Cramming

As of this morning, I’ve wrapped up week 3 of my new training plan for the upcoming season!

123As you can see, weekly total is holding steady for now. Since I’m focusing on half marathons this spring and don’t plan to increase beyond 75K, I am not in a hurry to build the overall mileage. This gives me a chance to get used to following a plan again (it’s been a long time!) and for my body to adjust to two workouts every week without the strain of added mileage. This number will start building after our upcoming vacation.

This week required some creativity since I have a spa day and girls night out of town tomorrow, and wanted to get all of my planned runs in before that. This involved a light workout on Tuesday morning (30 second sprints), my primary workout on Wednesday (6K tempo – nailed it), a 10-mile long-ish run this morning before work and a couple of double-days to add some miles so I could cut back on the long run.

407201045Cramming is not something I would typically recommend, but I’m able to get away with it now since I am very comfortable at my current mileage. Sure I could have afforded to skip the long run for one week since my first race is not until March, but when I have a plan I like to follow it as closely as possible. I’ve always found that consistency in weekly mileage is one of the biggest factors that brings results.

And now, I am going to enjoy some much-needed R&R this weekend!

Boxing Day 10 Miler

Snowman Logo My fifth and final race of the year was the 94th Annual Boxing Day 10 Miler in Hamilton. I’ve done it a couple times in the past (hard to believe it’s been 4 years!) and have been meaning to get back, so we jumped at the opportunity when we found out that some friends would be participating this year.

UntitledThe run has a fun and festive feel, starts at noon to allow for some time to recover from the turkey-hangover and helps with motivation to keep the mileage up over the holidays. Runners can keep warm and use facilities at the YMCA before and after the race (with hot soup offered after, although our group headed straight to Tim Horton’s instead), receive a cute snowman finisher’s medal as well as a unique race item which changes every year – this year it was a cozy sweatshirt. #winning

shirtThe route started with a good climb on some pretty rough road. It was pretty crowded to start and I was a little worried about tripping or twisting an ankle, looking down to avoid mis-stepping in a large crack or hole, but also trying not to run into anyone or get knocked over. Luckily things spread out pretty quickly on this first hill. By mile 2 we were running around Bayside and along the waterfront trail, and I was happy to be off the city streets.

KM 1 – 3: 5:25, 5:08, 5:24

By this time I was also over-heating and already desperately shedding layers. We had a beautiful, sunny, 5C day and I severely over-dressed, especially for the 12 noon start time. Running along the lake on this gorgeous afternoon made it feel more like spring than the end of December and I was only wishing I had dressed accordingly. I managed to tie my jacket around my waist and rolled the sleeves up on the 1/4-zip underneath to feel much better…. only to realize I needed a quick bathroom stop!

KM 4 – 8: 5:21, 5:17, 5:18, 6:16 (bathroom), 5:48

At the end of the trail around the half way point, we ran a short residential loop which was about a kilometre uphill followed by a kilometre downhill. This hill was no joke and I was a huffing, puffing, sweaty mess by the top. It was nice to have a long downhill to recovery, followed by the flat stretch along the waterfront trail again.

KM 9 – 12: 5:29, 5:25, 5:19, 5:25

I was pretty tired on the way back and had to work at holding the pace. I hadn’t set a time goal for myself and planned to run by effort, but I started trying to do some math in my head with about 5K to go, to figure out what kind of finish time I was working for. I calculated that I would be looking at about a 1:27 if I could hold on. I played leap frog with a few runners along this stretch which offered another good distraction to keep working and ignore the urge to slow down.

KM 13 – 14: 5:29, 5:27

Finally we were off the trail and had less than a mile to run on the streets toward the finish, including a couple of short-ish steep-ish hills. I spotted one of our friends plus hubs and found a little sprint in my legs for the home stretch.

KM 15 – 16: 5:25, 5:01

medal_resultFullSizeRender

2014 Wrap-Up

Happy New Year!

395689174I am happy to report that the December running streak was a success, finishing up on New Year’s Eve with a shorty run with the pups on a freezing morning. My arbitrary ‘streak minimum’ of 3K just felt like enough that day – though I bumped it up to 3.1 for day 31.

A few people pressured encouraged me to keep the streak going into January and beyond, but I was ready for a rest day on January 1st and did not want to go down that road. As much as I enjoyed the challenge of running every day for a month, I believe in rest days for both body and mind, and I happen to enjoy them.

WeeksI planned to take a couple of days off after the streak, which ended up being forced into a longer rest thanks to round 2 of the head cold from hell. I took the 1st off, then joined some friends for a run on the 2nd only to pack it in early feeling like crap. I took 3 days off after that and I’m hoping for a decent run today to kick off official training for the spring season.

