Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday Accountability...on a Tuesday

Last week:

Monday: rest! / check!
Tuesday: 6K with clinic / we ran 8
Wednesday: 11K with clinic including 8 hills! / check
Thursday: gym (X-train) / fell down the stairs after physio and my butt hurt too much!
Friday: 5K / as above
Saturday: rest / as above... but I packed and cleaned all day!
Sunday: 12K LSD with clinic / check!
Total: planned 34... completed 31, not bad for an injury. ;)

This week...

Monday: X-train (elliptical) / done!
Tuesday: 7K with clinic
Wednesday: 12K with 9 hills! Eek!
Thursday: MOVING DAY!
Friday: rest (i.e. unpacking!)
Saturday: as above...
Sunday: LSD 18K
Total: 37K

Let's get this party started.

Sunday, January 27, 2008


Well, hubby has decided not to run the Chilly Half on March 2nd. He's just starting to recover from his injury and there's no way he'll be ready in time. Plus, it's not worth jeopardizing weeks of treatment and recovery (and down time!) even if he does feel up to it at that time. I know he is making the smart decision. I'll be running with my instructor who will be a Pace Bunny for 2:05:00, which would beat my previous time, so I'll be happy with that. The nice thing is, Mark will be able to cheer me in at the finish line. :) Hopefully he will be up for Around the Bay by the end of March, but if not, we'll cross that bridge when the time comes.

In other news, my good friend Patricia has taken the plunge and signed up for her first marathon! She'll be running the New York Road Runners Marathon for Women Only in NEW YORK CITY on April 6th. So exciting! I'll be cheering for you from a distance, Patricia! I know you can do it!

Friday, January 25, 2008


I started seeing a new Physiotherapist last night, Beth Wightman of Life Spring. She was fantastic. She's a competitive runner (just placed 3rd in the Naples half with a time of 1:17!!) and really seems to know her stuff. After an indepth assessment, including a run on the treadmill and gait analysis, she determined that the root of my problem is running mechanics (which actually makes perfect sense since the original injury occurred only a couple months after I started to run). I have a severe pronation (which my currnet shoes do not correct sufficiently) and a tendency to twist my hip (common in women), both of which are causing strain on my knee. Basically, the knee cap is supposed to move, but mine moves up and to the side when it should just move up. Over time this has caused wear and tear on the cartlidge, which is not causing the grinding.

Beth is confident that we can fix the issue relatively quickly before it starts to cause real problems for me. I will be going for weekly deep tissue massages of the inner quad, which will loosen up the muscles and encourage movement of my knee cap in the right direction. I also have quad stretches to do at home three times a day and a hip strengthening exercise for every second day.

I have also been 'prescribed' a new pair of shoes. I currently wear Brooks Trance but Beth recommended Brooks Ariel for more stability. I tried them on at Physio and ran on the treadmill and she could already see a significant improvement in my mechanics. Hopefully the Running Room has my size!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Last night at clinic a lady named Helen came in to speak to us from the Markham Running Room and shared her story.

In 2003 when she retired, Helen decided to take up running to A) improve her health, and B) fill her time with something productive.

At 65 years old, she took Learn to Run at the Running Room, followed by every subsequent clinic all the way to the full marathon. Within two years, she ran her first marathon. Within three years, she not only achieved her "pipe dream goal" of qualifying for Boston, but completed the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon first in her category.

In 2007, at 69 years old, she ran the Boston Marathon.

She told us stories of hope and pride, of the inner strength it takes to run a marathon, of determination, of all the friends she's met in her journey. She brought a beautiful scrapbook filled with race day photos, race bibs, printouts of her finishing times, newspaper clippings. It was wonderful to hear all about her experience. She gave me goosebumps!

Helen shared her own personal goals going in to her qualifying race.
1. (of course) Qualify for Boston
and if that didn't work out...
2. Achieve a personal best
and if that didn't work out...
3. Cross the finish in good form and smiling

She suggested that we do the same because let's be honest, not every race is going to our best. We can have high hopes, but we also have to keep realistic expectations. This is something I firmly believed leading up to my first half marathon and I will continue to do so. Yeah, I'll set big goals, but I want every single finish line I cross to feel like the big accomplishment that it is. There are no disappointments.

For interest's sake, these are the Qualifying Times for Boston. I'm thinking I might have a shot at qualifying when I'm 65.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Accountability

Reporting on last week...

