Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Christmas Potpourri

Question: Why must it snow every Saturday night?  Every Sunday morning I wake up to head out for a run, only to find more of the white fluffy stuff there than when I went to sleep.  It's true- 3 Sundays in a row!  Weather Gods and Goddesses, I know I live in Canada, but how about snow on a different day?  Yes, please! 

Lots of little running tidbits to share today, runners!  I must say, there seems to be a lot going on out there in the world of running these days.  And it wouldn't be right to keep the tidbits all to myself, so out into the universe they go...

First.  My friend Dr. Oats produced a running documentary about the Canadian Death Race.  It looks more than just a little bit awesome and I think we should all see it. 

The Calgary premiere is on the 31st of January , 7:00pm at the Plaza Theatre in Kensington.  I'm going.  Who's coming?

Next.  I asked Santa for a running book for Christmas.  Eeep!  I hope he delivers.  After all, there is always more to learn, ways to tweak the training and different perspectives to take in to consideration.  Many, many people have suggested this book to me, so I can't wait to get my hot little hands on it.  The book is called The Daniels Running Formula and to many people this is their go to source of information for training.  A full review, I promise, if Santa holds good on his promise and delivers this one on Christmas Eve.  I can't see why he wouldn't.  After all, I've be relatively good this year, all things considered.  And funny, yes, that there's a running guru named Jack Daniels?  I always knew he made whiskey...but not that he was a running coach.  Honestly, the things some people accomplish in a day.

And another thing.  I'm trying to join Dr. Oats' Thursday night speed training group.  I'm not sure if they'll let me.  I sure hope they do, because there are extremely fast runners associated with this group and I definitely like the challenge of trying to keep up.  This I believe, will make me a faster runner, so I'm hoping I get in.  Although I'm slightly worried there might be some kind of weird running initiation.  Like a naked run around the block.  Might be just a bit cold for that!  And naked running is probably not good naked either.

Finally.  I have felt that my training has lacked purpose lately.  I feel  like I'm fitting random runs in when I can, hitting the gym for some good strength training and trying to claw some time into my increasingly busy schedule for yoga.  So this week I tried to make some sense of it all.  And you know what was missing?  A goal.  Because said goal is usually accompanied by a timeline, giving me a much more specific idea of what I should be doing in the gym, how many times a week I need to hit the mat at Hot Yoga on 17th, and what kinds of runs I need to focus on at this moment in time.  And so out into the universe I put it...

A spring marathon it is.  Ottawa.  May 27th.  I will run a sub 3:00 marathon.  And note that I've had this goal before, but also note that I am so very focused on it this time that nothing will stand in my way.  NOTHING.  Look out world!  I'm going to run fast this year!  Oh. Ya. Baby.

P.S. It's the season of Merry and New people!  Get out there!  Enjoy!  See your friends and family!   Tell the you love them and how important they are!  Eat some baking and turkey (or lobster if you're TBaggs and you don't care for the dry bird).  Drink some festive beverages!  And then go for a run and bring some balance and clarity back to it all. 





Sunday, December 4, 2011

I'm Back.

I did it.

I made it a whole month without running.  Without a doubt, this was one of the most challenging things I have ever undertaken in my training life.  And the fact that I just referred to the 30 days with out running as training really and truly does indicate just how far I've come in wrapping my head around the idea that proper rest and proper recovery are a part of training, just like running miles and miles and miles is too.

Today, I was reunited with running.  And this is what I woke up to:

For one split second I thought that maybe my 30 day non running challenge should end tomorrow or that I should end it on the track at MRC...and then I thought, THIS IS CRAZY TALK!  I'm going running.  Outside.  In the elements.  Probably with wolves chasing me, too.

And run I did.  Just me, my ipod and a foot of snow.  I didn't even wear a watch.

And I remembered just how much I love to run, and how good it feels to be in the out of doors, simply putting one foot in front of the other, emptying my head of things and thoughts, and doing something for me for just a brief moment in time.  I smiled the whole time.  I laughed more than once.  I remembered and savoured what it felt like to run and to feel alive.

Because there had been so much snow, I should say that this was a tough first run back.  I was likely shuffling more than I was running, and the physical effort it takes to run through the snow (especially this heavy white stuff) is significantly different that a nice Sunday morning effort on a clear pathway in the summer. 

But this in itself reminded me of one very important thing.  And that is just how much this crazy journey that is running seems to parallel this crazy journey that is my life.  The lesson I take from this is that sometimes the hardest things to do are the right things to do.  The run today certainly proved just that.  And the way certain things have shaken down in the old life lately?  Let's just say there have been a few curveballs...and some really, really hard choices.  Much like the run in the snow, it IS hard, but I WILL get through it, and it will feel right in the end.

And running will be with me every step of the way.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Seriously.

Sums it up nicely, yes?

Running Love Out There!

In my self-wallowing and pity yesterday, I forgot to put the running love out there into the universe. So instead of feeling bad about feeling bad, I decided to post some running love!

I had two very fast friends race on the weekend with great results…

1. Dr.Oats, trail runner and ultra endurance athlete extraordinaire, raced a 50 miler in Texas. And guess what? He won. I should note that he is coming off an injury and a lot of rest from that injury, so this is a particularly amazing result.

2. P Diddy, pace bunny who helps me with my speed training, raced a 1:15 half marathon in Big Sur. He won his category and was just seconds away from his sub 1:15 goal. This is a very fast time on a rolling course.  I don't know very many people (well, I don't know ANYONE, actually) capable of carrying that speed over that distance. 

Running friends, I am humbled by your efforts. You are both so fast and so amazing. Lucky me for being fortunate enough to have the opportunity to run with both of you. This, in and of itself, I am certain, will make me a better and faster runner!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Just Saying...

...I have been without running for exactly 17 days.  That is the longest I have been without running in 5 years, I think.

Mood: not atrocious

Strength: lacking, but trying to supplement with: bootcamp, yoga, swimming, walking, weights, bike

Endurance: trying not to think about it.  So that means I'm not even going to type about it.  Starting now.  Just a quick and final note: not marathoning until the spring (likely) so I don't even NEED to be worried about endurance.

Reminder: recovery is part of training.  This big rest is going to make me a stronger, better, faster runner.

And thus was born the 30 day Non-Running Challenge.  Which some may find humorous as for many the challenge may be to commit to doing an activity like running for 30 days.  I find it difficult, so very difficult to NOT run!

The first week without running was incredibly hard.  To have been so focused on a goal for such a long period of time, and to eat, sleep, breathe and RUN that goal for a few months...and then NOTHING, no running cold turkey?  To be honest, it takes a bit of a toll on the old psyche.  I really had to focus on the idea that recovering post marathon is a part of training.  And you know what?  It got easier.  It really and truly did.  To be fair, by the time the second week rolled around, I was starting to gently introduce some activity back in to my life: walking, yoga, and I managed to get back into the pool for a swim or two.  This week, I've re-re-re-committed to health and fitness (I wonder how many times I've done that in the course of this blog?) and have started to shift my focus to strength training so I will be strong for the next round of punishment, I mean marathon training,which will start in the New Year, depending on what race I pick. 