I’m so grateful that I was able to bounce back from the injury that had me down and out, then clawing my way back for so much of the year. It felt great to finish up the year on a positive note, logging some solid mileage and building confidence going into 2015.

yearNext up is one final race report for 2014, the Boxing Day 10 Miler, and then a look at what I have planned for this year.

Stay healthy, friends!

Streaking in December

It all started with an impromptu run with a friend on Monday, December 1st. I almost never run on Mondays, so in my mind this meant I should run every day this month. :) Jokes aside, I wanted to finish off this year with a great month of running, exactly the opposite of how it started. My return to running was slow and steady, and I’ve had many weeks of consistent mileage now, giving me confidence that I had a solid enough base to tackle this challenge.

I think, more than anything, I need to prove to myself that the injury is behind me before kicking off the new year. And, let’s be honest, a little extra motivation to move every day and offset some of the inevitable holiday indulgences won’t hurt me.

So far I’ve run through holiday parties, hangovers and head colds; I’ve run morning, noon and night; I’ve run over snowbanks, on the treadmill and around the indoor track; I’ve been running errands and parading through the streets with a bunch of santas and elves.
UntitledYesterday I had my best run yet – 21KM for day 21, my longest run of the entire year and also my fastest post-injury long run. Felt fantastic start to finish and couldn’t have asked for a better day 21.

Image-1Streaking hasn’t been as challenging as I expected. Admittedly, I enjoy taking rest days and I wondered how much I would miss that. Sure, there were times that it would have been nice not to run (on the worst day of my head cold or the morning after my office party) so I just ran my personal minimum on those days: 3K on the treadmill. There’s something oddly comforting and refreshing about knowing that I will run each day. There may not be any guarantee of how far or how fast or when or where, but I will run.

Only one other thing is certain; I will not run on January 1st. ;) Until then, let’s see what the next 10 days will bring!

Snowflake Series 5K

Look, another race report! Can you tell I’m making up for lost time? This one is a little overdue, from Sunday, November 30th.

A friend recently told me about the Snowflake Series in Orillia offering “no frills” events November through January at a very reasonable cost ($15) and for a very good cause, too – all proceeds go to a local food bank.

Last Sunday hubs and I decided to do the first race in the series this season, a 5K. We ended up having a bit of a late night with friends on Saturday, and a few glasses of wine consumed on my part. I woke up Sunday morning with a pretty serious case of the “blahs.” I even tried to convince hubs not to go to the race at all! Needless to say, that didn’t work. I was feeling very lazy and not in the mood to race, but I tried to rally up some pep during the drive there and warm-up run.

We didn’t end up with any snowflakes that morning, but no complaints – it was a perfect mild November day with many runners in shorts and t-shirts (crops and long sleeve for me).

This event took “no frills” to a whole new level, with recycled bibs so every runner had a different one. They even had a bin of mis-matched safety pins that had also been recycled. Love it!

IMG_1741Ready or not, someone hollered “3, 2, 1, GO!” while starting the timer on her iPad (most casual race ever), and it was time to race!

The route was a lollipop on quiet, gently rolling streets along the lake. It was open to traffic, but we had a narrow lane separated by pylons and marked with several “Race in progress” signs. We were warned that we may need to yield to cars at intersections, but it wasn’t an issue at all.

UntitledBased on how I was feeling, I decided I was just going to try to hold a 5:00/km pace and hopefully squeak in under 25 minutes. That pace felt hard right out of the gates, and I was beginning to think the race was going to be a complete sh*t show. I was already thinking about how nice it would be to walk. (KM1-5:02, KM2-5:06)

There weren’t a lot of people around, but I ended up running alongside a couple of guys. One of them seemed to have people cheering for him and snapping photos around every corner, so I tried not to look too miserable. He must have been from the neighbourhood. I wondered if it was his first race, but didn’t have the energy to ask.

I finally found some pep in my step after the half way mark. (KM3-4:54) I suddenly realized the race was going to be over before I knew it, and I had some ground to make up if I wanted to finish under 25. (KM4-4:56)

With a kilometre to go, I looked ahead and tried to focus on chasing people down. I was pushing hard – puke threshold hard – but I was finally having some fun and internally shaking my head at having such a bad attitude earlier. I raced to the finish against a woman who had passed me at the beginning of the race and we crossed the line pylons side-by-side. (KM5-4:37)

24:35
61/183 overall
27/104 females
7/24 F30-39

There was a small spread of water, coffee and Timbits at the finish line. The organizers really did an awesome job and I definitely plan to participate in at least one more event of the series. Maybe next time there will be some actual snowflakes!

ImageOne more race left this year…