Monday, September 30, 2013

4 Ways to Stay Supple

As runners, I think most of us have suffered from tight muscles.  It comes with the territory.   It's kind of a catch 22 really.  The more we push ourselves physically, the more imperative it is we take care of ourselves.  This is something I've learned the hard way.  That's why adequate rest, recovery and self care are so important to remaining injury free. I always say that prevention is the best medicine and with a little help from these friends, you can help keep the injury monster at bay.  These are things that I use / do on a regular basis during my training. 

Post Run Stretching

D'uh, right?  You'd be surprised at just how many people don't stretch after a run and I've never quite understood this.  To each their own I guess.  What works for some doesn't always work for others.  I always find that if I don't take the time to stretch well after a run, especially a long or particularly hard run, my legs feel it the next day.  Maybe that's just because I'm getting older but either way, it's part of my routine.  I know I should also try and incorporate regular yoga practice into my training but finding the time is really difficult.  It's definitely something I'm going to incorporate in my off season to give my legs a bit of a different workout.  It will be good to head into Boston training with some flexibility in the bank so to speak, ha ha.

Foam Rolling

Fondly known in my world as the Torture Roll.  This is one of the best tools you can own if you are active in any way.   Runners, if you don't own one of these, get on it STAT.   I just added this bad boy to my collection (yes, I have a collection) and it's freaking awesome.
Trigger Point Technologies Grid Foam Roller
You can get it from my favourite multi-sport store (Running Free) here.  In fact right now until October 15th, they are having 20% off all injury prevention / maintenance accessories.  Just use the coupon code INJURYFREE at checkout.  There are a few other tools I use in between visits to my massage therapist, coincidentally most of them are also available at Running Free.  With the exception of the tennis ball, ha ha.

Trigger Point Therapies Massage Ball & my trusty tennis ball

The Tiger Tail and The Stick

Accuball Mini - hurts so good!

A.R.T (Active Release Therapy)

I am a huge fan of A.R.T.  It can be excruciatingly painful but sometimes I find it's actually better than getting a massage.  Especially for areas like your TFL and hip flexors.  It can really improve your range of motion.  For those of you that don't know what ART is, it's usually performed by either a physiotherapist or a chiropractor and they basically take you through the range of motion of the affected area while massaging the muscle.  Yeah, it generally hurts.  I find that sometimes this is a much better technique for dealing with those really stubborn knots that I get.

Massage Therapy

This should absolutely be a part of your regular regimen.  Not only does a good massage get the kinks out but it also helps increase blood flow and circulation, which in turn aids in recovery.  I'm not talking about going to a spa and getting a relaxing rub down (not that there's anything wrong with that either).  I'm talking about going to an RMT that specializes in sports massage;  someone that has experience with athletes and the issues they face.  A good massage therapist is worth their weight in gold.  Sure if you don't have extended health care benefits, it can be expensive but if you invest the time and energy into training and race fees, then you should do the same with your recovery and care.  If I could afford to have a massage every week, I would but then I'd burn through my coverage in a couple of months.  So I go once a month, maybe twice if my legs have taken a real beating and make nice with my foam roller and other toys the rest of the time. 

Incorporating even a couple of these things into your regular routine should help you lead a relatively injury free existence and that has to be worth something.  And it's definitely easier than sitting on the sidelines and missing your goal race because you're injured. 

Do you incorporate any of these things into your regular training routine? 

What's in your injury maintenance tool box?

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Young Guns + My Last Big Run

This has been a very active weekend.  Although I think every weekend is a fairly active weekend in our household.  It's just what we do.  This weekend started with us having friends over for dinner on Friday night.  We shared a lot of laughs and a lot of wine.  I'll admit I had a wee bit of a hangover when I got up on Saturday morning.  I almost bailed on our ride but figured some time outside in the fresh fall air would do me good. 

We were going to be riding with our friend Jordan, who had been at our place for dinner the night before, as well as Adam who is G's friends son.  Adam is all of 16 years old but has taken a keen interest in cycling.  Adam's dad mentioned this to G a while ago and G pointed them in the direction of our local bike shop, Wheels of Bloor.  The guys there fitted him on a decent entry level bike and got him into a good pair of cycling shoes.  G has given him some of his old cycling jerseys and has been bringing him along on some of the long rides he's been doing.  Last week they went out and did a route that was almost 100km.  It was Adam's longest ride ever and of course, being 16 years old, he had a ton of energy even after the ride.  G told me afterwards that he called Tom (Adam's dad) and told him that he thinks that Adam has the potential to be a great rider.  So since we were riding again this weekend, he emailed Adam and asked if he wanted to come along.  Apparently Adam was bouncing off the ceiling at being able to come out with G again.  Knowing G, he will continue to help Adam grow as a cyclist in any way he can.  I rode with Adam for a while and he definitely has the potential to be a strong cyclist.  He rode away from me on a climb like I was standing still.  I honestly think that us old fogies held him back a bit.  We talked gear, Top Gear and music (he also loves Rush) for quite some time.  He's a great kid and I'm happy that we can help him get those miles in on his beloved bike. 

