Monday, August 31, 2009

Nuun Review + Giveaway

Nuun recently sent me a generous sampling of their electrolyte replacement tabs to try out. Unfortunately the product is not readily available in stores around here, but I did find a few locations in Toronto.

I've been reading about Nuun all over the blogosphere for a while now, so I was excited to try it out.

What's to love about Nuun?

Nuun comes in the form of convenient tablets (easily transported in resilient, water resistant tubes), which are dissolved in water to create a complex electrolyte drink that recharges salts lost during exercise.

Nuun is specially formulated to provide optimal hydration.

Nuun is sugar-free.

Nuun is available in several unique flavors, including:

citrus fruit
kona kola
orange ginger
lemon + lime

Learn more about Nuun!

I've had the opportunity to sample almost every flavor that I received (my favorite so far is tri-berry) on various short runs, mid-distance runs and a long run. My overall impression is: Awesome! It tastes great, goes down easy (no tummy troubles) and seems to do the job.

For some crazy reason, hubby thought it would be a good idea to pop a kona kola tablet directly in his mouth. Ummm.... yeah. Have you seen the way the tabs fizz when you drop them in your water bottle? This was pretty entertaining, but I do not recommend it!

The best part is, Nuun sent me plenty of extra samples you know what that means: GIVEAWAY TIME! To enter:

Leave a comment and let me know which is your favorite flavor (or one you'd like to try). Giveaway closes on Friday.


I'm ecstatic to report that my 25K (actually, 25.6K = 16mi) long run went great yesterday. The cool temperature, cloudy sky and fall-back distance had me flying. In fact, my entire pace group was running way faster than we usually do on a long run - by 15-20 seconds per kilometre! It was an incredible run and I finished strong. Average pace - 5:56/KM = 9:33/mi. Nice!

We followed it up with a delicious post-run brunch. This group knows how to eat! We indulged in all kinds of sweet and savoury goodies. I also took a dip in the pool, even though it was only about 15C/59F. The water felt great, although I was freezing when I got out!

Yesterday wrapped up another weekly mileage PR of 77K/48mi. I'm aiming for 50 miles this week!

Have a great day!

(P.S. Last chance to enter Tall Mom's Pearl Izumi Giveaway. Contest closes at 200 comments and she already has 180+!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Toronto Women's 5K - Race Report + Photos

I decided to participate in this event to (A) support women's races in Toronto, (B) get my hands on the Lululemon tech shirt and (C) pace my friend "L" for (hopefully) her first sub-30:00 5K.

This race was held at the same location as the Toronto Women's Half Marathon, Sunnybrook Park. Once again, the event was well-organized, well-executed and well-supported.

We arrived on-site early and had plenty of time to mill about and catch up with some friends who were also there. It was great chatting with happy go lucky alex (whom I met for the first time last weekend at the 30K) before and after the race. I also got to meet MacNic for the first time after chatting back and forth via blogs and twitter for several months. And, of course, my BFF Sarah who walked the 5K just 2.5 weeks post partum!

L caught me after a quick last-minute pit stop.

Soon it was time to line up. Check out the green race shirts! Awesome.

I have to say, it was really nice lining up for a race without any nerves. I was relaxed and ready to have fun (and see how hard I could push L).

And we were off! I don't know why, but I really love this pic.

We followed the paved park trails and stayed right on pace. L was doing great! She had debated a 10&1 run to walk ratio, but we ended up running almost the entire way.

The famous firefighter's water station came around the 3K marker. The guys were wearing volunteer t-shirts this year (they were shirtless at the half), so L decided it wasn't worth slowing down or stopping. Heh.

L was starting to struggle, but I urged her on and kept reminding her that we were more than half way there. I tried not to yap too much because when I'm exhausted I usually don't want anybody talking to me. :) She held on really well and only took a teeny tiny walk break after the last hill.

Once we passed the 4K marker, she picked it up. I knew we were right on target for her sub-30, but L had started swearing at this point (it was pretty amusing). She thought she was going to puke, but I told her she could puke at the finish line. Finally, we saw it and she sprinted all the way home. In the end, our final kilometre was the fastest.

