Saturday, August 30, 2008

Friday night numbers

Kilometres: 10.91
Time: 1:04:53
Pace: 5:56/km
Temperature with humidity: 30C
Number of bugs ingested: 17,453

It was not a fun run. Between the heat, the bugs and the onset of a cold (yeah, I'm sick), I barely got through it.

Today I have a stuffy head, runny nose, dry throat and not a lot of energy, which does not bode well for a 35K (2K more than I originally thought) run tomorrow.

I've decided to join the marathon group because I know I'll need some support to get through this (especially sick... and I know I should not be running sick, but there's no more wiggle room here!) and the walk breaks and slower pace will definitely be good for me given the circumstances.

Hopefully I'll still be standing on my own to feet by the end of it.

Friday, August 29, 2008

How fast can I run a mile?

Reid over at Life Strides is on a mission to crack the 5-minute-mile barrier and he's looking for some support.

Anyone and everyone is invited to participate in his Virtual 1-Miler on September 6th.

(Obviously, we are not expected to run anywhere close to a 5-minute-mile. Just go out and run a mile and send Reid some good vibes to reach his goal.)

I've never done a short distance time trial (nor have I ever done speed work) so I don't really know what to expect. All I have to go on is my best 5K, which was a 4:43/KM pace or 7:35/mile. I'll aim for around 7:00 and see what happens.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Almost forgot!


I also just noticed this year's new BLING posted on the website.

Sooo pretty and a big improvement over last year's rectangles which didn't look like medals at all!

A change of scenery

For a little change of pace last night, I met up with three lovely ladies from the Running Room (two of whom I trained with last winter, one of whom I met for the first time yesterday) for a run in the country. It was about 6:30 on a beautiful evening and we even got to take in the sunset during the second half of our run. The temperature was perfect, as was the setting. We basically ran a large rectuangular 14K "loop", which you can see here. Click on "Satellite" you'll see what I mean about being in the country.

We held a steady conversational pace and took three short walk breaks throughout (not my style, but when in Rome...) and it was just one of those feel-good runs.

As it turns out, I may not have to run my 33K solo this Sunday. The RR marathon group happens to be running the same distance and one of the ladies invited me to come along. It would be nice to have some company, a different route and maybe a little extra push to get out of bed at 5:00AM. I hesitate because of those walk breaks, but I'm thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New gadget

I'm all about keeping running fun. Specifically, keeping track of running. I use two online sites to record and share my runs: MotionBased for GPS data from my Garmin and Runner+ for data collected via Nike+.

(Some days I sepnd more time uploading my runs and look at everyone else's, than actually running...)

For a while I was using the Nike+ kit with my iPod Nano, but it was not exactly convenient or accurate and started acting up over the past couple months. I've decided to give the new Nike SportBand a try.

It doesn't operate through my temperamental iPod (guess what I need for my Birthday!) and it can be manually calibrated - two huge perks over the old system. So far, I like it, but it's amazing how difficult it is to get used to wearing something new on my wrist. This tiny band is unbelievably annoying, but I barely notice the chunky-monkey Garmin on my other wrist anymore, so I'm sure I'll adjust to this.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I even have the shirt to prove it!

On the weekend, my BFF Sarah presented me with this awesome gift:

I LOVE IT and I will wear it proudly over the next month. Which reminds me, I have to start shopping for my race day wardrobe!

Monday, August 25, 2008

33K... or not

Yesterday did not go exactly according to plan. I could tell within the first 5K that it would be unlikely (or at least extremely difficult) to complete 33K as I had hoped. I had very little energy and was actually feeling nauseous by about 10K.

I trudged through another 10 and finally called it quits around 20K. I was completely exhausted and felt beaten down. I know it would have been a very bad idea to force myself through another 13, and it would have accomplished nothing positive for my body or mind. There are runs where you just have to toughen up and get through it, and you'll feel stronger in the end... but then there are runs where you should quit while you're ahead. There is no question that I made the right call yesterday.

