Marathon Training: Week 3 Rewind

8 Aug

It’s time to ‘fess up. I was a bad runner this week. My long run on Saturday was supposed to be 17km but I came up 2km shy. Although I didn’t run the full 17km, I felt strong all throughout the run so I can’t say that it was a wasted training day.

The rest of my training days were fairly uneventful. I did not fall or see any old men yelling “bimbo!”

Saturday afternoon Mark and I spent the day in Toronto. We took the bus into the city and wandered around for hours. We walked through Chinatown, ate lunch in a hippie/granola market, spent a bit too much money on shoes in MEC and had delicious drinks by the water.

Waterfront drinksSunday was a much needed relaxing day after walking the streets of the Big Smoke. We went for an early morning swim at the outdoor swimming pool. I can’t say how much I love swimming in that pool. The water almost seems more refreshing than the indoor swimming pool.

Swimming poolIt was a bit of a chilly morning so we had  the whole pool to ourselves. So perfect! I saw my 1500m and Mark stayed in the pool for over 3000m. It was a great weekend wind-down.

It wouldn’t be the end of the weekend without a Sunday night beer.

SomersbyMy Somersby must be dreaming of Europe…

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Crash and Burn

1 Aug

I woke up Tuesday morning riling for my morning run. I was going to run an easy, flat 6-7km with mild humidity and cloudless sky. I am also listening to a good audiobook right now, too, so I was looking forward to continuing on with the story. What could go wrong?

Knee

While running uphill I tripped on an uneven sidewalk stone. The result: two scrapped knees, scrapped wrist, and a bruised hip and shoulder. One last injury: a bruised ego. Of course this all happened during the morning rush hour so there were quite a few vehicles that passed by as I was falling, as I fell and as I quickly got back up. Although the scrapes and bruises don’t look that bad, I have to admit they are all super painful!

Needless to say I was rather put out from my fall. I probably could have continued my route but blood was running down from my knee; I knew I couldn’t continue on as planned so I headed home. Of course, my 6-7km run did not happen. I went about my morning as usual, ate some lunch and talked myself into trying to run for a second time.

Run #2 went much smoother. An easy 5k route and I made a conscious effort to pick up my feet. Although I crashed in my first attempt at my run in the morning, I burned through my afternoon run. I felt awesome and could have continued if I needed.

Week 3 of training is almost over. This Saturday’s long run will be 17kms! I’m surprised how quickly the kilometres are climbing but I’m not feeling overwhelmed.

I live in a farming town where most of my routes are down county roads with nothing around. I stumbled upon this poster and thought: “Yup, I’ve totally been there – nothing around, hungry with miles to go.”

 

Have any of you been in that position before?

Marathon Training Week 2 Rewind

29 Jul

Another week has gone by and more miles were covered. This week’s training was pretty much the same except for the added miles on Sunday. I did one of my training runs in Georgetown during my lunch break. I knew I was spending my afternoon at my desk in the workroom which meant no customer interaction. This was a free ticket to  being gross and sweaty. I also want to do a lot of running in Georgetown because of the hilly terrain in the town will hopefully prepare me for the mountainous terrain in Greece.

I’ve been trying to stay motivated both mentally and physically. The problem I’ve had in the past is mainly staying focused and faithful to my training. I often tend to skip runs if the weather isn’t perfect or if I’m tired or if I don’t want to get up early. So in order to keep my mind on the prize, I’ve been reading up on running, races, and runners from all levels. One runner I came across is Orville Rogers – a 95 year-old track and field record holder. Orville has 5 key rules to stay focused and injury-free:

  1. As far as training goes, listen to your body. Don’t go too fast or too far.
  2. When you’re upping your training, increase your speed or distance, not both.
  3. Look at the records and then make a goal for yourself that you think you can do.
  4. Visualize, and when you visualize, picture yourself breaking those records.
  5. Never give up.

These rules can be applied to any runner training for any distance. After reading these rules, I find myself thinking of #2 often on my long runs – I need to remember to take it very slowly. I always want to run faster and at a pace that my legs cannot maintain. Then comes the blow  out…

I am determined to not let this happen during this training session. Here is my motto:

slow and steady

 

Marathon Training: Week 1 Rewind

24 Jul

I always love the beginning of event training. Everything is so relaxed and easy. I look forward to completing my training sessions because I know it won’t take me very long. Starting small also gives your mind a nice break too. I know I won’t be out for long hours so I don’t have much mental preparation to do in order to pump myself up for a 20 or 25 kilometre run.

