Marathon Monday: A, B & C goals for this weekend

This is coming to you late because it was a long weekend (thank you, Thanksgiving!) so Tuesday is my Monday this week!

I can’t believe it’s already here.  THIS IS IT.  My last Marathon Monday before the race.  Just five more days until I toe that start line.  I can’t say I feel 100% confident.  While there have been some ups during this training cycle, there have been a heck of a lot of downs too.  I’ve had some amazing runs but I’ve also had some very disappointing ones.  I’ve had a lot of cloud nine moments but I’ve also had a lot of doubts and frustrations.  I don’t think I’m bringing my best package this weekend but I’m bringing what I can and I’m going to try my hardest.  To be honest, I’ve never actually felt ready for any race.  There are always things I wish I did different and I always find myself standing at the start line thinking I’m not ready.  Sometimes I prove myself wrong, sometimes I don’t.


Last week’s training went like this:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 7 miles with 8 x 100m strides

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 6.2 miles with 8 x 100m strides + 45 mins yoga

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 4 miles easy

Sunday: 2.5 miles easy

Total: 19.7 miles


I was supposed to do my long run on Sunday but I changed my mind once I started and decided to a little shake out instead.  I did my long run yesterday though – 10 miles and my last double digit run until race day!  I also got my cousin and her friend to finally run with me on Saturday.  They’re both running their first half marathon this weekend so it was fun to chat with them and talk race day plans/strategies/nerves/food/shoes (-> currently loving my Nike Lunar Glide 7s from Sport Chek).



I thought I’d share my goals for this weekend.  Marathons are so unpredictable so I always like to set three different goals in hopes of achieving at least one.

A goal: Qualify for Boston.  Although my qualifying time is 3:35, I think the slowest I’d be able to run in order to actually GO to Boston is a 3:32.  This would mean maintaining an 8:05 average pace.  Seems nearly impossible to run that over 26.2 miles but hey, dream big.

B goal: Set a new PR.  I kind of have two goals within my B goal.  My first goal is to make it into the 3:30’s, even if it means a 3:39:59 which would mean running at an 8:23 average pace.  My second goal is to run anything faster than my current PR (3:46) and an 8:37 average pace would get me a 3:45:59.

C goal: Run happy.  Marathons are hard.  Really, really hard.  If the time goals for some reason don’t pan out, I want to do my best to keep a smile on my face and remember to be thankful that I can even run, that I can fight through pain, that I’m physically strong, mentally tough, and that I don’t give up.  Oh, and that there are warm clothes and food waiting for me at the finish line…because it looks like it’s going to be a cold one!

Here’s to a restful week full of carbs, sleep and positive thoughts!

Marathon Monday: a change of plans

What a week.  My legs are toast.  TOAST.  Yesterday’s long run was the worst to date but I know that’s just part of the process.  Some runs will be awesome and some will completely suck.  It’s all about EMBRACING the suck, taking the bad with the good.  Pushing through the tough runs is what makes us strong mentally and gets us ready for race day pain, right???


Monday: 6.2 miles easy

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday: 10 miles with 7 @ tempo

Thursday: OFF

Friday: 7.3 miles (interval workout)

Saturday: 4 miles easy

Sunday: 15 miles from the depths of hell

Total: 42.5 miles and NO strength training #FAIL

Now I leave for Vancouver in three days and what I thought was going to be a stress-free weekend full of fun and casual running is NO LONGER THE PLAN.  I’ve never gone to SeaWheeze and actually “raced”.  I mean I don’t walk the course but I definitely don’t go there trying to win or set a new PR, you know what I mean?  I’ve clocked a 1:54 and a 1:45 at SeaWheeze in previous years.  Well, THIS year Coach PK has a different idea of what she wants me to do.  I have 17 miles to cover that day so my job is to run a decent warm up, actually RACE and attempt to stay within the 7:35-7:45 range for the duration of the race (meaning a 1:39 – 1:41 finish), followed by a cool down.  This sounds like a great idea in theory but the fact that I ran my fastest half ever in 1:41 on a FLAT course kind of freaks me out a little.  From what I remember, SeaWheeze is not the easiest course.  It’s not super difficult by any means but I am not sure I’ll be able to set a new PR on it, which is essentially what I’ve been prescribed to do.  Dang coach having so much confidence in me… 😉


I’m going to try not to stress too much about it.  I mean if it doesn’t happen, it’s not the end of the world…but I’m definitely going to try my very best.  I need to go into this weekend knowing that I’m capable of doing things I was never able to do.  I have changed, my running has changed, and I’m faced with a whole bunch of new possibilities.  At this point it comes down to believing in myself and pushing myself outside my comfort zone.  It’s the only way to grow, progress, and set new limits.

