Ottawa Marathon 2016

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

Post-Ottawa Marathon Update

Life post-Ottawa Marathon has been carrying on. It's funny in the lead up to the race, everything else just seemed like it could wait. Now that I'm here, I've found myself in a busy season, both in personal and professional life. Perhaps it's because I sub-conciously deferred decisions post-May 29th

I’ve had a chance to reflect more on the race. I'm comfortable how things unfolded on race day, and more importantly, I'm pleased what the last training cycle has set me up to accomplish going forward. I took a recovery week after the race and have started running again. I'm going to take June as a maintenance month, with one 5K race planned (Emilie's Run). I'm back running with my OAC Racing gals and will use those as my two speed workouts for the week.

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Admittedly, after the race my mind has quickly wandered to what's next. This is a character trait of mine, for better or worse. Once I clear what I consider to be the hurdle, the wheels start turning as to what's next. While I could probably benefit from a bit more down time, I find myself launching into new projects, chasing the next dream. For now I have registered for the Army Run Half Marathon in September, a week before our wedding. I plan to then enjoy our Wedding Day and honeymoon (i.e., 2 weeks OFF) to the fullest.

If I do decide on running a fall marathon, it will likely be the Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon. Third time is a charm. As I mentioned, I will use my two OAC Racing Team workouts as my speed work and aim to run more long runs with the group. My body responded very well to an increase in mileage in the lead up to Ottawa, so I may try to test those limits again this summer. I mean, what else does one do on a Saturday morning?

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In terms of goals, I'm still committed to that 3:4x I know I have in me. In order to get there, I am planning to be more focused with my long runs, including a bit more race pace and longer distance (e.g., 36km LR). For my past two marathons, my highest mileage was a couple 32-35km runs for Hamilton and a couple 32-33km runs for Ottawa. Meaning that come race day, anything past that distance was unchartered territory. I would like to see what a couple longer runs will translate into.

What are your summer plans?

How did your spring races go?

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagram and Strava. Check out my running storyin Canadian Running MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profileLet me know!

Ottawa Marathon 2016 Race Report

I ran my 13th marathon on Sunday. That seems a tiny crazy to type. Each marathon has provided me with different experiences. There was no question that the Ottawa Marathon was for a PR. With a solid half marathon recently on the books, and multiple successful long runs, I knew that my goal of "3:45 or better" was doable. In fact, I had little doubt in my mind that I would finally see a 3:4x. I was at peace with the training I had put into this race and knew that I was truly ready. Thursday was the start of a very exciting weekend. I left work early and went to Rogers TV to film an Ottawa Race Weekend segment with Mark Sutcliffe. Talking with Mark and the other runners about the race got me excited for what would unfold in the coming days. I knew that more than 45 thousand runners and their families were coming to the city to experience the best race weekend in Canada - how awesome to be a part of this, I thought.

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From Rogers TV, I made a beeline to the Shaw Centre where the Expo was being held. As a Run Ottawa member, I was stationed in the Run Ottawa booth and spoke to many runners coming to pick up their race kit. While I had been watching the weather all week, this is where I started to hear whispers that Sunday could turn out to be hotter than planned. Keep your head, I thought. You can run in heat.

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That evening I had the honour of picking up our Canadian Record Holders Lanni Marchant and Natasha Wodak at the airport. My two favourite Rio contenders in my car? Pinch me. They were coming in on a 1:00 am flight from Vancouver, after training there that day. We chatted on the car ride home and I dropped them off at their downtown hotel. They were ready to rock the 10k (which they eventually did).

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Friday was low-key. My parents got into town in the afternoon. We moseyed over to the expo for a perusal, and then met G for dinner. I continued to drink lots of water and nuun. These pesky whispers of heat on race day continued. So much so, there started to be concern of runners safety in the heat. Wait a second, I'm ok to run in some heat, but where did this 33ºC come from? This was not part of my plan.

The day before the race I was really committed to hydrating and eating on regular intervals. I didn't leave the house much that day. The more I've run, the more I realize how important days before the race really are. Feet up. Water and nuun in hand. I glanced at the weather every so often, but I didn't obsess. I knew that the plans for the day had already been set in motion. My coach and I had planned that I would run a conservative race, listening to my body every step in the way. Whatever was in the cards, I was ready to run 42.2.

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Race morning, I woke up around 4:15 am, before my alarm. The race started at 7:00 am, and as you can imagine, I had a few pre-race routines to tend to. Coffee, banana, nuun, picky bar, glide, and so on. My Mom, who was also running the marathon, and I were out the door by 6:10 am. As we were walking I was giddy looking at the sky. Could this really be? The sky was overcast and the scorching heat was far from our midst. My prayers have been answered. We met Ashley and walked to the start together. We said our goodbyes and just like that I was at the START of the Ottawa Marathon.

This is the moment I've pictured since January. The gun goes off.

Kilometres 1-5 flew by, as you would expect. I kept my headphones off and was focused on taking in the moment and keeping my pace. For the first 5K, the plan was to hover around 5:30 for the start then bring it down gradually to 5:25. I've become a much better pacer this past year and knew that this would be doable. There were a lot of people around me; I tried to keep weaving to a minimum.

1) 5:25 2) 5:33 3) 5:29 4) 5:26 5) 5:24

By 6K, I would work it down to 5:20 and 5:15 by 7K. I would plan to hold it at 5:15 until 30K. I truly did have the best laid plans! By 10K I had warmed right up. Due to the heat, I had decided to bring a frozen hand held along with me. The ice was long gone. I could tell it was getting hotter out, but I was comfortable and felt confident in my hydration and fuelling strategy. First gel at 8.5K.

6) 5:20 7) 5:14 8) 5:16 9) 5:22 10) 5:18

Running through Westboro and Island park was a blast. There were so many people out cheering, spraying water and handing out water. There were a few moments where I thought I was going to cry. This was everything I had been picturing for the past five months. I've done the work and I'm confident this is going to be my day. Keep it together, Jayme. You can't cry during a marathon. 