This was my week 1:

Monday: Cross train 30 minutesTuesday: Jog 40 minutes
Wednesday: 6 X 400 metres at 2:05 – 2:15
Thursday: Rest
Friday: Jog 30 minutes
Saturday: Rest
Sunday: 7 miles at 10:40 – 11:10

I nailed week 1! I love the flexibility and it’s not always “get out there and run.” I find running for a specific time difficult as I’ve never trained using that method. I find myself constantly looking at my watch. I have had to tell myself not to look at my watch because there is never as much time that has elapsed as one thinks.

My 7 miles went well. The highlight of that run was an old man yelling “BIMBO!” to a female driver who was turning right without looking for pedestrians. There were two of us. How do you miss that? Anyway, things like that don’t bother me as I’ve become distrustful towards drivers. I don’t assume they see me which is a rather basic sense of self preservation. I digress. I can spend a whole post discussing the relationship between drivers/pedestrians, drivers/cyclists, and cyclists/pedestrians.

But after a well run 7m, I was entitled to a peach flavoured iced tea beer.

Iced teaMark and I visited a new Beer Store on the weekend and I noticed this tasty gem. It was rather tasty and very peachy.

I wonder if they’ll be serving this beer at the finish line in Greece, though? marathon beer

 

Epic Ride, Epic Run

16 Jul

I spent the last six days doing nothing, or resting. After the Peterborough Half Iron I was exhausted. Surprisingly my muscles were sore for only two days. While I was no longer sore, it took me the rest of the week to actually feel rested. I was so tired! Luckily I mostly work half days which gave me the opportunity to take many naps. Jeff the cat approved and supported me by napping with me. Although I enjoyed my rest days, I felt as though I was not accomplishing anything – and of course I was not. I spent my time coming up with my training schedule for my last two events of the year.

The first event is a tour called Epic Tour and it is in the Halton Region. The starting line and the after party is only minutes from my house. I think I may ask Mark to drive and pick me up though. My bottom may be a little sore after 140km. The tour is my first ever bike tour. It’s not a race and drafting is definitely allowed and encouraged – yay!

EpicTour
The last event is the Athens Marathon in Athens, Greece. I can’t wait to run in Greece! As much as this word is over used, I think it is appropriate in this case. The run in Greece will be epic! All the runners are bused out to Marathon where we proceed to run back to Athens. We finish in the Panathenaic Stadium to a crowd of cheering spectators. The run will be tough but Mark has promised to run the entire 42km with me. From 10km onwards, the race course is mostly uphill. Luckily the marathon is in November so hopefully the weather will be hovering anywhere between 15C – 20C.

Today was the first day of marathon training. It’s a new style of training that I’m hoping will be successful. The training is based on time instead of distance – although, the long runs on Saturday will still be measured in distance. The thirty minute run today was awful with the humidity and heat. With another stinking hot day I might spend my day at the outdoor pool – I think I deserve it!

Peterborough Half Iron Race Report

11 Jul

I’ve had a few days to reflect on the Peterborough Half Iron while my muscles ached and my motivation was thin. Three days later I can say my muscles are feeling better and I am not as fatigued as earlier in the week. I had a great day, despite the overcast and rain. But in hindsight I’m glad for the rain and cloud coverage because it was still hot and humid.

DSC01158All packed and ready to go! My whole race needs fit in one bag (except for bike and wetsuit, of course).

I have to admit that I was not very nervous leading up to the day of the race. In fact, I was actually excited. I knew that all I had to do was get over the swim and then I’d be, basically, home free. I knew I could bike 90km and I certainly knew I could run 21km.

Race day came early on Sunday. Mark and I arrived at the race site around 6:30 and set up our transition zone. Once all set up, I squirmed into my wetsuit and went for a quick warm up swim. Mark’s parents and god parents made the trip to Peterborough to cheer us on. So after a quick hello, we waited on the beach for our start.