It was a perfect day for a ride.  The fall colours are starting to come out.  I suspect in a couple of weeks everything will be lit in a blaze of colour.  Just in time for Thanksgiving! 

That's Adam speeding away from the Old Guys
When we got home, our nephew called to tell us that he made the Richmond Hill A Team for baseball.  This is a big. freaking. deal.  Drew is an incredibly talented baseball player. His previous team was coached by two dads that had their kids on the team and they played favourites so Drew never really got many opportunities to play infield or pitch.  Drew is an excellent all rounder who really understands the game.  He's smart and he's got the size and physical ability.  He's 13 years old, and already 5ft 9 with size 13 feet.  Every time I see him, he's grown another inch.  Seriously.  I don't know what my sister in law is feeding him but he keeps growing like a weed. Anyway, he didn't have a very good experience with this team so his parents decided it was time to move him elsewhere.  He went to Richmond Hill and went through all 5 rounds of try outs.  There was room on the AA team and the A team.   He made the A team and was totally ecstatic.  As were we.  This was a HUGE relief for him and a fantastic opportunity for a fresh start.  We weren't able to have kids of our own so it's nice to be able to be supportive and involved in the lives of these two budding athletes.  Both of them make us proud!

Today was my last big run before Scotia before I start to scale back my mileage.  My original plan was to get up really early and do my 24km before my 8:00 am swim.  Insane, I know.  My alarm went off just before 5:00 am.  I actually got dressed and went downstairs to eat breakfast.  Shortly after I ate, I decided that I really didn't want to go and run 24km in the dark so something was going to have to give.  I opted to bail on my swim.  I went back upstairs, put my pj's back on and slept for another 2.5 hours!  I must have needed it or something, ha ha.  I got up, got re-dressed and ate a Lara Bar, then headed out the door.  My legs felt very heavy when I started.   That's what happens when 1) you haven't been on your road bike in weeks and 2) you go out and ride a hilly 45km.  But whatever, sometimes it takes me a little while to get into a groove.  I figured by about 6-7km I'd be ok.  Sure enough around the 6km mark, I started to feel like I had warmed up.  My pace started to drop.  I was also boiling hot.  I opted for a short sleeve t-shirt when what I should have worn was a tank top.  After 15 years there are time where I still can't seem to get it right.  Oh well.  The run was tough.  Good but tough.  My legs were tired at the start and continued to feel that way throughout.  The last 4km were the toughest as I was running into the wind.  I also decided to push the pace the last few km so I had to dig a little deeper than normal.  It was all about running on tired legs today.  I guess you could say I nailed that, ha ha.  I made it home in just under 2 hours, one sore, tired, sweaty mess.  There is definitely going to be an epsom salt bath in my immediate future.   I am starting to get excited about Scotia.  I feel like these last few weeks of hard training are starting to pay off.  Look out sub 1:30, I'm coming for you!

How has your weekend been?  Did you get out and enjoy the great fall weather?

Friday, September 27, 2013

Yasso 800's...It's What's for Dinner

So last night I put on my big girl pants and hit the track.  Again.  This week's workout was Yasso 800's.  Apparently if you do 10 of them in a row that is supposed to be a good predictor of your marathon time.  Although I've also read that you should add 5 - 7 minutes to your Yasso 800 time.  Apparently that gives you a better approximation of your marathon time.  Whatever the case, if any of that is true then last nights track session was a real ego boost. 

This was my first 800.  My last looked exactly the same.  The middle ones went:  3:03, 3:04, 3:06, 3:03, 3:03 & 3:04.  I'm nothing if not consistent, ha ha.  So if I do the math and figure that my last two would be in the same area, according to Yasso's theory + say 5 minutes, that would mean that I have a 3:10 marathon in me.

3:10.  Holy. Frig.  My brain can't even process that so I'm not even going to try right now.  Instead, I'm going to enjoy the fact, that even though I so wanted to quit after the 5th one, I stuck it out and finished.   I channeled my inner Pre and sucked it up.  Listening to old school rap, cranked, also helped.  I had House of Pain's "Jump Around" on repeat.  I may or may not have been hand dancing and flashing gangsta signs.  Just like I may or may not know all the words. 