I just ordered this book last week and I’m hoping it arrives before I leave so I can read it on the plane.  Emz told me it’s a must-read when I started expressing my doubts to her.  Since she’s always right when it comes to just about anything to do with running and life in general, purchasing it was a no brainer! :)

mind gym

Our minds are just as important as our bodies so I’m trying to work on building that mental muscle to go with these little quads that feel like they’re on fire right now.

Hope you had a great weekend!  CHEERS TO MONDAY!

Marathon Monday: 5 Peaks Trail Race Recap (& marathon training week 4)

One of my goals this year was to step outside of my comfort zone and run a trail race.  I always heard great things about the 5 Peaks series so I signed up for the Albion Hills Enduro course (12.6km) on Saturday.  I honestly had no idea what to expect as I have never really run on a trail before.  Actually, I did run 20 miles with Emily during her 100 miler back in January…but it was way different.


One great thing about trail races is that they start later in the morning.  It was kind of nice to eat breakfast at a normal time and let it digest before starting to run at 10am.  I still got there super early because I always have anxiety about getting lost and finding parking.  Albion Hills is about 45 minutes away from home and I am directionally challenged but I managed to get there without making any wrong turns.  I ate two cups of dry Love Grown O’s on my drive (it’s the only thing I can eat before races these days) and drank water while I waited for familiar faces to arrive.  My friend/coworker Carm was running the Sport distance (6.3km) as his first EVER race so it was really exciting to be there and see him experience it.  I am slowly turning all my friends into runners…muahaha.

Anyway, Carm showed up a few minutes after me so we just chatted, got our bibs, used the porta potty, talked about how nervous we were, applied bug spray, got our post-race water bottles ready, chatted with Elyse and Jess, and before we knew it…it was time to line up in our waves.  We were told to place ourselves based on how fast we run a comfortable 5k so we both went to the front of wave 3 (24-29 minutes) which I think was a good choice for my first trail race.  Thinking back, I may have been fine in wave 2 but I didn’t want to piss off any runners by being too slow (most of the course was a single track).


I was mostly nervous because I didn’t know what to expect and holy geez…I had my work cut out for me.  The race started on a hill so I was out of breath immediately and I felt like it took me a little while to get everything in check.  The course wasn’t super technical but it definitely had hills (probably why it’s called Albion HILLS), lots of sharp turns, tree roots that like to jump out at you, and a few sections that were quite rocky.  There were moments where I knew running wasn’t even an option.  Some hills just weren’t worth wasting my energy on – I knew I could walk quickly to the top and then continue running when it flattened out a bit.  I observed some people who tried running the hills and I ended up passing a lot of them because by the time they got to the top, they were completely spent.  It took a while, but I learned how to reserve my energy and use it wisely.  I also walked in some spots that were super rocky to avoid falling on my face.  I witnessed way too many accidents and close calls so my goal was to finish without falling/hurting myself/breaking my face.


(though I almost snapped my ankle when I landed after this jump)

I almost dropped down to the Sport distance, which was easy enough to do as it was one loop and the Enduro distance was two.  It was starting to get really hot and humid…plus it was pretty tempting to veer off to the finish line after completing the first loop. Everyone was cheering and there was WATER.  I didn’t think I’d be able to run the loop a second time.  I’m a bit dramatic, I know.  With that being said, I am SO GLAD that I ran the full Enduro distance.  Running the loop a second time felt so much easier than the first.  I don’t know if I enjoyed it more because I knew exactly what to expect or because I was basically running alone the whole time and felt like a total badass whipping around trees.

I finished in 1:26:12, running a 6:51/km average (11:00/mile).  I thought about not wearing my watch because I didn’t want to stress about pace even though I knew running on the trail would be much, much slower than running on the road.  I honestly think I looked at my watch 2-3 times, just to check my distance.  I didn’t care how fast I was going as I was more concerned with running smart and having a great time.  Mission accomplished.

The best parts about the finish line included seeing how proud Carm was after finishing his first race, drinking ice cold water, getting hugs from Jess, changing into a dry shirt and flip flops, and eating CANDY.  Why don’t all races have candy?!?!


