NYC Marathon Training Week #5 – Tuesday

Tuesday was one of those days were nothing went right and nothing felt right. I came home, headachy, tired and having screwed up my evening plans thanks to a last-minute work thing. But I forced myself out the door to get my run in. Then I forced myself to go be social as soon as my run was over.

I am glad I did both these things. Sometimes I need to take a step back and not think big picture or dwell on stress. If my run was bad, I could have stopped. If socializing was exhausting, I could just leave early. I forget these things sometimes. But the run was good. And the book club was engaging and satisfying, topped off with delicious food.

Usually, doing stuff ends up being the right decision. It was on Tuesday.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #5 – Monday

How is it week #5 already?

I overslept on Monday, and had plans after work. I spent most of the morning convincing myself that I could do my cross-training after my plans. Then my co-worker went to the gym and I decided to say ‘screw it’ and go for a bike ride at lunch. Because I am almost always wearing gym shorts, a tank top and a sports bra on under my dress, preparing was easy. I had a pair of canvas shoes at work, too and boom: impromptu fitness outfit.

I biked to the Humber bridge and back, it was about 60 minutes all in. I pushed myself harder than I did on my bike ride on Sunday, I wanted to get my heart rate up. I’m still trying to master this cross-training thing, sometimes I feel like yoga/biking/swimming isn’t the right combination of stuff.

The bike ride was good. I liked breaking up my work day like that and didn’t mind making up the time at the end of the day. I need to do this more often.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Sunday

Ah, Sunday. Because I did my long run Saturday night, this was a free day. Well, I had to do some cross-training. I biked Leslie Spit in the morning – almost the same path we took for Midsummer Night’s Run race the night before. The Spit is amazing, so pretty and peaceful. All in, I covered about 15km in an hour. I pushed enough to break a sweat but not enough to feel pained. I need to take my Garmin on my bike rides.

In the evening, I went to Kula live music flow with JK. It’s been good getting back into regular classes instead of self-practice. I push myself more. I focus more. I still hate all the church-like elements of it, but I like committing an hour to do something good for me.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Saturday, A Midsummer Night’s Run

photo (13)
The TL;DR read recap: I crushed it.

The longer recap:

A Midsummer Night’s Run was back on the Spit this year, but with a few changes: we ran to Cherry, along the Martin Goodman trail, and then out on the Spit.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.08.14 AM


I picked up my race kit around 10am and then went out for breakfast. My stomach wasn’t in love with this idea for the first few hours post-brunch, but it settled down eventually. I spent the rest of the day relaxing and freaking out. I ate again at 2pm (granola, fruit and yogurt) and again at 4:30 (bread, peanut butter and banana).

All day Saturday, it threatened to rain. And for the hour before the race, it did indeed rain. It eventually stopped, though – and then it didn’t rain again for the rest of the night, making it pretty excellent racing conditions. Because of the rain, I didn’t leave the house until 5:15, wanting to stay dry for as long as possible. I arrived at 5:30, stretched, walked around and used the bathroom one final time. Then I headed to the start – where I ran into my pal Ron. The start was CROWDED. Neither of us heard the starting horn. All of a sudden we were off!


I had a hard time jostling for position and getting my pace down, there were so many people and the course was so crowded. It got a little better on Commissioners, but there were a few road dividers that has us squeezed together. I ran as far outside as a I could in order to get closer to the 1:30 bunny, to get ahead of her. I had a race plan, but it all came down to beating the 1:30 bunny. Cherry was the same way – we only had one lane of traffic and it was barely enough. By kilometre 3, I had settled into a pace. There wasn’t any room to move, really, but I felt comfortable and there was enough space to breathe. I checked my watched every few minutes and as long as I saw 5:3X or 5:4X I wasn’t going to worry. 5:2X meant slow down. 5:5X meant speed up. Easy. I took water at the first station, but didn’t stop running. It was too early on the route, and a walking break wasn’t really safe, with the crowds.

Running along the Martin Goodman Trail had its pros and cons. It was so green and lush that it truly felt like running through a forest (“Through the forest I have gone..”) But it was, again, crowded. It was hard to dodge puddles or people taking walking breaks without bumping into another runner. The crowd opened up once we got out of the forest and on Unwin.