Swim

I was concerned about the swim but it went very well. The swim consisted of two 1km loops with a short run on the beach between loops. The water was warm and a little murky. There was a bit of seaweed near the shore but that did not stop me! The start was a mass start, but racers were grouped by estimated finish times with different coloured swim caps. I was in the last group – the navy blues. When I came out of the water the final time and my watch was at 38min, I looked around for other navy blue caps but I was the only one. I couldn’t believe it! My day was starting out great. After a short run into transition, I stripped the wetsuit off, tried to dry my feet and got ready for the bike.
Total swim time (incl. run to transition): 40:56

Bike

The bike course was fairly tough. There were almost continuous rolling hills with one big hill one the way out. On the way back, that hill was not as bad, but a little longer. I had tried to stick to my nutrition plan but it was tough to have a long enough flat stretch to eat. I ate bites of my sandwich every once and a while and about an hour later I ate a Clif Bar. Shortly before getting off the bike, I ate a gel for one last boost of energy. I was feeling pretty good all through out the bike. Although I was cursing the hills and couldn’t wait to hit the turn around, my average speed was 28km/hr. I think that’s a pretty fair speed for a headwind for most of the ride with quite a bit of hills.
Total bike time: 3hr:04mins

Run

By this point, I just couldn’t wait to be finished. My plan was to run to every aid station and give myself a walking break when I reached one. I stayed pretty true to that plan but there was a bit of walking between aid stations too. The run course, much like the bike course, was hilly. I began drinking Pepsi at 5k which did help me to continue mentally. This was what I found the biggest hurdle. My legs were not so much ready to give up as much as my mind was willing to go no further. I found the Pepsi gave me a big enough caffeine jolt to run about half way up a hill which allowed me to walk up the rest. Once at the top, I would run down and carry that momentum through to half way up the next hill. This was my plan and it seemed to be working quite well. The last 2km were the easiest. We were off the country roads and into town. Things seemed to be moving faster and more efficiently. I ran into Beavermead Park and spectators were saying “This is the last 100metres!” I was so elated, I couldn’t wait to cross that finish line. The final turn I spotted the finish line and the time. Mark, his parents, god parents and the crowd cheered me through the chute and I know I had the biggest smile. But I also had the biggest burst of emotion. I hobbled to get my medal and to have my timing chip removed and I couldn’t contain the tears. I know, what a sap!
Total run time: 2hr:09mins

Total race time: 6:00:51

DSC01175Sitting down to pack up my T-zone. Getting back up was tough.

I had a great day out on the race course. It was tough, but not insurmountable. I do see myself completing an other half Iron distance in the future but I don’t think it will be for an other few years. For this race in particular, I don’t think I would change anything to my training. Although I will approach training a little differently for my next half Iron.

Two week countdown and a new toy

24 Jun

I know I’ve been MIA in the last few weeks. Summer holidays are in full swing so that means extra shifts need to be picked up at work. That translates to completing my training at different times. No worries though, the training hours are being put in.

Mark threw me an awesome birthday full of surprises with friends and family. We went horseback riding and enjoyed an awesome meal that was a complete surprise. Both our parents made it down from Timmins which was totally awesome!

DSC01153But back to the Half Ironman! We are now two weeks out and I can’t believe it’s already here. It seems as though I still have months of preparing ahead but I’m all ready. I’m going to start to taper soon where I will maintain fitness but not put in hard workouts.

The main thing constantly on my mind is the swim. I try to practice the open water swim as often as I can. I’ve gone a few times and, once I get into a groove, it’s really not so bad. But then there’s the sea weed that totally grosses and creeps me out. I swim through it as fast as I can but eventually it just becomes too much. I really hope the lake in Peterborough is clear of sea weed. Or perhaps the number of people swimming through the sea weed will clear it for me.

But enough about the swim. What I’m really excited about is to get on my new bike. That’s right! I spent a small fortune on my own brand new Giant Defy Composite 2. GiantThe quality of the photo isn’t that great. We’re low on space in the den now with 3 bikes. We’ll have to figure out a solution to fit them all comfortably. I have yet to take her out on a spin but Wednesday is looking to be the day I go on one last long ride.

Sunday’s run was terribly hot. The humidity was really high at 93%. I went through almost all of my four water bottles on a 17km run. There was almost no shaded areas and I had to walk a few times. Although it was a tough run, I know it was a great training experience. The Peterborough Half run is a course with almost no shade in similar temperatures. It’s good to now how my body will react and how to stay moving. If it’s a stinkin’ hot day, I am so having ice cream when I cross that fiinish line!