Training Recap June 5-11

I swear there are no bad angles in Vancouver, I am always taken aback by the beauty this city has to offer. Most of my runs were in Vancouver this week and I was very happy to have a change of scenery. After 2 nights on the island, I am back in Vancouver for at least 2 more weeks, so I have many more runs ahead of me here and I am super okay with it. 

This is what I did last week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 55′ easy, I got to run with Tay, who I met from Sport Chek Running Club last summer, we headed out to the English Bay inukshuk.  I also did the NTC core strength workout.

Wednesday: 45′ easy, I ran out to sunset beach solo. I also did the NTC core strength workout.

Thursday: Solo workout, 20′ easy, 3 x 8′ @tempo (instructed not to look at watch), 20′ easy. It felt good, especially to enjoy a workout without wondering what paces I’m hitting, running based on effort is nice. I also did a 10 minute core for runners workout, it was tough but good.

Friday: OFF.

Saturday: Group workout with the Island Striders: 20′ easy, 3 x 1 mile with a jog back to the mile start between each, 20′ easy.

Sunday: 70′ easy, headed out to good ole lochside trail. I also did the NTC abs and arms workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 53.9km 

This week will bring more running adventures in Vancouver and hopefully a fun trail run. 

Training Recap May 29-June 4

This week I started to feel like I was getting my groove back. The 2 workouts I had didn’t feel horrible, they actually felt quite good! Quite the contrast to last week when I felt like I was on my deathbed the whole time. I will continue to enjoy this period of lower mileage and only 5 days a week of running because pretty soon, it’ll be back to the strict schedule of marathon training. I think I have another month before training technically starts, but I am also training for a half in August so that will be coming up quick.

Here’s how my week went:

Monday: OFF. I did the NTC basic burner workout.

Tuesday: 45′ minutes easy, I ran home from work and I also did the NTC core strength workout.

Wednesday: Group workout, we switched up the scenery and went to Elk/Beaver lake. The workout was 20′ easy, 5-4-3-2-1, 20′ easy. It felt good to get a bit of speed back into my legs, though I was a teenie bit sore the following day.

Thursday: 50′ easy, this was a commute run, I also did the NTC ab burner 2.0 workout. 

Friday: OFF. 

Saturday: Group workout, we did 20′ easy and then 3 x 1 mile repeats (7:30, 8:00, 7:20), 20′ easy. I was very happy with how this workout went compared to the previous week, where we had breaks part of the way through some of the repeats and still felt horrible. Progress! I also did 2 NTC workouts: abs and arms + core crunch 2.0

Sunday: 80′ easy, I biked over to a friends house and we went out on a trail tour, it was awesome and beautiful. I also did the NTC ab burner 2.0 workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 51.5km 

I am going to Vancouver for the week on business and excited to be running my old routes! Seawall, here I come!

Training Recap May 22-28

I cannot believe May is about to be over. This month went by insanely fast. I also cannot believe it has been 3 weeks since the marathon! It is finally warm here on the West Coast and we have had almost 2 weeks of warmer weather. I have a feeling the summer is going to be HOT and that means early, early morning runs! That’s okay with me since I wake up at 5am anyways. 

If I were to describe my post-marathon running in 1 word it would be: underwhelming. I feel like a big ole slug. Easy runs are easy runs, but I have done a few workouts and so far it’s just lap after lap of riding the struggle bus. I’m feeling like I’m brand new to running and working so hard. When I review the splits later they aren’t nearly as horrible as they feel, but they aren’t great. I definitely don’t have the mental desire to be at the very front of the pack either (I have this desire 99.9% of the time except for now). I don’t think this is a huge problem right now, it’s just very different for me and definitely a mental struggle. Right now, it’s still about recovery and building mileage back. I am not officially in training mode for any specific events. That being said, I am registered for a few events including:

The Seawheeze Half-Marathon on August 12, 2017.

The Eastside 10km on September 16, 2017.

The Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon on October 22, 2017.

I have about 6 weeks until training starts and I know I should be back to my regular competetive self by then! Until that happens, I’ll continue taking it day by day and enjoying the sunshine and return of my annual Garmin tan.