But I'm trying really, really  hard to not get too far ahead of myself, and to focus on the other parts of my life that tend to take the back seat when I'm training hard for a race.  And this is a huge challenge when you love running as much as I do. 

So.  As of Sunday, I have one week left.  And since hope is not a strategy, I'm not going to HOPE I will make it, just like I would never HOPE to run fast in a marathon; you prepare, focus, train and run...so I have prepared by signing on to train with the fabulous KayZee (Remember her?  She's my trainer friend who's like Jay Z- just way cooler and she runs darn fast), planning to hit the yoga mat, and walking to and from work.  This IS training; just a different kind that gives the old bod a break from all that pounding on the pavement.

And on a much more positive and fun note...

The future of marathon running.  Look out world!  Hopefully H remembers his pants!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Do LIFE

I came across this little gem in the latest Runner's World.  Please have a watch.  The message is simple but very, very important and is a good reminder to anyone, everyone and all of us...


"If you want to do it, all you have to do is do it".  It's a choice.  Make the choice once and then continue to make it each and every day.  Ben Davis, you are a true inspiration to so many people and a great example of the fact that each and every step you take on the pavement, at the gym, each stroke you do at the pool, each pose you take in yoga class...it is a part of your journey.  And you WILL get there.  You just have to decide to do it.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Concrete Jungle Where Dreams are Made of

I went.

I saw.

And most importantly,

I RAN.

And it was awesome.

Me!  Post-marathon, medal, dazed and confused!
This is me post-race!  Of course, I'm smiling...I had many, many reasons to be happy after this unbelievable experience in New York City.

My time?  A 3:07.  3:07 people!  A personal best by two whole minutes.  Recall if you will (or if you won't, I'll just tell you anyways) my previous marathon best was in Chicago, a 3:09 on a flat and fast course just one short year ago.  The NYC course, by comparison is a very difficult and challenging run.  Tons of elevation change (like my new running friend Derek says. "bridges are hills") and sitting in the cold for 3 hours prior to running makes the first couple of miles a bit tricky.   The goal time I had in mind for this race was a 3:05, but I'm certainly not disappointed with a 3:07.  All that speedwork has most certainly paid off and I was able to run fast on a much more difficult course.  I also went out for it...HARD.  And tried to hold on.  I usually hold back a bit more at the start of my races, but I really, really needed to prove to myself that I could go out fast and hold on, and I am happy that I was able to accomplish that.  Often in races I think about drawing on the strength of others (I so appreciate everyone who sends energy my way on race day :), however, this time I was truly focused on getting through the tough spots myself.  I know now that I CAN do it myself, and this will be key if I am to get to that elusive sub 3:00 mark.

I was also so fortunate to have the love and support of my family (Caitlin and Scott included) who came all the way to New York to see me run by them for just a few seconds in Central Park.  This was a long way for my family to travel to witness just a tiny part of my race.  It really, really is so very special and important to me that they were there.  When I saw them on the race course a couple of miles from the finish, it was like a jolt of energy went through me and I was able to push myself just that much more to the finish.  Family, you are the best and I am so lucky to have you.  I love you and appreciate you more than I can ever say.

I should also mention that my smallest fan was in attendance at this race.

Henry- my wee fan
The day I ran the marathon was Henry's 3 month birthday.  I just KNEW that November 6th held great things for me for that reason alone.  Henry was obviously super impressed with my super awesome race number.  He was also super impressed with my race effort.  He slept through the entire thing, including our reunion on the corner of 77th and Amsterdam post run.  But it's OK- marathoning around NYC is tough when you're a little dude!

And finally, a word or two about the NYC marathon, for those enquiring minds...

A running event of that magnitude (47 000 runners representing 130 countries with 2 million+ spectators) is difficult to describe. 

Wondering really and truly what it looks like?  Here's an awesome visual certainly worth 3 minutes of time!  This is actually the start of the marathon on the day I ran it just one short week ago!  Big prize to anyone who can spot me in the crowd- HUGE in fact...



It's been one whole week since I raced and it's taken a bit of time for me to gather my thoughts about this one.  This was one tough race.  Mentally, physically and emotionally, I truly went through the ringer on this one.  First, because the race starts on Staten Island and runs into NYC through all 5 boroughs (Staten Island, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Manhattan) the race organizers need to get all 47 000 participants to the starting point- the Verazanno- Narrows bridge.  For me, this meant boarding a bus at 5:30 in the morning and then waiting in the staging area for 3 hours in the cold before the race started, sitting in the dark, on the pavement, trying to stay loose, hydrated, fuelled and warm.  This in itself was a big hurdle for me since I am always cold.  My pre-race uni included a woolly toque, sweats layered over running tights, layers on top, mitts AND hand and foot warmers.  By the time I started running at 9:40, I couldn't feel my feet!  Mentally, I knew that going out as hard as I did was going to require a great deal of toughness from halfway on.  When I felt my quads fatiguing already at mile 10, I knew that it was going to HURT.  And hurt it did, but I was able to push through, beat it and came through with a 3:07.  Definitley not my most evenly split or prettiest race, but I pushed myself through and didn't back down.  Emotionally...well, lets just say that as always, I worked some stuff out in my head over the course of this 26.2.  Worked.It.Out.  And the result?  Like ALWAYS- peace in my mind and happiness in my heart. 

Now it's time to let the body heal and recover which requires me to wrap my head around the idea that resting and recovering is a PART of training, even though I'm not running.  As some of you know, the hardest part of training for me isn't the running part...it's the non running part, and this will include the rest and recovery phase.

The NYC marathon was an amazing experience that I am not soon to forget.  Going through something that physically demanding on a course that tough changes you in some way.  I am already looking forward to seeing what that translates into for my next round of training and racing.

And I can't wait.





Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm Taking a Bite!

Of the Big Apple, of course!

It's finally here.  After waiting, waiting, WAITING...waiting to see if my time was fast enough to gain entry, waiting to book the flight and hotel, waiting to see if it was a solo trip or a family one, waiting for training to start...and then waiting for training to end, waiting for the day I leave for what will surely be one of the best experiences of my life...

It's here!  I'm leaving on a jet plane TOMORROW for NYC to run the marathon on sunny (hear that weather Gods- yes, please) Sunday morning.  The bag is (sort of) packed, shoes and gels CHECK, and let's not forget the ear plugs.  Henry, I love you, but you are one LOUD little sleeper!  I have done my last big stretch at yoga, eaten a fabulous dinner and am settling in for hopefully one last great night's sleep before I hit the road.

NYC, ready or not, here I come.  Is the city ready for me?  Am I ready for the race?

Which leads me to this question...is the journey ending or is the journey really just beginning?