Monday: planned 7.5K / ran 3 and went ice skating for an hour
Tuesday: 6K with clinic / check! + strength workout
Wednesday: 10K including 7 hills (eek!) / check!
Thursday: gym (X-train) / 5K treadmill + strength workout
Friday: rest / check!
Saturday: 16K LSD / check!
Sunday: 7.5K / 5K treadmill + strength workout
Week total: 45K ... no wonder I am so wiped!

This week...

Monday: rest!
Tuesday: 6K with clinic
Wednesday: 11K with clinic including 8 hills!
Thursday: gym (X-train)
Friday: 5K
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 12K LSD with clinic (easing up this week before two weeks in a row of 18!)
Total: 34K ... that's better. :)

Saturday, January 19, 2008

An icey Sunday morning run

***ETA: Thanks to Lor for pointing out that today is in fact Saturday and not Sunday. But I'm not going to change the title... just goes to show ya that running can make you stupid. Hehe.***

I was actually looking forward to my run this morning. It was still dark out, much colder (and windier!) than I expected and SNOWING, but I still felt good. Bundled up, headed out....and fell flat on my face on the driveway. It was glare ice covered in snow. We apprently had some wicked flash freezing yesterday and the roads and sidewalks were complete ice. If I wasn't meeting Michelle, I definitely would have gone straight back in the house! But I got up, burshed myself off, and headed to here house. We set off and had a nice run through quiet streets (the benefits of heading out at 7AM) and took a peaceful detour through Fairy Lake. We were slipping all over (I really need some Yaktrax) but managed to keep our footing...for the most part. Michelle took a tumble at one point, but she was okay.

I definitely noticed that I was low on energy and we ran much more slowly than last week even though the distance was the same (16K). Our average came in at about 6:45/KM. But the important thing is, we went out and did it.

And have I mentioned that I get to sleep in tomorrow? ;)

Friday, January 18, 2008


It's been a good week so far. I ended up going skating on Monday so I only ran about 3KM. Tuesday night was 6KM with clinic and Wednesday was 7 hills (7!!!) and a total of about 9.5 KM. Last night I ran a speedy 5KM on the treadmill at the gym, faster than I have been able to run in a while.

The hills (particularly the last couple) were brutal...but good. I was really feeling it in my butt and hips that night and the next day. And the next day. And still today. :)

This better pay off! Actually, I think it already is. A few weeks ago running 5 hills just about killed and and this week I was able to complete 7...so that's progress! The thing I like most about hill training is the mental and emotional challenge. It's excellent practice for hanging in there for the last few kilometres of a half marathon (or longer) when you really don't think you can go any further.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting a couple girls at the ungodly hour of 7:00 AM for 16K again. It's going to be tough getting out of bed when the alarm goes off at 6, but it will be nice to sleep in again on Sunday. Especially since it's going to be FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEZING.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Monday Accountability

Last week:

Monday: planned rest / check!
Tuesday: planned 5 or 6 KM with clinic / check! (6)
Wednesday: planned 9+KM with 6 hills / check!
Thursday: planned gym / check! (5K treadmill + weights)
Friday: planned 5K and/or gym / nope... lazy day
Saturday: planned LSD 16K / check! actually.. 16.82!
Sunday: planned rest / check!
Week total: 36.82 KM

Plan for this week:

Monday: 7.5K
Tuesday: 6K with clinic
Wednesday: 10K including 7 hills (eek!)
Thursday: gym (X-train)
Friday: rest
Saturday: 16K LSD (running Saturday again with the same ladies from my clinic...Sunday sleep-ins are nice!)
Sunday: 7.5K
Week total: 47 KM ... wowzers, that's a lot. Will probably make adjustments.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

What's another 9KM?

I have officially been talked into running the 30K Around the Bay in Hamilton on March 30th. If I can run 21, I should be able to run 30...right? After the Chilly Half on March 2nd I will continue training with my instructor and another girl in the group who are also running it (and hubby, of course). It's going to be intense, but I am really looking forward to it.

A little about the event:

Hamilton's Around the Bay Road Race is the oldest on the continent, first run in 1894, three years before the Boston Marathon. Rich in tradition, it has been won by the best from around the world, including Boston Marathon winners and Olympic gold medallists. Become part of the continuing tradition by running this challenging course around Hamilton's natural harbour!

The first 20k of the Around the Bay Road Race is an exciting, scenic, and fast route. The last 10k includes rolling hills through scenic North Shore Blvd.