Anyway…here is what my training involved this week:

Monday: OFF. I did do 2 NTC workouts: Abs and Arms and Core Crunch 2.0.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, I started out running towards the water, but then the bridge was up and no way was I going to stand there waiting for it, so I took a city route home. I am surprised the bridge has never interfered with my route before πŸ€”. I also did the NTC core strength workout.

Wednesday: Group workout, we did our customary 20 mins easy and then 2 sets of: 3 hill repeats and then a tempo to this wooden bridge and back maybe 5 mins long, and then 20 mins easy cool-down.

Thursday: OFF. I did the NTC ab burner 2.0 workout. 

Friday: 30′ easy, ran my regular route without bridge interference. 

Saturday: Group workout, we went to Cedar Hill (hell), it is a hilly trail route surrounding a golf course. The workout was: 20 mins easy and then 3 x 1 mile, 20 mins easy. It was hard and hot! I also did 2 NTC workouts: core strength + abs and arms.

Sunday: 60′ easy, headed out to the trails at Thetis Lake with Jo (mountain goat). It was also friggin hard. That being said, I had already biked about 20km and race marshalled a half-marathon (also very fun, I plan to do it again soon).

Total Weekly Mileage: 41.6km

Training Recap May 15-21

This week I re-introduced running into my schedule after a full 7 days off post-marathon. The volume is still quite low, but I am definitely happy to be back on the road.  I have also re-introduced core work and some strength training, time to get back on track with those and make them a regular part of my week again. I am using this training break as an opportunity to use my bike more, since it is nice outside and I enjoy how fast I can get around on a bike!

Monday: First run back, 30 mins easy, I felt great, so fresh and fast for a first post-marathon run (5:00/km pace to my surprise). I finished off the day with the NTC core strength workout.

Tuesday: That fresh feeling didn’t last long and my 20 minutes easy was much slower than the previous days’ run. I also biked to and from work ’cause the sun was shinning. I did the NTC core strength workout too.

Wednesday: Our first group-run back, we ran 30 minutes easy on a hilly trail surrounding Cedar Hill Golf Course. It wasn’t easy, but it was nice to see everyone! I biked to and from this run which served as a good warm-up/cool-down.

Thursday: OFF. I did the NTC Abs and Arms workout and the Core Crunch 2.0 workout.

Friday: OFF

Saturday: Our first group-workout back, we went back to Cedar Hill Golf Course and did our regular 20 minute warm-up followed by some hilly repeats in the trails, it was hard and I felt like a slug, but that is okay, it shouldn’t last long, we capped it off with a 10 minute cool-down. I biked to and from this workout too, biking is fun! I also did the NTC core strength workout.

Sunday: I had 40 minutes easy with the last 3 minutes at 5:00/km. The majority of the run was about 5:45/km, so I was interested to see how those final 3 minutes would be, and since I wanted to make sure I hit the 5:00/km (as though I was doing a super serious workout) I ended up actually doing a 4:32/km pace, and it felt quite hard. Next time, I’ll stick to the pace πŸ™‚ I also did the NTC Ab Burner 2.0 workout.

Total Weekly Mileage: 31.1km

In other news, I registered for the Toronto Waterfront Marathon which is on Sunday October 22md, so now it’s official, I will be marathon training again soon! I had pretty much decided I was going to do this during the taper before Eugene. Last week they released the medals and the image is of the Leuty Lifeguard stand, which is a symbol of The Beach, the Toronto neighborhood I grew up in. I knew this was the next marathon for me and registered right away.

Eugene Marathon Race Report

My runs in the week leading up to this race left me feeling more discouraged than they should have. As per my watch (now old watch) I had trouble hitting my paces which were only 1-3km long. It was frustrating and left me questioning how I would perform during the race. If you’ve read any of my other recent posts, you know I was having some watch issues. Maybe it was the taper crazies or maybe I just got fed up, but that week, I bought myself a new watch because I couldn’t wrap my mind around running a marathon with a watch that doesn’t track distance accurately.

I went into this race with my primary intention being to qualify for the Boston Marathon. I also thought I would finish in about 3:28, not entirely sure where I got that number from, but for a while during the race I thought it was going to happen. Spoiler alert: I didn’t finish in 3:28, but I did BQ (!). If you just wanted the punchline then that’s that, but if you’re really interested in the nitty gritty details of my experience running my second 42.2 sit back relax and grab a coffee, cause that’s a lot of km to recap.

