Training Recap October 24-30

I ran 5 days this week! It’s been about a month since that has happened! My mileage still isn’t very high, but going back up to 5 days of running is a great start. I still have some time before I’m back at my typical 6 days a week though. I am really enjoying the access to trails I have now, there are so many choices and each of them start from the end of my street!

Monday: OFF (as always).

Tuesday: 30 minutes easy, commute run from work. This was an eventful run because I lost my footing an bailed HARD. My right knee took most of the impact and wow did it hurt. Keep in mind this happened during rush hour so all the cars waiting for the light to change enjoyed some comedy that day.

Wednesday: 30 minutes easy, another commute run from work. I did not fall this time, so that was great.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 30 minutes easy, I went out along the Galloping Goose trail headed towards downtown, what a beautiful sunny day!

Saturday: We did a group workout along Lochside Trail, super convenient since this is one of the trails beginning from the end of my street. I walked the trail to meet the other ladies and then we did a 20 minute warm-up followed by 4 sets of 5 minutes at threshold pace and a 20 minute cool-down. Threshold pace is supposed to be about 80-90% of HR max, the pace should be sustainable in a race setting for an hour. For elites this is said to be half-marathon pace, and for the rest of us it’s about 10k pace. As my first work-out back from my training break, this was decently challenging. Though in a few weeks, it won’t be.

Sunday: I went out for an hour, which was nice. There was no agenda other than to spend an hour running. It was a sunny fall morning and I enjoyed it a lot. 

Total Weekly Mileage: 38.3

I also did 3 NTC core workouts this week and 154 push-ups. It’s time to reincorporate strength training into my week. I will aim to do 2 sessions weekly. 

I picked up Run Fast. Eat Slow. this weekend and will be working my way through all of the recipes. I am especially looking forward to the snack ideas! This will be great for my next marathon training cycle.


Why I Run

When I first started to catch the running bug, I was living in Toronto and managing a restaurant. I would either run before work or sometimes run home from work. I would always be asked, “what are you running from?” Now, this was a playful question obviously, and so my answer was always “obesity”. Not necessarily true, but the point is, there are many people out there who don’t understand running. I am sure every runner has heard their fair share of nonsense like, “run 30km? My car can go that distance…” Great for your car, but better for me. Anyway, there are countless reasons why us runners run. Here are mine:

1) For fitness: I started “working out” in highschool, I’ll use that term loosely because it consisted of some friends and I gossiping while doing the elliptical machine at The JCC and not much else. Regardless, fitness has been important to me for many years and running is an effective way of achieving that.

2) To stay sane: Stress? Anxiety? Anger? Not me (mostly), I think it has to do with running and also to do with the mental strength gained from running. But yeah, I feel pretty zen most of the time and I’m into that. 

3) To push myself: New goals can always be created once old ones are surpassed. I ran my first marathon, and now I want to do another one…faster, by 3-5 minutes. And I will. 

4) To eat: I love food, especially pizza, and nothing feels better than having homemade pizza on Sunday evening after your long run.

5) It’s in my blood: seriously, it is! My dad ran the Boston marathon multiple times. I plan to be the next family member to follow in his footsteps (see what I did there 😂). 

6) To travel: I think destination races are a great reason to travel, especially because you can find one pretty much anywhere you want to go. Growing up, my dad would find races in places we were going for vacation. He did one in Australia and also in Italy.

7) For the community: runners are the best! They are nice, and most of all, we understand each other. Who else can you talk to about running or recount a race recap to? NO ONE! Anyone but a runner will get bored or walk away. It’s true, I’ve tested this. 

8) To meet people: related to #7, but different. The running community extends beyond people you run with on a regular basis…the online running community is huge! Finding people to run with or do other cool stuff with is key, especially when you have just moved!

9) To learn new areas of the city: There is no better way to learn a new place than to run there. That’s 1 reason why I run on vacation, but this is true for your own city as well and it also helps your sense of direction!

10) To inspire others: I love running and I want to share that with as many people as I can. Whether that’s convincing someone to run their first half-marathon, or helping them get their butt outside for a weekday run, I believe everyone can run if they want to. 

Now you know why I run, and my question to you is: why do you run?

Recovery/ Training Recap Oct 17-23

Though I am still recovering from my marathon 2 weeks ago, I did do some light training this week. I don’t even know if it can be considered training, maybe active recovery is more appropriate? In any case, it is minimal compared to what normal training looks like for me. I am still able to sleep at night, so all is well! 