Here we are on the home stretch. Don't mind the white dot where L's head should be = she's pretty private. :) Check out my usual inefficient lean-back finish line form. Ugh. (L was in better shape than the lady in front of us!)

Chip time - 29:41

My first time as a personal pace bunny was a success!

She did it! When I saw the clock I was absolutely ecstatic! I eased back to snap a photo of L crossing the line. It's blurry, but you can see the clock. Official time was sub-30:00 as well. Way to go, L!

The awesome Emily aka AddictedToEndorphons was at the finish line so I had to snap a photo! Thanks for volunteering, Em!

We got some water and grub (pitas, bananas, dried apples, tortilla chips and chocolate) and snapped a few photos.

It was a great morning!


Tomorrow's long run is a fall-back to 25K/15.5mi. (Why does that seem so short?) After the run we're having our third brunch and a pool party! Sounds like my kind of Sunday.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

(Don't forget to enter Tall Mom on the Run's awesome giveaway for her 200th post.)

Friday, August 28, 2009

"Race pace"

Happy Friday!

I've had a few comments lately asking 'What is your goal marathon race pace'? The truth is, I'm still trying to figure it out.

I'm training with the 4:00 marathon group (5:40/KM or 9:07/mi pace), so most of my runs are geared towards this. When we do speed work, I'm running at paces targeting a 4:00 marathon (sometimes faster). My long runs are 10-20% slower than the 4:00 marathon pace.

And yet, I am not confident that I am capable of a 4:00 marathon. I had planned to use Saturday's race to gauge my fitness level, but we all know how that went. I realize that there were several factors which contributed to the crummy run and it probably wasn't a good measure of my fitness level. Still, it's hard not to let it get inside my head.

So with 4 weeks and 2 days until the marathon, I still don't know what my goals are. I'd like to think I can improve significantly over last year. I will likely go into the race with a large window in mind, start somewhat conservatively and see what happens. If it's a good day, I think I can probably run ~4:15. And if it's not... well, I just hope I can run faster than 4:42:04.

Speaking of marathon race pace, we had a 14K MRP run on the schedule last night. It was a pleasantly cool evening and I felt great. I ended up running 16.5K (10+ miles!) faster than marathon pace. Why can't every run be like that?

Other tidbits:

• Tall Mom on the Run is having an awesome giveaway for her 200th post. Check it out! (You could also be super awesome and drop my name in the comments so I get a bonus entry! Thx!)

• The folks at Halo were so stoked about your response to my post that they're sending me a couple headbands to giveaway. Watch for that SOON.

• Tomorrow is the Toronto Women's 5K. I'm running 100% for fun with a friend who hopes to break 30 minutes for the first time. I'm there for the company, firefighters and chocolate.

Happy Weekend!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Awesome weather + TiaRT

For the next week, it doesn't look like it will be getting warmer than 20C/68F. A-maz-ing. I love this weather! It's still pleasantly warm during the day but cools off nicely at night so there's a chill in the air for morning/evening runs. I love it. If we don't see any more 30C/86F+ days, I will be one happy runner.

Yesterday evening I met a friend (the one who took me skiing that fateful day) for a short run and dinner. I knew I had to squeeze in some extra miles for the day, so I headed out at lunch as well. (I'm getting good at these post-lunch-run sponge baths.)

I had run 15K/9mi on Tuesday and it felt fantastic. I ran the same combined distance yesterday and found myself completely exhausted. It definitely seems to work the body differently to run twice in one day, even if the overall distance is not very high.

Tonight we have a 14K marathon pace run with clinic (+2K warm-up), the one that we missed last week due to tornado warnings.


It's time for Take it and Run Thursday c/o Runners' Lounge and this week Jill Will Run wants to know:

It’s the morning of your weekly long run… what do you eat and why?

I've done oatmeal (too hot for summer) and bagels (too heavy), but my latest go-to is an english muffin with peanut butter and/or nutella. It's delicious, it keeps me going and it sits well in my tummy.

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!!!

Drop by Chic Runner for your chance to win an ifitness sport belt and chasing the kenyans for some GU goodies.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

For those who sweat

I admit that I sweat... a lot! And you know what I hate? When the sweat gets in my EYES! Especially if I'm wearing sunscreen, because then it stings! Enter:

Halo's Sweat Block Technology keeps sweat and sunscreen out of your eyes while training, working out, racing, or just working hard. Every Halo Headband includes the patented water-tight seal which redirects sweat away from your face. It may sound too good to be true, so I put it to the test.

