Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boston 2014: Am I Ready?

One year ago today, the unthinkable happened.  Bombs went off at the finish line of one of the most hallowed races in running, killing 3 and injuring 264 others.  The shock, disbelief and outrage that followed was magnified a thousand fold by runners around the world.  In the days that followed, runners united all over the world to run for Boston.

In 6 days I will be back at the start line in Hopkinton.  I've trained through a very tough winter and I pushed myself hard this year.  I feel like I'm physically ready.  I might not be at 100% (damn knees) but I'm close.  Mentally I know what I'm in for so I think I'm ready for that too.  The bigger question  is, will I be emotionally ready?

Over the last few weeks there have been several features and interviews with some of last years victims.  There is an entire spread in Runners World.  I excitedly sat down to read month's issue and was surprised to find that I couldn't get through the stories without crying.  Anytime I read anything online about the race, I find myself tearing up.  Watching last years news coverage this morning brought a new flood of tears.  I was shocked and very upset last year when all of this happened but over the months that followed, it became a distant memory.  They say time is a great healer.  Now all of those emotions are coming back.  I am thankful that we didn't actually experience or see any of it but we saw the aftermath and that was enough.  I had a hard time watching the news coverage in the days following.  I had originally told G before the race that even if I re-qualified, I wasn't going to go back.  That changed the minute those bombs went off.

Running a marathon is an emotional experience at the best of times.  Last year I smiled from start to finish and was practically laughing out loud when I got to the finish line I was so happy.  I want this year to be the same and I will do my best to make it so but I also think I need to be prepared for the inevitable flood of emotions that will come.  I suspect that there will be tears shed at the start and as I make that turn on Boylston.  When they come, I'm going to let them flow. 

Yes, I have a lofty time goal for this race but when it comes right down to it, the day is not about a finishing time.  It's a celebration.  It's a day to pay tribute to the victims and to celebrate the unity and strength of the running community and the amazing city of Boston.  And for many of us, a day that will hopefully bring some closure.


The tears will come but I will be ready. 
 




Monday, April 14, 2014

The Countdown Is ON! #Mingsanity Week 14

Holy Smokes.  This time next week I will be toeing the line in Hopkinton.  I'm starting to FREAK OUT with excitement but I'm sure I will quickly forget about that once my week gets underway.  Last week was crazy busy and this week looks to be much of the same.  I've got two back to back 13 hour shoot days, the last one being the day before we leave for Boston.

Awesome.

Needless to say I spent Sunday making a list and packing as much of my stuff as possible.  Unfortunately I will have to finish packing on Thursday night when I get home, probably around 10:00 pm, because we're going to hit the road around 5:00 am on Friday.   Good thing I can sleep in the car. 

Last week was my first week of taper so my volume decreased quite a bit.  It was all about easy workouts and rest, rest and more rest.  This week, the goal is much of the same.  I've already written off my Thursday morning run and potentially my Wednesday morning swim due to work.  Before I start getting into this week, let's look at my last week of training.  As usual, I'm linking up with the Bestfoot ladies, Krysten, Amanda and Erica to recap my week of training.



Monday:  2400m swim

Tuesday: Hilly 10km run + body weight workout.  Had an optional bike workout but got home from work late so I skipped it.

Wednesday: 2050m swim

Thursday:  easy 10km in a.m. with my friend David, testing out the Wave Rider 17's.  40 minute ride in P.M (was supposed to be an hour but I was hungry and bored so I got off early.

Friday:  OFF

Saturday:  Last long run!  17km in the books followed by a quick body weight workout, followed by a massage.  Yes!


Sunday:  Skipped our swim because we were out late.  60 minutes on the trainer. 

Totals:

Swim:  4450m
Bike:  46.39km
Run:  38.64km

Total time:  6h 42 minutes. I suspect that this week's hourly total will probably be similar or a wee bit less.  After Boston I'll be lucky if I see another week like this for a while, ha ha.

How was your week of training?  Who has a big race coming up?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Taper Time! #Mingsanity Week 13

Two Magical words:  Taper Time.  Yes gang, I've officially started my taper for Boston.  Of course, the universe being they way it is, in my world reduced training volume almost ALWAYS comes with increased workload at work.  Which in turn comes with stress.  It NEVER fails.  So, here's hoping that I manage to get adequate rest AND not get sick over the next two weeks.  Fingers crossed.  Now, on the FUN part...what I got up to this past week.  I'm linking up with the Bestfoot ladies Krysten, Erica & Amanda to recap my week of training.