I loved everything about this race and am thinking of signing up for the last one of the 5 Peaks series in September.  The energy and vibes of a trail race are so different from a road race, though I do love them both!  It was just a nice change to be in a more relaxed environment with less people (137 Enduro finishers, 262 Sport finishers).

Since I raced on Saturday, I woke up a bit more sore than I expected yesterday so I decided to postpone my long run until today.  Last week was a “recovery” week so it looked like this:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 7 miles @ 8:39

Wednesday: 3.1 miles @ 8:40

Thursday: 8 miles @ 8:34

Friday: OFF

Saturday: RACE DAY – 12.6km // 7.87 miles

Sunday: OFF (postponed long run!)

Total: 25.97 miles

A little over two weeks and then I’m off to Vancouver for SeaWheeze!  This whole running/racing thing is pretty great.

Hope you had a great weekend and if you haven’t entered my giveaway yet, DO IT.  Ends Wednesday.

Still a lot of work ahead of me…

I thought I’d wrap up my participation in Sport Chek’s #SweatForThis campaign by going back to the goals that I set at the beginning of 2015 and determining what steps to take in order to ensure I accomplish them all (or at least come close!)…

So here are my goals and what I’ll be sweating for in the second half of 2015:

1.  Qualify for Boston.  It didn’t happen in Phoenix so I’m going to try again in October at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon.  The course is supposed to be flat at fast so if I put in the work, I could have a good chance.  I set my half marathon PR there last fall so I kind of know what to expect for parts of the course.  I am also doing my best to recruit a few pacers to keep me company during the race.  I’m aiming for a 3:33 finishing time which would mean 8:07/mile or a 5:02/km  which sounds absurd but YA NEVER KNOW.


2.  Run a sub-1:40 half marathon. I need ideas for this one.  The only half marathon I’m signed up for this year is SeaWheeze in August and that it not really a PR course (for me, at least).  I guess anything can happen but my focus when I run that race is usually just to have a good time.  I need a few months to get my speed back so if anyone knows of a nice half marathon in September or early October, I’d love recommendations!

3.  Log 1500 miles for the year.  I’m at about 618 miles to date and there are 27 weeks left so if I run an average of 32.7 miles a week, I’ll have no problems achieving this one!

4.  Complete at least one trail race.  I just signed up for my very first 5 Peaks race!  It’s at Albion Hills on July 25th and I’ll be completing the Enduro course (11.4km).  I used Jess’s discount code (“JESSICA”) at checkout for $5 off my registration fee…thanks Jess!

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5.  Pace/crew/cheer/support my runner friends.  I got to be a part of @runemz’s crew back in January when she ran the Coldwater Rumble 100-miler (read about it here!).  It was such an awesome experience to be there supporting her and then pacing her for the last 20 miles.  There are a lot more races and a lot of friends accomplishing goals this year so I’d love to get out and do what I can for everyone.



6.  Do what it takes to stay injury-free.  To be honest, I haven’t been doing much lately but I’ve been injury-free (*knocks on wood*) so let’s hope it stays that way.  As my marathon training mileage ramps up, so will my strength training/stretching/rolling.  I’m pretty good at taking time off when things don’t feel 100% so I’ve done a decent job at keeping injuries at bay.

So there we have it!  Looks like I’m on my way but I still have quite a bit of work to do if I want to achieve some of these lofty goals.

Huge thanks to Sport Chek for letting me participate in their #SweatForThis campaign by sharing my run stories, my gym bag contents and a workout, tips on getting race ready, and my goals for the rest of 2015!!

P.S. I haven’t forgotten that some of you wanted a review on the New Balance Zantes – that will be up next week!

P.P.S. Today is your last day to submit your #SWEALFIE for a chance to win $5000 to Sport Check.  Details here!

What are you sweating for?

Happy Friday!!  Hope everyone had a great week.  The weather in Toronto has been incredible lately and it has put me in a pretty awesome mood.  Crazy how a little vitamin D can do wonders for you, huh?  Another thing I’m stoked about –> I can finally tell you guys about Sport Chek and their #SweatForThis campaign!  This has been in the works for a while and it’s so great to see everything come together.

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“There’s a reason why the bottom of you foot’s called a sole.  Running’s part of who we are.”

