2015: A Year in Review

2015 was a great year for me. I landed my dream job, got to meet the most inspiring people, ran my fastest mile, 8K and half marathon to date and I did it smiling the entire way.

image1

In March, I started working at High Road where I do what I love. I wrote a post about it on the High Road blog here.  In 2015, I pushed myself in my career, outside of my comfort zone and in my running. I promised myself it would be the year of my PR’s and it was. I ran the Harry Rosen 8K in 40:37 and the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon in 1:52:34 and my fastest mile in 6:43. I became both physically and mentally stronger in 2015.

In April, I ran one of my most emotional races yet. I got a new PR and placed 11th in my age category at the Harry Rosen 8K. I dedicated this race to my friend Fields who unfortunately passed away in October 2014. I could hear his mantras in my head during the race. “Keep going! You’re almost there! Stay strong!” I haven’t PR’d this race in 4 years and it felt so good to kill the hill with my friend on my mind.

IMG_8476

In June, I met Sarah Reinertsen – hands down, one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. I was lucky enough to sit down and have brunch with Sarah and learn about how she made sports history in one of the toughest endurance events in the world — the Hawaii Ironman. Sarah is the first woman to finish an Ironman on a prosthetic leg. A year later, she raced around the world on “The Amazing Race,” the Emmy-award-winning CBS reality TV series. She is incredible, motivating and I feel so lucky to have spent time getting to know her.

IMG_9024

In October, I ran my strongest race to date. 1:52:34 is my new half marathon PR and I did it at the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon. I have never felt like I was seriously crushing 13.1 miles before. I placed 217 out of 1,208 in my age category and 2,663 out of 10,121 overall. This little 4’9″ runner killed it.

IMG_9687

In November, I ran The Holly Jolly Fun Run and actually ran for fun. For the first time ever, I ran a race without my Garmin or any other tracking device (except of course the chipped bib). It was so much fun to throw on a costume and run the Santa Clause parade route right before the parade kicked off.

IMG_9795.JPG

In December, I rested, recovered and enjoyed family and friends. As important as it is to workout, it’s just as important to recharge for the upcoming training year. It’s what I like to call my bulking season and it’s filled with candy, treats, drinks and friends.

Advertisements

September Miles and October Goals

It’s the first day of October and it feels like it. It’s feeling cold and I’m ready to break out my fall clothing. 

September running felt strong and I ran a total of 41.1 miles. I think my motto of run less, run faster works for me. In September, I listened to my body. I missed a long run because I knew I was run down and I had to stop a run 1/3 of the way in because I knew my body was drained. Last night, I skipped my run for 10 hours of sleep because I’m sick. The old me would have pushed through and made sure I ran my hardest and completed these runs. My new way of thinking told me, if I give it everything I’ve got, my body probably won’t heal the way I want it to and for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront (half) Marathon in 18 days. Training smarter. I woke up feeling so much better. Still sick but not as bad as I was. I also drank a lot of DavidsTea Organic Cold 911. Fuelling my body in the right way to get it where I want it to be. 

  
I’ve been hitting my target paces throughout September. Running hard and the hardest part- taking my easy runs really easy. I’m happy to say my easiest run was an average of 10:13/mile. I have my new running friend to thank for that. Running with new friends and helping them throughout a run is not only what my training needs but it’s rewarding to help others reach their potential. My new running buddy finished her first 5K and I was so proud to give her a high five at the end of the run. 

September has been a month of noticing what my body needs and how I can build it to be my strongest on race day. October is going to be where I put myself to the test. In 8 days, I taper. For my half, I’m giving myself the 10 day taper, which gives me one last long run to keep my confidence up for race day. I’m excited about it. I’m feeling strong and ready. My main goal for October: run my strongest race yet. 

Run Less, Run Faster

Run less, run faster. Those words have been what I have been going by lately in my training. Injuries happen and they usually do when you are overtraining. Overtraining happens when you do too many hard runs, strength workouts and you leave little time for your body to rest in between. The other factor is life stress. You could be running yourself down outside of training and when you get to your run, you are too exhausted to even complete your run. Last week, that was my life. 