Perhaps I'll ponder that one whilst pounding  the 26.2 on the mean streets of NYC.  Which really aren't that mean, or so I hope.  Post races deets to follow complete with fabulous pics taken by one ARice junior I am sure.  This is it, PEEPS!  I'm off...and RUNNING!





 

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Very First Time

I remember my first time.  Do you remember yours?

It was hot.  Very hot.  And sweaty.  Oh so slippery sweaty.  And it hurt...

Minds out of gutters, please!  I'm talking about the first time I ever went running.  And here you thought my blog was going X Rated.  No.  Not yet...unless there's a "Naked Marathon" somewhere that I can use for an N.  Although naked running is likely bad naked, I'm pretty sure!

Jokes aside, I want to talk about the first time I ever went for a run.  Yes, I have been for many, many runs.  Thousands, maybe.  But the very first run?  It is etched in my brain forever and holds a special place in my heart.

I had decided that it was time to get the bod back into fighting shape after several years of neglect.  I was a competitive swimmer in my misspent youth, and years and years of two practices daily and the pool had kept me in great shape.  Unfortunately, I moved onto university and decided that I was going to focus on other activities and wasn't going to spent my twenties going back and forth and back and forth in the pool, so I quit.  And discovered beer.  And parties.  A lot, a lot of parties.  And late night chicken fingers and pizza delivered right to your residence room.  And $5 pitchers at the Den.  I think everyone can see the picture and it's certainly not a pretty one.  Needless to say the weight gain was rapid and I was left with more than a few extra pounds to lose.

The decision to run, truthfully, was not one that I put much thought to.  I owned running shoes (cross trainers, actually) and I had two legs.  Done.  I had all of the necessary equipment.  So, one fateful, sloppy, warmish spring afternoon, I set out on my very first run. 

This is what I was wearing:
1. Adidas men's cross trainers.  Really.  Men's cross trainers.  Apparently that salesperson knew exactly what was going on the day they sold me those.  And I knew exactly what was going on that day because I purchased them.
2.  A T-shirt- an old and likely over sized one.  Recall, I had gained a few pounds.  And I wasn't super pumped about it.  Nothing like an over sized cotton tee to hid the jiggling.  Ugh.
3. Sweat pants.  No commentary needed.  And men's tube socks.
4. A large, red O'Brien fleece.  That's right- polar fleece.  The stuff that gets HEAVY when you sweat.  And then makes you cold.
5. My earmuffs, also known as my earphones that went with my equally awesome bright yellow Sony Sports Walkman.  Have I mentioned that I am not cool?  At all?

Anyhow, I set out to run from the top of McKenzie Portage Road, around Keewatin, and then onto Keewatin Beach Road and back to McKenzie Portage.  This is likely about a 6km loop- nothing too crazy, perhaps 25 minutes in total? Or  maybe even 30 since I was a newbie.  I ran one lap and then, because I'm crazy like a fox, I ran another one.

And guess what?  It was NOT awesome.  Not at all.  It hurt.  My muscles ached like they had never been used before and my knees felt kind of funny.  I was winded and breathing like a rabid dog.  However, all was not lost. Despite the extreme physical difficulty, I actually felt a sense of accomplishment of my two loop run.  I had decided to do something about the extra pounds gained from all the Den beer and I had just gone out and done it.  And that felt pretty great.  It didn't feel great the next day when I was so sore I could hardly walk, but mentally and emotionally, it felt simply awesome.  And that was enough to keep me going.  To put one foot in front of the other again and again and again.  Soon the 25 minutes didn't feel so terrible.  I was able to go for longer, tackle hills and run at a faster pace.  Then I ran just a bit further, to the Dairy Queen in Norman, in fact.  And then I ran a bit longer a bit more often. Until one day, I suddenly found myself at the starting line of my first half marathon, and almost one year later, my first full marathon. 

If you are thinking about starting running, if you are training for a race, or recovering after a race or just running for fitness, it really doesn't matter.  Because you, yes YOU, are running.  Amazing, fabulous, awesome and totally cool.  Please take a moment and think of yourself as a runner.  Maybe even say out loud, "I am a runner." Not a person who runs to lose a pound or two or person who might run a couple of times a week or a person who runs but can't fathom running in a race or a marathon or a 10k or a 5k.  YOU ARE A RUNNER.  Wherever you are in that journey, be proud of it and honour yourself by referring to yourself as a runner.  Running is not an easy endeavour.  It is a tough, physically and mentally demanding activity. To run and then to keep on running is not for the faint of heart, so be proud of that!

Since that first time, I have acquired some actual running gear (I think I am single handedly supporting lulu's running line), gone through umpteen pairs of actual running shoes (first Nike and now Asics for a long time), have a GPS watch that uploads my routes, pace, calories burned and endless other running information to my computer, and have several marathon bibs.  I have figured out the ins and outs of marathon training (but I still have much, much more to learn), have joined running groups, started running groups, trained half marathoners, volunteered at races and travelled with amazing friends to amazing races in amazing places.  I have taken up yoga to prolong my running life, gone back to the pool for some great cross training, hit the trails with new found running friends and am a lululemon running ambassador.

And all because one day, in the not so long ago past, I laced up those cross trainers, threw on the red fleece and went for a run for the very first time.  You just never know where the path will take you.  You just have to decide to take the path.


Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Double

Two posts in one short weekend, my faithful followers!  Several items of consequence to pass...

First.  I was the guest runner at the Centennial High School X-Country practice on Friday.  FUN.  It was sunny.  It was hot.  And we had the best time.  I was super impressed with this small but tenacious bunch!  In particular, I had the pleasure of meeting a young runner who, for privacy's sake, shall remain nameless.  Now, I imagine, this one is going to be a GREAT runner.  Better than great, actually, I think she is probably going to be a fabulous runner.  She has all the qualities that will take her far in running- dedication, perseverance, and a true love of the sport.  I hope she realizes what a talented athlete she is, but more than that, I hope she remembers that the races, the training, the miles and miles and miles...it should always be fun!  You focus.  You train.  You race.  And in the end the only person you need to impress is yourself.  Anyhow, the last city X-country race is on Wednesday- so I hope everyone out there in the running community can send some energy her way for an amazing run! 

Second.  I was going for my long run this morning.  My Sunday morning partner couldn't make it as he was feeling under the weather.  20 minutes in, I ran into Miss AW, soon to be marathoner extraordinaire as she is running in her first marathon next weekend in Victoria.  I so appreciated her company and conversation on this run.  Made the first 2 hours of my run go by so quickly!  Thanks buddy! 

Third.  Random Ryan from Vancouver who builds racing canoes who was Calgary this weekend in a paddling race prior to running his dog around the reservoir, it was a pleasure to make your acquaintance.  Best of luck with your Las Vegas training.  I so appreciated being able to run with you for the final 30 minutes of my run this morning, because let me tell you, after just about three hours and almost 35km, I was starting to feel it.  The company and distraction were most excellent.  You will likely never, ever read my blog (unless it goes viral, which really it should- come ON peeps, pass it on :), but thanks a million!

Running WAS really all around this weekend!