There may have been a bit of bribery involved as well.  I told myself that if I did all 8 of them, then I could have a big bowl of my new favourite thing.  Chocolate cherry "ice cream" (there is no ice or cream in it...I'm sneaky like that!).   I think I've finally gotten the recipe right but I'll have to test it a few more times just to make sure.  And then I'll post it. 

Thankfully today was a rest day for me so I got to sleep in.  Tomorrow we are back at it, heading up to Bolton for a ride.  It's going to be an amazing weekend weather wise so we are going to take full advantage of it and get outside!

What have you got planned for this weekend? 

Thursday, September 26, 2013

All Aboard the Pain Train

With a little more than 4 weeks till Scotia, I have been putting in some pretty hard miles.  And it's just going to get tougher over the next couple of weeks.  I've got my but firmly planted on the pain train apparently.  What's strange is that I'm actually kind of enjoying the ride.

I'm beginning to think I'm a bit of a weirdo.  Who else gets excited when they see that their club workout is Mile Repeats?  Apparently I do.  Perhaps all that triathlon racing has upped my discomfort level a few notches, which is good because I'm going to need it over these next few weeks.

This is the Master Plan:

That is a whole lot of fast and hard running.  I know my body can take it as long as I get my recovery in.  I just have to work at training my brain to deal with it.  I've gotten a whole lot better than I used to be but I still have my "I don't wanna / I can't" moments.  Like last Thursday.  My plan called for 4x1 mile repeats within a 13km run.  I did a nice warm up, got to the track and started my repeats.  After the second one, I felt like I was mentally done.  I managed to talk myself into a 3rd one.  The 4th one however, didn't happen.  I mentally couldn't face it.  Even though I felt fine physically, I had mentally checked out.   Normally I get annoyed with myself when I do this but this time around, I didn't.  Sometimes your brain just doesn't have it and you have to be ok with that (a challenge for me most days).

The act of training is not only about training your body but training your mind as well.  Just like your body, your mind also has it's overload point.  Sometimes you need to learn to push through that and sometimes you just have to say "Screw it, today is not my day."  It's a fine balance that I'm clearly still trying to figure out.

Tonight I'll be back at the track tackling Yasso 800's.  8 of them.  That's more than I've ever done before.  I think the most I've done has been 5 so this will be a challenge.  I hope I'm done before it gets dark, ha ha.

Do you like track workouts?  Have you ever done Yasso 800's?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Oral I.V. Product Review

Disclaimer:  I was given the opportunity to review this product through Sweat Pink / Fit Approach  I was given samples of the product to review.  I was not compensated for this post in any way.  All opinions are my own.

As an older endurance athlete who really likes to push herself, I'm always looking for ways to help me recover faster and perform better so when the opportunity to review this product came up, I jumped at the chance.

What is Oral I.V.?

Oral I.V. is a hydration support fluid that you can either use on it's own or in conjunction with water. It is based on a "proprietary formula of crystalloid electrolytes and purified water."

According to their website:

ORAL I.V. is intended to assist an individual’s existing hydration strategy. We recommend using ORAL I.V. as a hydration aid with other liquids (such as water) prior to, during and after activities of exertion or as a supplement to daily activities that can contribute to dehydration. Depending on your level of activity and personal fitness, it is recommended to take one vial of ORAL I.V. along with other liquids for every 4 to 6 hours of strenuous activity. Because ORAL I.V. is a hydration aid, you can also include it in your rest and recovery methods.

The Benefits

The main thing that attracted me to this product is that there are no artificial ingredients and no sugar.  The no sugar thing is huge.  Almost every single sports drink on the market has either some kind of sugar or sucralose in it.  This has nothing.  Nada.  Zip.  Zilch.  The other thing I liked about it was it's portability.  It comes in a small vial that is easily stashed in your purse or gym bag.  No messy powders to carry around and nothing to really mix.  You can either pour this into your water bottle or drink it right out of the vial.

According the Oral I.V. website, other users experienced improved focus and concentration and experienced shorter recovery times between workouts.  THAT is what intrigued me. 

The Tests

I put it to the test on 2 separate hot and humid tempo runs.  I mixed the Oral I.V. with water and a bit of coconut water and consumed that during my runs.  I didn't feel like I had any more focus than normal, nor did I seem to recover faster.  I tried it AFTER a hot and humid tempo run, mixed with water.  I didn't feel any better or worse the next day.  I was told that everyone's body chemistry is different so this product would affect people differently.  It was then suggested that I take it before a workout.  This time I didn't mix it with anything.  I drank it straight out of the vial and headed out the door for my run.  I had one of the best runs I've had in ages.  I don't know if it was the product itself or if it just happened to be my lucky day but my legs felt great, my pace was way faster than normal and it felt easy.  


I noticed a slightly minerally taste and the fluid itself had a very soft in the mouth feel.

