Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Highlights

Despite finishing the year up with an injury, 2013 has been pretty amazing. I'm going to do another post reviewing my 2013 goals, but here's this year's highlights.

Harry's Spring Run Off 

My first year running this. What made it special was that I did this with a group of co-workers (10 of us in total) and for most of them, it was either their first race or their first time running in years. Didn't hurt that we had a really wonderful brunch afterwards.

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

Goodlife was my spring goal race and where I set my current half marathon PR of 2:33, but this was probably my favourite race of the year. Even though I don't think I ran it well and they ran out of water on the course, the positives more than made up for it. The atmosphere was so amazing and supportive. Little details like a fabulous race kit (with wine!), a boxed lunch and a cold cloth at the finish and a marching band to start the race made all the difference.

Also, it's going to take a lot to beat meeting Katherine Switzer and getting a high five from her on the course.

Joined a Running Clinic

I'd been considering a running room clinic for a while but always hesitated because I ran 5/1's and I thought I was too slow to keep up with the group. I made an effort in the spring to start running 10/1's and after missing my 2:30 half marathon goal in the spring, decided to join the clinic. A week before it started, I was ready to back out but I'm happy now that I didn't. I met a lot of great people, ran through different areas of the city and really progressed as a runner.

I absolutely loved my instructor. I admit to Sport Stats stalker her before the clinic started and was encouraged to see that we're similarly paced. I think if I had seen BQ times for a first marathon, I might have quit than and there. 

While I kind of think that my clinic played a part in my hip injury and its not the route I want to go for my spring races, I'll probably be back to it for a fall half.

New Zealand

Completely not running related, but this was easily my highlight of the year.

Rainbow at the end of the one run I did there.
I told my husband in 2012 that we need to take opportunities as they come up cause they might never be there again and that's completely what this trip was.  

My husband was part of the Canadian Dodgeball Team that participated in the World Dodgeball Invitational in Queenstown, NZ. (watch this video if curious). The tournament itself was only one day, but we had 12 days to explore a bit of the country.
We kayaked, hiked, sat on beaches. Everyday was amazing and I would easily go back.

Waterfront Half Marathon

My hip injury at its worst - this race hurt. But I had fun (except for limping). Enjoyed finishing up with my clinic group. I missed my 2:30 goal but I finished at 2:34 - one minute off my current PR with an injury so I'm pretty happy with that. Without the injury, I know I would have broken 2:30 so it's going to happen in 2014.


The silver lining of my injury - I rediscovered yoga. I've been practicing daily for 2 months now. My time on my mat is my favourite part of the day, even more so than running. Yoga Download has been an amazing resource, both their 20 minute free classes and their longer ones.

Looking forward to new and exciting things to come in 2014!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Returning to the Yoga Studio

It's been a few months since I've ventured out to a yoga studio. Today though, I packed up my mat and headed out into the snow.

I've really been loving my home practice. A combination of a few online videos and websites  have allowed me to fit yoga in pretty much every day for about two months now. It is nice though to switch things up and join a class.

Some thoughts on Home Practice & Going to a Yoga Studio

  • I'm much more flexible than I was two months ago. 
  • I really enjoy a hot studio, especially on a cold winter day. I positioned myself by a window so I could watch the snow fall.
  • Most of the classes I go at home are audio classes, so I was able to follow the instructor quite well just by listening to them.
  • Maybe this was because of the small class size today, but I was able to just focus on my own practice rather than what everyone else was doing. That's not been the case for me in the past.
  • Having an instructor give pointers and adjustments makes going out into the snow worthwhile.
  • Yoga is much easier without two cats trying to nap on your yoga mat.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

2014 Plans - So Far

I was well on my way with my 2014 race plans before well before my 2013 races were done. I was feeling strong and really excited about my fall half marathon so started registering for 2014 races in September. My injury kind of threw a wrench into my half marathon and I kind of feel like I'm starting from scratch again, but I have big things coming up in the new year.

The first half of 2014 is all about distance not speed.

I am kind of afraid of this race, mostly because of the hills but super excited at the same time. I have no time expectations at all for this, its more a stepping stone to...