Last.  I'm thinking Ottawa for my spring marathon.  Thoughts? 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

6363

Check it.


I like it.  Not an even number but even numbers in it...and the double 63 bodes well.  At least I sure hope so!

NYC marathon is in 1 short month.  I have a lot, a lot, a lot of training to take care of in this shortest of time periods!  This, I am looking forward to!  I just need the old bod to hold up for an intense month and then I will be out there pounding the pavement on marathon Sunday with 45 000 other crazies in the Big Apple.

This week I had the pleasure of a tempo run with PDiddy.  No, not THAT PDiddy.  The one that lives right here in Calgary and is a super fast runner.  I met him on the track doing intervals one fine day last winter and we got to chatting.  Finally our (running) paths converged and we got to do a super quick session on Tuesday evening.  And by super quick, I don't mean the run was short; I mean rather that it was FAST and HARD.  Being the competitive gal that I am, I am never one to back down from a challenge, despite feeling a wee bit nervous about my ability to keep pace during this workout.  The result was that this was one of the greatest training runs I've had in a long while.  We repeated 1.3k 6 times and maintained a pace that was GREAT for me (a bit better than 3:05 marathon pace) and on the top end of slow for PDiddy.  I would just like to give a big shout out to PD for taking me running, for the encouragement, for reminding me that I CAN and WILL run fast when I set my mind to it AND for sacrificing one of his own speedy sessions to slow it down and help me out. He even emailed me my lap times.  All of this I truly, truly appreciate!

Big. Long. Run. Tomorrow morning.  And now I must rest. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weird.

So.  I was running.  Yesterday.  Shocking, I know.  And there was a song on my ipod that I knew, and LOVED- I believe it was a Tom Petty song...maybe...maybe not...truth?  I can't really remember because,after all, it was a whole 12 hours ago.  Anyhow, point of this short but sweet story being, is that I have no idea how this song got on my ipod.  I surely didn't download it...and I don't think I uploaded it.  Strange.  But enjoyable just the same.  I guess the ipod fairy must have paid a visit to my place and guessed that I liked that song and ever so discreetly placed it on my pod for me.  What a sweet, sweet thing that ipod fairy...

And just in case you needed a bit of awesomeness today, here it is...


And with that, I must work...

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Inspiration

Today when I was out for my long run, I thought frequently about Terry Fox.  I'm certain his story requires no official details or introduction, but in case you live in a dank and dark cave in the middle of nowhere and happen to be reading my blog, Terry Fox was a young man who embarked on a cross Canada run called the Marathon of Hope in order to raise money and awareness for cancer, the disease that took his leg.   When I was running this morning, there were times when my knees and back were aching and my stomach was not 100%.  And as I was running along, I noticed the signs for the Terry Fox run...and I was so very humbled.  Here I was, running on TWO legs that work perfectly well, on TWO knees that have carried me where ever I have asked them to take me, with 100% health as I am free of sickness and disease.  Terry Fox ran the equivalent of a marathon every single day during his Marathon of Hope, and he did it all with an artificial leg and much, much less that 100% health.  In doing so, he started a legacy that our whole nation has embraced and has raised millions upon millions of dollars for cancer research, and perhaps even more valuable, he has brought awareness to a disease that kills many.  More than that, I thought about how it is that it just takes one small person with one big dream to make a difference and change the world.  Terry Fox is a hero for many different reasons, but to me he is a hero because he did what most don't have the courage to do.  He had a huge dream and what would seem to many to be an unachievable goal.  And he did what most people would never do...he acted on it.  Amazing. 

Since I'm discussing amazing people with humongous dreams and courage, I would also like to mention this cross-Canada journey...



Step into Action is Dr. Riley Senft's personal quest to raise awareness about prostate cancer.  I had the pleasure of meeting his mother in Kenora this summer and hearing about this incredible man and this incredible journey.  I encourage each and everyone of you to check out the website Step into Action and to consider again the fact that we all have the ability to make a difference and to change the world.  We just have to find the courage to do it.  Dr. Senft, I have never met you and you will likely never read my blog, but I thought I should put it out there that I am in awe of your courage and the amazing steps you are taking on your journey each and every day. I wish you good luck for a smooth run all the way to the coast.  I know the marathon gods are watching over you and smiling as you near completion of your run across the country!

Which leads me, and hopefully all of you,  to ponder this one small question...

"What is it that you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?"
-Mary Oliver

Please...do tell...enquiring minds...



Monday, September 5, 2011

The Fall

No,  I didn't trip while I was running, it's that time of year!

The Fall.  New season, new beginnings.  Cool (er) running temperatures, pretty coloured leaved on the running routes and drastic increases in mileage.  NYC- just two short months away.  I'm starting to think about it much more frequently...time to miss less runs and recommit to the marathon training schedule after a summer hiatus.

I am missing summer, of course.  I miss the lake, I miss my family, I miss commuting by boat and of course, I miss the lazy days that summer vacay brings.  But to be honest and truthful, I am happy to be back into the regular routine and the sense of orderliness that this seems to bring to life. 

So.  NYC.  In terms of preparation, the mileage is starting to climb and I'm starting to consider my pace much, much more on my medium distance runs.  I'm running longer intervals on the speedwork front and am hitting lot of hills to keep everything strong and powerful.  And, of utmost importance, I am doing a lot of yoga.  A lot.  My back has been sore and soreness just will not do.  Yoga has been helping and is a good reminder to all my running peeps out there to make sure you are doing what you need to stay healthy and stay running.  For me, right now, this means yoga twice weekly.  Not optional.  I have also reaccquainted myself with my foam roller and my evening stretching regime.  Again, not optional.  Training for a race of any distance requires much more than just running.  Keep that in your mind while you're out there on the trails and consider the "non-running" parts of your training!

So, as the sun sets on this most awesome of summers, happy trails, my running peeps!  Enjoy the last bit of running friendly weather before the snow flies!



Beautiful morning commute on the lake.  Have I mentioned that a boat is a much preferable mode of transportation?


Good-bye summer!  We'll miss you!  Welcome fall!



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Hi! I'm Henry!

And I'm the newest little runner in the Rice family.  I mean the Rice-Wirvin family!  I was born on August 6th at 3:17pm.

My Auntie Andrea thinks she is a marathoner, but let me tell you, world, my mom is REALLY the marathoner in the family!  I am the product of a totally natural childbirth- what a champ, my mom.  WHAT A CHAMP! 

I can't wait until I'm old enough to go running with my Aunt and Mom and tackle hills with my Pops.  But even if I don't like to run, my Aunt will still love me the most anyway.  I know she will love me no matter what!

Until I am old enough to run, this is how I am preparing...



After all, a true runner knows just how important it is to sleep.  And eat.  And then sleep some more.

And...do Asics come in size newborn?




Wednesday, August 3, 2011

This is How Things Are...

Update!  Very quick!  Too nice for typing!

