Monday, February 28, 2011

Week 8

Monday - rest

Being a holiday off work, I easily could have fit in some cross-training or something, but all I really wanted to do was clean up the house post-party, eat too many leftovers, see a movie and relax with hubs. Perfect day...

Tuesday - 24K medium-long (2 runs) with 10K tempo

lunch: 10K tempo @ 4:42/KM

12.1KM (7.5mi) - 59:17 - 4:54/KM (7:53/mi)

After work I headed out for part 2. I was meeting a couple of friends and we were ecstatic that it was still somewhat daylight as we set out after 6PM. What a treat!

My legs felt really dead for the first few minutes, but I was soon able to settle in. My friends (hi Kelly) were running hill repeats (I certainly was not) on two separate hills so I dilly-dallied around at the bottom of each one, looping back and forth and around and around as they completed their repeats. It worked out really well, actually, and it was great to have the company.

12.4KM (7.7mi) - 1:11:18 - 5:45/KM (9:15/mi)

Wednesday - 10K recovery

Discipline was the name of the game as I concentrated on keeping a true recovery pace, a.k.a. s-l-o-w. I stuck to the back of the pack for our group run, monitored my Garmin carefully and reeled myself in as needed. This turned out to be the slowest run I have recorded in as long as I can remember - exactly what I set out to do and I know I needed it between two very tough workout days.

10.8KM (6.7mi) - 1:08:11 - 6:19/KM (10:10/mi)

Thursday - 12K with 5 x 1000 at 5K Race Pace

Clinic night! The group was running 4-6 x 800 so we weren't exactly in sync, but were able to warm-up and cool-down together, and I enjoyed seeing others out on our usual speed work loop. It's worth noting that these intervals were not completed on a track, but in a residential neighbourhood - with intersections, cars, uneven surface, slight inclines/declines, etc.

My legs felt tired through the warm-up, but snapped out of it once I got going on the repeats.

My goal was 4:25 or better per 1000

The first 3 felt really good - I won't say effortless, but not that difficult given the pace. Last summer I could barely run 1000's at 4:30 so I was pretty impressed with myself! I was getting tired by the end of the 4th repeat and everyone else seemed to be finished their workout and were rallying to job back to the store. My original schedule only called for 4x1000; I had decided to bump that to 5, but could easily justify finishing with 4. Coach asked if I was done and I admitted that I was trying to "psych myself up" for one more. He very simply said "Go do it. I'll be here." That's all I needed to hear, so off I went for one more convoluted lap in the darkened streets. And of course, I didn't regret it!

13.0KM (8.1mi) - 1:09:51 -  5:22/KM (8:39/mi)

Friday - 5K easy rest

On Friday I actually packed my bag to run over lunch, but made the decision part way through the day to move my long run to Saturday and take the day off Friday. I knew my legs could use as much rest as possible after Tuesday's and Wednesday's workouts before a long run.

Saturday - bootcamp 35K long

I win!

35.0KM (21.75mi) - 3:12:40 - 5:30/KM (8:52/mi)

Sunday - 35K long 5K recovery

It was sooo nice to wake-up leisurely on Sunday and enjoy my tea knowing that my long run was finished, especially when I looked out at all the fresh snow! I eventually made my way to the gym for a short recovery run on the treadmill. My legs actually felt pretty good and 3 miles flew by.

5.0KM (3.1mi) - 29:53 - 5:59/KM (9:37/mi)

Total Weekly Mileage: 88.3KM (54.9mi)
Total time: 8:11:10
Average pace: 5:34/KM (8:57/mi)

11 weeks to Mississauga Marathon!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

I win!

As of Friday, the forecast was looking a little nicer for Saturday, so I considered moving my long run forward instead of joining the group on Sunday. I also liked the idea of having an extra day to recover before my half marathon next weekend.

Imagine my disappointment surprise when I woke up on Saturday morning to a blanket of unexpected fresh snow. *sigh* After hemming and hawing for a while and double checking the forecast, I decided to go ahead anyway because I really liked the idea of gaining that "bonus" day to recover before the race. Sleeping in on Sunday sounded good too. :-)

I got a bit of a late start at 8:30, which I didn't mind since I hoped it would be a little warmer and sunnier later in my run. Hubs joined me for the first 8K and then sent me on my way to finish the looooong run solo!