I just LOVE. THIS. VIDEO.  You may also recognize Krysten in there!! :)

I will be working with Sport Chek over the next few weeks to bring you running-related posts (for a change!).  We are ultimately celebrating the reasons why we SWEAT.  It can be anything and heck, my reasons change daily!  Sometimes I sweat to keep my sanity while other times I head out with a specific workout in mind to take me closer to my BQ goal.  I’ll even admit that there are days I solely want to sweat so that I can break in new shoes or a new running outfit.

Speaking of, I was able to pick up some new-to-me brands from Sport Chek over the past couple of weeks and it’s been fun trying them out!  Here are just a few of the things I’ve been running in:


Nike Air Zoom Structure 18

Nike Run 2N1 Short


New Balance Zante

I’ll show you the rest of the goodies in upcoming posts! 😉

I’ve definitely stepped out of my beloved Mizuno comfort zone with these but I honestly have nothing but good things to say so far!  I can post more thorough reviews of the shoes once I run more miles in them (if anyone is interested).  They’ve been good to my feet and have done a great job at helping me get my sweat on…so I call that a big WIN.  Truthfully, my runs haven’t been anything to write home about lately.  They’ve been slower and a little more difficult than usual but I’ve been trying not to be too hard on myself.   Marathon training starts next month so I’ve been pretty relaxed with my pace but there are still days where I get frustrated.  Going back to that Sport Chek video though, “if you put one foot in front of the other, you’re a runner” …even on days you don’t feel like one (which has been the case lately!).

I’m excited for the weeks to come and looking forward to getting back into the swing of things.  Training for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon starts in just a few weeks and Sport Chek’s #SweatForThis campaign is the perfect way to kickstart it.  Don’t forget to use the hashtag #SweatForThis on Instagram and Twitter to share your running stories/reasons why YOU sweat!  I think we can all draw inspiration and motivation from each other!!  I love the running community so much.

I hope you have a wonderful day and weekend!!!

Treadmill Tricks

What a whirlwind of a weekend!  I very rarely have a lot of plans on weekends and generally just use my time to clean, food prep, run, and walk around my house wearing sweat pants.  Things were a little different over the last few days and I am NOT complaining…though I am a bit tired!  I went to dinner and saw The Heart of Robin Hood on Friday, met up with Phaedra for lunch on Saturday (which turned into 3 hours of awesome conversation!), and then celebrated one of my good friends and mom-to-be yesterday!  We went to MoRoCo Chocolat for her baby shower and it was absolute perfection.  The people, the food, her BELLY!!!  I die.  So cute.






I was pretty pooped by last night but knew I had to get my run in.  I woke up too late and couldn’t do it before the baby shower which was a BIG mistake on my part.  Ever tried running with macrons, scones, and truffle mac and cheese in your stomach?  No?  Well I don’t recommend it.  I’m determined to hit 100 miles this month though and dragged myself to my basement around 8pm to get it done on the treadmill.  I clocked 8 miles at a surprising 8:26 average pace.  I expected a lot slower given the circumstances.

I play some tricks on the treadmill that make my runs go by faster and thought I’d share them with you.  They’re not really tricks but I am somehow able to fool myself into thinking that if I do these things, the run won’t be so bad.

1.  Phaedra had me do a fun (I guess fun is relative but you know what I mean) kind of speed work when I was training for Phoenix so I try to still incorporate these types of runs once a week.  She says they will make me faster so WHY NOT?  I usually start by doing a warm up (depending on how long the run is, anywhere between 1-3 miles at a very easy pace) and then do intervals at 2 minutes hard, 2 minutes easy (hard minutes are in the 6’s, easy minutes are in the 9’s).  I will usually do 6-8 intervals like this which end up being about 3-4 miles at the paces I run at.  I always finish with a 1-2 mile cool down.  So just like that, I run anywhere from 5-9 miles (depending on the day) and the run goes by so fast because I’m concentrating the entire time and changing things up so my brain doesn’t realize how long I’m actually running.  Does that make sense?  Probably not.

Moving on…

2.  Yesterday I kind of wanted to die from the second I stepped on the treadmill so I told myself I had to do something to make the time go by.  I ran my first mile easy and then played around with my speed every 0.25 for the second mile and repeated this pattern for a total of 8 miles.  So it looked something like this:

1 mile @ 8:57

0.25 @ 8:06

0.25 @ 8:13

0.25 @ 7:56

0.25 @ 8:00


As my run progressed, I tried to make my both my “easy” miles and my 0.25 mile intervals a tiny bit faster.  By the time I was done, I didn’t have such a sucky attitude and actually felt pretty good about the run.