  
I’ve been extremely cautious during my training journey to not overtrain but at the same time, not undertrain. I work long days, have a long(ish) commute to work and I try to fit in seeing all of my friends and family on my spare time. Oh right, and half marathon training. 

I headed out for my long run of 11 miles last week and stopped at 2 miles to walk. I realised, I was burnt out. I was too exhausted to go on. I started moving at a slow pace and still just couldn’t do it. I ended that run at 3.70 miles. I felt defeated. It’s not in me to quit but I wasn’t quitting. – I was training smart and listening to my body. There is a huge difference. When you push yourself too hard, you risk injury, sickness and can set your training back a lot farther than one run. And, sit was 3.7 more miles than I did before I left. Sometimes you need to scale back. 

Scaling back. I started scaling back my runs per week. I run 3 times a week. A long run, a hard run and an easy run. Easy runs is where I have been known to struggle with. I love to push myself past my limits but I know that even the elites run a casual slow run. My favourite way to do this is by running with my friends who are new to running. The great thing about it is that, I have so much energy during these runs and can talk my running partner through the run. I keep the motivation up by making the time pass by and I get that easy pace in which is necessary for recovery, technique and it’s fun to help someone learn to love running. My long runs have also taken a huge benefit to running less and I run my long runs faster. They feel easy  easier. 

A few years ago, I thought running everyday, clocking a lot of hours and running around the same pace during every run was important. It’s not for me. Every body is different and requires a different training regime. I’ve learned that my muscles need more time to recover. I also need to eat every 2 hours throughout my day to keep myself fuelled. 

Run less, run faster. It works for me. It doesn’t make me less of a runner for not clocking a million miles a week. I will take my quality runs over the quantity runs and maybe one day I will be able to run a marathon a day for an entire year. 

Marathon Monday

Monday: OFF

Tuesday: OFF

Wednesday:  3 miles @ 8:22/mile

Thursday: OFF

Friday: OFF

Saturday: 3.2 miles @ 8:17/mile

Sunday: 9.33 miles @8:56/mile

Total miles: 15.53 miles

Last week was a hot one. Running in spicy heat is extremely hard and so important for fall race season. On humid hot days, depending how I’m feeling and if I’m very hydrated, I push myself to run as hard as my training plans tells me. If I can still maintain around an 8 minute/mile pace in the scorching heat, running a race in October  will feel like a breeze! But it’s also important to know when you are pushing yourself too hard.

STWM

Some important reminders that I live by when running in the summer:

  1. Stay hydrated before you run. Drinking water is important to hydration but you can also get your water intake through fruits and vegetables. I like to drink NUUN throughout the day to keep my electrolytes balanced.
  2. Plan routes that run past water stations. If you don’t have water stations, you can plant your own water bottles on your route or stop at restaurants along the way that offer free water.
  3. Know when to stop. I’m all about pushing yourself past your comfort zone but in the hot heat, it’s important to check in with yourself. If you are experiencing hot and cold flashes, stop sweating or feel dizzy, it’s time to stop and seek medical help.
  4. Slow down and take frequent walk breaks. When you run on hot days, you risk heat illness. Everyone’s body reacts differently to heat so you really have to listen to your body and know when to slow down. Nothing is worse than being sick after a run.
  5. Wear sunscreen. Sunscreen is so important, especially for runners. When you are exposing yourself to the sun for a long period of time, you will can sun damage. Just because you have tanned skin doesn’t mean that you won’t get burnt or worse develop skin cancer. Throw on some SPF before heading out the door.

This week, instead of focusing on craming in runs, I focused on quality heat runs. On Wednesday’s run, I was ready to stop a few times but instead, I slowed down and kept a steady pace to catch my breath. For the first time in a long time, I hoped for lights to turn red so that I could stop and get a break. Water was my best friend after that run.

Saturday’s run started out cool and progressively got hotter. I did have to take two water breaks during my run. At 3.2 miles, I stopped at Starbucks for some free water and then at 6 miles, I stopped at home. After 9.33 miles and feeling great I decided it was time to officially register for the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon.

scotibank toronto waterfront marathon

My goal is to break 2 hours to get a new PR.

My ultimate goal: cross the finish line in 1:50:00.