Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Goal Re-Evaluation

Well, I'm 4 days away from my first race of the year and I've got to say, I'm really not feelin' it.  I've had a rough few weeks of training leading up to this race.  Last week was the first week I managed to get all my scheduled training in.  This week, I've been feeling somewhat run down and like I'm on the verge of getting sick.  I skipped my tempo run last night because of my stuffy nose and foggy head and I went to bed extra early.  I skipped my swim this morning to get an extra hours sleep so I feel somewhat better today.  My nose is still a bit stuffy but I don't feel like a sack of hammers any more.  So, the big question is (for me anyway) what do I think I'll be capable of this weekend?  The answer:  I haven't got a clue.  I really don't.   I do think that my original goal of 1:40 may be tough to make but I don't think I'll be too far off that.  On the other hand, all this extra rest could be doing wonders for me so who knows...?? 

Things I need to focus on for the rest of this week:

1) Getting as much rest as possible.
2) Eating well & staying hydrated.
3) Staying positive.

Simple right?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

From the Archives

Given that I'm going to be running my 10th half marathon this Sunday, I thought I'd celebrate by sharing my race report from the first half marathon I ever ran.  It was the Ottawa Half in May of 2000.  I'll never forget how I nervous I was at the start and how amazing I felt when I crossed the finish line.  It was long before I started blogging so this report was delivered via email (thus the intro!).  That year I ran the Ottawa Half in May,  The Marathon de Deux Rives Half in August and then the Toronto Half in October.  It was my first ever half marathon hat trick.  So from the archives, here is the first of 3 race reports from that year.


Hey Everybody!

I think most of you may now by now that I am a little on the crazy side. Most of you may also know that I am a pretty dedicated runner. Some of you may know that I have been training pretty religiously for the last 14 weeks to run in my first "really big" race. Well ladies and gentlemen, yesterday I did it. I ran my first half-marathon. For those of you that do not know how far that is, it is 21.1K (13.1 miles for you Americans).

I went all the way to our Nation's Capital to run it. We had a beautiful day. The running gods were smiling on us yesterday morning. The sun was shining, there was a light wind and a huge crowd of spectators. There was a field of 2100+ runners for the half marathon. The full marathon was also being run at the same time as the half and there was probably about 2500 people running the full marathon. Imagine the sea of humanity at the start line. It was incredible.

The gun went off. I ran with one of the people I had trained with. We took it easy for the first half of the race, running about a 5:30 per kilometer pace. By the 12K mark, we decided to pick it up a bit. By the 16K mark we were moving at about a 5:10 per kilometer pace. At about 19K I thought i was going to die. My legs were killing me. All my muscles were working overtime and I still had 2.1K to go. I turned to my partner and said "I'm hurting".....He said, "don't worry, there we're almost there". The last kilometer seemed like an eternity and I didn't know where I would find the energy to finish. As I rounded the last bend, heard the crowd cheering and saw the finish line, I dug WAY down for that fire and I found just enough to turn on the afterburners and run like the wind down the last straight to the finish line. My partner turned to me gave me a high five and said "Congrats, Phae, you did it". My legs felt like jello and my lungs felt like they were going to burst but I was happy.

Not only did I finish, but I finished well. My goal was to run it in an hour and 45 minutes. I ran it in 1 hour and 48 minutes and 2 seconds. I was 558th out of a field of 2128 runners. I was 110th out of 1028 females and I was 21st out of 121 women in my age group. I placed in the top quarter. So needless to say, I'm really happy.

Not bad for a first half marathon.

I think next year, I'll take on the full.....

But for now, I need a massage and a few days off.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Miracle of Miracles

I can't believe it.  For the first time since I started this training program, I finally managed to get all my scheduled running workouts in.  Sure I cut my Tuesday workout a bit short but I actually got everything done.  And in the end, my workout yesterday was a bit longer so I came very close to actually running the 58km I was scheduled to run this week. My total mileage this week was 57.24km.  Yeah!  A few more weeks like this and I'll be right back on track.

It was a beautiful day for a run.  Cool and sunny with NO wind (love!).  I was scheduled to do my first ever progression run.  I was looking forward to this workout.  Once I got out, my legs decided that they just didn't want to go.  Great.  I struggled right from the start.  This was going to be ugly.

