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Milton, Ontario, Canada

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Week Three: Bring in the Winter!

So week three was last week. I had super high hopes for this week after how well everything worked for me in week two. There was only one high stress workout on the plan with Thursday's run scheduled to be 13k with 6k at half marathon pace. I've resigned myself to the fact that I will be hard pressed to PB a half marathon in the late winter (when I'll be racing at Chilly), so my goal for these paces right now is to not fall below 5:05/km. I was pumped and ready to go on week three!

Monday: I knew the night before that the morning would be freezing and so I planned to get to the gym early and throw down as much as I could out of the 16k on the plan before work, making up the rest in the afternoon. Yup, two sets of clothes, two towels, two shoes etc, etc. Mainly because, two runs, two different gyms. I love my Goodlife all gym membership.
A photo posted by Nicole (@macnic05) on

A photo posted by Nicole (@macnic05) on

16k in 1:31:03

Tuesday: Poor Fergus was home sick, so I stayed home as well. It was snowing all day on and off, so it ended up better for me as I didn't have to do the 3hr round trip commute. When my husband got home, I took to the clear bike lanes and ran my 6k as scheduled 33:11

Wednesday: I took it to the bike and repeated Goddard 45 on Trainer Road. Man, this felt amazing! I'm getting better on the bike for sure! 17.4k, 45 minutes.

Thursday: The aforementioned high stress day. I decided that I couldn't take another 8 miles on the treadmill in the week and figured that I'd be fine on the bike path again, so decided to hit the roads early (aka 0420 alarm) and get it done. Well, real winter had other ideas and it snowed overnight, rendering everything snow covered and slippery and gross and I barely broke 6 minute kilometers while slugging through 9k in 53:28. The run was a huge disappointment at the time, but I've since decided that one run (which wasn't even bad, it was just thwarted by weather) won't a bad training cycle make. Also, it yielded my most liked 2016 Insta so far.

Friday: Rest day!

Saturday: Run the hills! Met up with Gerald, Sam, and Emma and ran the Northshore Hills out and back. These easy long runs need to be done on this route as its part of Around the Bay, which is my goal race. With limited to no plans to run hill repeats within my plan, I need to prepare for this race and doing it on a Saturday morning with friends is the best way possible! 23k, 2:11:02

Sunday: Don't ask me why (though the answer is probably that Trainer Road is somehow a cult and I've been assimilated), but I wanted to ride a bit longer and a bit tougher on Sunday. I found a ride called Blackcap and Emma assured me that it was a good one to try. I believe she calls these rides REWARDING. Well, she's not wrong. The ride felt difficult after a super busy day, but after 75 minutes on the bike (my longest trainer ride to date), I felt awesome! I'm super happy about this! Total KM were 29.2.

Total KM: 100.68k (62.55mi), Time: 7:08:44
Run: 54.08k (33.6mi)
Bike: 46.6k (28.96mi)

There is more snow and cold on schedule for this week, so I'll have to determine if that means more treadmills or risking the roads, but my head is settled back on straight after Thursday and I'm ready to tackle week four with renewed vigour! I hope your training is going just as well!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Week two of ... maybe marathon training

Ah, week two!

Of... maybe marathon training.

If you ask me right now, I will 100% be toeing the line of the Toronto Marathon on May 1st. The week that I had went so well and ended with one of the most confidence boosting runs I've had in a long, long while. Of course, have the great support of my friends and the social media community on Instagram and Strava really help a whole bunch. Here's how things shook out.

Monday: It was a coooooold morning to start the week. -19c with wind chill or something stupid like that. I was ready though:
A photo posted by Nicole (@macnic05) on

So I hit the road bright and early and was able to NAIL my workout of 10x100m. I actually used the workout feature on my Garmin 910XT for the first time and it was awesome to just run hard or slow down once the watch buzzed. I don't know why I haven't used this feature before. HAHA. 13k, 1:15:56

Tuesday: Rest day. I had a 45 minute trainer ride on the plan, but my son's had hockey and we didn't get home until after 730 and I still had to eat dinner and prep everyone's lunch for the next day. That's the way it goes at times.

Wednesday: An even EARLIER morning with the 0420 alarm, but the plan called for 16k. I had a great run and was very happy to run by a friend twice on the run as it gave me some much needed boosts to know that I wasn't the only crazy early bird getting my run on. 16.64k, 1:34:23. As a note, this is a 5:40/km pace. These runs are supposed to be "aerobic" however the prescribed pace is low for the work my heart is supposed to do, so my attempt will be to nail these runs at 5:40-5:45 pace.

Thursday: Upper box and abs at the gym at lunch. I really don't like lifting weights all that much, but I know that upper body strength will go a long way to helping me run a successful and quick marathon, so I suck it up and go.  40 minutes in the weight room. Once I got home, I hoped on the trainer and road the 45 minute ride I had skipped on Tuesday. It was a good ride and I got in 17.85k

Friday: Rest day! My goal is to keep Friday's as rest days as much as possible.

