WIAW + Weigh-In Wednesday

Time for our weekly food-voyeurism party hosted by Peas & Crayons! {Thanks Jenn!} I documented my eats on Sunday (long run day!) to get away from the same ol’-same ol’ week day routine. Unfortunately, Sundays are usually my worst day for veggie intake. As per WIAW rules:

“What WIAW isn’t about
Comparison – Judgement – Restriction – Guilt”

can you tell that I went back for seconds?

  • standard pre-long run brekkie: tea, bagel slathered with PB&J + OJ
  • (un-pictured) Gu Chomps, orange wedges and a handful of jelly beans during my long run
  • post-long run Timmy’s date with hubs – delicious maple cinnamon french toast bagel with cream cheese + chocolate milk and (unpictured) hot chocolate
  • (unpictured) handful of various chewy fruit candies from the bulk bins (weakness!!)
  • dinner made by hubs – tortellini with chicken, veggies and rose sauce
  • Pop Chips for munching – love these!

So… not exactly an A+ for nutrition and definitely light on fruits & veggies. I usually let myself eat what I feel like on long run days, as long as I make sure to nail that recovery meal. Mmmm chocolate milk.

Do you treat yourself after a long workout? Do you remember your veggies in the process?


Weigh-In Wednesday

I “forgot” to check in over the last few weeks, which means I was not doing the greatest. There were plenty of small fluctuations in that time, but it seems I ended up right about where I left off, so here we go again.

Week 1: -4.2 
Week 2: -1.6
Week 3: -0.6
Week 4: -1.6       
Week 5: not recorded
Week 6: not recorded
Week 7: not recorded
Week 8: -0.2
Total: -8.2 lbs

Boston+ Training – Week 8

Another week down and just 7 to go! I’m still making up my “plan” as I go along on a week-to-week basis, with just loose ideas of mileage goals speed work with the clinic. I’m generally running 5 days and swimming and cycling 3 days each, but other than that there is no plan.

This is so different from what I am used to and I’m anxious to have a plan again when the time is right. For now, this is what works. Once this clinic is done and I can focus on ME again, I will be sitting down to write up a training plan for the summer. I want to start ticking off those boxes again! 

Monday – Much needed and thoroughly enjoyed rest day (day off work too).

Tuesday – I was lacking motivation and energy (rest days kill my momentum!) and bailed on most of what I had planned, completing only a short run over lunch (5.7K).


Wednesday – Lunch run (9.1K), hour-long ride after work followed by 1:30:00 swim session (3250m).

Thursday – Marathon clinic night with an 800-1000-1200-1000-800 interval pyramid. Held on for dear life with my pace group (11K total).

Friday – Very wintery lunch run (cut short in ugly conditions, 5K), one hour ride on the trainer (catching up on Bachelor) after work then an hour in the pool (2150m).

Saturday – Hopped on my bike for an hour, then headed out into even more wintery conditions with hubs for an 8K brick run.

SundayCharacter-building 20-miler.    

Total Run Distance: 70.9 km (44.1 mi)
Total Run Time: 6:43:32
Run Pace: 5:41/KM (9:08/mi)

Total Bike Distance: 75.0 KM (46.6 mi) [estimated]
Total Bike Time: 3:00:00

Total Swim Distance: 7500 m
Total Swim Time: 3:20:00

Total Training Time: 13:03:32


When it doesn’t get better

I often find that I start my long runs feeling stiff and slow with fatigue and soreness from the previous day (or week)’s activities making it feel very uncomfortable. Generally I can shake this off within the first 10 or 20 minutes as I settle in and find a groove. It really sucks when that doesn’t end up happening!

My group met just outside of town this morning to complete our long run on a new route along some country roads. The change in scenery was fantastic and while we faced rolling hills the entire way, it was nothing unmanageable. We had a biting cold but clear morning with the sun bright in the sky. Other than numb hands to start and some slippery sections, there are no complaints about these conditions.

I started off feeling so-so as usual and was happy for the company – as usual. When we hit the 5K mark and I still found myself dragging, I got a little concerned. As it turns out, it didn’t end up getting any better. I struggled through almost every step of a three hour run, counting down kilometres by the tenths and relishing the walk breaks.

There were a few rare moments where I felt decent, but they never seemed to stick. I did my best to carry some conversations, soak up the scenery and enjoy the day, all the while whining on the inside (okay, on the outside too) about how crummy I was feeling.

In the end I made it through nearly 20 miles and could not have been happier to be done. You know how a little while after finishing a brutal workout or race, you can sometimes look back and think, “Hmmm, that wasn’t so bad”? That sooo didn’t happen today. I remember every painful moment all too clearly, but I also know that every painful moment made me just a little bit stronger.

Without bad runs, we couldn’t have good runs – right?

photo source: I <3 to run

Second Wind: Guest Post & Book Giveaway

Cami Ostman of 7marathons7continents.com recently sent me a copy of her book Second Wind: One Woman’s Midlife Quest to Run Seven Marathons on Seven Continents (Seal Press, November 2010).

“Second Wind is the story of an unlikely athlete and an unlikely heroin: Cami Ostman, a woman edging toward midlife who decides to take on a challenge that stretches her way outside of her comfort zone. That challenge presents itself when an old friend suggests she go for a run to distract her from the grief of her recent divorce. Excited by the clarity of mind and breathing space running offers her, she keeps it up—albeit slowly. Soon the old friend, Bill, now a romantic interest, invites her to Prague to run a marathon. Little does either of them know that this race will ignite a quest to run seven marathons on seven continents.” 

