Monday, 30 December 2013

New Year, New You

So most of us make a New Years resolution to lose a few pounds or to get fit and since you all know my story so I thought I would share the story of 2 of my friends, both of whom have lost over 100 pounds and become marathoners.  I know Katie from a group on Facebook and she is a bit of a role model for me and a source of inspiration.  Darryl was in my marathon group this summer and he and his wife Lori are leading the next marathon clinic starting at the end of January.  When I met Darryl, I though he must have always been a runner since he is so fit and fast and was surprised to discover his story and I think you will be too.  I hope their journeys provide a bit of inspiration for you in 2014. 

Darryl's Story

My wife decided after one particularly delicious and overindulgent Holiday season, that enough was enough.  She told me that she was joining Weight Watchers and I was welcome to enroll if I wanted.  Having been significantly overweight my entire life, I was extremely skeptical about my chances for success.  On January 1, 2011 I weighed 245 pounds and had a 42 inch waist.  

Darryl before his weight loss

By the end of October that same year, I'd lost 100 pounds and was down to a size 29.  I have been able to maintain this weight, give or take a pound or two, for the past two years.      
While I give Weight Watchers all the credit for getting me started, running has been the solution to keeping the weight off.  I ran my first 2 half marathons in 2011 and followed that up with 2 marathons in 2012.  In 2013, I ran a 30km race, 2 half marathons, and several 5 and 10km races.  I'm registered for The Dopey Challenge (a 5k, 10k, half, and full marathon on 4 consecutive days) in Florida in January 2014 and plan to run my first Ultra (50km in Niagara Falls) in the summer of 2014.  Did I mention that my wife runs as well and we do all our races together?  I am well and truly blessed.        
Darryl and Lori after Around the Bay            

Losing weight gave me the confidence to start thinking "outside the box" with regards to what I'm physically capable of.  And running has become the passion that I can't imagine living without.  Every time I lace up the sneakers, I find myself shaking my head and wondering why it took so long to make the changes I so desperately needed in my life.  But then I look down at my feet and smile...and maybe that's enough.              

Katie's story

I started running again about 4 years ago.  I had run in my youth and in University but had fallen out of the habit.  I think I spent about 10 years leading a very sedentary lifestyle.  I would see people out running and feel jealous, green and sick almost inside.  I thought that "feeling" that "awesome high" was lost to me at 258 pounds and a size 22.  

Then one day, after many many false starts, I walked into the gym.  I started with 10 min on the treadmill, and then 20, and then 30.  Soon I was training for my first 5km race.  Someone suggested I sign up for the Army Run.  I was stunned that they believed I could do it!  I got hooked at that race, running my first 5km race in 33 min 12 sec at a size 18.
Katie at her first race

I didn't look back, from there I ran a 10km race, and then came back to run the Army Run HALF MARATHON the following year.  It wasn't long before I made a lifelong dream of running a Full Marathon come true. I ran the best race of my life that day. Fuelled by emotion and messages on my ipod of my little girls saying "You can do it Mommy!,"  "Your strong Mommy." I think I cried the entire 42.2km.  It was my best race ever and my fastest at 4:17. 

Running and working out have become my safe place, my sanity saver, my identity in many ways.  As hard as training for 4 marathons, 5 half marathons and all the other stuff has been; that part has always come relatively "easy" to me.  I enjoy it and the pay off, that "high" ,is well addictive.  Let's talk about that word "addictive."

You see long before I became a size 22, I was much smaller and fought an eating disorder most of my youth.  I have an addictive personality, an extreme personality.  When I was young I was bulimic, a very addictive binge and purge cycle.  When I was a size 22 and sedentary, I was still addicted to food and binged without the purging. Then running came into my life and filled me with healthy endorphins, confidence, and a desire to perform well. That desire to perform well meant that I needed to take care of myself and I needed to eat well to fuel my body.  I can honestly say that running has played a huge role in my recovery with disordered eating.

I always say that our family lifestyle has changed now that my husband and I are active.  I love that the girls watch us race and workout and copy us.  I am also so so very thankful that see me running to the finish line of a race and not binging and hating myself.  So running is my happy place and I am so very thankful for it.  

Here is  a link to Katie's Blog Katie's Blog
Katie after her latest marathon in October

Friday, 27 December 2013

Looking Back

Well, I can not believe that 2013 is almost over, what a year it has been.  

First I will start with an update of my vacation, I went to Cocoa Beach for a cruise in the Caribbean. Goofy training did not stop because I was on vacation and I had some serious training to do that week.  The highlight was meeting Kate in Cocoa Beach for a run on Sunday.  I posted on a Facebook group I was going to be running in the area and did anyone know a route.  Enter Kate who lives there and she suggested a route.  I asked her if she wanted to run part of my 21K with me and I was delighted she said yes.  Neale and I ran 11K first and Kate and I ran 10K together.  I loved running with her so much that I said I would come back to run the Space marathon with her when she was ready.  