The footing was dicey to start, with a fluffy layer of the white stuff and ice underneath - but nothing like last week! I stepped carefully and waited patiently for the sun to come out - which it eventually did! The paths started clearing immediately and I found myself picking it up gradually.

I made a quick pit stop at the car with 10K for a bottle-swap and to grab the camera.

I noticed that I was picking up the pace more and more as I drew closer to that arbitrary finish line and I was on my way to a pretty significant negative split. I had the music going, I was soaking up the fresh air and just really enjoying myself. (Almost) 22 miles is a long way to go, especially (mostly) solo, but the time and miles were ticking by much quicker than I expected.

Before I knew it, I had 5K to go and I decided to test my legs for some quicker-than-MRP splits. I nailed it: 5:12, 5:12, 5:13, 5:13, 5:03.

And done!

35.0KM (21.75mi) - 3:12:40 - 5:30/KM (8:52/mi)


Post-run, it was into the ice bath followed by a big green smoothie - 2 things I would not have been able to do after the run today since we had a big brunch planned right after. But don't you worry, I still showed up for the food.


When I woke up this morning to a ton of fresh snow (way more than yesterday), my first thought was: "I win!"  After a bit of a sleep-in, a leisurely morning and a short recovery run on the treadmill, it was off to join all of my running buddies for a fantastic spread. Hearing about everyone's run this morning, I definitely chose the right day to run this weekend. I guess this makes up for my craptacular blizzard run last Saturday.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

ABC's of Marlene

I've seen this floating around and I know everyone wants to know more about ME, ME, ME so here goes...

Age: 28
Bed size: Queen but wish it was King
Chore you hate: laundry
Dogs: eventually
Essential start of your day: toothbrush (I hate morning mouth!)
Fav colour: pink

Gold or silver: white gold
Height: 5'8"
Instruments I play: none, but would love to learn piano
Job title: anything and everything Executive Assistant

Kids: not yet
Live: Newmarket, Ontario, Oh Canada!
Mom’s name: Laura Marlene

Nicknames: M, Mar
Overnight hospital stays: nope
Pet peeve: noisy eaters
Quote from a movie: "That wasn't flying! That was falling with style!" (Toy Story)
[side note: for a while I was nicknamed "Buzz" at work after tripping on a box and falling/flying halfway across the room]

Right or left handed: right
Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother - all younger

Time you wake up: a wide range from 4:30 - 8, usually 6:30
Underwear: wouldn't you like to know!
Veg you dislike: beets
What makes you run late: easily distracted
X-rays you have had done: ankle, shoulder, teeth
Yummy food you make: power bar squares

Zoo, favorite animal: I like giraffes

Now you know my ABC's,
I think it's your turn if you please...

Friday, February 25, 2011

Nolan's Dream Chasers - a fundraiser/giveaway!


On May 1st, for the third consecutive year, I will be running Toronto's Sporting Life 10K with Nolan's Dream Chasers to raise money for Camp Oochigeas.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

At Camp Oochigeas, we give children with cancer the chance to escape to a world where sunshine and laughter intertwine, a natural wonderland where friendships and memories replace worries about hospitals and illness. Much more than a summer camp, Camp Oochigeas provides year-round programs for children affected by childhood cancer at our site in Muskoka, at the Hospital for Sick Children and in the community.

One of the most devastating things about childhood cancer is that it removes children from their peer group. Oochigeas is a place where these kids can share their experiences, insights and dreams with other kids their age who understand them.

Meet Nolan

My good friend's son Nolan is the reason I got involved with fundraising for this cause.

On January 29, 2009, at just 3 years old, Nolan was diagnosed in a matter of hours with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At this point, his blood counts were so low that his local hospital went against the Hospital for Sick Kids protocol and transfused him with some blood before sending him. Several comments were made about his counts not being life-sustaining, so he was a pretty sick little boy. He was transferred to Sick Kids immediately, the diagnosis was confirmed and treatment was started on Feb 1, 2009.

He responded well to treatment and was classified as an early responder. Everything was sailing along smoothly. After 3 weeks in the hospital, we were sent home.

On day 29, while registering for the clinic to have some tests done and receive more chemo, Nolan suffered a seizure. It took 70 minutes and a lot of drugs to get him to stop seizing. A CT scan revealed that he had a stroke due to a very large blood clot in the right side of his brain. This was the result of a chemo that he received on day 4 of his treatment.

