Four ingredients for success

I recently wrote a post on Instagram about my four ingredients for success. I wanted to build on that and add some meat to the bones. When I am asked about how I got faster, there are many reasons why my body has adapted and become stronger {speed work, strength training, nutrition, mental strength}, but when it comes down to it, these four things have had the biggest impact. This can be applied to running but also in all areas of our lives. DREAM BIG.

You must believe in a dream so crazy that it scares you. This goal will light a fire deep within you. It will give you a reason to get out of bed in -20ºC at 5:00 am to train. For me that was Boston back when I was a 4:45+ marathoner. Qualifying for Boston seemed impossible, but there was a tiny voice in my head that asked, Why not you? I started to dream. I stated to plot. I started to think, Yeah! Why not me? I decided then and there I would one day qualify. I wasn't sure how I was going to do it - NEVER worry about the how-to at first - but I knew I was going to do it.

As you move the yardstick closer to achieving your goal, it's important to have stepping stones along the way. These stepping stones can be found daily if you look for them. Your ability to go faster, stronger, longer....

While the dream big goal is the driving force, if you don't have smaller wins along the way, I am afraid you'll miss out on the best part: the journey. As for me, there have certainly been highs and lows in this journey, but you know what? I’ve never once lost my faith that I will achieve this dream.

SHOW UP.

Consistency trumps perfection always. This means showing up when you don’t feel like it. This means doing the work even when it’s not perfect. This means working with what you have RIGHT NOW.

There are many days when we'd rather sleep in, watch Netflix, do anything BUT the thing that will get us closer to our goal. Why does that happen? We are so *fired up* one minute, and other minutes we are ready to throw in the towel and call it a day.

Know that you are NOT the only one who experiences these feelings. When these moments come, tell yourself all you have to do is show up. Somedays these workouts will turn out to be some of the best of your cycle, others will be garbage. That's ok. Your getting out there did more than sitting on the couch. And when that's not enough, there's always tomorrow.

WORK HARD.

"Stop wondering why you didn’t reach the goal you set out to achieve without doing the work required to get there."

Big goals, I don’t care who you are, do not come without hard work and they certainly do not happen over night. This means getting ugly and gritting through each and every tough workout. That 20 miler on the schedule? It’s there for a reason.

After 15 marathons and some time spent in the running community I can tell you that no one is an overnight success. Those people qualifying for Boston in their first marathon? This is not their first rodeo. They've likely been running for years and have equally put in the work. I used to focus on other people's journeys. What are "they" doing that I'm not? STOP. Comparison will get you no where. Put your head down and focus on your own journey.

DON’T QUIT.

Now above all, you can not quit. Trust the process. This journey may be months, it may be years. I won’t deny there aren’t times I wonder what I’m doing. Allow yourself those moments {they’re normal}, but whatever you do, do not quit. Keep moving relentlessly forward. Be open to change and learning from your mistakes.

This is all part of your story.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Fail quick

It's Saturday morning and I'm sitting here fired up and reflecting on what went down in last week's half. Over the years I've had many a races that didn't go exactly as planned. Truth be told, last week I set out with the A goal to run a sub-1:40. I came up short by 3 minutes and 37 seconds. My B (sub 1:45) and C (run a steady strong race) goals were accomplished. I was on a high placing top 15 and 2nd in my age group. As someone who ran their first half marathon in 2007 in 2:45, back then I would have never thought I would be a "front of the pack" runner. I smile at this now. I also learned that my legs didn't bounce back as quick as I thought from being on my feet for 22+ hours the previous weekend, with very little sleep. I am OK with this (it was one of the best weekends of the year). These are my takeaways from that race.

Instead of dwelling on the negative, I'm fuelling my fire for my next half (I will undoubtedly need another one before Chicago), and of course the Chicago Marathon. I KNOW I have a sub 1:40 in me now. With the fitness that inevitably comes with summer training, I will achieve this goal.

Over the years I've experienced my fair share of "missed goals".  Whether that was my sub-4:00 marathon, my current quest to BQ, or my sub-2:00 half (that took me 4+ tries in 2011/12). Success is not determined by your wins, but by how you bounce back after a "failure". Growing up a ballet dancer, and a recovering type-A perfectionist, I have struggled with failure. I would let it eat me up. Running has helped me grow A LOT in this area (in all parts of my life). I now look at things much differently and EMBRACE FAILURE. I've stopped dwelling on the "what ifs" and "could haves". They do not serve me. They lead to overthinking and do very little in helping me move the yardstick closer to my goals.

You have to have PURPOSE in running. If it's strictly for the quantifiable goals (time, weight), sadly I am not certain the running journey will be a pleasant one. I run because it makes me strong mentally and physically and has changed my perspective on life (running can do that, you know). I see failure as a productive part of life. Onwards.

Show up.

Fail quick. 

Shake it off.

Learn the lesson. 

Get going. 

Weekly recap 05.29.17 + Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon

It’s high time I get back on the training log wagon. Yes, folks, I am training for THE Chicago Marathon. After a difficult race at the 2017 Shamrock Marathon, I’m looking forward to putting in the work this summer to have a PB race come October. Of course I have Boston dreams, but I have promised myself that I will go into Chicago with the goal of enjoying the experience of racing one of the biggest races in the world. To kick training off, I ran the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon on Sunday! I wanted to run a race early on in my marathon training to have an indication of where I was and what I will need to accomplish over the summer months. Let the fun begin!

MondayREST.  After one of the most rewarding weekends volunteering at the 2017 Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend, I needed a couple days rest. I sit on the Run Ottawa Board of Directors and was involved in the organization of the race weekend (six races in total, with over 43,000 participants), along with over 2,500 other volunteers. From loading the trucks on Thursday, to expo and set-up on Friday and Saturday, I went to bed on Sunday evening on less than two hours and sleep and my legs were zapped. Believe it or not, my “step count” for the Sunday was close to 40,000!

TuesdayACTIVE REST. I went to an hour hot yoga class in the evening. Body was feeling better than yesterday. I took the day pretty easy and focused on rolling my calves and feet out in the evening.

Wednesday – 10.1K8 X 400M at half-marathon pace (4:40-4:44/K), 1 minute jog recovery. 3K warm-up, 3K cool-down. Workout went well. Started intervals a bit to fast (I'd rather make this mistake today than on Race Day). Calves still a bit tight, but I still have a few days before the race. Epsom salt bath and rolling out with my Roll Recovery. 

Thursday - 10K easy - Waited to do this run until later in the day. A few extra hours of recovery from the day before always helps! Ran with a friend over to Rideau Hall. Beautiful evening in Ottawa. I wore my CEP compression calf socks all day.

Friday - REST - Flight to Toronto then onto Niagara Falls where the Niagara Women's Half Marathon takes place on Sunday. Focused on hydration while travelling. Listened to lots of podcasts and read some of Dave Asprey's new book Headstrong.

Saturday - 5K Shakeout with 5 x 50m strides - Woke up nice and early and went for a 5K shakeout. Body feeling pretty good. If all goes well tomorrow, I will aim for my sub-1:40. I know I have this time in me. After the run, my parents and I went to the race expo to get my kit and MEET KATHRINE SWITZER. It was pretty special to meet the legendary K.V. in person. We spent the afternoon chilling at home. I got to bed around 9:45 pm.

