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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Friday, February 27, 2015

Chilly Half Marathon: The Plan

This Sunday, I will run the Chilly Half Marathon for the fourth year in a row!

This race has great memories for me. It was my third half marathon back in 2012, even though it was "just" a training run on the path to my first marathon. 2012 brought me a PB and so did the 2013 edition. Finally, last year, I battled PF, but still finished with Emma and celebrated as she ran her way to a small PB.
I've always loved this race! How can you not? Its a fast and flat out and back race and when you're finished, the bars open to offer free chili and beer to the racers! Win, Win!

This year, the goals are different. Or, as Phaedra has noted, "this is NOT your A race."

So, she's given me a plan, based solely on time per KM. The plan is to stick to the plan. Sam's game to come along for the ride.

We'll go out and aim to hit 5:08/km as fast as possible (the beginning is always a bit of a cluster nightmare until about 3k) and then the effort should be smooth and easy all the way past the turn at 14k and then at 16k, we're supposed to pick it up and hit 5:05/km for the last five. Hopefully, we'll be feeling good enough to hit a bit faster in the last couple of KM. I've toyed with the idea of suggesting we race up the chute, but I know Sam will beat me, so instead, I'll settle for another (and better) finishing photo:

Road2Hope, 2014
See you on the flip side! If all goes well, the final time should be somewhere under 1:48! Not bad at all!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Ottawa Marathon Training: Week 4!

Oh week 4! A beautiful rest week with a small cutback in distance and an actual cutback in tempo! It was also a short week as we had a holiday on Monday (Family Day), so it was win, win, win all around!

Monday: 45 minute spin in my basement at the glorious time of 10am! I love statutory holidays! Then, I did AllTheLaundry and baked bread. Beauty!

Tuesday: Treadmill Tempo, but a cut back. I actual wrote to Phaedra in the training log, "OMG, I love you!" The total was supposed to be 9k, but the gym didn't open until 530a, so I cut it short to 8k. I did the 5k in the middle at about 5:03/km and it felt great!

Wednesday: Easy running - 5k in 28:50. I wanted to add in ab work but the gym is replacing the carpet and there was no space to do them in the regular "stretching" area.

Thursday: Return of the hills! It was my first time running hills on the treadmill as I couldn't make it out to Thomas Street that night. This ended up being for the best as it was stupid cold by the end of the day. I ran 3 hills at 6% incline for 3 minutes each. Normally, I'm running on the treadmill around 6.5 miles per hour, but I had to reduce the speed to 6.0mph for the hills. I didn't mind being on the treadmill for hills, but I can't wait to get back to Thomas Street (yes, I've clearly gone mad)

 Friday: Rest day. Okay then! And my new toy came:

Saturday: I was supposed to run 20k with a local friend who I met on DailyMile, however I woke up with a stomach ache that didn't resolve so I called off my run with Phaedra's blessing. I started to feel a bit better and I had to go and grocery shop anyway, so I decided to hit the gym above the grocery store for an easy spin on the upright bike. I ended up riding 16k in 34 minutes and kept my heart rate under 140 beats per minute. I was happy that my stomach stayed okay throughout.

Sunday: When I cut on my run early Saturday morning, I quickly reached out to Emma who I knew was planning a 30k run for Sunday morning. She was willing to take me out for about 22k of her run and we agreed to meet up at La Salle Park as long as she didn't make me run the "butch" hill up to the park (what my phone corrected bitch to). The weather was chilly, but we were both dressed well and Emma planned a fantastic route that took us onto the multi use trail in Hamilton to avoid the cars and take advantage of clear-ish paths. Emma was supposed to target a 5:50/km pace and I'm thrilled we ended the 22k almost bang on at 2:05 and 5:48/km pace. Did I mention it was cold?

Thanks for the photo, Emma!
In other news, my son's rep hockey team won their first semi-final game against a tough team and not only did he score a goal, he won the "hard hat" for defensive player of the game

Finally, my Wishes for Olivia campaign continued its positive momentum and has reached $1,245.58 raised!!! That's almost 50% of my goal! If you haven't had a chance, click on the link and please, donate if you can!

