Thursday, November 24, 2011


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 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


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 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,


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'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 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!