After spending 3 days in the PICU unresponsive, he started to wake up and made quick progress rebounding from his stroke. He still sees an occupational therapist today and has some small motor skill delays as a result of his stroke. The blood clot meant that Nolan needed to be on blood thinner injections twice a day for 6 months. We were taught how to give him the injections at home. This also meant that once weekly, he was admitted to the hospital for "bridging" before his lumbar punctures were done. Bridging was necessary to let the amount of blood thinner in his system drop quickly for the procedure, and come back up quickly after the procedure.

In June 2009, Nolan was due to receive the same chemo that had caused his stoke. It's an important chemo in the treatment of ALL so it was necessary for him to have it again. All precautions were taken to ensure that his blood clotting functions were within the normal range and his brain clot was not growing. He was given the shot of chemo, and within about 5 minutes, he dropped to the floor and had an anaphylactic reaction to the chemo. His throat was closing and he wasn't breathing well. All of this was anticipated by both us and the nursing staff, because we knew Nolan hadn't reacted normally to the first shot. He was quickly given some steroids to help him breath and was admitted for 5 days for observation.

In August 2009, Nolan finished the intense portion of his treatment and entered a phase called Maintenance Therapy. Maintenance will continue until approximately May 2012. Boys have 3 years and 3 months of treatment, while girls only have 2 years and 3 months of treatment. In September 2009, we finished giving his blood thinner shots which also ended his frequent hospital admissions.

During all of Nolan’s hospital stays and clinic visit he has spent hours enjoying activities put on by Camp Oochigeas. Camp Ooch staff run a program called “Ooch on the 8th” for inpatients, and they also run programs out of the day clinic. Nolan loves doing crafts with them, playing Guess Who and Uno, and playing bingo. They also have “campfires”, scavenger hunts around the hospital, and they even bring activities to kids’ rooms who are in isolation, so they don’t miss out. These staff members genuinely enjoy spending time with the kids. Outside of the hospital, Nolan has enjoyed day camp activities at the “Urban Ooch” facility and has recently spent his first weekend at the residential camp in Rosseau, ON. The residential camp has a full-time doctor and nursing staff so every child can enjoy camp regardless of where they are in their treatment protocol. Kids can get chemo treatments, blood transfusions and blood testing done while at camp, if necessary. It really lets kids be kids and lets parents have a break from treatment knowing that trained staff from Sick Kids are on hand at the camp.

Nolan is still followed by a stroke team, a thrombosis team and his oncology team at Sick Kids. He will be followed there until he turns 18, at which point his care will be turned over to his family doctor.

Thank you Erin for sharing this story with me/us.

I hope that by sharing it here, I have encouraged more of you to help us raise money for Kids With Cancer and support this cause. I run up to 20 races per year, but I only fundraise for this one because it is very close to home and close to my heart. I would very much appreciate your support!


For some added incentive, I have $75 for CSN Stores up for grabs!

I will be sending a personalized little something to the winner as well.

  • 5 bonus entries if you donate today
  • 5 bonus entries if you donated last year AND this year
Please note that CSN only ships to the US and Canada.

Thank you for your support!

Nolan finishing SL10K with his Mom in 2009!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Three Things Thursday

1. I have been trying to keep my recovery runs at a true 'recovery" pace this training cycle. With hard workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my Wednesday run really needs to be s-l-o-w if my legs are going to make it through the week. I've been getting better, but I know I could still stand to slow down even more.

"It's also helpful to understand elites' recovery paces relative to race paces. A national-class woman who runs easy mileage at 7:30 per mile is doing those recovery runs more than 2 minutes per mile slower than her 10K race pace. Do you?"
Excerpt from A compendium of collected wisdom by Scott Douglas

At the group run last night, I set out to maintain a pace much slower than I have been running and convinced Juliana to join me. She didn't mind slowing down, but I had to re-assure her a few times that yes, I really do want to be running this slowly. I didn't even mind being at the back of the pack! Hopefully my legs will respond well when I tackle 5 x 1000 tonight...
For another great article on recovery running, see: A Fresh Perspective on Recovery Runs

2.  Last week at clinic we had a great guest speaker from Achilles Canada.

"Achilles Canada is a non-profit organization that provides people with various disabilities an opportunity to receive the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running. The club offers training and support by able-bodied members to its Achilles athletes of all ability levels."