Saturday: Bring in the reinforcements! Sam and Ivanka agreed to meet in Milton to run the 21k we had on plan. I knew Henro is usually happy to join in  as well and  to my surprise, Gerald (my friend from my Running Room days) messaged me looking for a run as well. So, the ladies started at my place and ran 4k to meet up with the men. At that point, the work began as the plan called for 13k at goal marathon pace (5:20/km), the run was a big loop and having a group plus running around Milton in the daylight helped to make it fly by. Before we knew it, we were back at the meeting point having nailed our pace work and running the 13k at 5:13/km on average! WooHoo! Only 29.2k more like that and we'll be booking our tickets to Boston! 21k, 1:53:18 (I think this is the fasted half I've run in almost two years).

A photo posted by Nicole (@macnic05) on

Sunday: I had big plans for the pool on Sunday, but my bed was way more comfortable. I've decided to  only swim if I really want to. I'm NOT training for a triathlon (though it would be nice to try one this summer) and the goal is 100% the BQ,  so no guilt on missing the third sport. Instead, I had a relaxing morning with my family, watched Fergus' hockey game, went grocery shopping and then came home and rode my final ride of the week, Monitor 30. Brutal (yet rewarding as Emma says) workout of 4x6 minutes in the sweet spot with only :30seconds of rest. I nailed it. The mental game I'm gaining on the bike is really going to help me during those tough runs as well. 12.5k total

And that's it. Week two. All workouts were done and executed well. If today was April 1st, I'd be signing up for the marathon. However it's not and I plan to keep up the work over the coming weeks so that I am in a place to do so at that time.

Total: 81.01km (50.3mi), Time: 6:38:37
Run: 50.66km (31.5mi)
Bike: 30.35km (18.9mi)

I hope your training is going just as well as mine!

Monday, January 4, 2016

Let's get at 'er: 2016 week one and goals

Boom! Off season is dunzo!

Last week, I started my new training plan which will (hopefully) take me to a marathon in May! Its true, I have yet to officially sign up for a spring marathon. After evaluating my past two seasons, I decided to train as if I was going to run one and then use the 30k race at Around the Bay as the final test before I commit any money to the cause.  Once again, my partners in crime include the best racing partner ever Sam, triathlete extraordinaire Emma, and the super lovely and funny Ivanka! I'm looking forward to many great Saturday mornings spent in Burlington and Oakville running the beach strip and northshore hills bitching about enjoying the cold and wind.

My dreams are once again BIG for 2016. As with the past two years, I'm still chasing that elusive Boston Qualifier Marathon. The bonus this year is that I will be running to qualify for the 2017 race, when I will be 40. This means my time has gone up to 3:45! WooHoo! Of course we all know that its super difficult to get into Boston now with a time just inside of the cut-off, so the aim will be a 3:42xx and fingers crossed. I really hope I finally am able to put together a good marathon!

Since I started going after the big BQ, my goal has been to qualify before I'm 40, so this is my final year to meet that goal. Hard and consistent training will help me to get there and in week one I'm off to a great start.

Monday: 13k with 6k 3k at half marathon pace. I was not in shape to handle this yet, plus I had a persistent headcold to battle with. 3k was enough. This was run with Sam and fellow hockey mum, Kelly.

Tuesday: Trainer Road! The key to my cross training this cycle (PUN!) will be the bike. I rode Ericsson for 45 minutes and 18.1k. Getting faster!

Wednesday: Mid-week long run of 14k. This cycle, I'm using a plan from Advanced Marathoning and it calls for mid-week long runs. This was done in the afternoon on a nice day after snowfall. I got it done. It was fine.

Thursday: Trainer Road Carson. The only 1 hour ride of the Sprint Triathlon plan I'm following. I rode this well and enjoyed* all of the simulated hills and seat transitions. 23.5k

*clearly, Trainer Road has somehow worked its magic on me

Friday: Rest day! We were in The Blue Mountains for New Years Eve with my husband's brother and family and while I didn't have a drop of alcohol**, there was no time to fit anything in with the drive home. Besides, it was a rest day on the plan.

**My husband and I have gone dry for a month

Saturday: Starting the New Year right with an out and back on the beach path in Burlington/Hamilton with a great group of people! We ran 20.16k and all stopped our watches perfectly! 1:53:32

photo credit: Emma's husband
Sunday: 30 minute Taku recovery ride on Trainer Road. The day didn't work out to be conducive to a swim (I slept in too late for the morning swim and hockey got in the way of the noon swim), but I didn't want to do nothing, so this short ride for 10.9k it was!

All in all, it was a fantastic week! I got in all of the runs and cross training I was supposed to do while still enjoying my time off with my family. We had a great New Year and I'm ready to tackle the BQ goal again. Glad to have you along for the ride.

Run: 47.17km (29.3mi), 4h23m30s
Ride: 52.5km (32.6mi), 2h15m

Total: 99.67km (61.9mi), 6h38m30s