Training Recap June 4-10, 2018

This week I started running with a new training group! The workouts start EARLY, 6:30am and the WU needs to already be completed by then. I am always up early anyhow, and enjoy getting my workouts in at the beginning of the day instead of at night, part of why I joined this group.

Monday: 6km easy to start the week.

Tuesday: Back on the track! 2km warm-up, 800m @4:20-25, 600m @4:20-25, 400m @mile pace, 200m @mile pace, 400m @mile pace, 600m @4:20-25, 800m @4:20-25, 2km cool-down. I also strength/ core.

Wednesday: 5km easy for Global Running Day!

Thursday: Mona Fartlek WO, 2km warm-up, 2×90” @4:20-25, 4×60” @4:20-25, 4×30”@4:20-25, 4×15” @4:20-25, 2x1km@MP, 2km cool-down. I also did a HIIT WO- been a very long time since I’ve done one of these.

Friday: 6km easy, went out to Ashbridges Bay. I also did core.

Saturday: “Long-Run”, 14km out towards the Leslie Street Spit. I also did core.

Sunday: OFF. According to my watch, I walked almost to 18km.

Total Weekly Mileage: 50.1 km

Training Recap May 28-June 3, 2018

This week was pretty relaxed, no workouts, no long-runs, I just did what I felt like. I cannot tell you the last time I did that because it was YEARS ago. I went on 5 runs, at all times of day. It was good, but weird. I don’t plan to continue this way though because when it comes to training I love plans and structure!

Here is how the week went:

Monday: OFF. 

Tuesday: 8km easy, and core. It felt good to get out and stretch the legs after my partial Buffalo Marathon. You can read about that here if you are interested: Training Recap May 21-27 and Surprise Race Recap

Wednesday: 10km easy, a typical out-and-back route along the beach/lakeshore. I also did core.

Thursday: 6km easy, a little rip around the beach to Ashbridges Bay Park. I also did core and strength training.

Friday: OFF. 

Saturday: 10km easy, headed out around 5pm which is late for a Saturday. I was otherwise engaged during the day, but it ended up being a nice time to run. I chose a different route which took me along Dundas. I also did core.

Sunday: 12km easy, it was grey and breezy and kind of west-coast ish. I enjoy that weather.

Total Weekly Mileage: 46km

This week is going to be a big week of NEW. I have been in Toronto for a month now, but what have I been doing? What are my plans for work and training here? I’ll touch on al of that later this week so stay tuned.

What does “I can’t” really mean?

The other day, one of my brothers’ colleagues said to me, “I heard you run marathons”. To which I said, “Yes, that’s true”. He then said something like, “How do you do that? I can’t even run 8km without barfing!”

I am confident that any endurance athlete will have a story or 10, about someone asking them, “How do you run a marathon?” or “How do you do a triathlon?” etc. I find this question difficult to answer because it’s pretty simple. You put in time, effort and train for your endurance sport of choice, and then you do it. There is no magic. Regardless of the response, it is typically followed by something like, “I could never do that!”

But how can you know for certain that you CAN’T do something if you never try? You see, the choice of language, “I can’t” cannot be interpreted literally.

It can mean:

“I don’t want to”.

“I have never tried”.

“That seems daunting, I’m scared just thinking about it”.

Etc.

It can also mean:

“I am not trained to..”

“I can’t…TODAY”.

These two statements are true of endurance athletes too, the ability to complete a marathon or triathlon requires training, it’s not just something you up and do on a random afternoon (typically). Even people who are seasoned endurance athletes go through periods of un-fitness, and times where they aren’t prepared to complete long events. Training is hard, there’s no question, it involves prioritizing, organization, and dedication. Just because something doesn’t come easy, doesn’t mean it’s impossible. It means it’s going to take time and effort.

Saying you “can’t” is limiting yourself, putting a box around a goal and saying no without ever fighting for it. I believe this can become a self-fulfilling prophecy because if you have it in your head that you are unable to do something, you probably won’t try to do it. Even though it’s more than likely that this goal would be attainable if the necessary effort was put forth. There are very few things someone actually “can’t” do so long as a goal is set, and we give ourselves the time and tools to complete it.

You may have heard of a tool called S.M.A.R.T goals. It can be used for any type of goal, personal, professional, athletic or other.

S: is for specific.

M: is for measurable.

A: is for achievable.

R: is for relevant.

T: is for time bound.