I ended up being paced by a woman from about kilometres 3-6. Or I paced her, I couldn’t tell. We ran side by side, silently, for about 15 minutes. I finally lost her at the second water station. I did stop this time, and spent an extra minute taking off my long-sleeved shirt. From here on out, the water stations were 3km apart, so I decided that I’d take my walk breaks then. I still felt good at the turn around, I could feel myself getting tired, but I could sustain the current place.

I like out and backs, because I like looking at all the runners, trying to find people I know and drawing strength from other runners.


At kilometre 10, I got a stitch in my side and my knee started to bug. It wasn’t quite pain, just a twinge cautioning me to slow down. Since this is the knee that gave me grief during the Ottawa marathon, I started to worry. I did slow down a bit. In fact, I took a wee walking break at the 11km mark, just before the final water station. But then the 30km winner was about to pass me, and I was asked to move to the side. He ran by me and I felt like a giant chump. I picked it up – and then saw the 1:25 bunny right ahead of me. She was within reach if I kept my pace. I took water at the last station, walked for a bit to drink it properly, and then decided I was going to pass the 1:25 bunny.

I passed her with 2k left.

I felt like I had it in me to pick it up, but there weren’t any road markers after the 13k marker, so I wasn’t entirely sure where I was. I decided to stick to my current pace and then just sprint to the finish line once we turned the corner. That last stretch lasted forever – it felt so much longer than I ever remember. We finally made it, I sprinted as hard as I could to the mat. My watch said 1:25:01. It felt possible I broke 1:25 with my official time – which was much faster than I expected.

Official time: 1:24:41.

This was my most consistent race, pacing wise, ever. And I PRed by 6 minutes, the last time I ran this race my time was 1:30 and change.

My splits:
Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 9.28.16 AM

This race was excellent positive reinforcement, reminding me the importance of having realistic goals, a solid racing plan and how important it is to not go out too fast. I’ve really struggled with the mental game during this training cycle, trying to find purpose and positivity in running another marathon. This race was a step in the right direction.

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NYC Marathon Week #4 – Friday

Today is the day before race day, so I had 4-5 easy kms on my schedule.

The satellite on my Garmin wouldn’t get going in the morning – I think the insanely cloudy weather we’ve been having was affected it. I needed to get going so I could get to work early enough to shower (having showers at the office is a life-changer), so I said ‘screw it’ and ran with just the timer. It felt good to be moving, but not pushing myself. My quads are a wreck these days, I’m a quad dominant runner and, oh boy, can I ever tell. My calves and hamstrings are fine, always are, probably always will be. (Masseuses are always perplexed by this.) The quads want a break. I’m nervous about Midsummer’s tomorrow, because I don’t feel race-ready. I feel tired. I’ve run this race twice before, 1:48 in 2011 and 1:30 in 2012. I’m hoping for sub-1:30, but my coach just wants to use this race to see where I am at.

I really hope I’m at sub-1:30. A 5:45 pace all the way through would be the best-case scenario.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Thursday

The corner where the run began.

In an effort to be efficient, I decided that I would run home from work on Thursday and then run back to work on Friday morning, so I could bring everything I needed in one go and not have to walk to work – I could leave my bike at work overnight.

So that’s what I did. Since I was running home from work, that meant taking a route through the city, and not on a trail without stops. I was secretly glad for this, because I was supposed to do a 6k tempo run and get the last few kms under 5:00. I ended up stopping almost every kilmetre for red lights. I know this isn’t the best thing to be doing, but I was so dead by the end of this run, I don’t think I could have sustained that kind of pace without the breaks.

My splits were:

4:01 –>> DO NOT believe this. I think the downtown towers messed up my Garmin. I’d say this km and the km after it were both closed to 4:30s.
5:42 –>> I was SO DEAD by this km that even thinking about running fast overwhelmed me.

My training has been so speed-based that I’ve actually had very few runs where I just got to run. I miss that. I hate speed work so much.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Wednesday

Everyone loves a cat photo.

Slept in until 7:45, it felt blissful. Got home from work and it had the “it’s going to rain any second” vibe going on. (It never rained.) I felt exhausted, so I opted to take a rest day and catch up on all the household chores I’ve been ignoring. Considering how much action I got during softball, I feel justified in calling that cross-training for the week. Plus I have plans to do yoga on Sunday. It’ll all work out. It always does.

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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Tuesday

The forecast on Tuesday called for rain, rain, rain, thunderstorms and more rain. When I got up in the morning, that’s exactly what it looked like, so I opted to head to the gym instead and do my scheduled 3×1000 on a treadmill. I always feel like I’m cheating a bit when I use a treadmill, but it’s better than nothing, right?