Halo sent me their most popular model, the Halo Headband II Pullover.

Here's what the sweat-blocker looks like on the inside of the headband. It also acts as a grip to hold it in place, but don't worry - no unsightly red marks!

The Halo Headband did the trick! I tested it out on a 15K/9mi run tonight. It was a slightly cooler evening, but I was still sweating like a you-know-what. With the Halo in place, I wasn't constantly wiping sweat off my face and out of my eyes like I usually would be. Plus, it was totally comfortable and I couldn't even feel it on.

The headbands are available in a variety of styles and colours, so check out the website to see what might work for you.

I'm definitely going to have to try the Anti-Freeze Pullover once the colder weather is here.

Tall Mom on the Run recently reviewed Halo Headband as well, so check out what she had to say here.


My run tonight went really well. I felt strong and steady throughout, hopefully setting the scene for a great week. I only have two more big weeks of training before taper. Only 32 days to go!

Monday, August 24, 2009

More post-race thoughts + Giveaway Winner!

Thank you so much for all of your awesome comments on Saturday's race. I appreciate all of your support and feedback and I'm starting to feel better about the whole thing. Still disappointed, but not so defeated. I know where I went wrong and what I could/should have done differently. As it turns out, I didn't pee from 5pm Saturday (pre-race) until 10am Sunday (sorry for TMI). I was dehydrated. What a rookie mistake! Anyway, time to get my head in the game for September 27th.

I neglected to mention in my race report that I had the awesome pleasure of 'running into' a couple of local bloggers on the course. Both happy go lucky alex and Kenny from A whole lot of soles... wrote excellent race reports so check those out here and here. Great seeing you guys out there!

Hella Sound Winner!

Thanks to everyone who entered my giveaway last week. The winner, selected at random, is:

If anyone else would like to give it a try (you totally should!), you can use coupon code MARLENERUN for $1 off a custom running track. Check it out at Hella Sound.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Disappointed (Race Report)

Might as well cut to the chase: I did not have a good race tonight.

I started ambitiously, hoping that I could pull off a 2:50 finish (equivalent of 4:00 marathon pace) with hubby by my side.


It was still humid to start, but we were right on pace and I was feeling pretty good. This section of the route was rather boring and industrial, but we knew that it would be short-lived.


We arrived at Tommy Thompson Park, also knows as the Leslie Street Spit. I hated this section of the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon route, but it was more bearable tonight without the sun pounding down. We enjoyed a beautiful view of the Toronto skyline during this section.


We arrived at the end of the spit (and saw the lighthouse) around 11K and made the turn-around. There was a long section where we were running on loose stones,making footing impossible. I was happy to get back on paved trail again. Shortly thereafter, I got hit with a brutal cramp deep in the lower left side of my abdomen, which hurt so much I could hardly breathe. I rarely get cramps so it was hard to cope with and extremely frustrating. Fortunately, it passed after 10 or 15 minutes and we slowed down only slightly, just a few seconds off pace.

And suddenly I was exhausted! My energy was fading and fast. I did not feel good at all and I knew I was in trouble. I made a deal with myself that I could take a short walk at 15K.


The walk break helped a little, but I found it very difficult to get moving again. At least we were half way there!

The next few kilometres were pure agony. My ears were ringing for some crazy reason, I started feeling dizzy and had goosebumps all over. It didn't make sense for me to be dehydrated (I'd been drinking plenty, taking gels and eload tabs on my usual schedule), but it certainly felt that way.

We took a walk again at 18K and I had a conversation with hubby in which I very nearly decided to quit. I have never been so close to quitting a race. We were both worried about my health and safety and since this wasn't my goal race, I had to ask myself 'Is it worth it?' I just couldn't stand the thought of a DNF and decided I would continue on to the next water station to see how I felt. If I hadn't improved, I would stop and get a lift back to the finish.