Using SMART goals is helpful because it keeps you accountable. Sometimes the difference between meeting a goal or not is realizing it by saying it or writing it out etc. Sometimes the difference can be the language we use, for example, “I can’t” vs. “I can’t right now” or “I’m working towards…”

Anyone who can was previously someone who couldn’t. The only difference between those who can and those who can’t, is that those who can are willing to try, willing to potentially fail in pursuit of being able to accomplish their goal. We aren’t born with the inherent ability to do many things, let alone run a marathon. Some of us choose to spend our time training in order to run them. So before you say “I can’t” do something, ask yourself, “Have I ever put forth the effort required to meet this goal? Seriously, have I?” If the answer is no, don’t say “I can’t”.

Training Recap May 14-20, 2018

I went into this week feeling anxious since I had 3-days off in a row due to being sick. In the grand scheme of things missing 2 runs is not the end of the world, but any runner will agree, missing 2 runs in a row does not feel good. It was the right call though to rest and get healthy! This week I completed all my runs and nailed a big workout, further evidence the rest was the right decision.

Monday: I ran 10km with my dad, it felt difficult after 3 days off, but that’s to be expected. I also did core and upper body.

Tuesday: My dad and I ran another 10km, different route though. It felt better than the previous day! I also did core.

Wednesday: WO day, first one in a week. It was: 20′ easy, 2×16′ as: 4’@HM, 3′ easy, 1’@10km, 4′ easy, 4’@HM, 20′ easy. It was freaking windy, so that made it a bit harder, and probably coming back from a cold made it hard too, this felt tougher than normal, but I got through it. I hit this in the morning because I had the Saucony Run Your World event in the evening, a 5km downtown during rush-hour. I tested out the new Saucony Ride ISO’s during the run and they felt great!

Thursday: 45′ easy, this was a slog after my double-run day, but I anticipated that and embraced the relaxed pace. I also did core.

Friday: 30′ easy, this was a little shakeout since I had a big WO on deck the next day.

Saturday: This was the largest WO I have done since Boston training, I was a little nervous about it, but am happy to report I executed without any issues. The WO was: 20′ easy, 5km@5:05, 4km@4:56, 3km@4:50, 2km@4:39, 12′ easy. When I woke up it was pouring rain, and I haven’t run in rain or poor weather since Boston. I was not feeling getting soaked, so I checked AccuWeather, saw when the rain was predicted to stop and waited until then to run. I have never done that before, and it’s funny to me that I did since I lived in the PNW for the last 4-years, but hey. I also did upper body and core.

Sunday: 90′ easy, I ran an OG “long-run” route out to Sugar Beach and back. It used to feel like a big accomplishment when I ran this 16km route back in the day. Today it felt like it ended quickly, I must be a marathoner…

Total Weekly Mileage: 87.1km

Training Recap May 7-13, 2018

Last week started with an early wake-up call, 5am, in order to catch my flight from Vancouver to Toronto. Luckily, I checked my email when I awoke to find out the flight had been delayed by 4 hours. I made it to Toronto later that day, and have been there ever since. I had a moderate week of training on deck post-BMO half and was looking forward to it. However, it seemed a combination of not being at home (staying at a friends and then an Airbnb) and not sleeping well wore me down. Shortly after arriving to Toronto I developed a nasty cold preventing me from running at all over the weekend, missing out on a WO and long-run. Not what I wanted, but I have done my best to embrace resting, and plan to get back out there today!

Here is what I did last week…

Monday: OFF. Nothing. Travel day.

Tuesday: 45′ easy, ran around the beach for an out and back, sun was out, beautiful day. I also did core.

Wednesday: Workout day, 20′ easy, 20’@5:30 (actual 5:21), 10’@ 5:20 (actual 5:04), 10’@5:10 (actual 5:00), 10′ easy. Something is off with my Garmin, the pace shows as way slower than it is, and once it laps for the km, the true (faster) pace flashes on the screen. I also did core.

Thursday: 50′ easy, a loop up to Broadview and Dundas and back along the water.

Friday: OFF.

Saturday: Supposed to be a WO, but sick.

Sunday: Supposed to be 100′ easy, but sick.

Total Weekly Mileage: 31km

Training Recap April 23-29

It has been a couple weeks! Last week I did not run, since after a marathon, I get 1-full week off of everything, so no recap about that. This week I did start running again, so I CAN tell you about that.

Monday: I did weights and core.

Tuesday: I ran for 20′ easy, whoohoo! I also did core.

Wednesday: OFF, I spectated at our group WO.