My coach told me to not go all-out, but instead to practice race pace. My repeats were:


These felt tougher than race pace should feel. I also pushed myself more than I needed to because BUTTONS! I played games with myself and increased the pace every minute or so. I think I could sustain 5:15s for a 5k race, but no more than that.

Midsummer’s Night Run is Sunday. My goal is to keep my pace between 5:35 and 5:45 and see where I’m at. That’s what I did for Around the Bay last year, and it worked for the first 20k. Then I got tired.

I’m starting to think that 6 minute kms for NYC is a reasonable goal, and would bring me in around 4:15. I’d take that.

Last night, we had softball. We lost, again. They had FIVE lefthanders on their team, so I got a lot of action in right field. I went fly out, walk, strikeout, ground-out. Then the ump after the game told me that I have a good swing (YES!) but I’m standing too close to the plate and should use a lighter bat (NO!) and need to watch the pitches more closely (obviously). We only have one game left, so I need to remember that for next season.

The rain never came, by the way.



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NYC Marathon Training Week #4 – Monday

Reusing photos. I’m getting lazy.

On Monday, I headed to the pool in the morning. I got there early enough that I decided to push myself to do a 45 minute swim instead of my usual 30 minute swim. For the first 35 minutes, I alternated between free and using a kickboard, and for the last 10 alternated between breaststroke and a kickboard. I still need to get more comfortable with breathing when doing free, and I still crane my neck forward too much. But it’s been a loooong time since I swam laps as a workout, so I’ll figure it out. I just need to be patient.



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Surfs up marathon number 3


Yup, it’s true. After dropping the hint last week it’s time I came out with it – I signed up for my third marathon! But I have to honest I actually made this decision before running the Paris Marathon. I know. Something must have told me Paris wasn’t going to be good, that and I knew deep down way before race day I was going to run another marathon. 2015 seemed like the time to do it and with the right invitation and the right race it didn’t take much to convience me. Julie must have caught me on one of my “low days” either way we are running the Surf City Marathon together on February 1st.

Training abroad came with many highs and lows, but one very low in particular was missing Julie (and Erin too of course). I didn’t have my partner in crime to run horrific Sunday mornings with, or climb Poplar Plains a million and one times, and worst of all I didn’t have my running buddy to run for beers every Thursday evening. When Julie posted she was looking for someone to run the Surf City Marathon with her I jumped all over it. I had too. I wasn’t going to put myself through another marathon training alone.


Oh how I've missed this face.

Oh how I’ve missed this face.

It also seems to me that everyone I know has or is running a second or a third marathon sometime soon. I don’t want to be the only one who’s not. Erin got into New York and ran the Ottawa Marathon. Julie ran the Goodlife full back in May and is running the Berlin Marathon next month. I’m sure Andie is running more races than I can count, and that goes for Alice too. I know for a fact Alice has been very busy. Charlie is running her first official Ironman very, very soon. And that Shannon (my best pal and old roommate) is a mega tri-ATHLETE now! Knowing, seeing and hearing about all the training going on around me is super contagious. If you have a competetive nature just ask what your friends are up to. That should be enough to get you running again. It was for me at least.

I did debate whether or not to run my third marathon this fall – this was back while I was still traveling – it seemed like a good idea at the time, but now that August is upon us I’m glad I decided against it. There are a couple of races close to home I do want to run however – Maritime Race Weekend, the Valley Harvest Marathon (I hope Erin and I will run this one together!) and the PEI Marathon to name a few – instead I have a half in October to run and I probably should find a second half to run or another race of some sort before 2015 rolls around. It too will be here before you know it. Ah! I shouldn’t say that!

In the end I realized wanting to squeeze in another marathon because all my friends were doing it was silly of me. Having the Paris experience behind me now my sights are set on running a good race at the Scotiabank half back in my homeland of Toronto. It’ll be nice sticking to something I know I’ll enjoy (and can do) this fall. Then it’s all California after that. Me and Julie and 42k of oceanic views. I honestly can not wait.

This reunion is only a matter of time.

This reunion is only a matter of time.

Ah, California. It’s been calling me back since my one year anniversary of my Yoga Teacher Training. For some reason it came up a lot. Especially on the Camino, but that goes without saying, a lot came up on the Camino. But those trusty arrows ayways pointed in the right direction looks like they were directing me back to the sunshine state.

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