Tag Archives: running

Epic Tour – A not so Epic Fail

11 Sep

I’m  back and I have good news regarding the Epic Tour of Halton. I had to transfer from the 140k tour to the 80km ride because of lack of training – I know, shame on me! But I’m glad I swallowed my pride and opted for the shorter distance. I had a great time despite waiting in the cold at the start. I was literally shivering until about 5km into the ride. 

Making my way to the start line

Making my way to the start line

The whole day, ride included, was really well organize. For my first tour, it could not have gone smoother. There was plenty of parking, coffee at the start line, well marked course directions and aid stations stocked full of food. After the ride, the riders were able to enjoy free food and craft beer. I had a green apple beer that was real tasty. 

Food and beer after the ride

Food and beer after the ride

The marathon training continues. I did not do a long run this week because of the ride but the week before I ran 25km. It was a good run but I started to chaff under one arm around half way. It was the worst chaff I’ve had in a long time. 

Mark and I have started running together on some mornings to get used to each other’s pace.  Thankfully Mark was with me on Tuesday morning when I had to make a pit stop at a port-a-potty. It was still dark out when nature called. We came across a port-a-potty but, of course, there are no lights in them so Mark had to hold the door open a little while I unfortunately had to use the facilities. True love, ain’t it? 

Our region is going through, what I hope, is our last heat wave. Thankfully it looks like it’s only last two days but the mercury has been hovering over 40C (or 104F). I’ve been trying to drink as much water as possible before and after our runs and running before the sun has risen.

Do you have any tips on staying cool when running in the heat? When it’s really hot, do you prefer to run on a treadmill to avoid the sun and humidity completely?

 

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?

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!

Four Weeks until Race Day

4 Jun

As I approach the final four weeks of training for the Half Ironman in Peterborough, there is rarely a time when I am not either training or thinking about the race. My days either begin or end with some kind of training – swimming, running or cycling. Although I am enjoying pushing myself I have to admit I will be happy when I cross that finish line. I’m four weeks out and I’ve already started race dreams. I don’t think I was having race dreams this far out from the marathon!

I cycled 90km today and I have to admit that I had a great ride with a smoking time! It was a tough ride filled with hills. They were rolling hills but steeper than your average rolling hills. If I would have known that I would not have mapped my route on such roads. But that’s what you get when you live beside the Escarpment.

90k

To get a better look at the route, you may need to click on the image. In hindsight, while looking at the elevation map, it doesn’t seem so bad. But after 50k and another 40 to go – those hills seemed like mountains.

I’m slowly getting everything ready for race day. I rented a wetsuit from a local tri shop. I would have liked to buy my own but renting a wetsuit for $40 instead of purchasing one for $200 makes way more financial sense.

I’m also prepping myself mentally because the course for both the bike and the run are out and back courses. I think the course will be toughest on the run. So what I’ve started doing is going on long runs that are out and backs. Sunday, after work, I ran 6km down one road and ran back the same way. This particular route did not seem long because of the hills and the farm animals in the fields. I swear some of the cows and horses were looking at me thinking “What is this crazy human running from?” If only I had an answer.

Sugar Free Pumpkin Muffins

12 Feb

The weather here has been just awful! We were hit with a big storm last Friday. There was so much snow that the sidewalks still haven’t been properly cleaned. I doubt now that they will actually be cleared of snow. This has, obviously, made running very difficult. The snow melted a bit yesterday but has frozen over night so now the sidewalks are snow covered and icy. In order to keep up my cardio, I’ve been cycling almost everyday. Anyway, I’m looking forward to the spring – I am so done with snow!

In the meantime, my best friend, Natalie, is coming to visit me next week! We met just over two years ago in our first class at college. We clicked instantly! We had similar backgrounds and have continued to follow our shared interests together in the last few years. We both love running, eating healthy and besting each other at cribbage! Unfortunately we no longer live in the same city so when we get together we make it worth while! Natalie is spending the entire weekend with Mark and I. I’ve got a whole menu planned along with activities, sight seeing and, of course, lots of cribbage!

