mental game

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.

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

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 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

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

Let's go

img_6691Next Sunday I will run my 14th marathon and my third Hamilton Marathon. I know I can run this distance. That's not the issue, nor has it ever been. What I've been thinking more and more about, is how the race will unfold. As you know, I am on the quest to qualify for Boston. I am also on the quest for the perfect race day. I don't want to get too excited about the forecast, but I will say things are looking promising. Time to see what's possible. Let's go. This week, I will continue my taper and be focusing on mentally getting *there*. I had a couple of not-so-great workouts this past week, but no one said the road to 42.2 would be a smooth ride (if it was, everyone would do it). I've been working hard to squash some pre-race doubt demons. They're always lurking in there. I remind myself of the work I've done. I remember those multiple 36Ks. Keep your head up. Let's go. 

I have three runs planned this week and a few yoga classes in the evening. I will begin carb loading on Thursday and will be trading in my higher fat meals for higher carbs. Sweet potato, rice, bananas, oh my. I fly to Toronto on Friday and will head to the expo that afternoon. Saturday I plan to chill out at my parents and do a shakeout in the morning. We will likely head into Niagara on the Lake for coffee, but other than that, my legs will be up. Keep it simple. Let's go.

It's too early to say what my A,B, and C goals for this race will be. But, I will say that I plan to run the distance faster than I have ever before. I am ready to settle into the uncomfortable, knowing there are no shortcuts to Boston. Hamilton Marathon race week, LET'S GO.

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

 

Time of my life

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Memories for a lifetime 

Hi friends! I realized this weekend it's been one month since my last post and high time I wrote an update. I am reflecting on all the wonderful moments of the past month and can't help but smile.  In my last post, I was preparing for the Army Run half marathon. With a time of 1:48, I was extremely grateful to be running relatively fast, given my recent achilles history.

One week after the Army Run, G and I said "I do." The day was perfect and we are sooo grateful for everyone we shared the day with. It's hard to believe that it's all over now. We had been planning the day since last year and were so pleased with how all the pieces came together.

The next day, we flew to Rome where our honeymoon began. We spent four days exploring the history and food of the city and then boarded a cruise. The boat departed from Civitavecchia, Italy, and stopped at ports in southern Italy, Greece, and Turkey. We had a blast. I ran a bit, but definitely not as much as I would have if I was home. Likely a blessing in disguise, as my achilles was needing the recovery time.

Two weeks until the Hamilton Marathon

img_9529We arrived home on the Sunday night of Thanksgiving. I knew I had some running to do on the Monday. The thing about marathon training, is that it's best not to over think things. I woke up Monday (I had the day off for Thanksgiving), drank my cup of coffee and got the 28K show on the road. That was the beginning of what would be my 101K peak week. The highlight of that week was the 36K, at a decent-for-me pace, I managed six days later.

As I write this post, I have two weeks until the Hamilton Marathon. This will be the third time I've run the race. I've managed to squeak a PR each time I've run. I am realistically hopeful for this race. I've put in the work and know that I am capable of running the race I have played 1,000 times in my head. I have a few more key workouts left, but for the most part, the hard work is done.

The next two weeks will be focused on mentally preparing for the race. I will be selfish. There won't be many late nights, my food will be picky, yoga will be prioritized, and my routine will be followed. I am thankful for the people around me support the crazy marathoner in me. I've also been reading Matt Fitzgerald's, How Bad Do You Want It, and have been thinking a lot about how I've approached marathons in the past. I am preparing to hurt. More than ever before. I'm fired up and know that I'm ready to lay it out there.

"There is no experience quite like that of driving yourself to the point of wanting to give up and then not giving up." 

Did you run a fall marathon? How did it go!?

What running-related books have you read recently? 

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

Army Run 2016 pre-race thoughts

img_7830 ...and just like that, the 2016 Army Run is upon us. This will be my sixth Army Run and I will admit, I've had little time to over think this one. I recall last year being really focused on this race. I was ready for a PR (and missed by a minute). In contrast, I am using this years Army Run as a training run and have no idea what's in store for Sunday.

After getting over the worst of my Achilles issues, this past month has been focused on regaining my mileage. Surprisingly, I've been able to pepper my training with a handful of very strong longer runs. I credit my mind for some of this, as I've basically refused to count myself out for the Hamilton Marathon in November.

So back to Sunday, I plan to go out there and nestle into my goal marathon pace. I will see how I feel along the way and adjust as needed. Post-race, I will be pleased with the result "finished without any pain," with the benefit of a "race environment" tempo run. Do I think I will PR (~1:41), who knows. Do I care? Not really. This is not my A Race. I am just thrilled to be running after being sidelined six weeks ago.

I am also reflecting that the first time I ran this race I ran it in a 2:16. I now run half marathons comfortably in the 1:4x-range, and could probably gun for a sub -1:40 on a good day. I don't say that to brag, but simply to highlight that anything is possible.

In other news, I've started to read Matt Fitzgerald's book, How Bad Do You Want It. I am only a couple chapters in, but I am loving it so far. It is reinforcing my belief that the MIND RUNS THE BODY.

"Sure, it was just a race, but sports are really not separate from life, nor is the athlete distinct from the person. In mastering my fear of suffering in races, I acquired a greater level of respect for myself, a sense of inner strength that has helped me tackle other challenges, both inside and outside sports." -Matt Fitzgerald

If you are racing on Sunday, I hope you have a great race. If you are chasing dreams out there, I encourage you to get comfortable with the uncomfortable. When the going gets tough, remember, the MIND TELLS THE BODY WHAT TO DO. Get it.