Kate posted this on my FB page and I agree

I had to do back to back 25k runs on Friday and Saturday on the cruise ship. Let's just say that running on a treadmill on a rolling cruise ship is not easy so on Saturday I did part of my run on the treadmill and part on the outdoor running track, that in itself had it s challenges but I finished 20 out of the scheduled 25K.  Anyway, I got them all done and was quite proud of myself.  

As I type this I have done 11 out of the scheduled 12 races this year, 3 triathlons and 9 running races.  Each triathlon was a new distance for me and I completed my first marathon, another first.  I got a PB/PR in each distance I raced and for the new distances, I did better them my anticipated time.  Most important I learned a lot about myself and my abilities and that is what I will remember more about this year, this year was about proving to myself that I was worthy to be called a runner and triathlete.

I learned to speak up for myself and what I need.  I started the year with one coach and end it with another, I learned what I needed from a coach and would not settle for anything less.  I want to say a huge THANK YOU to my coach Laura.  Thank you for helping me achieve all my goals this year, it has been a blast and I can't wait to see how 2014 turns out.
Laura and I after my Half Iron Distance Triathlon
I learned to make lemonade out of lemons.  Both Neale and I suffered injuries this year, his worse them mine but they both had an effect on my training plan.  I was out of action for 4 weeks this spring and it played havoc with my training for my May races.  I did manage to run them all but I knew I could do better.  I was running the half marathon for Team Diabetes so that became my focus, finishing it for my friends who had diabetes. That was the plan but the night before the race, I found out my SIL died and I added her name to my shirt and ran for her that day. The last 5K I struggled but I kept going, thinking of her and as I crossed the finish line, I let my tears flow.
Barbara and I after our race, Barbara the marathon, me the Half marathon
Neale's injury had the biggest impact on my training, I ran the Army Run half marathon since he could not and I ran his marathon in October instead of us running my first together in Philly in November.   In the end it turned out to be a blessing as I ran a PB for that half and had the best first marathon experience, better then my expectations in a fabulous city with fanatic crowd support.  

I learned I was stronger then I thought.  I did workouts that I could not even imagine last year and then I did them again and again. When I signed up for the Goofy last March, I planned on walking most of it but now I know I can run it and have fun doing it.  I cant wait to run with Barbara and Lori which leads me to the biggest thing I learned this year...

Running is better with friends and I have the greatest running friends.  After doing most of my training solo for the first 6 months, I signed up to be a marathon group leader his summer.  I was looking forward to running with people, to share experiences and stories and km...lots of kms.  I was the 4:45 group leader but usually headed out with Lori, the 4:30 group leader since my group consisted of only one other runner.  It was just what I needed, I loved the experience.  When I had to do my last long run for my marathon, I asked for people to run with me and I had plenty of runners to run with, I only had to do 7k on my own.  This kind of support makes such a difference. 
Vincent, Lisette, Gilles, Leanne, Lynn and I ( and Judy taking the photo)

My friend Barbara can through big time for me this summer, I asked her to run the half marathon portion of my Half Iron Distance Triathlon with me...and she did!  She was instrumental in getting me across the finish line, she kept me going when I was struggling, and there were a few of those portions and she helped me finish before my goal time of 7:30.  This year Barbara and I traveled to Toronto together for her first marathon and my half, she ran my first Half Iron distance tri with me and next we tackle the Goofy together.
Barbara and I running together, another loop done.
Words can not express my gratitude and thank you does not seem enough, you are my running hero and my friend, my life is richer for having you in it Barbara. 

As 2013 closes out, I will have run almost 1100 miles or 1830km, I will have bike almost 900 miles or 1500 km and swam countless laps and km, too many to count.  I am 15 pounds lighter then last year and in a much happier place personally and with my training.  I am looking forward to 2014 and the races I have planned, first up the Goofy on Jan 11 and 12th. This year I proved to myself that I am a runner and triathlete, that I am worthy.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

Sunday, 8 December 2013

I Believe

Weekend 2 of my long Goofy runs, 19K yesterday, 31K today, 50 K total.  I have a few more of these long run weekends ahead of me.  Life is getting busy, we leave for a well earned vacation on Friday but training programs do not take a vacation.  I got my schedule from my coach and realized I could not do it as it was and made a few changes that she approved and now I have to execute.  Here is the problem, I have my own business with clients who depend on me, I am a co-owner of another start-up business, I have a family so I need to get Christmas organized before I leave, a dog that needs to be walked and a training schedule and coach that expect 100% of my efforts. I am trying to juggle everyone's needs and I truly believe I can get it all done or at least the important parts.  