Weather.  +30C.  Run.  Hill Intervals- 5 medium (45sec), 5 long (70sec), 5 short (30sec).  Intervals in between- Pushups and a variety of squats and jumps.  Total time working.it.out. 1 hour.

Fitness.  Lacking.  This just about killed me.

Inspiration- NEEDED!  Anyone?  Anyone?  NYC beginning to frequent my thoughts.

And now I must swim.  I'm hot.

P.S. Still not an aunt.  But waiting patiently!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Hello Summer!

Greetings Peeps!

I heart summer.  Every single little thing about it, too.  I love the heat.  I love the Northern Ontario humidity.  I love the cool lightning storms during the heat waves.  I love being on holidays.  I love the lake and visiting my family.  And of course I love summer running!

This will be a quick post as I'm in between swims.  Nothing beats this crazy 40 plus degree heat like some jumps off the dock!

First.  Decided to stop wondering about all this barefoot brouhaha and give it a try myself.  And then decided I am not hardcore enough to do the total barefoot thing (and my feet are ugly enough from running) and purchased a pair of Saucony Hattori minimalist trainers.  This is them...

I started by running my summer training and personal training in them.  And guess what?  Love.  They felt great!  So, I took it one barefoot step further and just went for a jog.  A quick 33 minute affair that included 10 repeats on Christie's hill.  I decided this was a good way to experiment since the hill is steep and I am mainly on my toes for this anyhow.  The outcome? My  left achilles and knees are slightly sore, but other than that, a good thing...or so I think.  I had to work really, really hard to stay off my heels, especially on the downhills. 

Anyhow- the long and the short of it is that I think these are GREAT, although I'm not quite ready for a 26.2 in them yet and likely never will be!  But they will be fun for shorter runs.  Want some?  Go see Nolan and the gang and the Tech Shop in Calgary.  They will put you in the right pair!   

Second.  Did I mention I love summer?  This is why:

Summer training, lake style.  What I see while working out at my cottage.  Or camp, in Kenora speak.

Broke out the TRX and hung from our crooked tree.  Worked beautifully.  Plus got to jump in between sets.

Anyone want to come over for a workout?  We could even swim for intervals!

Third.  A huge shout out to KayZ (like JayZ but she's way cooler, trust me) for her third place finish in the Stampede Road Race 10k.  You. Are. Awesome!  And you run like the wind!  I see some very speedy fall training runs in our future!

Fourth.  I get to meet Barry the Baby in just 22 short days.  At least if I have my say and mother nature cooperates.  I'm going to be an ant!  I mean an aunt!  I wonder if it's too early to purchase some new runners for the little one...

Happy summer everyone!  Enjoy!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

I Am Not Invincible

This is a picture of my knees.

Lovely , aren't they?

 As lovely as knees can be, I suppose.

And if you're wondering why I've included a picture of my knees in this post, I am now going to tell you.

This may come as a bit of a shock, but I am not invincible.  Likely the person who suffered the most shock from this little nugget of info was ME, but for those of you that are also picking yourselves up off the floor and are recovering from (hee) this surprise, the mortality check I had this week was a bit of a scare with my knees.

It's a bit of a long one and I'd like to keep it short so I'll spare you the long winded version and treat you to the short but sweet version.  Short but sweet....mmm...cupcakes...

Anyhow, while participating in a few group exercise classes (which shall remain nameless) in an attempt to strengthen for the next round of marathon training, I did exercises that I knew I shouldn't be doing.  Every ounce of my trainer brain said bad, bad, very bad idea, but I did the exercises anyways.  Subsequently, I awoke Monday morning to a slightly swollen knee.

And then I freaked out.  Big time.  BIG time.  If you want the full details, I suggest you contact my dear friend Wendy as she was a first hand witness.  Not pretty.  Mainly because all I could think about was the possibility that I may never run a marathon again.  And to be honest, this caused me a great deal of distress.

So, knees...

I know I am so very hard on you.  I ask you to run miles and miles and miles.  I ask you to run up and down hills several times.  I show up for my speed interval workouts and I pound extra hard on the pavement in an attempt to run faster.  I put you through squats and lunges in millions of different varieties, but at the end of the day they are still squats and lunges and I know these are tough on you after a while.  And after all of that work, I often neglect you and by skipping the stretching and the foam roller work.

Knees, I promise from this point on, I will mend my ways!  I know now that I am not invincible and since I'm just slightly past my teenage years, I need to treat you with the kindness, love and respect you deserve.  Rest assured (I know you are all waiting with bated breath), I am not injured, but had some minor irritation around my patella as a result of low back, glut and quad tightness.  One quick trip to Marda Loop Sport Physio and the PT there has assured me that I will be up and running (pardon the pun) in no time.  Relief. 

Sadly, though, I am unable to race in the K100 this weekend and feel very badly for letting my team down.  I am hoping that this doesn't mean that I've been permanently cut, as Mugs, Jugs and Rugs was a mighty fine group of runners to be associated with.  I hope they know that I am with them in spirit every step of the 100 miles in Kananaskis this weekend. 

And...last but most definitely not least, I am almost on holidays.  Almost.  If you are in Kenora this summer and was to run, just let me know.  I'll likely come with you.  Because my knee will be healed by then...100% healed, and I cannot WAIT to go running.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Correction

Picture in the post below is a sea lion, NOT a walrus as I had originally blogged.

Note: I will stick to teaching Barry the baby about things I know about...like running.

And on another note:  Walruses have way more whiskers and long tusks.

Can a Sea Lion Run?

I asked my younger pregnant sister to email me a picture of her being pregnant.

And this is what she sent me:



And while I did have a very, very long laugh out loud in my office, I just want her to know this:

SHE DOES NOT LOOK LIKE A SEA LION. 

In fact, she is the cutest little pregnant lady around AND she is a total rockstar.

Why?

Because when she came to visit me, despite being pregnant, despite feeling like a sea lion, despite feeling like her body is not her own, she STILL went running with me.  Amazing.  7 months pregnant and running.  Barry, you are one lucky little dude to be getting my sister for a mom.

In her honour, I just wanted to give a shout out all the expectant moms and moms in the world who, despite feeling like sea lions and feeling a level of exhaustion that I can only imagine, still manage to commit to their own physical, mental and spiritual health by heading out for a quick run or some other kind of exercise. Each and every one of you is wonderful and I am truly humbled by your efforts.

And although I have no scientific information to prove this, I'm pretty sure a sea lion can't run. The short legs and long body are a curse for sure, but NO legs and long body??? Impossible...

Sunday, May 29, 2011

I Run Because...

Guess what, my legions of faithful blog followers (maybe not legions, but a gal can dream...)!?

June 1st is National Running Day.  Yes, that's right, NATIONAL RUNNING DAY.



Just think, a whole day devoted to running!  Fabulous!

And here's what I think we all should do.  This is a bit of a challenge...a call out if you will...