The Verdict

I like the idea of the product, it's just hard to say if it's really effective or not.  Other than the spectacular run I had, I didn't see any noticeable benefits and again, I'm not sure if the run was a result of using the product or if I just happened to be having a good day.  Perhaps it requires more continuous use in order to see any benefits.  Or perhaps my body chemistry just doesn't respond to the ingredients in Oral I.V..  If it was cheaper ($12 for 4 vials), I'd probably consider keeping it around for days where I'm doing some intense training in hot weather.   At it's current price, it seems a little steep for something that I'm not 100% sure of its effectiveness. 

If you're curious about trying Oral I.V.  I have a discount code you can use to get 10% off the product on their website.   The code is fitness.

Have you ever tried a hydration aid? 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Testing Grounds: The M.E.C 10km

With my A race looming, I figured it was time for me to get back on the running wagon....STAT.  My summer had been eaten up by work and a whole lot of triathlon racing.  My normal training routine kinda went out the window and I had a hard time making it out to my run group.  My running went from 3 days a week to 2 if I was lucky.  I was good about getting my long runs in, it was just my mid week tempo and speed work that took a back seat.  Although I guess racing every other weekend counts for something, right?

I figured once tri season was over, I'd go out and test my legs with a 10km to see how I fared.  Depending on my time and how I felt, I'd have a rough idea as to how much work I'd need to do over the next 6 weeks.  Now, obviously so many things can affect your time and your time isn't always indicative of what you'd be capable of off a successful taper etc etc.  I went into this race with ridiculously sore and tight hamstrings.  So much so that I was a bit worried I'd hurt myself if I pushed too hard.  I also didn't really take it easy the day before;  3 hours of standing / dancing around on a tile floor in the kitchen never does my legs any favours.   It's not like I ever really take it easy the day before a race anyway, ha ha.  Ok, maybe the day before a marathon.


I figured a smaller race would be good, not too many people to contend with etc and the timing of it was perfect.  It was also only $15.  You can't beat that...although you do get what you pay for.  This was a total no frills race.  A couple of tents for registration and kit pick up, no t-shirt (which I appreciate) however you did get a heavy duty M.E.C drawstring bag.  Races seem to be really into giving these things out nowadays.  I have an abundance of them kicking around the house.  There was one tiny corral that everyone lined up in and these odd carpet like timing chip mats.  The timing chips themselves were like small credit cards that you attached to your shoe with twist ties.  Twist ties!!  I had a pic but for some reason I deleted it off my phone, d'oh.

The race was located in Tommy Thompson Park down on the Leslie Spit.  I probably should have taken that into consideration when I registered.  The spit is notoriously windy.  It's also quite rough in some places so you have to watch your footing.  Kinda hard when you're hauling ass.  The race organizers did warn us about a few potholes with water in them (it had poured rain the day before) so we knew to watch for them.  There was also a 5km and a half marathon.   The half marathon went out 15 minutes before the 10km and then the 5km went out 15 minutes after the 10km.  So there was always people on the course.  There were only about 300 participants in total so it's not like the course was ever going to be really crowded.

I had a 21km run slated that day so my plan was to go out and do a 6-7km warm up, race and then do a proper cool down.   I picked up my kit, dropped it off in the car and headed out for my warm up.  My legs felt absolutely horrible.  They were sore and heavy and my hamstrings felt like tightly wound guitar strings.   I hoped that 6km would be enough to sort it out.  I plodded along at a very easy pace and enjoyed the morning.  It had started off a bit cool but as the sun came it, the temperature had started to rise quickly.  When I got back to the car, I stripped down to my shorts and singlet and went off again for another km.  I ran back to the car again, checked the time and decided to make my way to the start.  I had 15 minutes to spare so I spent it doing a dynamic warm up.  Before I knew it, it was GO time.

I got into the starting corral and lined up behind the first row of people.  I wasn't sure what the competition was like.  There were a couple of folks that "looked" like they were speedy but it's so hard to tell.  Normally I try to get myself up towards the front but we had lots of room to spread out so I wasn't concerned.  There were a couple of race announcements and then the guy with the loudspeaker started counting down.  3-2-1 - and GO!  No horn, no nothing.  Just yelled GO.  Classic.

With that, we were off.  Of course I started out way too fast.  I hit km one in 3:47.  Um.  What? The next km was 3:57 and the next was 3:58.  I thought there was no way I could sustain this pace.  I've never been able to hold anything that fast, especially once we got into the less sheltered area of the course.  Sure enough my next split was 4:07.  That was a little more like it.  At the 3km mark I noticed that the km markers were off.  I hoped that they would even themselves out before we hit the turnaround or else the race would probably end up being short. 