One thing I am looking forward too is running in the sun and heat, I have a 21K run on Sunday and I will run an hour with Neale and the rest with a runner I met through Facebook who lives in the area.  I have a few small workouts to do on the cruise and 2 long 25K back to back run on the last 2 days we are at sea.  I will have to get to the health club early to get my runs in, almost 3 hours on the treadmill each day but I will get them done.  

I believe in myself, I believe in my dreams and goals and if I try my best, it will be enough, I believe that with all my heart. 

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Run Ally Run...maybe

So I probably told you I signed up for the Goofy in January 2014 and December is my biggest training month and I am ready...sort of.  This weekend I had 3 runs in a row, 10K Friday, 20K Saturday and 30K on Sunday.  I did the 10K on Friday on the treadmill and felt great, I like running on the treadmill.  I did the 20K outside on Saturday, it was cold -15C but sunny and the roads were OK for the most part.  The last 3K was slippery but OK and my quads were sore after.  I was covered in frost after the run and I had to wear my water bottles inside my jacket to stop them from freezing. 
me after my run Saturday

Today it was warmer but it had snowed and the sidewalks were hard going, one step forward half step back and a killer on the calves and quads.  12 mins into the run I turned over my ankle but I kept on running, it did not hurt too bad at the time.  So I guess my high pain threshold is a curse sometimes because my ankle did not start hurting until the 22k point of the run and now I cant walk on it.  I ran 23.3K today, not quite my scheduled run but given the conditions and my ankle, I am happy with my effort.  Now I have to wait to see how hurt my ankle is so I can figure out what effect it will have on my training plan.  I remembered today why I like running on my treadmill, it is warn, it is not slippery and I have a bathroom near by whenever I need it. 

December is always a busy month in our house, birthdays, Christmas, school stuff and now a vacation the week before Christmas.  The week I am on vacation is also my biggest training week, I can not do the schedule as it is but I am trying to figure out how much is do-able, how much I can shift around and how much I need to change so I can still enjoy my vacation. Life is all about balance, balancing work, family, friends and training and I constantly struggle to maintain the balance.   I am looking forward to this vacation, I really need it so I will do my best to balance it all and have fun....because without the fun, what is the point. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Think positive

Knock, knock....anyone home.  Sorry I have not been around lately, it has been crazy with family, work and for the Goofy is tough.   

It has been an interesting time in my brain lately, lots of smack talk and self doubt and I am working my way through it.  When you are overweight, you think once you lose a certain amount of weight and hit into that magical size life would be wonderful and it should be but sometimes it is not.  For some reason when I lost my latest bit of weight this summer, I became dissatisfied with my body.  Instead of seeing a strong confident women I saw stretch marks, lose skin and a jelly belly; I should have been happy but instead I was miserable.  I know it does not sound logical but it is the truth, my truth and I have to work through it.  I think that learning to love myself is a process, work in progress and I am not afraid of hard work. I need to love the new me, jelly belly and all because I do not have the spare money for a tummy tuck and bust lift and I really don't want one.   A friend challenged us to find a positive body intention for  the week, this is mine.  

I choose to embrace my body, this body is mine, I earned every wrinkle, stretch mark and sag. This body is the vehicle that allows me to do amazing things and as such, I will honor it, without reservations, judgement or disclaimers.  

A few weeks ago I went to a fitness assessment at the gym I joined.  While I did not lie, I was not forthcoming with the consultant since I wanted to see how much of a sales pitch it was.  At the end of the hour she had decided I was a middle aged women who was not active and had put on weight recently and needed someone to push her to achieve her goals.  She also said I needed to lose 5-8 lbs and a few % of body fat.  I think it messed with my head a bit, I wondered if  that was what other saw as well.  I have decided it does not matter what she thought, I know the I have to live it.  

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Running for a Cause

Sorry I missed a post last week, it has been crazy.  On Nov 2nd I did a 5K fun run for a cause.  I was away for the weekend scrapbooking and found out there was a run in memory of a young girl in the area.  All I knew at the time was the name of the event, the Healther Salltink Memorial run, that it was free and it was timed.  They were asking for donations to Arrive Alive so I figure there was a connection there but I did not know what it was at the time.  

I headed out for my weekend of fun and was happy to pack my running gear, I wanted to see how much my 5K time had improved over the summer.  While scrapbooking I met people who knew the family and I found out the story behind the run.  Heather and her father where driving home from Ottawa to Cornwall and they were hit by a drunk driver and Heather was killed.  The irony was that Heather was driving because her father had a few drinks and knew better then to drive.  The family was a member of the Cornwall Multisport Club and avid runners.  I was really glad I was running now and even the bad weather was not going to keep me away.  It was wet and cold, not ideal running conditions but I did not care, my discomfort was nothing.  