I think we should ALL go out running.  That's right.  WE SHOULD ALL GO RUNNING.  You should.  And you should.  And you, and you and you.  Let's do it.  If you've never run before, I promise that you can do it.  Simply put on your shorts (it WILL be sunny- as if it would rain on National Running Day :), lace up your shoes and hit the pavement running.  Just run until you feel like you need a bit of a break,  have a quick walk and then run again.  Yes, yes, yes...YOU CAN.  If you haven't run for a really long time, I know those first steps will be challenging and will feel tough, but I promise, if you just take those few first steps, your body will remember and you body will thank you.  Just put one foot in front of another and keep going.  You will feel amazing.  If you're a regular runner, take someone new with you when you run on Wednesday.  Even if its just for a quick 20 minute jog.  Share with them YOUR running story because you...yes, you...YOU are a RUNNER.  You are not a person that runs to keep in shape, you are a RUNNER.  Be proud of that.  Share it with someone and tell them how much you love it and why it is a regular part of your life.  Inspire just 1 person with your story and maybe that person will feel your dedication and pride and take the steps they need to commit to their own healthy lifestyle.

Why do I run?  Well, it's simple, really...
I run because it gives me peace in my mind and happiness in my heart.

This is my reason- what's yours?  I'd love it if people could share why they run by commenting on my blog.  I know I have a few readers out there in the universe- don't be shy!  Tell the world why you run.  There are millions of reasons.  Maybe you run so you can eat Breyer's Vanilla Bean Ice Cream whenever you want (um, this is my second reason for running :).  Or maybe you run so you can chase the woman of your dreams when you finally meet her.  Perhaps you run because you want to live to see 80...or 90...or 100!  Trust me, everyone has their reasons, and I'd love to know what they are.   If you're shy, you can always leave an anonymous comment, but please, do leave one! 

Friday, May 27, 2011

Athletic and Awesome

TG for tennis majors.  The man truly is machine.  Plus, he's humble.  Heart.
Photo courtesy of the Roland Garros website- http://www.rolandgarros.com/en_FR/index.html
Does anyone have an in for me?  Does he like older women? 

A gal can dream, can't she?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Ouch

I think the title sums up quite nicely the experience I had last weekend running the Vancouver marathon.

Wow, did it hurt.  Big time.


Me running.  I am focused, hopefully not on the pain! 
Proof is courtesy of Marathon Foto

Marathons are usually a painful endeavour.  I have yet to run one without being some kind of sore, but this one, this beautiful but hilly course in Vancouver sure did a number on my legs.

Rewind just a bit and recall that I had set a very difficult time standard for myself for this race; I had hoped to run a sub 3 hour marathon.  but as my good friend Christine likes to say, hope is NOT a strategy and that certainly proved to be true in this case.  To be truthful, the level of training I needed to put in to get to this incredibly difficult standard simply did not happen the way it needed to.  Blame it on the weather, blame it on my busy schedule, blame it on whatever you will, I simply didn't make it enough of a priority for this to happen.

If I sound disappointed, I should mention that I am most certainly NOT!  I have mentioned previously that completing a 3 hour road race is a gruelling undertaking no matter which way you look at it.  Even if the time doesn't end up being quite what you expected, there is still a rainbow (usually several, actually) at the end of the race.  In this case, mine was that I managed to place first in my age category, a result that was most unexpected but welcome none the less.  And I have to say that my final time of 3:13 on a course that tough is an accomplishment that I am very pleased with. 

The bottom line is, of course, that the sun was shining, the course was beautiful and I was running and loving it.  What could possibly be disappointing about that? 

From a training and a racing perspective, for those of you that may apply this to your own running experiences, I believe I need to focus more on getting  middle distance runs completed at my marathon goal pace.  This will be the focus of my training for the next little while.  I was really quite happy with my front end speed in Vancouver, especially since I am a bit of  slow starter- the warm up I blogged about pre-race definitely helped with that.  I just didn't have the endurance I needed to hold onto the pace on that particular day...

...but I will.  I most definitely will and am already excited for what the next run may bring!

P.S. Check out the lululemon  homepage- you just may recognize someone...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Where's Waldo?

Here is a picture of me at the start of the 2011 BMO Vancouver Marathon.  If you recall, I ran in this marathon.  In case you're wondering, my legs are STILL reminding me that I ran in this marathon- ouch.

Photo Courtesy of the Vancouver Sun- Ian Smith- PNG

Bonus points for anyone who can find me.  Hint: I am wearing a lovely blue-green t-shirt and am doing something strange with my head.  I'm going to say I was mid sneeze.

Post race report to follow as soon as I find some time to do it!  Happy trails to those of you who are (finally) enjoying your runs in the lovely spring weather and sunshine.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Ready to RUMBLE

This is the weather in Calgary right at this moment...



And in an effort to bolster my spirits, I have included a picture of the beautiful tulips I recently purchased for myself in an effort to remind myself of the fact that it is indeed spring regardless of what the weather out of doors is telling me.  It is spring in my condo if no where else!





Pretty, yes?

On a much springier note, this weekend I am leaving the mean streets of Calgary behind to head to Vancouver to run the marathon! Yes, it's finally here!  Training through the winter from hell is behind me and I am heading into the race at long last.  I am looking forward to running along in hopefully sunny skies and warm weather. The current forecast for Vancouver on Sunday is for rain, but I'm positive that at least it won't snow which makes for a happy, happy Andrea.
Just to put it out there in the universe, I am ready, or at least as ready as I can possibly be.  For those of you who know me, you will note that I am a creature of habit and I don't like changes or tweaks to my pre-race routine, especially since it has worked relatively well for me.  However, there is always room for improvement so I have decided to make a small change.  I KNOW- monumental for sure.  The one thing I am going to do differently is the warm up portion of the run. Normally, I just show up at the line and start when I'm supposed to start. This time, I'm going to do a running warm-up, complete with dynamic exercises to engage the hips and some strides. Will it make a difference? Maybe. I sure hope so! But like I always say, so many little factors go into having a brilliant run on race day, so I'm going to STOP worrying, believe in my preparation, think positively and focus on having fun.  And I'm going to focus on the large waffle that one MH is going to chef up for me post marathon.  I wonder if she can waffle me a 26.2 similar to last year's pancake creation.  Just in case you forgot what that may look like, here it is in all it's glory-



Yum.  Worth every step of that 26.2 for sure!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Are you Feelin' It?

Because I'm feelin' it...and this little gem reminded me of just how much!

Highly recommend you spend 5 minutes of your very busy day to enjoy this one.  It's worth every second and you'll have an even better day than you're already having, promise.

Summer...it turns me upside down...summer, summer, summer...like a merry go round...



And what does this have to do with running?  Absolutley nothing.  And it's still good.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Why I love the Tech shop

There are several reasons.  Be prepared.  I'm about to list them.  And a quick note before I launch into the list, I would like to offer up a congrats to the Tech shop half marathon training group who ran the Police half route today for training.  Noteworthy is the fact that a great part of that route was at this moment in snowy time a goat trail with sketchy footing.  Thinkin' the stabilizers MAY be sore tomorrow.  But I digress.  Back to the very meat of this post...