We started running again - slowly. I actually felt a little better. Still exhausted, but not dizzy or worried that I could pass out. At 20K, I convinced hubby to run ahead. I knew that my slowing pace was painful for him, and it was only making me feel worse. He resisted, but eventually complied after I promised to get help if I needed it. [He went on to finish in about 2:45 and enjoyed passing people for the remainder of the race.]


I trucked along as we ran along the water in Ashbridge's Bay Park and then on the boardwalk along the beach (open to public and busy). I tried not to walk until 25K, but I think I sneaked in a short break at a water stop. I was moving slowly and trying not to feel too defeated. I knew I could finish, but I also knew I was way off my target. I was having flashbacks to my first marathon where I fell apart in the second half. How could this be happening again?


Eventually I made it to the final turnaround (woohoo!) and could sense that I was running toward the finish. I felt like I was shuffling along, but only took one short break at the last water station.

With about 500m to go, I spotted hubby on the side of the road. He ran with me for a couple minutes before sending me off on my own to finish this thing. I somehow found a kick to bring it home, running that final kilometre in 5:33. Where did that come from?

Was I ever happy to cross that finish line!

30K = 18.6mi
6:10/KM = 9:55/mi

Post-race thoughts:

That pretty much sucked.

At least I finished.

Respect the distance - even if it's "only" 30K.

Based on this performance, I am not capable of a 4-hour marathon right now.

And that's okay.

Can I blame it on being my first evening long run/race?

Sleeping in this morning was pretty awesome, though.

Didn't exactly carbo-load over the last few days.

Probably should have if I expected to run as strong as I'd hoped.

I need to start much more conservatively on September 27th.

Better to suck now than then.

Could have been an off day?

But I can admit that I started too fast.

I think I'd run this race again.

Now I need 30K Redemption, too.

I've had a few severe, debilitating cramps in my quads/inner thighs since getting home. What does that mean?

I have a few pics on my friend's camera, which I'll post when I get them. For now, here's a quick one that hubby took when we got home: race shirt, mangled bib, medal and stainless steel water bottle handed out at the finish.

And now it's bed time.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Race Goals & more...

Thanks for all of your concern on yesterday's post. This is something that we do not deal with regularly (or ever!) so it was pretty shocking for everyone. Fortunately, no damage or injuries in my area. After the craziness, we enjoyed a pretty spectacular sky.


Tomorrow I'm running A Mid Summer Night's Run (30K).

A Midsummer Night's Run is a magical evening of running staged on Toronto's East end trails and along Lake Ontario. The run will start before the sun sets and will be finished by the light of the moon. Shakespeare's own words well describe this night as being "...swift as a shadow, short as any dream..."

Given that this is my first 30K race, my first evening race and my first time running any kind of long distance in the evening, I really have no idea what to expect. That being said, I trust in my training and recent results and I should be in good shape for a decent race. Having my trusty pace bunny (husband) by my side will certainly help. I have to remember this this is not my goal race and I can't afford to wipe myself out completely with two weeks of peak training ahead. What happens tomorrow may largely depend on the weather. The forecast earlier this week promised cooler temperatures, no humidity and isoltaed showers. Now: warm, humid and chance of thundershowers. All things considered, I have three goals.

C Goal (I know I can): ~6:15/KM pace (10:03/mi)
= ~3:07:30 finish

B Goal (I think I can): ~6:00/KM pace (9:39/mi)
= ~3:00:00 finish

A Goal (I hope I can): ~5:40/KM pace (9:07/mi)
= ~2:50:00 finish


Mel is completing her very first triathlon this weekend! It's been a long journey getting here, so drop by to leave her some good wishes. Go for it, Mel!


You still have a few days to enter my Hella Sound Giveaway!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tornados and Rainbows

We had a 14K marathon pace run on the schedule for tonight, but Mother Nature had other ideas. We're having some very unusual weather in Southern Ontario this evening with severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings all over the place, and reports of touch-downs just miles from where I live. Eeek!

Needless to say, our run has been postponed and hubby and I are currently hiding out in the safety of our home. There's a kick-ass rainbow outside our back dooor, although the sky is looking particularly eerie and the tornado warning remains in effect.

Looks like my mini-taper for Saturday's 30K isn't going to be so mini afterall. Race goals/plan coming tomorrow.

I hope all of my fellow Ontarians are safe & sound!