Jo and I wove our way through the start-line, seeding ourselves appropriately between the 3:25 and 3:35 pacer. Then, she took off weaving to the left not wanting our races to impact each other. The anthem finished, and off we went. It was a brisk morning, but the sun was out promising ideal conditions. I told myself not to start out too fast. My average pace for the first 5km was 4:54/km.

At km 6 the air filled with a sweet, smoky smell, pot, which caused a few laughs and comments from fellow runners. It was strong! For km 6-10 my pace increased a bit to 4:50/km and that continued from km 11-15 as well. I found myself with the 3:25 pacer for quarter or so of the race. From 16-20 I dropped a bit to 4:56, my stomach began to feel very full of water and bloated. I began to wonder whether I should stop to use a port-o-potty. I have never done this during a race, but during the final few km before the half-way point, I knew I couldn’t wait another 13 miles/21 km. As soon as I crossed the half-way timing mat, I darted into the port-o-potty, only wasting about 30 seconds. The second thing that happened at this point was, I became aware of my legs starting to feel tired. I had expected that to happen a bit later on, but it was more a mental than physical struggle I suppose.

Km 22-25 I felt better and averaged 4:55/km. I kept thinking, the race doesn’t start until 30km, and began counting down. The closer I got to the 30km mark, the more I wondered how I would feel when I got there. From 26-30 km I slowed a bit to 4:59/km. I did not enjoy the parts of the course along the river, and there was a lot of time spent there, not only was it monotonous, there was GPS interference and my pace would bounce around sometimes telling me I was running close to 6:00/km (which is hard to see), I knew I wasn’t and was thankful for keeping my KM pace notifications on, but it still annoyed me and brought my morale down a bit.

Km 31-35 were pretty brutal my pace plummeted to 5:13/km, it wasn’t fun. At some point in there I began counting down until the end of the race. There weren’t too many runners around nor spectators and I think it really would have helped if there were at this point. I heard heavy steps behind me and a man in an orange t-shirt said, “3:30, let’s go”. I was feeling pretty down at this point and mustered a “yeah”, but let him go on without me. I also knew, I could do a  3:30-31 even with this glacial pace, so long as I didn’t slow beyond 5:20, the perk of being able to do quick math even in that state. I am not sure if this constitutes “giving up” or if I really couldn’t have gone faster (in the moment I definitely would have said I couldn’t  go faster). I also think that since my goal was to BQ and I knew I was on pace for that, maybe I didn’t need to try and force myself to run faster that day.

Km 36-40 were still pretty slow, 5:11/km but I did end up passing orange shirt in this stretch. In the last 5km I ended up with 2 ladies who had lined up beside me at the start, they were playing music out of a cell-phone and reasoning that they could still hit  3:30, one even suggested they run/walk. No way was I doing that, so I carried on past them alone, as strong as I could. Finally, I was back in town, finished running along the mentally draining river. The crowd support returned, the finish line was quickly approaching, and I started to feel better. After a final boost from EVRC (East Van Run Crew), I rounded the bend for my half-lap of Hayward Field to the finish. Km 41 was 5:15 and 42 was 5:02 and that little “sprint” to the finish line was 4:45/km. Official time 3:31:06.

There are a few things I took away from this race:

  1. This was only my second ever marathon and my expectations were probably too high.
  2. I ran 4 minutes faster than my first marathon, and that is great.
  3. I got a BQ (which was my A goal).
  4. I ran for 3:31 with  no music (and it wasn’t bad).
  5. My legs didn’t feel like they were being ripped apart the day/week after, and I recovered so fast.
  6. Maybe I started out too fast?
  7. The marathon will likely always be a humbling race.

As soon as I crossed the line I felt faint, then I got my medal, some photos, my bag of goodies and some water and started to feel better. I had no idea where Jo was since I had not seen here since the start. I later found out we were only a minute apart during the first half of the race and she also had no idea where I was either. That is, until sometime in the last quarter where she saw one of my empty Endurance Tap gels on the ground and deducted that I must have passed that point already. We sat on the fake grass for a bit, put our names on the massage list and headed over to the Ninkasi tent for a hard-earned beer.