I ran a total of 3 times. 

I did 3 Nike Training Club core workouts.

I did 154 push-ups (22 a day for the 22 day push-up challenge). 

Total Weekly Mileage: (a whopping) 12.03km ! 

I also worked 4 days, 10 hrs each and that’s standing for most of the day and sometimes lifting. My prediction is: I’m going to be jacked soon. Tickets for the summer 2017 gunshow  will be on sale shortly. 

Since there’s not a whole lot to say about my training this week, I’ll mention what else I was able to accomplish this week. I got a lot done around the new house. We moved our final load of stuff from Van to Vic on Saturday. I put all the clothes in the closet, realized a good 70% are athletic apparel. I’m okay with that though. There is art on the walls. See my East Van shrine below:

Other than that, I did some meal prep this morning. Growing up, we would have this dish called achiote chicken, it is from The Cafe Pasqual’s cookbook. The restaurant is in Sante Fe, New Mexico. Anyway, you mix achiote paste with orange and lime juice, cinnamon, cloves, cumin, marjoram and of course, salt, pepper, garlic and olive oil, then marinate it for 24 hours. It will be served with roasted peppers, squash, zucchini and saffron rice. Photos to follow! 

That’s my training and lifestyle update for this week! 

Reflections on Post- Victoria Marathon Recovery

After running a marathon, it is customary to give your body a break, time to recover and let the muscles and mini tears heal. I took 9 days off from running and really any physical activity at all, aside from work. I cannot tell you the last time I took this much time off from physical activity. It would probably be 10 years ago! I definitely felt like I needed a break post-marathon, but I didn’t know how such a long break would go.

From Monday (day after the marathon) to  around Friday, it was a struggle to walk. Stairs were an absolute chore and I imagine it was quite hilarious to see me manoeuvre myself around town. So, no complaints about the break there! The weekend after the marathon was prettt stormy, so it wasn’t hard to stay inside and relax. I also started a new job last week requiring me to wake up at 5:15AM and I think that helped me sleep better and feel tired! 

However, after a week off, I felt re-energized and was fiending for a run. I was not supposed to run until today though and coach was fairly firm on that though I did negotiate an easy trail run for last night instead of today. So last night was my first run back after my break. I felt good and really enjoyed running again in spite of us getting lost and finishing in the dark. Bonus is I got to put my new 200 lumin headlamp to the test and wow that thing is bright! I still won’t be doing any majorly long or challenging running  for the next little while. I am still on what’s considered a training break, but I am happy to be able to run again even if it’s short, easy runs! 

Plus, word on the street is: if you don’t need the recovery, you didn’t train hard enough! 

I am enjoying the time off more than I thought I would. I can definitely see why planning a vacation for right after a marathon is a perfect time for it, something to think about next time! 

Victoria Marathon Race Recap

I finally did it, I am a marathon runner! I think the best way to describe my experience yesterday is surreal. When I crossed that finish line, I was excited to be done, but I didn’t fully register what I had accomplished. It just felt like a tiring race that had come to an end. Today, I still don’t know if I fully understand that I ran 42.2km yesterday, but my legs definitely tell me that I did! Maybe when I’m done writing this, it will have set in that I ran a marathon.

I’ll start out from first thing in the morning, I woke up much earlier than my alarm, sometime before 5am. It was my first night sleeping in my new place in Victoria and it was FREEZING, plus I often have trouble sleeping the night before a big race. I made coffee, and oatmeal, and struggled to eat the oatmeal. I was feeling super nauseous because of being nervous, but managed to eat almost all the oatmeal. I pre-packed my bag the night before with my change of clothes and shoes, Flip Belt containing 11 gels, disposable jacket and gloves.

Since there is an early start-time for the marathon as well as 3 other races before the marathon main start, getting to the start-line was tricky. I ended up walking from China Town to the Parliament Buildings and that helped calm my nerves. I grabbed my bib from the out-of-towners pick-up and went to meet a running buddy at The Grand Pacific Hotel, where a local running store had rented out the banquet room so runners could relax and stay warm pre-race. We talked about our race plans, mine was to aim for a 5:00-5:10 pace for the first 30-35km and then see what was left in the tank after that. My fuel plan was to take a gel every 20 minutes. The half hour before the race went by super fast and before we knew it we were lined up at the start line. We hugged and then the gun went off, and so did we.