Sunday - Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon - 1:43:36 - I woke up, had my coffee and Picky Bar around 6:00 am. We drove to the race and got there an hour in advance, just as it started to rain. I did a 2K warm-up, hit the porta-potty and had my Hammer gel seven minutes before the Start at 8:00 am. I ran the first half of the race according to plan, maintaining a 4:50-ish/K pace. I took my second Hammer gel at 9.5K and had no issues. At around 11K I struggled to pick up the pace. I was aiming to negative split, after all. Unfortunately my legs didn't have a PB in them, but I'm happy with the hard race effort. I managed to place 2nd in my age category (30-34) and 15th overall.

Total: 48.2K

You can follow my daily workouts on Strava!

Anyone else running the 2017 Chicago Marathon? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

2017 Ottawa Marathon

Dear Ottawa Marathoners, You're here. You've made it. We are so happy to have you in town. We know it's a big year for Canada, and that's why this is one of the best years to run Canada's largest marathon weekend. By now you've taken a look at the route, you will see the many sites you'll pass on your 42.2K journey this Sunday.

7:00 am will come quickly and all of a sudden you'll be running up the start chute past the National War Memorial. After a few quick turns, you'll nestle into the first 5K by running along the Rideau Canal. Did you know it's the oldest continuously operated canal system in North America? In fact, in 2007, the Rideau Canal was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. As an Ottawa based runner, I've logged a few hundred kilometres along this stretch. It never gets old.

As you carry on along the Rideau Canal towards Dows Lake, you'll have cheers from the Glebe, Preston Street and then Wellington West and Westboro Village! We have the BEST community support. I had a chance to run with Jeff Leiper, the councillor for Kitchissippi Ward, along Wellington Street. It's safe to say they are excited to see you around 8-10K!

You will carry on from Wellington onto Richmond Road, where you will turn onto Athlone Street. This side street always has a great crew out cheering. An unconfirmed rumour is that there is a house who makes pancakes for the cheer squad that is out there bright and early for the marathoners. Regardless, you're likely feeling good at this portion of the race. With the crowds along Wellington, I hope you're on a high (that's why we do this after all).

You will then turn into Tunney's Pasture and head down to Sir John A. Parkway. You'll run a few kilometres out and back along this stretch. This is a good time to put your speed into cruise control. Take in the view of the Ottawa River as you come back towards the city and past Canada's War Museum. Sponge stations will be located at 16K, 25K  and 36K. H2O and nuun hydration stations are set up every 3K for the Marathon.

You will then travel over Chaudiere Bridge into Gatineau, Quebec. I always think it's cool that we get to run a race that crosses two provinces. Fun Canada 150 fact, Ontario and Quebec are two of the four provinces to first join Confederation in 1867. As you run through Gatineau, you will experience some of the best crowd support and catch a glimpse of Gatineau Park. You will also hit the HALFWAY mark.

For those of you from out of town, Gatineau was recently hit with some of the worst flooding in years, with many homes devastated. With 45% of Tamarack Race Weekend participants coming from Quebec, this tragedy is very close to home. We are grateful for all the community support during this time.

As you progress from the halfway point, I find something changes in the race. A sense that this is where the real race begins. You've hung on for 21+ kilometres, and now will begin to test yourself as you make your way through the final 21K. Don't let your mind get ahead of you. Run the kilometre you're in.

Just before the Alexandra Bridge, you will find yourself in the midst of one of the loudest cheering and aid stations. They're cheering for you. To your right will the Canada's Museum of History. Pro-tip: The best photo spot to have Parliament in your backdrop is behind the museum.

As you're crossing the Alexandra Bridge, take a moment to breathe it all in. You are running a marathon today, and OMG look at this view. It really doesn't get any better than this. When things get tough, smile. You're about to head into one of the wildest cheering stations in the entire race. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.

You will pass through the screaming crows at the National Art Gallery and likely get chills. I remember running through this stretch last year and feeling overwhelmed with emotion. It was a hot day out there, but man was I happy to be running 42.2K that day. THANK YOU to every single person who comes out to cheer runners on. Your words of encouragement, your cowbells, your signs, your sticky high fives mean the world.

You will then run along Sussex pass the Royal Canadian Mint, run along the Trans Canada Trail, and past 24 Sussex and Rideau Hall. You will see portions of this stretch again one your way back, but let's not think about that for now. You have 28-36K to run. Put your head down and keep moving (ideally towards the finish). You will have entertainment, water and sponge stations to support you. If the voice in your head gets the best of you, holler at one of the members of the Extra Mile Crew to run with you for a bit. Before you know it, you will be running along Beechwood, back up towards Sussex.

As you head back to the finish, you will start to see the crowds lining the streets grow. Feed off their energy. This is what you've been training for. You will pass the Byward Market, the Shaw Centre and complete your last few kilometres along the Rideau Canal. Does this look familiar? It should. You can see the finish from across the Canal and hear the crowds cheering. In minutes you will be running along Queen Elizabeth towards the finish.

https://twitter.com/OttawaMarathon/status/860172159313989632

As for me, this year I will be out volunteering at the start and on the course (literally) all weekend. If you see me, please say hi! If you're running, HAVE A GREAT RACE.

-Jayme

Are you running Ottawa Race Weekend?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

RACE RECAP: SHAMROCK MARATHON 2017

One week ago I ran my 15th marathon. Before I get into it, let me set the stage. If you know my story, you know that the marathon has been a journey for me. I ran my first 42.2K in 2008 at the Calgary Marathon and finished in 5:38. I didn't think much of that time, other than I had *actually* finished. As someone who grew up dancing, I would never have pictured myself a marathoner. Over the years, my relationship has running has evolved. I have goals and big dreams and those are what fuel my fire. Along the way, I have chiselled nearly 2 hours off my marathon time and have set my sights on Boston. I'm close, but I do not, for one second, take for granted the hard work that goes into moving the yard stick from my previous PR of 3:44 (November 2016) to the sub -3:35 it will take to get me to Boston. My goal going into the Shamrock Marathon was to move the yard stick closer. On the Friday of the race, my husband and I drove from Ottawa to Virginia Beach. We got to Virginia Beach around 8:00pm and dropped our stuff off at our AirBnB. We were tired but all was good. There were some rumblings that there was a storm that weekend, but mentally I would not entertain that. I couldn't. I knew it would impact my mental game that I have worked so hard on.

On Saturday we went to the expo and picked up my race kit. Fun! Everything was decked out in green and four leaf clovers. I bought some green 2xU calf socks and we left before lunch. My bib would be 350. I texted my Mom and she said "3+5+0=8. Eight is great." It was. I got this. I had packed most of my food for Friday and Saturday, so my fueling plan was going well. With away races, I like to control as much as possible, as I know there will be lots of new elements that I will have to be flexible with. Oatmeal, white rice, water, nuun, repeat.

I had given some thought to my race plan, but wasn't going to stress. I knew what I needed to do. I needed to pace the first half and then run like hell to hold onto my pace in the second half. Thankfully, with 14 marathons behind me, I have some knowledge of what this was going to feel like. I knew it was going to hurt. I knew it was going to be hard, but this is why I love the marathon. If it was easy, everyone would be doing them.

Race morning. 5:20 am. I wake up before my alarm. I hear rain outside, but don't think about it. I focus on my coffee, sipping my water and eating pre-race Picky Bar. I have no problem with the washroom (tmi) and I'm feeing good. I get dressed and watch my pre-race youtube clips. I'm in the zone and grateful for a husband who gets that. I'm quiet, not talking much. Preparing for what's about to go down. George drives me to about 300m from the start. It's 3ºC out. Funny, it was 16ºC yesterday. It's pouring rain. It will stop, it has to stop. I remember going to leave about 20 minutes before the start and George saying to me, "You sure you don't want to wait longer? It's pouring." I responded, "I'm going to be running a marathon in this. I don't see the sense in avoiding it now." It was my attempt to subtly tell Mother Nature I did't care about her today, this was my race. Out I go. I'm wearing a garbage bag, at least.