11) 5:15 12) 5:10 13) 5:15 14) 5:16 15) 5:15

Legs were still feeling very strong in the lead up the half. As I approached 15K, I flashed back to the 2013 Ottawa Marathon where I fell a part early on in the race. Normally I would quash that thought quickly, but I spent a bit of time thinking about how far I've come since 2013. I put my music on for a bit. At 19k I saw one of my sweetest friends at the War Museum. We both live nearby; she's come out to most, if not all, of my races to cheer. Second gel at 19K. I repeated to myself: Lock it in at 5:15. I would visually picture myself buckling a seat belt around this pace. The things I think when I am running.

16) 5:11 17) 5:13 18) 5:11 19) 5:18 20) 5:10

I crossed the half mark in 1:52:49. A tiny bit slower than planned, but I wasn't worried. I reminded myself this was my day. My legs were still feeling strong. As I ran through Gatineau I reflected a lot on my runs with Ashley in these parts. I knew Ashley was up ahead and spent a moment thinking about her. I knew she  had done the work and was going to have a strong race. Selfishly, I wished I spotted her in the crowd so I could run with her!

The crowds in Gatineau were phenomenal. So many residents had come out with hoses to cool down the runners. Throughout the race there were heat notification flags (as pictured above) along the route. They were green up until this point, indicating LOW RISK. I agreed with their assessment (obviously when you are running a marathon you are exercising the best judgement). I continued to hang onto 5:15. Legs still in the game.

21) 5:14 22) 5:13 23) 5:16 24) 5:09 25) 5:15

I crossed the Alexandria Bridge and made my way back into Ottawa. Is it just me, or is it getting hot out here? Let's not dwell on the heat. Let's just run. For the next 5k I am giving you permission to mentally box up the watch and put it aside. Legs are still very much in the game. I used a sponge at 25K and was hydrating like a champ. Third gel at 26K. Just get it down.

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26) 5:15 27) 5:18 28) 5:21 29) 5:33 30) 5:28

I could feel the heat and the sun by this point. It felt warmer than the start (captain obvious statement of the day), but I really wasn't ready to accept the heat. By 30K the plan was to start working my paces down. Instead, I could feel my paces slowing down. Ugh. I hit a few tough moments between 31-37K. Understanding we are running a marathon here, I expected that, but I was fighting hard to replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. STAY IN THIS. I was hearing crickets from the bottom half of my body.

31) 5:30 32) 5:28 33) 5:42 34) 5:53 35) 5:38

At 36K I passed a young gal handing out freezies. This was quite seriously one of the best moments in the race. The cold felt so good in my mouth and on my hands. I held onto the freezie until 37K. By this point I noticed the heat notification flags had turned red and indicated HIGH RISK. As I approached the stretch along the canal (a portion of the race that I have used repeatedly for mental training), I remembered that we would be merging with the half-marathoners. The course was thick with people, with lots of crowds lining the sides. Even though I was feeling burnt out, I was filled with so much joy in this moment. This is why I run marathons.

36) 5:51 37) 7:27 38) 5:57 39) 6:04 40) 5:57

I stopped to fill up my water bottle at 39-40K. The sun was beaming down on my face and my commitment to my watch had all but disappeared. Thankfully, mind over matter prevailed and I picked it up at tiny by 42K. I am PR'ing today, I told myself. I was doing the math in my head and knew I would shave a few minutes off from my 3:57 from Hamilton.

41) 6:45 42) 6:03

As I ran the last 200 metres, I wish I could say I had more emotion in me. I was empty by that point and just focused on the finishing line. Once I crossed the mat, I smiled. Despite that race getting hard, I ran a marathon today. 3:55:08.

.2) 6:03

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Congratulations to everyone who ran this weekend!! A huge thank you to the Ottawa Marathon race organizers, volunteers, and to the communities of Ottawa and Gatineau!

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 MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profileLet me know!

One Week

Well here we are: ONE WEEK out from the Marathon. With the hard work done, I’ve been reflecting on where I am today. As I line up at the start on May 29,  I’m confident I will be lining up with one of my strongest training cycles behind me. Recognizing that the marathon really is about the journey, I’m pleased with the progress I’ve made since January. Looking back on some of the highs and lows of training, I’ve been thinking more about what I’ve done differently this time around. While I didn’t realize it in the moment – the early mornings, the tired legs are not new things to me – there has been something different about this time around. 

I officially began training for the Ottawa Marathon 21 weeks ago (January 3). In reality, training for Ottawa began a year ago when I started with my coach, in the lead up to the Hamilton Marathon. I will be racing Ottawa with many thoughts in my head, but these are some of the ones that stand out.

 I have confidence. Fear, comparison, doubt. These demons have triumphed over me in days and races past. I have gained so much confidence and strength from running. The past six months have been yet another period of development in my life. There have been runs that have tested me, times where my mind told me to quit. I will remember these moments when I’m racing on May 29. Marathons are not for the faint of heart; being presented with reasons to quit are a constant in any runners life. The ability and confidence to say, NO, I GOT THIS, are what will inevitably define success. 

I am stronger. I’ve broken many personal barriers in the past six months. Whether this is mental or physical, I am stronger than I was in January (or a year ago, for that matter). I’ve seen faster times, PRs and endurance like I have not experience before. I don’t say this to imply that I’m invincible to what is presented on race day, I say this because there have been times in the past that I thought I could NEVER do some of the things I do now. I smile at this now. My speed work is now run at a minute+ faster than ever before. 32km+ runs, while still challenging, are very doable. I will bring all the lessons learned with me on race day. My “tool kit” has become more refined – my legs are stronger, my mind is clearer. I AM READY. 
 

I have faith. I am humbled by the marathon distance and know that there is bigger plans at play than just my actions of lacing up and arriving at the start line. I know that on May 29 I will not be given more than I can handle. I have a deep sense of comfort that running is a part of my story – that whatever happens during this race is a part of my journey. I used to be very anxious about race days. I put so much pressure on myself. It was all about what I could control. What would others think if I failed? Did I do enough to prepare? It’s funny how as I have matured as a runner, as a person, I’ve become less concerned with my ability to control the outcome.

For all those lacing up for their last weekend run before race day, LOVE EVERY MOMENT. Take a moment to reflect on what you have accomplished since starting your training. Whether it's a 5k or a marathon, we all run together next weekend. Our victory lap is 7 days away.

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Are you racing next weekend? 

What will you be thinking about during the race? 

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 MagazineHave a suggestion for a runner profile? Let me know!

