Too Much Information

Here’s the first installment of my answers to your questions, all on the topic of Training & Racing:

Thanks to everyone who asked a question. I hope this isn’t too boring… feel free to scroll down to your name. I know how these things work. ;)

RunningLaur asked: “ You’ve done so much in 5 years. Anything you’re most proud of? (maybe other than the BQ? ;) )”

I would have to say I am most proud of taking up this sport, sticking with it and going as far with it as I have. Hard to believe it all started with one 10-minute run on the treadmill (almost) 5 years ago.

TMB asked: “Other than Boston (obviously) if you had to choose only one race next year what would it be?”

Chicago with 2 of our best friends on my 30th Birthday weekend!

Johann asked: “Will you go up to ultra running eventually?”

I always thought I would try an ultra before a triathlon. It is definitely on my bucket list.

and:

“Have you done any trail running/races?”

I have done a handful of trail runs over the last couple of years, and definitely enjoyed them. I have done a 10K “mud run” trail race, and a half marathon earlier this year included some long trail and cross-country sections. Fun but tough!

Lilmeg asked: “If you could get ANY bike regardless of cost, which bike would you get?”

I’m pretty clueless about bikes. If I had unlimited funds for a new ride, I’d let our friend Erin choose it for me!

J asked: “What’s your favorite long run distance?”

15 to 18 miles is a happy distance for me.

Anna B asked: “The Goofy Challenge: how horrible was the second race?”

Not horrible at all, actually! We ran both races for fun and took it very easy on day 1 and for the first three-quarters of the marathon. We stopped frequently for photos and felt pretty strong throughout. The most horrible part was waiting outside in the freezing cold darkness for 2+ hours before the start. (Goofy Challenge Race Report)

Lish asked: “What are your long-term tri goals???”

I’m not quite ready to put those out there yet. ;)

and

“What Race was the most defining for you?”

I would have to say the Chilly Half Marathon last year – it was the first time I executed a race perfectly and finished in a time that led me to believe that some big goals could be within reach.

Dietitian on the Run asked: “If you could run in ANY country (race or otherwise), where would you go?”

 I’d love to run the Great Wall Marathon in China.

Jill asked: “when are you coming to Colorado to run with me!?!?!?”

One day I will!

Misszippy asked: “What’s the biggest lesson about running you have learned so far?”

Learning the importance of recovery has been paramount in becoming a stronger runner. In order to maintain the mileage that I want, I have to make sure I am running recovery runs at a true recovery pace. This is easier said than done!

Rene asked: “While I know that running is your passion, do you think a half iron man or iron man tri are in your future?”

Let’s just say that anything is possible. 

Kim asked: “What is your dream race that you have yet to do?”

I have hopes of running the big five: Boston, Chicago, New York, London and Berlin. If I had to pick one, it’s Boston. 

Char asked: “What’s the most embarrassing thing that’s happened to you while training or racing?”

The first summer that I was running, hubs and I drove downtown to run on the waterfront path. I wore a new top with a v-neck and a built-in bra. I was clearly new enough to running that I didn’t realize a sports bra was still necessary. Let’s just say I was giving quite a show to other folks out on the trails and spent a lot of time running directly behind hubs.  

Jason asked: “Are you prepared to learn to pee on the bike for the triathlon?”

I’m not sure yet… but I have mastered peeing in a wetsuit!

and

“How did the whole changing in the bathroom to workout start?”

I can’t remember exactly, but I decided one day that lunch hour would be the perfect time to squeeze in a run. No shower? No problem.

and

“What is the one race that you want to do that after you do it you can never do it again? You can’t get revenge no matter how bad it went and you can’t repeat it no matter how great it went?”

I’ll have to go back to the Great Wall Marathon with this one. I think it would truly be the experience of a lifetime, but one where I wouldn’t have the urge to do it again.

Sara asked: “When you started this “diet blog” did you plan to run marathons to get into shape…was that your goal? Or did you just want to get into shape and fell into running in the process?”

Running was far from my mind when I started this blog. It just happened one day when I was getting bored of my regular routine. It wasn’t until several months after I started running that the thought of running a marathon entered my head.

and

“Did you meet your husband through running, or before?”

We met in high school! Hubs started running shortly after we got married and was definitely my inspiration to give it a try.

and

“When you are going to post your core routine that you promised me?? (ok, it wasn’t a promise, it was a mention that you might, but Please??)”

Sorry about that! This is the routine I was using (oops, need to get back at it!): Core Routine

and

“Where do you get your marathon training routines? I know you’ve mentioned your husband gets them ready for you, but does he create them? or just organize them into a spreadsheet for you?”

Hubs creates our programs from scratch. He has done a lot of research and it has become somewhat of a hobby.

and

“If you miss a week of training due to sickness or injury do you skip that week on your training schedule, and just move on, or do you continue with the week you missed and try to even it out later during training?”

Fortunately I’ve never had to miss an entire week of training (knock on wood!) since I started following a schedule a couple years ago. If I have to miss a few days will usually just move on - trying to make up workouts can be risky!