The run started on a nice flat road, I had no idea what the course looked like but I soon heard it was 4k of rolling hills, great not what I wanted to hear.  I had an idea of what time I was aiming for, I had a OMG, I can't believe I did it goal of 27:30, a I am really happy goal of 27:45 and an it's OK goal of 28:00.  At this point I was thinking 28:00 is likely good enough for today.   I had warmed up so my first K was at my goal pace of 5:30 and my second was 5:16 and then the hills started to kick my butt, just past the turnaround I turned my watch to time, I did not want to see my pace and found someone to follow, a young girl who was running a good pace.  I was still running fast and breathing hard as I enter the last flat section. I kept up to my pace buddy until the last 200m where she sprinted away and I had no extra gear, oh to be young again.

my pace buddy sprinting away...bye bye
see I can take a bad race photo

I had a rough idea of my time at the finish but even though I thought I turned off my Garmin (see photo above), I did not and it was showing 35:34 when I finally turned it off.  I was thrilled to find out my time was 27:25, more then 2 mins off May's time and faster them my OMG goal.  I had a great time, met some new running friends and helped a great cause.  I headed back my scrapbooking with a warm heart, wet feet and a new 5K PB.  

Friday, 1 November 2013

End of season Wrap up Part 2

So I finally have time to sit down to finish this post, it has been a busy week.  So where did I leave off...right, what worked and I was going to move on to what did not work and what's next.

So what did not work.  In April I contacted a local company for VO2Max testing for zone training, what a disaster.  I was suppose to run my slow runs really slowly, almost walking in order to increase my zone 1.  In my opinion, it made me a worse runner, I felt sluggish and s l o w.  I gave this up after 2 months and joined the marathon clinic at my local Running Room.   

Something else that did not work was my biking, I am a terrible cyclist.  I really really need to work on this during the winter.  Biking is the longest part of a Triathlon so not being a good cyclist really hurts your performance and time.  I will work on my strength and do some hill training on the spin bike this winter, I am an OK runner and swimmer, next year is all about the biking.

So this leads nicely to whats next.  This year was about growth, doing new distances and pushing myself to prove I could do it...and I did.  Next year is about speed and constancy. I am working on strength and speed during the winter, in all three disciplines.  Next year is about building on this year, I can go the distance so now its about time and endurance, doing it better, faster, stronger then before.

Ironman: the final frontier. These are the blogs of the athlete Allyson. Whose three-year mission: to explore strange new races, to seek out new PB's and new distances , to boldly go where she has not gone before!...... whoop my Star Trek geek is showing.

So I have 2 fun runs left for this year, a 5K tomorrow and a 10k on New Years Eve.  I am looking forward to these races, to run with abandon and enjoy the run and the runners beside me.  After that is the Goofy, I am running that with my friends Barbara and Lori. This is for fun, time is not even in the conversation.  We are sorting out costumes and planning on taking photos along the way.  I then start the speed portion of my year, I have aggressive time goals for Around the Bay (30K) and my Half Marathon in May here in Ottawa.  The summer is Triathlon, a summer that will be book-ended by 70.3 Ironman events, with a few shorter ones in the middle and a late fall marathon will finish off my year. 

I have a solid plan, goals and a great coach, I also have a secret dream/goal for next summer not running or triathlon related, crazy I know. I am looking forward to the journey and what it will teach me about myself. To me the race is the icing on the cake, the exclamation point at the end of the sentence, its the training I really love. Who would have thought I would say that, me the confirmed couch potato who though those who did these things were crazy.  I could not have done these things without a community of runners and triathletes who train and motivate me, my awesome coach and my family, especially my marathon man, who love me unconditionally and put up with all this training and expense.  

Monday, 21 October 2013

Well Excuse Me

You might have seen this photo on Facebook or other blogs.

I understand her point, sort of. She claims she does not mean to be judgmental but it does come across this way to many people.  A long time ago I saw this and it was way more motivational but basically says the same thing

I have worked hard for the last 4 years and I will never, never look like this or any other cover model.  I have a jelly belly, thighs that rub together and wrinkles, lots of them.  I have been told by others that I inspire them, maybe, but others truly inspire me.  I am surrounded by a large group of ladies who inspire me weekly with their accomplishments and struggles, we do not have perfect bodies but we work hard to accomplish our goals and do amazing things.

Today this video came across my Facebook, this is way more inspirational to me then Maria Kang's poster. I asked Leslie if I could share her video and she said yes so please enjoy her journey.