Weekend in MTL

We all arrived at my sister and brother-in-law's house on Friday night. My parents are here for the weekend as well. We are here celebrating my Mom's birthday and Mother's Day, and have tickets for Cirque de Soliel! This also meant an early start to my 27k long run. I planned a straightforward route for Saturday morning, that would take me from their place, through downtown, getting me back here before 10:00 am. Overall, I'd say the run went well. Admittedly, I wasn't sure how it was going to go. My legs were feeling pretty good by the time I went to bed on Friday night, so I knew I was going to get'er done the next morning. As planned, I woke up early, drank my coffee, ate my Picky Bar, strapped on my compression socks, and hit the road.

I'll admit, I have been experiencing some tight calves this week. At this point, I'm not overly worried about this. I'm chalking it up to peak marathon training, and have committed myself to adjusting runs as needed. I'm also icing and rolling lots.

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The route was primarily on sidewalks. I left the house before 7:00 am, so the streets were pretty quiet. I ran 13.5km out to the Olympic Stadium then turned around. I had one Hammer espresso gel around the turn around, and carried water in my handheld. Throughout this training cycle, I'm pleased to have pretty much nailed my fuel plan (this did not happen overnight).

I focused on keeping this run easy. With four weeks out from the Ottawa Marathon, I knew there was no need to be a hero.  The plan was to pick it up a bit in the last 10km with strides in the last 5km. I was pleased with the 27km I put in the bank. I was grateful for the change in landscapes and, after warming up, the distance seemed to pass pretty quickly. This throwback was on repeat throughout.

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In the afternoon, we went to check out the Atwater Market! There was a Beer Festival on, and lots of local vendors. Obviously I had to get some authentic Quebec maple butter. Yum. As I mentioned, tonight we're heading to Cirque de Soliel! One of their shows has recently come to Old Montreal.

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What's your favourite city to explore while running? 

Have you been to Montreal? The Atwater Market? 

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.

 

Update & My top five podcasts

Hi friends! With 30 days out from the Ottawa Marathon, I'm definitely starting to feel excited. I've been training since January. I won't say that the time has flown by, because it hasn't, just like I can't say it's all been pretty! That's what makes the arrival to race day all the more sweeter. It really is about the journey. Training has been going well. I was looking over my mileage in the past four months and I was surprised to see I've run over 1,140 kilometres! In the past week my calves have started to ache a bit. I've been icing and rolling lots. I won't say it's injury territory, but definitely a "check yourself" moment for me. As a result, I've rearranged a couple runs (which I hate doing), and remind myself that staying strong and healthy is key.

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I've been listening to a lot of podcasts these days. I wanted to share my five favourites with you! They are great to listen to on a run, while making dinner, or walking to work! I listen to podcasts just as much as music. So without further ado.

1) The Rich Roll Podcast

I've been listening to Rich Roll for a while. I was hooked ever since I read Roll's book, Finding Ultra, back in 2013. The show interviews one guest per show, covering a range of topics from triathletes and marathon runners, to business leaders, addiction recovery and health food nuts. Rich's own story is one of addiction, recovery and transformation.  His message is always uplifting.

2) Endurance Planet 

Tawnee Prazak hosts a weekly podcast showcasing a range of health, fitness and endurance sport topics, with many reoccurring guests (e.g., Ask The Coach "Lucho"). I started listening to Endurance Planet last year and have powered through at least 60 percent of the shows. I love her interviews with professional triathletes and ultra runners.

3) I'll Have Another with Lindsey Hein Podcast 

I'm a big Lindsey Hein fan and this podcast just cements that. Lindsey hosts a weekly show covering primarily running related topics. She's had sub-3:00 marathoners, business & community leaders and olympic hopefuls on her show. I love the easy going feel to this podcasts, leaving listeners feeling like we're just hanging out.

4) The Happy Hour with Jamie Ivey 

I've recently added Jamie's show to my "subscribed" podcast repertoire. Listening to her conversations with awe-inspiring women from all walks of life brightens my day. The struggles and triumphs shared through her show is incredible. Every week I find myself researching her guest to learn more. Seriously, check this one out.

5) Ben Greenfield Fitness: Diet, Fat Loss and Performance 

I was introduced to Ben's show via Endurance Planet, as he is frequently a guest on that show. I started listening to him more and more back in January when I was working on cleaning up my diet. I would listen to him on my treadmill runs, and just soak up the information he shares each week. Some of my favourite topics include high fat low carb diets, and ways to maximize your diet & supplements to enhance performance & recovery.

Other podcasts that I listen to include: The Dave Ramsey Show, Livin' La Vida Low-Carb Show with Jimmy Moore, Running on Om, The Lively Show, and Serial.

What is your all time favourite podcast? Specific episode? 

How many podcasts do you subscribe to?

What genre of podcasts to you enjoy most?

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.

Getting closer

I'll admit, things are very eat-sleep-run-repeat up in here. We are five weeks out from Ottawa Race Weekend, which means we are in peak of marathon training. I've had a number of good runs lately, including last week's 30k. I managed to keep the pace around 5:35, with a negative split. Really trying to practice those negative splits!! I'm consistently hovering around 90km for the past 7 days, and will be hitting 100 by the weekend. Overall, my legs are feeling good and I can tell they are getting stronger. I do a lot of rolling out, especially on nights after a hard workout, and have been good about taking epsom salt baths post-long run. Running most of my runs at EASY pace has also been key.

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My goals for the race will be to PR. I'm training for a 3:45, but I'm not obsessed with that time. In 2013, when I last ran the Ottawa Marathon, I was really hung up on a time goal. I finished in 4:02 (a fantastic time!) and let that upset me. I look back on it now and see how silly that was. Any marathon I can run, and finish with a smile, is a blessing. I will use this race as a marker in the sand, a launching point for summer training (rest assured, I will be taking a bit of time OFF post-race).

We are heading to Toronto this weekend, which means a very early start for Saturday's long run. One of my friends, Ashley, has agreed to run with me (and even did the route planning!!). I'm telling you, runners are the best kind of friends.

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In other news, I started training with the Ottawa Athletics Club Racing Team. My first workout with the team was on Tuesday night. I'm so excited to be running with a fast group of girls. As someone who runs 95 percent of my runs alone, I really wanted to find a team to run with. These girls work hard and see results. With the progress I've made in my running, thanks to Out for a Run training, I'm ready for this next step in my running journey. Looking forward to setting some new goals, following the Ottawa Marathon, of course ;)

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Congratulations to everyone who ran Boston on Monday!!!! 