My plan was to increase my pace every 5km by about 5 seconds per km.  This proved to be a bit more challenging that I anticipated given that my pace was all over the place to begin with.  I tried to keep my initial pace at around 5:15 kms but that was difficult.   My legs just didn't want to cooperate.  I am chalking that up to running 3 days in a row.  This "old" bod can't take that anymore.  I suppose if I had done my 12km interval run on Friday morning vs. Friday evening I probably would have felt a little bit better.  But alas, I did not so I had to work through the aches.  After my first 5km things did feel a bit better but I just felt sloppy.  Not fluid at all.  I chugged along, happy that there was no wind to make me work harder than I had to.   Before I knew it I had made it out to Port Credit.   It was so clear you could see the CN tower.
It was time for me to turn around and head back home.   To say I was tired was an understatement.  I kept looking at my watch to check my pace.  My legs were starting to hurt.  I was 15km in and decided that I was just going to push the pace for the next 8km.  I aimed to hold 4:45's for the next 5km.  That 5km seemed to take forever.  It just about killed me.  I wasn't sure what I was going to do for the last 3km.  Should I back off and cool down or should I try to pick up the pace once again?  The hard head in me decided that I needed to be able to handle running on seriously tired legs so, I opted to push the pace some more.  I figured I could probably pull off 4:35's for 2km and then ease up for the last km.  I think I managed 1km at 4:35's and then the chute came out.  My legs just plain hurt.  I glanced at my watch and figured that I was close to finishing in 1:55.  I willed my legs to go faster but I was maxed out.  I glanced at my watch: 4:47's with 1 minute and 15 seconds to go till 1:55.  Ugh.  Here goes nothing.  I rounded the bend towards home, legs screaming.   The km's were now down to meters.  I was almost there.  1:55 came and went.  100m left.   Finally.  23.01 in 1:55:24.

That was a tough workout.  I can see why it's a good one for marathon training.  Perhaps the next time I do it, I will have had a more appropriate amount of rest.   For now, it's time to put my feet up and have a well deserved nap.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


The old adage "you learn something knew every day" may very well be a bit cliche but, if you really think about it, I bet most of you do learn something new every day, whether it be about yourself or the world you live in.  These last couple of days have been no exception for me.

Due to my work schedule, I had to shuffle around my runs once again so this meant another week of running on my own instead of with my group.   I had a 17km tempo run to do on Wednesday night and a 12km interval session to do on Friday night.  The tempo run was no problem.  I like to run fast for as long as I can.  Granted I didn't quite make 17km before my legs said eff you but I was close.   And I enjoyed myself.  My run last night was an entirely different story.  For starters, I didn't really know what kind of interval workout I was going to do.  I looked a the club calendar and the workout I had missed was the 15x1 min workout.  Hmmmm....don't think I want to do that on my own.   The previous week I had done a half hearted workout that had me running around the block a few streets away from home.  I thought about doing that and then I figured I'd just do a run with pick ups and fartleks.  I headed out west and as soon as I hit Lakefront Promenade, the wind hit me.  Geez.  For some reason when I left the house,  I decided that I didn't need my gloves (!?!?).  By the time I hit Samuel Smith Park (about 5 minutes from home) my hands were frozen.  I ran out into a gust of wind coming off the spit that just about blew me over.  To hell with this.  I ran out to the end of the path and turned around.  I'll just go do those around the block intervals again.  I ran back through Stan Smith park and back east along Lakefront Promenade over the 7th Street.  I did a few drills and decided that I was warmed up enough.  Off I went.  I think the loop is about 900m.  The last time I did them, I did 3.  I figured I could probably do 4, maybe 5.  I did the first one, stopped to catch my breath with an easy jog.  Dawdled a bit.  Started the second one, rested a bit longer when I was done.  Same with the 3rd and the 4th.  I kinda felt like I cheated a bit.  I knew I had enough in me for a 5th but I really didn't feel like doing it.  So I didn't.  I was only about 7.75km in.  So I opted to just run out the rest of the distance and maybe throw in some pick ups and accelerations in there, which I did.  A half assed workout for sure.  But at least I got it done.  When I made my way up the front porch, the realization hit me.  I don't enjoy doing interval workouts on my own.  I really don't.  I don't push myself as hard as I could.  I tend to slack off a lot more when I a) don't have anyone to chase or b) don't have anyone chasing me.