Ottawa Marathon!- May 25

I've been planning on 2014 being the year of the marathon for me, just had to decide which one. I was leaning towards a spring marathon. Goodlife was appealing because of the giant medal, but looking at the results from 2013 - there weren't many 5+ hour finishers. I don't want to be out on the course by my lonesome. Ottawa has both a 5 hour pace bunny and a 5:30 bunny so that was encouraging. The timing works well for my schedule so I registered very early in September. 

I'm going to do one other spring race, either Yonge Street 10K or Sporting Life 10K. I'm leaning towards Sporting Life at the moment as the date seems to work the best for me and I'm curious to see how the new race director improves the event.

For the rest of the year, I'm sure that Scotiabank Waterfront will be on my list in some form or the other and I'm considering Sea Wheeze if I can make an August Vancouver trip work. 

Marathon/Around the Bay training started this week for me! Bring on the long runs!

Monday, December 2, 2013

December Goals

1. Do some form of exercise everyday.

I'm normally pretty good with this, but with the holidays coming up, life might get in the way. I figure that I can find at least 20 minutes everyday to get some activity in (even on Christmas)

2. Step Away from the Holiday Treats

Things I love:

  • candy cane ice cream
  • gingerbread men
  • cranberry bliss bars
  • special holiday flavoured macarons
  • cupcakes
Most of these are available at my local Loblaws (including the macarons! My Loblaws got fancy!). While its fine to have a holiday treat at a party, they are not for everyday! So no adding a gingerbread man to the shopping cart for an evening snack. No picking up a bliss bar with my coffee on the way to work. 

3. Start learning about meditation

If anyone has suggestions are way to begin, please let me know.

4. Go to a Yoga Studio

It's been awhile and even though I'm enjoying my home practice, I think going to a class would be beneficial once in a while. I had good intentions to get to a moksha class yesterday, but my bus didn't show up and I wouldn't have made the class on time so set up the mat at home instead.

5. Enjoy Some Winter Walks

Preferably with my husband, but walking on my own or with friends is fine too.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

November Over

How's November go?

Goal 1 - Fix My Hip B+

I'm still going to physio but I've cut back to going every 2nd week instead of every week. The sessions are typically 15 minutes of my therapist working on my hip (digging his thumbs into the muscle and stretching it out) followed by 15 minutes of icing. I'm not sure how much I'm really getting out of the sessions and the cost of weekly visits are adding up. So far the only homework I have is squats and rest.

I have gotten back into strength training (and the prescribed squats). Back to my beloved Chalean Extreme three times a week. I've lowered the weight for all lower body exercises until I get a better sense of what my hip can handle and what it can't.

I did get the okay to try some running - on the treadmill at 0 incline. For the most part, that's been fine. I have increased the incline to 0.5 now and keeping my pace on the slower side. I've loaded Zombie's, Run! back onto my iPod to keep me entertained.

My first outdoor run this past Thursday didn't go as well. I felt fine while running, but my hip tightened up later that day. I think running in snow with my yaktrax on might not have been the best idea for a test run. Think I'll try clear sidewalks and no added weight on my shoes next time.

Goal 2 - Daily Yoga A

I practiced yoga 25 times in November so I missed a couple of days. Getting back into yoga has been the silver lining of my injury. I'm loving my time on my mat.

All of November's sessions have been at home and mostly shorter sessions of 20 to 30 minutes. Yoga Download is my main go-to, I love their 20 minute free audio classes. DoYogaWithMe and this video are also great. I picked up Christine Felstead's Intermediate Yoga for Runners DVD at the Scotiabank expo and that's been a nicer longer session.

Goal 3 - Get My Eating Under Control B-

I have been planning my meals and doing some cooking but there's still room for improvement ( a lot of room). Treats at work are my downfall as are all of the Christmas goodies that have started appearing. I've been losing and gaining back the same 3 pounds all month. I am tracking my eating though most days, just need to make some better choices.

Stats for November:
# of Work Outs: 28 (actually higher, but I'm counting double work outs and days where I followed up with a yoga session into 1 work out).

Running Stats - I have been tracking these all year, but this is my first time posting to my blog. Compared to earlier months, these make me sad. I'm reminding myself that this is a start point.