Looking for something to blog about? Check out my topic for this week's TiaRT!

TiaRT and I'm at the wheel!

I had the priviledge of selecting this week's topic for Take it and Run Thursday.

When did you know you had become a runner? Was there a defining moment, or was it a gradual progression over time?

Make sure you drop by the Runners' Lounge to see what I had to say and check out my slideshow of random running pics.

Happy Thursday (almost FRIDAY)!!


Don't forget to enter my Hella Sound Giveaway!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Hella Sound Giveaway!

First, make sure you check out yesterday's post to find out more about custom running music.

John at Hella Sound has generously agreed to offer one free 30-minute running track to a lucky reader.

How to enter:

1. Comment on this post and let me know why Hella Sound appeals to you.

2. Bonus entry: Follow Hella Sound on Twitter. (Let me know in your comment.)

Entries will be accepted until Monday, August 24th. Everyone wins in this giveaway because Hella Sound is also offering a $1 off coupon code for all readers. Watch for the code when I announce the winner (selected at random) on Monday!


I ran a nice little 6K this evening. I'm easing up on the mileage this week as a mini-taper for the 30K race on Saturday. (Race plan/goals coming soon.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hella Sound!

I was the lucky winner of a running track from Hella Sound through Racevine's summer giveaway.

The right music can make your run.
Stay motivated. Run faster.

Hella Sound offers custom running tracks, synced to your pace. Each track is offered with preset rates (beats per minute) to match your stride.

I received a $5 voucher, good for one 30-minute track. I decided to go with 160 BPM (cadence of 80). I have a long stride/low cadence, which is something I am trying to work on. I hoped that using music geared toward a shorter stride could help with this. A shorter stride can improve running efficiency and reduce the chance of injury. See these Runners' World articles for more information:

The track is called How To Turn Around A Bad Day and is described by Hella Sound as "indie rock, funk and jazz." I took it out for a spin during my short run on Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by the sound. It had a great beat and I really enjoyed the funky tunes. I even caught myself smiling like a goof and bobbing my head.

I settled into my stride with ease. It came naturally and didn't take any concentration. Throughout the run, I counted my steps for one minute several times and my cadence was exactly 80 each and every time. I conducted a little experiment and shut off the music to see how my natural cadence compared. 78. It would typically be slightly lower, so I chalked it up to my legs 'remembering' the rhythm from the running track. When I tried again after stopping for a minute and it was down to 77. I turned the music back on and checked again; back to 80!

The music is fun and I believe that using this track once or twice a week will help me 'learn' an improved cadence.

Thanks Hella Sound and Racevine!


My two swims on Sunday seem to have really helped my legs recover. Lingering soreness and fatigue after the 20+ miler were minimal. (To compare, last year after running that distance I needed two days to recover!) Hubby and I went out for a hot & sticky 10K after work today. it felt pretty good, but I am so ready to be done with this weather.

Monday, August 17, 2009

A scenic 20-miler

Yesterday was my first 20(+) miler of this training cycle. Our group met outside of town in the ski region of Hockley Valley. Our coach had sent out an email earlier in the week warning that some sections of the route would be "rather mountainous, but provides for a fabulous view from atop the north rim of the Hockley Valley. Don't miss it, it is worth the drive and effort!" I wasn't quite sure what we were in for.

It was another hot and sticky day, already pushing 30C/86F with the humidex when we set out. Unlike last week, we were not protected by overcast skies. Once the sun came up, it was a scorcher.

The route was beautiful, but extremely challenging. We faced hill after hill after hill with a few significant climbs. Coach wasn't kidding when he used the word mountainous.

We plodded along and took in the sights, ticking off the miles slowly but surely.

Quiet country roads (and some much-needed shade).

We eventually reached the top of the escarpment where we enjoyed this spectacular view.

We enjoyed a long downhill before making another brutal climb. You can see the road going up, up and up in the background - that's where we were headed!

And a group shot (that's me in front):

Around the 13-mile mark, we stopped briefly to load up on water, gatorade and oranges that our coach had stashed at a local inn. After that, the 7+ miles to finish seemed to go on forever.

This was the home stretch (more hills):

And we finally made it.

32.84K (20.4mi)
6:23/KM (10:16/mi)

[77.5K/48mi for the week]

Considering the route and conditions, I am definitely not disappointed with my pace. It was a hard run.