Both of these “tricks” really work for me and beat the monotony of running at the same pace for over an hour.

Last week’s workouts:

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: 5 miles @ 8:30 avg. + strength training (lower body)

Wednesday: OFF

Thursday: 8 miles easy (pace unknown – no Garmin)

Friday: 6 miles + strength training (upper body)

Saturday: 6.5 miles (interval training – 3 mile w/u, 6 x 2 mins hard/2 mins easy, 0.5 mile c/d) + core work

Sunday: 6 miles @ 8:26 avg.

TOTAL: 31.5 miles

I’ve got 2 days and 17.74 miles left to reach 100 for the month…yikes.  That’s 8.87 miles today and tomorrow.  I’m not sure it’ll happen but I will definitely try.  I had a hard time this month because I took 9 full days off after the Phoenix marathon so I’m playing catch up as best as I can!!

Happy Monday! :)

Thinking Out Loud #45

Holy smokes.  I am going through a bit of a rough patch right now in regards to energy and motivation.  I know this is normal and it has happened before, especially after big races but I cannot remember the last time it has been this bad.  Getting up to run is a major struggle and everything STILL HURTS!!!  I took 9 full days off with absolutely no physical activity and when I went out to run on Tuesday for the first time since the marathon, I thought my legs were going to fall off.  To make things worse, my eating has been off. the. charts.  This is not a bad thing but I’m not sure how long I can pull off the “I just ran a marathon” excuse.  It’s cyclical – if I’m not training, I don’t eat as well and if I don’t eat as well, I have no motivation to train.

So today’s Thinking Out Loud post is about things that I THINK will help me get back on track.


1.  I think I need a race to look forward to…so I just signed up for the Toronto Yonge Street 10K.  I PRd at this race last year and I would love to give it another go.  It’s just 5 weeks away!!


2.  I think I need to find new places to run.  I am so bored of my neighbourhood and lacing up to go run outside, even with the warming temperatures, has completely lost its appeal.  I am thinking I may drive out to another part of the city this weekend and just explore new grounds.

3.  I think I need to run with people.  I am a solo runner.  I always have been, probably always will be.  I like having the time to myself and prefer not to have conversations when I’m running.  I get into my own head and enjoy challenging myself without the stress of having to slow down or speed up for other people.  With that being said, I do feel like I should incorporate even just one “social” run a week.  No pace goals, no time goals, just good running company.  I have been taking my training so seriously and need to implement more FUN into my schedule.  Now it’s just a matter of finding people who will put up with me… 😀


4.  I think running with music might make a comeback.  I became very dependent on my music years ago and it got to the point where I wouldn’t run if my iPod was dead.  Last year I ran two marathons in the RAIN and both times, my iPod stopped working about halfway into the race.  It was frustrating and it put a huge damper on my energy.  So I nixed it and quit running with music COLD TURKEY.  I also hate making playlists and uploading music.  It takes too much time so music-free running just became easier.  Maybe it will help to have some good tunes on hand for the days when I need a little extra motivation.  I may need to get a new iPod though because I’m pretty sure there’s no reversing the water damage on mine.  Wireless headphones might be nice too.

5.  I think I’m going to have to sit down and come up with some sort of training schedule because not having something to follow is driving me BANANAS.  It’s funny because in the last couple week of marathon training I said “I cannot WAIT to finally not have to follow a plan!” and now I’m all like “GIMME A SCHEDULE!!”  I need structure in my life or things get wacky.

6.  I think running socks have a weird way of making me feel badass when I run so I just ordered a few new pairs from Pro Compression.  All of their Socks of the Month are 40% off with the code ROCK, including the new Shamrock sock!!


7.  I think I need some new recipes.  I’m in a bit of a food rut and even though I prepped a bunch of things for this week, I still found myself reaching for less healthy options more often than not because “I just ran a marathon”.  I’m tired of eating the same things so I am on a mission to try some new recipes this weekend and next week.  I have all of next week off because it’s Spring Break for the students so I’ve got plenty of time to find some new favourite dishes.  Angela’s Down To Earth Bowl seems like a good place to start.

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8.  I think that ultimately I need to believe that getting back into the swing of things is going to happen.  Having downtime after a marathon is normal, treating myself more than usual is normal, and wanting to switch things up is normal.

Now it’s time to put some of these things into action so I’m going to start by trying to make some sort of training schedule that includes running, cross training, and strength training.  I want to keep things fun and varied but also make sure that everything I do helps to improve me as a runner.