# of Runs: 7
Total Distance Ran: 20.52km
Longest Run: 5.01km
Fastest Pace: 7.09/km
Average Pace: 7:33/km

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still Healing

We're into week 6 of physio and week 5 of little to no running.

Last physio session, I got the okay to try a bit of running - 10 minutes on the treadmill at 0 incline. Yay! I did give that a try and had no hip pain. So of course, I decided to try 20 minutes of running. Again, no pain but my hip just felt not right. So I'm taking another restful week. I'm still very focused on yoga and I'm getting back into strength training.

I have training plans all ready to go for my early 2014 races with three different potential start dates. The "early start" plan starts next week which probably isn't going to happen. My more realistic plan starts on December 10th and my "late start" plan starts on January 10th. I'm so looking forward to getting back into regular exercise.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

November Goals

October was an odd month for me. My hip injury pretty much meant that I did very little in the way of work outs. Not working out was leaving me feeling kind of depressed. With being away for a bit than coming back for Thanksgiving, my eating hasn't been good. I've done pretty much no cooking for the entire month. So November is going to be all about getting back into the swing of things.

November Goals

1. Fix my Hip

I've been going to physio once a week for the past three weeks and there seems to be some progress. It doesn't hurt as much anymore but its still not back to normal. Physio has mostly been trying to loosen up the muscle and reducing pain but in this past week's appointment, I was giving some squat exercises to start. I've never been so excited about squats! So November's plan is to do whatever exercises my physiotherapist says to do, keep stretching and icing and hopefully getting back into running sometime this month.

2. Daily Yoga

I started daily yoga sessions about a week ago to help with my hip and I'm noticing a big difference both in how my lower body feels and just generally, my outlook. Going from working out 6 days a week to resting on the couch was not doing anything good for me mentally. Yoga is helping me feel more in tune with my body and its something I can do that doesn't hurt my hip and is actually making it better. 

3. Get my eating under control

I need to stop eating like I'm burning an extra 2000 calories a week. Healthier foods, less calories. I need to start cooking healthy meals and planning out my lunches. I could get away with treats when I was running 4 days a week, not so much now.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Waterfront Half 2013 Recap

7th half marathon in the bag!

I had a lot of mixed feelings going into this race. Hip strain + spotty training for 6 weeks did not put me in the best spot to run 21km.

I got a ride down to the starting area with a friend than hung out in my office for a bit to keep warm. Met up with my running room clinic and we headed to the start line together.

I still had some hopes for hitting my 2:30 half so I positioned myself between the 2:30 continuous and 2:30 10/1 pace bunnies. After standing around for quite sometime we were finally off. When my foot hit the starting mat, I told myself that I'm going to finish no matter what.

The first 7K flew by. I was feeling good, chatting with people from my clinic, cheering everytime I passed a course marker. I was about 2 minutes ahead of my pace band for a 2:30 finish.

Heading onto the Lakeshore, my hip started tightening up. I stopped a couple of times to stretch it out a bit. I turned on my music for a bit of motivation (no idea what I was thinking when I put together my race playlist. Had to keep skipping songs). Still about 1 minute ahead of my pace band.

Kilometre 17 is where everything started going downhill. My hip went from tight to painful. My right glute hurt, my whole quad hurt. My hamstring started cramping up. I must have been overcompensating for my right hip so the left side started hurting. I went from 10/1's down to 5/1's with the occassional road side pigeon pose thrown in to help loosen things up. I debated stopping, but I was so close to the end, I wanted to finish. And really, if I had stopped, I would have still had to walk back to the finish anyway to meet my husband and get the subway home so may as well get a medal.
Smiling through the pain

Alternating between running and limping, I made my way up Bay Street. The crowd support along the way was what kept me going and in relatively good spirits. I just wanted to finish.

Happy to be done! Can't believe I purchased an overpriced race photo!

I finished at 2:33:44, 42 seconds behind my half marathon PR. I'm happy because I did that on an injured leg. But at the same time, I'm frustrated cause I could have crushed my 2:30 goal on a good leg. Oh well.