Thursday: I ran for 30′ easy, I also did strength.

Friday: I ran for 35′ easy, and did core.

Saturday: OFF.

Sunday: I ran 45′ easy, did strength and core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 23.6 km

Next week I get to run even more AND do a WO, I feel like it’s been a while! This is my last week running in Victoria, before I head to Vancouver for the weekend and then fly back /move to Toronto.

Training Recap April 2-8, 2018

One. Week. To. Go. I know that isn’t much time but it still doesn’t feel real yet, even though I don’t think or talk about much else right now. I’m guessing that when we arrive on Friday morning and feel the energy of the city, that will change and the realization of the upcoming 42.2km will set in. Here’s how the week went:

Monday: OFF. Went for a walk with a friend and that is it!

Tuesday: Group WO, 20′ easy, 2×3’@5km, 4×90”@5km, 10’@MP, 20′ easy. This was fast and fun.

Wednesday: 45′ easy, ran in the rain for the first time in what felt like a very long time, which is lucky! It wasn’t so bad once I was out, but I dreaded it leading up to it. I also did core.

Thursday: 30′ easy, I ran in the morning because I had a massage before work. Typically, they suggest for me to take the day off running after a massage so I got it done before, easy since it was so short. I also did core.

Friday: 40′ easy in Toronto! Got up just after 4am PST to catch my early flight to Toronto and once that was all taken care of did an easy run in the beach with my Dad.

Saturday: WO for 1, 10′ easy, 12’@MP, 3×3’@10km, 12’@MP, 30′ easy. This felt great! Fun how marathon pace feels like a stroll in the park after 10km pace. It was also did my last practice with fuel before the race and everything went well!

Sunday: 70′ easy, this run felt very easy and my legs are feeling fresh. There was a wicked wind but aside from that it was perfect. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 60.3km

I’ll be spending this week in Toronto to relax and continue tapering before race day! I am not sure what I will fill my time with aside from the haircut I have planned and getting my #boston nails done.

Training Recap March 19-25, 2018

This week was pretty BIG. I was definitely tired going into it after the half last Sunday check out my Race Recap: Comox Half-Marathon  In less than 2 weeks I will be in Toronto and in 3 weeks I will be in Hopkinton waiting to start the race. I decided to go to Toronto the week before Boston to acclimate to East Coast time and relax before the race.

Monday: OFF. I actually took the day off and did no running, weights, or core!

Tuesday: I did strength in the morning, ran 60′ easy in the afternoon and then did core.

Wednesday: My WO’ was: 20′ easy, 4×2’@4:40, and then 12′ continuous running up and down a hill, 20′ easy, the hill part was absolutely BRUTAL.

Thursday: 70′ easy, did an out and back to the bog, we were lucky enough to catch the sunny part of the day for this. I also did an upper body and core workout.

Friday: 35′ easy, I ran to work.

Saturday: WO, 20′ easy, 8km @ 5 seconds slower than marathon pace, 2×1 mile @ half-marathon pace, 7km @ marathon pace, 3km @ half-marathon pace, 4km @marathon pace. This ended up being 30km, my last supersized workout of this training cycle!

Sunday: 2:10 easy, did a mix of road and trail, this was very hard by the end and my legs were absolutely DONE when I finished. I also did core.

Total Weekly Mileage: 94.3km

And now I taper! That means 2 days off running this week, (WHAT!?).

STWM Recap Part 2 (the race)

I wake up shortly after 6am EST, beating my alarm by a few minutes. I head down to the kitchen to make coffee and breakfast, peanut butter toast and a banana. Eating is hard because my stomach feels nervous and I struggle through it while I re-count out my fuel and make a bottle of Nuun. I get dressed and then it’s time to drive downtown to the start-line. I get out a block away and follow the crowd to the start-line while doing my warm-up. It is loud and there is an undeniable excitement in the air, the 5km runners are crossing the finish as we wait in our corrals. I note how warm it feels, I am sweating just standing here surrounded by other warm bodies. I take a gel while Alan, the race director hypes everyone up, sharing a quote from Ed Whitlock.

The gun goes off and so do we, the pack is thick and it is difficult to find space. We head up towards Bloor St. I notice there are a surprising number of people running in full-on costumes. There is a cowboy running alongside me wearing denim jeans and a denim shirt, as well as accessories, I can’t imagine how uncomfortable he must be. I hear two guys behind me commenting on another costumed runner, guy 1: “Hey there goes a clown! He’s probably going for The Guinness World Record for fastest half in a clown costume”, guy 2: “His mom must be so proud.” This was funny, and also mean, but the best part is that guy in the full, polyester clown outfit, and wig ran the half in about 90 minutes, who’s laughing now?