Monday:  I normally swim on Mondays but I opted to sleep in.  ATB really wore me out so the rest was necessary.

Tuesday: a.m.:  70 minute easy spin on the trainer + core work. p.m.  really easy run through High Park.  I was told to run hills for the next couple of weeks so I did just that despite the fact that my legs were sore.

Wednesday:  2350m swim

Thursday:  a.m. 15km run with 10km at tempo pace.  Ran nothing but hills so instead of focusing on pace, I worked at pushing it up the hills.  Legs were still a bit sore but I felt pretty good otherwise.  Core work, push ups & single leg squats post run.  p.m.  55 minute easy spin.  Was supposed to do 70 minutes but got home late.  Didn't want to be riding until 8:30 at night. 

Friday:  2050m swim. 

Saturday:  28.22km run.  Was supposed to do between 25-30 km so this was perfect (even though I had set out to do 30km).  Super hard run.  Ran through High Park, did TONS of hills and ran into the wind for a large part of the run.  By 24km I was feeling pretty rough.  By 26km I had had enough so I called G and had him meet me on my way back to the house.  He picked me up at just past the 28km mark.  That was enough for me.  I completely checked out.  Was supposed to do weights after but I was exhausted.

Sunday:  60 minute easy spin, followed by a 3050m swim. 

Totals for the week:

Swim:  7450m
Bike:  80.93km
Run:  56.58km

Total time:  11 hours of training.  Never thought I'd say this but that actually felt kind of easy.   I must be getting used to the #Mingsanity, ha ha.

How was your week of workouts?


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #9

Wow, it's Thursday already!  You know what that means....it's time for some Thinking Out Loud!  Every Thursday I link up with Amanda for some random musings, that don't always have to do with running or triathlon.  It's a mixed bag of tricks friends!  Here's what's been floating around my head lately.



1.  I am going to make these Honey Almond roasted chick peas this weekend.  I saw the recipe on Amanda's blog and couldn't stop drooling.  Sweet, salty and savoury = YES PLEASE.  I need to get back on to the healthy snacking bandwagon.  If I really like them, I'll make a batch to take with me in the car to Boston.

2.  I didn't think it was possible but, I've had my heart broken by a pair of shoes.  Remember how excited I was to get my new Mizuno Wave Rider 17's.  Well, I got them and they are TOO BIG.  I ordered my normal size and it was positively HUGE.  Cue sad face.  Of course, G tossed the box and I wore them outside (had to see if I could possibly run in them) so I can't return them.  I guess I'm going to have to try to sell them so I can re-coup some $$.  I tried on the 7.5 and it fits SO much better although there is a weird crease across the toe area when I push off that I think will probably drive me nuts and cause some blisters.  So, I am torn.  I don't want to spend more $$ on a shoe that I'm not 100% convinced is right for me, even though I liked the ride.  It's definitely lighter than the 16's and it feels positively zippy but if it doesn't fit me well, then I think I have to take a pass.  I can only hope that the 18's resolve this issue or else I may have to switch to a different shoe.  Booooo!  

Why oh why could you not be perfect??
 3.  Spring is finally here.  The weather as of late has made me very very happy.  Yes, we've had some cooler temps but for the most part, it's been pretty darn spectacular.  It really is all about the little things sometimes.

4.  Remember last week when I was saying that I haven't bought any "normal" clothes in a while?  I rectified that last Thursday.  I'm dreading my credit card bill.  But, I've got some new things for summer that will pack well so you know I'll be taking them to Europe with me.  I'm especially excited about this dress and this top.  Come on summer!!!



5.  I don't know what is going on with my hair as of late but it's growing like a weed.  I think it's the increase in training volume or something.  At this rate, I'm going to have a massive rats nest on my head by my next appointment, which isn't until MAY!  Ugh.  Does this happen to anyone else?

6.  In other news, I think I may have found THE ONE for me.  Yes, folks, I think my search for the perfect saddle is over.  Say hello to the Cobb Max.  Mine won't be this green colour, it will probably be white.  I can get it in pink so it will match my bike BUT....I'm not sure how much longer I'll actually HAVE my current bike so I figured white would be a better option as it goes with pretty much anything. 

It might not look comfortable but trust me, it is!

7.  I finally hit 500,000m in the pool this week!  I had been hoping to get there by mid March but I didn't swim as much as I thought I would in February.  So now I get a fancy new swim cap and a pin.  Yay!