As an example, Achilles will assign up to three guide runners with for one blind runner in a long distance race. One guide will hold the rope and call out instructions ("We're approaching a sharp right turn"; "Slight downhill ahead"; "We're going to be passing on the left", etc.), and two floaters to watch for obstacles, provide a cushion around the runner, grab water and switch out with the main guide as needed (I imagine that would get exhausting).

It sounds like a fantastic organization and I hope to have the opportunity to get involved. Can you imagine needing 3 "chaperones" just to go ut and run?

3. I just found out that our insurance provider is changing at work on April 1st. You know what that means... suck as much as possible out of the current provider first! As soon as I signed the papers, I was on the phone with physio to make a few extra appointments. I'll be going 3 times by the end of March and my legs are going to love it.

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!

You know what this means: giveaway tomorrow!

CSN Stores ( has over 200 online stores where you can find anything you need from lights to fitness equipment to a bathing suit for your dog.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Nothing like a little 10K PR on a Tuesday...

My 10K PR of 47:59 is old, dating back to May 2009. As I set out on my lunch break yesterday for a 10K LT/tempo run, I can't deny that it was in the back of my mind. I've been running my tempos right around that 10K PR pace, so I knew it was a possibility. That being said, I pushed it (mostly) out of my mind and concentrated on the workout at hand for what it was: a tempo run.

Goal: 4:45-4:50/KM

Splits: (no breaks!)

average for 10K: 4:42/KM (7:33/mi)
10K time: 47:00 (unofficial PR by 59 seconds!)

After last Thursday's 8K/5mi tempo at a 4:40 average,  I admit that a small part of me questioned if it had been a fluke... clearly it was not! I am just not used to seeing these numbers on a consistent basis and often do a double-take myself when I recap these runs. Last summer I was killing myself to hit 5:00/KM (8:00 mi) on my tempos!

I know I ran this perfectly - it felt "comfortably hard" throughout and I was able to zone out and hit the pace without checking my Garmin constantly. I must be doing something right...

When I emailed coach to brag check-in, the subject of my message was "Thursday was not a fluke" and I mentioned being afraid that this bubble I seem to be in is going to "pop" before race season... his response: "Well, none of can know what the future will bring - there may be temporary set-backs, but NONE of your recent running success has been a fluke! This is the REAL you."  :-)

Thumbs-up for lingering daylight as I set out for my second run after work!

P.S. I'll be going after that official 10K PR on May 1st.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Long Weekend Recap!

I kicked off an extra long weekend with a day off on Friday. I needed an extra day to get caught up on house work and get a jump-start on preparations for a party we were hosting on Sunday. I also spent some time at the mall and finally put a dent in those gift cards.

After trying on just about every pair of jeans in the entire mall, I finally splurged on these babies when I slid them on and had a total jeangasm. My first ever $100 jeans and soooo worth it.

Saturday morning, of course, was the 30K run in arctic hell.

That night lilmeg and I along with some of our other wacky friends successfully pulled off the surprise of the century for our friend's 35th Birthday before she headed to Cozumel. There was screaming, there were tears, there were margaritas. It was epic.

On Sunday I passed up the rare opportunity to sleep-in in favour of hitting the gym and heading out to snap some photos of my training group on their long run. Coach likes to put together an enormous slide show at the end of clinic, so I was happy to chip in and snap some pics. 

Don't they look happy to see me??

Tim Horton's was required...

And finally, Sunday evening was our main event for the long weekend - hubs and I hosted a "Winterrific Warm-Up" get-together. We spent the afternoon and evening hanging out with our family and friends, beating the February blues with lots of good food, wine and laughs.

This is my awesome family. <3
L-R: sister Emily, Mom (looks more like a sister, I know!),
sister April, me, brother James

with my handsome hubby:

and some of our awesome friends...

We were lucky to have Monday off (Family Day) for some down-time after a busy weekend.

How was your weekend? I don't know about you, but I could really use an extra day (or two) off every week... 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 7

Monday - rest or xtrain

Does dancing and singing and screaming all night at the Bon Jovi concert count?

