Finding Balance with Running

It’s always hard to feel like you are ‘starting over’ with your running plan. After my half marathon in June, I kept running and keeping the distance but as the summer went on, I backed off my training plan. My weekends filled with birthdays, bachelorettes, weddings and recovery from all the activities and of course, work. I needed the long weekend to get back on track and reboot myself. I cleaned out my closets, deleted unnecessary documents from my computer and meal prepped soups made with fresh vegetables from the market. It was a weekend of cleansing. 

I started searching for a running plan that was going to suit my hectic schedule and it hurt the most when I realised I can count the amount of  miles I run on average per week on two hands. Two hands. 


Running use to be my top priority and now it is has been put on the back burner. I looked back on the  plans that I made myself over the last year and figured out why they weren’t working for me. When I do something, I’m all in. Both my work schedule and running schedule can’t be overwhelming. It just doesn’t work to run yourself down and run the town. I was putting too much on myself and it wasn’t realistic. I made it easy to skip runs and workouts by putting too much on my plate. One skipped workout would turn into another. This time I’m going for attainable goals. I’m running to run again. My PR’s will happen in the Spring and for now, I’m getting back to my happy pace. Back to the days when I would run without looking at my pace the entire time and just run to get out there and clear my mind. I’m planning on 3-4 runs a week and 1 strength workout a week. It’s easy and attainable. 
It’s hard to admit that you let your training slip and you have to start over but it’s also important to remember that you need to have balance. 

Marathon Monday: Week 14

The last month has been hard training for me. I got to go away to Cuba which wasn’t hard but for the first time, I went on vacation and didn’t workout. I usually play tennis, go on runs and am extremely active. This time I soaked in the sun, swam in the beach waves and enjoyed the Cuban vibes. 

  
I came back feeling rested and ready to get back to my training schedule. Except,had an infection that had nothing to do with a Cuban flu. For 6 days I didn’t rally get a good workout in because I was on antibiotics. After being off of them for 3 days, I found out I am severely allergic to the antibiotic that I was on, broke out into hives and was on medication again. I still get rashes from the allergic reaction since it isn’t out of my body yet. It’s safe to say the last 2 months set me slightly back on my training schedule. It feels like I’ve been getting set back quite a bit lately and as frustrating as it is, I just keep pushing through. I can confidently say that I will be ready to run the Sporting Life 10K and the Peelee Half Marathon. I might not be ready to race and PR but I will be able to go the distance. 

Last week, my training brought me to Galaxy Training for Athletes where I took on a hard workout that made walking the next day difficult. Doing wall squats with weights that are 1/3 of your body isn’t a joke. I honestly haven’t done an extremely hard workout like that in a while and I need to start adding them back into my training plan.  

  

The next day, I got my legs moving again with a 5K run. They were heavy, my glutes were killing but I did it. Uphill and down, I made it through. 

  

Thursday, I went back out for another 5K and my legs, quads and hamstrings were still tight but we’re feeling better from th night before. 

Sunday rolled around and it was time for a long run. I would be lying if I said I was ready for it. I had 8 miles on the schedule and didn’t think I would make it past the 2 mile mark. It’s amazing how much of a mental sport running is. As I dragged myself through the run, I was ready to call it quits at 5 miles and started planning ways to readjust my training schedule to make up for my shorter long run. By the fourth mile, Siobhan got her groove back. I was running my happy pace and finally felt like I was having a good run. At the end, I finished my 8 miles at a very slow pace for me but at this point, it wasn’t how fast my legs took me but how many miles my mind could take me. 

Week 14:

Tuesday: 1 hour full body weight training at Galaxy

Wednesday: 3.15 miles at 7:55/mile average pace 

Thursday: 3.1 miles at 8:03/mile average pace

Sunday: 8 miles at 10:00/mile average pace 

Weekly Miles:  14.25 miles

April Miles: 20.3 miles

Marathon Training: Week 2 

Last week started out as a strong training week. I was feeling good and picking up my pace. I’m still taking it easy and keeping all my runs around 3 miles and running 4 times a week. Coming back from a month off, I want to make sure that I am injury free 10 months down the road when my training will be at its peak.

Sunday was another story. I went for an evening run on the treadmill and it was hard. At 0.63 miles I felt like I couldn’t go on. I had to take a walk, listen to my body and decide if it was a mental thing or if my body just shouldn’t run. I started feeling a chest pain and thought, I’m going to walk some more. The problem is, if there is another runner on a treadmill beside me, I just want to keep going. I’m competitive like that even though they have no idea if that was my easy run, fast run or long run day. I decided to run at an easy pace and just make it to 2 miles and call it a day. At 2 miles, I was still dragging my feet but I could maintain the steady easy pace so I kept pushing until I hit 2.75 miles and I sprinted for the last 0.35 mile. 