Ok, your turn!  Tell me something random!!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

You Can't Always Get What You Want: The ATB Race Report

But if you try sometime, you just might find, you get what you need...so the song says.  Those Rolling Stones fellas really hit the nail on the head with that one.

Brace yourself folks, this is a long one.

I said over and over again that this race was going to be practice for Boston.  I said I wasn't aiming for a particular colour of medal, I just wanted to race smartly, practice my pacing and get used to running without a fuel belt.  

Bulls**t.  I was just kidding myself.  Deep down, I still wanted that gold medal.  I figured with the right pacing I'd get it.  It might be close but I'd get it.   But I didn't.  I missed it by 6 bloody seconds.  Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself.  Those of you that follow me on Instagram know how it all ended.  I've re-hashed the race in my head on and off for the last 48 hours.  I've talked to G about it.  I've talked to Ming about it.  Realistically, I did what I set out to do but somehow that wasn't good enough for me.  Somehow it still ended up being about that damn medal. 

I am far too competitive and much too hard on myself for my own good.  I let a "bad" day / race throw me for a loop.  After Sunday's race I had serious doubts about my ability to be able to run 3:10 at Boston.  And who knows, maybe that is a pipe dream.  But what are dreams if they aren't BIG?


I am thankful for G and Ming who both helped talk me off the ledge.  This was Ming's response to me on Monday:  "Yeah, trust the work you've done and don't doubt yourself. You've analyzed what happened and what needs to be done so flip the page on that and move on... don't get suckered in mentally and over-analyze too much.  Believe me, your body will respond very quickly to hilly stimulus. The first 1-2 hilly runs, you'll feel strained a little... but 2.5 weeks is a lot of time for your body to adapt to a new stimulus. So I have confidence you will rock it at Boston!"

Sometimes I just need a good kick in the pants and a new game plan.

I'm making Sunday's race sound like it was a total disaster.  It wasn't.  It was just a lot harder than I had anticipated it would be.  But what doesn't kill you makes you stronger right?   On to the nitty gritty of the day...

G had been away all week and hadn't gotten any workouts in and as much as I love having him at my races, I didn't think it was fair to drag him all the way out to Hamilton to sit around for 3 hours.  Luckily I still had company.  Thanks to the wonderful world of the Interwebz, a few weeks ago I met up with one of my blog readers / twitter followers to discuss Boston.  It will be Jo-Anne's first Boston and she wanted to pick my brain so of course I more than happy to oblige.  To say we hit it off would be an understatement.  We chatted away for over 2.5 hours.  She was also doing Around the Bay so I offered to carpool out.  She picked up our race kits on the Saturday and then she arrived at my house at 7:30 am on Sunday and we were off.  Due to my lead foot, we made it to Hamilton by shortly after 8:00 am.  Needless to say, we didn't have an issue with finding parking or waiting too long in the porta potty line.  We did our warm up together, went back to the car and dropped our stuff off and then jogged over to the corrals.  She was in Corral C and I was in Corral A so we wished each other luck and parted ways.  I had to pee once again so I ducked into the Quiznos right by my corral and got in a small line up.  There was less than 10 minutes to the start.  Thankfully the amazing store manager went and unlocked the staff washrooms so the line up moved along nicely.  I was in and out and into my corral with about 3 minutes to spare! 

While I was standing in the Corral, I heard someone call my name.  I looked over to see a woman smiling at me. She looked kind of familiar but I couldn't place where I knew her from.  This is the problem with social media sometimes, especially if you're on a few different channels.  She introduced herself and I thought I heard her say Katrina - the music was loud, the announcer was talking and I have a hard time hearing at the best of times.  We chatted for a bit and she mentioned that her husband was also shooting for 2:15 so she had told him to keep me in his sights.  Not hard I suppose, given that I had let the 'fro fly free. It was only after the race when I was on Instagram that I realized this woman was Irina - a fellow Daily Miler and IG follower. 