Just after the 3km mark, the path started to get rough.  There were a lot of rocks and some hard packed gravel and mud areas that we ran through.  I did a lot of puddle jumping and pot hole dodging here.  Not really ideal in a race but what can you do.  It kept me light on my feet which is always a good thing.  The path eventually turns into a freshly paved bike path.  That was heavenly.  I noticed we were coming up to the turnaround.  I glanced at my watch and it was just past 4.5km.  Hmmmm.  

I hit the turnaround and kept hammering.  A few minutes after I passed the turnaround, my Garmin signaled 5km.  Great.  I figured the course was going to be short, it was just a question of how much.  If it was negligible I could chalk it up to my Garmin being slightly off but I was thinking it was going to be at least 300-400m, which is a pretty big discrepancy. 

I passed a few folks that were running the half marathon and I actually caught a guy that had been slightly in front of me since the start.  We went through the muddy / gravelly patch again and I caught another guy here.  I had somehow found another energy reserve.  I was feeling really strong.  Hurting like hell, but strong.  I figured at some point we'd be running either into the wind or it would be coming at us from the side.  As soon as I rounded the bend just past the 6km mark it hit me square in the face.  Did I mention that I hate the wind?  Yeah I know it makes you stronger but man, does it ever demoralize you when you're in it.  Just when you think you're motoring along, doing awesome, you look down at your watch and think WTF...I feel like I should be going so much faster.  I am pretty sure I hit my max HR for the day (194) somewhere in the last 3km of the race. 
I'm surprised I didn't barf.
Those last 3 + km were pure hell.  That wind was so strong.  Surprisingly my pace stayed relatively consistent, albeit slower than the first 3km.  I think had my legs been 100% I might not have suffered as much.  Sure my lungs were burning but my legs, well they were positively on fire. 
It's nice to see that there wasn't a total implosion towards the end.
As I pushed my way through the wind, I kept glancing at my Garmin and looking for the kilometer markers.  There was no 8km marker and then all of a sudden there was a 9km marker.  I looked down at my Garmin and I was still at 8. something.  Seriously?

Admittedly I was happy to see that 9km marker even though it meant that the course was probably going to be short.  I was totally dying.  My brain was screaming at me to stop or at least slow down.  I ignored it.  The next thing I knew I could see the start / finish line.  I started to push the pace and caught a guy.  He glanced over at me and must have thought he didn't want to get chicked so he put the afterburners on and pulled away from me.  I had nothing so I watched him go. 

I crossed the mats and hit stop on my Garmin.  Final distance:  9.59km.  Short by just over 400m.  My time said 38:48, which would be a massive P.B for me for 10km (previous was 41:55).  I knew that my race results would say that I ran that for 10km but I'm not counting it as a P.B.  I took my average pace and figured out what my time would have been for 10km.  I would have run between a 40:20 and a 40:30, which is still a P.B. for me for the distance. 

I ended up second place woman overall and made the top 10 overall, which is always a nice thing.  More importantly, I have a good sense of where my abilities are at and how much fine tuning I'm going to need to do over the next few weeks.  

Sub 1:30 is definitely within my grasp. 

About the race...would I do this one again?  No.  Running along the spit is nice if you're out for a leisurely run with a friend.  RACING along it is not.  I'd look at doing another one of the M.E.C races at another venue though.  You do get what you pay for but it's a nice change from the insanity / intensity / crowds of some of the bigger races.  You also get 10% off anything at M.E.C with your race bib the day of the race.  Not a bad deal.  

The Flying Fro in action!   Source

Monday, September 16, 2013

Slowing Down and Catching Up

After last weeks insanity, I could finally see a light at the end of the tunnel.  With no impeding jobs looming on the horizon, I knew I'd finally be able to catch up on all my goings on outside of work.  I can't even begin to tell you what a relief that is.  I was actually able to take last Friday off.  G was going up north for a boys golf weekend so I had the house to myself.  FUN!

Friday morning was spent at Gears testing out saddles (am trying out the Adamo) and getting my fit re-tweaked.   Friday afternoon was spent poking around the new Target where much to my surprise I found my leave in conditioner that I usually get from my hairdresser!  It was $3.50 cheaper too AND, it's much closer to my house than my hairdresser is.  SCORE.  I did a bit of wandering around Winners in Cloverdale and then went off to meet my friend Jon for an early dinner at my fave burger joint - Woody's - for a pint and a burger.  It was so nice to catch up with him!  And I finally got to try my friend Andy's beer.  He is part of the Oast House Brewers and I've been dying to try their beer.  It's not available at the Beer Store or LCBO just yet, you either have to go to the Brewery in Niagara on the Lake or you can get it a various pubs across the city.  Woody's just started to carry it so of course I had a pint with my turkey burger. 