I felt so sick, dizzy and worn out when I got home that I crawled into bed (in my sweaty clothes!) and passed out for an hour and a half.

Taking into account that I had just returned from vacation (7+ days of eating junk and drinking) and Friday was my first run over 5K in almost two weeks, I'm not terribly surprised by the results of my long run.

There's nowhere to go but forward, so I'm focused on a solid week of eating the right foods, drinking tons of water and logging my scheduled runs so I'll be ready to make up the 33 next weekend. Hopefully I'll have a much better report a week from today!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


It seems I was still in vacation mode yesterday and didn't get out for a long-ish run as I had planned. Time to be accountable and report on my runs over the past week or so and map out a plan for the coming week.

This week:
Monday: off
Tuesday: 4.07K
Wednesday: 3.96K
Thursday: 3.66K
Friday: off
Saturday: 9.58K (done...though it took some convincing!)
Sunday: 33K

I slept too late and didn't feel like heading out in the heat today, but having not run >5K in 10 days, I knew I had to get out there so my legs don't shut down on me WAY too early tomorrow. I'm a little uneasy about tackling the 33K because of the relaxed week I've had and because of completely skipping a long run last Sunday. Hopefully the rest will have done my body good, or I could be in for a very difficult morning.

Plan for the coming week:

Monday: rest
Tuesday: 5K recovery run
Wednesday: 14K
Thursday: softball
Friday: 12K
Saturday: rest
Sunday: 36K

Or something like that...

Friday, August 22, 2008

Beautiful Bobcaygeon

I ran this route virtually every day while on vacation. It was a short and sweet 4K - just long enough to get me moving, but short enough that it didn't take too much time away from relaxing.

Most of the route took me alongside the sparkling blue waters of Sturgeon Lake. Nothing like a cool breeze off the lake and an incredible view to keep me going.

I crossed a bridge heading into "downtown" Caygeon.

And a mandatory rest stop as the infamous "swing bridge" opened for a boat passing through the lock.

A jog along the boardwalk...

Pausing to take in the view...

Passed the beach...

Back down the road alongside the lake...

And eventually up the quiet street leading back to the cottage.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Back to reality

We had the most incredible week at the cottage. The place was stunning and right on the lake, and we could not have asked for better weather.

Here's a look at how we spent our week:

But alas, the week is over and it's back to the real world. Specifically, back to training for a marathon! It's "Go Time!" as my hubby likes to call it, with just over 5 weeks remaining. My diet of Tostitos, ice cream, s'mores and vodka coolers was fine for a week, but now it's time to focus. The next two weeks are peak training weeks before tapering begins (ALREADY?!?!), starting with a 33K run this Sunday.

I did run every day but one while we were away, but no distance greater than 4K. I had grand expectations of logging a 10K and maybe even a 20, but I was definitely in vacation mode and didn't have the drive. I made sure I followed the road signs...


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Farewell Bloggie Friends!

Tomorrow morning I'm leaving for a glorious week at the cottage.

I likely won't be posting, but I assure you I will be running. And you're just gonna have to take my word for it! I'll try to post my runs on Runner+ so you can check up on me if you insist. ;)

I'll catch up when I get back next Thursday. LATER!

PS - Good luck to my friends participating in the Midsummer Night's Run this weekend! Can't wait to hear/read how it goes.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Unknown Territory

An appropriate excerpt from this week's Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon newsletter:

By now many of your long runs may be personal records. If this was your first marathon training program you may have been running farther than you've ever run week after week.

You've been an explorer in unknown territory. You've boldly gone where you've never gone before, and you've not only survived but you've gotten stronger. You have become what you set out to be. A long distance athlete.

I realized a few weeks ago that each of my subsequent long runs would be my "longest run ever!" It started with 21.2, then 24, then 27 and most recently, 30. Next up: 33. There's a great deal of satisfaction and accomplishment in achieving these new milestones...but there can be some unexpected surprises too.

I've been fortunate so far and haven't discovered too many new woes with the increased distance. I did, however, get my first blister since starting to wear Running Room socks over a year ago. I also have some new chafing on my chest along my bra line - one more place to use BodyGlide in the future. See? It's all a learning experience.