I stopped off at the medical tent for some ice and a chiropractor tried to loosen my leg up a bit. Limped my way to the subway and back home.

Despite not having the race I wanted, I had a really great time. The atmosphere was amazing, so much energy. The spectators were great, the race was so well organized.

 I'm disappointed that I didn't reach my goal this year of a 2:30 half marathon, but I've got big plans for 2014 so it will come.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon 2013 Goals

I've been away from blogging but couldn't skip my usual pre-race goals post. I have a couple of other things in mind that I want to write about (like the name change of my blog) so maybe I'll stop by a bit more often.

So - Waterfront Half Marathon tomorrow! This will be half marathon #7 for me my third time with this race. However, I'm not sure what to expect tomorrow.

My training was going really well through the summer. I was training with my running room clinic, getting my hills and long runs in. I felt good about the progress I was making and even changed my goal time from 2:30 down to 2:25.

Than second week of September rolls around and I end up with a hip flexor injury. I spent two weeks alternating between trying to run (pain) and resting it. Than another two weeks of pretty much no running while on vacation in New Zealand (which was AWESOME! I'll post some pictures soon!). I finally admitted defeat and headed to a physiotherapist this past week.

I've been icing, resting and stretching in hopes that I'll make it through the race tomorrow. My leg isn't feeling bad right now, but in the past 6 weeks, I've done a total of 7 runs. 1 run was 17k, 1 at 13 and the rest 6km or less.

I'm hoping that 3 solid months of training pre-injury and the fact that this isn't my first half marathon will get me through tomorrow. Running for 2.5 hours probably isn't the best idea right now, but I'm going to do it, maybe regret it on Monday. I can take the next two months off if needed.

I do still have some time goals in mind, but I'm not going to feel too bad if I don't beat them:

A - 2:30, my year long half marathon goal.
B - sub 2:33 (my current half marathon PR)
C - finish in upright position

I spent a lot of time thinking yesterday that I need to be okay (mentally) if I need to stop because of my hip and I'm almost there. I think taking a DNF will be more painful to me in the long run than limping the course, so I'm really hoping it doesn't come to that.

With that said, I'm heading to my couch and my ice pack and a few episodes of Downton Abbey to rest up!

Good luck to everyone else racing tomorrow!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Midsummer Night's Race 15K

My second time running this race and I wanted a bit of redemption from last year. I spent last year's race feeling sick to my stomach, finishing at 1:53:31 with a overall pace of 7:35/km. Like last year, I wanted to use this race to see where I'm at for my fall half marathon. A few weeks ago, my goal time was 1:47 but with the training I've been doing, I decided to go for a 1:45 finish time with pace of 7/km.

My husband and I trekked out to the island. We got down to the ferry docks around 4:15. I figured I had an hour and 15 minutes before the start of the race, that should be enough time. Wrong. Joined the giant line up of racers and waited. And waited some more.

Finally got on a ferry just after 5. I put on my sparkle skirt, pinned on my bib and got my fuel belt on while on the boat. Got off the ferry at 5:28 (feeling really bad for the 30K people who started at 5:30), found one of the girls from my clinic that I was going to run with (she got down to the docks at 5 and managed to get onto the same boat), quick bathroom stop and went on a search for the start line. Some signage on the Island would have been great. Volunteers were directing people over the bridge - half of which had 5K runners coming over it, the over half was mostly blocked by a van. Finally found the start line a couple of minutes after the 15K had started. I had no hope of finding the 1:45 pacer so just got in and went.

Turns out I was smack in the middle of a bunch of walkers so did a whole lot of people dodging for the first kilometre. The paths were generally pretty narrow and there was often runners going in both directions. At one point on the course there was 15K people on the right going one way, 15K people on the left going the other and the 30K bike escort yelling to clear the centre for the 30K leaders. Throw in a bunch of pedestrians, baby strollers, beach goers and some quad bikes for extra fun. Good times.

