Week 8

Monday rest

Being a holiday off work, I easily could have fit in some cross-training or something, but all I really wanted to do was clean up the house post-party, eat too many leftovers, see a movie and relax with hubs. Perfect day…

Tuesday 24K medium-long (2 runs) with 10K tempo

lunch: 10K tempo @ 4:42/KM

12.1KM (7.5mi) – 59:17 – 4:54/KM (7:53/mi)

After work I headed out for part 2. I was meeting a couple of friends and we were ecstatic that it was still somewhat daylight as we set out after 6PM. What a treat!

My legs felt really dead for the first few minutes, but I was soon able to settle in. My friends (hi Kelly) were running hill repeats (I certainly was not) on two separate hills so I dilly-dallied around at the bottom of each one, looping back and forth and around and around as they completed their repeats. It worked out really well, actually, and it was great to have the company.

12.4KM (7.7mi) – 1:11:18 – 5:45/KM (9:15/mi)

Wednesday – 10K recovery

Discipline was the name of the game as I concentrated on keeping a true recovery pace, a.k.a. s-l-o-w. I stuck to the back of the pack for our group run, monitored my Garmin carefully and reeled myself in as needed. This turned out to be the slowest run I have recorded in as long as I can remember – exactly what I set out to do and I know I needed it between two very tough workout days.

10.8KM (6.7mi) – 1:08:11 – 6:19/KM (10:10/mi)

Thursday – 12K with 5 x 1000 at 5K Race Pace

Clinic night! The group was running 4-6 x 800 so we weren’t exactly in sync, but were able to warm-up and cool-down together, and I enjoyed seeing others out on our usual speed work loop. It’s worth noting that these intervals were not completed on a track, but in a residential neighbourhood – with intersections, cars, uneven surface, slight inclines/declines, etc.

My legs felt tired through the warm-up, but snapped out of it once I got going on the repeats.

My goal was 4:25 or better per 1000

The first 3 felt really good – I won’t say effortless, but not that difficult given the pace. Last summer I could barely run 1000’s at 4:30 so I was pretty impressed with myself! I was getting tired by the end of the 4th repeat and everyone else seemed to be finished their workout and were rallying to job back to the store. My original schedule only called for 4×1000; I had decided to bump that to 5, but could easily justify finishing with 4. Coach asked if I was done and I admitted that I was trying to “psych myself up” for one more. He very simply said “Go do it. I’ll be here.” That’s all I needed to hear, so off I went for one more convoluted lap in the darkened streets. And of course, I didn’t regret it!

13.0KM (8.1mi) – 1:09:51 –  5:22/KM (8:39/mi)

Friday – 5K easy rest

On Friday I actually packed my bag to run over lunch, but made the decision part way through the day to move my long run to Saturday and take the day off Friday. I knew my legs could use as much rest as possible after Tuesday’s and Wednesday’s workouts before a long run.

Saturdaybootcamp 35K long

I win!

35.0KM (21.75mi) – 3:12:40 – 5:30/KM (8:52/mi)

Sunday – 35K long 5K recovery

It was sooo nice to wake-up leisurely on Sunday and enjoy my tea knowing that my long run was finished, especially when I looked out at all the fresh snow! I eventually made my way to the gym for a short recovery run on the treadmill. My legs actually felt pretty good and 3 miles flew by.

5.0KM (3.1mi) – 29:53 – 5:59/KM (9:37/mi)

Total Weekly Mileage: 88.3KM (54.9mi)
Total time: 8:11:10
Average pace: 5:34/KM (8:57/mi)

11 weeks to Mississauga Marathon!

I win!

As of Friday, the forecast was looking a little nicer for Saturday, so I considered moving my long run forward instead of joining the group on Sunday. I also liked the idea of having an extra day to recover before my half marathon next weekend.

Imagine my disappointment surprise when I woke up on Saturday morning to a blanket of unexpected fresh snow. *sigh* After hemming and hawing for a while and double checking the forecast, I decided to go ahead anyway because I really liked the idea of gaining that “bonus” day to recover before the race. Sleeping in on Sunday sounded good too. :-)

I got a bit of a late start at 8:30, which I didn’t mind since I hoped it would be a little warmer and sunnier later in my run. Hubs joined me for the first 8K and then sent me on my way to finish the looooong run solo!

The footing was dicey to start, with a fluffy layer of the white stuff and ice underneath – but nothing like last week! I stepped carefully and waited patiently for the sun to come out – which it eventually did! The paths started clearing immediately and I found myself picking it up gradually.

I made a quick pit stop at the car with 10K for a bottle-swap and to grab the camera.