Leslie's journey: From Couch to Triathlon

Everyone journey is different, we are individuals and what is inspiration for one may not work for another.  Even before I saw Maria's poster I had spent the last few weeks feeling bad about myself, hating my jelly belly and thinking I am less then perfect. Instead of upsetting me it made me realize that I went from this

 to this

and I need to be proud of this body it allows me to do amazing things, jelly belly and all.

Friday, 18 October 2013

End of Season wrap up

So I have spent the week thinking about the last 6 months of my training.  In May it seemed such a long period of time and now my season is almost over and it is time to start winter training.  I have run a 5K, a 10K, a 15K, 2 half marathons and a Marathon since May and I got a PB in each.  I also did a Sprint tri, an Olympic tri and a Half iron Distance tri, all firsts for me, well maybe not the sprint since I tried one last summer but this was the first one I finished.  It was a crazy summer and I am looking forward to a few weeks of reduced training and some new things this winter.  Looking back is important to me, remembering where I started so I can see how far I have come, what worked and what did not work, what I want to improve and what I want to change.  I thought I might share some of this with you, it might help you or you might be able to help me so here goes...

After May I knew I could not do this alone so I explored getting a coach.  I had had a less then successful coaching experience in the past and I wanted to be sure this time.  It is hard to schedule the running and triathlon programs independently of each other, I needed to coordinate my workouts and do a good job of both.  I found the perfect coach for me and we started working together in July.  Poor Laura was in for a challenge, she had 9 weeks to get me to my first HIM triathlon with a 15K and an Oly tri thrown in for fun. We were also planing a November marathon but when the marathon man got injured that changed and I added a half marathon in Sept and a marathon in Oct to the training plan and once again she got me to the start line.  I have worked hard, I followed the program to the best of my abilities and it paid off, big time.  Getting Laura as a coach was one of the best decisions I made this summer and I have recommended her to friends so they experience her brilliance too.  

I also realized that I needed to work on my nutrition this summer.  I was having issues training for over 2 hours and half marathons where a challenge to finish without a stop.  I had food sensitivity testing in May and was surprised to find out I had to give up dairy, eggs and gluten plus a bunch of other foods.  I was thrilled that I got to keep coffee, wine and chocolate, I could survive as long as I had those.  It was a challenge, finding foods that fit these restrictions (and expensive) but so worth it.  I started to feel better, I had more energy, I was sleeping better and those around me noticed as well.  It was a good thing that I had more energy since I was doing really long bike/run workouts on Friday and long runs on Sunday but I survived and thrived.  I also lost 14 pound during this time, I am not sure if it was the training or the food or both but trust me I was eating, eating a lot.  This week I tried gluten and egg again and had no big reaction but I think I will keep eating the way I had all summer, I like the way I feel.  

I also worked on my race nutrition during training so on race day I knew what worked and what did not.  It was a trial and error process, too much sugar is still not a good thing for me so I limit my gels and chews during a run.  I tried other foods for the bike, some worked like Thoz Barz and some not so much like PB&J on vegan bread (cue coughing fit).  I tried Super Food blocks, cashews and Lara bars, some worked and some, not so much.  The good thing was on race day, I knew exactly what to eat and drink and I never experienced issued during a run that hurt my race day.  

This is getting a bit long so next post I will blog about what did not work and what is next so stay tuned....

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

In the Club

My name is Allee and I am a Marathoner.  I still can't believe that I have entered the marathon club, I have conquered the runners Everest, well at least mine and I lived to tell the tale.  Since I was running under my marathons mans bib, I do not want to get him into trouble so I have deleted a few posts and will refer to the marathon as "THE LONG RUN" in the "city that shall not be named".  Apparently they do not like you running under some other bib, a big no-no but you know you us runners, we've got to run.  

It was a great first marathon. perfect running weather, great runners and great crowd support.  I had a fabulous run, I felt great and with the exception of a few bathroom stops, it went as planned.  For a first marathon, I think it went as good as it could, there are always things I wish I could change but no too much.  My nutrition was good, only slight stomach issues, my legs felt great until the 18 mile mark and I managed to avoid THE WALL and any negative thoughts.  My time did get slower for the final 8 miles, I was getting tired but that made sense.  In my training most of my long distances were at a slower per km pace and race day I was running 45 seconds faster each km.  In future I will want to add race pace runs at the end of my long runs to help me get better. I had the same issue with my half marathon until this years Army Run so I know you can get better and stronger at the finish.  I was aiming for 4:40 to 4:45 and hit the half marathon point bang on pace, 2:21. I ended up running 4:52 so I lost time in the second half, I felt it and there was nothing I could do about it but I ran as fast as I could and never gave up.  I saw a lot of people walking for the last 2-3 miles, I am proud that I never stopped.  I saw my marathon man at the 23.5 mile mark and had my last gel and just kept running to the finish line.  I did have my scheduled walk breaks, every mile marker and I walked through a few water stops to refill my bottles but I never walked when I should have run and I am really proud of that.  