Yay! I saw a photographer so did crazy "I love running pose/face".
The scenery on the course was beautiful. I do regret that I didn't take any pics on my walk breaks. We hit all kinds of different terrain - pavement, I think there was some gravel, sand, grass and what I am now calling The Boardwalk of Doom. The boardwalk started around the 10K mark and went on for almost 2K. Bouncy wooden route. You would hit a board that looked nice but it would sink an inch or two. I saw one woman just ahead of me trip and cut up her arm. Luckily a bike aid cam to help her pretty quick. Just before the Boardwalk of Doom, volunteers were yelling to watch out for the posts - little series of 3 or 4 posts at the start of the board walk about waist high. Impaling oneself right in the gut at that point in the race would have sucked miserably.

Enough about the course issues - back to my run. I felt really good for the majority of the race. Me and my clinic buddy were keeping up 10 & 1's with an overall pace of just under 7min/km. I did have to stop quickly to retie my shoe as I could feel some blisters forming (they're not pretty). We were hitting the route markers just under where we needed to be for a 1:45 finish. Around 12K I said I'd never felt so good on a race (which was completely true).

Yay! Still hamming it up for the photographer!
Than I hit a bit of a wall just after 13K.

I'm still working on where the wall came from. I probably didn't have enough of my Honeystinger chews. I was drinking mostly nuun and not straight water as my fuel belt bottles had heated up and so my water tasted like plastic (think I'm going to get some new bottles).  Might have been the time of day. Might have been mental, I'm not sure. The mistake I made when I hit the wall was not sticking with my running buddy but taking an extra walk break and telling her to go on. I am regretting that now as I think I could have pushed through it better if I had someone with me.

I kind of struggled through a kilometre. I tried to shake it off, said to myself "just run". I came around the bend and saw the finish and  just needed to get it done.

I managed picked it up for the last 500 metres as I just needed to be done. I crossed the finish strong having no idea where I was with my time goal since my garmin was acting up.

I finished with chip time of 1:45:05 so I'm pretty happy (if only I hadn't stopped to tie my shoe!). Overall pace of 7:01/km This is 30secs/km faster and 8.5 minutes off  of last year. 15 secs/km off my best half marathon time and I still have another 8 weeks to go with my training. I'm feeling confident I can hit my 2:30 half in October.

Post race, the line ups for the ferry were ridiculous so my husband and I went for a drink and some food in the hopes that the line would clear up a bit. Didn't really happen so after a 50 minute wait, we finally got on a boat to leave.

Overall a good night with some snags. I love this event still but if its on the Island again next year, I might skip it.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fall Half Training Week 3

Bit late with this.

Monday (July 8th)
- 45 minute lunch time yoga class with co-worker who just recently completed her teacher training. Outside in the courtyard, so a bit hot, but really great.
- strength training cut short due to power outage (which lasted 3 hours)

-4km's on the Belt Line. Couple of downed trees along the way

- Push Circuit 3: chest, back, legs and core. Making up for Monday's workout

- 3.44km in 24 minutes (6.50/km) with running room clinic

- 6.21 km in 43 minutes (6:57/km pace)

- REST DAY! So enjoyed this. I didn't even do any yoga, just ran some errands.

LSD with Half Clinic - 9.04km in 1hr8 min (7:32/km)
I stuck with a small group of other 2:40 half marathoners. Great run - having company made the time go by.

All in all, a good week despite the weird storms/power outage.

My Garmin mysteriously has stopped beeping (when I plug it in, for intervals, splits, etc). Can't figure out why and have yet to fix it. Must call Garmin support this week.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Fall Half Training Week 2

Chalean Extreme Push Circuit 1 & Extreme Abs - biceps, triceps, lower body, core.
Followed up with Rodney Yee AM Yoga - Twists

5.58km, including 4K Tempo. 38 minutes (6:51/km)

4.34km including 3K Tempo. 29 minutes (6:42/km)
I couldn't make it to the Running Room for the group run, so did this on my own. I'm not sure if I'm doing the tempo runs correctly still but I'm definitely increasing my pace (this was my third fastest run ever according to Garmin Connect).

3.08km in 22min (6:58/km)
2nd week with running room clinic. Nothing too exciting. I am enjoying running in a new neighbourhood.
Followed with a 4K walk home to cool down. Way too sweaty for the bus.

Chalean Extreme Push Circuit 2 & Extreme Abs - shoulders, lower body, core.