I was feeling pretty good during this time, getting into the groove and enjoying running in Toronto. My first 5km were: 4:48, 4:56, 4:47, 4:45, 4:48. I was supposed to be closer to 5:00/km but hey. I took my first gel 20 minutes in, and looked forward to the Saucony/Black Toe cheer-station on Bathurst, about 7km in. What an epic cheer-station it was, music, a bunch of happy people and confetti canons!  Km’s 6-10 were: 4:43, 4:47, 4:53, 4:53, 4:54. I was still feeling good. As we turned onto Lakeshore, the heat became more apparent. It was shady at first, but the further west we went, the hotter the sun became. I kept up with my gels, about every 20 minutes, and taking water at each station. I started taking 2 cups and pouring one on my head, it felt so hot, I didn’t know what else to do. I noticed lines outside all port-o-lets on the course which I found surprising, seems like there should have been more. If stopping for the washroom isn’t bad enough, waiting for one makes it that much worse!

Shortly after we rounded the turn to head east, I remember two women commenting on another runners’ outfit, “Hey look that lady is running in barefoot”, funny, they focused on his bare feet when he also wore an 80’s exercise outfit, totally rocking a patterned crop top and matching high waisted shorts. I kept up double-fisting waters, as much as I could, though on many times when I reached for the water the hand moved further away, making it very difficult to retrieve. The next 5km went as follows: 4:53, 4:55, 4:58, 4:52, 5:02. My stomach was feeling full and I had started to feel sick. I knew I would need to stop to pee, so I decided to wait until I found vacant port-o-lets and accept the lost time.

The next 2 kms #16-17, were fine: 4:54, 5:03, but after 17 is when I knew my race was not going to go as planned. I felt like all the sudden my energy was gone, and I also was incredibly nauseous. Being only 17km in and feeling this bad was a pretty awful feeling, if it were twice as far in, it would have been understandable. Km 18 is when things started to slow down it was a 5:12, and then during km 19 I stopped to pee which made it a 5:50km. I thought that after that I might feel a bit better, but no such luck. We passed the PDRR/Lululemon cheer station which was amazing, we were under the Gardiner Expressway and it sounded like what I imagine to Wellesley Scream Tunnel to be like, so loud, so hype, but with confetti cannons. It was so much fun, but I would have enjoyed it more if I felt better. When I saw the inflatable archway separating the half and full-marathoners, I seriously considered taking the half-route and bailing out early. I did not know how I could possibly finish the race, that is how bad I felt. 20-21 were: 5:12, and 4:15 (Garmin fail). My split for the first half was: 1:45:20.

We headed towards the Distillery and all I could think about was DNF’ing. This is where things really began to fall apart, it was so hot and this is a strange out and back loop where you can see the turn-around point the entire time, but it feels like forever before you arrive. Km 22-25 were: 5:26, 5:53, 6:06, 5:57. I knew that the next 5km would bring me to the Beach where I could count on family and friends cheering. I also thought that would be another great time to bail out. I could wave to them, they would see me run, and then I would defer from the course, run up the street and DNF.

Once we got onto Eastern Ave towards the beach, the heat subsided a bit. I was still energy-less and wondered if maybe someone would be waiting to pick me up and say, “let’s go, this isn’t your day, you can try again another time”. I really did think this might happen, because those who were tracking me would have already determined something had gone very wrong. Just shortly before we left Eastern, I saw a figure on the side of the road with a camera, my dad. As I approached him, I was excited, he HAS come to pick me up I thought, no more of this misery. However, when I told him, “I do not want to finish”, he simply said, “now it’s just a training run”, no luck, no bail-out, continue on it was. Run or die.

Km 26-30 were 7:17, 6:48, 6:47, 5:52, 7:43. I actually started walking during this stretch and then I would pick a point at which I had to try running again. I think km 29 must have been where my cheering angel, Shelley found me. She had biked down from the beach, and carried a sign, she ran along the grass beside me and pumped me up. I was really struggling at this point. We continued on along Lakeshore towards Woodbine, which was incredibly hot, the sun was relentless. There were large cheer-stations with music and lots of people though.