After THE LONG RUN, I felt great, I had a few sore muscles and my toes hurt (which is normal) but I went for a walk to keep my legs from getting stiff and it worked.  I had a celebratory meal, a hamburger with bun and fries and enjoyed every bite.  I had not had gluten in 4 months but I did not care, I was having the burger bun.  I figured my body would hate me the next day anyway so I might as well enjoy my treat.  Well the next day, my body was not too mad at me, I felt great, the legs felt great and the burger bun did not seem to affect me too much.  Now a few days on, I feel back to normal, I wanted to go for a run tonight but knew I should wait another day or so but I am looking forward to my first run back. I have a few weeks of reduced training and then it is on to the next challenge, I can run 13.1 miles and 26.2 miles so why not try one each on consecutive days...well it seemed like a good idea at the time.  

Friday, 27 September 2013

A Special Kind of Crazy

Twas the night before my last long run before my first ever marathon and I am excited.  I know who gets excited for a 40K run but I am.  I was calling my friend Peter out the other day on Facebook about his fall running schedule, 3 marathons in 3 months, a few other runs and then the Dopey in January.  The fun people at Disney decided that they were not getting enough money out of runners for the Goofy that they created a new race, THE DOPEY.  You run a 5K, a 10K, a half marathon and a marathon on consecutive days for 6 medals.  Now I like bling as much as the next runner but I am not that crazy.  I am running the Goofy, the half marathon and the marathon portion and that is enough for me. 

Dopey medals

Another friend Vincent is running marathons on consecutive weekends, I told him he was crazy as well.  It was then  pointed out to me that I was just as crazy doing a half Iron distance triathlon, a half marathon and a marathon in 6 weeks.  I guess when you look at it that way, I am a little bit crazy too. It turns out I am surrounded by this special kind of crazy people, my coach Laura runs 100 mile ultra marathons and wins them, by a lot.  My friend Sylvie is running 2 ultra marathons next year, she is the cheerleader to our group. My hubby is branching out and signed up for a half Ironman even though he can't swim, he is even thinking of 2 next summer with me and while we plan on completing the first one together the second is a race, every triathlete for themselves (bring it honey). I am surrounded by these crazy people and I love it! We encourage each other to dream BIG, we cheer each other on and celebrate everyone's success.

I am so happy that I am surrounded by people that are this special kind of crazy, it makes life FUN!

Sunday, 22 September 2013

The Army Run

So my last post was about a very, very bad run I had, 35k of pain and agony.  I had a few great ladies smack me upside the head asking me what did I expect the week after a Half Iron Distance Triathlon, sunshine and daisies?  Well maybe I did, silly me, I had done back to back epic workout all summer and I did not think this would be any different.   A few days later I ran 38K, 15K at the pace I planned on running my half marathon at and the rest at my LSD marathon pace.  It was a much better run, 15K non-stop at 6:30 per km and the rest at 7:30.  I started to feel better about my marathon.

Today was the Army Run, last year this was my first half marathon and it was not a great race.  I struggled through it and was sure glad when it was over.  Since then I have run 2 more half marathons, the Disney Wine and Dine and the Goodlife Fitness Toronto half marathon.  My time for the Toronto one was much better then the Army run but I still struggled for the last 5k, something I wanted to work on over the summer. All my training during the summer, the swimming and brick workouts were great for triathlons but I was unsure how it would translate for my run today.  Well I had nothing to worry about, today was a great race!  

Since I have a marathon in 3 weeks I wanted to run fast but not too fast and I ran what I will call a conservatively aggressive race, a nice steady fast pace for 16K and then picked it up steadily for the last 5k, running flat out the last 3.5 k non stop.  My plan was to run 6:30 per km but that never happened, except maybe on the odd hill, we struggled to keep the run pace at 6, we wanted to go faster but I wanted to make sure I had something left for the last 5K.  We took our walk breaks and I stuck to my nutrition plan and I felt much better then any other race.  Last year when I passed the 51 Air Cadet cheer station (my son's squad) I felt terrible, this year I high fived them all and ran strong through the row.  I started to fade the last km but I was not giving up, we were so close to finishing and I wanted to finish strong.  At the 16k point we were 3 mins up on my per race pace, at the end we were almost 6 mins ahead, we picked up 3 mins in the last 5k, we were on fire.  

The final stats are 2:11:33 and a 6:15 per km pace. That is almost 23 mins faster then last year and 13 mins faster then my Toronto time.  I will keep today's feeling with me as I run that day, the gratitude I felt, the joy of running and the strength of those who believe in me...I can't wait. 