6.   Shoes.  Tech Shop has a lot of running shoes.  All different shapes and colours and sizes.  It's like a running shoe explosion in there.  Maybe you should check it out.  It's on 4th street in Mission.  Do it.  They will have a shoe for you.  Yes, YOU!

5. The staff.  They just rock.  Nolan, Lauren and the crew WILL put you in the right pair of shoes, not just any pair of shoes.  Obviously, they know their stuff, since as I mentioned above, they have a lot of shoes and they need to be able to put runners of all shapes, sizes and strides in the right shoes.

4. Dog friendly.  Yep, swing on by with your pooch.  As long as they are well mannered, they are welcome!  Also, you should come and say hi to Casper, the Tech Shop bulldog.  He isn't always working but when he is, he's a trip.  He has the most adorable under bite.  I heart him.

3. Washrooms.  Yes, Tech shop has 2, and they are always open for runners that need to veer just slightly off the path for an emergency mid run pit stop.  And the staff doesn't even blink as I race by with a quick, "Hey guys, just need to use the washroom!"

2.  Running Knowledge.  The staff  have a lot of running knowledge.  Tons in fact.  And not just about shoes and gear, but about nutrition and hydration and races and the stride and training too.  In fact, as I've mentioned before, Nolan (Tech Shop king) has become my go to source for training info.  Or should I say my training counsellor, because I tend to be a bit neurotic about my training.  And he never laughs at me.  At least to my face.

1. Clinics.  The Tech shop puts on GREAT clinics.  They have half marathon clinics and learn to run clinics that you should consider checking out if you are a newbie.  It is a great way to meet some new folks and to take advantage of all the running knowledge that the clinic leaders have to offer up!

There are others, I'm sure, but these are my main reasons.  If you've never been, you should go now.  Right...NOW!  Head down to 4th street, say hello, check out the shoes and pet Casper.  I promise, you won't be disappointed!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Just Because

Um.  Love this song, love this video (warning- it's strange), love the message, love, love, love.

But most of all, love running to this one.  Highly recommend it, and in fact, give it the ARSR stamp of approval. 



And since I just suggested an amazing running song, I think you all should offer one up too.  I need some new running tunes.  Yes, please!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Signs,Signs, Everywhere...

Do you ever feel like the universe is against you?  At times, I sure do.  I realize that this is in direct contradiction to the very optimistic promise I made to myself over the New Year, where I indicated that I was going to see the glass as only halfway full.  Having said that, it gets hard to see the glass as halfway full when the thermometer consistently reads -30!

My training for Vancouver stinks.  That's it, in a nutshell. To be fair, it's really only my endurance on the long runs that is a bit questionable, since I haven't really done a long run in forever, since every time I try to get out for my Friday long run its FREEZING cold.  I've tried to improvise by heading to the track, but there is something about completing a very long run on the track that just doesn't work for me.  I get to about 2 hours and I just can't seem to push over the mental hurdle to get those miles pounded out.  My brain says no and my body doesn't like it much either.  This Friday, I was positive I was going to get out for a few good hours of training, but the wind foiled me this time.  It was a chilly -9 and with the wind it was brutal, biting and cold.  In fairness to myself, I made it for 24k (10 k short of the 34 I was trying to accomplish) which is a decent amount, but certainly not enough to quell the anxiety I'm starting to feel build when I think about my endurance.  And endurance I need if I have any hope of pounding out a decent 26.2 in Vancouver on May 1st.   Let's all say a quick prayer to the weather Gods that this most hideous of Calgary winters is behind us and we have nothing but blue skies and big mileage in the future.

Along with the signs, did you ever notice that sometimes terrible things happen to very, very, VERY good people?  I had the unfortunate experience of witnessing just this earlier in the week, when the wonderful gym that I am privileged enough to train clients at had a major disaster.  Poor Alive.  The location flooded and is now condemned.  Words cannot express how sad this really is, and further, I can't believe this is happening to the owners, Holly and Ben, who are two of the loveliest people I have had the privilege of meeting.  These two have the most fabulous attitude and are promising that Alive will be back, bigger and better than ever before.  I believe them when they say that, because they are full of positive energy and are determined to make something amazing out of this bump in the road.  And I hope I am fortunate enough to still be a part of it!  Please everyone, send some positive energy and love out to Holly and Ben and the Alive crew!  They sure could use some positive vibes for the speedy recovery of Alive.

And last be not least, I came across this little gem...

And so I sign off thinking about becoming an awesome marathon runner...

Look out pathways, here I come!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Born to Run...Barefoot?

Runners!  Enjoying the -30 temps?  Enjoying layering up to run outside?  Enjoying large icicles hanging off the old head?  Not me, I am TIRED of this weather, and although I managed to get outside for 4, yes, 4, runs in this freezingest of freezing cold weather this week, I am tired of the cold and the running trials and tribulations that go with it and am ready for summer.  It is just so much more work in so many more ways to run outside in the winter, especially when its cold.

Remember before when I mentioned Christopher McDougall (author) and the book Born to Run?  Remember?  He recently did a talk at a Ted X event...and even if you're not a runner, the science is fascinating and worth 15 minutes of your time- this I promise.  Watch and consider- is this crazy barefoot running thing for you?  Yes?  No?  Comments?  Debates?   And one last thing, for those of you crazy enough to consider it...I seriously do NOT suggest a barefoot run in this weather.  Perhaps let's wait until summer to check this crazy barefoot theory out!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Review

Greetings Runners!

Lately, I've had several requests for a post that reviews a basic training plan for a half or full marathon.  And since nothing makes me happier than keeping the peeps happy, I have obliged...for those of you training for Calgary half or full, Police half or a variety of other races come spring (question: is spring EVER coming?), please have a quick perusal of the following...

Go LONG
To train for any kind of endurance event like a half or a full marathon, you must, you simply must put some miles on the bod in order to prepare it for the distance on race day.  Please, don't go out tomorrow and run for way longer or further than you ever have- that would be a very bad idea and would likely cause injury.  Instead, you need to consider doing one LONG RUN per week.  Start with a distance or time you can manage.  For example, if you are able to run for about an hour, then try go out for an hour ten or an hour fifteen.  Or, if you are a distance based runner and are steadily running a certain distance, then add a couple of km's or miles and see how you do.  Also, note that this is a long SLOW run.  Your pace should be a minute to a minute and a half off of your planned pace for race day.  If you have no planned pace, then a good guide is to be able to carry on a conversation the whole time you cover the long run.  This run is not about building speed, it is about building endurance and preparing to go the distance.  And yes, it is a must each and every week (or at least every second week) and should not be missed!