I started out a little bit faster than my target pace, the first 2 km were 7-11 seconds too fast. I didn’t even feel like I was running very fast and was very determined not to fall below a 5:10 pace. This was no issue at all, and I kept making a conscious effort to make sure I was not going faster than a 5:00/km pace. I realized I  had seen a 3:15 pacer, but not the 3:30 pacer, because I was ahead of them. I kept making sure my pace was okay and they caught me a few km in, previous to that I was in a pretty thin pack, but all of the sudden I was engulfed by this thick crowd of sweaty people. It was kind of gross to be running like that. It was congested and hot. The other thing was, they weren’t going at the 4:59 pace needed to achieve that 3:30, it was 4:45-4:50. It was too soon in the race to go faster than goal pace as far as I am concerned, so I let them go, but kept them in sight.

I finished the first 10km in 49:22, a bit faster than a 5:00 minute pace. Everything was good and easy and I was enjoying myself and in disbelief that I was actually running a marathon. The km’s continued to tick by and before I knew it I was passing the 10 mile/16km point where a coworker was going to meet me for a few km. It was fun to have someone to talk to for a few km and I definitely appreciated it! What seemed like all of the sudden, it was already the halfway marker and my time was 1:44: 38. Closer to my goal pace, so that was good. I wasn’t really concerned about the distance remaining or really anything at all. All I had to do was keep running, stick to the pace, and take a gel every 20 minutes. I think taking all those gels actually made the time go by faster, because I had something to do every 20 minutes. If the water station coincided with my gel time I took it with water, if not I took the gel on its own and the water when it was available. I used a mix of Endurance Tap and Guu Gels. They worked great. I definitely recommend stepping up your gel game and seeing how your performance is impacted.

Shortly after the half-way point, I began seeing the elites after completing the turn-around. I always get excited to see how fast and smooth these runners are. Also, I knew I would get to see some people I knew shortly. I always get very excited and cheer for people I know when I see them, and yesterday was no exception. I cheered for the fellow racers I knew and loved every second of it. We all had an amazing day out there and I am so impressed by how we did.

I kept on feeling fluid and pretty at ease sailing through the 30km mark at 2:29:45, right on track with my target pace. Now, 30km is the longest I ever went on a long run, so I knew I could do that, but it was the last 12km that were the question mark. When you have already run 30 km, it doesn’t seem like 12km is very far to go… From 32-35km my pace dropped a bit and my quads just started to feel very tired. Those rolling hills had taken their toll. I managed to hit my pace again for the 36th km, but it fell again from 37-39km. I knew I was tired, and I was okay with it, there was never a question of whether I would be able to finish the race, just a question of how long it would take. I absolutely did not want t0 go over 3:40-3:45, and I knew I would still be able to do that or better with the strong beginning I had.

There were a lot of people walking and that was hard to see, I had no intention of walking though and just focused on continuing to run even though my pace had dropped. I hit my pace again for the 40th km, and it dropped again for the 41st km. This last part of the route is where I had done 2 training runs leading up to this race, I know it well and I knew it would be over soon. I knew it was almost over, but the reality of soon having completed a marathon was not clicking. I mustered up a 5:02 pace for that last km. Crossed the finish line and have never felt such pain in my legs and feet. There were team-mates cheering, my boyfriend and my coach, it was so amazing to have all that support.

After chatting with my coach, I headed through to the food tent, denied the cheese strings I was offered and grabbed my bag. Walking around the downtown area was no easy task and it took 5x longer than normal for me to get anywhere. Food was the last thing on my mind and all I wanted was water and a bath, so that is what I did. It took about 3 hrs before I was ready to eat and then I was starving. I chose the Guild for my treat meal and had the best soft pretzel I have ever had, along with a Persephone Dry Irish Stout and a burger as well as lots of water. I got full easily and didn’t have much desire to eat again for the rest of the day. After the Guild, I met up with a bunch of runners from Vancouver and EVRC to share race stories, over well earned beers. It was great to hear about everyone’s experiences, especially because the majority of us were very happy with the outcome. I finished  my day watching the tale end of the Jays game and fell asleep before 10pm.

Overall, I am very happy with my first attempt at the marathon distance. I did finish within my target. However, I also know that I can do much better than this next time and that means a BQ. The cutoff time for my age is 3:35, so I need a few minutes faster than that to make sure I get in. I am looking at the Eugene marathon in May as my next race. I have heard it is fast and flat, plus it finishes on Hayward Field. Sounds pretty great to me!