(0-10K) The race begins. I'm just behind the 3:35 pace bunny and I'm focused on not being swept away. I don't think much at this point other than being cold. I am so cold. I will warm up I tell myself. I try not to think about my feet. I feel like my feet are in two blocks of ice. My legs are feeling nice and fresh though, so I don't dwell. The rain is coming down and I'm regretting tossing that garbage bag. The race is fairly flat, at least. The course is bookended by two military bases. We head out to the first base where so many military members were out cheering. THANK YOU.  

Around 8K I think of Steve. Some of you may have known him, but he was a fellow Run Ottawa member that passed away that week. He was in his 50s. Far too early.  I first met Steve when we volunteered together in the Run Ottawa booth at Ottawa Marathon Race Weekend 2016. He told me all about his Running Room race clinics and I remember so many people coming up to him to say Hi. He clearly had made a positive impact on many. We exchanged funny race stories and he offered tips for the heat we would go on to experience in the Ottawa Marathon that weekend. While I only knew him briefly, he seemed like a great guy and a passionate runner. I think of him for a kilometre of two and know I will think of him again. For now, keep your head. We're running a marathon today.

5:12, 5:01, 5:00, 5:06, 4:55, 5:02, 5:05, 5:12, 5:07, 5:18

(11-21.1K) The rain is still coming down hard. The route makes a couple of turns and all of a sudden I am running right along the ocean into the wind. Physically, I am doing ok, but this wind and rain is starting to get to me. I take a quick side glance at the waves and realize they are huge. I commit to not looking at them again for the rest of the race. They tick me off. We are practically running single file on side walk to stay far away from the break wall and the waves. I am soaking and cold. I was only at the half and the knew the second half would be marching directly into the wind. Buckle up.

5:00, 5:06, 5:11, 5:12, 5:14, 5:16, 5:21, 5:23, 5:26, 5:43, 5:23

(22-32K) I see George just after the half. I wish I could put on a happier face for him. I grab his gloves and carry on. It was around 22K that it hits me that there rain has turned to sleet. That's why my face and legs sting. I'm annoyed. This is not where I had planned to be (mentally or physically) at the halfway mark. I know this is where the race begins and I'm struggling with the FACT that this is not the race I wanted. I know some races don't go your way. I know there are many things beyond your control, but this realization cuts deep. I see many of the half marathoners are on their way back to the finish and I know that my race has only just begun.

I start to bargain hard with myself around 24K. Negotiating with yourself in a race is something to be expected. The doubt demons will ALWAYS come out to play. It's just some days you are better at squashing those conversations than others; I firmly believe your ability to manage these conversations will determine your race outcome. I entertain a DNF for a few minutes and tell myself a hard NO. Shut that right down, girl. I battle between feeling weak and pathetic and telling myself WE ARE NOT QUITTING TODAY. After letting my race goals go, I told myself to JFR. No judgment here, Jayme. Just. Keep. Going.

With the added weight of the water, my shorts start to fall down. I need to get my gels out of the pocket, or I will be pulling these shorts up the rest of the way. At 30K I ask a female volunteer to help me. With a frozen face, I tell her my butt is showing. She says, "That's ok. We all have butt cracks," and kindly helps me get my gels out. We laugh. I think how awesome these volunteers are for standing out there in the rain. THANK YOU. 

5:36, 5:39, 5:52, 5:57, 7:07 (stop @ aid station), 5:41, 5:44, 6:14, 5:40, 6:01

(33-41K) We reach the second base, a naval base. I know we will be turning around to head home to the finish soon. Thank goodness. Get me off this ride. I run up beside a gal who seems to be trucking along pretty well. We run for a bit. She must of heard me either sniffle or laugh (or cry?) to myself because she says, "I've done 10 marathons and this is by far the worst conditions I've ever seen." We both say, "less than 8K (5miles) to go." You got this.

With less than 8K to go, everything in me wants to quit. I have never felt this defeated. Or maybe I have and this is just my most recent encounter with the feeling. I think of my Mom saying EIGHT IS GREAT and tell myself repeatedly to keep going. The wind has blown sand in my mouth. Lovely. By the grace of God, I manage to keep moving. I was on the brink many times in these last few kilometres. That's the thing about marathons, the 42.2K is an opportunity to show yourself what you're made of. I was heartbroken. All I wanted to do was cry, but I knew couldn't. I had to finish and knew that I would manage a sub-4 if I *just* kept moving. Easier said that done.

5:41 5:52 5:49 6:08 5:46 6:27 5:56 6:00 6:52 6:21

(42-42.2K) I feel everything all at once. I want to cry but at the same time I AM SO PROUD. I remind myself how long it took for me to achieve a sub-4 race, and here I was running in at 3:58 on a horrible day. I look for George and see him running along beside me. I love him so much. THANK YOU. I cross the finish and don't have words for what happened out there. I am so happy I finished this marathon. A volunteer hands me my medal and my finisher hat. I will wear this hat for years.

422/1354 Overall

124/607 Female

32/109 30-34

3:58:11

5 MEAL-PREPPING TIPS FOR RUNNERS

This might be bold for me to say, but I consider myself a master meal prepper. I’ve been meal prepping on and off for the past seven years. I started in 2009, after finishing grad school when I realized that living on garbage for the past few years had taken a toll on my health. To fix my predicament, I started running and then I stumbled upon fellow Canadian and fitness enthusiast Tosca Reno and her Eat-Clean Diet books. The books appealed to me because they weren’t just about losing weight, but viewed the diet as part of overall fitness. Important for us, her plans emphasized the importance of meal prepping. Being the Type-A that I am, I loved the ideal of planning meals and being ready for the week. Seven years later, and here I am running far more than ever and meal prep has become essential to balancing my running goals with the demands of daily life. Over the years I’ve refined my prep, and offer these five tips to meal prepping like a champ.

Read more at Salty Running.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Race recap: Winterman Half Marathon 2017

A few weeks ago I ran my 15th half marathon, on a whim. On the Friday of Winterman, my Mom, who was going to be in town that weekend, texted me to see if I wanted to do the race. I would do the half-marathon and she would do the full (her 50th marathon, I should add). It was admittedly the first time I entered a race last minute. I had unfinished business at this race after being pulled off in 2014 due to a frost bite scare. The forecast was looking great and in the back of my head, I knew I would get a mental boost from running a race. Normally I build a half-marathon into my marathon trying cycles, but given that Shamrock Marathon is in March, there are limited half-marathons in the lead up. Whereas with later spring marathons, take your pick of X, Y, Z, March-April races to use as trainers.Now if we back it up a bit, I wasn’t having a great training week up until my Mom’s text. I was feeling sluggish, and had decided to take a few days off. In fact, I was on the fence if I would even do a long run that week. As much as I love marathon training, that’s one of the downsides of being in (nearly) continuously training-mode. You run the risk of feeling over trained and unmotivated; I’ve accepted that this is a very normal part of the process and don’t beat myself up *too much* for having these thoughts.

The Winterman race is a long standing event that runs annually in February. For the past few years the temperatures have been -20ºC, or colder. In fact, last year the event was cancelled. The event begins at the Canadian War Museum and does an out and back loop along the Sir John A. Parkway. In theory, this is a great training race. The route includes two hills that runners hit four times per loop, and is run almost primarily on the road. There is about a 500m loop on the sidewalk at the War Museum. That said, it has historically been known to be covered in snow, salt and ice. To be expected with a name like Winterman, I suppose.

