Seattle Running

Last year when I went to Seattle for work I decided if I ever got the opportunity to go again I’d spend a few extra days there. That opportunity came with a bonus, due to back-to-back work events on the west coast, I was there for the weekend!

I was really excited and did plenty of research on the nearby trails and look around for running groups I could meet up with. Through Facebook I learned of the High Heel Running Group, a local group of women who meet up to run every Saturday morning at Cougar Mountain which is the closest set of trails to downtown Seattle. Perfect! Sunday I left a bit more opened with a few possibilities for trails to hit and leaving it opened to potentially connect with someone from the Saturday group.

Before hitting the trails on the weekend, I was able to get out for a few runs during the week in the city as well. Once again Seattle did not disappoint!

Saturday morning came and one of the leaders of the group graciously picked me up from my hotel and drove me out to the trail head! Such a great gesture that really spoke to how the rest of the run would go. It was a fabulous group of women and the trails were amazing! They area had recently received a dusting of snow so the trees were gorgeous but the trail itself was untouched. Such spectacular scenery and conditions to be running through!

I was a bit worried going into the run that I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the climbs. Sure Ontario has hills, but its hard pressed to find a hill longer than 600m. What would I find in the mountains? Fortunately given that Cougar Mountain is near the start of the mountain range, the elevation changes were not much different from home. Also the pace of the group was great and I was able to keep up just fine.

It was an amazing run, I highly recommend hooking up with the High Heel Running Group to any ladies who find themselves in the area!

Unfortunately the weather was not on my side for Sunday. It had gotten even colder and snowed even more. I found out online the trails I was interested were pretty deep with snow. I’d also hoped to summit a mountain but with the high amount of overcast the visibility would have been non existent. And most of all it just would not have been safe to make the journey out there.

In the city it was raining and cold, and this suburban running was growing a little weary of downtown running so I hit the treadmill at the gym. But hey! They did have the fancy ‘trail running’ machines!

I definitely plan to return to the Seattle area one day, just maybe in the summer next time ;).


Feeling Low

This hasn’t been a great month, things were going pretty well, and then they weren’t. I started having trouble with my lungs again, I went to the after hours clinic but the Doctor there wasn’t to sure, he gave me an inhaler and sent me for a chest x-ray. It helps sometimes but feels more like a bandaid. I do really need to get in to see my own doctor since I trust her much more than others but that’s hard to do when you don’t get sick days and your doctor is in a different city from your office.


Sweeping one of the MEC runs, very happy wasn’t leading the run that day as I was tired!


And then 2 weeks ago I’m feeling like my hormone levels suddenly went crazy, everything was fine and then out of nowhere I put on a bunch of weight within about week. I thought maybe my PCOS was flaring up but so far no obvious trouble there for this month. I also started feeling incredibly tired and I’m way more sore after workouts then I should be. So it’s been hard to get myself out there particularly on the weekends since I’m so tired and laziness just leads to more laziness for me. Think I may need to make some diet adjustments and maybe cut out sugar again to see if that helps kick things back in place.
Despite all this it hasn’t been the worst training month, I’ve gotten all my long runs in, the only one I missed was the weekend my lungs were really bad and last weekend I rested a lot more than intended since I’d been so tired but still got out for my long run thanks to it being a long weekend.

Grateful to some awesome running friends who keep me going!

This weekend is a scale back weekend for me so I’m taking it easy again and hoping I can kind of reset everything. Yesterday I did Polar Rush with another Burly which was a lot of fun but a struggle in the snow. They had a lot of snow up there (Barrie) and with the mild temperatures the snow was not the good kind for running in. Most of the course hadn’t been well trampled yet since we were in an early wave and we also had to try to manoeuvre around deep foot prints that had been made some time before the event when the snow was fresh. Made for a slow slog through the snow but a fun time. We were going to go for a run after but with the conditions we’d just gone though we were not eager to check out the rest of the trails around the resort so we headed back home instead.

I’m feeling positive about March being a better month, I’ve been a bit isolated this month socially since friends have been busy so I’ve been spending a lot of time alone which is never good for me and hasn’t helped my situations. But my best friend should be around again also it’s my birthday month! And my birthday is on a Friday this year so that’s awesome. I may see about taking a half day or maybe even the day off and getting in a run :).

The Long Run Problem

Oh Long Run. My problem isn’t the long run itself. How could it be with the distances I run? The long run is, and always has been my favourite run. I doubt I’d still be running without it. Early on I quickly switched from my 5k at a time to a long-run style plan. Granted at the time my long run wasn’t even at 10k as I built up my base. There was still something very peaceful about the mindset of a long run. You’re just out there, enjoying running, and there’s something so relaxing about exhausting yourself. When you’re done you feel like you’ve really accomplished something. 

My problem with the long run is getting myself out the door. Despite how much I love being out there for hours. There’s that little lazy side of me that wants to put it off 5 more minutes. This happened last weekend. I had the opportunity to run with some friends, and don’t get me wrong I love long runs with friends, some of my favourite moments from the past year were during some crazy long run with a couple friends, you can have a ton of fun out there. But last weekend I just wanted to run alone, I wanted to be out by myself for a couple of hours in the trails. 

I was in the last km of a 34km run, still happy as a clam

So Sunday morning, I set an alarm because I know how I am. This is how I am, the alarm goes off and morning self thinks, nah, I can sleep more. So I sleep in. And I’m not at all a productive person when I sleep in. It puts me in a very lazy mood and I just want to continue laying around all day. So this is how my morning goes, eventually I do get myself out of bed, but I start thinking, I don’t need to get going immediately, I can take my time, eat some breakfast, hey I got time, I’ll watch a movie. And another, and another. Until it’s 3 o’clock in the afternoon and I’m thinking ‘shoot! I need to get going!’  Somehow I still take my time getting ready and so by this point there’s no way the long run will happen. Largely because there’s not enough daylight left and I had no interest in running in the dark that day and also because I had to be at our New Years family dinner. And so a planned 20-22k run became the 7k I could fit in before dinner/sunset. 

Enjoying my time and the waterfalls

Luckily I had the next day off and was able to do my long run Monday instead. And again we had a repeat of Sunday, but slightly more successful as I was outside at 1pm and had the time to get in my full run. About 3 hours later than I’d planned, but I had a lovely time while I was out there and it was exactly what I’d been wanting and needing. 

When I plan to run with people, none of this happens. I wake up and get myself out the door immediately and I’m usually early to show up as well. I set that alarm and get up when it goes off because I have somewhere I need to be. I wish it would work the same when I’m running alone. I even try taking the same approach, I want to be at x location by x time. But morning comes and I’m thinking, oh what for I can sleep a little longer…

Taking in awesome escarpment views

I need to figure out a way to get myself out there on days when I just want to run alone. Im thinking of some ways to use people to do this. Buddy up with someone I know doesn’t want to run as long so we meet, I run with them for their run and then continue on for the rest of mine. Or I find a friend in the same situation, who feels the same, they’re I’m need of a solo run, but they know they won’t if they don’t have that obligation. So we agree to meet at a location at a certain time. And then we go do our own runs.

Running Injuries and Keeping Them at Bay

I injured my knee last fall while training for my first half marathon.

I ran through the pain refusing to get it looked at, afraid someone would tell me to stop running.

The day after my half marathon I finally went to the doctor to get it looked at. My family physician sent me to the physical therapist in the building to confirm my diagnosis.

Both thought it was something with my knee cap, and honestly that day it may have not been right. I’d just run the most I’d ever run, the fastest I’d ever run. My body was the usual kind of wreck as I hobbled around. I was told to come in for physio therapy twice a week. Which I did for a couple of weeks. I did a series of basic strength exercises that were meant to strengthen the muscles around my knee as well as my hips, they would also tape my knee. It was one giant waste of time. The tape didn’t help and as an athlete who was doing weight training at the time, their basic exercises were not challenging enough.

A friend told me about a local sports injury doctor that would be better suited to help me so I made the appointment and stopped going to PT.

This doctor diagnosed me with a completely different problem. The issue with my patella tendon and the corresponding muscle above it. Essentially the muscle got tired and stressed the tendon. I was told to put Voltaren on it and given a strap to wear while running to put pressure on the tendon that would cause the muscle to continue firing and told I was free to keep running.

It worked. I wore the strap for every run for a couple of months then started experimenting with leaving it at home. All good, no pain.

Towards the end of training for Mississauga it started feeling weak again, terrified I wore my strap during the race and all was fine.

I’m constantly remembering the run I had when my knee was at its worst. It was actually unexpected, I was a month past my first half, my millage was low it had been pretty okay, I was still going to PT at the time and taping my knee. Then I went out for a 12k run with a friend. We kept it flat because downhills bothered it. I think I made it about 4k before it started hurting, earlier than ever before, I could generally get to at least 6. I took several walk and stretching breaks but each running segment was getting shorter and shorter. I probably would have cried if I was alone, I was miserable and upset because I didn’t know what was wrong and my PT wasn’t helping.

I’ve been using this memory to keep me cautious. And it’s helped. As my millage ramps up I live in constant fear for my knee. I’m very aware of and I can tell it’s not at its best. I know I haven’t been wearing my strap enough as well. I’ve worn it for my last couple of long runs but that’s it. I can’t wear the strap with shorts because of the structure, the velcro doesn’t extend long enough so the end hangs on its own and my other leg catches on it.

But I need to wear it more. I had to ice my knee for the first time since the fall the other night. After a 30k long run, a recovery run the next day and a SUP session right after, my knee was not happy. I’m going to pin the end of the strap down so I can wear it with shorts. Hopefully this with Voltaren and ice will keep it happy and I can continue on with marathon training without it blowing in to a full blown injury again. It has not hurt at all during a run so far. It’s only after I can feel it. I think I’m feeling it mostly because I’m cautious and looking out for it. I know it can develop an injury again so I’m focused on my knee and how it is feeling. I know it’s not right before it even hurts so I’m taking the steps now to avoid that pain.

Icing knee and that's my knee strap beside my leg

So, strap on at all times while running, even trail runs since I have felt it’s not necessary for those. It is now. Also more hip and core strengthening to help keep things balanced.

Time to Come Clean

Admittance is the first step right?

I’ve been majorly slacking on my foam rolling and it’s started to catch up to me in a big way.

I was once super dedicated to my foam roller. Than training ended and I stopped hurting all the time and I just got out of the habit. Then training started back up again and I thought, oh right, I should foam roll.

But I did not.


Then it just got to the point where I knew it was going to be god awful painful so I just didn’t do it. Always with an excuse. I gotta run tomorrow it’ll just make it worse!

Enough it enough.

I’m on my 5th week of marathon training now, it’s time to get serious.

My IT band is crazy tight, my quads scream when they’re touched, I don’t even want to talk about how screwed up my glutes are. I need to get back in the foam rolling habit.

And while we’re at it I’ll admit my eating habits have not been their best. I plan my meals during the week and just eat the same thing every work day, I’m good there. Weekends it all just falls a part. And it’s summer and I’ve been eating a lot of ice cream. I’m not suppose to eat sugar at all so this is a big issue. I just keep thinking well I haven’t gained any weight so it’s fine! This is true, no weight gain, but I’m on the same low cal diet I’ve been on for nearly 2 years so I should still be loosing.

I also need to keep up with my strength work, and go to yoga more often, it’s been 3 weeks since I’ve gone to yoga, and that class was a one off I went to after weeks of not going.

Less than 11 weeks until Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon, time to get everything back on track.

Views on the Run

I’ve had some really boring runs lately, like there just hasn’t been anything good to look at while on them.

I mean today’s run for instance


Snooze fest amirite?

Don’t even get me started on Thursday…







How did I possibly survive?

May as well have just run on a treadmill… 😄

June 2015 #RunChatHunt Entries

I’m a regular user of the #runchat tag on twitter and participate in the weekly twitter chats when I can/when I remember. They’re fun and allow you to connect with some other runners from other areas. At the beginning of the month they announced a scavenger hunt called #RunChatHunt and I thought, why not this sounds like fun! The scavenger hunt is a list of 10 items you need to get a photo of while running, finding each item gets you 1 entry into a draw to win some cool prizes. You can read about it here on Run Chat’s Blog.

So I have now completed my 10 entries which I have been posting on Instagram/Twitter all month (@jessicap324 if you want to follow :)). Here they are below in the order I found them:



I made sure to get this one early since solstice was only a couple weeks away this would be later and later. I took this at the end of a Thursday night MEC trail run.

Body of Water


This one was going to be easy, I could have gotten 10 photos of 10 different bodies of water. Easy thing when you live around a Great Lakes. Pictured is Cootes Paradise from when we ran there on a MEC trail run, it looked so pretty had to stop and take a picture so I used it for my submission

Flag of Your Country


I wasn’t worried about this one, I knew if all else failed there was a flag at Walmart on a cell phone tower. And turned out it was easier than I thought. I snapped this while running along the beach trail in Hamilton, had completely forgotten about these flags, I’d actually already taken a picture of another flag while on this run when I came across these and thought they were even better. After getting this photo I saw a ton more Canadian flags hanging on houses on that strip.

Run Sticker on a Vehicles


This one I knew would be easy as well as it is my friend’s car who I run with regularly, it was only a matter of remembering to take the photo.



This one I wasn’t sure of, I couldn’t think of any statues off hand in areas I run it. But I spotted this the day I was running the beach trail, didn’t get the photo that day because there was a lot of people stopped in front of it but went back later that week on another run to get it.

Garden Gnome


Now this I was worried about, I had zero memory of ever passing a house with a gnome, I was actually hoping to spot one on the beach trail figuring one of those houses was bound to have one, so I got worried when I didn’t see one. I thought it they didn’t, who would possibly have one? I’d looked on other runs as well and had no luck. With one week left to go I was getting worried and I set out on a run in my neighbourhood with 1 house in mind that may have one. Turns out this little guy has been waiting for me around the corner of my subdivision this whole time, didn’t even need to check the house I had in mind. And he’s a cutie! I felt super awkward taking this photo though. He’s essentially in front of the living room so I kind of went to the opposite side of their driveway then zoomed in to take the photo which is why the quality isn’t great.

Beer or Soda Can


Ohh the pop can photo… I figured I’d find a can eventually while on a trail run. This one I found while actually trying to get a photo of a waterfall. I THOUGHT I was on the correct trail but turns out I was not (damn trails that are not on maps!) and so I ended up not on a trail at all as the path I took just kind of ended randomly and tried to bush crash my way to where I eventually figured out the trail actually was. YUP mistake there, with all the recent rain all the foliage was very lush. And bugs, lots and lots of bugs and zero bug spray. And I’m horrible with plants and I have no idea what poison ivy looks like so everything I had to step through (in capris) was suspect, so it was a TON of fun. Anyways I spotted this stupid can on my way back out after I’d given up trying to make my way to the waterfall. It’s blurry because I was too busy trying to get out of there to notice the photo sucked. Okay, now let’s forget that whole adventure ever happened.

Selfie With Another Runner


Easy, easy when you run with a group at least 2 times a week. This was taken last Thursday night on the trail run with a few of the group members. It’s the halfway point of one of our frequent runs, found on the Bruce Trail in Burlington 4k from Kerncliff Park.

Something Unique About your City


I decided from the beginning I wanted to get a waterfall for this as Hamilton is The City of Waterfalls with over 100 waterfalls. Ideally I would have gotten Albion Falls, a much larger waterfall, but I just never made it there for a run this month, fortunately yesterday’s trail run we met at Chedoke and I remembered the rail trail went across a waterfall from when we were there last in the winter. Then we had to hop over the river it made, yesterday it was just gentle trickles coming down and no water at all coming across the path. Also spotted another waterfall through some trees as well I had to include in the submission since we’re the city of waterfalls. I also had a back-up ready for this post just in case, a picture of the Skyway and Lift Bridge, 2 side by side bridges to the same place, fast route and scenic route, but they’re not very pretty or interesting so I was happy I got in a run near a waterfall.

House Under Construction


Another one I knew would be easy and just a matter of getting the photo. I live in a newly developed area of the city and beside another town with a lot of development as well. And I actually almost got this one last week during my 15k race in Burlington, there were quite a few houses on the route being worked on but I didn’t have my phone on me while racing and forgot to go back and get a picture of one of them. So I ventured out to my neighbouring town to a subdivision only a couple kilometres away I knew was still being developed. And got lucky and spotted these two side-by-side.

Experience Getting the Photos

I had a lot of fun with this, (even though it(yes it, not me, not my fault at all) almost gave me a poison ivy rash and a very terrifying 48 hours waiting to see if it would develop) it was fun taking note of things on my runs I do not normally pay attention to, like searching yards I passed for a little gnome, or realising just how many Canadian flags there are in a country not know for putting their flag everywhere.