Do you ever run with a group? 

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.

Race recap: Run for Reach 2016

I planned to use the Run for Reach Half Marathon as a training race for Ottawa Marathon. The annual race is put on by Reach Canada, a national charity that supports people with disabilities. I ran it in 2013, six weeks before the Ottawa Marathon that year, and got my half marathon PB. It’s a fairly flat course and is an out and back loop along the Rideau Canal, a portion of the Ottawa Marathon route. It also happens to be a route I run quite frequently. With the race on Sunday morning, Saturday was a pretty low key day. I completed a 20 minute shakeout run on Saturday morning, then ran some errands (including picking up my race kit at the Bank Street Running Room). G entertained my appetite for Whole Foods for lunch. Salad bar, grilled salmon and ginger GT’s Kombucha FTW. We had a chill evening, as I was going to be up early in order to get to the start before 8:00.

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The morning of the race I woke up around 5:45 am. I couldn’t sleep any longer. I wasn’t nervous, but there’s something about race mornings that just wake you up. I drank my coffee and sat on my computer for a bit. By 6:45 am I started nibbling on my Picky Bar and sipped on some Nuun. I left the house by 7:20 am and ran to the race start (about 2.5 km).

As I stood at the start line, I really wasn’t nervous. I looked around and overheard many comments about how cold it wast (-9ºC). Interesting, I thought to myself, after running outside for the past three months, this was what I consider to be a beautiful day.

Ultimately, I just wanted to get the show on the road. There were about 115 participants in the half marathon and another 100 or so in the 5 and 10km. The 10km started with the half marathon, which meant I knew the course would thin after they finished.

My race plan was to run a negative split (faster second half of the race). I’ll be honest with you, this has been a unicorn I’ve been chasing for a while. While everyone knows that in theory running a strong negative split  is ideal, it’s a hard task to execute. It means you have to really reign it in those first few kilometres, when you’re feeling fresh and could easily run fast.

Kilometre 1-5 I repeated to myself 4:55-5:00. I hung with a group of guys and let them do the pacing work. The guy who seemed to be leading the pack was running a consistent 5:00. I told myself that this was my warm up. YOU WILL STAY HERE.

By 6km, I told myself that we could start working the pace down. Reminding myself constantly that I am running my OWN RACE and not to get spooked by the people passing me (as I suspected, they were finishing at 10km). I reminded myself that I would be in a STRONG position for the second half of the race. That would be where the fun began. I took a Hammer Espresso Gel between kilometre 8-9 (good practice for Ottawa Marathon, I’m planning to take them in 45 minute intervals).

https://www.instagram.com/p/BEBnU6dCbZ7/?taken-by=thepacinglife

 

I made it to the turnaround (the 10km finish) and let myself push it a bit more. My coach had told me that the half marathon is supposed to hurt, but it doesn’t hurt forever. You should be in control by the second half of the race. I was. The pace felt good.  My legs were responding and I knew I had more left in the tank.

At 15km, the last turnaround of the race, I told myself GO TIME.  The plan was to run a negative split and this was the part of the plan where the race would be won. The last 6km is where you reap the benefits of your controlled race plan. My legs were feeling great. I had a great soundtrack in my ears and the sun was shining.

With 3km left I was doing the math in my head. I knew I was going to PR that day. My coach had told me 1:41 was a challenging but very realistic goal. That would put me over two minutes faster than my PB of 1:43. I can’t emphasize how badly I wanted to PR on Sunday. Reflecting more on the race, there was a big difference between my PB there three years ago and this year. Three years ago, my 1:43:57 felt like a fluke. Although it was GREAT, I legitimately surprised myself back in 2013. Back then, I just started being able to run what I considered to be fast.

Sunday’s PB meant even more to me. It wasn’t a fluke at all. I had no doubt in my mind what I was capable of (even on tired legs). I knew I had put in the work. While the half marathon really was a training race for Ottawa, I’m so freaking happy with Sunday’s result.

time

DOUBT KILLS MORE DREAMS THAN FAIILURE EVER WILL.

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

 

Has doubt held you back from something lately?

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.

What you do in the dark

I walked into work the other day listening to Running on Om’s podcast with Lauren Fleshman. It was a Q&A episode and one of the listeners asked how to manage big dreams and the demands of daily life. I got to thinking about my own situation. I thought about my incredibly supportive fiancé and family, and reflected on how grateful I was for their support. I started thinking about all those nights I go to bed early to get up at dark-o-thirty to run in the morning. I thought about those weekend mornings I’m MIA on a long run. Or the impact it has on my ability to be *fun* on a Friday night. I’m sure many of you reading can relate.

I recall a few times groaning about getting up in the morning. G sympathizes, but ultimately encourages me to go. He knows how much running means to me. And more importantly, he knows how disappointed in myself I would be if I didn’t go. That said, last week when I was deciding not to do my long run, he was patient in listening to me deliberate and encouraged me to cut myself some slack.

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Sometimes I wonder what it is I’m doing and if all of my work is worth it. Those thoughts are very few and far between, but I won’t lie that they never happen. It’s in those moments that the support of my family matters most. They keep me in check.

Running marathons really is about what you do in the dark. When you talk to a runner, or follow them on social media, you only see a small sliver of what goes on. The uncaptured moments are, for the most part, far from glamorous. There are missed Saturday morning brunches, or late night drinks. There are mundane days and compromise to be made. The truth is, when you register for  marathon, and plan to put in the work, this is par for the course.

In the long run, I know that reaching my goals will ultimately depend on my hard work, but I would be kidding myself if I said I could do it without the support around me.

Do you listen to running podcasts?

What's something you had to sacrifice in order to reach your goals?

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.

Take the day off

Deciding not to do my long run last week was harder than I thought it would be.  All arrows were pointing to me not doing that run - I was on vacation in DC and my ankle has been bothering me a bit - but for some reason, for a brief moment, I really struggled to give myself permission to take it off. For the past 13 weeks, I've been pretty darn dedicated to getting my runs done. In fact, I've not missed a single assigned workout. Now that the weekend is over, and I put three rest days in the bank, I'm confident that skipping the run was the right decision.