Race Day. We missed the race registration online, so we sent my Dad over to register us at 6:30AM on the morning of. I really do have the best Dad. I was sitting on the couch drinking coffee when he came back to with our bibs and ankle chips. Ok, so this is really happening. While I wasn’t planning for this to be a PB race, I expected a 1:4x, preferably on the lower side. The day before the race we were in Montreal visiting my sister and brother-in-law and were walking around downtown all day. Seeing that this was not a race I was planning for, I didn’t fuss with my normal pre-race routines. I’ll JFR, was the plan.

I live conveniently close to the start, so Mom and I walked over 28 minutes before the start. It was a beautiful day and I was truly happy I decided to run this race. After running the majority of my long runs on the treadmill, I was desperate to remind these legs that we gearing up to run fast outside. The goal is the Shamrock Marathon, after all.

The race begins. Wow this crowd is moving fast. I quickly realize that the vast majority of the participants were running a 5K or a relay. Just like in a marathon, the course always clears out once the 5-10K'ers are gone. As always, I repeat not to get ahead of myself. I encounter the first of the rolling hills and I am reminded of how many times I’ve run this stretch before. Today I will be running it 8 times (4 loops, out and back). Oh joy. UP AND OVER.

4:58, 4:53, 4:45, 4:54, 4:45

It would be great to be in top 5, I think. Then remind myself that this is a training run, no pressure today. Keep your head. I take a Hammer Gel around 10K. I’ve been using GenUCan lots in my training, but I’ve decided that gels are easier to use on the race course. I used this race as a practice run for my stomach. Thankfully, no issues!

4:49, 4:57, 4:57, 4:46, 5:01

After the second loop, I tell myself we are on the penultimate loop. I smile thinking of my coach saying this to us as we run around the track. I know that this is the point in the race/workout that matters. Over the years this is one area that I’m proud of. I often use the second half of a race or hard work out to prove to myself how badly I want it. That said, this doesn’t make the running part easier, especially with these darn hills. I clear my mind and tell myself we are in the home stretch. I see my mom and a few familiar faces and give a thumbs up. This gives me a boost (it always does).

4:56, 5:00, 5:16, 4:58, 5:01

Alright. Last loop. I’m feeling good and almost giddy thinking that my long run is ONLY 21.1K. This is what marathon training does to you (we are a crazy bunch). I know that next week I have a 36K ahead of me. As I run the final kilometre, I am reminded why I love racing. I love the final push of a race where your mind truly does run the body. As a peel around the corner, I see my Dad and our dog Tucker standing there. While it wasn’t a PB, this was a great run.

4:47, 5:09, 5:10, 5:06, 5:00, 4:42

1:44:35

18/100 overall

3/43 females

1/6 F30-34

https://www.instagram.com/p/BQvcA_jhY9R/?taken-by=thepacinglife

Have you run a last minute race? 

Did you run a race this winter? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

Cutting some slack

I am a routine oriented person, to a fault. I have a plan and I stick to it. Whether this is my morning routine, my running routine, or my general life routine: I am a creature of habit. This helps, as you can imagine, for marathon training. With expectations of running nearly every day of the week, it's important for me to have a game plan for getting sh*t done. I do what is necessary to make it all fit. Sometimes this can help me in my pursuit of #goalz, and in others it can hinder (e.g., running myself into the ground). I'm aware of this, at least. All that said, sometimes the plan needs to be adjusted. This is where I've had issues in the past. The type-A in me clung to "the plan" and hated to change course. Now, I won't go as far to say that I don't have any moments of freakout (I do), but I can say that after 14 marathons I'm better at managing my mind and body (often these two can be in disagreement + compete for your attention).

If you follow me on Instagram, you've likely seen me running in preparation for the Virginia Beach Shamrock Marathon (March 18). I am currently in the midst of peak training. This past week I experienced some significant-to-me fatigue. I went to the track on Tuesday night and my body felt heavy and my mind cloudy. I told my coach and we decided it was best if I took it easy that night. I can't say a small part of me was disappointed in myself, but I was overall confident this was the best move.

Reflecting on this past year, I have had a few moments where I've had to check myself. From my Achilles injury in the summer, to marathon training while planning my wedding, I've made a ton a progress in the "chill out" area. As I enter into Peak Week, I am grateful for everything in the past few months. Every treadmill kilometre, every snow covered run, every rest day. With six weeks to go, I know I am ready for my best forty two point FREAKING two.

I got this.

Let's go.

#IDOFORTYTWOPOINTTWO

How do you keep yourself in check?

Is this an area you need to work on?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

 

Why I don’t hate winter

As the middle of February approaches, the days are short and the treadmill runs are long. Was it just a few short months ago I was running outside in shorts? As easy as it is to dislike the many challenges of winter, as a runner I've come to enjoy this part of the year. It's a different season of running for me for many reasons.

Increased time on the treadmill 

In 2012 I moved into a building that had a great gym and a treadmill. I've never left. This little basement gym has been a saving grace and has played a big role in my last three spring marathons (Ottawa 2013, Toronto 2015, Ottawa 2016).

With my mornings starting at dark-o-clock, with temperatures -10ºC and below, I often rely on my treadmill for workouts. Not only does this eliminate the risk of icy footing, it allows me to hit paces that I would otherwise have difficulties running in the snow + ice conditions. It also allows me to hoover in high-weekly-mileage territory, with less impact on my legs. After my Achilles injury this summer, I've been paying extra attention to my body while running higher mileage weeks.

That said, the one challenge I do have is getting to the treadmill before anyone else. I know I know, this may sound selfish. But hey. We're marathon training here! And, let's be honest. It's really only one person I compete with (if you watch my instagram stories, you'll understand).

Mental strength 

Treadmill running can be a mental challenge. There’s no change in the scenery, and you're staring at the same place in the wall/out the window for unimaginable amounts of time. Last week, I actually felt a little fuzzy after staring out at the bright white snow for 2.5 hours (32K). Over the years, I’ve managed this by watching movies, listening to podcasts, playing with the speed/incline to keep things interesting.

I also do a lot of thinking on the mill. It’s hard to ignore that voice inside your head when you’re running in the same spot for hours. My thoughts wander from day-to-day things (what am I going to put in my post-run shake, what will I wear today), to deeper things depending on what’s going on at the time. Other times I tune out and JFR.

During these winter months, I am reminded how much progress I have made in the mental strength department. I wasn't always mentally strong. In my early running years, I frequently quit workouts or just plain ole wouldn't do them. Now, I frequently run for hours, often challenging myself with fast-for-me paces. I give a lot of credit to my ability to make my MIND RUN THE BODY.

Strength training 

In the summer I am more likely to spend time outdoors. Whether that's going for a long walk, or doing core work post-run, I find it harder to get myself down to the basement gym. This means I do less strength and cross-training! In the winter, I'm more likely to stay inside for my runs, leaving my conveniently close to the weights. I often do a 30 minute strength training routine post-run, or I'm more inclined to go downstairs for a workout on active rest days.

How do you use the winter months?

Do you run on the treadmill more in the winter?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. You can find my latest articles on Salty Running here.

A letter to #MyFutureSelf

New Balance Canada has launched an initiative that gives runners an opportunity to write a letter to your future self about aspirations in sport and life. You can submit a letter to yourself here. In approximately one year, New Balance will send the letter back to you through a unique time capsule initiative. Make sure to include the hashtags #MyFutureSelf and #iRunMagazine for a chance to have your letter in an upcoming iRun edition! When I saw this initiative, I was intrigued. However, I didn't realize how much of an impact actually writing the letter would have. I highly encourage you to write one.

Here is my letter. 