Who says that we never stop learning?

The second discovery was more of a re-discovery.  I was slated to do an easy 6km run today so I headed west as I usually do and instead of sticking to the bike path,  I veered off onto a gravel path that took me onto the small spit that juts out into Lake Ontario around Samuel Smith Park.  I hadn't run out on this since last spring.  It's a haven for birdwatchers in the summer so there are all sorts of foot paths that veer off into the brush off the main gravel track.   I had forgotten how lovely it is.  There isn't a whole lot of shelter around the outer rim so the wind was pretty epic at some points but I didn't care.  By the time I finished weaving my way around the spit I had covered 4km.  Granted it took me almost 35 minutes to cover that 4km because I kept stopping to take pictures but no matter.  It was supposed to be an easy run.  Needless to say, it was well worth the detour. 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

4 weeks in: Mississauga Marathon Training Update.

To say that these last 4 weeks have wreaked complete havoc on my training schedule would be an understatement.  I am a creature of habit that happens to work in an industry that is completely unpredictable.  Never really a good combination.   The result usually ends up involving a lot of workout improvisation on my part.  Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't.  

My first week of training started off fairly promising.  I managed to get out of work at a reasonable time and actually get my 13km tempo in.   Thursday I ended up skipping my run group run because I had eaten a whole pile of garbage during a 5 hour meeting.  You may think that is lame but like I said, I'm a creature of habit.  I generally eat healthfully and I eat at regular intervals throughout the day.   When you're sitting in a meeting for 5 hours and all you have is scones, jam, cream cheese, muffins, fruit, veggies and dip...well...let's just say things can get ugly.   I need real food.  Not grazing food.  I finally got to eat my lunch at 3:00 pm, which totally messed me up.  I figured I wasn't going to have the energy to do 15x1 minute intervals.  So I went home and did a half-assed run from there.  Better than nothing I suppose.  I got my Saturday & Sunday run in no problem. 
Scheduled Weekly mileage: 51 km  Actual Mileage: 49.7km - Not bad!

I knew that my second week of training was going to need some tweaking as I was going to be on an overnight shoot from the Monday night to the Tuesday morning.  I figured there was going to be no way that I was going to pull of a 16km tempo run after staying up for 30 hours straight.  I'm not 24 anymore.  So, I shuffled my tempo run to Wednesday morning instead.  I then thought it would be smart to go to the gym on Thursday morning and do some leg work.  I stepped into the squat rack and did my first set of squats.  Hmm....legs don't feel so greatAh well maybe I just need to warm up a bit more.  Second set of squats results in debilitating quad cramps.  Motherofgod.  Ok so maybe not the greatest idea.  I spend the rest of the workout doing upper body, ab work and foam rolling the hell out of my quads.  It was too late, the damage was done.  I was so sore the next day I shuffled around the studio.  I opted not to run that night.  I probably should have as that would have helped move out some of the lactic acid.   I woke up on Saturday morning feeling like I'd run a downhill marathon.  I forced myself to go out and run.  It was painfully slow.  My legs were so sore it was affecting my gait.  It was sloppy and I kept tripping over my feet.   At that point I figured it was time to pull the pin.  I was supposed to do 8km but I ended up doing 6.  More foam rolling and stretching ensued when I got home.  Got up Sunday and the soreness was almost all gone.  The first half hour of that long run was a bit rough but once I got really warmed up, I ended up having a great run.   
Scheduled weekly mileage: 53km Actual Mileage: 43.21km - not great.