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Very Very Bad Run

So I am down in the dumps and can't shake it off, which is unusual for me. I was on such a high after my half Iron distance race, I had a great week after an then came Sunday and my 36k run.  It started out much like any other Sundays, up early a cup of coffee and a large glass of water followed my oatmeal and blueberries but somewhere along the way it changed.  I had to do 4k more then my group so I got there early and ran and extra 2.6K, if I was short I could do the extra after but the posted routes usually go long and I sure did not want to do more then I had too. 

It was a beautiful fall day, perfect running conditions and I was ready.   Maybe it was the fact that my clinic instructor started with "This is going to SUCK and you are going to hit THE WALL, not the best start of a motivational speech. The route was an out and back, not my favorite but I was determined to rock it and prove to myself I was ready for Chicago.  Once we got to the turn around and I knew I had to run back the same way the joy of running and energy seemed to drain out of me, every step seemed so hard.  The last 5K I just kept moving forward, I was tired and I wanted it to be DONE.  I finally finished and was a km short but there was no way I was going to do another, I was done.  I finally headed home and parked myself on the sofa, feeling like crap and mad that it was so hard.  I did not prove I was ready for my marathon, instead I am left wondering if I can actually do a marathon.  Sorry, let me correct that, I can do anything I put my mind too but I want to enjoy the experience, not suffer through it.   

I know we all have bad runs and bad runs help us prepare for bad races but I want a great race, not time wise great as my marathon time will have a 5 in front of it but a great marathon experience.   On Sunday, the FUN left and I am waiting for it to come back.  

Sunday, 1 September 2013

The Canadian Iron 113

So it is done!  Today, Neale asked me if the enormity of what I had accomplished had sunk in, I don't think it has.  I have trained so long for this and in 7 hours and 27 mins it was all over and I would do it again in a heartbeat. So here is the race recap as I remember it.

So my biggest worry was the weather, it was suppose to rain all day and that is not what I wanted or needed for my first Half Iron distance event.  I could not control the weather, I knew I trained enough, what would be would be.  Luckily the weather was almost perfect, it was partially sunny but humid, fine for the swim and bike but it would make the run tough.   

We got to the venue 90 mins early and I set up and got body marking done.  I not been able to go to the orientation the night before so I headed to the beach to see the swim course.  It was a 1.9 km loop, and it looked really far, I was use to doing shorter loops.  Decided to warm up and get comfortable in the water, swimming helps me stay calm so the wetsuit went on and I went to swim around a bit.  Just before we started it was the kids triathlon, they were so cute and the parents so encouraging, it was great.  I love to swim, I might not be fast but I am comfortable and enjoy it.  I did a better job sighting this time and did not go off course, felt comfortable and enjoyed the swim.  To me the swim felt really fast or at least time went fast, I was not swimming fast.  I came in a few mins ahead of my goal and was ready to get to the bike.  It was quite a long run from the beach to the transition and then I had to get changed.  I really need to work on my T1 time, 12 mins is way too long.

On to the bike, 90K, 6 loops of the 15K course down the canal.  I had done 4 loops of a shorter course for my Oly tri so I knew what I was in for . It is not easy doing so many loops of the same course but on the upside, you get to see your supporters often. There was a deer on the course so that made things interesting at least. My goal was to average 25kph overall and I came close.  I was happy with my bike time and how I did.  Loop 2 and 4 were tough but when it got tough, I focused and pushed on.  I did a good job with my nutrition and stayed hydrated, I knew that was important for the run since it was so muggy.  It looked like it was going to rain when I was almost done loop 5 so my goal became getting the bike done before the rain. It never did rain but it kept me motivated and focused.  

Barbara and I on the run

Then was the part I dreaded the most, the run.  I knew going in this would be my biggest challenge. I asked my friend Barbara  to come run with me and she said yes.  Coming off the bike I usually run to fast and once again, I started too fast.  I was running a 6:10 pace, way to fast for a half marathon.  My family,  friends and my coach Laura had moved to the run coarse and were there to support me.  Each lap, Laura offered advice and tips and I was glad to see her.  Laura told me not to worry about my pace, run what I was comfortable doing. Loop 2 was tough, I slowed down and started to run 10 and 1's.  I stuck to my nutrition plan but had a few extra eload tabs since it was so muggy. Loop 3 was better, the gels started to kick in and I started to run 8 and 1's.  I felt great all things considering but I knew the last lap was ahead and would be tough.  I had run up to 14K in training and that was tough enough, now I had to go further.  I was so thankful Barbara was there, loop 4 was rough.  I was super slow and took a few extra walk breaks, when needed too I ran 5 pylons and walked one, it worked well for me and we did that a few times.  I had a secret goal of 7:30 overall time and towards the end I wondered if I would make it.  Barbara kept me running the last km and I came in a few minutes under my goal time.  Official time was 7:27:25 and I was thrilled!

my coach Laura and I after- job done!