Jayme,

Look how far you have come. In 2008 you ran your first marathon in 5:38. You were never going to do that again. Running was hard. Training was hard. Why do people do this? You carried on. Remember that feeling when you first broke 2:00 in the half marathon, and then 4:00 in the marathon. I want you to smile when you think about these milestone moments. They always seemed like an impossible hurdle at the time. Yet, you proved you could do it. Now you are training to qualify for Boston. You will get there. Never underestimate the power of a dream.

Look how far you have come. Running at one point in time used to be for a number on a scale. You hated your body and saw running as a way to punish yourself. You were chasing a perfection that could not be defined. Over time, running became more. Running turned into redemption, not punishment. Don’t EVER take the gift of running for granted. Be grateful daily.

Look how far you’ve come. You are in a good place. The demons that used to eat you inside are no longer in control. You still have to work on things (everyone does), but you are strong. Running is still hard, but the daily challenge is something you crave. See this letter as a reminder. A reminder that running has changed your life for the better. You are motivated to run because running makes you strong mentally and physically. You train hard, so that you know come race day You Are Ready. The early morning runs, the hours spent outdoors, never quitting. This is why you run.

#MyFutureSelf #iRunMagazine

-Yourself

Have you wrote a letter to your future self? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava.

 

Why I tried a juice cleanse with Urban Juice Press

Truth be told, I've never not eaten something in a day, let alone a juice cleanse. I look back on my many years of yoyo dieting and attempts to stay fit through running {hard to do when your nutrition is out of whack}, and shudder. I do not do well with restriction. In fact, it wasn't until I started learning of the wonders of nutrition and meal planning did I recognize just how unhealthy my previous behaviours have been. Over the years I've made a lot of progress in this area. Fast forward to present day. I generally have my nutrition in order. Sure, there are always things we can improve, but I now see my body as a performance vehicle and treat it accordingly (how can I expect it to run fast, if I'm not fuelling it right?).

I've always wanted to try a juice cleanse. Some of my favourite health and wellness advocates and endurance athletes talk/write about them. Yet, I always found excuses why not to give it a try, despite knowing all the benefits (too expensive, I'd get too hungry, why are there so many bottles). I also knew I couldn't go the restriction route. The idea of drinking a class of water with lemon and cayenne pepper makes me ill. I've done lots of reading on juice cleanses over time and knew there are a TON of options out there these days. Options that wouldn't require me to live on some weird water sludge. That lead me to a local business, URBAN JUICE PRESS.

URBAN JUICE PRESS began with the idea that people can heal themselves and take responsibility for their own health. Founder, Justin Gauthier story includes a diagnosis for Crohn's disease in 2010. After years of pain, at a certain point, Justin had had enough. The current treatments were just not working for him, and he made the conscious decision to take his health into his own hands. Justin soon discovered juicing! I am so glad he did.

I chose the URBAN JUICE PRESS Kickstarter Cleanse because it targets beginners and, well, that’s what I am. It also has an appealing mix of juices + smoothies + nut milks, so I didn’t feel restrictive. I already eat a smoothie bowl for breakfast most days!

Day 1

Bottles: 9

Coffee: 0

7:10 am – Skin Tonic – Organic Cucumber, Organic Apple, Organic Lemon

I got up around 5:45 am. I normally would have a coffee before working out, but had a lemon ginger tea instead. I am reminded how much I love coffee. Can I really go two days? I worked out from 6:30-7:15 am (strength). When I got home, I drank the Skin Tonic while rolling out my legs. Normally I would be drinking my Vega Accelerator. The Skin Tonic was light and fresh. I’ve had some juices where the lemon and celery and too pronounced; this one was more subtle.

8:15 am – Green Energy - Organic Green Collard, Organic Matcha, Organic Maca Root, Organic Chlorella, Organic Raw  Cashew, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Banana, Organic Date, Filtered Water

I wanted to have my breakfast before leaving the house, so ended up having the Green Energy (280 cals of deliciousness) within an hour of the Skin Tonic. The Green Energy is a smoothie and not technically a juice. It was creamy to taste and filling. I filed the bottle up a bit with water to shake the remaining smoothie out. As if I would forego some of these nutrients.

9:45 am – Turmeric Avenue - Organic Sweet Potato, Organic Pineapple, Organic Carrot, Organic Lemon, Organic Turmeric Root, Organic Jalapeño

Normally I would be working on my second coffee at this time. The cleanse provides two morning snacks, so I planned for them at 9:45 and 11:30. I love turmeric and often use it in my shakes, so naturally I loved that taste. It was the jalapeno in this juice that I found so interesting. The juice wasn’t hot, but it did have a kick. Feeling surprisingly energized and not hungry.

12:00 pm – Greens 101 – Organic Kale, Organic Cucumber, Organic Apple, Organic Celery

I ended up having my second “snack” at noon. Plans change. Similar to the Skin Tonic, I found this one light and sweet, re: apple. I enjoyed it, but knew I would be hungry soon. I’m used to having a fairly substantial lunch and normally have a pretty big appetite around noon. I’ve also noticed that I don’t have the usual heart burn I experience before lunch re: coffee. That’s a discussion for another day.

1:15 pm – Green Energy - Organic Green Collard, Organic Matcha, Organic Maca Root, Organic Chlorella, Organic Raw  Cashew, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Banana, Organic Date, Filtered Water

Ooooh. What a treat to have this one again! 1/4 done my cleanse. Feeling optimistic knowing that I have 4 more juices + smoothies + a cashew milk after this “lunch”.  Like breakfast, I really enjoyed the taste and texture. I’m busy today, so it’s kind of nice to just grab this bottle vs. my bag of Tupperware.

3:00 pm - Happy Rabbit - Organic Carrot, Organic Apple, Organic Pineapple, Organic Lemon, Organic Ginger Root

I don't know if it's because I've only drank juice today, but this carrot juice was so good. My energy level normally dips a bit around this time of day, so I normally have a snack with me. While not my usual Superhero muffin, the carrot juice did give me a bump in energy.

Pre-dinner - Creamy Cashew - Filtered Water, Organic Raw Cashews, Organic Dates, Organic Maple Syrup, Organic Vanilla, Organic Ceylon (True) Cinnamon

I'm thinking about food and how my dinner tonight will be a smoothie. Hmmm. Don't get ahead of yourself; you WANT to do this. *Opens Creamy Cashew,* oooooh, this is good. I enjoyed the vanilla and maple I can taste in the "milk". I start to wonder more about what is in the cashew milk in my fridge and how long the list of ingredients are compared to this.

6:15 - Raw Chocolate - Organic Cacao, Organic Green Collard, Organic Hemp Seed, Organic Chia Seed, Organic Raw Cashew, Organic Banana, Organic Date, Organic Blueberry, Filtered Water

I drank Dinner right before heading into see a viewing of Patriots Day. The cacao smoothie was tasty. The bottle said it had blueberries in it; I tasted more chocolate + greens more than anything. I got a tea afterwards to sip on. I have a bad habit of snacking in the night, so I know I will need to keep busy {thankful to have the movie to go to}.

9:45 - Immune Supercharge - Organic Carrot, Organic Apple, Organic Beet, Organic Lemon, Organic Ginger

Back from the movie and I can have my evening snack. I'm impressed with this one. I've tried a number of beet juices and this may just be one of the best I've ever tasted. Is it because it's so fresh? Is it because I haven't eaten real food today? I go to bed not feeling hungry. Success.