75 minute Hatha Flow class. I really enjoy this class, but sadly will be the last one for awhile. As part of a "save money" plan for a fall trip, I'm cutting out a lot of extra spending and yoga classes is one of the things to go. I figure there are a lot of really good free yoga options available (dvd's that I already own or from the library, websites) so I can still get my yoga in without paying $15+ per class. I do also have access to a $5 class at work that just started up so I'm going to give that a try.

7.8km LSD in 57 min (7:18/km)
Sunday morning clinic run which also happened to be Tune Up Run for the Waterfront Marathon. I won a shirt! Yay swag! I stuck with the slow poke group. Great run, good company, beautiful route. I felt really good, even with a couple of hills thrown in.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Stride Box Review

Confession - I'm a beauty product addict. Last year, I was getting monthly sample boxes from a variety of different companies (Glymm, Top Box, Glossy Box). I've noticed a couple of bloggers talking about some subscription boxes for runners so decided to check out StrideBox.

StrideBox is a monthly subscription box. Cost is $15 which includes shipping in the states - there's an extra $5 charge for shipping to Canada. Generally I get my box about a week after they start arriving in the states. The boxes ship automatically (charging your card) every month unless you cancel.

I've received two Stride Boxes so far, May and June. 

May's Box
The box is packed full of goodies - a mix of accessories/gadgets and nutritional products.
In May's box, I received the following:

  • Just Great Stuff Bar (not a fan)
  • A vanilla flavoured gel (VFuel Endurance Gel)
  • Vanilla Protein Powder (Perfect Fit)
  • Sport Beans (used for a training run)
  • Cherry Cola Honey Stingers - Yay for new flavour. Very tastey.
  • Bonk Breaker Bite (Peanut Butter & Jelly flavour so gave to my husband. I'm one of those weird people who don't like peanut butter).
  • Blister Bands (2). Really should use this so I stop making the blister on my big toe worse.
  • Water Bottle Cleaner Tablet
  • Footwear clip for attaching your shoes to a bag. (Not sure if I will use this, but could come in handy).

June's Box:

  • Skratch Labs Sports drink mix
  • Almond Butter "Pocket Fuel" (I do like almond butter, just not peanut). I can't see eating this on a run. Think I'll save this for travelling.
  • Electro Delytes Energy bar
  • Power Ice Frozen Refereshing Ice Bar with Electrolytes! Such a good idea. Post run freezies!

  • Blue Steel Sports Anti chafe cream with tea tree oil
  • Lock laces
  • Foot Rubz Massage Ball 
I kind of love this thing.

So far, I'm pretty happy with StrideBox. Lots of fun things to try out. July's box started arriving last week in the states, so I should get mine this week.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Fall Half Training Week 1

And so we begin again...

Three weeks away from any sort of training plan was nice, but I like structure in my workouts so happy to get going again.

I'll be running the Scotiabank Waterfront Half Marathon in October for the third time. I have a bit of nostalgia for this race as it was my first half in 2011. Signed up a week or two after running my first 10K and my friend was all like "I'm going to start training for a half!" and got me excited. Two years later, I've run 6 halfs and he has yet to do his first (I try to peer pressure him every year).

As anyone who's been following my blog this year will probably know, a 2:30 half has been my goal for a bit. I came close at my last two (2:33 and 2:34) so it's most likely very do-able this fall. As added insurance, I just began my first running room clinic to keep me on track and to make sure I'm getting quality training in.

Thinking back to my spring training, the things that worked well for me:

  • increasing my run/walk ratio from 5/1's to 10/1's 
  • running 4 times per week instead of 3
  • decent tempo runs
  • yoga and quality post-run stretching
Things that need to be changed:
  • incorporating hills and speed work (especially the hills)
  • maintaining 10/1's on all long runs. This really falls apart for me when I get tired and start taking extra walk breaks.
  • keeping up with lower body strength training. I dropped it early in my training because my legs were tired all the time (perhaps P90X Legs and Back was not the best choice). My hips/quads don't bother me when I've been doing squats and the such so I'm going to keep on with the lower body work. I'm currently in phase 2 of Chalean Extreme so will keep at that, switching from three strength training sessions per week to two.
The running room clinic will keep me on track with the first two changes and I kind of love strength training, so I'm fine with the third. My weeks will look something like this (providing work/life doesn't get in the way):