Once we turned from Woodbine onto Queen St the crowd support increased even more, the street was full of people on both sides of the course. Once we got to the middle of the Beach, I spotted Shelley, my cheer angel again. On the other side of the street was my mom and neighbours waving frantically. I waved back and somehow smiled, and continue trekking along to the turn-around point further east. The crowd support was incredibly strong for this whole part of the race, people were calling out your name and screaming for you. It felt like everyone knew you, again if I had felt better, I would have enjoyed this even more. As I reached my mom again she passed me the gels I had asked, but I only accepted 1. I had taken a long break from gels because I felt too sick to take them, and still had some left.

When we turned from Queen st onto Woodbine, I overheard a girl on the side say to her mom, “I hope I never have to do one of these”. It made me laugh a little and then remember I used to think the same way. Shortly after that, and even younger girl said to her mom, “does cheering make them keep going?” as they stopped cheering and walked home. The mom looked at me apologetically as I was the first runner to pass since they had stopped cheering and said “good job”. Kms 31-35 were: 5:33, 5:45, 6:10, 5:59, 6:35. At this point, Shelley resurfaced for a third time and cheered me on as I turned off the Lakeshore for the last time. “You are so strong”, she said, I didn’t feel strong, but with only 7 km to go I knew I wasn’t weak even to DNF.

We got to the Corktown area and the streets became full again. There were just 3 more kms to go. Km 36-40 were 6:46, 6:30, 5:59, 7:33, 6:29. I just wanted to be finished with this and move on. The crowds grew, the closer we got to the finish line. Once we turned onto Bay, I noticed the sheer amount of people, blurred faces, bodies, so many people. It was dizzying, but amazing at the same time. The crowd support for this event was incredible. Km 41 was 5:41. During the final km I started to feel super weak, there were signs counting down every 100m for the last half km. I honestly didn’t know if I would cross the finish line, I felt like I was going to pass out. I didn’t and km 42 was 5:30. Official time 3:58:47. My 3rd marathon in a 1 year and 2 weeks. My slowest marathon by about 24 minutes.

STWM Weekend Part 1

It’s Friday, I wake up at 3am to get ready to go to the airport, just enough time to have some toast with peanut butter and a coffee. I arrive at the airport too early, Air Canada staff haven’t even arrived yet, so I cannot check my bag. After about 15 minutes they arrive and I proceed to security which is similarly empty, quickly passing through. I start listening to the podcast “My Dad Wrote a Porno” and try not to succumb to laughter in public as I am alone. A short flight later, I arrive at YVR with some time to spend before my next flight. I join the line at Starbucks for another coffee since it’s already been 3 hours since my first one, and a bagel for later. I find the gate for my next flight and continue listening to the podcast.

Before long I arrive in Toronto, grab my bag and head downtown to the race expo. It is much bigger than most expos in BC, but still small compared to an American one. We wander around for a while. I am not tempted by anything, and instead, take a few pictures with one of the photos of Ed Whitlock. We decide to head down to Ossington as we have a dinner reservation there later, and stop in at my favourite brewery, Bellwoods. I always stop here when in Toronto to fill my suitcase with beer to bring back to BC. For dinner, we go to La Banane, a french bistro. They start by bringing a warm pretzel instead of bread (I like this place already). I order fish, the meal is very good, and I would definitely return.

Saturday I wake up early, already adjusted to the time change after a week of waking up at between 3-4am Pacific time. I have coffee and breakfast, and head out for my short shake-out run. I run down to the beach, just a block from where I grew up, where I began my journey as a runner. There are lots of other runners and cyclists out, I feel overdressed in my shorts and t-shirt, it is way too hot for late October. I head home, and shower before heading downtown. My mom has an appointment to get her hair done, so I have time to spend, and end up getting my nails done, so I don’t walk too much, having a bagel for lunch and a mint tea. We head home and I lay down for a bit.

After a while, we head downtown to visit my brother at work. I have a kombucha and some pita and dips for a pre-dinner snack. We don’t stay long as I have dinner plans. Saucony had invited me to a pre-race dinner at Terroni. It was a fairly small group made up of a few Saucony employees, influencers, athletes (Krista Duchene!) and friends from Blacktoe Running. I had bread, pizza, salad and eggplant parmesan, Terroni is always a good idea. We had some great conversations about…all things running (surprise, surprise), my kind of night for sure! I almost forgot I had a marathon to run the next day, almost.  It was especially good to meet some people I have had only IG relationships with in real life finally! This group and the running community in Toronto is top notch and really made me think about moving back.