Friday, April 30, 2010

T - 30

Countdown is on... 30 days till race day (only 29 for the 10k-ers!), which means only 2ish weeks of training left before the taper... hope everyone is feeling good about their training and are looking forward to race day. By now you should definitely be in your race day shoes, have a few runs planned to test drive your race day outfit, and have at least one "race day simulation" run on the calendar with carb loading and early bedtime and all.

I'm excited there are so many of us doing this race and aside from the race itself, I also can't wait for the pasta dinner at Felicity Cres on Saturday! Craddie will have a job to put on a feast as awesome as the one we had at Amber&Rich's in 2008...!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Blessings and goals

Greetings runners,

Hope your training is going well. It's crunch time now, with only four weeks to go until race day.

At this point, a good chunk of the training is done. It's time to focus on staying injury-free (or healing those aches and pain), eating well and resting well. I don't think anyone fully understands how taxing this whole thing is until you stop training.

I thought I would share some wise advice I've received from seasoned runners.

Last year, I met a dynamo of a woman who has run upwards of 70 marathons. Yes, you read that right. She is absolutely fabulous. Her advice was to take 5 minutes and make a list. What you put on this list depends on you, here are some things to think about: why do you run, why are you training for this particular race, what are you grateful for? It will be nice to look back on it if you happen to have a bad run or feel ridiculously tired over the next few weeks.

Here is mine:

1) I am doing this because I want to, and I am healthy and lucky enough to be able to do it. In some parts of the world, women can't even step out of the house unaccompanied let alone in running gear.

2) I am really looking forward to telling people I have run marathons. Notice the "s".

3) I do this for myself. Some people don't understand and think I am punishing myself... if they only knew how much fun I've had with my running buddies over the last year.

4) I derive ridiculous amounts of pride and a huge feeling of accomplishment from my running.

5) I like having a goal and sticking to it. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

There you have it.

Another high achieving athlete who came to speak to us at the High Park Running Room in Toronto told us to publish our goals in three tiers. The first being why you're showing up in the first place, the second being a goal you'd be happy with and the third goal being the "if all the stars align goal". Once it's out there, it's easier to stay motivated :) Your goals don't have to be lofty. It could be as simple a "finishing upright", "not pissing myself on the course", "not crying", etc...
This guy holds the record for the fastest crossing of Ontario on a bike. Like 800+ kilometers in something crazy like 26 hours or whatever...

And whatever happens on race day, don't be disappointed. Race day can be a bitch. You never know. The fact you get there is an accomplishment in itself.

Here are my goals:
Tier 1 - Finish
Tier 2 - Beat my personal best time by 1hr
Tier 3 - Sub 4 hour marathon

And by the way, there is no way I can achieve the "not pissing myself on course" goal. ;)

Happy trails.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good Morning!!!

We all have busy schedules and sometimes it’s tough to fit in a weekday run between work, kids, spouse, friends,… but the way we make it work is to put it in our schedule and stick to it. I love the mornings so it is great for me to be able to do my runs in the morning. I consider it my “me” time, before everyone else gets to “get me”. I know not everyone shares my love for getting out of bed at 4:45am (and really, it’s only one extra hour, and you don’t have to miss that extra hour of sleep, just tack it on at night and hit the sack an hour earlier – that’s why DVRs were invented!) but there are a lot of benefits to “get it done” in the morning. Here are my top ten reasons for doing my weekday runs in the morning:

10. That awesome feeling of fresh crisp morning air in my lungs
9. There is little to no traffic on the streets (but quite a few runners!)
8. I have more energy early morning than later in the day
7. There is nothing in my belly that can give me cramps or stitches
6. It kicks starts my metabolism for the day and I burn more calories sitting at my desk
5. No stress of needing to fit my run in when unexpected things come up during the day
4. All my races are in the morning so I’m always simulating race day in a way
3. No guilt about eating a little something extra that day
2. I can relax and enjoy my evenings
1. The days I run in the morning I always feel better about myself than the days I don’t

I won’t mention the downsides like breaking the morning cobwebs with your face and still having a sweat on hours later at your desk because you had a George Costanza shower that “didn’t take”… :)

For those non-believers – try it for a week, you just may find that you like it!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Injury Prevention

I thought it would be appropriate for me to post a blog about injuries.

I started running a couple of years ago now, and have gone through quite a few injuries, some preventable and some just silly. So not to scare any new runners, but I just thought I would share a few pointers on what I did wrong and how you could prevent some very common injuries.

Here are a few tips I picked-up along the way:
#1 piece of advice - Never run through any pain. Typically if you are feeling pain, your body is trying to tell you something.
The next rule of thumb is - try to avoid increasing your speed, incline or distance more than 10% per week.
I have also been told never to stretch cold I now always run 1-2 km before stretching and always stretch after my runs. (Hold your stretch for a min of 20 seconds.)

Here are a couple of injuries that I suffered from #1 being inactive for close to 5 years, and also taking on a bit more than I could chew (I tend to push myself a little to far from time to time)

  • Stress fracture (right shin) - increased distance and incline (HFX 10K) too rapidly
  • Bursitis right foot - not enough calf stretching after or before my runs
  • 2nd stint of bursitis (After PEI 1/2 marathon) - who knew PEI would have such huge hills...probably the only ones on the island!
I also did a 10 KM hilly race a couple of weeks before the 1/2 marathon. I thought I would be prepping myself, but I probably put too much strain on my body before the race.