I noticed that I was picking up the pace more and more as I drew closer to that arbitrary finish line and I was on my way to a pretty significant negative split. I had the music going, I was soaking up the fresh air and just really enjoying myself. (Almost) 22 miles is a long way to go, especially (mostly) solo, but the time and miles were ticking by much quicker than I expected.
Before I knew it, I had 5K to go and I decided to test my legs for some quicker-than-MRP splits. I nailed it: 5:12, 5:12, 5:13, 5:13, 5:03.
And done!
35.0KM (21.75mi) – 3:12:40 – 5:30/KM (8:52/mi)
Post-run, it was into the ice bath followed by a big green smoothie – 2 things I would not have been able to do after the run today since we had a big brunch planned right after. But don’t you worry, I still showed up for the food.


When I woke up this morning to a ton of fresh snow (way more than yesterday), my first thought was: “I win!”  After a bit of a sleep-in, a leisurely morning and a short recovery run on the treadmill, it was off to join all of my running buddies for a fantastic spread. Hearing about everyone’s run this morning, I definitely chose the right day to run this weekend. I guess this makes up for my craptacular blizzard run last Saturday.

ABC’s of Marlene

I’ve seen this floating around and I know everyone wants to know more about ME, ME, ME so here goes…

Age: 28
Bed size: Queen but wish it was King
Chore you hate: laundry
Dogs: eventually
Essential start of your day: toothbrush (I hate morning mouth!)
Fav colour: pink

Gold or silver: white gold
Height: 5’8″
Instruments I play: none, but would love to learn piano
Job title: anything and everything Executive Assistant

Kids: not yet
Live: Newmarket, Ontario, Oh Canada!
Mom’s name: Laura Marlene

Nicknames: M, Mar
Overnight hospital stays: nope
Pet peeve: noisy eaters
Quote from a movie: “That wasn’t flying! That was falling with style!” (Toy Story)
[side note: for a while I was nicknamed “Buzz” at work after tripping on a box and falling/flying halfway across the room]

Right or left handed: right
Siblings: 2 sisters, 1 brother – all younger

Time you wake up: a wide range from 4:30 – 8, usually 6:30
Underwear: wouldn’t you like to know!
Veg you dislike: beets
What makes you run late: easily distracted
X-rays you have had done: ankle, shoulder, teeth
Yummy food you make: power bar squares

Zoo, favorite animal: I like giraffes

Now you know my ABC’s,
I think it’s your turn if you please…

Nolan’s Dream Chasers – a fundraiser/giveaway!


On May 1st, for the third consecutive year, I will be running Toronto’s Sporting Life 10K with Nolan’s Dream Chasers to raise money for Camp Oochigeas.

Camp Oochigeas is a privately funded, volunteer based organization that provides kids with cancer and kids affected by childhood cancer with a unique opportunity for growth through challenging, fun, enriching and magical experiences.

At Camp Oochigeas, we give children with cancer the chance to escape to a world where sunshine and laughter intertwine, a natural wonderland where friendships and memories replace worries about hospitals and illness. Much more than a summer camp, Camp Oochigeas provides year-round programs for children affected by childhood cancer at our site in Muskoka, at the Hospital for Sick Children and in the community.

One of the most devastating things about childhood cancer is that it removes children from their peer group. Oochigeas is a place where these kids can share their experiences, insights and dreams with other kids their age who understand them.

Meet Nolan

My good friend’s son Nolan is the reason I got involved with fundraising for this cause.

On January 29, 2009, at just 3 years old, Nolan was diagnosed in a matter of hours with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At this point, his blood counts were so low that his local hospital went against the Hospital for Sick Kids protocol and transfused him with some blood before sending him. Several comments were made about his counts not being life-sustaining, so he was a pretty sick little boy. He was transferred to Sick Kids immediately, the diagnosis was confirmed and treatment was started on Feb 1, 2009.

He responded well to treatment and was classified as an early responder. Everything was sailing along smoothly. After 3 weeks in the hospital, we were sent home.

On day 29, while registering for the clinic to have some tests done and receive more chemo, Nolan suffered a seizure. It took 70 minutes and a lot of drugs to get him to stop seizing. A CT scan revealed that he had a stroke due to a very large blood clot in the right side of his brain. This was the result of a chemo that he received on day 4 of his treatment.

After spending 3 days in the PICU unresponsive, he started to wake up and made quick progress rebounding from his stroke. He still sees an occupational therapist today and has some small motor skill delays as a result of his stroke. The blood clot meant that Nolan needed to be on blood thinner injections twice a day for 6 months. We were taught how to give him the injections at home. This also meant that once weekly, he was admitted to the hospital for “bridging” before his lumbar punctures were done. Bridging was necessary to let the amount of blood thinner in his system drop quickly for the procedure, and come back up quickly after the procedure.