I found the 2:15 pace bunny and got in with the group.  Kathleen Wynne did the countdown and messed it up (!?!) and then we were off.  My legs felt pretty good out of the gate.  I thought I might be a bit overdressed but knew that we were pretty sheltered at that point and figured it would change once we got out in the open.  Of course my first km was too fast (4:15) but that's the pace that the bunny was running as well so that's where I stayed.  At about 3km in I heard someone say Hi Phaedra and I turned to see Zindine, a fellow Daily Miler (and Irina's husband).  I chat with him for a bit and then move along.  Shortly after that I hear someone else yell my name and I turn around to see my sister's friend Tracy.  I totally flip out and she runs up to run with me. We chat for a bit, but she is super speedy so she pulls away after a while.  That little pack of us was filled with people that I knew (or knew of).  Shortly after I saw Tracy, I ran into Dave Emilio, another Daily Mile pal, fellow Boston runner and Race Director for the Tannenbaum 10km.  I also spot Kenny Yum just ahead of me, yet another Daily Miler.  I ran with Dave and his friend for a little.  That made the time pass nicely.

They changed the beginning of the route this year and I have to say, I don't like it.  The old route was flatter and had a bit more shelter.  This route had virtually no shelter and I think we climbed no less than 3 bridges.  Not fun.  There were some points on these bridges where the wind was gusting so much it was blowing me sideways.  It was a very windy day on Sunday and I think that really made things so much harder for me.  I was never really sheltered from it, despite the fact that I was running in a pack.  And of course, it never seemed to be at my back.  That would be too easy.

My plan to get fluid at every aid station worked like a charm, although it did slow me down a fair bit.  There were 2 aid stations in particular that were horrible in terms of organization & volunteers and I'm chalking it up to the fact that they weren't fully manned.    The one that really stuck out was the 11km aid station.  I had to stop and back track to grab fluid.  It just seemed like everyone wanted fluid and there weren't enough folks doling it out.  I felt kind of bad for the volunteers.  I made a point of grabbing both water and gatorade at each aid station with the exception of the last one at 28km.
My fueling plan was as follows:
Prior to start:  30 Energy Bits + GU Roctane drink (1/4 of a bottle), 45 minutes in: 1 GU Roctane, 30 minutes after that, 1/2 a GU Roctane, 15 minutes after that, the other half of said Roctane.  That took me to 90 minutes in.  At that point I was well into the hills in the back half of the course.  My plan was to take my last full Roctane at 1:45 in, figuring that would be enough to get me up the big hill and to the finish line.  I missed the 1:45 mark and ended up taking it at 1:48.  No biggie.  

I was doing fairly well until the 11km mark.  Then I noticed that my right leg was feeling really sore (IT band area) and then my left glute really started to hurt.  I made a mental note to myself to get a gait analysis done at some point in the near future.  I am clearly favouring one side over the other and I need to figure out how to fix that.  Anyway....back to the race.  I'm chugging along ducking behind some taller runners trying to block the wind but feeling pretty crappy.  At this point, I can't fathom that I still have 19 km to go.  I pass the 14km mark and I look up to see Ming running along the road in the opposite direction.  I was totally surprised to see him, I didn't think he'd be there.  He must have been looking for me with the 2:15 pace bunny but I was a fair bit ahead of him.  A minute later he runs up beside me and asks me how I'm doing.  I say I feel like crap and that I'm just going to hope that I can hold on to this pace through the hills.  I'm not convinced that will be possible but I'm damn sure going to try.   He tells me not to worry that it's tough out there today because of the wind.  That made me feel a bit better.  He ran with me for a bit more and then peeled off just before the relay hand off.

I was starting to get a little fed up with the wind.  It was constantly in my face (I had windburn by the end of the race).  The wind has to be one of the most demoralizing things to race or train in.  You have to work THAT much harder to move forward at the pace you want, therefore you tire out more easily.  It's so frustrating.  On the plus side, it does make you stronger, eventually.  But I wasn't thinking about that at that point in time.  I was cursing under my breath.  Once I got into the rollers, the wind seemed to die down but now I was faced with nothing but hills.  I did what I could to get up them but my winter on the treadmill translated into a serious lack of strength on the hills.  I lost a lot of speed through here, although I did make sure that I hammered the downhills to make up for something.