Total KM Run: 42.6k, Total time on the run: 4:04:40 (neat!), Average pace per KM: 5:45

Total KM Cycled: 16k+, Total time on the bike: 1:19:04

I hope your week was just as good!

Next Sunday brings my first race of the season, and Phaedra's got a race plan that I'm ready to tackle. I'll swing back sometime this week to lay it all out. I hope you do too.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Ottawa Marathon Training, Week 3!

Ah, week three of the plan. A lot of distance and some hard pace work! The goals were high as was my spirit. Unfortunately, things didn't go as planned.

Monday: Nothing. I was supposed to cross train, however I got home late and then we watched another hockey kid until about 830. There was no way I was hopping on the bike after that, especially when the next day called for an early wake up and tempo session.

Tuesday: 7k at tempo pace! Whew! As I wrote earlier, I decided to take the pace up by 12 seconds a mile and that made all the difference to my mental attitude going into this run. I got the 10k done in 53:14.

Wednesday: I had all intentions of running my 6k recovery during lunch or after work, however I was involved in a new business meeting at work and couldn't get away. Then my Go Train got cancelled. That's right: cancelled. There was a switch problem. I didn't end up getting home until about 8pm.

Thursday: This became my 6k recovery. I ran easy on the treadmill before work. I was early enough that I got to watch the last 10 minutes of the Raptor's game from the night before (we won). 6k, 34:43

Friday: This was supposed to be a rest day and I should have taken it. But I wanted to get the distance in, especially as it was such a short one. 5k on the treadmill with the noon news. 28:24

Saturday: Coach PK had me scheduled for 22k, with the last 8k as a fast finish. I was supposed to target Half Marathon pace, but I haven't raced one since fall 2013, so I suggested that I'd attempt a progression down. PK was fine with that, but stated, "Eventually, I'll want you to hit 5:00-5:05/km on these." Fine, fine. I met up with Emma and Sam just off of Northshore and we took off toward Hamilton. The idea was that we'd run an out and back, with Emma cutting loose after 11k to go shorter/slower. Fine, if she wants to miss donuts, that's her own decision.
From the start, this run was a shit show. I was over dressed (of course), and we stopped 2k in so I could strip off my wind coat. I decided to run with my hydration belt, which I hadn't worn in ages and it felt heavy and awkward. And my legs. WERE DEAD. I guess the rest day before the long run is there for a reason. Still, we set a pretty good pace and the company was awesome as usual. When we got to the top of Northshore and hit Plains Road, the footing became a bit of a mess with snow and slush and that aggravated my tired calves and wonky Achilles. UGG. Stupid winter. Emma slowed down as we turned around at 11 and Sam and I hit the bathrooms at the Royal Botanical Gardens around 14k. We got back on the road and started the pace work: 5:06, good, 5:05, okay, let's hold it. Whee! Downhill! 5:00. Sam, "Did you take your puffer? Your breathing sounds horrible." Ugg. It did. This wasn't to be my day. After walking a bit in the 4th KM (5:58), we still kept the pace up (down?!) and finished as strong as possible 5:35, 5:23, 5:26, 5:16 before stuffing our faces with the donuts as you see above. Lesson learned? Take the puffer, wear less and no belt. And take the rest day. 22k, 2:03:15

Sunday: I had the option of rest of 5k recovery. I wanted to do some of the strength training that Patty had showed me the week before, so off I went to the gym and ran a 2 mile warm up (18:43), threw down four sets of exercises Patty had shown me in about 25 minutes and then did a 1.1 mile cool down (10:15). I felt good and it was a nice way to round out the week. My calves didn't even feel that bad while running, but I have a massage on Tuesday and I can't wait for it!

So, it was another successful week in training, even if I failed epically at the first test long run. I'm sure that there will be more to come and I'm positive I'll be able to nail them soon.

Total time spent with this crazy thing called marathon training: 4hr54min. Total workouts: 7 (when you count my split Sunday run).

In other news, I put the word out to colleges and friends for my Wishes for Olivia campaign and I've raised $1,095.58 so far! I'm humbled and grateful for the support. Over 1/3 of the way to my goal! I'd be grateful for your support as well!

Have a good week! Its going to be the coldest week all year here, so I suspect there will be many treadmill miles logged in week four!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

MInd over Matter

Phaedra started in week one.