In June 2009, Nolan was due to receive the same chemo that had caused his stoke. It’s an important chemo in the treatment of ALL so it was necessary for him to have it again. All precautions were taken to ensure that his blood clotting functions were within the normal range and his brain clot was not growing. He was given the shot of chemo, and within about 5 minutes, he dropped to the floor and had an anaphylactic reaction to the chemo. His throat was closing and he wasn’t breathing well. All of this was anticipated by both us and the nursing staff, because we knew Nolan hadn’t reacted normally to the first shot. He was quickly given some steroids to help him breath and was admitted for 5 days for observation.

In August 2009, Nolan finished the intense portion of his treatment and entered a phase called Maintenance Therapy. Maintenance will continue until approximately May 2012. Boys have 3 years and 3 months of treatment, while girls only have 2 years and 3 months of treatment. In September 2009, we finished giving his blood thinner shots which also ended his frequent hospital admissions.

During all of Nolan’s hospital stays and clinic visit he has spent hours enjoying activities put on by Camp Oochigeas. Camp Ooch staff run a program called “Ooch on the 8th” for inpatients, and they also run programs out of the day clinic. Nolan loves doing crafts with them, playing Guess Who and Uno, and playing bingo. They also have “campfires”, scavenger hunts around the hospital, and they even bring activities to kids’ rooms who are in isolation, so they don’t miss out. These staff members genuinely enjoy spending time with the kids. Outside of the hospital, Nolan has enjoyed day camp activities at the “Urban Ooch” facility and has recently spent his first weekend at the residential camp in Rosseau, ON. The residential camp has a full-time doctor and nursing staff so every child can enjoy camp regardless of where they are in their treatment protocol. Kids can get chemo treatments, blood transfusions and blood testing done while at camp, if necessary. It really lets kids be kids and lets parents have a break from treatment knowing that trained staff from Sick Kids are on hand at the camp.

Nolan is still followed by a stroke team, a thrombosis team and his oncology team at Sick Kids. He will be followed there until he turns 18, at which point his care will be turned over to his family doctor.

Thank you Erin for sharing this story with me/us.

I hope that by sharing it here, I have encouraged more of you to help us raise money for Kids With Cancer and support this cause. I run up to 20 races per year, but I only fundraise for this one because it is very close to home and close to my heart. I would very much appreciate your support!


For some added incentive, I have $75 for CSN Stores up for grabs!

I will be sending a personalized little something to the winner as well.

  • 5 bonus entries if you donate today
  • 5 bonus entries if you donated last year AND this year

Please note that CSN only ships to the US and Canada.

Thank you for your support!

Nolan finishing SL10K with his Mom in 2009!

Three Things Thursday

1. I have been trying to keep my recovery runs at a true ‘recovery” pace this training cycle. With hard workouts on Tuesdays and Thursdays, my Wednesday run really needs to be s-l-o-w if my legs are going to make it through the week. I’ve been getting better, but I know I could still stand to slow down even more.

“It’s also helpful to understand elites’ recovery paces relative to race paces. A national-class woman who runs easy mileage at 7:30 per mile is doing those recovery runs more than 2 minutes per mile slower than her 10K race pace. Do you?”
Excerpt from A compendium of collected wisdom by Scott Douglas

At the group run last night, I set out to maintain a pace much slower than I have been running and convinced Juliana to join me. She didn’t mind slowing down, but I had to re-assure her a few times that yes, I really do want to be running this slowly. I didn’t even mind being at the back of the pack! Hopefully my legs will respond well when I tackle 5 x 1000 tonight…
For another great article on recovery running, see: A Fresh Perspective on Recovery Runs

2.  Last week at clinic we had a great guest speaker from Achilles Canada.

“Achilles Canada is a non-profit organization that provides people with various disabilities an opportunity to receive the physical, psychological, and communal benefits of running. The club offers training and support by able-bodied members to its Achilles athletes of all ability levels.”

As an example, Achilles will assign up to three guide runners with for one blind runner in a long distance race. One guide will hold the rope and call out instructions (“We’re approaching a sharp right turn”; “Slight downhill ahead”; “We’re going to be passing on the left”, etc.), and two floaters to watch for obstacles, provide a cushion around the runner, grab water and switch out with the main guide as needed (I imagine that would get exhausting).

It sounds like a fantastic organization and I hope to have the opportunity to get involved. Can you imagine needing 3 “chaperones” just to go ut and run?

3. I just found out that our insurance provider is changing at work on April 1st. You know what that means… suck as much as possible out of the current provider first! As soon as I signed the papers, I was on the phone with physio to make a few extra appointments. I’ll be going 3 times by the end of March and my legs are going to love it.

Happy Thursday (almost Friday)!