By about 24km I was totally dying.  I wanted to quit.  I really really did.  I thought to myself there is no way in hell I can run a marathon at this pace.  No.  Freaking.  Way.   But, I didn't stop.  I didn't even slow down to walk.  I knew that if I did that I'd be done.  Surely I could suffer through the next 6km.  And if I stopped there, I wouldn't get to see my favourite dude - the little guy in the wheelchair playing We Will Rock You.  You can't do Around the Bay without high fiving the little guy.  So, I kept going.   Soon enough I could hear Queen blaring and I ran up to him, thanked him and gave him a high five.  I let myself really fly on that downhill, as I figured I'd have to fight my way up the Beast.   That was exactly the case.  It was ugly.  My legs and lungs were completely on fire.  I got passed by a tiny wisp of a woman and I vowed to keep her in my sights so I picked up the pace as best I could.  She was always just in front of me....until we got to the top.  Shortly after I crested the hill and my heart rate started to settle down and I proceeded to try to reel people in, she being my first target.  I caught her.  I had just under 4km left.  I started to push the pace.  Just before I got to the Grim Reaper my legs were saying they'd had enough. My mind had other plans.  And so the conversation began:

Mind: "Uh, hell NO.  Ain't nobody got time for that.  You got a race to finish now suck it up and get yo ass moving." 

Legs:  "I. Just.  Want. To. Stop.  I'm hurting.  I can't do this anymore."

Mind:  "Shut up legs"

I manage to pass a kilometer focusing only on the pain I was feeling, nothing else.  Once I saw the 29km sign, it was all systems go.  A green light went on somewhere and the pain no longer became so relevant because all I could smell was the finish line.  I really started to push the pace.  I caught a girl who had passed me on the Beast.  She tried to stay with me for a bit.  She asked if we'd make 2:15 and I said I thought so.  I told her to keep it up, that she had it and that she was doing great.  I pulled away from her and really started hammering.  My finish line blinders came on.  I turned down the ramp into Copps Coliseum and saw the clock counting down.  I wasn't even thinking about whether or not I'd make it in time to get a gold medal.  I watched the guy in front of me cross the line and then all of a sudden two people came out with a rope and ushered him inThe volunteer handing out medals turned to me and said I'm sorry as she handed me a silver medal.


I was pissed.  Then I was upset.  I was so close.  I didn't want to get my picture taken by the photographers that were milling about, I just wanted to sit down and sulk in a corner.  Which I did for about 5 minutes until I realized that my legs didn't really hurt that much.  I walked around for a bit more and noticed that I was walking fairly normally.  Bonus.  So, I sat down, stretched and waited for Jo-Anne.  I ended up chatting with a lovely guy from Ottawa and then Jo-Anne showed up.  She had a great race - she ran a 2:37!  Shortly after she arrived, I saw Christina and ran over to say hi.  I also met Britt, who follows me on IG - it was nice to put a face to the handle.  I chatted with them for a bit then went back to Jo-Anne.  We gathered our things and headed outside.  On our way out I spotted Jodi, another IG friend / blog reader that I'd yet to meet IRL.  I ran over, tapped her on the arm and she threw her arms around me and give me a big hug.  The three of us chatted for a while and then Jo-Anne and I went back to the car.   Seeing / meeting those folks really put a smile on my face and made me forget about how I was feeling.  

G said he knew I wouldn't be happy unless I beat my previous year's time but I knew going in this race wasn't about beating last years time.  For me it was more about the medal.  Of course the ultimate goal was to race smartly and practice my strategy for Boston.  The more I think about my day, the less important the colour of the medal is.  Despite feeling crappy by 11km in and having less than ideal hill fitness, I still managed to hang on to my goal pace in very windy conditions.  I honestly can't be disappointed in that.  I may not have gotten what I wanted, but I think I definitely got what I needed.

Look out Beantown, here I come.   





Monday, March 31, 2014

T-Minus 3 Weeks: #Mingsanity Week 12

Well now that race number two is under by belt (recap to come later on this week), it's almost time to wind down for Boston.  I've got 3 weeks left.  This weekend will be my last long-ish run (30km) before I really start to chill out.  This past week was really low key so I'd actually be able to recover from the two hard weeks that I had.  I also had a few after work events so that meant I was either missing a workout or doing them back to back. But I didn't have anything terribly long or too intense so that was good.  I felt pretty tired at the beginning of the week but seemed to bounce back towards the end.  At least I thought I did.  But I'll save that for my race report.  For now I'll recap my week of training.  As usual I'm linking up with the Bestfoot ladies, Krysten, Erica & Amanda.  Let's see how this week went down.

Monday:  1800m swim.  Was supposed to swim easy but ended up leading my lane on a progressively harder set so I got out before things got too crazy.
Tuesday:  13km run with 11km at tempo pace.
Wednesday:  1600m swim.  Super hard set so I didn't stay long.  Coach told me to take it easy this week.
Thursday:  30 minute ride + 8km run with 4x600m repeats.
Friday:  OFF
Saturday:  1650m swim + 30 minute ride + a really short run (1.5km) to test out my new Mizunos.
Sunday:  5km warm up + 30km race.