Richelle: asked: ”Would you ever want to do an Ironman?”

I always used to say “I don’t want to do triathlons… but I’d like to do an Ironman!” Does that answer your question?

Wifey asked: “What is your most memorable race? Not necessarily your favorite …”

I would have to say my first – everything was so new and exciting, from timing chips to water stations to that first finish line. The last 5K was probably the hardest of my life, but I will never forget it.

Elizabeth Dean asked: “What about being a runner makes you feel the best?”

Being a part of such an amazing community – from my training group to bloggers, there is no other spirit like that of runners!

and

“How do you cope with fatigue/lead legs/lack of motivation to push through?”

I’ll usually remind myself of previous hard runs or races that I have pushed through. Even when it feels like the hardest thing ever, it probably isn’t. I also try to remember that the harder runs are the ones that will make me stronger.

Tall Mom asked: “What is the best local race for someone from out of town to come run WITH you??”

I would definitely recommend the Niagara Falls International Marathon to visitors (it’s about 1.5 hours from here). It starts in the U.S. and finishes in Canada, which I think is pretty neat. It’s a beautiful route along the Niagara River, with a memorable finish right at the falls. 

Cat B asks: “How do you feel the running ‘scene’ differs in Canada as opposed to the US?”

Running and marathons have become increasingly popular here in Canada; unfortunately, we don’t seem to get the same report from the cities and non-running locals as there is the States. I’m hoping they will come around! 

H-Woman asked: “Do you meal plan? What are your pre-and post-run meals/snacks?”

I don’t meal plan, but I do try to record the foods that I eat daily. I’m all about PB&J before a run – on a bagel before a long run and on a small tortilla before a shorter or afternoon/evening run. My favourite thing to have after a run is chocolate milk or a big fruit smoothie.

Jenn asked: “I just started using energy gels and noticed that you use salt as well. This might sound dumb..but what kind of salt? Do you use it in training or just in runs?”

I use SaltStick capsules, which contain sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and VitaminD. I take them on all long runs and races.

Tricia asked: “You’ve kicked butt loosing weight, but more importantly, you’ve maintained the loss. What are your tips for maintaining?”

I still sturggle with occasional fluctuations, but I am most successful when I track my daily calorie intake. In this way I can ensure that I am eating enough to fuel my workouts, but not so much that I allow weight to creep back on. Treats in moderation (something I am constantly working on…) is also key to (my) long term weight maintenance.

Running Lawyer asked: “What do you say to yourself internally when you want to quit, when you are tired, sweaty, it’s awful weather, etc to get out there and do it?”

“Don’t think, just run.” Sometimes I just have to get out there before I can talk myself out of it.

and

“Most embarrassing running story?”

Answered above. Don’t make me repeat it! ;)

Leave me a comment answering one of the above questions!

Three Things Thursday

1. Epic Day

After yesterday’s practice du, you may have thought I went home from work and crashed hard on the couch… perhaps after a shower. Maybe. It was tempting, but I wasn’t done yet. I wanted to fit in a little more mileage so I went for another 5K after work. Note: three x 5K runs in one day is way harder that one 15K run. After that, hubs and I had a date at the pool where I swam my longest distance yet!

One day. Three runs. One ride. One swim.
45 kilometres (28 miles). Enough food for an army.

The lovely Meg asked a few questions so I thought I would answer them here:

How tired do you feel at night?
I’m used to the early wake-ups and go to bed early most days (9-9:30) and almost always fall asleep as my head hits the pillow. Last night I was awake later (10:30) because of the evening swim and I was definitely tired. I didn’t have any workouts planned for this morning (gasp!) so I enjoyed sleeping in a couple hours later.

What is that second run like?
I am brand new to cycling and brick runs and it is definitely an unusual feeling to be running off the bike. I expected my legs to feel heavy, but they actually just felt kind of wobbly. I also felt like I was running much slower than I actually was, which appears to be common from what other’s have told me.

Have you ever done two runs in a day and done one at night? How is that different for you?
I run doubles pretty frequently where I am running morning and evening. This has been a great way to put in the mileage without as much strain on the body – and schedule. I almost always find that my legs feel tired and slow as I start that second run, but wake up quickly and I almost forget I had already run that day.

2. Speaking of questions… I will be getting to those answers SOON. I promise!!

3. Duct Tape to the Rescue…

We had a “minor” incident on our camping trip over the weekend where the zipper on our tent broke completely on our last night. Naturally, this happened late at night when we were trying to tuck in for the night and the bugs were buzzing like crazy and looking to settle in to our sleep nest. Thank goodness for duct tape, safety pins and clothes pegs!

Practice Du

With my first duathlon coming up next weekend, I thought it would be fun to ”du” a practice round this morning.

4:30 – wake up, get dressed, breakfast
5:00 – out the door for run # 1 (5K)
5:30 – home, change shorts, bathroom break, grab bike gear/bike
5:50 – Juliana arrives – bike to work (29K/18mi)
7:00 – arrive at work – unload bike/gear, change shorts
7:10 – out the door for run # 2 (5K)
7:40 – back to work, freshen up*, dress
7:55 – seated at my desk
8:00 – food, food and more food
Noon – Nap time??