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It's funny when we get into the vortex of marathon training (it's definitely a thing). The routine of running is ingrained in you. It's what you do. That said, it's equally as important to find balance. Will skipping one 18km run impact me in the long run? Heck no. Frankly, it will probably leave me better off.

I had the best time in DC! I am truly grateful to have such good friends and family. They lift me up. The weekend off was exactly what I needed. We went to some great restaurants, and I even got to cheer for runners at the Cherry Blossom 10 miler (can I just say how much I LOVE race days!?) The time off left me fired up and ready to take on the next 8 weeks till Ottawa Marathon race day.

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I'm good with taking the day off every once in a while. To stay up late and have an extra drink or two. Note to self: it's JUST running. #notmarathontraining

What are ways you maintain balance while marathon training?

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.

Preparing for a weekday long run

The past two rounds of marathon training have included more weekday distance. If you’re looking to get faster, you’re likely going to have to build up your weekly mileage. Ideally, that’s not all going to be crammed into the weekend. When I first started seeing 17km+ on a weekday being assigned by my coach, I was a bit intimated. I was going from one long run a week, normally on a dedicated day of the weekend, to multiple long runs a week. For example, yesterday morning (Tuesday) I ran 22km, which was longer than my “long run” this past weekend (15km for a recovery week). At first, the distance felt like a lot. I thought, how am I going to fit that long of a run in before work? Over time, and with more mid-week long runs, it’s become a lot easier to pound out weekday distance. That said, there’s a few things to keep in mind. Here are a few things to help you succeed:

Where you are going to run: Given that I run early in the morning, it’s even more important for me to figure out my route the night before. At dark-o-thirty in the morning, you do not want to be uncertain about where you’re headed. I’d recommend sticking to a route you know well.

Hop on a treadmill: While I’ve been doing most of my runs outside these past two training cycles, using the treadmill for  weekday distance is a very nice to have. It’s easy to watch a movie and let your mind zone out a bit.

Figure your fuel out: If I’m staying on the treadmill, I fill up two water bottles the night before. One with Nuun and one with water. I usually bring a gel with me, in case. I never seem to need it that early in the morning, which is interesting as I definitely require my gels on mornings I start my long runs later (8:00 am or later).

Entertainment: Again, if I’m sticking to the treadmill, I figure out which movie or TV show I’ll watch the night before. This is usually a bit of a process. I research the ratings of films and check out the “Film of the Week” on iTunes (99 cents, baby!). If I’m outside, I’ll download some podcasts to keep me entertained. Much like a weekend long run, but I find it’s even more important to prep, as time is tight.

Mentally prepare: Like most things, your mental game is key. Tell yourself that you’re doing this run and that’s that. Don’t make a fuss about it; treat it as a normal weekday run. When I first started building longer runs in during the week, I over thought it – OMGosh this is as long as my long run, this seems hard – mind games ensued. JUST STOP. They aren’t as big of a deal as it seems. The weekday long runs have actually started to fly by quicker than my weekend long runs, and have definitely helped me improve.

Take it easy: I can’t stress this enough. Normally my coach has me doing easy effort midweek long runs, with a harder workout the following day. In order to perform in my harder workout, it’s critical that I take it easy the day before. While my legs will inevitably be tired from the longer distance, taking it at an easy-effort pace has provided me with the most benefits.

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Do you incorporate midweek distance in your training?

Do you have any movie or TV show recommendations? I'm always looking for new shows for the treadmill!

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.

Anything worth doing

We watched The Barkley Marathons yesterday on Netflix. I highly recommend this documentary for runners and non-runners alike. The movie is about one of the hardest ultra marathons that takes place each year in Frozen Head State Park, Tennessee. Since 1986, just 14 people have managed to complete the 130 mile race. You have to watch it to understand what it's all about. One of the key messages of the movie was anything worth doing is not going to be easy. The message lingered with me. I was thinking about my own running journey and goals. Naturally, my mind went to my DREAM BIG goal of running Boston one day. I think about that often, actually. Not in a "I will be devastated each time I do not qualify," kind of way, but rather knowing how sweet it will feel when I run 42.2km from Hopkinton to Boston. I will get there one day.

For now, I'm in the peak of my Ottawa Marathon training. Getting up before the crack of dawn and pushing through each workout is about much more than just completing the race. I have so much fire in me to run a strong race. To know how hard I worked in the past 21 weeks will make the feeling (which I can't justly put into words) at the finish line worth it. To finish smiling, knowing that I laid it all out there. Marathons are always special to finish. But the more I give to my training and to running in general, the more I get back. Running is generous like that.

@OttawaMarathon tweeted this the other week. It captures the moment I play in my mind often. I get chills thinking about it. I've completed the race many times before, but each time I run the home stretch is different.

https://twitter.com/OttawaMarathon/status/706938481315074048

As I look ahead to the next 9 weeks, I'm going to focus on enjoying the process. I know that anything worth doing is going to take time. I'm not rushing to get to race day. I will find joy in the sweat, aching muscles and early mornings. This hard work, this dedication, this is what will make the 2016 Ottawa Marathon so special.

If you a training for a spring race, I encourage you to take a moment and reflect on what you've accomplished so far. The prize is in the process.

Have you watched a good running movie lately?

Have you run an ultra marathon? 

Half way

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This past week marked week 11 of my Ottawa Marathon training. That means, we're more than half way there. 57 per cent, to be exact. With 10 weeks to go (!), I'm feel like all I'm doing right now is run. eat. (work). sleep. I hit my highest mileage week last week, with 89 kilometres. There was a good mix of  easy, moderate, and hard effort runs. I'll be honest, my legs felt like lead during my long run on Saturday. This was disappointing, but not overly surprising.

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Taking a look back on my training logs, I see that I'm running a bit more now than I was in Hamilton Marathon training. I also see that my legs felt like lead around Week 10 and 11 back then too (end of August 2015). This is the point in the plan where training really feels like a grind, but it's oh so important to keep going.

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It's easy to feel fired up at the beginning of the marathon training cycle, when you're feeling fresh. It's also easy to keep going with only a few weeks until race day. What's harder, is keeping the momentum going in the middle of the cycle. This is what makes the marathon so appealing to me. Just getting to the start line of 42.2 is a victory in itself.