Training Recap October 3-9

Happy (Canadian) Thanksgiving! There were at least 4 marathons that took place yesterday, including The Victoria Marathon, which I participated in. I think Thanksgiving is a perfect time for a marathon, the cooler weather is great for running and there’s so much good Thanksgiving food to eat after! This is what I did last week for my taper:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 10 minutes easy, 10 mins @5:00/km, 2 x 3 mins @4:45, 8 mins @5:00, 10 mins easy. This was done at the start time of the race.

Wednesday: 30 mins easy with The Sport Chek Robson Training Club.

Thursday: 10 mins easy, 8 mins @5:00, 3′ @4:50, 90 seconds @4:40, 10 mins easy. This was also done at the time the race would start.

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 20 mins easy. It was pouring rain and I ran to this alley off Granville that is brightly painted in pink and yellow.

Sunday: Race Day! I will post a recap about this tomorrow, get ready for a long one! In the meantime, I will continue to lie in bed since I can’t walk very well and eat all the food!

Total Weekly Mileage: 34km + marathon = 76.2km

Taper Update

Good morning, Happy day-before-Friday.  Well, including today there are 3 days left until I take on the Victoria Marathon. This week I have run twice so far though the runs have been only 8km and 5km. This morning I will be running another 8km and then the final run will be just 20 minutes on Saturday.

At this point, the taper hasn’t been so bad. I definitely feel like I have extra energy. Sometimes to the point where the feeling is similar to when you drink too much coffee. And no, I haven’t been doing that. 

Another observation I have had (though who knows if the taper is to blame) is that my emotions are heightened. By that I mean they are exaggerated, like I am often feeling super-super good and happy. However, there have been a few moments of other emotions like anger and frustration which come on quickly. Not sure if anyone else has experienced this before? It could be a reaction to stress or nerves, but I am not totally sure. 

Sometimes when I am less active in the day I have trouble sleeping. I was worried that might be the case this week. So far it hasn’t been an issue and I have been sleeping surprisingly well. I am reading to fall asleep instead of watching tv/ scrolling Instagram and that has probably helped too. 

So what have I been doing with all my extra time? I have spent most evenings and some mornings tearing apart the condo and packing it up. Not only am I running the Victoria marathon this weekend, I am also moving back there. Luckily, there is no furniture to move and it’s all clothes, decorations and some small kitchen appliances. I am shocked by how much stuff can fit into this sub 500 ft space. Having something to do with my free time is definitely helping out my mental game, otherwise I would probably be glued to TLC and getting restless sitting on the couch. Truth be told, I am still watching TLC, just I walk around packing and organizing things at the same time. 

Hope everyone is having a great week and getting through the taper! 

What do you do to stay sane during the taper?

Training Recap September 26-October 2

At this time next week I will have officially become a marathon runner, woohoo! The hard work is mostly done. So, now I just have to keep it together through the taper and run the race. My mileage was already reduced last week, but it will be reduced even further this week. I also will not be doing any strength training this week. This is how the week went:

Monday: 50 mins “easy” with East Van Run Crew, the group may have gotten divided and the part I was in did get lost, but we found everyone eventually!

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 40 mins “easy” with the last 3 minutes as 30 seconds hard, 30 seconds easy, completed with the Sport Chek Robson Training Club.

Thursday: One of my final pre-marathon workouts! 15 minute warm-up followed by 15 minutes @ marathon pace, 8 minutes @ 10 seconds faster than marathon pace, 3 x 2 mins @ 15-20 seconds faster than marathon pace and a 10 minute cool-down.

Friday: 40 mins “easy”, this is the earliest I have run in a while, I left the house at 6:45am to get the run in before my 8:30am start time at work.

Saturday: Another work-out, definitely a lot more relaxed than they normally are! 15 mins “easy”, 20 mins @ marathon pace, 3 x 3 mins @ 10k pace (my favourite part), 15 mins “easy”. I did this on the Galloping Goose Trail, one of my favourite places to run in Victoria.

Sunday: 60 mins “easy”, I went along Dallas Rd which is near the end of the course for next weekends’ marathon.

Total Weekly Mileage: 55.4 km

I will share how my taper is going midweek! Good luck to everyone racing next weekend!