Fast forward to Tuesday of this week when my body said, “Speed work, what’s that again?!”

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I hit the indoor track for a speed run and that is when I could feel myself out of running shape that I was in during the 2015 racing season. I knew I was going to feel it after taking the month of December really easy, but I didn’t think it would be as hard as I took it. I went into my usual 5:00 min/km pace group and felt strong for the first few laps.

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And then it ht me. I really had to go to the bathroom. In all my years of running, this has only happened to me about 3 times.Then I thought – what if I have to go during a marathon? Will I have to go into the bushes like other runners? I couldn’t get my mind away from my busting kidneys. For the first time in my group running history – I sprinted to the bathroom during a run.

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I came back feeling relieved and ready to run and determined to get as fast as I once was. I know this is going to take time and it won’t be an overnight process. The next 10 months are going to be filled with running and I don’t regret the break. I’m going to have to work hard but my body will be back to where it was in no time and running longer distances than ever before. Once I started to get a pasty mouth, I knew I also need to get A LOT better at hydrating. This has always been my downfall. You should always finish your runs strong and the last 200m I am happy to say were my strongest thanks to my beauty of a pacer Michelle. She knows when I need that extra kick of motivation and just has to say, “can you dig deeper and go a little faster for this one?” I didn’t even respond and just picked up the pace.

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In 5 weeks, I’m determined that this pace will start to feel easier again.

Monday: 2.5 miles @ avg 9:03/mile

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Rest

Thursday:  3.21 miles @ avg 9:05/mile

Friday: 3.2 miles @ avg 10:00/mile

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: 3.1 miles @avg 10:49/mile

Weekly miles: 12.1 miles

January miles: 15.2 miles

Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon Recap 

Going into this race I was confident that I was going to do well. I would be lying if I said there wasn’t a part of me that was hesitant that it could all go wrong.

For 7 months I pushed my training to the limits. I was incorporating strong interval training, picking up the pace on shorter runs and feeling my best after long runs. I was confident that I would break 2 hours in the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon. My ultimate goal was to finish in 1:50.

3 weeks before race day, I came down with a cold that lasted 2 weeks. I didn’t run. I listened to my body and knew it was time to shut down until I felt back to my strong self. I did one easy run during those two weeks. Then it was taper week. I did a yoga session on the Thursday, an easy 5K on the Saturday and Sunday was race day.

I got to the starting line wearing layer after layer to stay warm. I love having my cheer squad with me because not only do they help me cross the finish line but they hold all of my clothing that I take off at the start and they hand it back to me at the finish. So greatful.

I started strong. I was feeling great and a part of me thought, this will be my best race and the other part thought it could be my worst with a 3 week taper.

I started at the finish line with my sister. We took our usual pre-race selfie and we were off. It’s crazy to think that this was only my 3rd half marathon when I ran my first half in 2010 at the inaugural Disney Wine and Dine Half. Also, with my sister. I would have continued to run half marathons more frequently but with a competitive cheerleading schedule, going back to school and that whole life balance thing, priorities shifted. So, we were off and I was flying. I didn’t want to go out too strong but I didn’t want to go out too weak either. I had to break 2 hours that plan b so I ran under 9:00/mile to make sure I reached that goal. I was feeling great and didn’t want stop. When I got to water stations, I got something everything single time. I wanted to something to just swish in my mouth. I didn’t stop. It was a quick grab and go. I’m a rebel and I took Gatorade at the occasional stops even though I’ve never done that at a race. I’ve had NUUN on runs but not Gatorade. Again, it was a quick sip and go so I knew I would be fine. Once I reached 5.5 miles, I needed electrolytes. I was hungry and felt like I was fading. I took half a razzberry CLIF shot followed by some water at the water station and then it was money. I felt my energy perk up and I was ready to take on the rest of the race as strong as I took the first half.

When I got to the turn around I felt like I was on cruise control and I wasn’t slowing down. There were a few hills but I just kept giving them the same amount of energy up the hills as I did down. When I hit the 15K mark, I felt a PR coming on. This was my strongest race yet. With a smile on my face and my legs feeling strong, I knew I was going to be happy with my results.

I could see the tunnel to the end of the finish line and I could see friends and pacers who I have been training with for the last 7 months cheering me to the end. This was it. I was going to be really happy crossing the finish line. My official time was 1:52:34.

It wasn’t a 1:50 or in the 1:40’s but it felt like it.

IMG_9687For the first time, I felt strong after the race. I didn’t feel sick, weak or nauseous. The best feeling at the end of the season is reaching your goals that you’ve been putting in the work to achieve.