I have a medium volume week this week with nothing too intense until later on in the week.  I've been instructed to do all my runs in High Park for the next 2.5 weeks since I felt like the hills in yesterdays race got the better of me.  That's what happens when you spend most of the winter running on a treadmill.  I think that's part of the reason I was so wiped out yesterday  I was in bed asleep before 9:00 pm.  I skipped my swim and slept until 6:20 this morning.  I definitely needed it.  I have a massage scheduled for after work so I'm hoping that by tomorrow evening my legs will feel better.

How was your week of training?




Friday, March 28, 2014

The ATB Game Plan

First off, I'd like to point out that this is my 5th post this week.  I've posted something every day.  I can't remember the last time that happened...if at all in the history of this wee blog.  HIGH FIVE!

So...on Sunday I'm racing Hamilton's legendary Around The Bay 30km for the 3rd year in a row.  I've had so many people tell me that this is not a great tune up race for Boston, it's too close to the race, if you go too hard you won't recover in time blah blah blah.  I learned this the hard way last year.  Last year, I REALLY raced this because I wanted that gold medal something fierce.  I got it but I think my race at Boston suffered a bit.  My legs were tired and I'd say I was at about 95% health wise.  I didn't feel totally fresh going in.  I DO NOT want that to happen this year.  So I'm going to stick to my pace even if I do feel good.  This is about PRACTICE. 



My official game plan from Ming is to run this at "slightly faster than my Boston pace" which would mean I'm somewhere between 4:25-4:27/kms.  He said if I can maintain that in the last 10km of rollers, I'll be in a good place for Boston.  I'm not sure I'm up for that as it's not that far off last year's pace so I may start off a bit slower and then work into that pace.  I figure if I stay with the 2:15 pace bunny for the first half of the race (4:30/kms), that's perfect. 

I learned my lesson last year in terms of poor recovery so this year, I have a massage scheduled for the next day so I'm sure that will be beneficial.   This will also be my last 20+ miler before Boston so it's my last chance at getting a good solid run on hilly terrain in.  I've had a pretty low key week mileage wise and I feel like my legs are starting to bounce back after the beat down of these last 2 weeks.  I do wish that my knees would just figure themselves out.  I was so hopeful on Wednesday when I spent all day on my feet, running up and down stairs with absolutely NO knee pain.  I felt like my old self again.  My hopes were dashed when I went out to run yesterday morning and my knees absolutely killed.  But, it was only for the first few minutes.  It's almost like my kneecaps have to figure out where to go when I start running.  As soon as they figure that out, I'm good.  Afterwards though I was in a lot of discomfort.  Today I'm totally fine again.  It's really strange.  Taping helps them so I'll definitely be doing that this weekend. I'm also massaging my kneecaps and the area around my knees, which sounds weird but it actually feels really good.  My PT told me to do this and I find it helps.  I have been worrying a lot about my knees as of late but my Chiro told me not to worry.  She thinks that the Graston work will sort it all out.  I don't know.  I suspect that a lot of it is just from plain old overuse.  I've made an appointment to see a sports doc but I don't get in to see him until April 29th.  Ugh.  So for now I'm going to continue doing what I'm doing:  ice, Graston, stretching & mobility work, KT tape & the occasional dose of Deep Relief gel and anti-inflammatories. 

As I mentioned before, this race is about practice.  I'm going to practice my pacing and mainly my nutrition and hydration strategy.  Last year I ran with a fuel belt.  This year I'm going without.  This is a big deal for me, especially since the aid stations at this race are anywhere between 3-4km apart.  At Boston they are at every mile.  So, I know if I can make it through this race, I'll be totally good for Boston.   I finally caved and bought myself some Energybits as I noticed a big difference training without them and thankfully they arrived last week so I'm well stocked up.   Now I just need to figure out what to wear!


Who else is racing this weekend? 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Thinking Out Loud #8

Hey-Yo, it's THURSDAY.  This week has flown by.  Probably because I've been a super busy little lady.  Work has been busy and I've had a few weeknight social activities (which normally never happen) so it's made this week go by really quickly.



I'm linking up with Amanda at Running with Spoons for my weekly randomness. 