Day 2 

Bottles: 9

Coffee: 0

Day 2 was the same as Day 1 in terms of bottles. I woke up early for a run. I felt lighter than normal {the absence of salt in yesterday's diet had an impact}. I weighed myself and was down 1.6 lbs. Again, water weight. But all in all I feel fine. I drank herbal tea throughout the day. By dinner time I had an appetite and drank my Raw Chocolate and Immunity Supercharge 45 minutes apart. I feel like this was a huge personal win to make it to the end of Day 2 strictly on juice. Wicked way to start 2017.

All in all, I am SO happy I tried this juice cleanse! After completing the two days, my body and mind are feeling pretty good. This was the reset I needed. I would highly recommend this entry-level cleanse to anyone who is seeking to improve their overall health. Press restart!

Have you tried a juice cleanse before? 

Beet juice? Yay or nay? 

You can find URBAN JUICE PRESS on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

30 minute strength routine

I've kicked 2017 off with a FRESH strength training routine. New workouts always excite me and help to keep things interesting. Over the years, especially as I've started to run more, I've dabbled in a variety of strength training routines. I've done IronStrength, a mishmash of Runner's World, Women's Running, and crossfit workouts, to Kayla Itsines BBG program. You get the picture. I aim to keep my strength training to 30 minutes or less. This allows me to fit it in post-run. I break the week into UPPER BODY and LOWER BODY days, and have also included some YOGA. I also roll my legs out daily with my Roll Recovery. After my achilles injury this summer, I've been taking my strength and recovery routine seriously. I now MAKE TIME for it, rather than doing it when I had extra time. Schedule your priorities. So without further ado, here is my current strength training plan. I've included a link to a demonstration video for each exercise.

Monday, Wednesday, Friday = LOWER BODY

Tuesday, Thursday = CORE + UPPER BODY

Saturday, Sunday (Monday/Friday) = YOGA 

LOWER BODY

Single Leg Deadlift 3 x10 (currently using 10 lbs)

Lunges with Dumbbell 3 x 10 (currently using 10 lbs x 2)

Squat with Dumbbell (currently using 15 lbs)

Single leg Calf Raises with Dumbbell 30 reps to start (currently at 50 reps, 10b dumbbells x 2)

Hamstring Curls with machine 3 x 10 (currently using 50 lbs)

Leg Extension with machine 3 x 10 (currently using 50 lbs)

CORE + UPPER BODY

Classic Plank (currently at 3:00 minutes)

Russian Twist 25 each side (50 reps total)

Scorpion 25 each side (50 reps total)

Spiderman 25 each side

Back Extension on Ball 3 x 12

Jackknife on Ball 3 x 12

Lateral Side Raises* 3 x 12 (currently using 5 lbs x 2)

Shoulder Military Presses* 3 x 12 (currently using 5 lbs x 2)

Bicep Dumbbell Curls 3 x 12 (currently using 10 lbs x 2)

*Start with very low weight. It's really easy to get a shoulder injury if increasing weight + poor form (been there, done that).

YOGA 

I've been going to my local yoga studio once or twice a week. In an effort to be more consistent, I'm giving Jasyoga a try! It's an online yoga-for-runners platform with a ton of selection targetting runners needs. Ideally, I will fit in 2-3 yoga sessions a week. This may be ambitious, but you know I love a challenge.

Leave a comment below if you have any questions! 

Do you have a go-to strength training routine? 

Have you tried online yoga? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

2016.

I sit here writing my 2016 recap with a full heart. 2016 was a special year. For many reasons. Some that I will share and others that do not require recognition on my blog. From running to my personal and business life, we covered a lot of ground this year. I will try to keep this concise {but can't promise anything}. I do. September 24, 2016, will forever be the best day ever. Our wedding took place in Ottawa on a perfect fall day. We had so many family and friends (including many in our bridal party) travel great lengths to celebrate our special day with us. From the morning 5K run with one of my bridesmaids, to getting ready with my crew (who made me feel so beautiful), to the ceremony at our Church, the photos with the talented Amanda Urbanski, the flowers (and much more) from Blue Thistle Florist, to the reception, dinner and dance party with our nearest + dearest family and friends at Mill Street, everything was perfect. This day is a big part of why 2016 was so special. ♡

Trip of a lifetime. We left for our honeymoon the day after our wedding. We flew to Rome from Ottawa and spent four days exploring the city. We then boarded a ship in Civitavecchia, that sailed from southern Italy, to Greece, to Turkey and back. We saw and experienced so much on that trip. Our day in Kuşadası, Turkey was one of my favourite days of the year.

In Ephesus, Turkey

Athens, Greece, with the Acropolis in the background

Two more marathons. I ran my 13th and 14th marathons this year: the Ottawa Marathon (recap) in May; and the Hamilton Marathon (recap) in November. I learned and grew a whole lot while training for these races. Despite an achilles issue in the summer (a huge thank you to my teammate and physiotherapist, Joey, for helping me through that injury), I shaved 13 minutes off my marathon time in 2016 + I'm that much closer to Boston.

The difference between 2015 and 2016 for my running really boils down to one thing: confidence. Thanks to my running coaches (Ken + OAC Racing Team and Lindsey), I have matured as a runner and know what I can expect from myself. I no longer define my training and race plans with what ifs. I look back on the 3,157 kilometres that I ran in 2016 and know that I showed up in running this year. I now run easy runs faster than what my tempo runs used to be. And to think that used to be "impossible"...

As part of joining the OAC Racing Team in the spring, the 2016 Ottawa Marathon's Team Awesome, and connecting through social media with runners from all over the globe (some turned "real life" friends!), I am so grateful for the running community and am reminded daily as to why this sport means so much to me.

With Mom + Dad after qualifying for Chicago at the Hamilton Road2Hope Marathon

More distance covered with friends

Workouts down by the river with the OAC Racing Team

Emilie's Run with the OAC Racing Team

More treadmill kilometres

Coaching business. I am a firm believer that if you have a burning desire to do something, you should do just that. A year or so ago I started thinking about starting my own coaching business. This year I have taken steps to realize that goal, including getting my coaching certification through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals. I am looking forward to formally launching my business in Spring 2017, and am literally bursting with excitement for the possibilities. You can bet your bottom dollar there will be lots of action on this front in 2017. Stay tuned. In the meantime, I would love to connect with you on Facebook! Like The Pacing Life's page here.

Run Ottawa Board of Directors. As an active member of the Ottawa running community, including my involvement with Run Ottawa in 2015 and 2016, I decided to seek nomination to the Run Ottawa Board of Directors. As of November, I am very pleased to be serving as a two-year Board member and look forward to being a part the continued success and growth of the Run Ottawa events and run club.

Run Ottawa Board of Directors

 

Salty Running. I joined the Salty Running team! Salty Running covers all things running and is focused on female runners who have big dreams. Our readers are people who are serious about their running and I am honoured to work with the talented group of ladies behind the site. As the first Canadian contributor on the site, I naturally chose Maple as my online persona. You can see my introduction here and my first article on Lanni Marchant.

Collect memories, not things. 2016 was also full of many mementos from time spent with friends, including trips to DC and Montreal. As I get older, I am more and more grateful for my people. The lazy mornings, the late nights, the LOLs - I couldn't do life without you.

Fun nights with good friends

In D.C., with two of my favourite people

In Montreal at the Atwater Market in spring

The best sister in the world {and my Maid of Honour}

Wishing you all the best in 2017! ♡

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

#24daysofplankmas

Join me over the next three weeks for the #24DAYSOFPLANKMAS! I created this challenge to help us stay accountable over the holiday season and to improve our core strength. I don't know about you, but I am 100% more likely to do something if I made a commitment to it. This daily challenge encourages you to plank EVERY day. Whether you are running that day or not, plank for at least 30 seconds. Each day we will try to add a few seconds (try for 5). Post your photos to instagram, Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #24daysofplankmas!

