Monday, 29 April 2013

Peak Training Week

In contrast to Leigh I have almost been afraid to say out loud how well this training cycle has been going for me.  We are in week 15, I have not missed a single run, I have not missed a fraction of a mile.  I have hit every pace for every interval workout, I have run every marathon pace run at marathon pace (or better), and hit lower the my predicted pace for my Yasso 800's.  I have run my fast runs fast, my easy runs slow, and my long runs slower.  I am pretty much the most annoying person in the world to an injured runner...And poor Leigh has to live with me.

As I type he is having a massage at a very runner focused physio clinic, and he texted me earlier to say he had a relatively pain free run this afternoon...I am hoping that he comes home a much happier injured runner.

I have been following the rules and my body has responded. I am really REALLY surprised at how my fitness has improved over the last 15 weeks.  I am faster and stronger then I was before, the paces are coming easier, and the post workout aftermath on my body has been minimal.  After my first half marathon last May I ended up in physio for a number of different issues.  So here I am, training for twice the distance, and my body feels better.  I am thrilled, and hopeful that I am not jinxing myself here!

This week is our peak training week, and I am equally excited to conquer it, and anxious to tackle each workout.  I worked nights last night, so instead of tackling my hardest workout of the week on Monday which I typically like to do, I just did my easy 4 miler today.  Post night shift legs just do not permit a tough workout.  The rest of the week looks like this:

Tuesday-10 miles with 6 Yasso 800's
Wednesday-30 minutes Stair Climber and weights at the gym
Thursday-10 miles with 8 miles at marathon pace
Friday-5 miles easy (hopefully with Mum??)
Saturday-22 miles LSD

That's a 51 mile week, which is my highest mileage week ever, toss in a couple of speed workouts and I have a challenging week ahead of me.  I am excited to see how it goes.  As a (mostly) stay at home mom, it feels great to be able to check of something as complete each and every morning.  I can complete my runs perfectly, hit my paces and my distances, and it is done.  Very little else in my life is ever done.  There is always something in the hamper, there are always dishes to be washed, or put away, there is always a spot on the wall or floor to wipe, and with all the boys in this house there are always (ahem) toilets to be wiped.  I am looking forward to my mental checkmarks after each of these workouts this week.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

The One Where I Still Have Leg Issues.

I have been avoiding talking to you guys for the last few weeks because I have been in denial about a huge hiccup in my training. My right leg and I currently have a terrible relationship. I searched YouTube for the perfect video to help you understand the dire situation the two of us are in. While watching the video below, pretend that I am Bobby Knight and my leg is the Referee.

Meanwhile, my left leg and I have been getting along great. Our love can best be summed up by this video:

Since running Around the Bay I have had some serious right problems that have interrupted my training. It started with my self diagnosed Hamstring Tendonitis, and has since turned into a roaring case of IT band syndrome. As I rode my high from our 20 miler a couple of weeks ago I felt great. My hamstring tendonitis seemed to be resolving and I was ready for the home stretch of training. Then I was out on my scheduled 15 miler the following weekend and by 12 miles I had to stop every 5 minutes to do this:

My shorts are actually a little shorter

I was experiencing intense pain on the outside of my knee, I shut it down at 14.5 miles and headed home. Lexie then diagnosed me with ITBS and I spent the next week doing this (minus the tank top):

I cut my mileage back in hopes of resolving the pain by our scheduled 20 miler last weekend. No dice, I had to cut it short at 18.5 miles. Needless to say I am frustrated to a great degree, I did a 3 mile long run yesterday followed by a 15 mile bike ride, which would be cool if I were training for a Triathlon and not a Marathon. I finally gave in and saw the Doctor on Friday, it looked something like this (except my doctor is an lady and my knee is MUCH smarter than that guy's knee):

This week I will see a massage therapist and a physiotherapist and hope I can get back on track. My goal is to just finish the marathon now, and I'm pretty confident I can do that as long as my knee heals up in time. So send me your positive vibes. Lexie will back in the next post to entertain you with her tales of how amazing running is.


Tuesday, 23 April 2013


We are in week 14 of marathon training.  That's 5 runs/week, 2 weight training sessions/week, cross training once/week, 2 preschoolers, a house, a husband, and a shift work job...

I am tired!

I am actually surprised how tired marathon training has made me.  I figured that as we approached our peak mileage my body, my muscles, and my joints would start to feel tired.  I did not anticipate how much I would want to sleep.  We get the kids down to bed around 8, promptly at 8:30 I start to feel like I want to go to bed.  I usually hang on until 9 or so (so I can keep my street cred), and then pack it in.  I know that 5:30am is going to roll around and this is going to happen...

Saturday has turned into movie day at our house.  After we both run long (especially 16 miles +), we are pretty wiped.  The boys love having the chance to snuggle up and watch a movie, so it's a win-win situation.  I am always sure to have the laundry and other chores caught up on Friday, to free Saturday up for a whole lot of nothing.

It is exhaustion at it's finest.  The feeling of collapsing into bed at night after a busy day chasing with the boys, that started with a 10 mile run is unparalleled.  I adore ADORE my pillow.