Tuesday - 23K medium-long (2 runs) with 2 x 3200 tempo intervals


noon: 11.1KM (6.9mi) - 55:57 - 5:02/KM (8:07/mi)
(2 x 2 miles at average 14:49 - 4:38/KM pace)

eve: 12.0KM (7.5mi) - 1:08:48 - 5:44/KM (9:14/mi)

Wednesday - 10K recovery

I had plans to meet up with Juliana after work to run, and then another friend would be joining us for dinner. We had a nice run on a mild evening (one layer! no gloves!) and it was the perfect way to catch up over some recovery miles and healthy grub courtesy of J. Nevermind the 2 rice krispie squares that I ate after dinner.

10.0KM (6.2mi) - 59:53 - 5:59/KM (9:38/mi)

Thursday - 13K with 8K tempo

The group was doing a tempo/LT run as well, which worked great so I would have some company. After a warm-up run over to the park paths, I lined up with my pace group and we briefly discussed pacing and the turn-around point, then off we went! The target was 4:50/KM (7:46/mi) for 8K (5mi) continuous.

It was a really mild day and it felt so good to wear just capris and a long sleeve shirt, although this meant that the path was covered in puddles. We leaped over and wove around them at first, but it wasn't long before I gave up on trying to avoid the puddles and just splashed right through.

4:42 - staying with the group, trying to find the pace and settle in
4:50 - I felt really comfortable here and knew it was going to be a good run
4:49 - included a steep climb, which I expected to slow me down a lot more
4:44 - I realized at the turn-around that I had pulled away from most of my group
4:43 - one person was slightly ahead and I decided to chase her down
4:35 - and then I passed her!
4:35 - feeling fantastic and continuing to push that "hard but manageable" pace
4:20 - faster than 5K pace and feeling amazing!

average pace for 8K tempo: 4:40/KM (7:30/mi)

15.0KM(9.3mi) - 1:17:24 - 5:09/KM (8:17/mi)

Friday - rest

I re-worked this week to have Friday off since I moved my long run to Saturday and had a hard run Thursday night.

Saturday - 32K long
Well I'm glad THAT'S done.

30K (18.6mi) - 2:55:49 - 5:52/KM (9:26/mi) 


Initially I didn't have a plan for Sunday after doing my long run on Saturday, but I knew I would want to wrap up my mileage for the week. I decided to go to the gym because I wasn't in the mood to bundle up again (it wasn't snowy or windy, but it was still really cold) and just plugged away on the treadmill. My hips had been killing me after slipping and sliding around the day before, but I felt fine once I got going.

7.0KM (4.4mi) - 39:56 - 5:42/KM (9:10/mi)

Total Weekly Mileage: 85.1KM (52.8mi)
Total time: 7:57:47
Average pace: 5:37/KM (9:02/mi)
12 weeks to Mississauga Marathon!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Well I'm glad THAT'S done.

Personally, I thought I had built enough "character" on my long run two weeks ago - at least for this month! Apparently Mother Nature had other ideas. After a beautiful spring-like day yesterday (sunny and 10C/50F+), I woke up several times overnight to the howling wind. Sure enough, the morning brought freezing wintery temps, falling (and blowing) snow and crazy winds of 50-60 kph (31-37 mph). This ranks pretty close to that morning after Antigua run on the "misery scale" for running conditions.

Highlights of various thoughts and "conversation" over 30K (18.6) miles, as the footing became worse and worse and we slip-slided our way along, the biting wind pounding us with the white stuff from all directions:

  • "watch the ice!"
  • this sucks
  • we must be insane
  • my water is frozen
  • "watch the ice!"
  • why are we doing this again?
  • I can't feel my face
  • are we almost finished?
  • No!
  • "watch the ice!"
  • are we even moving?
  • I'm stopping at 30K (had planned 32)
  • this counts as at least 40 anyway

I don't know if I've ever been so happy to his "stop" when my Garmin chimed at 30K. As if on cue, I hit a patch of ice and didn't have the energy to stop myself from going down. I landed with an oof  in a snow bank and almost didn't get up.