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Have you done a challenge before? What was it?

#24DAYSOFPLANKMAS - you in? 

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Why not now

The other night I was laying in bed with my mind wide awake. For better or worse, I often do a lot of thinking before falling asleep. While I'm often pretty good at keeping myself in check, on this particular night I was thinking about possible what ifs, many of them not the good what ifs if you catch my drift. What if it doesn't work, what if I really can't do XX, what if they don't like me, what if I'm not good enough... Do you ever find you think about all the reasons something won't work, before it's even happened? Many of these reasons are fictional, of course. There are times that doubt and what ifs have convinced me to play small. To downplay my achievements, or convince myself that something (whether it's in running, professional, or personal life) could never possibly happen. The worst feeling is the regret of knowing you've played small for no other reason than your own self doubt.

It's easy to focus on the failures; one failure can overshadow 100 successes. I read something the other day that talked about the story in your head. You either work with a narrative that supports an abundance of success, or you trap yourself with a limiting story, "I can't do that because..., I'll never be good enough because..." All too often we buy into a story that doesn't positively serve us.

Stop that.

I think we all can use a little reminder to go for it and ask ourselves: why not now? We too often put things off and wait around for some day when we are "ready" (you will never be) and the conditions will be perfect (they will never be). Why not focus on all the reasons why it will work? You are always once decision away from a totally different life.

What are you doing TODAY that will take you closer to achieving your dream?

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I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Immunity Boost Ginger Carrot Soup

So you've just completed a marathon, when suddenly you have a sore throat, or a cold. You may think that all that running makes you healthy, but did you know that your immune system is at its weakest in the two weeks following a big run or a race? According to Runners World, while 30 to 45 minutes of moderate daily exercise does stimulate the immune system, the rigors of running longer distances temporarily weakens it. Now, I don't want to jinx myself, but I have done a pretty good job at staying healthy through the past two marathon training cycles. Multi-Vitamins, immune-boosting foods, you name it, I've probably tried it. That is why I was bummed this past week when I came down with a horrible sore throat. With many people around me being sick, I guess it should come as no surprise that my weakened immune system left me susceptible to a bug.

Enter my Immune Boost Ginger Carrot Soup. I was first introduced to white miso by Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky's, Run Fast Eat Slow, cook book. Knowing that it is rich in probiotics, I decided to use that as a the base for my soup. Ginger is a known cold and flu fighter, so adding that was a no brainer.

Immunity Boost Ginger Carrot Soup (serves 1)

Place all ingredients into your blender or vitamix

  • 1.5 tsp white miso paste
  • 1/2 cup steamed carrots
  • 1/2 cup sweet potato
  • 1 table spoon raw ginger
  • 1/3 cup almond or cashew milk
  • 3 cups hot water

Blend on high for 2 minutes.

Serve with a tablespoon of nutritional yeast sprinkled on top (hello, vitamin B12!)

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How do you stay healthy while training or racing? 

Do you have your own immunity boost soup recipe? Please share!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Runner Profile: Jill Pettit

For my next runner profile, I am so excited to introduce you to my #1 running hero, my Mom, Jill Pettit (@marathonmortal). If you've read my running story, you know my Mom played a huge role in me starting run. She's my number #1 fan and I'm hers. We've completed many races together and I know there will be many more! Her endurance and commitment to running inspires myself and others on a daily basis. She will be the first one to tell me that my (sometimes crazy) ideas are possible. So, without further ado, meet Jill!


Name: Jill Pettit

Location: Niagara On The Lake, Ontario, Canada

Years running: 11 years

Why I run: It's plain and simple. When I run I feel great mentally and physically. A long run outdoors is only beat by a race day.

Race distance of choice: Marathon (completed over 50)

PRs: Around the Bay 30K (3:13), Marathon (4:41), Ultra 100K (16:31), 50 miles (11:49)

Favourite Race:  My first marathon will always hold a special place in my heart. I did a charity marathon race for Canadian Diabetes in Hawaii. It changed my life forever.

Favourite running gear: My Garmin watch. I love checking the stats both on the run and off.

Favourite running memory: My most favourite running memory was the New York City Marathon with my two daughters and husband all snuggled together for five plus hours waiting for our starting coral time. We were so cold! Crossing the finish line in Central Park with my daughter, I cried.

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Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: Pace yourself and remember to enjoy the moment.

Favourite quote or mantra: I make the decisions. I run this race. I am AMAZING.

Goals: To complete the Disney Dopey Challenge.

Next race: I haven't decided yet. My last marathon was a couple of weeks ago (Niagara Falls International Marathon). I like to start the year with the Run4Kids Indoor Ultra in January. In March, I would really like to do a destination race in a warm climate. The Ottawa Marathon is definitely on my to do list for May 2017, especially given it is Canada's 150th Birthday. The best way I can think of celebrating is a marathon in the nation's capital. The Niagara Ultra 50 km in June and then I will plan the fall race line up.

Favourite running song: Moby - Bittersweet Symphony, Christine Aguilera - Stronger, Supermodel - Tell Me Why, Robyn - Indestructible, Madonna & Justin Timberlake - 4 Minutes, Lady Gaga - Pokerface, Glee - Don't Stop Believin', Madonna - Give It To Me, Alicia Keys - Girl on Fire, and there's more, I can't just pick one!

Favourite podcast/books: Rich Roll, Jane Austen, Pillers of the Earth

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Are you a runner or do you have a runner you would like to see profiled? If so, I would love to hear from you! You can also find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava!

Long Road to Boston

I first learned about Mark Sutcliffe's book back in May when I was on his talk show to speak about the Ottawa Marathon. He mentioned that he was publishing a book on his journey to Boston. Being on my own quest to Hopkinton, I made a mental note that this would be a must read for myself. Fast forward to October, I was invited to attend Mark's hometown book launch of the Long Road to Boston. Hosted at Ottawa City Hall, more than 200 people crowded into the Mayor's Board Room on October 24th to support the book. After being introduced by Mayor Jim Watson, Mark spoke passionately about his quest to Boston and pointed to the various people around the room who were a part of that journey.

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I took the book home that night and began reading. Mark sets the stage by using the first few chapters to give a history of the marathon event and the Boston Marathon. While not all new information for me, I got chills with the reminder of how epic the forty-two-point-two event really is. From the first Olympic games, to K.V.Switzer and the 2013 attacks, there is a reason why the marathon holds so much importance to runners.

Mark tells his story of starting out as an "average" runner, who eventually Boston Qualifies and completes the race from Hopkinton to Boston (spoiler alert). While not always a runner, after getting started, running had became a huge part of his life. I couldn't believe how much of Mark's story I could relate to.

After his first marathon in 2004, Mark went on to complete more than twenty marathons, including the Boston Marathon course with Dean Karnazes. Like many of us, the task of Boston Qualifying seemed unthinkable for many years. I found myself smiling through many pages where Mark reflects on how crazy of an idea Boston Qualifying was, but ultimately found himself obsessed.

Equipped with spreadsheets, training plans, supportive running friends and family, Mark recalls the highs and lows of his journey. While the "journey" is why we run, the outcomes are not always pretty. Mark talks about marathon finishes within seconds of a BQ and the trials that inevitably crop up with marathon training. Regardless if you are chasing the unicorn or not, most can relate to the feeling of being oh-so-close-but-yet-so-far, vividly told by Mark.

The Long Road to Boston is story of why Boston means so much to runners and inspires readers to believe that nothing is impossible. I highly recommend this book for any runner, especially those acquainted in dreaming big and on a quest for self-improvement.