I’ve already started prepping for this weekend. This morning, I made Sugar-free Pumpkin Muffins.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp of ginger and nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup pureed pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1/4 cup butter (I used Earth Balance)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Directions

  1. Preheat oven at 375F and spray muffin tin with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, mix dry ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, mix all wet ingredients. Once stirred, add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Stir using a wooden spoon until moistened.
  4. Divide batter among 12 muffin cups. Bake for 20 – 22 minutes

Each muffin contains 122 calories, 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber.

DSC00902

Post Marathon Reflexion

26 Oct

I’ve had four days to recover and reflect. I’ve thought about my performance: what I could and should have done and also what I won’t do in the future. I’ve also thought about my nutrition, both before and during the run. What I’ve come to realize is that hindsight is always 20/20. I’ve done this with all my races and it’s hard to let go. I always say to myself: “I should have x, y,  and z.”  It normally results to “I should have ran faster” or “I shouldn’t have walked for that long.” Or whatever it may be, we all chastise ourselves for “shortcomings” during a race.

But I have to tell myself: “Hey, you were running a marathon! Don’t focus on what you should have done – focus what you have done! There is always next time.”

In regards to any future marathon, or long distance race, there are a few things that I will and will not do:

  1. I will never, if possible, run a long distance race alone. Running is incredibly lonely. Those hours on course get into your head and weigh down your motivation. I found I was a lot more motivated and kept a steady pace when I was running along side someone. However, it’s hard to guarantee that you will find a running buddy on course. So in the future, I will plan to participate in an event with a friend.
  2. I will pack more nutrition. I found that my 1 gel and 4 Powerbar gummies weren’t enough. I had Gatorade but my body wanted substance. Luckily there were jelly beans on course. A quick sugar fix that I might use in the future.
  3. I will always thank volunteers and spectators. Those people took the time to hand you water/Gatorade or anything else and cheer you on so I’m sure they appreciate a thank you. Of course most spectators are there to see a loved one or friend pass by, but they still chose to applaud, ring a cowbell or cheer you on nonetheless.
  4. I will not judge a runner by his/her size or age. Runners come in all shapes, sizes and ages. We’re all at the start line for the same reason so lets all be friends.
  5. I will have fun and enjoy the experience. Race day is your day. You have trained for months, made countless sacrifices, put your body through all kinds of strain and now is the time to enjoy the moment.
  6. I will pair travel and racing. There is no better way to enjoy  new scenery than to run through it. Participating in endurance events is a great way to see a new city or part of a country that you have always wanted.  You can run a race and stay the following few days to take in the sights and eat the local food.

Photography provided by Mark. American Niagara Falls and Peace Bridge.

In hindsight, there are certain things I wish I would have done during my marathon. But most of all, I’m happy that I accomplished the marathon distance. It is not so much an unattainable distance anymore. I know I can run it again and I most certainly will  in the next year. Stay tuned for that decision and training schedule in the next few weeks.

I am a Marathoner

22 Oct

I am proud to announce that I ran the Niagara Falls International Marathon in 4 hours and 42 minutes. Those hours were long and painful and 42.2 kilometres certainly put me in my place but I am happy that I completed what I set out to accomplish. The weekend in Niagara Falls was nice as I haven’t been to the city in over a decade. It’s a beautiful city, albeit a little tacky (mostly Clifton Hill).

We arrived in Niagara Falls around noon on Saturday, checked into our bed and breakfast (which was hosted by wonderful people) and went straight to the expo for race kit pick up. The day was gloomy, rainy and windy but I knew Sunday’s weather was going to be much better so I didn’t complain. The expo was fun, well organized and most people were happy to market their races or display their running gear/attire.