It was two hours and fifty five minutes of (mostly) misery. Fortunately I had awesome friends to keep me company. Other than that, it pretty much sucked... but at least it's done! This one called for a sprinkle donut.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Foto Friday

From Shoebox:

to Wall of Fame:

(Full credit to RoadBunner for the curtain rod idea.)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Thoughts

I'm sure everyone has heard or read the news by now, so I won't regurgitate it: New Qualification and Registration Process for Boston Marathon

We should have known this was coming, but I can't deny that I feel a little bit devastated right now. I don't even know if I had a shot at a BQ this year, but there was a glimmer of hope and I feel like that's been crushed - for now. 3:40 is no longer going to be good enough, even if I do manage to pull it off.

I realize that I don't have the right attitude here and I will brush myself off, take it in stride and move forward with more determination than ever... but for now, I just need to sulk for a little while. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

2x2 "Two"sday

Yesterday I tackled a tempo/LT interval workout over lunch. According to Pfitzinger:

LT intervals are typically two to five repetitions of five minutes to two miles at lactate threshold pace with two or three minutes between repetitions.

I had 2 x 3200 (2 miles) and wanted to run them slightly faster than tempo pace. I settled on a goal of 4:40/KM (7:30/mi).

Mother Nature treated me to a nice sunny (though cold) day with glorious clear, dry roads. THANK YOU.

Off we go (after a warm-up)...

3200m (2 miles) - 14:50
average pace: 4:38/KM (7:27/mi)

500m (~3:00) recovery jog

3200m (2 miles) - 14:48
average pace: 4:37.5/KM (7:26/mi)

Yep, I pretty much nailed that sucker. 2 mile intervals are no joke! I felt a little tired starting off (as usual), but quickly found the groove and cruised through the intervals like a gazelle (okay, maybe that was just in my head).

By the time I got back to the office, it looked like someone had swirled my head in the toilet and no amount if primping or preening would improve my appearance. Ah well, at least I felt great!

AND since Tuesdays are my two-a-days to hit that medium-long distance, I had another run on deck after work. You didn't think I was done yet, did you?

I was able to hook up with some buddies and as always, it was great to have the company. It had cooled off considerably and we were all freezing our bits off as we dodged treacherous patches of ice in the dark.

23K (14+ miles) on a Tuesday... not too shabby. I still miss those summer mornings when I would run these distances in one shot before work. It just doesn't feel as hardcore when divided over two runs - almost, but not quite.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tuesday Tidbits

Not to be confused with "Timbits"

  • The weather around here is suffering from a serious case of bipolar disorder lately. It was up to about 5C (41F) on Sunday, back down to -15 (5F) this morning and it's expected to be up to 10C (50F) on Friday! The nice thing is not having to do laundry every day since I'm able to circulate different gear rather than being stuck wearing my snow suit for every run.

  • I was at the Toronto Bon Jovi show last night (swoon!) and had an awesome time, but it was a late night, especially for someone who is in bed before 10PM 90% of the time. 6 hours of sleep = not enough for me. *yawn*

  • Ah well, it's not like I have 23K to run today. Oh, wait....  

  • Has anyone seen my willpower lately? I'm battling an extra 5 lbs from Christmas and Antigua, but all I want is FOOD! And lots of it! And I don't mean vegetables! Why is it so easy to gain but so hard to lose?

  • "WHO-OA, we're half way there... WHO-OA Livin' on a Prayer...." sorry about that

  • I was spoiled with a bunch of gift cards for Christmas and I still haven't gotten around to spending them! Someone needs to go shopping...

  •  I've been experimenting with steel cut oats recently. I don't have the desire in the morning to cook them over the stove, so I prepare in advance and heat it up in the microwave. In doing so, I've been having a heck of a time getting the texture right; it's been either too rubbery, too crunchy, too mushy. This morning I mashed up the somewhat congealed mixture really well with a fork, added a splash of boiling water and chopped apples before microwaving, then finished it off with some brown sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top. I'm not gonna lie: I still think flavored instant oatmeal tastes better, but I'll keep working on it.

Or maybe I should just eat some of those Timbits...
Just kidding! Mostly.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Week 6

It was a recovery week and I felt like I needed it. Some bad weather had been interfering with my mojo and most of my workouts were feeling harder than I thought they should. I enjoyed taking it down a notch by cutting some miles and eliminating my LT/tempo run for the week.

Monday - rest or xtrain

On Monday I was feeling pretty beat-up from the previous day's snowy 20-miler and decided to try P90X Yoga X to work some kinks out of my muscles. I only got through the first 45 minutes because I was short on time, but I was relieved to have an excuse not to continue - it was tiring! This was hardcore power yoga (at least based on my limited experience) and made for quite a workout. I did enjoy it and felt good during/after, so I hope to incorporate this on a somewhat regular basis.