But I really can't complain; my body is holding up well so far.

The next couple weeks will be a little helter-skelter because we're heading to the cottage for a week starting this Friday. I'll be shortening my long run this weekend to something in the 15-20K range, and aiming for several quality shorter runs this week before we leave and next week while we're away. I can't wait to go for a run and jump straight in the lake!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The ins and outs of my first 30K run!

This morning I woke up to the alarm at 6:15, took one look out our open bedroom window and went back to sleep. It was around 10 degrees Celcius and raining! I hate to run in the rain (especially to start in the rain) and it clearly wasn't going to be hot enough to warrant such an early start. At 8:00 when the alarm went off again, it was much more appealing.

I scarfed down my usual oatmeal and banana and hit the streets at 8:45. Meanwhile, hubby drove the car to our usual spot and planted extra water and clothing for me. I wore shorts and a t-shirt and was actually cold for the first few kilometres - haven't felt that in months! The overcast skies eventually cleared to allow the sun to peak through and I warmed up pretty quickly. Looking back, it was pretty close to an ideal temperature to run in.

So here's how it went down.


I felt good physically, but found the first stretch pretty overwhelming. I couldn't get it out of my head that I had to run 30 (THIRTY!) kilometres and that I would be pounding the pavement for the next three hours. It was mentally draining and I JUST.COULD.NOT. stop thinking about the distance. Fortunately, I snapped out of it at 5K when I thought to myself "Hey, I'm one-sixth done!" Before I knew it, I had reached one-fifth and then one-third. At 10K it got easier when I finally felt like I had put a dent in the distance.

The route consisted of an 8K run from home to the park (took a few intentional detours to make it 8), where I would then complete two 11K loops around the usual park. 8+11+11=30. :) I took my first gel when I arrived at the park and switched my t-shirt for a sleeveless at the car.

My average pace around 10K was 5:45; I was surprised and pleased, but worried that I had started too fast and would burn out too soon.


I was still feeling good (great, even) and holding a steady pace. I decided not to slow down because I had found a comfortable rhythm and figured I could always take it back a notch if I started feeling too drained.

A dark cloud rolled in around 15K (half way mark! woohoo!) and it absolutely poured rain for 10 minutes or so. Of course I had just changed in to my only extra shirt. Lovely! I had socks, but decided it just wasn't worth the trouble to switch them.

I was at 20K before I knew it and thankfully, still felt good. During my last three 20K+ runs, I have had a lot of pain in my hips and hamstring by this point, so I was really pleased to discover that nothing was bothering me. And only 10K to go!

By this point, I had gotten my average pace down to 5:42. I surprised myself by maintaining such a strong pace, especially since I've struggled to keep my long runs close to 6:00 most of the summer.


Alright, 10K to go! I took my second gel at 20K and continued moving along steadily. It's amazing how the third 10K seemed so much less daunting than the first. My mind really can play tricks on me if I let it!

At 24-25K, I started feeling tired. My legs were a little heavier and I had to work harder to keep moving. I didn't take any walk breaks (although I had told myself I could and would if needed!) but I paused for 10-20 seconds a few times and shook out my legs. They were stiff and I knew I was going to be hurting when I finished. The last 5 kilometres were definitely difficult, knowing how close I was the the end made it a little easier. I imagined myself in the race, approacing the finish line and watching for my friends and family. I had visions of myself pumping my arms in the air as I crossed the line and tears actually welled up in my eyes.

Before long, I could see the car and knew I was almost finished. I could have collapsed in a heap once I stopped, but crawled in to the car and made it home. A freezing cold bath has never felt so good.

The Numbers!

Average pace: 5:43/KM
3384 calories

Overall, it was an amazing run and I felt better than I have on a long run since this whole thing started. Yesterday I was dreading the 30K distance, worried I would not be able to finish it and certainly not expecting such a good time. I'm feeling very confident today that I will be able to finish the marathon and maybe with a decent time too.