*You may notice the absence of “shower” in my time line. No showers at work – just baby wipes, even after 2 hours+ of running & cycling. Good thing my co-workers are used to this kind of behaviour…

My legs felt a little wobbly at first off the bike, but I was surprised that they were moving quicker than expected. My second 5K run actually ended up being nearly 3 minutes faster than the first one!

Tonight: swimming with the hubs!

What’s on your agenda for Wednesday?

Week 7 + Camping Pics

This was a planned recovery week, although I ended up needing more “recovery” than anticipated…

Monday – swim + run + bike

Monday morning I hit the pool for some laps. I tested out the nose plug to see if it would help with my sinus issues, but that was no fun at all and totally screwed me up. So much for that idea!

~800m 

Sara asked in the comments last week if I time my laps; nope, I don’t. For now I am just concerned about slowly building some endurance. Once I get more comfortable, I’ll pick up a basic watch or device to record my laps.

I had originally planned to go for a short run after the swim, but my legs were tired from Sunday’s long run so I opted for an easy ride instead to save my legs for Tuesday’s tempo. It poured rain on me the whole time, which didn’t bother me too much on this hot morning, except that I get nervous about braking.

a shower to rinse off the chlorine

10.4 KM (6.5mi) – 0:30:18- 20.5 kph (12.7 mph)

Tuesday – tempo/medium-long run

I wasn’t expecting much from my tempo intervals on yet another muggy morning. I am no unmotivated to run fast in this weather and often catch myself writing off the workout before I even start. This time, Coach Hubs gave me a little pep talk, reminding me that it’s OKAY TO SLOW DOWN in the heat – just watch the effort level and get that sh*t done.

With that in mind, I set out to complete 5 x 2000 at a hard but manageable pace – something in the 4:50-5:00/KM range as opposed to 4:30, which is what I would target is cooler conditions.

I met Juliana dark and early and we headed to the track. Even though five laps feels looong for each set, I somehow find these workouts easier to tackle mentally this way.

Sets completed in: (4:36, 4:45) – (4:34, 4:35) – (4:46, 4:42) – (4:43, 4:42) – (4:49, 4:52) [400 recoveries]

It went much better than anticipated and I felt pretty strong up until the last 2000 when I faded noticeably. Overall, a good workout!

STEAMY!

16.0 KM (9.9mi) – 1:22:58 – 5:11/KM (8:20/mi)

Wednesday – ride + run rest

Thursday – swim + run rest

Within a couple hours of my run on Tuesday morning, my sinuses were very aggravated and I felt horrible for the remainder of the day. I had a fever and was convinced my head may explode. Clearly a hard workout in humid conditions with a lingering sinus infection is not the best combo… go figure.

I prescribed myself 2 days of forced rest and kept busy preparing for our camping weekend and having wetsuit photo shoots.

Friday – long(ish) run + bike
After 2 days off, I wanted to put in somewhat of a long run before hitting the road for our camping adventure. I had originally planned on a 30K long run, but opted for less since I was not sure how I would feel. I was able to meet Juliana and enjoy some company for the first half, and I ended up feeling pretty good throughout. I was glad to put in some decent mileage so my week wouldn’t feel like a complete bust.
21.1KM – 2:00:35 – 5:42/KM (9:10/mi)
When we got to the campsite, hubs had a bit more mileage to run so I joined him on the mountain bike for 45 minutes or so.
The best part was cooling off with a dip in the river right off the campsite.
Saturday – run + swim
We went for a short run on the dirt road in the woods after breakfast and the bugs were HORRIBLE. I spent most of the run run screaming and waving my arms around like a lunatic. See all those specks? BUGS!

4.0KM (2.5mi) – 22:04 – 5:30/KM (8:51/mi)

Later that day we went for a canoe ride to the swimming rock, where we did some open water swimming and I was able to try out my friend’s wetsuit. We didn’t record the distance but probably swam for about half an hour in total.
Sunday – bike + swim
In the morning I mountain biked while hubs ran again. This time we drove out to the main road to avoid the bugs.
this is the “main road” when you’re in the middle of nowhere

hubs and … my arm
We went for another canoe + swim adventure in the afternoon – best kind of “cross training” while camping!
Total Week 7 Mileage: 41.1 KM (25.5 mi)
# of times I peed in my friend’s wetsuit: 2
Mosquito Bites: 56
Toasted Marshmallows: 17 

Friday Winner

The winner of my 1000th post [Q&A] giveaway is:

I’ll get in tocuh with Linz next week to send her a prize. In the mean time, she is getting married this weekend so please join me in sending her some best wishes!

Thanks again for all of your questions – I’ll start bombarding you with answers next week. :)

For now, I’ll start with Linz’s question: “What’s your typical pre-race breakfast?”

Before every long run & race, I eat a toasted PJ&J bagel. On the day of a marathon, I’ll usually eat a Clif bar as well – about an hour before the start.

What do YOU eat before a race?

Have a great weekend!