I had high hopes for the third week of training.  I had a couple of small things on the go at work but nothing that should have impinged my training.  Until Tuesday.  Of course.   I had to quote on a project and they needed the estimate by the end of the day.  Of course I finish it mid afternoon but am waiting on one number.  I finally get that number at about 4:45.  I sent the estimate out with a note telling the Art Buyer that I'm leaving at 5:15.  Of course she calls me at 5:00 pm and wants to be taken through the estimate.  Fair enough.  I've managed to get in to my running gear at least, I should be able to get out at 5:30.  That was not to be.  Revisions needed to happen.  Lots of back and forth.  I finally left at 6:00 pm.  I had a 17km tempo run scheduled that night.  I managed 10km.  When I got home from that run I wasn't feeling so good.  I had some chills and my throat was a bit sore.  I mixed up a glass of vitamin C powder and downed that.  I had a hot shower but I couldn't warm up.  Not a good sign.  I woke up at 1:00 am drenched in sweat.  I woke up again at 3:00 am with a pounding headache, stuffed up sinuses and a sore throat and I couldn't get back to sleep.  I was officially sick.  I skipped my Wednesday morning swim, drugged myself up and went into work.  I should have stayed home but my boss needed my paperwork.  I got home and went to bed really early.  I had a meeting on Thursday that I couldn't reschedule.  It was a pre-production meeting for a shoot we were doing the following week.  I dragged my butt into work, drugged up on Benalyn daytime.  I ended up working late.  Friday morning rolled around and I took the day off.  I spent it working in my pj's from the comfort of my couch but it was hardly relaxing.  I did, however,  feel better by the end of the day.  Saturday rolled around and we had a huge dumping of snow.  I was feeling better but still not 100% so I opted to skip my 8km run and save myself for my 22km on Sunday.  That Sunday run was just plain awful.  Slushy and gross and I could feel the toll that cold had taken on my body.  But I was out and running.   
Scheduled Weekly Mileage:  58km  Actual Weekly mileage: 32km - YIKES.

I figured this week might get a bit tricky.  I had figured I'd be able to get out and run on Tuesday night but work took over and I ended up leaving late.  No run for me.  I figured that I would do my interval run on Wednesday night and then do my tempo run on Friday morning.  We were shooting on Wednesday but we weren't supposed to finish late.  We finished late.  Arg.  I did still manage to get a run in.  Not the full 11km I was supposed to do but it was better than nothing.  My hamstring was really bothering me as well.  More foam rolling and stretching.  Learned my lesson from 2 weeks ago and didn't do any leg work the next day when I went to the gym.  That made for a short workout but it was better than nothing.  Friday morning I tackled my tempo run.  It was less than ideal.  I felt like crap.  My legs were tired and I was just generally not feeling it.  I did get to experience an amazing sunrise which made that outing totally worth it.  I managed to get a bike ride AND my 9km run in yesterday.  My legs were still a bit cranky but I think getting out and moving helped clear out the residual soreness from my massage.   My long run was lovely.  I went out to the east end and ran with Stephanie through the Leslie Spit.  So nice.  My legs were still a bit sore, especially around the area of my lower hamstring just behind my knee.  Luckily we ran on mostly packed gravel trail so it was much more forgiving than pavement.  I was scheduled to 19km but we ended up doing just over 20. 
Scheduled Weekly Mileage:  56km  Actual Mileage:  53.12km - Better!

Given how these last few weeks have gone, there may have to be some goal re-evaluation for the Chilly Half which is 2 weeks away.  I feel like I've totally missed out on some key speed workouts.  I'm hoping that things calm down a bit for my next 4 week block of training.  March and April are going to be big mileage months.  I'm going to need to get those long tempos in as well as my interval training if I want to nail that 3:20 marathon.  And, most importantly, I'm going to have to remain injury free. 

We'll see how that pans out!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Rise and Shine

From the time I started running, I was always a morning runner.  That would be how I started my day.  I would occasionally run in the evening if I was training for something and had a longer-ish run to do but for the most part I always preferred to run in the morning.  Since joining my run group I have switched gears.  I now run at night.  And with people no less!  To say that's helped me become a faster runner would be the understatement of the year.  I'm glad I made the switch but every so often I miss those early morning runs.   The streets would be so quiet as most sane people were still sleeping.  I'd usually be up and out the door before the sun started to rise.  I'd be just finishing my warm up by the time the skies started to turn that deep shade of blue that lets you know that the sun is waking up.  It was a great way to start the day.
Due to a variety of things beyond my control (a.k.a work insanity), my training schedule had to get shuffled around.  Instead of my normal Tuesday and Thursday night runs, I ended up running Wednesday night and then again on Friday morning.  I would have run on Friday night but I had a massage scheduled so I got up nice and early, packed my bag and headed in to the office.  I knew I was going to have a very busy day at work so I figured it would be wiser for me to run from work so I wouldn't be tempted to dawdle like I would be at home.   I dropped everything off and headed out the studio door around 6:40 am.  The sky was just starting to turn that beautiful shade of blue.  I knew that by the time I got down to the lake the sun would be coming up and given that it was a nice clear morning I knew I'd be in for a treat.