I'm not done.

Here's some pictures of our cute boys and their fresh haircuts...

Cooper finally sat up in the chair himself.  He refused the cape (hence the towel).  Not overly thrilled, but still cute.

Time for bed...

Friday, 19 April 2013

Our Heroes

Leigh and I visited Boston on our way to New Brunswick in May of 2008 when I was pregnant with Lucas.  We were there for about 36 hours.  We strolled around Boston Common and Harvard, dined at Atlantic Fish, and checked out Quincy market.  We had a wonderful time, and have always vowed to return.  We were not runners yet.  We did not personally know anyone running in the Boston Marathon on Monday.  As we are running our first full marathon next month we have never qualified to run the Boston Marathon.  However in the spirit of Yoda...

...Someday I WILL qualify.  That is my goal.  Do, or do not.  There is no try.  It may not be until I am 35, or 40 (or maybe 45), but that is my goal.

So given our minimal connection to Boston, the question remains...Why do Leigh and I both feel so deeply connected to this tragedy.  I feel like it has wriggled it's way into my brain and my heart, and there it sits.

Dimity McDowell, co-author of Run Like a Mother, and Train Like a Mother, summed it up well here in her post titled Undone. "Our lifestyle puts us right there."  We know first hand the work, the effort, the sacrifice that has gone into training for that day.  Our little boys have waited with family, steps from the finish line to cheer us to the end.  We can imagine the feeling of panic that the runners must have endured as they approached the area and realized what had happened.  The panic that would set in if you didn't know if your kids, or your parents, or your siblings were ok.  We look into the eyes of little Martin Richard and we see the love his parents have for him, the love we have for our little boys.  We are right there.

She says:

       "Undone that some crazy people or person, in an effort to make his or her cause noticed, hurt
         our running family, the most generous, kind community I've ever been a part of."

And that is exactly why this has taken up residence in my brain and heart.  These people we don't know, they are our people, they are part of our world wide running family, they are our heroes.

They are the middle of the packers, the squeakers who just qualified, just made it in to run their bucket list race.  They are living the accomplishment of a goal so many of us share as runners.

They are the mommies pushing their kids in running strollers to get their training in, they are the Dads running on their lunch hours.  They are crawling out of bed at 5am in the dark, on cold, snowy winter mornings, training their bodies and their minds.  They are sick, or injured, or tired, or busy, but they are committed to the run, they are driving towards their goal.  They are our heroes.

They are the children who covertly make signs to cheer and lift mom or dad at mile 25.  They are the grandparents, and siblings, and friends who babysit children on long run day, and then stand cheering for everyone at the sidelines so that they can see their beloved family member run by for 5 seconds.  They are the ones who's presence pulls us through when our bodies and minds are exhausted.  They are our heroes.

They are the race volunteers.  The ones who get paid nothing to make sure we have water, and gatorade.  The ones who hand out bananas and Clif Bars to exhausted and starving runners.  The ones who make race day possible.  The ones who pushed over barricades in Boston and ran towards the explosions to help others.  They are our heroes.

They are the runners like Team Hoyt.  Dick Hoyt, at age 71, has pushed his son Rick (now 51), who has cerebral palsy, for 31 Boston Marathons because after their first 5 mile race Rick told his dad "when I'm running, it feels like I'm not handicapped."  They are the runners like Brent Cunningham, a squeaker himself, who upon finding a crying young woman with a race number but no medal after the blasts, gave her his medal.  They are the runner at Around the Bay who stopped to offer me salt tablets thinking that I had cramped up when I stopped to stretch my hip.  They are our heroes.

This is why we feel so connected to this tragedy.  This is why we are grieving all that was lost in Boston on Monday.  These are our people, they are a part of our world-wide running family, they are our heroes.

Another Mother Runner

Monday, 15 April 2013


As I mentioned on Saturday's post Cooper had his much anticipated 4 month follow up appointment today, wanted to make sure to keep everyone updated.  He had a sedated echo, ecg, and we saw his cardiologist.  All his tests were fine, he has a soft murmur remaining which may or may not resolve over time, but is not an issue either way.  We don't have to bring him back for another appointment for 3 YEARS.  That's so far away that we will have to pull him out of school for his appointment.

We are deeply saddened by the tragedy in Boston today.  The images on the news are shocking, terrifying, and overwhelming.  We pray that the human spirit, all the good that brought people together for The Marathon today will prevail in this devastating time of loss.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Random Saturday Stuff

1)  Friday morning I ran 7.81 miles in this...
It was supposed to be 8, but I had to slow down so much because of the ice on the roads, and on my face, that I ran out of time and had to get home so Leigh could go to work.  This morning I ran in capris.  The weather needs to get it together!

2)  I am so type A with my training plan that I planned to make up the .19 of a mile I missed yesterday. Who does that?  Made my loop too long, ended up running 15.73 instead of 15.19

3)  I noticed this week that they opened one of these in Guelph...
menchies website
We took the boys on Friday for Family Date Night.  For those who are not familiar with Menchies.  They have a giant wall of frozen yogurt machines, each with a different flavour, and then a number of different toppings.  You load up your own cup and then pay by weight.  It was expensive ($15) for the 4 of us, but it was so good, and the boys loved it.  I would have had to take a 100 metre detour on my run this morning to hit up menchies for some mid-run fuel.  Tempting...