She started with 5k.

She gave me a wide range.

Ever week thereafter, the distance has increased.

Just by 1k, but increased nonetheless.

And I began to doubt myself, my ability with those increasing distances. Despite the fact that I had held the pace before over 21k.

But my mind... it doubted.

Tempo is a great tool for the runner. Described as a run that should be "comfortably hard," the runner should be running at 85-90% of maximum heart rate and should be unable to carry on a conversation, but should be able to grunt out one word answers to simple questions.

And I know that tempo works. In 2013, I had my most successful running and racing season to date and that entire season was built on a solid foundation of consistant and increasingly faster tempo runs.

But I had never really run more than 4-5k at tempo pace.

Until last week.

I held down 6k at 4:58/km and it was hard. Difficult. I don't know if it was the time of day, the treadmill, the day of week. But I can tell you that my mind played a huge roll in the poor performance.

This past Tuesday, I had 7k of tempo on tap. About 35 minutes. The most ever. And in order to take back control, I decided to take the heat off a bit.

I increased my pace to 5:06/km and I was still running comfortably hard. I probably had a bit of a lower heart rate and likely could have strung together a thrilling five word sentence in response to a simple question.

But most importantly, I had given myself the confidence in being able to finish the entire tempo section of the run without giving up part way through for no reason other than my mind started telling me how hard the running was.

I turned my mind around and put it over the matter of the run.

And I won the tempo game.

The mental training is just as important to marathon day.

But still, I hope to God Phaedra doesn't have 8k up her sleeve next week.

Monday, February 9, 2015

Ottawa Marathon Training: Week Two!

Week two brought more of the same again, again! I moved things around again due to logistics of life, but still managed to get my entire set of workouts in.

Monday: Snow Day! We got dumped on with snow Sunday night-Monday morning and I woke up to a text from my teacher friend exclaiming: SNOW DAY!!!! Sure enough, all schools were closed and there was no way I was getting out of my street. I had to work from home, but I took advantage of being at home by doing my spin around lunch time. The spin bike is so quiet that I took a client call during my 5 minute warm up! Love it!  45 mins. After dinner, I did 3x12 military pushups and attempted a plank with Fergus on my back. That didn't work. HA!

Tuesday: I didn't manage to haul myself out of bed in the AM, so instead I took all of my stuff with me and hit the gym above the superstore right after work. This women's only gym is so close to the Go Train parking lot that I was able to simply trade bags and walk over. The plan was 2k warm up, 6k at tempo and 1k cool down. I had a bad mindset the entire day and the run and while I did get through the run, I did have to take some breaks, including taking a colleague call! HAHA. Its so frustrating to have my mind get in the way of these tempo runs! I know I can do them, but I don't know why I stall out so badly when I'm alone. What I wouldn't give to be able to hook up with Sam or Chris or Wayne on these. 9k, 6 at 4:58/km, total time: 47:33

These pants tho

Wednesday: Skipped. I don't remember why, but suffice to say I couldn't fit the run in. Life got in the way.

Thursday: 5k on the treadmill in the same gym after work. Thankfully my husband was okay with me getting home a bit late and missing dinner with the family. Let me tell you, if you're going to train for a marathon, you need some really good support for sure. 5k easy, 28:36

Friday: Got up all ready to run outside... but it was snowing and blowing and -21c with the windchill. So, off I went anyway on the first train out of Milton (0623), only to land at the women's only gym near my work to finish off 6k with abs on the side. Easy again. 34:35.

Saturday: Long run morning! We were all under the impression that Fergus had hockey at the lovely and late hour of 0800, so I got up at 0500 and was on the road for 20k by 0523 fueled by 1 piece of toast with peanut butter. I stuck to the road, running with a head lamp, safety vest and arm lights. I was safe the entire time, but did have one asshole driver HIBEAM me even though he had an entire lane beside him. I mean, if I could run on the side walks, I would people! The snow started around 7k and it made the last 7k especially hard as it began to stick to the roads, but I was able to finish the run and in a fairly good pace as well. I got home perfectly just before 0730 and Ken and Fergus took off... only to return home 15 minutes later. Hockey was on Sunday this week. I look forward to the Valentine's run with the skirt brigade next Saturday thought. 20k, 1:53:37