I wasn't disappointed.  What a great way to end a chaotic week.


Here Comes The Sun


 All pictures copyright Phaedra Kennedy 2012.

Monday, February 13, 2012

These Are a Few of My Favourite Things

"When the dog bites, when the bee stings, when I'm feeling blue I simply remember my favourite things and then I don't feel so bad".  Or so the song goes.   I usually lace up my shoes and go for a run.  That run generally involves a few of my favourite things:

1.  My ipod shuffle.  It's a second generation shuffle and it is pure genius.  It's portable and incredibly unobtrusive.  It is basically an tiny ipod mounted on a clip.  I love it because I can clip it on to my fuel belt or my coat pocket and if I want to skip a song, it's right there and all I have to do is hit one button.  It holds 2GB of music, which is a lot for something so small and compact.  I think at most I've had 1GB of music on it and that was at least a day's worth of tunes.  The battery life is amazing as well.  I can go weeks without charging it and I use it almost every time I run (4x a week these days). 

2.  My Compressport socks.   I have two pairs of these run altering, life changing socks (big props, I know!).  A full compression pair (knee high) and a "short" ankle length pair.  Both of these socks have these incredible little dots on them that actually grip the insides of your shoes and keep your feet from moving around in your shoes.  Absolute genius.  And they offer amazing compression and arch support. 

The full compression pair are hands down the best pair of compression socks I've ever worn. 

And the short ones, well I am going to have to get a few more pairs of these to add to my running sock collection.  One in each colour of dots I think.  Fun!

3.  GU Energy Gels.  I love these things.  I know so many people who have issues with eating on the run.  They don't like the flavour or texture of gels.  I have to admit I did find them kinda strange the first time I tried them and I tried just about every kind of gel out there before I settled on these.   The range of flavours is great and every Christmas they feature a holiday flavour.  The first year they did it they made Mint Chocolate.  Oh YES.  2 of my favourite things in a gel.  Sign. Me.  Up.  I wasn't the only one that loved them.  Due to overwhelming demand, they are now a flavour that is in regular rotation.  This Christmas they featured Peppermint Stick.  I'm a sucker for anything candy cane flavoured so I grabbed a bunch of them.  Tasty and kind of refreshing on a long winters run.  I can't imagine I'd enjoy them when it's +30 and humid but as a winter time option, I love 'em.   The other incredible product that GU makes is Roctane which I refer to as Rocket Fuel.  Cause that's what it is.  I don't know what they put in this stuff but it is incredible.  It's supposed to help buffer lactic acid build up during ultra endurance events or harder efforts.  It does just that.  I used it in pretty much every race I did last year.  The taste takes some getting used to and the flavour range is somewhat limited compared to the regular GU line up.  They did however, come out with a chocolate raspberry flavour that goes down quite easily.  It's not easy to find so when I do find it, I stock up.

4.  Xtend BCAA's.  What are these you may ask?  That's exactly what I thought when I first heard about BCAA's.  BCAA stands for branched chain amino acids.  This stuff is right from the body building world.   According to Scivation, the company who makes the brand that I use (xtend) BCAA's help speed recovery, decrease muscle breakdown and cortisol levels and avoid fatigue by blocking entry of fatigue inducing tryptophan into the brain.  All handy things when you're pushing yourself on a long run.  I mix 1.5 scoops into my electrolyte drink for my long run and I swear it makes a big difference.  It's super sweet so that takes some getting used to but apparently BCAA's that aren't flavoured or sweetened taste like a$$.  So, I've opted for sweet, thankyouverymuch.

5.  My iphone 4s.  Yes, I'm an Apple lover.  No PC for me.  I suppose that is a by product of working in the creative industry for as long as I have.  I had an original iphone that I just recently replaced with the new 4s.  I can't believe how much faster this phone is.  And how much better the camera is on it.  That's one of the big reasons I love it.  I know, kinda lame, right?  It's a PHONE for the love of Pete.  But, I take it with me on almost every run I do.  Why?  Because you never know what you're going to see.  Yes, I know I should be running but sometimes I see something so amazing, so beautiful, I wish I had a camera.  Well, worry no more.  Now that I bring that with me on my runs, they do seem to take a bit longer than they should.  But really what does that matter.  After all it's all about the journey, not the destination.