These injuries were not too serious, and pretty common, but they could have all been prevented.

Here are a couple of good sites that have some good injury prevention articles etc:
Runner's World
Sports Injury Clinic

Please share any advice or injuries you might have gone through.

I wish everyone a very safe and injury free training!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


How much and what kind of food and drink to ingest before, during, and after runs is so important. There are so many choices of types and flavours of fuel it can be daunting and frustrating even as you experiment with what works for you. I'd be interested to hear what different people do for their different distances.

I am a loyal Carb Boom Orange Vanilla gel girl - with water during and then Gatorade G2 after. I have not even tried to eat actual food during my runs - or even Sport Beans for that matter - mostly because I have nowhere to store them!

What are your fuel rituals?

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Monday, April 12, 2010

The Wall (and how to avoid hitting it)

I ran into the wall on my long run yesterday, 4kms before I was done, and in my extremely hilly city, I still had 2 major hills ahead of me. I was feeling quite unhappy and disappointed in myself when I got home when a wise friend and marathon runner told me that you have to have some bad runs in order to have good ones – true, but the bad ones still really bite. After a bit to eat and a warm shower, I wrote in my log and realized what I did wrong. I thought I would share it on the blog in case it helps anyone else.

1 - I was hungover. I make it a habit to not drink the month before the race but I am still 7 weeks out so I had a few too many on Saturday night, at the time thinking it wouldn’t be a big deal. Well it was. Dumb, dumb, dumb. No more drinking on Saturday night, or if I must, I’ll schedule my long runs on Saturday.
2 - I was tired. Five hours of sleep is not enough.
3 - I didn’t eat enough before I went out. All I had was a small whole wheat bagel and peanut butter. That was gone by the time I finished the bridge to Halifax.
4 - I didn’t eat enough during. I only brought one gel with me, which I took at about 8kms but since I didn’t eat enough before I went out, at about 14kms I was feeling very hungry, and even a bit dizzy. (although this also could have been a bit of vertigo as I was back on the bridge and it’s a bit freaky looking *way* down at the water while you’re running)
5 - I started out too fast. It was a gorgeous day and I felt pretty good starting out and eventhough my sister-in-law had just the day before reminded me to slow down because I am not good at knowing my pace (and my Garmin was working fine so I have no excuse), I kept on trucking. When I review my pace chart, the first half I was actually running close to or faster than my race pace - way too often.

I should have known better. I am glad I did this now and not a few weeks before the race because this will definitely smarten me up.

Next week is a cut back week on my schedule so I will be running less distance than this past weekend. I will also do my best to chart as flat a course as I can so I can get my confidence back. Maybe I’ll take another trip out to Winnipeg…

Sunday, April 11, 2010

So, how long is a marathon anyway?

Almost every time I tell people I am training for a marathon, their follow up question is:
"So how long is a marathon anyway?"
And to that question, I must answer: "42,2 km or 26,2 miles."

The next question is: "Are all marathons that long?"
And unfortunately, the answer to that is: "YES buddy, if it ain't 42,2km, it ain't a marathon".

When I am training, I like to think of the poor Greek sod whose story inspired the race:

The name Marathon comes from the legend of Pheidippides, a Greek messenger. The legend states that he was sent from the battlefield of Marathon to Athens to announce that the Persians had been defeated in the Battle of Marathon (in which he had just fought),[4] which took place in August or September, 490 BC.[5] It is said that he ran the entire distance without stopping and burst into the assembly, exclaiming "Νενικήκαμεν" (Nenikékamen, 'We have won.') before collapsing and dying.[6]
Source: wikipedia

But it turns out, the distance was actually arbitrarily set in the early 20th Century, and not exactly the distance from Marathon to Athens... Go figure.

The wiki entry is chock full o' fun facts about the marathon: races, world records, etc..
It's worth a read!

Happy training runners,

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Who are you running for?

I came across this touching story on the Ottawa Citizen's 'Citizen Runners Blog':

So....what's your motivation?


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Reading Material

I have read some of the blog posts by the "guest blogger" on the Ottawa Race site, they are actually pretty good. She's a very average runner and I suspect a lot of us will associate with many of her posts. This Jam Outer blog was intended to be an outlet for many of us to share the same sort of things but the Lees (and Helene - thanks Helene!) seem to be the only contributors so far - come on guys! I guess we have to write a few bitchy posts to get D'Eon to write something...

Oh well, if you'd rather read than write, this one is enjoyable.

Monday, April 5, 2010


Hi everyone,

If you're anything like me, one of the essential items on any of my runs is my ipod. But it's pretty easy to get bored of the same music, so I thought this could be a great way to share music to make sure we don't bored with the next 8 weeks of training.

Here's my top 10, please post your top 10 in the comments!
Shut It Down (feat. Akon) Pitbull
I Gotta Feeling - Black Eyed Peas
Superstylin - Groove Armada
Celebration - Madonna
Hollywood (Remix) - Madonna I'm Going To Tell You A Secret [Live]
Nobody Knows Me - Madonna I'm Going To Tell You A Secret [Live]
Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough - Michael Jackson
Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' - Michael Jackson
She Wolf - Shakira
Naveed - Our Lady Peace


Sunday, April 4, 2010

Getting There

Hey out of towners - I saw on the Porter website today that they are offering a 12% discount on flights to Ottawa on race weekend - check the website, you need to enter a promo code when you book to get the discount.

Hope everyone had great long runs this Easter weekend in the beautiful weather!

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