For now, I have to try to eat something and get ready for a softball game at 7. Thanks for reading my long ramblings. :)

PS - One more thing: this also concludes my first ever 60K week!

Friday, August 08, 2008

8 on the 8th (08/08/08) Virtual Race Report

Big thank you to Non-Runner Nancy for organizing this event for running bloggers. Our mission was simple: run 8 miles on the 8th and blog about it!

Disclaimer: I typically run in kilometres, but converted to imperial today in honour of the occasion. I even changed the settings on my Garmin for the big event! As such, I had only a vague idea of how fast I was running since I have minimal familiarity with paces in minutes per mile. It was fun for a change, but I'll be back to my regular metric programming on Sunday.

So here are my digits for 8 on the 8th.

Distance: 8 miles
Time: 1:15:25
Pace: 9:26

Mile 1 - 9:24
Mile 2 - 9:32
Mile 3 - 9:21
Mile 4 - 9:36
Mile 5 - 9:28
Mile 6 - 9:28
Mile 7 - 9:35
Mile 8 - 8:58

Not that any of it means anything to me!

It was a decent run; not particularly fast, but not particularly slow. I'm in the middle of a 60KM (oops - 37 mile!) week and I have 30K (oops - 18.6 miles!) to run on Sunday, so I wasn't trying to kill it. It was a nice day, an enjoyable distance and a run that I probably would not have completed if I hadn't committed myself to the virtual race.

And it gave me a good excuse to indulge at dinner with friends this evening!

Sorry, there's no "Olympic Flare" in this race report, but here's a self-protrait I snapped after the run for good measure. Everyone loves a close-up sweaty pic!

This shirt is the best I could come up with to resemble anything patriotic; at least it's red and white! Gotta represent the Canadians, eh?!

Now go watch some Olympics! Support your country, support your sport or support the competition in general. The Games don't come around that often, you know!

Thanks again Non-Runner Nancy! Can't wait to read the results!

(Geez there are a lot of EXCLAMATION POINTS !!! in this report; how's that for Olympic enthusiasm?!!!!!!!)

Thursday, August 07, 2008

3 Miler

That's just for you, Jess. ;)

Once again, I didn't really feel like running at all yesterday. I had an ugly headache, but decided to avoid the pain-killers, hoping that maybe a run would actually help. I was sadly mistaken; the entire time, it felt like there was a walnut stuck in my forehead.

Apparently I just wanted to get it over with, because it ended up being my fastest run since the race on July 5th. I finished the 5K <27 minutes with a pace of 5:21/KM.

I set my alarm for 5:30 this morning, determined to get my run in before work since I'm going to see BACKSTREET BOYS (yes, it's true) with my sister-in-law tonight and won't be home til late. Wellll, that didn't happen. I rolled over and went back to sleep instead, so now I have to run my 8K lunch. I actually enjoy running at lunch, except the part about not being able to shower afterwards. And today is extra special because I'll be going out after work without having had the opportunity to shower. Ick, I know. The price I pay for that extra hour of sleep; or should I say the price my co-workers and sister-in-law will pay. ;) At least I brought deoderant!

I considered skipping today's run, but I know I won't have the opportunity to make it up and I really want to hit 60K this week.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Rainy recovery run

I didn't really feel like running yesterday. I could have used another day off to recover from Sunday's run, but when you're running 60K in a week, you don't exactly have the luxury of two days off in a row!

My legs were feeling pretty stiff, so I figured it was probably a good idea to get out there and loosen then up anyway. I planned to take it slow and run as long as I felt like.

And it was raining. No, pouring. And thundering! I sucked it up, laced up, and headed out anyway. Left the music at home so I wouldn't destroy another set of headphones, so it was just me and my thoughts. And the rain. SO MUCH RAIN!

I certainly didn't last the 8K that I had planned for the day, but I did manage to pull off 4 and my legs felt pretty okay; it seems everything is in working order.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

My first virtual race

I ran Sporting Life in May, Mud Run and the City Chase in June, Rebecca Run in July. I've been feeling like a need a little somethin'-somethin' to keep me motivated in August (you know, besides THE MARATHON looming over my head) before the Fall race season kicks off in September.