1.  This has been a big part of my life for the last 3 days.  I'm racing on Sunday and I CANNOT get sick.  My throat has been sore since Tuesday and that is usually a precursor to me getting sick.  Fingers crossed I've managed to fight it off.


2.  Speaking of racing this weekend....this is the forecast.  Can you say JACKED?????  It's about bloody time, thank you very much. 
3.  I actually went out shopping on Sunday!  I can't remember the last time I had time (or energy) to go shopping.  Christmas maybe?  I was on the hunt for some cute spring clothes but ended up buying athletic gear instead.  Clearly I have a wee bit of a problem.  Although I DID need a new sports bra. 





I'm going to have another chance to redeem myself this evening.  A friend of mine is the CEO of a Toronto based clothing company called Miik and one of the owners is have a friends and family sale.  I own a bunch of their stuff and it's by far some of the most comfortable and stylish clothing I own.  The BIG plus side?  I'll get to spend some time with a bunch of my friends, there will be wine and I don't have to walk around a mall!  Win/win.


4. I recently signed up for a 2 year membership on Lumosity.  I signed up when they had a free trial a few months ago and I found it to be a really interesting way to challenge my brain.  I enjoy doing crosswords but I feel like there are certain things that I could improve upon, mentally.  My memory being one of them.  So when I saw that they were offering 30% off memberships, I thought why not?  I think it's important to keep your grey matter just as active as your body.  They recommend you "train" 3-5 days a week. The tests / games take about 30 minutes to get through.  I've only just started so I'll report back in a few months to see if I notice a difference in anything.

5.  I finally saw a preview for 24:  Live another Day.  OH BOY.  I LOVED 24 when it was on, even though the story lines got a little far fetched towards the end, it was still enjoyable.  Needless to say I'm super excited that Jack is back!!!  I've got May 5th circled in my calendar!

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6.  Miracle of miracles:  I think this week is the first week I've done both my mid week runs OUTSIDE instead of on the treadmill.   Can I get a HELL YEAH??


Your turn!!  Tell me something random!


Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Details Details....

I can't believe that our Europe trip is less than 3 months away!  We've finally finalized all our travel plans for our big European road trip.  Since we are flying in and out of Paris, we were hoping to spend some time in France other than in the airport.  Our original plan was to stay in the countryside, perhaps near Alp d'Huez but apparently there are a ton of races happening the week we're looking at staying there and a lot of the accommodation has been booked up already.  So, we went back to our original plan of visiting the south of France.  When we leave Italy, we'll drive along the coast and spend 4 days in Nice.  Ohhh la la.  I'm pretty sure a day trip to Monaco will happen while we're there.  From Nice, we're going to head to Grenoble and spend 2 nights there so we can drive to Alp d'Huez and ride up it.  I'm still freaking out about that descent although I think it will be much nicer on my fancy rental bike.


That, my friends is a Pinarello Dogma.  We had a few options to choose from and I went with that.  I wanted to ride something that I could never justify buying.  Here's hoping I don't crash it. 

After our stay in Grenoble, it's off to Paris to spend one last night in France before heading home.  A bit of a whirlwind yes, but it's a whirlwind I'm looking forward to! 

It seems like such a long way off but I know it will be here before I know it.  I'm already thinking about what to pack, ha ha.  I'm sure the list making will start in a couple of months.  Details details.

Speaking of details, it turns out there will be a few other details I'm going to have to figure out before we go.   Specifically when to eat breakfast on race day because apparently our race starts at 12:00 noon.  Yes, you read that right.  NOON.  WTH?  Although there is another area on the website that says it starts at 10:05 so who knows.  If it is noon, that's just insane.  Most 70.3 races start at 7:00-8:00 am.  Maybe as late as 10:00 am in some cases.  But NOON???  That opens up a whole other can of worms in terms of fueling.  I'm either going to have to eat a double breakfast or try to sleep in as late as possible (if I manage to sleep at all) and eat my pre-race meal later in the morning.  I'm sure I could try to practice this in training but that's going to make for a whole lot of late training rides which I'm not sure I'm too crazy about.  

The good news is that this race has wave starts so I will be with all the other "old broads" in my AG.  Right now there are 34 women in my AG including me.   The wave starts run between noon and 1:30 pm.  So the finish line party will start once the last wave has gone off and will go until 7:30 pm when they close the race course.  If it's anything like the finish line party at IM Switzerland, it's going to be a blast.  Maybe they'll have a D.J. and Red Bull on the run course too!  After all of that there is the official finishers party as well. I definitely want to stick around for that.