Tempo
Another kind of training run is a tempo run.  With this type of run, you are working your pace and it is definitely much shorter than you will be out for the longer run.  Long run, think turtle.  Tempo run, think hare!  To do this kind of run, hit the pathway and start with a warm up.  You want to make sure you have a decent warm up as you are going to be pushing your pace and taxing your system.  Once you feel quite warm, you want to increase your pace so you are pushing out of your comfort zone.  What does that feel like?  You definitely would have a difficult time talking and it is quite difficult to hold the pace.  Hold it here for a few minutes, and then back the pace back down and recover.  Recovery doesn't mean stopping, it simply means slowing the pace.  You have to keep the bod moving to keep that lactic acid flowing through the muscles.  When you feel ready (don't wait too long), try the whole thing again...push the pace, hold on, recover...and repeat until your run is finished.  For those of you that think this training wouldn't be important for you because you\re not trying to run fast, it is STILL important as it trains your body to sustain a certain pace and to deal with adversity.  Trust me, on race day, you are going to put your body through a whole bunch of adversity!

The Hills
Hill training is simple.  Find one.  Run up it.  Run or walk down it.  And repeat.  Warm-up first of course.  And find different kinds of hills.  Steep ones, gradual ones, two levelled ones.  Hill training is a great way to add variety to your workouts and will go a long way towards a positive experience on race day.  Trust me.  There are usually hills on marathon and half courses...unless you go to Chicago to run.  Or Winnipeg.  Truly flat those places are.  And an aside- did you know that The Peg was once touted as "the Chicago of the North"?  Peg city.  Who knew.  Anyhow, hill training once a week (or at least every couple of weeks) is a fabulous way to supplement your training.  I love training hills.  If you are looking for a hill training friend, let me know!  There is nothing I would love more that to run a few hill with you...and YOU...and YOU!

And that's a basic training program in a nutshell.  Simple, yes?  I would advise throwing 1 more run per week so you are doing 4 runs per week, especially for those of you thinkin' full marathon.  But it really just depends on how your body is feeling.  I learned the hard way this week...when your body wants rest, listen to it and give it the rest it needs.  Or else you'll end up like me...and away from training for a week because you're sick...NOT recommended...not at all.

Anyhow, now you have a plan, so get out there and get training!  If only the weather would cooperate.  Looking for some inspiration?  Check this...I like it...a lot...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Just Because I Had to...

...because I love it.

 Simple.  Tell yourself it will be, and SURPRISE, maybe it will be.

And, of consequence lately- a small tidbit of news...

I'm in.  New York accepted me.  Yes.  Can. Not. Wait.  For those that have no clue what I speak of, I'm talkin' marathon.  NYC.  November 2011.  Yes, yes, yes!

First, Vancouver.  Starting to train faster, legs are dead, but that's OK- dead legs in February will hopefully lead to faster marathoning in May.

Also would like to give a shout out to the newbie runners in my life- M and G, as you trundle (perhaps my new favourite word) along in Vancouver, I am with you in spirit!  Good for you guys!  Super impressive...keep on trundlin'...

And last, but not least...

It's warmer...TG, because I am tired of the treadmill!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Running Revelation

I am not running fast enough.

Simple.  I have set a VERY lofty goal of a sub 3 hour marathon and I have been running on cruise control.  The harsh reality of my not so quick running hit me like a slap in the face yesterday afternoon when I met up with a brand new running buddy who took me out for a speedy just under 10k. 

Of course, the ultra competitive side of me kept up with this ultra marathoner dude.  To be honest, this was probably a very easy run for him (and I should also note that he had already run to work that morning, had run from work to my house to meet me, went for a run with me, and then was running home- IMPRESSIVE).  We ran a 9.3k in 41 minutes, a totally decent and very fast run, but...and its a big BUT...should I have hopes of busting through that elusive 3 hour mark, I need to be able to sustain that kind of pace for much longer than 41 minutes.  The run yesterday was a brilliant reminder that I need to kick it up a notch.  My shorter training runs need to have much more intensity in so far as the speed goes since I seem to have mastered the endurance training portion of marathon prep.  Of course, as every endurance athlete knows, you still have to get those miles on the bod so its ready for the distance on race day, but the answer for running faster on race day is really quite simple...

Train faster.

And train faster I will.  Not just on the track on Tuesday, but on my Monday, Wednesday and Sunday runs.  Those of you who are training for time improvement should consider this is well...lets get rid of the cruise control runs and kick it up a notch, please!  I'm not suggesting that you hit the road for an hour and attempt to run at an all out pace for that whole time, because that would be CRAZY.  However, you do need to vary your speed on your shorter runs.  Pick up your pace, push, push, push and then take the speed back down and recover...and then repeat.  And then repeat again.   I think you get the picture!  You can do it- I promise, and it will feel awesome and super speedy!

And note- if you are in Calgary, then get your butt out there in this beautiful weather and get running.  I should say the well above zero balmy weather is preferable to layering up for the -30, yes! 

DO IT!

Friday, January 14, 2011

As Promised...

...some pics of my ultra hard core marathon cross training that went down over the holidays in between eating buttertarts and napping.

  X country would be the only thing I would miss about winter!  Notice running gear easily translates to ski gear!
Very cool.  Obviously windy when the lake froze!

My trusty training mates. 

Photos courtesy of K-Rock.  That would be my dad.  Except the photo he's in- that one's courtesy of me!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Be An Adventure

New Year!  New YOU!  Yes, YOU!

To be fair and honest, maybe not a NEW you, maybe just a slightly improved version...

Oh January, that crazy time when people make and break resolutions, vow to live differently, act differently and be differently, and all the while remaining true to who they are at the very core.  I personally like to see my own self as a bit of a work in progress, kind of like a painting that's never, ever totally finished.  Sometimes I decide to add some colour...GREEN in fact...I particularily like green...but sometimes it's orange or blue too (and sometimes black- we're all allowed one of those days every once in a while, yes?), depending on the day, week, month and what in general is going down in the old life. 

Since the first of Jan is one popular time for setting a new direction or a new goal, tell me, what is it YOU plan to do with this one wild and crazy life?  Me first?  OK...

This year I am going to BE an adventure.  I will only see things through the glass that still has beer or wine or water halfway full and I will take a deep, deep breath in the moment and let it all out slowly before I react with a positive or a negative emotion...and I will try really, really hard to make it a positive one!  I am going to surround myself with things that make ME truly happy.  Not the things that I think other people think will make me happy, but the things that make ME smile, laugh and feel good.  I'm the only one that has to walk in these boots, so I'm going to get some good mileage out of them and enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!  I will endeavour to make every interaction I have with people a positive and happy one...I'd like to add a little joy to the world each and every day.  I'm also going to be much more like my dad- he really does appreciate the simple things in life- a beer on the dock after a day's work at the cottage, a cross country ski with the fam, a bonfire buring just a little too closely to Barry the Boat...after all, it really is about cherishing and celebrating the peeps near and dear to us who make every single day worth it!

And since this is a running blog (in case you thought I forgot, I sure didn't!) I'm going to throw down a very lofty running goal...

2:59:59.  Sub 3:00.  Super close to the Rice family record.  4 short months to Vancouver.  Time to work off those buttertarts and hit the pavement!

It's January people!  Be an adventure!