Sunday, January 7, 2018

The next steps

It's been well over six weeks since I've been able to run due to a stress fracture in my right foot.  I'm happy to say that the rest time was worth it, and I am now pain free and back to running.  And it's a good thing to, because in less than 5 weeks I will officially start training for my next half-marathon.  That's right, I'm diving right into my 4th half.  

This one is going to be extra special and extra fun!  I was struggling to find a local 1/2 in and around the June time frame that I could do.  Johnny Miles seemed like a good choice, but the date coincided with a family event, so that was out.  While talking it over with Hilary, she suggested I expand my hunt beyond the Maritimes.  A quick search found the Niagara Falls Women's Half Marathon in June.

Running in Niagara Falls has been on my bucket list for a while now.  My Grandparents lived in Niagara Falls and I spent a lot of time there growing up. The idea of running through the mist of the Falls and along the river sounded perfect. A plan started to form.

Of course the first thing that I thought was that I didn't want to go to this race alone.  My mom would be there to cheer me on, since she lives less than an hour away, but having someone to run it with me would be even better.  So I reached out to running friends and we all checked our calendars, plane ticket prices and the plan came together.  There are 4 of us going to Niagara Falls!

We had our kick off run this weekend followed by a planning brunch.  We are all at different levels of running - between us we have someone who has never run a half, someone who has run 1, one who has run 2 and myself who has done 3.  And we all run at different paces. We joked that between all of our various injuries we could make one fully working body. We also all have different work/family schedules, so our training plan is being hashed out one week at a time.  Our main goal is to all run together at least once a week, preferably for our long runs, and that other shorter runs will either be done on our own, or in various combinations within the group.

I am so happy to have a great group of friends to join me on this journey.  As a thank you to all of them, and to help us get through some of the tougher runs, I ordered custom made shoe charms with our mantra: 1) Have Fun 2) Don't Die 3) Finish.  

It is definitely a unique mantra, but one we have used for a while now at many races.  Reminding us that having fun is the reason we are there in the first place; knowing that even though we are pushing ourselves hard, we aren't going to actually die; and finishing are the motivation that we sometimes need.

So let the running begin!  Niagara Falls, here we come.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

2017 Running Review

80 runs
443 kms
9 5 km races
5 10-15 km races
2 half marathons
2 injuries

2017 was a busy running year for me.  I had the most runs and my highest yearly mileage to date. I also participated in more races then any other year.

In 2017 I also learned the benefit of cross training, thanks in part to being injured.  I started the year off with a frozen shoulder, which thankfully didn't really interfere with my running, since I was training for the Fool's Run 1/2 marathon.  I strained my left knee which did interfere with running and started me down the road of cross training. Then after finishing the Valley Harvest 1/2 marathon I suffered from a stress fracture in my right foot that forced me to stop running for more than 6 weeks, but still allowed me to go the gym to keep up my fitness level (and new found arm strength!)

Until this year I had never had a DNS - Did Not Start - for a race I had committed to.  My knee injury, a bad cold and the stress fracture took care of that. 

The best part of running that cannot be counted or measured are the friendships that I have formed.  From running in the rain, joining me on a long run in -18C weather, hanging out at the track while I did 50 laps, dressing up in matching costumes or waiting for me at the finish line, friends make running a wonderful part of my life.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Valley Harvest Half Marathon

This was my first year running at the Valley Harvest Marathon event, and I ran the half-marathon on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend. It is held in the beautiful town of Wolfville, which is just over an hour away from Halifax.  Since my Mom was going to be here for her annual visit, I decided that we would travel up on Saturday and stay over night.  It was worth it to not have to drive so far the morning before the race.  Though I did have to pack our toaster so that I could have my regular pre-run breakfast of toast and peanut butter.

It was great to have Mom there with me; to see me off at the start line and to be the first one to hug me after I finished the line.

The course was beautiful, winding through the country side.  The weather was warmer than I would have liked, and the hills longer and steeper than I was ready for.  I also felt less trained than I had wanted to be.  I did well and was going strong for the first 11 km.  Around km 12 I hit one of the bigger hills and a head wind that started to take it's toll.  I kept going with my planned intervals until around km 17.  I was slower than my planned pace, but I tried to stick with my regular running plan: 1) don't die, 2) finish, 3) have fun.

Runners are some of the most supportive people I have ever met.  As I struggled with a hill towards the end of the race, walking slower and slower as I trudged along, a runner doing the full marathon came up behind me.  He slowed down, put a hand on my shoulder and started talking to me.  He told me what to expect from the rest of the route, gave me some strategies to help me finish and stayed with me till we crested the hill. Without him (I learned later that his name was Sean) I would have probably just given up on that hill; sat down and cried till a sweeper car came to pick me up.  Instead I finished the race.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

MEC Race 4

After the last MEC race, I have to admit that I was a little worried about how I would fare today.  But the weather was perfect and the trail was flat.  Today's race was a 15 km out and back along a beautiful trail in Musquodoboit Harbour.