I stumbled upon a "Virtual Race" (thanks to Lily on the Road for posting) hosted by Non-Runner Nancy. It's an 8-miler being held on 08/08/08 in honour of the Olympics and all you have to do to participate is:

- Run 8 miles sometime around the 8th.
- Post a race report on your blog.
- Let Nancy know that your race report is up.

It's that easy! And she even has prizes!

So this Friday I'll be running my first 8 mile (~13K) "race". I dare ya to join me!

In other news, I'm back to work after a glorious 4-day weekend. Time to look at the schedule for this week. Let's see...

Mon: rest
Tue: 8 (keeping it slow, legs are still in recovery-mode)
Wed: 5
Thu: 4
Fri: 8-miler (13K)
Sat: rest
Sun: 30K
= 60K

Monday, August 04, 2008

Bringing new meaning to the term "Long"

2886 calories. 2 hours, 39 minutes and 16 seconds. 26.65 kilometres.

It was a beautiful morning yesterday - clear, sunny and a cool 17 degrees C. I was up at 6:30, had my usual protein shake (mixed with water, not milk), half a banana and as much of my oatmeal as I could choke down. I was out the door at 7:00 and headed toward Fairy Lake. Hubby drove the car over and parked it at our meeting point - convenient for water refills.

I have never been one for running the same route over and over, but I've taken a liking to Fairy Lake for my long runs for several reasons:

-washrooms along the way
-many shaded sections
-limited hills
-no stop lights/traffic

But the main reason I keep going back is because I am able to break it up into smaller, more manageable distances. It is broken down into the run from home to the park (about 3K), the "north loop" (about 4K) and the "south (lake) loop" (4-7K depending on which path I take). Yesterday I tackled the distance one "loop" at a time and it really helped me get through it.

Don't get me wrong - it was freakin' hard, but it was not impossible.

The first half was pretty smooth and not too difficult. I held my pace steady at about 5:55/KM. Kilometres 13 to 20 were tough. It seemed like I had been running for such a long time already and had only put a dent in the distance. I tried not to look at my watch too much, but I felt my legs slowing and notice my average pace crept up to about 6:00/KM. Out of nowhere, endorphins kicked in at about the 20K mark. I suddenly felt empowered and took advantage of the energy boost to pick up the pace a little. The feeling reminded me of the home stretch of a race, when you can almost see the finish line. Unfortunately, it only lasted a couple kilometres, and the last 5 were very difficult. Everything was hurting and I was exhausted. I had to dig deep and find the determination to keep going. I told myself that I couldn't stop now, or I would have just "wasted" the last two hours to accomplish nothing. I willed my legs to keep moving steadily and somehow finished the run at an average pace of 5:59*.

I was relieved, proud and exhausted.... and wondering how I will run an additional 3 next Sunday. One week at a time, right?

Had an ice bath, stretched a bit, then went for a walk and a swim to ease my tired & sore muscles. Feeling pretty good today.

But again I ask myself, WHAT WAS I THINKING? :)

*If you read this post already, you may have noticed that I reported an average of 6:01. I assure you, dear readers, I am not fudging the numbers. Allow me to explain. Sometimes (particularly with ridonkulously long runs) the data reflected on MotionBased when I upload the run is slightly different from the data reflected on the watch when I finally hit that "STOP" button. So, the computer shows a pace of 5:59 whereas my watch showed 6:01. Which one do you think I'm gonna go with? ;)

Saturday, August 02, 2008

42 KM or Bust

I found the cutest socks at a little shop in Kingston today and couldn't resist bringing them home:

But for now, it's 27 KM or bust; that's the big run tomorrow morning.

The week didn't go exactly according to plan (does it ever?), but I logged 7K Monday, 9K Tuesday and another 9K Friday. A little anxious about tomorrow, but I'm pretty sure I can do it.