After all the necessities were done, we wandered Clifton Hill and enjoyed a ride on the Sky Wheel – a large, enclosed ferris wheel similar to the Eye of London. It was a great way to see the Falls and enjoy some time to reflex on Sunday’s run. Mark and I found the closest Italian restaurant for a carb load: a HUGE plate of fettucini aflredo!

We hit the hay pretty early: 8:30. I didn’t sleep as soundly as I normally do but I woke up rested. I started to get a little nervous – a feeling that I hadn’t really felt since earlier in the week. Mark walked me to the bus, said our goodbyes, see you at the finish line, and I was off for Buffalo, NY.

I have to write my race report in miles as the course was marked in miles, not kilmetres. I’m sorry to all my Canadian friends.

Miles 0-11

I found a friend at the start line to run with. She was from Ottawa so we had common ground. She had a slow pace which was fine with me. I wanted to start slow as I wasn’t sure how my knee was going to hold up. However, as we got closer to the half way mark I found myself pulling away from her and slowing myself down to keep up with her. We said our goodbyes at about mile 11 and I was able to quicken my pace to something faster but still comfortable.

Mile 12-19

I ran by myself for a bit and found myself passing quite a few people. I caught up to one girl who, again, was from Ottawa and we kept each other on pace for a few miles. We ran with each other from about 6 miles. Her aunt and uncle were on the course twice so we had extra encouragement from them which was nice. They were loud and enthusiastic. I needed that extra push because I was starting to get tired, but we kept passing people. Although I walked through every aid station for water, it was beginning to get harder to re-start running once I passed the aid station and finished drinking. At mile 19 I had to leave my friend behind. She was starting to hit the wall and I still had gas in the tank. We wish each other luck and I continued my run. I held a good pace and the only thing keeping me going was knowing that at the end of every mile, I could walk and receive encouragement.

Mile 20-23

I was able to keep a steady pace, albeit beginning to slow down. I didn’t want to walk because I knew if I started to walk it would be difficult to re-start running. My knee was starting to protest but it held up. Funny, it wasn’t the injured spot that was bothering me but the outside of my knee – I think perhaps my IT band. I was staying positive because I kept passing people. At one point I starting thinking about the finish and how proud I should be that I began to get chocked up. I wanted to cry and my breathing became laboured. Not good! I need a steady breathing rhythm. I told myself to stop, calm down and I can do all the crying I want at the finish line. When mile 24 came around I was tired. My legs just didn’t not want to run anymore. In a group of spectators, I spotted a little girl with a sign that read “Jellybeans up ahead.” Oh my god, really? I had to yell out to her “Is that true? Are there jelly beans?” I think I scared her, she didn’t answer but her dad did. “Thank you!” I turned the corner and sure enough: Jelly beans! I grabbed two little cups full and ate them as fast as I could. Oh my goodness, instant sugar and energy.

Mile 24-26.2

So those jelly beans gave me energy for about 1 mile. I started to slow and eventually, I started to walk. Until one woman came up behind, gave me a tap of my arm and said “Hey, you can’t stop now! I’ve been following you for a while so don’t let me down!” That gave me motivation. I started to run and keep her pace (she was pretty fast for nearing the end of the marathon). At mile 25, I told myself “Ok, just 10 more minutes and then you’re done.” In reality, it turned out to be 12 minutes. But after 4 hours of running, it really doesn’t matter. I began the last mile, which was thankfully downhill, that gave me enough momentum to finish strong. I ran hard down the finish chute, spotted Mark and covered my face and started to sob. I had made it! Once I crossed the finish line, I was overcome with emotion. I was sobbing through a smile. I wrapped myself in a space blanket, received my medal and grabbed a banana and two granola bars.

Unfortunately the official Niagara Falls International Marathon t shirt was not very nice. It was bright, high lighter neon yellow with a little logo. So I bought my own NFIM shirt at the expo.

So, how do I feel? Tired, sore but proud. Would I do another one? Maybe, but let me recover first.