Of course I've been doing as much online course recon as I possibly can.  Especially regarding the swim.   Thank goodness for Google Street view!  I now know what the river we're swimming in looks like.  I know exactly the area that we swim in and I have a decent idea as to what I can use for sighting.  That's the thing with destination races, especially ones that you don't have the opportunity to train on ahead of time.  If you're like me and want to be prepared for certain in things on race day, you need to try to do as much course recon as possible before race day.  Unless of course you're my husband who will pretty much race anything, anytime.

This is the river we will be swimming in.  It's quite pretty!  And that's the bridge that I *should* be able to use to help me sight.  In fact, in some of the other aerial shots I saw, I think I've figured out where transition will be etc.  So exciting!!



Clearly the swim is what I am most preoccupied with as it is the thing I am least comfortable with.  I'm dealing with some "issues" regarding this leg of the race that will probably end up in a separate post on another day.   At least I have a few months to try and get my head sorted out.  Buckle up friends because that's going to be a FUN ride!


Anyone have any recos for places to go, things to do while in any of these places?  Other than drink lots of wine and tour vineyards, ha ha. 




Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Recovery, It's Part of the Program: Barefooters Review

When I first started running, I just went out and ran, pretty much every day.  I wasn't running far, usually about 4-5km a day.  I ran that same 5km from Monday to Friday and I'd take the weekends off.  That was my little routine.  The weekends were my recovery time.  Once I started doing longer distances, I found that I needed to start incorporating things like massage into my routine to help me recover.  As I got older, things like compression gear and ice baths also became part of the regular routine in addition to massage.  The more things I had in my arsenal to aid in the recovery process, the better. 

Enter Barefooters.

Late last fall, I was approached by Michelle Clarke, a fellow runner, to see if I wanted to try out these recovery shoes.  As a runner, my feet take ridiculous amounts of abuse.  Our feet need to be treated with TLC if they are going to continue to allow us to run.  I'd seen Krysten wearing these shoes on instagram and then she mentioned how much she liked them in a blog post so I thought, why not?  I spend a lot of time on my feet on weekends when I really should be sitting down and relaxing after my workouts (have I mentioned that I have a hard time sitting still?).  I usually spend 2-3 hours doing some sort of food prep on the weekend so of course, I'm standing.  And I'm standing on a hard tiled floor in either my socks or my slippers.  Not the best choice, especially after a hard long run.  But, meal prep helps fuel my training so it's not something I'm going to skip either.  So, I started wearing my Barefooters inside during my meal prep.  GENIUS if I do say so myself. 

What makes these shoes so great?  Well for starters, they make your feet feel awesome.  I'm attributing that to their Oooaaahs reflex insoles (seriously that's what they're called!).  They are "removable insoles designed with reflexology principals in mind. The bumps are there to provide stimulation and to support the natural movements of your feet."   They are so much more supportive than my slippers (uh, hello!) and that makes a big difference in terms of how fatigued my legs end up feeling after standing around for 2-3 hours.  Especially after doing a long run.  The insoles actually make my feet feel amazing after a long run.  I totally get why they called their insoles "Oooaaahs" - I'm pretty sure that's exactly what came out of my mouth the first time I put them on. 

Unlike some other popular clog type shoes, these actually stay ON your feet.  These fit my feet perfectly without any slippage.  The fit is glove-like without being too tight.  I have room around my toes which is important to me especially after a race.  My feet take a pounding when I'm racing and I usually have a blister or two and some sore toenails if it's been a longer distance race.  I don't want anything touching them.  There is enough room in the toe box of these shoes that I don't have to worry about that.  Add a pair of compression socks and I'm good to go!  Needless to say, I will definitely be taking them with me to Boston for my post race walk to MJ O'Connors pub!

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The really exciting news (for me at least) is that Barefooters have just recently added a flip flop to their line up.  This is my kind of shoe.  I LIVE in flip flops in the summer and would love to get my hands on a pair of these.  I'm hoping they expand the colour range beyond the brown and black.  I could definitely see myself taking a pair of these to Europe this summer and wearing them every day.  Barefooters, you need to make these in white!

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If you're looking for a comfortable, eco friendly shoe and you believe that the road to good recovery starts with your feet, then I highly recommend you get yourself a pair of Barefooters and experience what it's like to Feel Great.  

Disclaimer:  Barefooters gave me these shoes in exchange for a honest review.