I was sucked into Cami’s whirl-wind adventure as soon as I cracked the cover, from learning to run, to experiencing her first marathon, to marathoning all around the world. As a running blogger, I love race reports and this book is full of them – but it’s much more than that. What makes Cami’s journey to completing 7 marathons on 7 continents even more enthralling is her simultaneous journey of self-discovery, the lessons she learns, the people she meets and the impact they have on her along the way.

Cami kindly offered to write a guest post, which I have posted below.

I enjoy Marlene’s blog because she encourages me to continue pushing my own limits and to enjoy friends and keep a smile while I’m doing it. Here’s to the greater running community and to the blogosphere that helps us stay in touch with one another!

BQs and BoPs Live in Perfect Harmony–and Leave the World a Better Place

I love my Boston bound pals. I’m even married to one. In fact, I’ve been to the Boston Marathon twice–as a fan. Twice I’ve stood on the sidelines at mile 16 with a motley assortment of international fans as we screamed and rang cowbells and craned our necks to find our runner in the hoard of athletes streaming by us. The experience was exhilarating and inspiring.

With around twenty marathons under my own belt, including one on every continent, I watch many of my friends working hard to qualify for the Boston Marathon with a mixture of admiration and pride. I check results regularly to track their successes or near misses, and I’m the first to post a virtual pat on the back on Facebook when they’ve been victorious. But I will never be one of them. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

At age 45, my Boston Qualifying time is 3:55. My fastest marathon was in 2009 in Tateyama, Japan (4:53), and although I always put in my training with a pit-bull-like commitment, I typically come across a finish line after the time clock has flipped over the five hour mark.

One might think that the Boston Qualifiers (BQ-ers) and the back-of-the-packers (BoP-ers) are such different breeds that we have little to bring to a meeting of the minds besides the marathon distance, but I have learned that we BoP-ers and our BQ brothers and sisters have a great deal of mutual respect. My respect for the likes of my husband and others who hold Boston in their sights is probably fairly obvious: it’s about the hard, the carefully organized training, the commitment to improvement, the “leave it all on the route and throw up at the finish line” mettle of the BQ crowd. Their commitment to the PR, that determined gaze which remains the same at mile 25 as it was at mile one, and their self-recrimination when they miss meeting their goal by one minute all transfixes me, as well it should. I admire the focus, the determination, and the godlike command of their bodies.

When I first started running marathons, I felt apologetic about my slow plodding on the marathon course in the presence of more competitive racers. And yet, I’ve been gratified over the years to enjoy a reciprocal admiration from the BQ-ers in my circle. I’ve appreciated being recognized for spending enough time on my feet to have pulled a respectable waitressing shift, for committing a half a day to my twenty-mile training run, for crossing the finish line with a smile because I made a new friend on the course, and for being able to get up early on the following Sunday to run another marathon.

For me, the mutual respect among runners of every ilk is exactly what makes marathoning such a booming popular sport–and the best thing (next to my marriage, of course) I’ve ever committed myself to. Whether you’re Boston bound in 2012 or poking along with me at the back of the pack, may you have a joyful year of running and sharing the mutual admiration and respect of your fellow racers.

Cami and her husband, Bill

 Thank you, Cami!


Cami’s publisher has offered to send a copy of Second Wind to one lucky reader. Just leave a comment to enter! Winner will be announced Friday, March 2nd.


This marathon clinic that I am co-instructing is a huge, all-consuming commitment right now. I knew it would require a lot of my energy and attention, but it does even more so than I imagined. There is so much planning and coordination involved, from the schedule to the workouts to the routes (3 runs per week) to the info/discussion topics to the guest speakers to the brunches and so on. We have to manage a lot of people (60+) at widely varied levels, with widely varied abilities and goals. I am so grateful to our volunteer pace group leaders who have helped out tremendously in this regard, but a lot of it still falls on us.    

Don’t get me wrong – I am enjoying the experience and find it very rewarding. It feels good to give back in what little way I can and I am also learning a lot in the process. My co-instructor is awesome and we are having a lot of fun. BUT it’s a lot of work.

Combine all of that with a heavy training load, evening commitments 4 nights a week until 9PM or later (Mon-Wed-Fri swim, Thursday clinic) and of course my actual full time job (which is busier than ever lately – go figure) and I have very little “spare” time. It’s a miracle that we can keep up with groceries and laundry and adequate food prep in the middle of all of that.

As a result, I have not been able to devote nearly as much time to the blog (and keeping up with your blogs) lately as I typically do. I often find myself scrambling to put a post together, lacking the thought, detail and photos that I usually aim to provide. I’m sure you can understand why I haven’t been remembering to take pictures of what I’m eating or what I look like after a workout (you know you love that), let alone writing actual content for this blog or reading/commenting on yours. I consider it a success if I leave the house wearing pants!

I often have good intentions to catch up over the weekend, but then I feel the need to turn my brain off and watch mindless TV or movies with hubs if we actually have a chance to sit on the couch. After staring at the computer and stringing words together all day long every day, sometimes that is the last thing I want to do on the weekend.

Of course I realise that blogging is not, in fact, a “job” and I am not obligated to anybody but myself, but I still feel the urge to apologize for my (sort of) absence. I have actually been tempted a few times to just shut it down for now, but I’d hate to miss the opportunity to document my journey to Boston, even if I am not documenting nearly as much as I’d like.

So, I will endeavour to do the best I can with the time I have for now. Thank you for being patient and understanding with me. Something tells me we have all felt like this at one time or another.