Sometime in the hour that followed, I started to plan my next marathon.

Taper Crazies

The taper crazies are pretty full blown over here! I have had back-to-back race dreams. The first was a good one, I ran a 2:55 marathon, that’s what dreams are for right? The second one was more of a nightmare, we were driving to the ferry to go to the USA and once we were there I realized I hadn’t packed any of my stuff and couldn’t go. Not cool. This morning I didn’t wake up remembering any dreams, but I did wake up an hour early, unable to go back to sleep (at 4am).

Other than that, I am bored and feeling high energy. I have been watching way too much Netflix, normally between working at 6am and running I don’t have energy for much more. Bare in mind that this isn’t focused Netflix watching. It includes compulsive phone use ranging from checking the Eugene weather forecast, to race website to making notes about paces and equivalent finish times. To make things worse, I’m also laughing at silly comedies I know aren’t that funny and that I wouldn’t normally laugh at. Not running is a shock to the system, I tell ya.

There are still 5 more full days until this thing happens. Today I have a small workout, so I’m hoping that will help and then there are 2 more runs before race day. At least the taper still includes some running, otherwise I’m not sure what I’d do! 

How do you stay sane during a taper?

Training Recap April 24-30

Well, well, well…in a week I will be a 2 time marathon runner. Crazy. I don’t think I have fully realized what I have signed up to do next weekend. What I have realized is, how much free time I have on my hands and the excess of energy. I know the excess energy will likely increase as the week goes on and my mileage dwindles, but that’s taper life. I’ll be cutting back on caffeine to balance out the feeling of extra energy. Other than that, I plan to relax as much as possible after work and continue to eat well in preparation for next Sunday.

This week I didn’t do any NTC workouts and I won’t be doing any next week either. Tapering mileage also means tapering other physical activity. Here’s what I did this week:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 45′ easy, just a plain run home.

Wednesday: Group workout, we did 10′ easy, followed by 2 sets of: 3km@MP, 2km@HMP, 1km@10km, 10′ easy, this was about 16km and the final run/workout of this length.

Thursday: 40′ easy, another plain run home. 

Friday: 30′ easy, I decided to run to work and get it over with. This was so I could go shopping after work and purchase a new GPS watch that actually tracks distance/pace accurately. I was too fed up with my old one after the realization that it does not work properly and was not willing to run a marathon relying on it.

Saturday: Group workout, this was as short and sweet as they come. 10′ easy, 3km@MP, 3×90”@10km, 10′ easy. 

Sunday: 70′ easy, the rest of the runs will be super short from here on out! 

Total Weekly Mileage: 58.1km

Training Recap April 17-23

Any week that starts with the Boston Marathon is bound to be a good week, even if you aren’t a participant. One of my teammates participated and I was tracking her among others all morning on Monday and of course my IG feed was flooded with all things Boston. I didn’t think it was possible to increase my desire to participate in this event, but I was mistaken. Boston 2018, I’m coming for ya!

This week marked the start of the taper and my mileage has declined significantly already. There are still runs and workouts, but they are much shorter than the previous weeks.

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 45′ easy, I also did an NTC core strength workout.

Wednesday: Group workout, 10′ easy, 10’@4;33, 1 mile @6:44, 1 mile @6:46, 1km @3:56, 30′ easy. Not sure how accurate these splits are as my running buddies’ watch said faster, but either way it was a solid workout. After this, I did an NTC abs and arms workout.

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 50′ easy, I got to hear all about the Boston Marathon from my teammate over coffee just before my run, leaving me inspired. When I got home, I did an NTC core strength workout.

Saturday: Solo workout, 10′ easy, 8 sets of 3’@4:40-4:50, 1’@5:20-30, 30 easy, this was a much more chill workout than usual, and that was perfect since I was alone and the regular competitive vibe was missing. I did an NTC core crunch workout in the afternoon too.

Sunday: Long-ish run, there will not be any more runs of this length, or longer until race day. I had 100′ easy and did a loop from home down to Dallas Rd for 18km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 62.3km

What I’ve Learned While Training for my Second Marathon

One of the fun parts about running is that you continually learn about yourself. Over the course of  this training cycle I have made a few observations.