There was a pond on the property where we started and believe it or not, many of us actually went in for a swim. It was pretty deep and cooler than I expected, which felt amazing to soothe my sore, tired legs and cool me down. I took off my shoes and went straight in wearing my running clothes. Sorry, no photographic evidence. :)

Once I had dried off, the Recovery Socks went on.

After a feast of fresh baked goodies, fruit and chocolate milk, it was time to hit the road home. In the afternoon, hubby and I had the opportunity to go out on Lake Simcoe with his mom and her boyfriend and we had a cool, refreshing dip off the boat in the middle of the lake. My legs were definitely happy.

I hadn't eaten much all day, so by the time we reached shore I was starving. We stopped at Boston Pizza to replenish some calories with a delicious Tuscan pizza before heading home to crash.

I hope everyone had a great weekend. I have to get busy catching up!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Show me your he♥rt

The lovely and hilarious b.o.b. of Discom-BOB-ulated Running tagged me to play a little game of "Show Me Your He♥rt".

With as much creativity as you can muster, show your he♥rt in: a picture, poem, a song (or piece of music), a phrase (or quote), an item of clothing, a place, and (just for fun) a Disney princess.



Life is a Journey by Alvin Fine


Bells of Freedom, Bon Jovi

...Up the steps of the church
Through the fields in the dirt
In the dark I have seen
That the sun still shines for the one who believed

So far away, so full of doubt, you needed proof
Just close your eyes, and hear the sound inside of you

Ring the bells, ring them loud
Let them ring here and now
Just reach out and ring the bells of freedom
When your world's crashing down like you've lost every round
Stand your ground
And ring the bells of freedom...


Pain is temporary; quitting lasts forever. (Lance Armstrong)


My furry boots


The lake where I spent most of my summers growing up.

Disney Princess

Sleeping Beauty.

Now, show me your he♥rt:

Lily on the Road

Tall Mom on the Run

2nd Chances

Chasing the Kenyans


I was the lucky winner of a running track from Hella Sound through Racevine's summer giveaway. I tested it out this morning and I'll have a review coming up in the next couple days.


Tomorrow I have a 33K/20.5mi group run in the Hawkley Valley area. We've been promised great scenery and memorable views from the escarpment, but warned of some serious climbing to reach said views. Running outside of town (~45 minutes) on another hot and humid day means an extra early wake-up call. I even had to bail on a girlfriend's bachelorette party tonight. :( Hopefully, it will all be worth it.

Have a great weekend! I'll check in tomorrow after the run.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Who owned the track?!

I did!

Yesterday we hit the local college track after a 4K warm-up around a nearby park. It was a stifling 30C/86F and humid (feels like 33C/91F) when we set out, and I was not expecting a good performance.

We had a goal of 4-5 x 1600 at a goal of 8:00 per 1600 (=5:00/KM pace, 2:00/lap).

I started with my pace group, but found myself pulling away easily. I was flying around that track and feeling good! I could feel it by the third lap of each set, but always managed to pick it up for the final 400.


1st set



2nd set



3rd set



4th set

1:43 ~ I told myself I was done after this one


5th set

1:49 ~ wondering why didn't I stop at 4?


I was floating on such a huge runners' high by the time we were done. I couldn't believe my splits! It was an awesome workout. And now I have to focus on recovering before a 33K/20.5 mile on Sunday. It's going to be another scorcher.

Have a great Friday!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

TiaRT: Training Plans (or not?)

This is the first day of the all new Take it and Run Thursday chez Runners' Lounge. Make sure you drop by to check out Erin's topic for this week:

How do you decide how far to run? Do you base it on a training plan? On the route? Or on something else entirely?

I almost always follow a training plan. I like having a race(s) on the horizon to work towards so I feel like I'm running for a purpose. It keeps me focused and motivated. That being said, I generally follow training plans loosely. I schedule the long run and one day of speed work, then focus on overall weekly mileage and fill in the blanks. I like having some flexibility, but I typically have my week planned out on Monday.

At the moment I'm training with the marathon group at my local Running Room and we run together on Thursdays (speed work) and Sundays (long run). I'm more or less following the suggested training plan, with tweaks here and there to reach my own personal mileage goals and accommodate my schedule.