Monday - strength training
Tuesday - run (tempos by the looks of my training plan)
Wednesday - run either with clinic whenever possible or on own. Tempos, speed, hills.
Thursday - run clinic 
Friday - strength training
Saturday - rest day or yoga 
Sunday - long with with clinic

6 days per week is my usual workout schedule so this seems manageable. I'm not 100% sure about the three running days in a row but we'll see how that goes.

Onto last week's training:

Chalean Extreme Push Circuit 1 & Extreme Abs. I love Push Circuit - heavy weights, 6 to 8 reps. I feel bad ass. Biceps, triceps, lower body and core. Followed up with a bit of Rodney Yee yoga.

Tempo Run. 6.05K in 43 minutes (7:02/km)

Push Circuit 2 & Extreme Abs. Shoulders, lower body, core.

Running Room Clinic - tiny little run. Was supposed to be 3K but Garmin said 2.78. 19 minutes = 6:53/km. Decided to walk to and from Running Room which was 8K in total. Might not do that anymore.

Push Circuit 3 & Extreme Abs. Chest, back, lower body, core.

Hatha Flow. Went in expecting an easy class, but the levels at the new studio I'm going to seem to be different than my old studio. This class was pretty much exactly at my level, so I could focus on my alignment and breathing. Challenging enough though to get a sweat going.

First LSD with running room (took the bus this time - no walking). 7km in 51 minutes, 7:17/km. I really enjoyed running with a group and that kept me with my 10/1's, no extra walk breaks. Thinking now that maybe this wasn't as slow as needed since my best half marathon pace is 7:16/km, but I'm sure we'll slow down as the distance increases.
Yin Yoga - I have a month long unlimited pass so I'm trying some classes that I might not normally go to. This was super boring. 75 minute class, we probably did 12 poses - held for longer periods. I'm sure it was super beneficial for my body, but really not my thing.   

All in all, a good first week of training.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Color Me Rad 2013

Been pretty quiet around the blog. I've had three weeks off between spring training ending and fall training starting so haven't had much to say.

Until today!

I first heard about Color Runs last year but couldn't find any in Toronto. When Color Me Rad announced a Toronto date, I was all over it and harassed a bunch of people until they said they would register with me. T

Than it sold out :(

Luckily, they opened a second day so I quickly convinced a few people to join me and we were all set. I don't think either of them were too sure about this race, but I thought it would be a ton of fun.

And it was!

Color Me Rad was held at Downsview Park and very easy to get to by subway, followed by a shuttle bus.

Sitting in the back of the bus with our crazy glasses on.
Found the rest of our group. The event seemed quite organized. My only complaint - no bag check! Seems silly for a run that's all about getting messy.

Before. We're all clean.
We had registered for the 11 a.m. wave but no one really seemed to care when you went and waves were going out about every 10 minutes so we started a bit earilier.

Waiting to start.
The run pretty much starts off like this:
Color Bomb (not my photo)
so you're already covered in the first colour.

Having fun! (My friend isn't convinced yet).

Lots of people walking this race which was alright. The event isn't timed and you're just doing to have fun. It was ridiculously hot so we took more walk breaks than we normally would - also we wanted to stay together throughout the race.

This was seriously a great way to transition from one training period to the next. No expectations, just a good fun day to remind me why I love to run.


I would do this again. Many times.

In case anyone is wondering - the colour came off my skin very easily. The buff I'm wearing kept it out of my hair for the most part. My old shoes are quite colourful now, quite like it. My shorts have a pinkish tinge to them now that might not come out. The shirt was an old cotton one that I cut the arms off. I might leave it colourful. Also - my phone was in a ziplock through the run - I took it out for pictures.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

Half marathon number 6 done. I didn't hit any either of my time goals so no new PR for me, but I'm okay with that.