I was home by 7:00 pm so I actually sprawled out on the couch and rented a movie....again!  I know!  That's two weekends in a row!!!  I rented Star Trek Into Darkness and I loved it.  I was a Trekkie nerd growing up so I thought it was a pretty good modern representation of the characters.  It was so nice to just chill out and be entertained. 

Saturday morning I was up bright and early to meet with my friend Caitlin.  She is going to be my guinea pig for the practical component of my coaching certification.  We headed off to the track so I could take her through a whole barrage of tests.  We were there for a couple of hours.  It was good fun.  It helps that she is an eager participant.  She's excited to get started and I know she's 150% committed to putting in the work. 
My version of White Lines - putting in time at the track.

I still had grocery shopping and a 23km run to do.  It was still kinda chilly out so I opted to hit the grocery store first.  I think I set a P.B for the fastest grocery shop ever.  I really wanted to get out and run.  I got home, unpacked everything as quickly as possible and changed into my running clothes.  I was out the door by 1:00 pm, which is way later than I'd normally do a long run, but, it was way earlier than I thought I'd be.  It was still kinda chilly out but the sun was warm so I opted for a tank top and shorts.  It was downright nipply those first 3-4km before I warmed up.  Brrr.  I started off feeling a little rough.  I think Thursday's mile repeats were still hanging around in my legs as was the ride from the day before.  Somewhere around the 4km mark, all the aches started to go away.  My hamstrings felt a little tight but it was manageable.  I glanced down at my Garmin amazed to see my heart rate hovering in the low 140's and my pace at 4:30's - 4:35's.  It felt easy.  It felt like that for my entire run.  I kept thinking I'd hit a wall at some point.  Nope.  In fact, my heart rate dropped a bit as I went on, which is weird, I've never had that happen to me before.  My legs actually gave out before my lungs did, which is usually what happens to me, ha ha.   I ran 23km in 1:49:43 for an average pace of 4:46 km's.  My average heart rate for the run was 139 which is insanely low given that my normal long run target is between 150-152.  I was so pumped when I got home.  I couldn't believe it.  Of course I Instagrammed it right away, ha ha.  I was definitely inspired by RunEmz and all her awesomeness.  She managed to run 108.88 miles in 22 hours.  For us Canucks that works out to roughly 175km.  Yes, you read that correctly.  175km.  On a freaking treadmill.  What an inspiration. 

Sunday swimming has started again so Sunday morning I hit the pool.  I actually ended up getting up really early on Sunday to get on the computrainer to put some time in on the saddle before I went to the pool.  I lasted half an hour.  My legs were so tired from my run and my crotch / sit bones were still tender from the new saddle.  Ugh.   The swim was just what I needed to get the remaining soreness out of my legs though.  It wasn't too hard either, lots of drills and technique work which can be mind numbing but it's so important.  I was SO freaking hungry when I got out.  Thankfully I had the foresight to make these babies on Saturday evening.

Pumpkin spice protein pancakes with stewed figs and maple syrup.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Seriously my most favourite post workout meal ever.  I LOVE pancakes.  After I inhaled those I spent some time figuring out the remainder of my training for Scotia.  Yes, I know it's only 5 weeks away.  You can get a lot done in 5 weeks, especially in the speed work department.  After that, the cooking bug hit me again and I went on a bit of a bender in the kitchen.  All this took me about 3 hours but I'm now pretty much set for the week.
A whole lotta goodness!

Hmmm....guess I didn't really slow down much this past weekend, other than Friday night, ha ha.  But, I am all caught up with all the little things that have been on my to-do list for the last little while so perhaps that will allow me to slow down in the near future.  Let's hope so.

How was your weekend?   Action packed or chilled out?

Monday, September 9, 2013

You've. Freaking. Got. This @runemz

I am constantly inspired by folks that I "meet" on the interwebz but every once in a while I come across someone who completely blows my mind.   Someone whose passion for life and all that it offers just radiates through the screen.  Someone whose personality just exudes joy, happiness & positivity.  Someone who is physically capable of truly amazing things and yet is so humble and grateful. 

Folks, meet Emily Eliason a.k.a Run Emz

I discovered Emz because of an instagram challenge put out there this past March from the folks at FurtherFasterForever.  She liked one of my challenge pics so of course, I went to her profile to see what she was all about.  After a perusing a few pictures and dying with laughter over her creative hashtags, I was duly impressed and I immediately hit follow. 

For those of you that don't know her,  I'll give you a little background on her.  She is an ultra runner and a supah fast marathoner (3:16 I do believe).  While those are all amazing things, the most impressive thing about her is that she runs 99.9% of all of her runs on a TREADMILL.  Yes folks, a treadmill.  She finds it to be more forgiving on her knees vs. the road.  And the miles that she logs on this are SERIOUS miles.  Almost all of the time she runs without TV or music.  THAT to me, is just plain amazing. The mental fortitude that takes is awe inspiring. 