Sunday: This was 5k recovery and I've been doing arms as well. Patty, who is a certified personal trainer, was kind enough to write a strength program for me geared at upper body, back and abs and she got herself a Goodlife guest pass and joined me to bring me through the paces. Sandwiched between the session were two mini treadmill runs to total 5k. The routine was a good one and she's guaranteed that I can likely get in 5-6 of the exercises in the 20 minutes I'd like to spend on this stuff. I'll tell you one thing, I'm sore today! HAHA. Then, Fergus and I shoveled out our driveway of the new and old snow for about 90 minutes. A great way to spend a Sunday!

The other exiting thing that happened this week is that part of my marathon outfit came:

As you know, I am once again raising money for Make-A-Wish Canada via Wishes for Olivia. You can learn more about why I'm raising money, what sequins has to do with it and you can also DONATE HERE. Please consider giving a small donation to support the efforts and help make wishes come true for very deserving kids. The only thing missing from this excellent week was a donation!

Week two is in the books. 10 workouts, 7h13min, 45k, one sparkle visor. It was a good one. Hope yours was as well.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ottawa Marathon Training: Week One!

Back in the saddle again... er, kinda!

I'm absolutely back in a training plan zone again and I was able to fit (almost) all of my workouts in for the first week of Ottawa Training.

Phaedra was kind enough to give me the first three weeks of my plan over a month ago, so I decided to follow the layout for the first three weeks of the month unofficially. I wanted to get ready to run five days a week again and I wanted to make sure I could hit the first tempo run on the plan. I was glad I did!

Monday: Supposed to be XTrain day, but Ken was out of town, Alasdair had hockey and I didn't get home and to eat until 830pm. Skipped the workout. Started out strong.

Tuesday: Because Ken was away, I mashed around the entire schedule. This was supposed to be tempo day, but instead I did 5k easy on the treadmill, after work.

Wednesday: Lunch run, treadmill again. Just upped the pace every mile to get it over with. 6k in total. I threw down 3x12 military pushups after. I vow to better my upper body strength this season!

Thursday: Work from home day due to Ken still being away and having a parent-teacher interview with Fergus' teachers. This was the tempo run. I was nervous, but Sam, Zindine and Terry (from DM), all gave me good advice/pep talks and I got out there with my watch set to just show the lap pace. That really helped with my mental game and I nailed the 5k at tempo pace (5:00/km).

Friday: Rest day. Don't mind if I do.

Saturday: Long run day. Fergus had hockey at 0745 and Alasdair had an away game in the early afternoon. I had to get up and get the run done by 0730 so that I was home in time to chill with Alasdair while Fergus was at hockey. I "only" had to run 18k, so not too bad but certainly its better to do this with a friend, espeically starting at 0530 in -20c weather. Enter Sam! In true #runnersmakethebestfriends fashion, she hauled her sinus infection self out of bed to join me. It makes sense. After all, we'll be racing together at Ottawa in May. The run felt sluggish for both of us, but we got the 18k done in 1:46, so not a bad little pace at all. I won't repost the photo I put on Instagram because Sam seems to think she looks like death or something.

Sunday: 5k recovery. I know! Recovery days are now a thing?! Anyway, I had to hit up the GoodLife Women's only in Milton with Fergus in the child care as Ken had taken Alasdair to the walk-in clinic with a weird rash. Turns out he had/has Roseola. He's bit too old for it, but he's got it. Getting out of the house was a bit of a gong show and I kept forgetting things and going back to get them. In the end, I forgot earbuds and a regular bra to wear home after my shower. HA. The run was quick and easy and I hit some arms after.  The weights felt good and hard, but I'm going to take Patty up on her offer to help me with an upper body training plan.

So, all in all a great first week! Ken was away Monday-Friday, so I had warned Phaedra that I may not got it all in, but I did (minus the cross train) and I was happy to do so. The marathon is a LONG way away, but I'm hoping the training will fly by!

Total stats: 42.02k run, 2 upper body work outs, 4h24m spent training.

Hope you had a great week as well!

How often do you have to switch up your schedule due to "real life?" What compromises do you make to fit it all in?