As always with life, my training has fallen off a bit and I haven't done a long run in 3 weeks. Today is the last long run before the Valley Harvest Half Marathon, and the schedule called for 20 km. At one point this week we had entertained the idea of finishing the 15 km and heading back out to do another 5 to get in the full training run.  Once the reality of today set in however, there was no way that was going to happen.  At the 13 km mark I was ready to call it quits and sit on one of the nice benches that were along the route and have a good cry. I wasn't hurt, or even sore from running, I was simply convinced that I couldn't do it.   I worked hard to get out of my head and to keep just putting one foot in front of the other. The next 1.5 km were some of the hardest I have ever run.

The last .5 km was one of the best times I've had running, even though I couldn't breath and had to use my asthma inhaler.  2 friends - Jeannette and Teresa - who had already finished their races, walked back out onto the course to meet me.  I'm pretty sure if they hadn't I would have given up and walked the rest of the way.  The only problem was that I got all emotional seeing them and started to tear up, which triggered an asthma attack.  Teresa talked me through some calming, breathing exercises and I got things under control enough to run the rest of the way to the finish line, with friends on either side of me.

I finished the race with a time of 02:38:30, which is right on par for where my pace is these days, so I'm now feeling better about my ability to finish a half marathon in just 14 days!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Weeks 8-13 Training

Well, these updates fell off the radar pretty quickly!  Luckily it doesn't mean that my training did too, though I really haven't followed my training plan as well as I had hoped!  Life really does get in the way.

Week 8 started out well.  I ran the MacPass miles for the first time and pushed my 12k long run out to the Monday. I didn't miss any other training that week till Saturday when we were in a mostly minor car accident.  The car ended up being a write off, but nobody was seriously hurt and I was only stiff and sore for a few days.

Week 9 was car accident recovery and vacation. I did run 3.5 kms on my birthday, but that was it.

Week 10 was the rest of vacation, but I managed to get in 2 runs (6k and 8k) after I got home.

Week 11 only had 2 runs - a 16k long run and a 6k run mid week.  No really good reason for skipping the rest.

Week 12 started to look better with a 17k long run, a 5k run and a night of hill repeats.

Week 13 fell of the rails again.  I skipped my 18km long run and only made it out for one clinic night with a 6k run. Then we travelled to BC for the weekend.  With 20+ hours of travel over 4 days and a 4 hour time zone difference, I didn't even bother packing running gear.

You'll notice during all of these updates that there is no mention of going to the gym. I haven't been to boot camp since August 10th, but fully intend to get back at it this week.

I only have 3 weeks left until the Valley Harvest Half Marathon.  That gives me a total of 13 training runs, so I really can't skip/miss any of them!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MacPass Mile recap & Week 7 training

Running the MacPass Mile has been on my bucket for a few years now.  Unfortunately due to construction on the McDonald bridge, they haven't held the race for the past 2 years.  It's a free race that fills up quickly - it's capped to 200 participants per run -Women's, Men's, Boys and Girls, so I signed up as soon as I heard that it was opening up again.

The race starts on the Halifax side and cross the 1 mile bridge and finishes on the Dartmouth side.

We had a great time even thought it was pouring rain.

The incline of the bridge wasn't nearly as bad to run up as I had thought it would be.  Maybe my hill training really is paying off!

Overall training for the Valley Harvest Half-Marathon is going well.  I continue to be injury free and feel myself getting stronger (and a wee bit faster) with every run. Unfortunately I missed quite a few runs this week due to family obligations, but I'm not letting it get me down.

  • Mon - Rest day
  • Tues - 4k run
  • Wed - 4x400 Hill training
  • Thurs -rest day instead of 5k run
  • Fri -  Rest day
  • Sat - rest day instead of 4k run
  • Sun -1.6k run instead of 12k run
Total: 11.6k

60 day to go!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Week 6 - Half Marathon Training

As part of the running room half-marathon training this week, we started hill training.  The theory behind running up and down a hill is to build your strength and endurance, as well as to help mentally prepare you for the hills you'll encounter during your race.  Hill training was Wednesday night at 6:00 and it was 28C out.  Way too hot by my standards.  But we did it anyway.  The problem (in my mind) with the hill that the RR uses for training is that it's 1.5 km away - and all UPHILL to get there.  By the time I got to the hill, I was done! I ran up that hill all 3 times though, with only a few walk breaks along the way.  By the end of the program we will be running up the hill 9 times in a row.  I can't wait.........

I also changed my running plan from 4 and 1s to 5 and 1s this week with no major setbacks.  My pace is slightly slower as I work on the longer endurance, but I felt good after the runs, including the 10k on Sunday.  If I can handle 5 and 1s for the next week I'll work on bumping it up again, with the ultimate goal of getting to 10 and 1s before the race.
  • Mon - Boot Camp instead of rest day
  • Tues - 4k run
  • Wed - 3x400 Hill training
  • Thurs - Boot Camp instead of 5k run
  • Fri -  rest day
  • Sat - rest day instead of 4k run
  • Sun -10k run
Total: 19k

67 day to go!