Some day I think I'd like to follow a more advanced training plan (like Pfitz?) once I have some more experience under my belt. I'm not ready to make the commitment just yet. :)

So, how do you train?


Yesterday I ran double recovery runs with a shorty at lunch and another after work - total 11K/6.8mi. I was hoping to give my legs a break after Tuesday's hill repeats because we have a track workout with clinic tonight. We've been invited to use a local college (springy!) track, which will be an improvement over the gravel elementary school track I have used before. The workout is four or five 1600s and I am fully prepared to have my butt kicked.


Today is Amanda's Birthday over at Run to Finish. Drop by to wish her a happy one and enter a sweet giveaway!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

13 hills & Blogger issues

I joined a handful of friends tonight to run some hills. It has been a long time since I've done repeats. There's a good number of hills in most of my runs and our coach always includes a few doozies in our long runs, but repeats are a whole other ball game.

We set out on a 3K warm-up (which was also hilly!) before arriving at The Hill. It was very short, but very steep. And we were off! We all ran at our own pace, tackling the repeats one at a time. Some walked down the hills to recover, but I preferred to maintain a slow jog.

The goal was 12 repeats and I decided to pause briefly at the top after each four for a few sips of water. This helped break it up and I found that I was ticking them off one by one without any problem. Yes, I was tired, but seeing my friends on all the ups and downs (and giving each other a little cheer) really helped keep my mind off it.

Soon enough, I had finished 12! As I was resting at the top, someone somehow convinced me to run one more while waiting for the others. At first I thought, no way... but before I knew it, there I was jogging to the bottom of the hill for some more punishment.

13 done! What a workout.


Some time this afternoon, Blogger seems to have wiped out my entire reading list. This has happened before, but I can usually get it back after refreshing. Not today. Sooo frustrating. Apparently I'm not the only one. I just hope I get my blogs back soon!

Monday, August 10, 2009


Once I managed to peel myself off the floor yesterday, it was time to concentrate on recovery.

• ice cold soak in the tub

• chocolate milk, gatorade and Clif bar (until I could stomach a real meal a couple hours later)

Recovery Socks

• (before bed) hot soak in the tub with epsom salts

My legs feel really good today, so I must have done something right. It's a rest day anyway , so I should be ready for a good hill workout with a couple friends tomorrow.

Unfortunately, the humidity continues. Ugghh.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Lived to tell the tale

Fortunately morning dawned with overcast skies, so the stifling air was somewhat bearable when we set out for our 30K (18.6mi) run. The 94% humidity, however, was suffocating. The air was thick and damp and I was glad to have decided to bring my hydration backpack with its 2L bladder. I was thirsty the entire time! I also took my eload zone caps along the way.

A significant portion of our run was along trails, which kept things interesting. We also had a water stop (with oranges too - my fave!) at 21K/13mi, which helped break the run into two more manageable parts.

It went well for the most part, although I was suffering with the humidity. I was just grateful for the thick cloud cover, because we would have been absolutely melting had it been a sunny day.

I lost my group at one point when I had to make a detour for an emergency pitstop (with a case of the lindsays), so I was on my own for the last 8K or so. It was a struggle and the run was pretty slow overall, but I made it.

30.0K (18.6mi)
6:17/KM (10:07/mi)

It's been a long time since a freezing cold bath has felt so good.

And this concludes another weekly mileage milestone - 76 KM (47.2mi). No wonder I'm so exhausted!

Saturday, August 08, 2009


Tomorrow is my first 30K (18.6mi) of this training cycle. (Read about my first ever 30K run here.)

Unfortunately, the forecast is not looking too good.

It's not the risk of thunderstorms that I'm worried about (in fact, the rain will be welcome!) but the 30C (86F) feels like 42C (107F) temperature. (!!!) This is Ontario and that is HOT.

We're starting a bit earlier than usual (although not as early as I'd like) and we'll just have to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate and hope for the best. This will be a great opportunity to use my Nathan Intensity Hydration Pack for Women because my usual two-10oz-bottle belt is not going to cut it.