Tuesday - 16K MWML (2 runs)

I ran the first part over lunch on a very cold (-17C/1F and several degrees colder with windchill) but sunny afternoon. The wind was awful and the sidewalks were extremely icy after a mild weekend followed by another cold snap. The fresh air was nice in the sun, but I decided to wimp out on the treadmill after work for part 2. I just wasn't up for another cold and windy run, this time in the dark.

I didn't have an LT/tempo run scheduled, but I decided to push it just a little bit outside of my usual "just run" pace and felt good doing so, both outside and on the treadmill. I ended up with almost identical paces for both runs.

lunch: 8K/5mi - 42:07 - 5:16/KM (8:28/mi)

eve: 8.1K/5mi - 42:09 - 5:14/KM (8:26/mi)

After the second run, I came home and finished off the second 45 minutes of Yoga X, which is definitely the less challenging half, but there's still nothing relaxing about it - except maybe the last 5 minutes.

Wednesday - 6K easy

I had plans over lunch and wanted to take a spin class after work, so I decided to get up early for a treadmill run. Unfortunately I got to the gym and realized I forgot my shoes! My morning was off to a late start since I had to boogie home to grab them, but I put in a nice and slow recovery run.

6.0KM (3.7mi) - 37:00 - 6:10/KM (9:55/mi)

Wednesday night I was back at the gym for a fantastic strength/cardio/cross-training workout with an hour+ Spin class. I really love it and wish I could make it to a class more often.

Thursday - 10K: 5x800

First, I got to meet Mel (and a mutual friend of ours) at lunch. It was great to catch up!

Thursday night brought more treadmill running! With the dark/cold/icy conditions, I had no interest in tackling 800s outside. I brought my little cheat sheet with my goal 800 times and respective paces/speeds, strapped on my Garmin for the timer/lap function (GPS off) and off I went.

2 mile warm-up
800 @ 3:31 (8.5 mph)
800 @ 3:27 (8.6 mph)
800 @ 3:25 (8.7 mph)
800 @ 3:21 (8.8 mph)
800 @ 3:20 (8.9 mph)
(400 recoveries at 6.0)

Disclaimer: I don't give this workout the same merit when completed on the treadmill, and it's very unlikely that I would be able to achieve these times outside. It's a lot easier to hit target splits when you plug in the speed and the rotating belts dictates how fast you need to move your legs, That being said, I didn't fall off trying to keep up, so that has to count for something. :-)

10.0KM (6.2mi) - 52:52 - 5:17/KM (8:30/mi)

Hubs was still plugging away on the treadmill when I was done, so I grabbed a mat and spent a good half an hour stretching and doing some random ab exercises afterwards leaving a nice puddle of sweat behind.

Friday - 8K recovery

Friday was a nice recovery run over lunch. I kept it comfortable and enjoyed the fresh air. I'm getting better at keeping these runs where they need to be and I know it makes a difference in keeping my legs fresh for my next run.

8.1KM (5mi) - 48:13 - 5:57/KM (9:35/mi)

Saturday - xtrain

I hit up my bootcamp class on Saturday morning for a great full-body workout. My abs are still screaming today!

Sunday - 30K long

They call these ones "Confidence-Boosting"

30.0KM (18.6mi) - 2:42:42 - 5:25/KM (8:44/mi)

Total Week 6 Mileage: 70.2KM (43.6mi)
(Cross-training: 4 hours)
Total time: 6:25:03
Average pace: 5:29/KM (8:50/mi)

13 weeks to Mississauga Marathon!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

They call these ones "Confidence-Boosting"

After last week's "character building" slog through the snow, I needed a good long run today, preferably one where I didn't feel like crap for the entire second half.

When it started snowing last night, I was having bad visions of a repeat of last Sunday, but thankfully we didn't get much and the roads were clear in the morning. It was quite windy, but the temperature was nice and mild (well, mild for February) and I ended up shedding a couple of layers after the first part of my run (I was adding on some kilometres beyond what the group had planned).