So there you have it. Thirty kilometres... have I completely lost my marbles?! Depending on how this goes, I may be ready for a full marathon sooner than I thought, but I am not committing to anything just yet. ;)

Saturday, January 12, 2008

A revelation

Before joining my half marathon clinic, I had never considered the concept of running 10&1's (run 10 minutes, walk 1). The Running Room highly recommends (almost insists) that it's the right way and the only way to run. At first I was disappointed that our clinic would be following the 10&1 system because all of my previous training had been continuous running (including my first half marathon). It seemed like a step back. My concerns were three-fold: a) I thought I would have a hard time getting back into my rhythm after a walk break, b) I worried I would be constantly watching the time, desperate for the next walk, and c) I assumed my pace would be slower. In a word, I was skeptical.

So hubby and I "rebelled" and did our own thing, running continuously. But since he's been off with an injury for three weeks, I've been running with different people and finally gave 10&1's a chance. And you know what? Turns out it's not so bad. I don't seem to have a hard time getting back into a rhythm, I don't catch myself staring at the time and counting down to the next walk and most surprisingly, my pace has IMPROVED. Our distances have been increasing, but my LSD pace has been better than ever.

Live and learn, right?

I'll see where this new 'revelation' takes me. I'm still not sure if I will run 10&1's at the Chilly Half. I suppose it can't hurt to give it a shot. One of the girls in my clinic takes her walks during races at the water stations rather than in timed intervals...that's not a bad idea.

This morning my instructor and another girl from the group met me at 7:30 for our long run because I won't be in town tomorrow. We did nearly 17KM, my longest run ever other than the half marathon. And our average pace was 6:13 min/km, which is FANTASTIC. W00t!


Friday, January 11, 2008

Getting down to business

I have mentioned my ongoing knee issues several times. I have a 'condition' caused by an injury last Easter that usually doesn't bother me (much) but acts up from time to time. Rather than just tolerating it and keeping my fingers crossed that it doesn't act up at a bad time (like, say, the day of a race!) I have decided to deal with it once and for all. My running instructor recommended a clinic (Lifespring) with physiotherapists who actually specialize in running. My husband saw them for the first time last night due to an injury that has had him off his feet for nearly three weeks. Turns out it's a bad case of the ol' shin splints. We was very impressed so I decided to make an appointment. It's not until the 24th, but I am looking forward to hearing what they have to say about it and more importantly, start treating it.

We're also going to be seeking some professional nutritional advice from a nutritionist specializing in running as well. Hubby has coverage through work so he's going to take advantage of it and hopefully get lots of good information to share - what to eat leading up to a race, the morning of, after, etc.

Who knew there was so much to learn?!

For the fun of it

I am always looking for ways to keep running interesting and to keep myself motivated, whether it's running with friends, registering for races, setting crazy goals, buying new gear, or otherwise. I have been introduced to a new tool, Nike+. It's an online program that not only records my runs, but allows me to set goals and participate in challenges with other runners around the world. It's a neat little toy...and there's nothing like a little bit of friendly competition to keep me running. I created a private challenge with my friend from work ("IMama") to see who can run the most kilometres in February. Loser buys lunch!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Survived 6 hills

Last week I was dreading hills. I have always had a really hard time with them, and running 5 hills ended up being exactly as challenging as I expected, but much more enjoyable and fulfilling. So I have a new-found appreciation for hills and I was actually looking forward last night.

We did 6 laps around the 1K loop and 9.2K total. Just like last time, there was an ongoing negotiation in my head and I thought for sure I was going to stop at the top of each hill...but I kept on going. Each hill was progressively harder, but I felt more and more empowered as I reached the top the first time, second time, third time, all the way to the last few steps at the top of hill number 6. It's hard to explain the sense of accomplishment.

But I still find it overwhelming to think we will be running 9 hills in a matter of a few weeks. Eek!

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Pain in the ass

And I mean that quite literally. My butt was a little sore after the hilly 14K on Sunday, then yesterday night we ran 6K with a few good hills and it started killing me. I have definitely been walking a little funny.

It's always something, isn't it?

It has eased up today but of course I have 6 hills to run tonight...6 grueling kilometres of running up and down that hill. But ya know, I am actually looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Run Sarah Run!

First I have to wish my BFF Sarah good luck as she starts her Learn to Run Clinic tonight. Go girl!

We are having an unusually mild week around here - +14C in the middle of January! In Ontario?! Unfortunately, it's gloomy, foggy and rainy, but I'm still enjoying a break from the bitter cold.