Saturday morning, the husband and I headed out to Niagara Falls. Our first stop was race kit pick up which was very quick and well organized. Besides the usual shirt (which I quite like) and bib, there was a bunch of health & beauty products and best of all, a bottle of wine. Big improvement on the race kits (if you can call it that) from Goodlife and Sporting Life.

After picking up all of my goodies, I stood in line for a bit to meet Kathrine Switzer. She spent a good couple of minutes with everyone, asking about their race goals, whether this was their first half or not, taking photos, signing bibs and books. She greeted everyone with a big hug and just made everyone feel special.

Ready to go.
Sunday morning, we drove over to the starting area (conveniently the same spot as packet pick up and lots of parking).
The much advertised "classy" porta potties.

Tents were set up. Tables out with linen tablecloths (all very civilized). Great announcer getting everyone pumped.

The start line was a bit disorganized. They asked all of the runners to get into the starting area 15 minutes before the race started and line up appropriately. They did have signs for finishing times (sub 2, 2-3:30, 2:30 - 3, 3+), but I don't think they were spaced out enough so runners were just getting in wherever they could. Than they brought a marching band through the starting area which was kind of fun, but everyone had to move to the sides.
 The organization was also just left up to the runners which I don't think is ever a good idea. The crowds weren't huge (1700 runners & walkers) but once I crossed the start line, people on one side of me took off and people on the other kept walking.

I looked for the 2:30 pace bunny and none was to be found. Their Facebook page listed bunnies for 2:30, 2:45 and 3 but I only saw the 2:15 bunny and the two 2hr bunnies. I'm not having good luck with pace bunnies.

Katherine Switzer gave a little pep talk, we did the wave a couple of times, high fived our neighbours and were off!
Yay! Happy!

The course was quite pretty, all along the Niagara Falls Boulevard, the falls and the Niagara River.
Very flat, just a couple of little inclines.

Running by the falls was nice with the cooling mist.

It was pretty hot, very humid and quite windy. Not my favourite running conditions. My right leg started hurting early on and I just felt kind of groggy for most of the race.

The course is an out and back that takes about 7km followed by another (longer) out and back. This would have been a fun race to do with a bunch of friends cause you would see each other a couple of times along the course. The race leader passed us back of the pack people on the first loop quite early. Everyone was cheering and clapping for her and she actually acknowledge us and gave us some applause too which was really nice.

Coming back to the starting area at 7km, there were quite a few spectators and the marching band from earlier. My husband was out taking pictures. I yelled out to him "this isn't going very good so far! I'm struggling" He told me later that he thought this was the half way mark and I had run 10K in 45 minutes (ha!) so was a bit confused.
The crowds, seeing my husband and getting a high five from Kathrine Switzer gave me a second wind and I was feeling better for the next 4k's.

With the heat and humidity, I was trying my best to stay hydrated. I had my fuel belt on with two bottles and took at least one cup at every water station (either to drink or refill my bottles). Around 15k, I ran out of water in my fuel belt. The next water station was around km 16. They had about 10 cups of powerade out and had run out of water! Not good. Next water station was at km 20 so I took two cups to refill my bottles. They were also handing out timbits which was the most disgusting thing I could imagine eating at that point.

My leg was hurting quite a bit so I was alternating between running and limping. Saw a friend right before turning into the final 200m. Lots of people and cheering in the final stretch. Sorry to say that I didn't finish strong or with my arms in the air. Kind of went out with a whimper.
Looking tired.

Despite feeling cruddy for most of the race, I finished in 2:34:06 making this my second best half and just a minute behind my half marathon PR.

Firemen handed out the medals followed by volunteers handed out cold, wet washcloths (more races should do this). Picked up a bottle of water, powerade, a chocolate milk and snacks in a box (once again, much better than Goodlife and Sporting Life).

Besides the water issue and the start line disorganization, I really liked this race.
The course was scenic, the swag was good. The runners seemed very encouraging of each other. The volunteers were very enthusiastic. One interesting note - the top 3 runners were all over 45, the first place runner in age group 50-54. I would definitely do this race again at some point, probably not next year as I'm determined to make SeaWheeze happen.

Now that this race is done, I have a few weeks off before starting training for the fall. Looking forward to a few weeks of unstructured running and exercise.