As a group, we had about 5 miles (8K) of MRP scheduled in the second half of the run. I stuck with my pace group and we kept it to our usual long run pace for the first half before it was time to pick it up. For the first 5K I stuck with the group and helped with pacing. The goal was 5:15-5:20/KM and we were hitting those splits bang on. I felt really comfortable and started to pull ahead slightly, continuing beyond the initial plan of 8K.

I eventually caught up and passed most of the slower pace groups (we have a staggered start) and chatted briefly along the way. There were some pretty significant hills that just kept coming, but I still felt fine and maintained the pace, picking it up toward the end. My last 5K ended up at a 5:04/KM (compared with 5:48/KM for the last 5K last week).

In the end, I finished 30K (18.6mi) in 2:42:42 - just 2 seconds shy of my 30K PR from Around the Bay (a race that I considered a significant break-through at the time). It was a pleasant surprise and an excellent confidence-booster to feel so good and finish such a strong run. I completed the entire second half faster than MRP.

1st half:  1:25:00 - 5:40 (9:07/mi)
2nd half: 1:17:15 - 5:09 (8:17/mi)

And I think that's enough numbers for this post!

I couldn't be happier with how well this went. I think last week's long run beat me up more than I realized mentally, because I had a lot of doubts and nerves going in to this one which were really unfounded. Sometimes it can be harder than we realize to move on from a "bad" run, but the fact is - they aren't all going to be good! Do you have any tips for shaking off a tough run?

I think I needed a little reminder of a great pep talk from our coach last year:

"You're as good as your best run,
not your worst run."

Post-run, I resisted Tim Horton's and went with the nutritionally responsible choice for re-fueling: a green monster instead of the pink sprinkle donut that I really wanted. The smoothie hit the spot and I sucked it back so fast I didn't even have a chance to take a pic before emptying the glass...

What's your favorite way to refuel? Do you treat yourself after a great run, or try to keep it healthy?

I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

7 Things You Never Wanted to Know About Me

A couple of lovely ladies tagged me a long time ago recently for the coveted Stylish Blogger Award. Thanks Alex and Mel! (Update: and Marci too!)

A stipulation in accepting the award is to share 7 things about myself.

1. I am extremely squeamish and unreasonably afraid of things in water. I almost always have to wear shoes when I go in lakes or the ocean and everyone will know if a weed touches my leg! Reason #5647 not to do a triathlon. My all-time biggest fear is crayfish. These things are nasty! They inhabit the lake where I spent summers as a kid and I used to have nightmares that they could come on land. Ewww!

2. I have a tiny bump on my big toe, which is believed to be a chip of bone, and it moves back and forth. I've had it for years and had it checked out by a doctor as a kid, but he didn't think it was anything to worry about. I kind of like playing with it, but hubs gets a little grossed out - all the more fun for me! It's hard to see in the pics, but I've moved it over the top knuckle for the second one.

3. In our early high school years, myself and two other girlfriends had a bit of a crush (okay, it may have been more of an obsession) on a certain senior, which led us to do highly embarrassing things like taking paparazzi style pictures of him getting off the bus and staking out his place of employment. Hmm, I wonder what Jay F******* is up to now...

4. I am terrified of flying, but I wasn't always. Hubs was always a nervous flyer and appears to have rubbed off on me over the years. (He once suggested that a plane we were on was re-routing to a less populated area to crash, thankyouverymuch.) Over the last couple of years, he has travelled so much for work that he seems to have gotten over his fear, for the most part. Go figure, I'm the one stuck with the white-knuckle jitters! I'm playing it cool for this pic:

5. I used to be an extremely picky eater. I'm a lot better now and while there are a lot of things I don't enjoy, I will eat just about anything - except most seafood or baked beans. And I can't stand the taste of beer or coffee.

6. In 2007 I won a radio station contest for a one-week trip for 2 to London, England. I took my Mom and we had the time of our lives. I had an unusually good feeling that I was going to win, and when I told hubs he expressed zero interest in going to London (he is from England). I actually told my Mom a few days before the contest ended that I was going to take her "when I win." I don't think she'll ever forget the day I called her at work to tell her that she needed to get a passport - and fast!

7. I have 4 tattoos - 2 are meaningful (pictured below), 2 are not. I regret at least one of them.

This award has already made the rounds, so instead of passing it along I would like to ask each of you (that includes YOU!) to leave a comment with a random tidbit about yourself. Please play along!