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

So long summer 2016

IMG_9604I looked at my calendar this weekend and came to the realization that summer 2016 is coming to a close. How is it September this week? I asked myself. It’s cliché to say, but the summer really did fly by. I look back on the past three months and they seem to blur together, marked with a number of exceptional running and non-running memories. This week also marks less than 30 days until our wedding and just over one year since we got engaged. It’s funny, because I didn’t know what kind of bride I would be. I didn’t grow up planning my wedding, but now that I am here, I can hardly wait. Slowly but surely our to-do list is getting crossed off and we've begun counting down the days.

With regards to running, the training-train chugs on. My Achilles has been touch and go for the past three weeks, but I am pleased to say that overall I've seen progress. I am very grateful for the treatment and advice I have received from medical professionals, my coach and fellow running mates. My mileage has remained constant for the past two weeks and will likely hover around 70K/week for next little bit while I continue to recover.

While I am planning to run the Canada Army Run Half Marathon in three weeks, I am going out there with the goal of enjoying race day. It may end up being a training run with a few kilometres tacked onto the back end. It will also mark one week from my wedding and I can’t picture anything else I’d rather be doing than running the streets of Ottawa and Gatineau in support of our troops.IMG_7555

With ten weeks until the Hamilton Marathon, I am focusing on the DREAM BIG goal here. Real talk, this training session was never about a half marathon PR. Sure it would have been nice to see a sub-1:41 at the Army Run, but I know there will be other days and races for that. My goal this summer was to continue to marathon train, with the hopes of BQ'ing in Hamilton. Yup, just over 20 minutes off my PR. Remembering what they say: IF YOUR DREAMS DON'T SCARE YOU THEY ARE NOT BIG ENOUGH.

Cheers to the end of summer, friends. I hope you had a great one.

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

Anniversary Giveaway!!

To celebrate one year of The Pacing Life, I wanted to do something to say THANK YOU. Whether our paths crossed on this blog, Instagram, Twitter, I'm inspired daily by your stories and so appreciative to have you following me along on mine. So with that, I am giving away two race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend!! That's right, whether it's the 5K or the Marathon, two winners will be entered to participate in the event of your choice! See the Rafflecoptor below for ways to enter.

You all know that Race Weekend is my favourite weekend of the year! In 2016, close to 47,000 people participated in six events over the weekend, including the Scotiabank Ottawa Marathon. To celebrate Canada's 150th Anniversary, you can expect that this year's event will be special. If there is any year to run Canada's biggest running weekend, 2017 is it!

Rules: Enter by tagging a friend @thepacinglife's instagram OR entering via the Rafflecoptor options below! 2 winners will receive race entries to the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend distance of your choice. Giveaway ends Monday August 29th, 2016, at midnight EST. Winner will be notified via Instagram or email. Winner has 14 days to claim prize before a backup winner is chosen.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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What race distance would you run at the 2017 Ottawa Race Weekend?

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

Updates on running & coaching

IMG_1638Thursday marked exactly two weeks since I had to sit out a workout. These past two weeks have been focused on rest and recovery. I knew that in order to continue training for PRs in the fall, I could not afford to let my achilles get worse. With the help of my chiropractor, physiotherapist, yoga and a stationary bike, I am happy to be easing my way back into training. With eleven weeks to go until he Hamilton Marathon, I'm focused on getting to race day strong and ready. To do this, I will continue practicing yoga, doing strength exercises prescribed by my physiotherapist, and listening to my body. The two weeks off reminded me how much running is a part of my life. In order to avoid a future injury, I will have to pay better attention.

In other news, I am loving every minute of the Olympic coverage. From the marathon to the 800m, it is so inspiring to watch the athletes compete and fulfill their dreams. Last night was the final for the 800m. Melissa Bishop ran such a brave race! It was tough to see her finish 4th, but it was a Canadian record nonetheless.

I wanted to provide you with an update on my North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals (NAASFP) Marathon Coach certification. I completed the first phase, a 100 question multiple choice exam, last Sunday. It was tougher than I expected, but I am very pleased to say I passed! Candidates require 80% or better to pass, so I'm very pleased with the result. The next step are my Case Study and my First Aid and CPR certification.

STEP TWO: Case Study  The Case Study provides the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate an ability to apply the knowledge necessary to successfully coach prior to working with a live client.  The candidate is given some basic necessary information on the prospective client including goals.  Based on this information the candidate will design a training program to help the client to achieve his or her goal.  A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.

STEP THREE: First Aid and CPR Certification  Maintaining First Aid and CPR certification is a requirement of certification with NAASFP and critical for working safely with clients.  In order to proceed with the Practical component the candidate must have completed this step and submitted a copy of the certificate to NAASFP.

The final and fourth step is working with a NAASFP master trainer to develop a plan for a volunteer athlete for a marathon. Ideally, I will have steps two and three done by January in order to train my athlete for a spring marathon. Onwards!

https://twitter.com/thepacinglife/status/766652365831278592

What has been your favourite Olympic moment? 

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

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

Achilles update & the Graston technique

My left Achilles has been acting up a bit. It’s not a full blown injury at this point, but like any seasoned runner, I knew it was headed that way. When I couldn’t complete my track workout last Thursday, I was a bit bummed. Well, actually a lot bummed. Full disclosure, I came home and was nearly in tears to George. I gave myself one night to have a pity party. I’m in the midst of training for the Hamilton Marathon and have been seeing some strong results in my performance. Being smart and taking this week to focus on recovery is the best thing I could do for myself right now. Instead of moping around feeling sorry for myself {which could be an easy route to go}, I’ve focused on maintaining my fitness and training routine by hitting the stationary bike and elliptical daily. Like my running plan, some days are easy (e.g., steady state, moderate resistance) and some days are harder (e.g., hill intervals, longer sessions). I’ve been watching my heart rate and have been pleased that these workouts are allowing me to get some max heart rate work in.IMG_6944

As for my leg, it’s doing much better. I haven’t tried to run on it, but I can tell the total rest has paid off. Last night, I visited a chiropractor recommended to me for application of the Graston technique. It quickly became clear that I've let my legs get way to tight and need to do a better job at stretching post-run and rolling! Today (Tuesday) I will run 3K easy and see how it feels. I'm heading back for some Graston on Thursday and will see how I feel for the weekend. For now, I will be sticking to flat surfaces and keeping to my Hoka One One's.

Do you have a post-run stretching routine?

Have you tried the Graston Technique? 

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

Stationary bike workouts for runners

My achilles tendon has been bothering me for the past five days. It's very hard for me to admit that, but it's true. In the peak of marathon training, it's not unimaginable that {potential} injuries surface and we start to feel niggles in our bodies and legs. On Thursday night at the track, I brought my Hoka One One's for the warm up, with plans to switch into my New Balance 1400s for the track workout (normally I would run the warm up and cool down in the New Balance). However, my left achilles has been bothering me and I didn't want to irritate it more. After about 3K into the warm up, I knew that I wasn't meant to complete the workout.

Track

As any seasoned runner knows, there is a fine line between a niggle and an injury. I'm walking that line and have had a few "real talk" moments with myself, reminding myself that I AM A SMART RUNNER. Easier said than done.

Stubbornness aside, I will be taking the next week OFF of running. Yes, TOTALLY OFF. That's hard to write, but I know that in the long run it will be for the best. I also know that my training is going really well and holding off running for a week will pay dividends vs. continuing to run and getting a full blown injury.

This does not mean that I will be taking it totally off exercising. I will be maintaining my fitness throughout the week by using the stationary bike and other low-impact workouts. I'm very lucky and happen to have a stationary bike in my building.

I find it very helpful to have a written plan for the workout. You can save the workouts below to your phone and use them yourself. By having a workout laid out, the time flies by and I ensure I hit some degree of intensity. This morning, for example, I will be completing the 1.5 hour workout on the stationary bike, in place of my planned 32K run. During the week I will do 3-4 of the 1 hour workouts.

Stationary Bike Workouts for Runners 

Stationary Bike #1

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no help at all.-2

Let me know how it goes!! 

Jayme

Do things.

I've been thinking about this post for a while. I write many posts in my head. Some stay there, some get started, and some (only some) lead to me pressing publish. I'm writing to tell you a bit about my plans with running and my DREAM BIG DREAM of becoming a running coach. I've decided to blog about this journey in the event it helps someone one day in realizing their own dream or in becoming a certified coach. This is a story of acting on dreams, taking a leap of faith, and crossing out the possibilities of future what ifs. Let's back up a moment. Two weeks ago I announced on Twitter I was enrolling in a coaching certification course. Becoming a coach has been my goal for sometime now. The love I have for running and seeing others accomplish their goals drives me immensely in this journey. After having benefited tremendously from having a coach of my own, it feels very right for me to be on this path.

https://twitter.com/thepacinglife/status/755692104597200896?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

I've given a lot of thought to this decision. I recognize there are many courses out there, and I also realize you certainly don't need a certification to be a coach. But, me being me, wants to get certified. After researching extensively all the running coaching certifications out there (there are more than you think), I've decided to get certified through the North American Academy for Sport Fitness Professionals (NAASFP). The intensive course will leave me with the Marathon Coach (MC) credentials. The NAASFP course appealed to me as it was more than just your run of the mill weekend course. It is a course that combines theory and practice and will provide me with the necessary foundation in becoming a worthy coach for runners of all backgrounds.

There are four phases to the Marathon Coach certification. As outlined on the NAASFP website:

STEP ONE: Written Exam The exam is a comprehensive 100-question, 3-hour challenge of the principles found in the course material.  Candidates register for a scheduled exam date and time.  The exam is posted on-line for the scheduled three hours.  Candidates may reference course material during the exam, but a thorough knowledge of the material is necessary to complete all questions within the time limitation. Immediately upon completion the exam answers must be submitted electronically to NAASFP. A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.

STEP TWO: Case Study  The Case Study provides the candidate with an opportunity to demonstrate an ability to apply the knowledge necessary to successfully coach prior to working with a live client.  The candidate is given some basic necessary information on the prospective client including goals.  Based on this information the candidate will design a training program to help the client to achieve his or her goal.  A score of 80% or better is required for a pass.

STEP THREE: First Aid and CPR Certification  Maintaining First Aid and CPR certification is a requirement of certification with NAASFP and critical for working safely with clients.  In order to proceed with the Practical component the candidate must have completed this step and submitted a copy of the certificate to NAASFP.

STEP FOUR: Practical  The Practical is the opportunity to work with an actual client while the guidance of a Master Trainer is available electronically.  The candidate finds the client and signs them up, gaining permission to have the client’s information released to NAASFP for monitoring.  The candidate will design a full and monitor a program that must be a minimum of 18 weeks and appropriate for the client’s goal, factoring in their current fitness level.

Step One is currently scheduled for August 14th. After completing my masters degree in 2009, I never thought I would be saying that I'm heading back to the world of text books and studying. That said, I could not be happier (in fact, I am SO far over the moon). I look forward to keeping you updated on this journey and will one day be honoured if you considered working with me to reach your own running goals. For now, I will leave you with this excerpt from a book I read a little while ago.

"...because chasing the dream in your head looks surprisingly like work. Don't just stand there. You are good at something for a reason. The timing is never right. Forget that. It rarely falls into your lap. You are probably not guaranteed success. But off you go because we were not created to stand still, even though that is safe and familiar and you are guaranteed never to fall or stumble or grow weary. We were made to run." - Jen Hatmaker, For the Love

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

You are entirely up to you

Unlike past marathons, I decided this time around I would incorporate a couple 36K long runs in my training for the Hamilton Marathon. The point in the marathon I've always struggled with is 32K and beyond. My thinking is that by training in these higher distances, my legs won't be as shocked when I get there come race day. My first 36K was on my schedule for Saturday. In the past year, my long run pace has ranged from 5:45-5:25, with only a few runs being on the fast end of that range. That said, I've been having many ah-ha! moments in my running these past few months, and deep down know that I can run faster. On Friday, I played around with my pace calculator. I wanted to see what a faster paced long run would feel like. I decided that 5:08-5:10 would be my target range.

Saturday morning, I woke up to a hot and humid forecast. 90 percent humidity and temperatures climbing aggressively with each hour. That's ok, I thought, I would be leaving the house before 7:00 am and stripped down to the least amount of clothing I could get away with. I decided not to carry water or bring my phone, and planned a route that would take me by multiple water fountains. My first 10K ranged from 5:17-5:06. I was aiming to run a bit slower, but my legs were feeling good.

I ran along the Rideau Canal, where the Ottawa Triathlon 2016 Canadian Championships were underway. I  cheered for athletes as they raced by and thought to myself how much I LOVE race days, even if they are not my own. I took a hammer gel around 12K and 25K and made perfect timing with passing a water fountain at those times. My second 10K ranged from 5:12-5:02. Body and mind feeling great. Playlist on point.

I looped around the Rideau Canal twice. I decided that running alongside a triathlon race was better scenery then the out and back I had planned into New Edinburgh. Lucky for me, I ran into a few of my teammates and ran the last 10K with them. Final 10K ranged from 5:26-4:50, with the final 3K being 5:15, 5:08, 4:50.

Saturday's long run was a huge milestone for me. I proved to myself that I could run long distances at a faster pace, and to be honest, I felt like I could have kept going. While I'm pleased that my body held up, what is more important is that I proved to myself that I am capable. 

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What ah-ha moments have you had lately? 

Do you run your long runs slow-er or fast-er? 

Check out my recent posts in Salty Running:

Five reasons to run with faster runners

Training log for the week of July 17th

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!

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.

https://www.instagram.com/p/BHTDa1RDA4g/?taken-by=thepacinglife

 

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!

Salty Running & Emilie's Run 5K Recap

Hi! I wanted to post a quick update before heading out on my long run through Montreal. It's going to be a hot one out there this morning! Salty Running

The first order of business is that I've joined the Salty Running team! Salty Running covers all things running and is focused on runners who have big dreams and want more than "just to finish". Our readers are people who are serious about their running and are tired of articles that focus on how you look and what you’re wearing. "How to loose those last 10 pounds" is not why Salty Runners run. If this sounds like you, I know you'll love what we're doing over at Salty Running.

Salty Running

As you'll see, all the contributors have spice or flavour names that speak a bit to who we are. Naturally, I will be known as Maple. As the first Canadian writer, I'm looking forward to sharing information on the Canadian running scene, Canadian elites, marathon training, and what goes into becoming a faster runner. You can see my introduction here. For my first article, I decided it was timely to cover the Lanni Marchant situation. For the love of all things female distance running, if Lanni doesn't compete in both races this August in Rio, I, like many of you, will be extremely disappointed.

I will also be posting my weekly training logs there. I will update this blog with more substantial reflections on training, but you can see my weekly workouts and so forth over on Salty Running. Check out last week's log here. You can always find me on Strava.

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Emilie's Run Second order of business, you guys, I ran 5K PR at Emilie's Run last week! I finished in 21:40 and had such a terrific racing experience. After our team did a simulation workout on the Tuesday ahead of the race, I felt comfortable with the course, but admittedly wasn't sure what to expect. Being my second 5K race (ever), I knew that I could definitely PR, but I wasn't sure by how much. This is also not a long distance race, where you have more time to course correct if things derail in the beginning. No, this is a FAST 5K. You've got to give'er the entire time.

5K @ 4:22/km (4:12, 4:18, 4:21, 4:24, 4:18)

I really had no expectations for this race, other than to push myself and see what I could do. I felt good throughout the race, and kept my head in the game the entire time. I was so proud of myself when I crossed the finish! My only other 5K was in January 2016, that I ran in 23:10 on a snowy trail. 1.5 minute PR in the 5K? I’ll take that any day.

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Have you run a shorter distance race lately? 

Do you already read Salty Running? 

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!

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!

Insider guide: Ottawa Race Weekend

With Race Weekend upon us, I wanted to share a few local tips and recommendations to runners coming into town. I’ll leave the race information to the official race website, so if you're looking for start times or details on baggage check, you're in the wrong place (go here). However, if you're looking for some good local food joints, running stores, coffee shops, gluten free snacks, then you’ve coming the right place! FOOD

Let’s start with the basics. I know runners love their staples and would often rather make their own meals...

Whole Foods Landsdowne ParkSobey's at Metcalf and Lisgar 

Knowing runners are a finicky bunch, I wanted to let you know where to get your specific milk/nut butter/gluten free__. As you’d expect, both of these grocery stores also have great salad and hot food bars. Whole Foods is located at Lansdowne (short jont down Bank Street), and Sobey's is right downtown (practically at the Start Line).

If you're looking to eat out...

Fiazza Fresh Fired, 86 Murray Street (Byward Market)

We have eaten here a couple times and have really enjoyed the pizza and salads. It’s a chill atmosphere and accommodating to most dietary preferences. If you’re looking for somewhere to carb-load, this is a great place to do it. It’s also located in the Byward Market, which is a hot spot for local shops, bakeries and night life. If you prefer to lay low in your hotel room (I totally get it), Fiazza does deliver.

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A+ Sushi, 202 Bank Street

With simple carbs, protein, sodium and minimal fiber, sushi can be a great pre-race meal. G and I discovered A+ Sushi a year ago and have had a number of good experiences here. It’s reasonably priced and offers a menu with lots of selection. It’s also located right downtown; likely walking distance from your hotel. Did I mention it was all you can eat?

Town, 296 Elgin street

As one of my favourite restaurants in Ottawa, I have to add Town to this list. Unfortunately, it might be impossible to get a reservation, but, hey! We’re runners. Nothing’s impossible. They have great lunch and dinner menus, with lots of locally sourced ingredients. The service and food never disappoints.

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COFFEE & SNACKS

Bridgehead, multiple locations downtown 

For coffee, Bridgehead is your go to spot (seriously, Ottawa loves Bridgehead). Chances are you’re staying in a hotel downtown, which means there’s likely a Bridgehead a block away. This locally popular coffee shop really does offer it all: coffee, teas, cookies, cakes, gluten free/vegan/dairy free snacks, salad bowls and hearty sandwiches. They also have a rewards program that gives you a free coffee or specialty drink every 12 drinks.

My personal favourites from Bridgehead would have to be the Oolong Kombucha (Bridgehead’s own brew), the coconut macaroon (FOR THE LOVE), the fruit and seed bar, and the almond milk latte.

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Menchies, 80 George Street (Byward Market)

Located in the Byward Market, this is a perfect destination for you to go for a stroll and stretch your legs. Menchie's frozen yogurt is gluten-free, vegan, and no high fructose corn syrup. Always a good option for a snack or dessert!

RUNNING STORES

Sports 4, 149 Bank Street 

Sports 4 is one of the local favourite running watering holes. They carry a range of shoes, clothes, gels and accessories. I frequent Sports 4 often and always find myself chatting with the many knowledgeable employees. If you're in town on a Wednesday, the Negative Splits Run Club meets at Sports 4 for a group run.

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Race weekend tip: Check your virtual race bag to save $15 on in store purchases at Sports 4! If you're a Run Ottawa member, save 10% off everything, always!

Running Room, 160 Slater Street 

Located right downtown, Running Room is a safe bet for all things running. This Canadian chain does a great job in carrying a full line of gels, shoes and acessories. Personally, I'm grateful that the 160 Slater Street store always has my Hammer Gels stocked! If you’re a Goodlife member, be sure to let them know for your 10% off (always).

Race weekend tip: Check your virtual race bag to save 10% off your purchase at the Running Room expo booth!

If you're from out of town, where are you visiting from?

If you're local, any suggestions to add to this list?

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!

Runner profile: Nina Ryan

For my next runner profile, I'm so happy to introduce you to Nina! I first met Nina through the Ottawa Race Weekend's Team Awesome. Nina is an Ottawa based runner who is currently training for the Ottawa 10km (May 28). She is relatively new to running and I'm sure you will enjoy reading her story. Personally, I can relate to what it feels like to be new to running and everything seeming so hard and impossible. Nina's story is a testimony that with dedication and perseverance anything is possible. I am so excited to cheer Nina on at the 10km! Without further ado, meet Nina


Name: Nina Ryan

Location: Orleans, Ontario

Years Running: Almost one year!

Why you run: There's something inspiring about watching the people who are dedicated to running each day in my neighbourhood throughout the year. And the more people around me got into running, the more I began to wonder whether this might be something I could do as well. And at first I could barely get down my own driveway without losing my breath! But the slow and steady improvements with continued practice is what fuelled me to keep going. I never knew what I was capable of achieving until I began running, and it totally blew my mind. It was only a matter of time before I was hooked and eager to start training for my next big challenge!

Race distance of choice: As a new runner I have always stuck to races that were 5k in distance. However, this Spring I started training in a 10k clinic. Movin' on up!

PRs: Now that I'm training for 10ks I have noticed a huge improvement in my 5k times. To date my best 5k has been 32:29.

Favourite Race: The Blackburn Fun Run, which is a 5k all through the community I grew up in. For this reason it will always hold a special place in my heart. This was my first race ever last year, and not only had I never run before, but I was also 2 weeks post-op and walked the whole thing! I was amazed by the people who crossed the finish line so quickly, and from that moment decided I wanted to learn how to run 5k myself so that I could come back stronger next year!

Favourite piece of running gear: I always wear a Garmin Forerunner on my runs - even if I'm just going out there for fun - as it's a great way to keep a log of my running times and distances.

Favourite running memory: I've always run on my own - training and races. So when I heard that one of my friends was doing the Army Run with a couple of her friends, I was excited to be able to join them. We travelled downtown together and took group photos while we waited at the starting line. It was a beautiful, scenic run which we finished up with a delicious cooked breakfast before heading home. It was such an amazing day!

Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: The 10:1s run/walk technique that I've learned in my 10k clinic was just what I needed in my training regimen. It gives me the right amount of time to push myself and recover, allowing me to improve my speeds as well as endurance for greater distances!

Favourite quote or mantra: "I run to burn off the crazy!" It's funny and true; running helps me feel a lot more centred! ;)

Goals: I would love to be able to do the Army Run half marathon one day. I don't want to force myself to train too hard too quickly, so I am going to focus on improving the quality of my 5k and 10ks this year. I wouldn't rule it out as a possibility for September 2017, however..

Next race: I was picked to be part of Run Ottawa's Team Awesome for Tamarack Ottawa Race Weekend in May. So the 10k that weekend on the 28th is the big race I've been working so hard to prepare for. (This is what kept me running through the long winter months, even when it was -40°C with the windchill!) However, I have always wanted to do the Run for Women too, as it is a cause very near and dear to my heart. So I will also be doing that 10k race on the 8th, which will mark a mere third time of me running this great distance! But, hey, I was going to be running 10k that Sunday anyway!

Favourite songs to run to: I love anything that causes me to spontaneously break into dance whenever I hear it! So I've got Morris Day & The Time playing Jungle Love, Ariana Grande's Focus, and Kesha's TiK ToK, for example.

Favourite podcasts and/or books: Currently listening to Jenny Lawson's book titled, Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things.

nina ryan


You guys! I'm having so much fun profiling runners and sharing their story. If you are joining us for the first time, be sure to check out my previous runner profiles (most recently: Dave, Kristi, Rebecca, Tracy).

If you have a suggestion for a future runner profile, I would love to hear from you!

Runner profile: Tracy DeWolfe

Today I bring you my next runner profile! Tracy is a Halifax-based runner who is training for the Ottawa Marathon. I originally met her through Team Awesome, and have really enjoyed following her journey on Twitter. Many of us can relate to Tracy's story (personally, I remember signing up for a Learn to Run class!). Without further ado, I'm so pleased to introduce Tracy! 


Name: Tracy DeWolfe

Location: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Years Running: Almost 6 with a few gaps

Why you run:  The reason I started is because I needed to exercise. I was never athletic. I tried going the gym but that would only work for a couple days. I signed up for a Learn To Run class at my local Running Room with a friend. I admit I didn’t love it and I stop a few times for various reasons but I always came back to it. Eventually I learned to love it. I get to spending time outside after sitting at a desk all day. I get to eat treats (especially cheesecake!) without feeling guilty. I have also made some great friends. We train together. We socialize on the weekends. We even take race vacations together. To date, the biggest ones have been Ottawa and Disney.

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Race distance of choice: Tough choice but I think the half. After training for a few half and full marathons, I like the long runs on the weekend.

PRs: 5k – 28:21, 10k – 1:03:04, Half – 2:17:52, Full – 5:12:05

Favourite Race: Another tough choice. We have some great races in Nova Scotia but I would have to say that my favourite is Maritime Race Weekend in September. It’s a pirate themed Friday night / Saturday morning race weekend. Friday night is a 5k race at sunset along the coast. Saturday morning is a distance of your choice (5k, 10k, Half or Full). I’ve only done the 10k. If you run both days, you get 3 medals. A couple of years ago, they added fireworks after the run on Friday night. It’s a great weekend that my friends and I enjoy.

Favourite piece of running gear: I’m going to have to say my Asics GT2000. They are the only sneaker I have worn. I have to add my Garmin as well. I don’t always pay attention to it while I’m running but I like to look at the run afterward. It also documents my running streak.

Favourite running memory: Finishing my first marathon last year. It is a great accomplishment to finish any race but your first marathon is extra special, especially after the horrible winter we had. My goal was to finish upright and smiling. I did both of those as well as exceeded any time goal I may have hoped for. I was able to finish with my training partner. We crossed the finish line at the same time. We then met up with 12 other people who trained and travelled to Ottawa together. 11 of us were first time marathoners!

Best running advice you’ve picked up along the way: Trust your training. If you are following your training plan, you will make it to the end of the race.

Favourite quote or mantra: “It doesn’t get easier, you get stronger” I have a medal rack with this saying. I remind myself of this when the runs are hard. I remember that the things I have done around the run that may have made the run tough or that I ran it faster than in the past. Every run makes you stronger.

Goals: I would like to break 5 hours in Ottawa…weather depending. Ottawa tends to heat up faster than Halifax so we’ll see what happens. I try not to focus too much on new PBs as it can play with my mind during the race but I am always happy to get one.

Next race: Bluenose 10k on May 22nd. It will be a run, not a race since I’ll be running the full in Ottawa the following weekend.

Favourite songs to run to: Unless I’m running by myself (which rarely happens) or I’m doing speedwork, I don’t listen to music. Footloose tends to perk me up and make me run faster.

Favourite podcasts and/or books: I’m a big reader of fiction. I’m currently on a James Patterson kick. I think I’ve read 7 of his books in a row.

Maritime Race Weekend 2015

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.