Boston Marathon

Fail quick

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

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

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

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

Show up.

Fail quick. 

Shake it off.

Learn the lesson. 

Get going. 

30 minute strength routine

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

Monday, Wednesday, Friday = LOWER BODY

Tuesday, Thursday = CORE + UPPER BODY

Saturday, Sunday (Monday/Friday) = YOGA 

LOWER BODY

Single Leg Deadlift 3 x10 (currently using 10 lbs)

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

Squat with Dumbbell (currently using 15 lbs)

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

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

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

CORE + UPPER BODY

Classic Plank (currently at 3:00 minutes)

Russian Twist 25 each side (50 reps total)

Scorpion 25 each side (50 reps total)

Spiderman 25 each side

Back Extension on Ball 3 x 12

Jackknife on Ball 3 x 12

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

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

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

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

YOGA 

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

Leave a comment below if you have any questions! 

Do you have a go-to strength training routine? 

Have you tried online yoga? 

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

Long Road to Boston

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Have you read the Long Road to Boston?

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

Road2Hope Marathon 2016 Race Report (Part II)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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!