This week will be a bit of a rest week. I have 69 kilometres planned, mostly at easy effort. This week will also be a busy one for work and life. The trick is balance. While I don't love doing my runs in the evening, I know that a couple late nights will leave me needing to readjust the timing of my runs.

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.

Fear

fear ˈfir/noun
an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

There are many things in running and life that seem too big to overcome. Whether that's a long run, a fast pace, starting your own business, learning a new language, or going for a new job. All of these things put us outside our comfort zone. Fear often greets us in our journey and tells us we'll never get to our destination.

While I'm pretty good at keeping the doubt demons at bay, there are times I find myself casting shadows on my plans. To the point that I wonder, why am I doing X anyways? It's very easy to start questioning your ability to achieve a big goal.

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I was listening to a podcast on my run the other day and the topic of doubt was being discussed. My takeaway was simple: the doubt, the fear and any other friction faced in achieving your goals are simply barking dogs. Now hear me out....

You tell yourself your goal time is impossible? Barking dog. Someone tells you that "too much running is bad for you"? Barking dog. You think, there's already so many X-type of businesses; what would make mine different? Barking dog. Someone tells you you're not ready for that job? Barking dog. ALL of that doubt, ALL of that fear, ALL of that "it's impossible": these are all barking dogs.

The thing about dogs, is that they bark when you walk by and they are tied upon a leash. They KNOW you are going somewhere that they are not. They bark because they want to come with you (or for you to stay behind). DO NOT DWELL ON BARKING DOGS. Keep walking.

I'll leave you with one of my all time favourite quotes. I discovered this quote many years ago. It never get's old.

“The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out. The brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something. Because the brick walls are there to stop the people who don’t want it badly enough. They’re there to stop the other people.” -Randy Pausch, The Last Lecture

What barking dogs are in your life?

I'd love to hear from you! You can find me on Twitter and Instagram. Check out my running story in Canadian Running Magazine.

Thoughts from Niagara & Canadian Running article

I spent the weekend at my parents in Niagara-on-the-Lake. The days were full of non-running related events, but that didn’t prevent me from getting my long run in on Saturday morning. Frankly, I wouldn’t miss a long run in Niagara for the world. I had 27km on the schedule. After last week’s 32km (half outside in the rain & slush, and half on the mill), I knew this run, on one of my favourite routes, was going to be a piece of cake. I got up early, had my coffee and was out the door around 7:30am. The temperature was ideal. I was wearing a long sleeve top, light vest, leggings, and I was set. I left the subdivision where my parents live, and made a beeline for the country roads. For those of you who are not familiar with Niagara-on-the-Lake, this is wine country. Vineyards for miles. I smile just thinking of it. I have a few places that are special to my heart, and this is one of them.

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I listened to podcasts for the first 13.5k, which took me into Queenston, past the Brock Monument and the historical home of Laura Secord. I had a Hammer gel at 9km. At the turn around I switch to my music, which gave me an extra boost.

I knew that I was pacing steadily in the 5:40s for the first half of my run. With negative splits being an area I’m working on, I decided I’d try to pick it up for the last half, all the while remaining within my assigned pace range for the day (5:30-6:00).

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As I ran back, the memory of me running the Niagara Ultra Trail Marathon on this route in 2013 flooded back to me. I got emotional for a second. I told myself to get it together, we were negative split-ing today. Despite my efforts, I revisited memories I haven't thought about in a while. That marathon was the race I ran six weeks after finishing the 2013 Ottawa Marathon in a {disappointing at the time4:02. I had placed a lot of pressure on myself for Ottawa and thought I could have done better; so I registered for Niagara (do what I say NOT WHAT I DO). I ended up finishing Niagara in {an even more disappointing at the time} 4:34.

https://www.instagram.com/p/a1s9w_ibYj/?taken-by=thepacinglife

I look back on this now and laugh. I was so impatient with myself. Running a fast-to-you marathon takes time. I’m not saying it’s not possible, but combining my overtraining and {lack of} training plan, I wasn’t exactly working with a recipe for success. Running has taught me to appreciate and ENJOY the process. Nothing worth having comes to fruition over night. 

With these thoughts in my head, I carried on. I was running directly into a head wind, and I kept being reminded of the head wind I ran into the first half of the Hamilton Marathon. I told myself to suck it up and get going. I had ten kilometres left and you never know what’ll greet you on race day.

17) 5:34 18) 5:34 19) 5:26 20) 5:32 21) 5:24 22) 5:34 23) 5:33 24) 5:34 25) 5:29 26) 5:49 27) 5:32

I finished strong. I stuck with the plan and the distance ticked off. That's the nice thing about country roads. You loose yourself in the landscape. It felt like I had just started, and here I was getting back home. Thank you Niagara for another successful long run. If it’s possible for a route to replenish the soul, this route would be it. 

What’s your favourite rural route?

In other news, my running story was published in Canadian Running Magazine, Canada's premier running publication. I was so thrilled to see this last night. Thank you Canadian Running and Noel Paine for selecting me for this honour! You can read the article here.

http://runningmagazine.ca/getting-back-running-vowing-never/

Connect with Canadian Running Magazine on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Connect with Noel Paine on Twitter and check out more of his articles with Canadian Running Magazine here.

Mental strength on the treadmill

Ottawa has been covered in ice and snow for the past couple of weeks. For runners, this means risking it with the ice, or finding your nearest treadmill. Thankfully there’s one downstairs in my building’s gym. Even despite my efforts to get outdoors, I've ended up returning early with water logged shoes and having to get on the mill for final umpteen km of my long runs. Ugh. IMG_3180

Treadmill running can be a mental challenge. There’s no change in the scenery, and your staring at the same place in the wall/out the window for unimaginable amounts of time. Over the years, I’ve managed this by watching movies, listening to podcasts, playing with the speed/incline to keep things interesting.

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I also do a lot of thinking on the mill. It’s hard to ignore yourself, when you’re running in the same spot for a while. My thoughts wonder 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. It’s much harder to tune out and just run.

I’ve been using this time on the treadmill to work on my mental strength. One of my runs this past week was a 12k tempo, with 7km at 5:05/km. I knew this workout would be challenging, especially on the treadmill, but knew I had it in me. I told myself to envision running the Ottawa Marathon course. 