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For those of you in Ottawa, Mark will be leading this week's Run Ottawa 6@6 (Wednesday, November 16)! Join myself and fellow Run Ottawa members at Bridgehead Roastery and Coffeehouse at 6:00 pm for a 6K run, followed by a couple of stories from the Long Road to Boston. 

If you cannot make it to the run on time, feel free to join the talk portion around 6:30 pm. More information about the event can be found on Facebook.

Have you read the Long Road to Boston?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Road2Hope Marathon 2016 Race Report (Part II)

Read Part I of my Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon recap here. (22-27K) After the half, I knew the famous Road2Hope downhill was just around the corner. I took my second gel and some water. Found my favourite song and knew that there was time to be won on this portion of the race. I momentarily thought about time goals, as I was so afraid of getting excited about a time too early on. Experience is the best teacher I know in the marathon. My head was surprisingly clear. I was on a mission. I will never complain about a downhill, but I will say there is some strategy required. The grade of the road, for example, is incredibly slanted. This meant that with every curve in the road, it was best to run down to the flat shoulder surface of the road. (5:06, 5:00, 5:19, 5:10, 5:16, 5:24)

(28-34K) Coming off the ramp at Barton St. I knew I was two-thirds of the way there and would soon be seeing my parents again along Beach Boulevard. I took my third gel and noticed how many people I was passing, many walking. I briefly thought about how many times I let myself give up and quickly told myself to STOP. We are NOT having that conversation today. Again, I briefly indulged myself in a time goal and decided it would be great if I could go sub-3:45, to give me the Chicago option. I would allow myself to revisit the goal around 34K. For now, keep your head. (5:38, 5:38, 5:26, 5:22, 5:21, 5:16, 5:34)

Now for one of my favourite moments of the race. As I was coming off one of the pedestrian bridges, I wished I had an extra gel. I had four on board, but realized I could use a fifth. Jeeze, Mom even offered to bring an extra one, I thought. Just then, I saw an unopened Espresso Love GU on the ground in front of me. No freakin’ way. God, is that you? I bent down and scooped that gel up so quick, only briefly thinking of the poor soul who dropped it. I held onto it for dear life, while taking my fourth gel early, knowing I now had an extra one.

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(35K) Around 35K the pesky 3:45 bunny snuck back up on me. I knew I had a buffer for the last 8K, to still come sub-3:45, but I would have to hang on. The difference between a decent or noteworthy marathon time is determined in the last 6-8K. I decided then and there that this would be a BREAKTHROUGH marathon for me. I was sooooo sick of knocking 1-2 minutes off, knowing that I had at least 20 minutes to go before my BQ was in reach. Pull it together, Jayme. You can rest later. (5:22)

(36-39K) I hung onto the 3:45 bunny for as long as I could. My legs were trying to quit, as if they had a say, but my mind was yelling louder. NO REGRETS, I chanted. I had built such a thick wall up in my mind that I barely heard the doubt demons knock. I knew they were there and would take advantage of any sign of weakness. Knowing that my average pace needed to stay under 5:20, I kept looking at my watch. My average pace was 5:15 and ticked up to 5:16 then 5:17. Crap. I saw my Mom at 39K. Oh my goodness I was grateful for her words of encouragement. YOU GOT THIS GIRL. (5:29, 5:47, 5:31, 5:45)

(40-42.2K) 2,000 meters and you’re there. I had nothing left in my head. It was a race between me and the clock. As I ran around the bend and up the finisher chute I knew I had given it my all. But was it enough? 3:45:10 on the clock. I was delirious. (5:37, 5:35, 4:57)

After crossing the finish line I saw my Dad and told him there was a strong possibility that I came in under 3:45, but I’ll need to see my chip time. We anxiously waited for the sheets on the wall to be updated. 3:44:55. all. the. feelings. I couldn’t help but cry. This 11 minute PB was breakthrough I needed.

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I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine

Road2Hope Marathon 2016 Race Report (Part I)

In the lead up to the Road2Hope Hamilton Marathon, I didn’t think much about my time goal. I’ve been there too many times. Overthinking things is not productive, for me at least. Despite my Achilles injury this summer, and the two weeks off-ish during our wedding and honeymoon, I knew that I was more than ready for a breakthrough PB. By how much was the question. To understand where I was mentally, it’s worthwhile telling you where I’ve been at these past few months. I was fed up (and fired up) after finishing the Ottawa Marathon. Finishing in 3:55 did not represent my training. It was hot, I know, but its hard to convince a determined marathoner that the race was “out of my control”. In training for Hamilton, I knew I had a 3:45 in me. Heck, I think there’s a BQ in there too.

I arrived at my parents place in Niagara on Friday evening. I stayed there for the weekend, as Hamilton is close by. Saturday morning I went for a 4K shakeout run, as I normally do. I didn’t realize how much I wanted this race to go well until I started tearing up while I was out there. So many things raced through my mind. The people who have played a role and supported me in getting here, the work I have put in this past year (and the years leading up to this), and how FED UP I was with having another “it wasn’t the race I wanted” marathon. I made a pact with myself that Sunday would be a No Regrets race. Let’s go.

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The rest of Saturday was low-key, filled with lots of carbs, water and Nuun. In previous races I’ve shyed away from *too many* carbs in fear of feeling bloated and gross, and then only to feel empty by 25K. This time I kicked my carbs way up and limited the fat and protein in my diet. Glycogen depletion, I got your number. I was in bed by 8:00pm. My mind had started to race and I knew I would be up early, despite the clocks falling back an hour. I set my alarm for 4:40am and let myself picture a few kilometres of the race before falling asleep. Others count sheep, I guess.

Sunday morning I got up, had my coffee and Picky Bar. I was anxious, but in a good way. It was a perfect day outside, with a low of 4ºC with a high of 11ºC; sunny, with a bit of cloud cover. Frig, I thought. This is the race day I’ve been chasing. We left the house around 6:15am and arrived at the Road2Hope Marathon start around 7:10am. Just enough time for me to wait in line for the port-o-potty (ick) and get to the start. My parents and I had agreed on the spots they’d cheer.

(1-5K) Go-time. Given my last minute jump into the corral (re: toilet), I started the race behind the 3:55 bunny. I didn’t plan to run with a bunny, but would use them as markers along the way. My plan was to race a conservative first half. I managed to pass the 3:55 bunny and caught up with the 3:45 around 5K. (5:11, 5:05, 5:13, 5:10, 5:08)

(6-12K) I settled into my pace and militantly told myself to stay there. I talk to myself a lot on runs and races. I could tell early on that I was in a good place at how calm and confident I was. These paces didn’t scare me. In fact, they felt very easy. More times than I’d like to admit, I allow my mind to get anxious and I start to doubt myself way too early on. This was not going to be that day. I saw my parents around 12K and handed off my gloves.  (5:11, 5:03, 5:20, 5:05, 5:21, 5:11, 5:14)

(13-21K) Around 15K I decided I would not even think about making a move re: pace until after the half. Sit tight and remain calm. Just another day running around the Rideau Canal.  I mentally pictured myself at 16K starting my second loop around the Canal. I know that 30K route like the back of my hand and know I can cover the distance comfortably. And, after all, the real race doesn’t begin until 30K. I crossed the half in 1:50-ish. Keep your head, Jayme. We’re still getting warmed up. (5:15, 5:15, 5:13, 5:16, 5:12, 5:15, 5:12, 5:08, 5:10)

Check back Friday for Part II of my Road2Hope Marathon Race Report!

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine