Return of the Level Headed Runner Thanks to You

So, my last post. Possibly a touch crazy?

I felt so much better after writing it though, also people’s notes of support on here and twitter meant a lot as well. From friends seeing my tweets and letting me know I was being stupid, to random internet runners also letting me know I was gold/the feeling were completely normal. I’m so glad I found all these people and how willing this community is to lift each other up. A year ago I was doing this alone, training for my half, and I did it, and I could absolutely do this alone too. But I don’t have to and that’s even better.

I also went in to my local running store the other day, the manager happened to be working so we had a good chat, the store didn’t even end up having what I was looking for but it was a successful trip anyways. I felt so much better after the talk. She’s an experience marathon runner so we were talking about Toronto Waterfront and other races as well. And at one point I mentioned how I didn’t get my last long run in so I’d only gone up to 32km and she said I was better off without the 36. She said most people who do 36 end up hurting and not in best shape come race day, those that stop at 32 have a better, more successful run. She was adamant 32 was the best place to stop so that made me feel a lot better as well.

And then I had a great run last night! My pace jumped and it was kind of freaking me out so I kept stopping on my runs trying to calm myself down so then obviously that lowers the pace even more with all the breaks so I couldn’t quite believe in and settle in to my new pace. So last night I dubbed the run ‘brain training’ and focused on putting out a steady consistent effort and to not to take a single pause break. The run was a bit slower than my others have been but that was more to do with the wind, my splits where I wasn’t fighting the wind were under 6, exactly where they’ve been lately, but the wind was relentless so the other half (the half on the way back!) were over 6, still managed a 6:02 average which is much faster than what I was running and only slightly slower than what I’d like marathon pace to be so it felt great to get that out! So that’s my last run of any effort, it was 12k I’ll run a couple more times but nothing over 8 and everything will be very light and easy with some strides.

So thank you to everyone who has taken their time to send their words of encouragement or positive vibes my way, it has meant a lot and helped so much!

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This is honestly a random picture because I have nothing from my latest runs. So a pretty sunset picture from a SUP night over the summer goes in.

I promise to pay it forward as much as I can including doing the same for others in my life/on the internet but also I will be volunteering at the Hamilton Marathon on November 1 to do my part to give back to the running community!

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Runner in Taper, Approach with Caution. A Tale of Jumbled Thoughts

I’M RUNNING A MARATHON IN ELEVAN DAYS

I’m quite honestly an anxious, terrified, emotional wreck.

Yesterday & Today, a summary:

Why am I doing this

Why am I doing this

I can’t do this

I’m running a marathon!

My family and friends will be there! (cue tears)

Oh my God

What if I can’t finish?

WHY AM I DOING THIS.

Trust your training they say.

You know what, you can shove it. YOU trust your training I’m going to sit here in my pile of doubts and fears.

I have to remember I always feel like this before a race.

This is just significantly worse.

Maybe that means it will go significantly better?

I want to cry.

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In other news let me interrupted you from reading my crazy thoughts with pretty views from one of my last runs before I went insane.

I don’t even know how I’ll get through next week if I’m already feeling like this.

I would have expected these feelings a week from now, a couple days before the race. NOT TWELVE.

I’ll be away for work next week, coming home Friday night. I’m not sure if this will be good or bad, will being in a new place working strange hours help distract me? Or will it make things worse, feeling isolated as I’m away from my family and have limited communication with friends.

This fear and these doubts are pretty crippling.

Must remember to breath.

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Taper is soon

How do you know taper is soon? Your body is getting tired. Things are starting to hurt more. Recovery is slower. Your milage is at its peak.

I’m in the middle of this right now. But I’m having so much fun! I know my body will appreciate the taper but I personally am wanting to hold on to this training. Taper officially begins in 1 week with a slow start and then really kicks in in 2 weeks.

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Gorgeous sunset during my tempo run a couple weeks ago

I really had no idea training for this marathon would be so much fun! When I first started the cycle back in July I was terrified and questioning why I was even doing this. I looked at the later weeks of my plan wondering how I’d even manage. 14km midweek runs? That’s insane!

Nope not insane, so much fun!

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Broke out the possible marathon shoes!

Looking ahead I’m not sure if I’ll do another full again next year (yeah I know I should probably get through the first one first) but I definetly want to keep with this high milage even when training for a half. Because it suits me well. If I’m tired and achey for running, I just go run 10k and feel better. How fab.

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8k recovery run at The Big Wild challenge on Saturday. Legs were dead and still full of lactic acid from running 32k night before but did it with help of a friend who stuck with me and felt much better after

I will not be doing 32km runs though for the fun of it. Did my second one last weekend, yup it sucked by the end. 36 run will happen this weekend. Oh boy. Good to know my body can now easily run 22km though. I will still breezing along until then, it was that last 10k when everything got tired, and the last 4 that were pure mental push to get through it.

Also a VERY EXCITING THING happened a couple weeks ago. I am now [almost] officially a run leader for the MEC Burlington meet up runs! Me along with 3 other runners will rotate through leading the runs and picking different routes for the Saturday trail runs. I’m super excited about this, I loved leading the group one time I subbed in on the Thursday community run and we will also be part of the Events Team and help plan out next year’s race series. I’ll be doing first aid training this weekend and MEC training during the week next week so by next weekend the group will have some new leaders in place! We don’t know the schedule yet so not sure if I’ll be leading or not be possibly!

6 Weeks to Go!

When did that happen?

Getting a little bit terrifying now. September is going to be a BIG month with the amount of milage I’ll be putting in. I’ve been enjoying it so much so I’m pretty excited! But still a little scared. I’m still amazed with my body being able to handle it so well. 6 months ago 50km weeks left me in the foetal position unable to finish some runs. I’ve now run 65km in a week and felt fine, some of these weeks have included 3 runs in a row, something that attributed to my foetal position state. I have not had a single problem running 3 days in a row this time. So much of a non issue I even considered doing 4 days in a row this week but ended up backing out of that figuring I should stop while I’m ahead.

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When you live in suburbs but there's still alot of farm land around.

My knee is still a bit of an issue, I’m icing it as much as possible and its holding up okay. My last couple of runs were not great, first it was because I was running on slanted road near my house which is always an issue and then Sarurday during my 32km (!!!!) run, the downhills I took it wasn’t that happy with, but knees in general don’t like downhills so that’s about it. It definitely doesn’t feel right and ice and my strap are necessary but it is manageable and I’m hopeful I can get this under control without it affecting my training.

And yes I did my first 32km/20miler Saturday!!! I was actually pretty excited to conquer this as 1, it’s first time doing a new distance and 2, these are the runs people dread so I wanted to find out why. Well I did not find out why, it didn’t feel any different for me, I mean aside from being so god damn long. Like passing the 18km mark and releazing you still have 14 more to go. Or being at 21km and celebrating that you’re almost done and then releazing for the marathon.. it’s only halfway. That’s probably the biggest thing is when you’re tired and almost done but not really because there’s still a lot left, and realizing how much more it will be from this point during the actual marathon. But, that’s a realization for all races at every point in running. Even if you’ve run 30km before, you could be in a 10k race and think, omg I still have 5km left to go?? It’s just a game your mind likes to play to try to make you stop, you just gotta power through those thoughts.

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Unexpected nice view of Cootes Paradise during long run

I was suppose to run 10k Sunday morning to hit 61km for the week but I slept in and I knew the run was going to suck enough without the added heat and sun making it unbearable so I moved it to Monday evening, which meant only 51km for the week but I’m okay with it. I created a higher milage than necessary plan with the idea that I wouldn’t hit those targets every week because I never do. Except this time around not only have I consistently met my targets, I’ve even exceeded them sometimes. So dropping down one week, after doing a 32km run, yeah I’m okay with that. And also it’s just adding an extra milage to this week so I look even more insane as the rest of September is now full of 70+ weeks woo!

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I felt completely awful on Mondays run but it was pretty!

So in 2 weeks I’ll be tackling 32km again, and this time I’m doing an easier route!!! All the damn hills Saturday, including a climb up the escarpment because I’m crazy. But then I got to come down it! There was still hills on the way down though… I do like having hills on my long run routes but this was just crazy. Especially since I’d never been on 2 of the major roads I took so I had no idea how many hills I was getting myself in to (answer = a lot). The week after that I’ll be doing 36km, I think I’m going to run a half marathon as part of it, do 15km before the race so I’m tired which will help me keep my pace down, and then do the last 21 as the race. This race is part of the Niagara running series so I’ll get my points and then I won’t have to do the whole thing alone. We’ll see, I think I’ll decide closer to the date, it’s a half marathon so it’s a bit pricey, local so lower but still more than I’d like to spend on something I’m not actually racing.

After 36km, which will be September 27th, I begin a slow taper down to the marathon! So really, 3/4 more weeks left of hard training! Its getting crazy!

Tempo Runs – Not my thing but I’m working on it

I’ve been doing my speed work on Tuesdays this cycle. It hurts to say the least. Tuesday is too close to my Sunday long run, I knew this going in to it but I wanted to run with the group on Thursdays so I decided to try it. But as soon as my long runs ramped up, my Tuesday sessions ended with me hurting. Nothing painful or anything, not injuring myself, I’d have to actually be good a speed work for that. But enough to know these workouts were too close.

So I’ve made the decision to ditch the Thursday groups for September, today will be my last time doing tempo on a Tuesday as next week is recovery week and I won’t be doing any speed work.

I hate tempo so much.

I haven’t done many tempo runs, I usually bail out or just switch to an interval workout instead.

Tempos for me are the most mentally challenging run, I can get through distance runs, that’s not much of a struggle for me, even on bad runs, I can push through that. Tempo? Same can’t be said.

So last Tuesday was my first tempo in a very long time, and I took a new approach, I intentionally scheduled walk break in the middle doing the cruise interval style tempo. I follow a lot of runners on instagram who are Boston Qualifiers who do this so it made me feel a lot better about taking this approach to tempo. It went, not horribly. Last week was crazy hot and sunny and I thought I might puke at the end of my first 3k interval, so I walked it off for awhile and headed in to my second interval, a little bit slower and more cautious, I was working against the wind though so it made an added challenge. I almost made it through that one but did end up taking a mini walk break when I had 1km left. I’m working on the mental, eventually I will get there.

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Not a bad way to end a tempo run though right?

I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it. I haven’t been running long and been doing speed work for even less. Aside from some fartlek I pretty much did 0 speed training until after my first half marathon in November. And then I kind of just jumped right in to tempo without any kind of build, I was attempting 6k at 5:40 pace (about a minute faster than easy pace at the time) when the most I’d ever done outside of a race was 1km repeats. So yeah, mentally, it wrecked me.

Tonight I’m going to try for 2x4km but I’ll see how I feel, maybe I’ll even cut them down to 2km repeats. I feel even better about this after last night’s┬áMEC talk as Cole said your tempo interval can be as short as 5 minutes. This is very very good to know. I can for sure do 5min repeats, I do 800m repeats just fine (or as fine as you can) and those are just over 4 minutes so less than a minute more and it’s considered tempo? I can do that.

I got this.

Right?

Marathon Training Week 5 – A Perfect Week

I started the week pretty damn sore. A 24k long run on pancake flat road left my quads pretty torn up not to mention the reason I stuck to flat was because my glute and hamstring were feeling tight and sore. So after an intense speed session just 2 days after the long run, things were hurting quite a bit.