I warmed up for 4km then increased the pace to 5:05. I started by thinking of the section of the race through Gatineau. I pictured the government buildings and museums on my right, and knew there would be a water station just before getting onto the Alexandria Bridge. I thought of running across that bridge, and how that view of Parliament always makes me smile, and that in a few hundred meters I’d be back in Ottawa.

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I pictured the last 17 km of the race, going through New Edinburgh and then back towards downtown. For the final 1.2 of my 7km tempo, I pictured the 41-42.2k of the marathon. I got chills. In my mind, I was running along the canal, with spectators on either side, knowing that I will have left everything on the course and finishing my 13th marathon.

Mental weakness has hurt me in the past. Without mental preparation, I’ve given into the hurt of the marathon. I also put too much pressure on myself, which is something I'm getting much better at, but is ultimately a work in progress.

What do you do to mentally "train"?

In other news, I’m planning to run the local Run for Reach Half Marathon on Sunday, April 10th. If you’re training for Ottawa, this is a perfect tune-up for race weekend!

If you're on Strava, I'd love to connect! You can follow my training here. There's also an Ottawa Marathon group!

How I became a better runner

While I by no means consider myself fast, I have been able to chisel a bit off my marathon times. I remember distinctly finishing the Paris Marathon in 4:36 and thinking, with some training I knew I could run a 4 hour marathon. Six months later I finished the Hamilton Marathon in 4:04. The only difference? I committed myself to the goal and stuck to a plan. Sure, a bit of speed work helps, but really what it really boils down to, is that you have to run more. My tired legs had to be comfortable running. To do this, I stopped skipping my mid weeks runs and making excuses as to why I cut my weekend long run short.

Prior to that, I had gone about running in a fairly lackadaisical manner. Running when I felt like it and not really taking races seriously. Sure, I always finished, but I rarely felt I gave it my all. Proving to myself that hard work does pay off (as cheesy as that sounds) has fueled my current marathon aspirations – training for a 3:45 marathon and one day qualifying for Boston.

When things get busy, I adjust my schedule and I’m out the door at dark-o-thirty. That way, if I work late, or have limited energy in the evenings, I will have already completed my run for the day. Yes, 4:45am wake ups took some getting used to, but anyone can become a morning person (and I promise it’s worth it). I’ve also started doing more strength and cross training. Yep, remember my  goal back in January to do more of those things? I’ve moderately stuck to it. Swimming, IronStrengh, spin class: I love to mix things up.

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With that said, there are definitely days that I don’t feel like running. Those are the times I’ve become better at overcoming. Whereas before I probably would have skipped the day, I can now say that I rarely miss a scheduled run. I’m driven by my DREAM BIG goals. It may just feel like 1 run (who cares, right?), but things add up (or down…)

I’m also a firm believer in getting a coach. While you may think you know what’s best for you, having an expert/outside opinion can do wonders. I respond well to handing the reins over to someone I trust to plan my workouts. I used to stress wondering if X training plan I found online was working for me. Long story short (including overtraining, injuries, ill planned speed work sessions), I’m not convinced cookie cutter plans are ideal. It’s useful to have *some* customization to your current fitness, race goals, and general coaching feedback.

What helps you reach your goals?

Why I Run

I've been thinking a lot lately about my personal running story and why I run. I wasn't always a runner. No, in fact I grew up in ballet and never really participated in sports. After growing out of ballet, it was hard for me to find my thing. I tried a few activities, but never really found my groove. I went off to university and battled to keep weight off and stay in shape. Without having a sport to call my own, this was handled by dieting and hours on the elliptical. I wasn't motivated and, looking back on it now, I wasn't in a good place mentally. I remember in third year, my Mom, who is an avid runner herself, encouraged me to run. Knowing that motivation would be limited to begin with, she proposed that we run the 2007 Disney World Half Marathon. While my training was pretty limited, it helped knowing that I was registered for a race. I had run one 10k race before that, on a whim, and thought I would wing the half marathon. Training consisted of max 10 runs, with my longest run *maybe* being 16km.  I finished my first half marathon in 2 hours and 45 minutes. It wasn't pretty.

I did, however, finish. It sparked something inside of me. And while that spark was dim at first, over time I found myself running more. Now, let me pause here and say that I never was what I consider to be *fast*. Most of my runs were in the 6:45-7:00/km range. I occasionally registered for races, and mildly trained for them. In the early years of my running, it was primarily about staying in shape. Races were just a nice bonus and a way to see different cities. I ran my first marathon in 2008 in Calgary in 5 hours and 38 minutes. It hurt, but it felt great to say I had run a marathon! A few months after that, my family ran the New York City Marathon together. I finished in 5 hours and 25 minutes. It was so much fun to experience this race together.

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Over the years, I've continued to run. I've completed 13marathons and 14 half marathons, chiseling 1 hour and 40 mins of my marathon (PB 3:57 3:55) and 1 hour off my half marathon (PB 1:43 1:41), with multiple 30km races. I've learned a lot from running, and now take training quite seriously. Running is no longer just about staying in shape. Sure, I feel way better when I'm training, but I don't run for a number on a scale.

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I've had a few disappointments with running along the way. After reaching the 4 hour marathon mark, like many others, I decided I would embark on chasing my Boston Qualifying time. I made the mistake, however, of thinking that BQ'ing was all that mattered. In 2013, I trained incredibly hard and saw some positive results at half marathons in the lead up to my spring marathon. In May 2013, I ran the Ottawa Marathon with the goal of BQ'ing. I finished in 4:02 and was devastated. I thought I had it in me, but the pressure and personal expectations I placed on myself were counterproductive. After Ottawa, I ran two more marathons in a matter of four months. Neither of them sub-4 hours. Exhausted (both mentally and physically), I hung up my running shoes for a year. I tried other things, like cross-fit, and while I enjoyed the workouts, I never got the same "high".

In 2015, I decided to give the marathon another whirl. But this time, it wasn't about Boston. No, it was about rediscovering the strength running gives me. With that attitude, I've since PR'd at the Hamilton Marathon (3:57) in 2015, and the 2016 Ottawa Marathon (3:55).

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Training is no longer about the end goal of BQing, or some number on a scale. But rather, enjoying the process and embracing the daily challenge running provides me with. Running has changed my life for the better. I am motivated to run because running makes me strong mentally and physically. I train hard, so that I know come race day I am ready. Chasing my PB drives me and ultimately knowing that Boston Qualifying doesn't happen over night. The early morning runs, the hours spent outdoors, never quitting. This is why I run.

