I was feeling like I needed to stop or eat or something (and normally I would have a GU at 30-32km), so I'm not as concerned as Wayne was. I did get a few stitches in the last 4km which SUCKED but I walked/breathed through them. I think it has to do with talking too much (and not breathing right) or drinking too much. Let's just hope it doesn't happen on race day. After we were done, both groups celebrated with this treat which I made:

34.01km (longest training run ever!) 3:14:00.

Total KM: 67.81, Total Time: 6:23:41, Average Pace Per KM: 0:05:39

So, I have a decision to make about race time goals and I need to be realistic. The training has gone even better than last year because I knew what to expect. I just hope it all comes together in the same joyful experience as last year.  18 days to go.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

What I Ate Wednesday!

I'm returning to the party hosted by Jenn (click link above) as I've finally remembered to document my entire day of eats! I'm not going to lie people, while I'm trying to do my best to lose some lbs (which includes tracking food via MyFitnessPal), it is not going so well. I always stall out around 131-133 and I'm stalled again here. I don't think it helps that, in week 15 of marathon training, I'm starving for two plus days post the Sunday long run. Couple that with my willpower which wanes as soon as the kids are in bed and you have a recipe for a 2,291 calorie day (minus 451 for exercise). Oh well. All I can do is keep up the good fight.

The day started with an un-pictured banana and a tempo run on the treadmill (35 min total with 20 min of tempo at 4:58/km pace). Once I showered up and hit the train, I enjoyed some mini croissants with peanut butter and this horrible sports drink (I buy a mixed pack so I have to drink it).

Starving by 10am (yes I don't take care of my nails. I always mean to and never do).

Amazing lunch. I had totally forgotten that I put that leftover potato in my lunch bag so I was all excited when I pulled it out. I was kinda sad when lunch was over.
I had this for desert (not sure what race this came from. Again, horrible nails). This bar is so yummy. I need to get to Costco and get a box!

Train snack! I almost forgot to take the photo! This little container was full. These are the best grapes I've had in a long time. I always find that we never finish grapes when I buy them. I'm trying to get much better about this.

Tuesday dinner. A classic. The One-Pot Mac and Cheese is amazing, easy and I promise you have all of the ingredients in your pantry (it doesn't need the nutmeg). As you may recall, Tuesday's are crazy nights in our house as my husband has kid duty with both kids and we try to get to family swim for 7pm. I got home last night at 6:30, but we made it!

And here comes the lack of will power (after the kids were in bed)
OMG I don't think I could love Sir Perry's cider any more than I do. The popcorn isn't bad. 100 calorie mini bag. Not a bad nightcap. If I had stopped there. But I didn't.
My mother-in-law always makes sure that the Easter Bunny visits the grown kids too. :-)

So, there you have it. My day in eats for Tuesday, April 9, 2013. I started strong and went kinda downhill. But I always tell people that I run so much so that I can enjoy eating what I want (within reason). I mean you gotta enjoy life and for me that includes enjoying food and drink!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Mississauga Marathon Training Week 14!

We are getting there, slowly but surely. It is time to start to solidify the time goals and to build the mental capacity to deal with the entire 42.2km that I'm set to run on May 5th. I'm currently flipping between feeling ready to go after an aggressive PB and feeling like I should ease off a bit and enjoy myself more during the race. Lots of time to decide though. Right now I need the good weather to hold so that I can try out my planned race day outfit that I bought last week:

Monday: Easter Monday, but I didn't have the day off. It was cold (Mother Nature's April Fool) and I wore my Uggs to walk from Union Station to my new job. The walk is about 1.1km each way. After we put the kids to bed, I went out into the blowing snow (SRSLY!) and ran a short run to make up for what I had missed on Saturday or Sunday while we had family in town. My shins started to really hurt a lot and I realized that I need to wear running shoes for the walk to the new job. Wind plus shin splints made this a slower run. 5.01k, 30:35

Tuesday: On Tuesday, I could have gotten up early to get my run in on the road, but I decided to return to the gym at lunch and bang out some tempo on the treadmill. I ran 1 mile warm up, 2 miles at tempo pace (5:02/km) and 1 mile cool down. My shins still hurt a bit, but I was glad to get the tempo done. If I'm going to up the pace, I have to do so this week, so we will see what happens tomorrow. 6.44k, 35:56

Wednesday: This day brought our first track workout! We got some detailed instructions from our clinic leader about how to calculate our 800m pace based on 10k race time. The instructions resulted in some funny emails back and forth about various math skills and had me pull out my phone to do some on track calculations the night of as well. I had used the last 10k of my 2013 Chilly Half marathon to determine my 800m pace and set it at 3:55. We did 4 repeats (with 400m rests). 3:33-3:42-3:46-3:45. I think I can run a bit faster as seen by my first lap. The wind was super crazy though. We will see what happens next week. 8.55k, 44:56

Thursday: Clinic night! We had a nice chat as usual and then hit the paved trails to run around the community lake twice. This is one of my favorite runs and Wayne and I started out together only to be joined by Lisa and Chris about 5k in. The run ended up being a bit fast as a result, but my shins didn't hurt and the conversation was awesome! 10k, 55:10

Friday: Rest. Whew!

Saturday: Busy day per usual, made even busier by the fact that Ken had to work and Alasdair had a birthday party from 11-1:15. I'm so blessed in the fact that my friend Jenn asked to have Fergus over for lunch and a playdate and I got some domestic work done (laundry. Piles and piles of laundry) and a short run. This was my first run in shorts (awesome) and the 2013 Chilly Half marathon jacket (not awesome - it doesn't breath). 6k, 33:31

Sunday: It was our first 32k run of the schedule! We met at 0730 at the running room and set off with a much larger group then usual as a lot of the 30k clinic people who ran Around the Bay are joining us now (Yippee!). Wayne, Yan and I started per usual and Chris joined us less then 1km in. The rain also joined us at that point, but it stopped by 3k and I waited and waited and waited for Chris to go ahead (we were running fast for our LSD pace (but not crazy fast), but S L O W for Chris. He never left us and it was nice to push a bit harder on this run. We stopped twice. Once around 14k so I could use the bathroom at Tim Hortons (I drank a coffee before the run which helped to wake me up, but makes me pee so much!) and once at almost 19k where Henry had yet again set up his van with snacks! I took the opportunity to show off my birthday present:

Then I ate three orange slices and we continued along for the last 15k. I also ate a pack of GU chomps and that was it for this run. I only carried water. I started to lag a bit with about 7k to go and was ready to tough it out alone as the men were doing fine, but Wayne stayed back with me to run a bit slower while Chris and Yan finished strong (and about 3 minutes before us). The amazing thing is that we didn't have one KM where our pace was over 6min/km. With a taper and adrenaline, my A+ goal may be in reach on May 5th. 32k, 3:04:04

Total KM: 68 (I'm fairly positive that this is a record breaking week for me), Total Time: 6:24:12, Average pace per KM: 0:05:39

Week 15 is our last big week of training before the taper. We will run the last 33km of the race route next Sunday and then it will be cruising to the start line. I really can't believe how fast this training season is going and that I'm not sick of it yet! This has been an amazing journey so far and I can't wait to finish this stage and toe the line of my victory lap!