Hopefully I'll be back to tell the tale tomorrow. Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Tempo Redemption

After a brutal attempt at a tempo/LT run last week, I'm happy to report that I redeemed myself tonight!

After a 4K warm-up, we set out for the 6K (3.72mi) tempo/LT portion along paved park trails. I found myself running between two pace groups, which worked out just fine. I focused on keeping the faster group in my sights and preventing the slower group from catching up.

Splits, brought to you by my brand new Forerunner 205. :)

[Goal = 5:00/km = 8:03/mi]

1K: 4:58 (7:59/mi) Good. This is good.
2K: 5:01 (8:04/mi) Watch it.
3K: 5:03 (8:08/mi) Quit slacking.
4K: 4:54 (7:53/mi) That's better.
5K: 4:53 (7:51/mi) Nice! Can I do it again?
6K: 4:48 (7:43/mi) That's what I'm talking about!

Average pace: 4:56/KM = 7:56/mi

(Overall numbers with warm-up/cool-down = 12.43K @ 5:27 = 7.72mi @ 8:46)

And you know what? I felt good! Don't get me wrong, I was huffing and puffing enough to scare a small child, but I wasn't dying. My legs felt good, too. I had some pain in my tush, but that's likely because my physiotherapist was digging her elbow into it an hour earlier.*

What a nice feeling to have a great run.

*No worries... nothing is wrong. Just went in for a little 'maintenance' appointment to loosen everything up. I also broke the news to my PT that I'll be going Goofy next year, and she was less than thrilled. I'm pretty sure she's already penciled me in for a few appointments in January. ;)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

July 2008 vs July 2009 ... and more!

Hard to believe it's August already and I find myself facing marathon redemption next month. My training has been significantly more consistent this time around and having the support of my group to run with two to three times a week has been priceless.

I wrapped up July with my highest monthly mileage to-date and could not believe the difference when compared with last July - while training for the same race!

The numbers say it all.

(Click below for conversion to miles.)

I just hope it pays off! August will be a big one.

And more...

Jonathan at Zensah® orecently offered to send me one of their seamless running shirts to test out.

What makes Zensah® different:

• Seamless construction – Eliminates chafing

• Zensah® Silver Ions- Reduces bacteria growth & takes away the stink

• Soft Hand – Most comfortable workout you will ever have

• Pinpoint compression- Provides compression where you need it
*this is not a compression shirt, but this one is*

• Moisture Wicking- Faster than the other guys

This shirt is marketed as "The most comfortable women's running shirt you will ever wear." I completely agree with this statement! The fabric is super soft and feels barely there. Since trying it out, I've really noticed the seams in my usual running tops.

I think I'm going to have to try out one of the seamless running bras to see if I can finally put an end to chafing on my chest and back.

Zensah Seamless Running Shirt: APPROVED!

And even more...

By now I think most of the blog world has heard of Racevine, a comprehensive race review website. If you haven't already, now is a great time to check out the site and leave a review because Racevine is hosting a fantastic summer giveaway where you can win Lululemon Athletica gear, race registrations and more! To enter, all you have to do is review a race.


Check out Julia's Endurance Sports Nutrition Book giveaway over at Chocolate Shoestrings.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


Some photo highlights of our long weekend camping adventure...

My uncle owns this great secluded property in the woods, located on a river and just a 2 minute boat ride into a gorgeous lake.

We did some canoeing;

(Under the bridge into the lake.)

Some swimming;

(Sister's boyfriend, sister, me)

Some reading;

(Me, sister, hubby, sister's bf.)

Enjoyed some campfires;


(We could see Jupiter and its moons!)

Plenty of eating;

And even some running;

We had a fantastic weekend!


I wrapped up my recovery week last week with 50K/31mi. This week is a big one with 75K/46.6mi on the schedule and I kicked it off today with 15K/9.3mi (in the form of a double - 9K at lunch and 6K after work).


In other news, my Forerunner 205 has officially kicked the bucket, and now I'm having sticker shock about spending $450 on a fancy new 310XT. I really want it, but it's not the greatest time to be spending money like that. We struck a deal that I'll get a new 205 for now and the 310 for my Birthday next year, keeping the 205 as back-up. I really do appreciate all of your support on my petition, so thanks again for that. I'll continue to woo the 310 for another year or so...