What are some of your favourite running things?

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Return of Old Man Winter

I woke at 4:22 am to a cold wind howling into the bedroom.  Ugh.  I got up and shut the window.   Nothing good was going to come of that.  I burrowed back into the covers and fell back asleep, dreaming of clear roads and blue skies. 

I awoke 3 hours later and shuffled downstairs.  I looked out the window and my heart sank.  There were big white flakes swirling around with reckless abandon, and a thick blanket of snow covered the road.  Drat.  Old Man Winter had reared his ugly head.  Given that I live in the Great White North, I knew this had to happen sooner rather than later.  There was no way Mother Nature was going to let us get away with a snow free winter.  One could only hope.  I don't mind the cold.  I rather enjoy a long run in the cold, especially when the sun is shining.  What I don't enjoy is the snow and there was enough of it on the ground this morning to make my long run a challenge.

Oh yes Old Man Winter, you may make things look pretty and white but underneath all that picture perfectness lies some cold-hearted trickery.   That pretty white snow makes for slick footing.   Slick footing makes me have to slow down.  It also engages more of my muscles and makes me work harder.  So I work harder and go slower.  Hmph.  Don't think I like that at all.  But I didn't have much choice in the matter.  All I could do was try to find clear ground and chug along.
Marie Curtis Park

My normal running paths were covered in snow so I chose a different route on the sidewalks.  Not the most scenic route but I didn't struggle as much.  It was too late though, the damage was done.  My legs were tired and sore and I was only 8km in to my 22km run.  I thought about calling it quits at about 12km and getting my hubby to come and pick me up.  After all I was just coming off a nasty cold.  My heart rate was telling me that I wasn't quite 100%.  The hard head in me said "Hell No.  Suck it Up."  Right.  I wasn't going to let Old Man Winter take me down.  No Way.  I motored on, westbound to Port Credit Marina, into the wind.  I found some clear road and managed to pick up the pace.  I hit the Marina and turned around.  I wasn't planning on taking the same route back.  I figured I'd stick to the roads and avoid the snow covered paths.  My legs were feeling rough.  I felt like I was coming off a hard leg workout instead of 4 days off.  I wanted to go but I couldn't.  There was nothing.  The snow had made sure of that.  As I made my way east on Lakeshore, thoughts of stopping early came back into my head.  I thought about hitting Fair Grounds and stopping for a coffee, calling Gary and getting a lift back home.  Sure that would mean I cut my run short by about 3km.  That was ok right?

NO.  There is no quitting.  When the going gets tough, the tough get going.  Isn't that how the song goes?  Suck it up.

I only had 3km left to cover.  I could muscle out 3km.  This particular workout was a fast finish workout, which meant I had to run the last 15 minutes at race pace.  This would be a true test of what I could do on incredibly tired legs.  I picked up the pace as much as I could.  The road was clear along Lake Promenade.  I glanced at my Garmin.  4:38 km's.  Ouch.  4:45's.  4:58's.  If my legs could yell bloody murder they would have.  I hit Samuel Smith Park and knew I would hit snow again.  As soon as I hit the snow, the chute came out.  5:30 km's.  6:00 km's.  Good Lord.  

To add salt to my wounds, the wind started gusting and the cranky low hanging grey clouds started to spew snow.   Ihatewinter, Ihatewinter.  I turned up 12th Street to add that extra .5km, across Morrison and back down 11th.  Around the bend on Lake Promenade to 10th.  Back into the wind. Almost home, come ON.  I could see my driveway.  Thoughts of a warm coffee and a hot shower started to float through my mind.  A gust of wind pushed me back to reality.  400m to go.  I pushed back.  Eff You Old Man Winter, you're not going to win this one.
I turned up my driveway, huffing and puffing and hobbled up the front steps.  I made it.  And I didn't quit....I'm stronger than that.  Put that in your pipe and smoke it Mother Nature.
Tree Lined Spit @ Len Ford Park.