Tonight is clinic, but I'm not sure of the discussion topic or the length of our run. Looking forward to it either way. It's hard to believe we are more than half way through the program already. I am really going to miss it. I've met some great people, learned a lot, and actually followed a training program! Once I recover from the Chilly Half, I will continue to attend the Wednesday and Sunday practice runs until I decide on my next clinic. I have already decided that I will definitely sign up for another, even if I do the half again. I can't express how much it helps me to get out there on the days when it's the last thing I want to do, and keep going when I feel like I can't go anymore.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Monday Accountability

Last week:

Monday: New Year's Eve...read: rest
Tuesday: New Year's Day...read: rest
Wednesday: 9K with 5 hills
Thursday: rest
Friday: rest AGAIN! oy vey
Saturday: 5K + gym
Sunday: 14K LSD

Yesterday's LSD went really well. I was nervous because I missed last week and cut the previous week short (due to misderable rainy weather) so my last full LSD had been 11K three weeks ago. The route took us through some country roads with rolling hills. One hill was a >30 metre climb! Some of the hills were tough but what goes up must come down (usually) so I was able to recover on the declines. It was quiet and peaceful with almost no traffic and I completed the run in just under 90 minutes with a smile on my face.

So I only went out three times for th e week, but I had two quality runs and my tush is still hurtin' this morning, so I don't feel bad at all. Pretty good start to the new year.

I am looking forward to all the races lined up for 2008, starting with the Chilly Half in less than two months. I was warned by someone in my clinic not to count on a PB (personal best) at the Chilly but wouldn't say why, so I'm not exactly sure what to expect but we'll see how it goes.

Last week we registered for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon, our 'signature' race. It will always be near and dear to our hearts as our first. We also booked a hotel for the night before so we can have a relaxing evening the night before and won't have to drive in to the city at 5:00 AM.

On to accountability for this week. The plan is as follows:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5 or 6 KM with clinic
Wednesday: 9+KM with 6 hills
Thursday: gym
Friday: 5K and/or gym
Saturday: LSD 16K (we won't be in town Sunday morning so my instructor generously offered to meet me for the long run on Saturday)
Sunday: rest

Thursday, January 03, 2008

New goodies!

I almost forgot, I have some new stuff.

For Christmas I got:

-Windpro jacket with deep zip
Love it because it is nice and warm and form-fitting, not bulky - also unzips if I get too hot

-Mizuno Blaze Warmer Top
Kept me perfectly warm last night (it was about -12C) wearing this and the jacket, without being too heavy.

-new winter pants. I can't find the exact ones online, but they are similar to these only not so tight at the bottom

Back with a vengeance

I know it's been a while since I've posted (tried not to spend too much time on the computer during my Christmas vacation) but I didn't stop running! I also missed my "Monday Accountability" for the last two Mondays, being Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, but I'll get back at it next week.

Over the break I ran Christmas Eve (about 6K), Boxing Day (about 5K), Friday the 28th (1K up and down our street, knee was acting up) and 5K on Sunday the 30th (was supposed to be LSD 12K with clinic but I apparently forgot how to set an alarm clock after a week off work and overslept). I also made it to the gym 4 or 5 times for strength training. Overall, a productive holiday. I even LOST weight over Christmas. There's a first time for everything!

So that brings me to last night - hill training. Our clinic started hills two weeks ago but I missed the first one due to my knee and missed the second one on Boxing Day due to a family dinner, so I didn't really know what I was in for. We ran about
2K to a quiet crescent street that forms a 1K loop, approximately 400 metres uphill, a plateau around the corner, 400 metres downhill and a plateau back to the base of the hill. We did this loop FIVE times then ran back to the Running Room for a total of nearly 9K. That is a loooong run for a Wednesday night and I was exhausted by the end, but enjoyed the run nonetheless. The hills were not quite as bad as I expected. Let me rephrase that: the UP hills were just as tough as I thought they would be, but the DOWN hills gave me a chance to recover and helped me keep my sanity/strength/drive through the whole process.

There was an ongoing conversation going on in my head. At the bottom of each hill, I'd look toward the top and think No sweat, I'll be there in no time. About half way up, I'd start thinking Is it ever going to end? And around the 3/4 mark, I would PROMISE myself Just get to the top, then you can take a walk. And then I would get to the top and re-negotiate. I would catch my breath on the plateau, coast down the hall and start the whole conversation again at the bottom of the hill. I did the five times and didn't end up taking a walk. Mind over matter...sometimes that's what it takes!

But dang, my legs and butt are sore this morning!