Two years ago this incredible woman did a 24 hour treadmill run to raise money for The Sojourner Center, a shelter for battered women, located in Arizona.  She covered just over 100 miles in 24 hours. 

Guess what folks?  She's doing it again.  This time to raise funds to education in India through  There's obviously a gigantic heart behind those strong legs and lungs. 

Here are the deets: 

If you want to donate you can do so here on

If you're lucky enough to be in the San Francisco area you can actually go and support Emily in person at Rallypad starting Thursday Sept 12th.  Brian at Pavement Runner blogged about it here.

You can also support her by ordering one of her awesome limited edition RunEmz shirts from   There is a free shipping code as well:  EMZEVENT - I'm not sure if it's just for the US or if it covers Canada as well.  Guess I'll find out when I purchase mine!

If you haven't already, look her up on instagram, twitter and facebook and hit that follow button for a daily dose of inspiration. 

And more importantly....donate!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sometimes You Just Need to Chill Out and Then Run a Race.

Yesterday was probably one of the most relaxing, laziest days I've had in a long time.  I stayed in my pj's until almost noon.  That is unheard of in my world.  It was such a crappy day out that the thought of leaving the house really didn't appeal to me.  Plus, it was the first Saturday in a long time that I was actually taking off from working out.  I usually take Fridays as my day off but because I was racing today, I figured Saturday would be a better day to sit around on my duff.  I wasn't wrong.  I poured rain and was generally miserable for most of the day.  G had a boys afternoon / evening planned with his Dad and nephew so he left the house around 1:00 pm.  That meant I had the house all to myself.  YEAH.  I finally got out of my pj's just before noon.  I then made a grocery list and headed off to the grocery store.  I figured since I had the house to myself, I'd crank the tunes and do some cooking.  It has been AGES since I've actually had the time to do any sort of meal prep so I took full advantage of my free time.  I had quite the productive afternoon.  In between the stove and burners being on, the air conditioning being off and me dancing around in the kitchen, I actually worked up a bit of a sweat.  It felt good to get finally get back on track and know that I've got some good eats tucked away in the fridge for this week.   I made pancakes for my post race eats and I was nice enough to share them with G.  I roasted some cauliflower with some BBQ sauce and nutritional yeast (a Sprint to the Table recipe).  I cooked up some quinoa, made a cucumber and tomato salad, some mini spinach and roasted red pepper crustless quiches and lastly, my fave chick pea pizza crust.  I have a few other things I want to make today but we'll see if I can actually muster up the energy.  I'm thinking that's probably not going to happen.

After my cooking bonanza, I ate dinner, sprawled out on the couch and watched a movie!  I know!! I sat still for more than 15 minutes!!!  That right there is proof that miracles happen!  I rented The Fighter with Mark Walhberg and Christian Bale.  Holy smokes was it ever amazing.  By the time I got to bed it was almost 10:30.  I slept like crap, probably because of my late afternoon Pumpkin Spice Latte.  And probably because I was actually a little apprehensive about today's race.  I knew it was going to hurt, I was more concerned with the fact that my hamstrings were still really tight and sore from my Thursday night workout.  They've been bugging me for the last week or so.  I think my race at Toronto Island pushed me over the edge.  I've been stretching and foam rolling but what I'm really in need of is a massage.  Anyway, part of me was concerned that perhaps I might do some damage if I pushed too hard.  The other part of me figured that with a good warm up, I'd be fine. 

My training schedule called for a 21km run today, although for some reason I kept thinking it was only 20km, ha ha.  I figured I'd do a good warm up of maybe 6-7km, race the 10km and do a cool down of 3-4km.  I got to the race venue early, picked up my bib and chip and then set off on my warm up run.  I felt like crap.  Heart rate was high, legs felt like lead, hamstrings were sore, blah blah blah.  I figured that today would be whatever it would be.  I wasn't going to stress about anything.  I knew that I had gotten faster over the last couple of years so I figured that I'd probably beat my old 10km time of 41:55 that I set in 2011. I was really hoping to break 40 minutes or at least be close.  After my crappy warm up, I made my way to the start and tried to keep limber.  I did leg swings and walking lunges and then stretched a bit. 