 All photographs copyright Phaedra Kennedy 2012.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

A Wee Hiccup

I had hoped to start off my marathon training on the right foot but it seems that events of the last few weeks have conspired against that.  The first week of training saw me working on a huge project that involved 34 talent and an over night shoot at a Casino in Brantford.  I ain't no spring chicken any more so I don't really "do" all nighters.  The shoot was on a Monday night into Tuesday morning.  Tuesday is my tempo day.  I had a sneaking suspicion that I wouldn't be doing my tempo that day.  Especially given that my work day was going to be ending sometime around noon after starting at 10 am the day before.  No biggie, I just opted to do it on Wednesday morning.  But that threw off my entire week of training.  Well that and the fact I thought it would be smart to go to the gym and do a leg workout the day after a 15km tempo run. Ummm...not so smart.  My quads cramped up so hard it hurt to walk.  I had DOMS for days.  So my interval run that I planned to do on the Friday didn't happen.  My Saturday run was a painful shuffle.  My Sunday long run ended up being a good one but it didn't start out that way.  Another busy week at work meant that I didn't get out early enough on Tuesday to get my 17km tempo run in.  I at least managed to get a 10km tempo done.  I thought, fair enough, I'll make up the distance on Thursday night's run.  That was not to be.  When I got home after my Tuesday night run, I was slapped sideways with a nasty cold that came out of nowhere.  Fever, sinus pain, congestion.  What I really needed was to take a day off but because I was so busy at work, I wasn't able to do so.  Wednesday and Thursday were a blur.  I was in no condition to run on Thursday and to top it off, I worked late.  That was it, I had enough.  Friday I stayed home and rested.  By the end of the day I started to feel better.   Still not 100% but getting there.   This morning I woke to snow and -20 degrees with the wind chill.   I thought about going for a run for about 2 seconds and then figured it might be wise to give myself one more day.   So, I spent the morning sitting in front of the fire, catching up on PVR'd shows and cleaning.  Now the sun is out and I'm kinda itching to go out and play.  But I know better.  Tomorrow is another day and I should be good to go if I get one more solid night of sleep.
I'm not pleased with these last few weeks but, it is still early in my training and this was just a wee hiccup in the grand plan.   I'll be back on track tomorrow, even if it's -20 and snowing.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Athletic Bucket List

At some point in their lives, folks start to make bucket lists.  Life's last great "To Do" list.  For some that may include skydiving, running a marathon or seeing the Great Wall of China.   The things on it may change as one gets older or as things get checked off, new things may get added or old things may get fine tuned.  For anyone that participates in any type of individual competitive sport, this type of list generally comes with the territory.  Especially the more "into" a sport you become.   You will find all sorts of things to add to that competitive Bucket List.  Places to go, races do to, things to experience.  Over the years of my relatively young "athletic career", my athletic Bucket List has always been relatively simple.  Never more than a couple of things on it.  Qualify for Boston.  Check.  Do an Ironman.  Double check.  Run a trail race.  Check.  Run a sub 1:40 half.  Check.  Late last year a few more things were added:  1)  Run a sub 3:30 marathon.  2) Run the Marathon du Medoc (or eat and drink for 26 miles in costume) 3) Run the Big 6 marathons at some point in my life.  The Big Six being (as far as I understand it):  Boston, New York, Berlin, London, Chicago & Paris.  I've done Boston already and would like to do it again.  I have a score to settle there.  I just found out today that I am one step closer to checking another of the Big Six off my list.  I was officially accepted to participate in the New York City Marathon. 

I'm so excited I've been bouncing around all morning.  I've NEVER been to New York and neither has my husband so this will be a fun trip.  What better way to experience the city than to run through it? Needless to say, I'm really looking forward to taking a bite out of the Big Apple in November and crossing one more thing off my Athletic Bucket List!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Moving Pictures

No, I'm not going to write a post about one of the greatest rock albums ever.  Instead I'm going to treat you to a visual summary of my 20km excursion this morning.  It was a glorious day for the beginning of February with temperatures hovering just over zero.  The sun was shining, there was no wind and from this runner's point of view, it doesn't get any better than that!
Spit at Samuel Smith Park.  I never get tired of this view.

The path into the Rich Man's Land, Mississauga
Turn around point in Port Credit, Mississauga.

View of Lake Ontario from Port Credit.  On my way back.

Running along the Waterfront Trail. 
Herbie the Love Bug!  Hanging out in Lakefront Promenade Park.
Tempting....but I'm almost home.  Picked up the pace here and tried to get my last 12 minutes done in 10.