1) That I rely heavily on my GPS watch. There’s almost nothing better than finishing a hard workout and seeing fast splits on your watch. I already know from my effort that I worked hard, but there’s something about seeing the paces on that little screen that makes it even more real and exciting. It’s almost like a reaffirmation of the effort put forth. Additionally, perceived effort can change as time goes on, but once you stop that workout, the paces are locked in there on the watch and you can look back at them later and remember how the workout was.

2) I really enjoy training in a group. Last summer when I trained for the Victoria Marathon, it was a solo venture. I did all my workouts and long runs on my own. It wasn’t bad, I would still say I enjoyed it. This training cycle has been different. I have only done 1 workout alone, and I have had company during my long runs as well. This has been fun to the point where I don’t want it to end. The 3 of us “marathoners” have a very close relationship, we group text daily and look forward to our runs and time together. We are competitive, we support eachother, we laugh a lot and it’s always a good time. This is definitely my preferred way of training. 

3) That my watch might not be working properly. This realization has come from all my time spent running with others. I can run with other people at the same pace the entire time and at the end of the run I will end up some 200-400m shorter than them. This might sound insignificant, but the type of personality that trains the way we do loves precision, accuracy and numbers. The other problem is, my pace will show as slower as my running partners. This happens during easy runs as well as workouts. 

According to my watch, I will almost always be the slowest one. In reality, I am either at the front or exactly on pace with everyone else. I know I’m fit and have had a great training cycle, but it’s still frustrating to not have a record of the exact paces I’m hitting. This has become a joke of sorts. First we thought someone had a generous watch (well we still do), but now it seems my watch is officially “slow”. We have 1km, 1 mile, 2km and 3km markers on our regular workout run and last weekend we tested my watch and found it doesn’t register hitting those distances until after passing the marker by a number of metres. 

While I am looking for a solution with to this issue. So far, I have been instructed by the watch manufacturer to check my software (I already knew I had the up-to-date software), plug it into the computer and syncs it, then delete all the files on it. The next step is to test it again and see if there is any change. If not, “it may have to be exchanged”. Fun! 

What this has highlighted is the enormous reliance I have on my watch as stated in lesson 1. I admit, I rely heavily on my watch, but I don’t know what the alternative is. The paces are important to me, they provide a means of comparison and assessment of progress. My interest in this data might be borderline obsessive, but I think that might be a personality feature that that makes me a successful runner. It takes a lot of commitment and discipline, but I’m lucky to have found like-minded people who share these sentiments. 

Training Recap April 10-16

This weekend marked the end of the hard work until race day. We are still 3 weeks away from The Eugene Marathon and there is still running to be done, but the workouts will be shorter and less intense and the “long runs” won’t be so long. The mileage will be coming down so our bodies can rest before the race. It will definitely result in having more free time and I will be using it to plan out our road trip to Eugene. Specifically, where to eat, get the best coffee, have a celebratory post race dinner (and finally a beer) and all those little details to make the trip amazing. 

Here is how the week looked:

Monday: OFF.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, ran home from work and then did an NTC abs and arms workout.

Wednesday: Group workout: 20′ easy, 2×16 mins as 3’@HMP, 1′ float, 5’@MP, 1′ float, 1’@10km, 5’@MP, 15′ easy. This workout was fun and felt short and sweet for a total of 15km. 

Thursday: OFF.

Friday: 70′ easy, since it was Good Friday and we had no work, I went out for an easy run to the big with 2 teammates.’

Saturday: Group workout, 20′ easy, 2 x 5km @mp, 3x3km @5” faster thank mp, 15′ easy. This was 25.5km and the last long workout of this training cycle! I also did an NTC core workout.

Sunday: 3 hrs easy, this was 32 km through the galloping goose starting in Langford and going toward Metchosin, what a beautiful area! We ended up turning down a side street because we saw the ocean and once we got there we had the most spectacular mountain view. Unfortunately, we were running phoneless today and missed out on a couple amazing photo-ops, we were focused on finishing our last long run of the training cycle.

Total Weekly Mileage: 91km 

It’s taper time!