We were herded into a small starting corral and I seeded myself in the second row of folks.  It was mainly dudes up front and one fast looking woman.  The guy with the megaphone counted down and then yelled GO (guess that's what you get when the entry fee is only $15).  I flew out of the staring corral, trying to keep Miss Fast Runner in my sights.  I managed to do that for about the first 3km.  Good lord was she ever quick.  I wasn't doing too badly myself though.  My first 3km were all sub 4:00 min kms (3:47, 3:57, 3:58).  I told myself I need to chill the hell out and not kill myself so I tried to settle into a pace that felt a bit more manageable.  The next two km were 4:07 and 4:09.  Not really the direction I wanted things to be going.  This course had pockets of wind and it was obvious when looking at my splits.  My 5th km was 3:59.  It was at about 6km that things started to get ugly.  I was running right back into a headwind.  Bloody Hell.  That's the one thing about racing out on the spit is that you get the wind off the lake.  Sometimes it's favourable, sometimes it's not.  Today it was not.  Every km from 6 on was over 4:00 min.  I hovered around 4:08's for the most part.  I honestly can't be too upset about that given the state of my legs and the wind.  The km markers were way off and I knew that the course was going to be short.  Again, for $15 I wasn't expecting a whole lot of awesomeness.  I busted a gut that last few hundred metres and crossed the line in a time of 38:48 for 9.59km and ended up being second place woman overall.  Miss Fast Chick kicked my ass and ran a 37:29.  My average pace worked out to be 4:02 km's so that would have put me at 40:20 for 10km.  That is a whole minute and a half faster than my previous 10km PB.  So yeah, I'm pumped. 

This gives me an idea of what I need to work on over the next 7 weeks.  I'd like a little extra speed but what I really need is late race endurance.  My legs really started to give up in the last 3km.  I don't know if that's because they were fatigued going in or if I really do need to work on it.  I have to average slightly faster than 4:15's to break 1:30 and I want it to feel like it's tough but manageable so I think  I need to spend a bit more time in the hurt locker, ha ha. 

How was your weekend? 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Changing of the Guard

Thursday night's chilly run workout was a smack in the face reminder that fall is just around the corner.  As if Starbucks ads for their infamous Pumpkin Spice Latte wasn't reminder enough...but I digress.  I'm making it sound like I hate fall.  While I'm always sad to see the end of summer, I really do love fall.  It has to be my favourite season.  G cringes when I say that.  He hates fall.  For him it means that winter is coming and he really hates winter, as do I.   Guess we should probably think about living elsewhere, ha ha.  Maybe one day. Who knows.

While I'm not always a fan of the cooler temps and chilly mornings, I do love the change in the quality of the air in the fall.  I feel like I can breathe better and my body just seems to perform more efficiently when it's cooler out.  There is no heat to sap my energy and push my heart rate higher than it needs to be.

Fall also sees the end of my triathlon season.  There are 2 races left in the race series I race in and I usually like to participate in the last one in Lakeside but this year, after doing 7 triathlons over the course of the spring / summer, I decided to pass on it.  I am all tri'd out, ha ha.  The end of tri season means that Scotty is heading to the basement and it's Little Red's turn to come out and play.

What?  You don't have names for your bike(s)?

Yes folks it's the traditional fall changing of the guard.  Scotty gets relegated to the trainer in the basement and Little Red finally gets some road time.  I love riding my road bike.  It's so much more comfortable than my tri bike.  I don't feel like I'm on a rocket ship, getting ready to blast off.  I can cruise around in an upright position and enjoy my surroundings, ha ha.   It also forces me to use my hamstrings more which is a good thing considering I'm a runner.   Fall rides are one of my favourite things.  Nothing beats loading the bikes up, driving out the country and checking out the fall colours at a leisurely pace, maybe stopping for a coffee somewhere along the way.  That's a civilized way to spend a Saturday.  No pressure to keep up a certain pace, just enjoy the ride.

Sounds like a fun way to spend a Saturday don't you think?

Sunday, September 1, 2013

8 More Days

8 more days till what, you wonder?

Only 8 more days till Boston 2014 registration opens my friends.  I can't believe it's here already.  Last year it seemed like September took forever to arrive!  You can bet that on Monday September 9th you will find me sitting in front of my computer, counting down to 10:00 am, credit card in hand.

This year the amazing folks at the B.A.A have increased the field size to 36,000 to accommodate an increased interest in running Boston.  It may not be as big as NYC in terms numbers, but it's still going to be pretty freaking amazing.  Going into last year's race, I was content to just run the race that year and be done with it.  But the days events made me reconsider my choice.  I had managed to re-qualify that day so to have the opportunity to come back and show my support for the city and all the amazing spectators that really make that race, was a no-brainer.  I was in.  The great folks at the B.A.A.  also gave the 5,633 entrants that had passed the halfway point but didn't make it to the finish line guaranteed entry into this year's race.  I am really looking forward to going back and running #BostonStrong with 36,000 other like-minded folks.  Together we will show the world that goodness will prevail.