I learned a lot about myself this summer training for this event and I learned a lot during the race.  I pushed myself further then I though ever possible but I know I need to push more going forward. Yesterday was hard, I am please overall but a bit disappointed with my run, it was tougher then I thought and I walked more then I wanted.  I need to get stronger physically for next year.  The mental part and the nutrition where bang on, I fought through the tough parts, never gave up and felt great physically all day.  When I signed up for this race, I really did not think I could do it...but I did, I had it inside me all along.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Inspiration is All Around Us

It is hard for me to label myself a runner or an athlete, I am a reformed couch potato who decided to take control of my life and start living my dreams instead of just thinking about them.   I am slow, I swim slowly, I bike slowly and I run really slowly BUT I do them.  I do not care about my time; really, it’s about the training and the journey for me.  I can and do follow a program with joy and determination; I can’t wait to cross each workout off knowing it is getting me a step closer to my goal.  I did not start this thinking I would be running a Marathon or hoping to do an Ironman one day, I actually said I would NEVER do either of these things but here I am working towards these goals, slowly and steadily one step at a time. 

Today on the bus I read "Running to Extremes" by Ray Zahab and Steve Pitt.  This is the perfect book for me to read a few days before my first half Ironman.  This is about an ordinary guy who decides one day to change his life, find his passion and loves sharing it with others. He is not perfect, he has setbacks, he learns from them and keeps on going.  He also carried around a sidekick, old Ray who is constantly telling him he is not good enough and he is going to fail.  Slowly but surly, old Ray disappears and the new stronger Ray survives.  I too have a side kick, fat Ally has been with me for years but she is getting quieter and she shows up less and less, she just can't keep up with me anymore.  

On Saturday I am spending 7 to 8 hours doing my event and I have no intention on taking fat Ally with me that day.  This is a celebration and I am sharing the day with those who helped me get there, not the ones who held me back.   In January I picked a word for the year and my word was inspire, I hoped to inspire others but mostly I wanted to inspire myself.  I was feeling overwhelmed and lost with my running and in a fit of insanity I signed up for a big crazy race.  Even when I registered for it I said I would probably downgrade it to the Aqua or Olympic event, it was just too big for me.  Well as it turns out I grew into it, the once way too big dream is here and I am as ready as I will ever be.  Others inspired me and I thank them, they may not know it but they had a huge influence on me this year. Inspiration is always around us, it might be quiet and subtle or loud and in your face but it is there, you just have to be ready to receive it.  

Whatever happens Saturday, I have had a great time getting to the start line, I plan on having fun during the race, cheering on other participants as I go and being thankful I am able to swim, bike and run that day. 

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Lemonade anyone?

Sorry I have not posted in a few weeks, I have been busy with work and training and dealing with other stuff that I will explain. 

So my marathon man had planned on running a marathon this fall, he had hoped to get close to his Boston qualifying time.  Well, this plan is derailed by injury now, he has Achilles damage to both feet and will not be able to run for 6-8 weeks and need shock wave therapy and other stuff to get it repaired.  Needless to say, he is pretty bummed out.  All our Fall running plans have changed, we quickly had to reassess what we could change, what we could get out of at little cost and what we could not change.  All these changes affect me as well since I am running;  I have to fill in the gaps.  We had planned on running the Philly marathon together as my first marathon, this is now not happening, Philly is off the table, a no go, do not pass start and get a medal.  I am disappointed that Neale will not be pacing me for my first marathon; I am now running it alone, 5 weeks earlier than expected.  His October marathon we cannot change, flights are booked and we have to go.   I am running it instead, his bib but no chip,  it will give me the experience of running a marathon, which is what I wanted but not necessarily how I wanted to do it.   So instead of a 2 week break after my Half Iron distance event Aug 31, I head straight into a condensed marathon training plan.  Thank goodness my coach is able to adapt my training quickly and she thinks it is doable. 

We were able to transfer bibs for the Army run so I am running the half marathon and he will slowly run/walk the 5K.  Last year the Army run was my 1st half marathon and this year it is my 4th. What a year it has been, 2 other half marathons, various 5 and 10K races, 3 triathlons and countless training miles.  I am 20 lbs lighter than last year and in such a better place in my training and in my life.  My 1st half marathon was my worst race ever and this year it will be 3 weeks after a 113k race so I am not expecting much. I want to have fun, enjoy the course and the crowds, something I did not get to do last year. 

Life does not always go as planned, there are always bumps in the road, setbacks and challenges but it is how we respond to them that shows how much we have grown.  As I always say,