I crushed my speed session none the less. First time doing 800’s since my first week of training with that abysmal early morning high humidity performance. I went back to the track ready for a fight. Nailed it, my slowest 800 was a 4:09, near the end when I had started holding back too much in the first lap but I got that mentality out of me for the final repeats and gave them my everything. My intention was to do 6×800 but I ended up doing 7 instead. With warm up and cool down that got me 11.5km.

Before that on Monday I went to the MEC clinic on form, I had no intention of running but I did stay for the warm up and drills to test out what we’d learned, then I left the group with their track work and headed out for a nice and easy quick bike ride.

Wednesday I went to SUP and we did a crossfit lesson which was challenging and a great workout. I really need to get to yoga more often, a few push-ups and I could feel it in my arms the next day. After the workout continued for a bit of a paddle.

Thursday I was still hurting quite a bit, my right quad was not a fan of going down steps and my right hamstring was still a mess. Went out for easy trail run with the group and my hamstring was screaming at me at the end so I cut out at 8.5 when we got to the parking lot instead of continuing on with the others who kept going to get up to 10k. This actually kept me on track for the week as I’d done an extra 500m Tuesday and either my Thursday or Saturday run only had to by 9k.

Friday I took my well deserved rest day.

Saturday back with the trail group. What a run this was, despite the fact that legs were still hurting I actually felt really really good on this run. Which was great because we ended up missing a turn and getting lost which resulted in an extra 2.5k bring the run to 12.5. But the run ended with me feeling better than when I had started.

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All smiles just before we split off from the short distance group as we headed out for the loop that we’d end up getting lost on. I took this photo so no I’m not in this. Fearless leader in the back on the phone informing the other leader of our plan, he stayed positive as some started to worry when we couldn’t figure out how to get back

Someone made a comment that at least the extra millage would mean I could do less the next day.

If only it worked that way.

But it turned out that was not necessary as I had one of my best long runs ever. All thanks to a friend who ended up joining me. I’d planned the route a couple days before, in all I had run every bit of it before but not all together like this. It was really the most perfect route, very shaded, good amount of hills – with a bypass around a couple on the way back (except! it adds a different one, just a baby) and the halfway point was done through a section of trail that was very refreshing and a nice change of scenery. Seriously this route is so perfect I’m sharing it all with you, even though this will be meaningless unless you’re from this area, you can enjoy it anyways. It goes through the infamous North Shore in Burlington, which are the hills in Around the Bay including the big giant downhill, which you then have the pleasure of climbing back out of.

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http://www.gmap-pedometer.com?r=6684300

We mostly struck to this, we took the trail up to LaSalle park instead, and took the shorter route through the trail first to get to the pit stop faster, and then took a bit of an unplanned detour through the cemetery on the way back. But the run was great, great company and I felt really good the whole time, we took a few walk breaks but not many and we crushed all the hills. We even managed to somehow run our last few kilometres faster than what we started. I’ve never felt so great after a long run. Sure I was tired, but I know I could have kept going. And amazing feeling since aside from Around the Bay race, this was my longest run ever. Felt 100x times better than I did last week due largely to the shaded route, nice breeze when we did hit the sun, and having someone there with me who was hating those last few hills just as much as I was.

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Sweaty but happy as we hit the trail section of the run

After the run we walked into the lake a bit to give our achy feet and tired calves/knees a little ice bath. It felt really amazing!

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Lake Ontario ice bath!

After the run I was surprised how good I was feeling, super tired for sure, I’d gotten very little sleep the night before and then I spent a lot of the afternoon after the run having to stand but I wasn’t sore, legs just felt tired. Today I don’t feel sore at all, my hamstring is still all kinds of tight but I feel better today after my 40k weekend than I did on Friday.

Run until it doesn’t hurt!

Hopefully I still feel good tomorrow, sometimes it can take an extra day, but I went for a swim this evening to loosen and stretch everything out so I don’t see tomorrow being any worse.

In total with my 28k long run I did 60.5km this week, the most I have every completed was 52 back in March. I’m super happy about accomplishing this and feeling so great about it!

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.

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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.