Wipeout & nutrition update

Week Five of Ottawa Marathon training is in the books. I hit 65km for the week. Long runs are getting longer, and speed work is starting to pick up. Only one run had to be done on the treadmill, due to black ice and freezing rain. For the most part, it's been a beautiful week. Shout out to the groundhog(s) for NOT seeing their shadow. Hello spring? For my long run, I had 28k scheduled for Saturday. G and I also had a commitment that day, starting at 9:30 am. I always feel better once I get my run done, so I was out the door by 5:15 am. I listened to Serial podcast for the first half, and then switched to music (loving this song right now).

I let myself zone out. Normally that's ideal for my long easy pace runs, but yesterday it lead me to missing a small lip in the road at 11.5 km. Just like that, wiped out. flat. on. my. face. I went down pretty hard. I was startled. It was dark. I immediately thought did I break anything? Thankfully, no. I could feel my knees pretty badly scraped up and my adrenaline was racing. For a second I thought about calling an Uber and packing it in. Instead, I called my Mom and walked for a few minutes. After calming down, I decided I'd carry on nice and easy.

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Outside of running, I'm happy to report that I've officially been off my heart burn medication (a proton pump inhibitor) for 1 week and 3 days. Given that it's been around 3 years since I started taking it every day, I'm pleased with this progress. I have to take a few Tums throughout the day, but it's fairly manageable. My diet has been completely grain free, and only a bit of dairy. Meats/eggs, lots of veg, a bit of fruit and nuts/seeds. I've started to notice that my heart burn flares up after dairy, so I may try to knock that out completely.

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One of my biggest changes has been substituting my oatmeal breakfast (which I've eaten for years) for coconut pancakes. Pancakes may seem inconvenient to make, but I've mastered a quick'n'easy recipe:

  • 2 tbs coconut flour
  • 1 tbs ground flax
  • 1/4 cup egg whites
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • tiny splash of vanilla extract

Mix ingredients. Heat up a frying pan with a tiny bit of coconut oil. Pour mix in pan. Flip as needed. I then add 1 tbs of almond butter, 1 tsp of organic honey, 1 tsp of chia seeds, and 1/2 sliced banana.

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If I'm running that morning, I also have a beet vega protein shake. Essentially, 1/2 banana, 1 scoop of Vega vanilla sport protein, 1/2 raw beet, 1 tsp turmeric. That carries me until lunch.

In terms of natural supplements, I'm taking Apple Cider Vinegar, Swedish Bitters, and a digestive enzyme before each meal. Before bed, I take the ever so popular Calm magnesium supplement. I've been reading everything and listening to all kinds of nutrition-related podcasts. I'm loving learning about the different approaches to digestion and nutrition. I'm still amazed that I accepted being on that heart burn drug for so long!

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Coach has given me a rest week this upcoming week. I'm totally cool with this. I've been working some long hours, so running some shorter distances this week gives me a bit more time in the morning. My parents are also here this weekend! So the shorter long run lines up well. :D

Have you ever wiped out while running?

First ever 5km

Can you believe it's already February? I'm totally ok with this. It only means we're that much closer to spring. I wonder what the groundhog will say tomorrow. At the beginning of January, my coach suggested I sign up for 5km to get an idea of where I'm at. A 5km?! I thought. I'd never done one! But, of course I scoured the internet and was able to find a local 5km at the end of the month. G agreed to run with me.

The race was on Sunday, which meant I held off on my long run until after the race. I had 25km scheduled for the day. As you know, I normally run long on Saturday mornings, so this was a bit of a change. I did a light 4km on the treadmill Saturday morning, with Iron Strength afterwards, then worked during the day. At night we did groceries, made dinner and went to bed pretty early.

In terms of race nutrition, my night before dinner was a standard sweet potato, cooked kale with Bragg's aminos, and two organic eggs. The race started at 8:30am, which is later than I usually start my long runs, so I made some gluten free sourdough toast, with avocado and banana. No issues with my stomach, although I took a heart burn pill that mornings just in case (I've been off of them for 3 days before that; I've read that you need to taper off of these things. Ugh.)

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The race was at a nearby casino/racetrack, about a 20 minute drive from our place. We left around 7:20am, to give us time to pick up our race bib beforehand. By 8:30am, we were lined up at the start and ready to go. It was a beautiful day, so the turn out was great (200 people or so in the 5 & 10k).

There wasn't a fancy timing system set up, which was fine as we managed to start right near the front. We were told that when we finished, we would be given a popsicle stick to indicate our time. We would then take that into the building to be matched with our bib. I kind of loved this.

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The first 0.5km was on a road, then the race quickly turned to snow covered trail. The footing was ok, for the most part (thanks to my Hoka One One trail shoes). I took off pretty quickly, and realized I was running too fast. I told myself to dial it back a bit, but to hang on - this is 5km. I got this. It was a 2.5km out and back. Given that this was my first EVER 5km, I really had no idea what to expect. It's not like in a half marathon or a marathon where you pace yourself big time at the start.

1) 4:21 2) 4:40 3) 4:45 4) 4:40 5) 4:39

Finish: 23:10:54 12th Overall, 2nd Female. I was pleased with my 12th place overall finish (108 participants) and 2nd female overall. Frankly, I surprised myself.

After the race, we had some Nuun they had on site and we drove back home. I didn't even go inside, before leaving for my 20km. By this time, it was 10:00am or so. I knew there was no time for dilly dallying. I just had to get it done.

6km in, my blood sugar felt off. I attribute this to the start and stop between the 5km & the 20km. I decided to take my Hammer Gel espresso early and things quickly turned around. I ran 10km out along the Rideau Canal and 10km back. I listened to Hilary Biscay on Endurance Planet for an hour, then switched to my iPod. It was one heck of a beautiful morning.

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By the time I got home, it was noon. I was hungry! I whipped up a Vitamix of beet, turmeric, Vega vanilla sport protein, half a banana, and a side of Nuun. I definitely felt like I needed fuel asap. Pancakes followed shortly after :)

All in all a successful sunday runday.

Have you run a 5km? 

What is your go to post long run meal?