I’d love to hear from you! Leave a comment below or find me on TwitterInstagramStrava and Salty Running

An update from restville

IMG_5706 As I mentioned, I started experiencing some tenderness in my left achilles last week and have been laying off running for the past few days. In fact, this is the least I've run since zero week post-Ottawa Marathon. I've been OK with this rest for most of the week, however, last night I tried to run 5K and when things weren't the 100% I had hoped they be, I kind of freaked out. OK, I a lot freaked out.

Let me pause and say, I know that this injury is manageable. I've nipped it at the point where I know I can successfully manage the issue back to strength. I had days this week where I barely felt the tenderness I was feeling last week. That said, I now have spidey-sense to the issue and I'm finding myself acutely aware when things flare up.

Back to last night (Thursday). I went for 5K easy along the river. I was hopeful my achilles had improved after nearly a pain-free run on Wednesday and some more Graston application in the morning. The run started OK, with a bit of tenderness that I chalked up to stiffness and the after-effect of the Graston work. Kilometres 2-4 were pain-free-ish. However, I could feel a niggle in the final kilometre. While I've definitely made improvements since last Thursday, I was still a little frustrated.

For this weekend, I've decided to take a few more days off of running. I will stick to the stationary bike and have signed up for my first yoga class in years. I am focusing on the positives of this break. I will have more time to study for my exam on Sunday (!!!) and work on an article I'm writing for Salty Running. In the long run, two weeks off running will not hinder my fall race plans (in fact, it may even make me stronger).

Side note: I'm loving the Olympics coverage!! Tune-in today at 10:10am for the women's 10,000m!! GO NATASHA AND LANNI!

Have you had achilles issues? How long did you take off?

Do you practice yoga? What kind? 

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

Dream it. Believe it.

On Friday night I had the pleasure of speaking to a Running Room clinic on the topic of goal-setting. I spoke about 5 steps to successful goal setting that have worked in my life. It also gave me a chance to reflect on my own running goals and how I plan to achieve them. Specifically, I have set the goal to qualify for the 2018 Boston Marathon. Boston has been my BIG DREAM since the 2012 Paris Marathon, when I started to realize I could run faster.  Since then, I have taken 50 minutes off my half marathon and about 35 minutes off my marathon time. That said, there's more work to be done. My current marathon PR is 3:55. That means I have about 25 minutes to saw off. I am planning to run the Hamilton Road 2 Hope Marathon in November 2016, the Ottawa Marathon in spring 2017 and likely the Hamilton Road 2 Hope in fall 2017. Wouldn't it be cool if I BQ'd before fall 2017? Sure. But I want to give myself a realistic timeline to achieve this goal.

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5 steps to successful goal setting 

1. Have one REALLY big goal.

If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough. As someone who ran their first marathon in 5 hours and 40 minutes, Boston was once unthinkable to me. With time and progress, I've realized that anything is possible if you work hard and believe. I've stopped thinking that Boston is some far out dream and know without a doubt that I will run that race. When it's -30ºC and dark outside, I get out of bed because I know how incredible it will feel when I run from Hopkinson to Boston.

2. Be specific.

Some goals need to be more specific than others. For me, this has meant giving myself a timeframe to achieve my long-standing Boston goal. I have given myself a year and a half and will be specific with training and race planning to benchmark progression. As of right now, I am training for a 3:43 in Hamilton this fall. Yes, "43".

3. Write it down.

I will continue to track my progress on my own google spread sheet, Strava and work out journal. I can't stress enough how important it is to have a record of your progress. Not all days will be rainbows, my training logs will remind me of the work I have done and progress I have made. I am also a fan of goal boards and having subtle reminders of what I'm working towards sprinkled around my day to day (e.g., pictures and post-it notes at work, at home).

4. Find someone to keep you accountable.

I am blessed beyond measure and have many supportive people in my life. Specifically, my family and close friends are aware of my goal and I can trust them to hold me accountable. I also use social media as a way to keep myself accountable for workouts and share my progress. I also love to connect with and follow the stories of people chasing their own goals!

5. Have a positive mindset.

As I said above, I've transformed my thinking from "could I qualify?" to "when I qualify." I pay close attention to my thoughts and focus on keeping them positive and productive. I also find it's helpful to have a few mantras and key phrases that help me refocus when I'm in a rut or in a tough workout.

What big goals are you working towards? What's something that helps you stay committed?

Check out my recent posts in Salty Running:

So you want to run a Canadian Marathon, eh?

Lanni Marchant's marathon to the Rio Olympics

Training log for the week of July 4, 2016.

Training log for the week of June 27, 2016.

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!

Turn it around

Whether it’s a training run or a race, there will be times that you want to stop. I’ve encountered these moments many times along the way. For example, last Saturday, as I was running through downtown Montreal to complete my 27k, I started to feel blah. My legs were tired, and my mind momentarily started to spiral. In that moment, I decided I was not going to let this moment of doubt define the run and told myself to TURN IT AROUND.

After thousands of kilometres and hundreds of runs of various purposes, speeds and distances, I’ve learned a thing or two about the mental game. I can’t say I was always great at the mental side of things, nor will I claim to have nailed it, but now I have a better idea of what is needed to turn things around. These are some of the things that go through my mind when the going gets tough.

This too shall pass. Like the old adage, run the mile you’re in, I tell myself that I’ll feel better by the next kilometre. 95 percent of the time I do. Sometimes I give myself a few moments to back off, but rarely allow myself to quit completely. Have confidence that it will be a great run.

I do hard things. There are other times where the moments of doubt don’t pass. It is those times that are even more important to run through. I repeat to myself that I do hard things and that these are the times that will make me a stronger runner. If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.

Run through it. There are other times that I literally picture myself running through the negative thoughts or feelings. While it's easy to say mind>matter, its another to do just that. I've worked a lot on this area and use the idea of running through (or over) a brick wall as a mental strategy. Remember, the brick walls are there for a reason.

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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.