4)  KT Tape works.  We picked up some for Leigh's hamstring issue and he has been having success with it.  I used it on a spot on the inside of my knee that has been a bit cranky on my really long runs.  Apparently it's just from tight quads, not really an injury, just sore and bothersome at the end of a long run.  No pain at all today.  I totally thought it was a gimmick...But it seems to really help.  Think I just might wrap my whole body in it for race day...No pain then right??

5)  Cooper has his 4 month follow up at Sick Kids on Monday.  He has to have a sedated echocardiogram (heart ultrasound), and then we meet with his cardiologist.  I am very much NOT looking forward to his echo.  He used to take medication no problem, and was fine with it after his surgery, but since then he has pretty much refused to take anything, even the prophylactic antibiotics he needed for his ear/adenoid surgery last month.  The medication they use to sedate him tastes like Buckley's...Fun right?!  I am trying not to worry about these appointments, but admittedly I am.  I don't 'think' there is anything to worry about, but I also didn't think there was anything to worry about on October 9th, 2012 when I brought him for his routine cardiac check up, on my birthday, and told Leigh just to go to work, and my parents were in Florida (so I couldn't get ahold of my mom immediately to cry), and that's when we found out he was going to need surgery.  So I am (overly) cautiously optimistic.  Everything will be fine I'm sure.  We will update you on Monday.

Saturday night=Ice cream night...Good night all.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Ready Ready Ready.....

On our 20 Miler on Saturday Lexie kept singing a line from this song:

As I big Dixie Chicks fan, I was more than willing to oblige her. Feeling rather impressed with our running last week(end), I rode the high from Saturday's run for a few days. The high was bolstered in large part by the fact that my self-diagnosed Hamstring Tendonitis that has been hanging with me since Around the Bay felt better than it had in two weeks. I thought for sure I was in the clear, and like the The Chicks say, I was Ready, Ready, Ready to Run. Then I woke up Tuesday after my easy 4 on Monday, and it was back. Since then I have been on a strict plan of foam rolling, stretching, icing, and KTTaping. I have continued to run, however I have had to dial back my distances by a few miles. In the spirit of full disclosure, this "injury" is mostly my fault. Despite the fact that I am very active at work and run 35+ miles per week, I spend no very little time stretching. By very little I mean really on the only time I stretch is when I make kids do it at work. Do as I say, not as I do, right??

Anyway, my frustrations are mounting so I figured this would be an appropriate complain about it as I'm sure Lexie is sick of hearing about it.. Today I did six very wet, cold footed miles at work with Matt, and I felt pretty healthy after and am still feeling better than I have in several days. I will try for another 4 tomorrow and see how I feel, wish me luck. I'm still hoping to get my 15 miler in this weekend before we tackle another 20 next weekend.


Saturday, 6 April 2013

You Guys Are Makin' Out

This morning Oma came over to watch the boys so that Leigh and I could go on a date.  We headed out at 8:45 to go here...

We had our first 20 mile (32km) run of our marathon training cycle to do, and decided that it would be much more enjoyable to run together, in a different location then normal.  So we headed out to the Kissing Bridge Trailway, which is a 45km trail running from Guelph to Millbank, and the home of the "Kissing Bridge," Ontario's last covered bridge.

Before we started
Leigh has been nursing a mild hamstring tendon injury so we parked midway through the trail, did a 5 mile out and back towards Elmira so that he had the option to stop after 10 miles if he was having trouble with his leg. Thankfully, all was well at the 10 mile mark so we continued on in the opposite direction for another 5 miles, where we were sure to kiss on the kissing bridge (kissing while running is as difficult as it sounds).  Five miles back to the car, and we were done.  Proud, excited, and relieved to have a 20 miler under our belts.  
20.01 miles  in 3:25:15
We are both really happy with how this run went.  Our aim was to be super conservative with our pace, which as you can see (10:16/mile) we accomplished.  We want to cover the miles without risk of injury, and running too fast on runs that are supposed to be slow and easy is a sure way to end up injured in the middle of a training cycle.  Believe it or not, I was even the one to tell Leigh to slow it down a few times.  We are both tired this afternoon and evening, but feeling great physically.

On our way to the trail there were lots of Mennonite maple syrup stands to tempt us to fuel with maple syrup.  Instead Leigh fueled with our favourite, Shot Bloks, and gave Sport Beans a try.  He was not a fan of the Sport Beans, says they taste "chemically," but Shot Bloks were great as always.  I gave jujubes a try (cause I am cheap), and they were great.  6 per serving for 3 servings worth (5 miles, 10 miles, 15 miles), seemed to carry me through just fine.  And the massive bag I picked up from Costco for $6 will last months if I can keep Leigh and the boys out of them.

Overall the trail was a great place for a long run.  Lots of farms made some spots stinky, and this winter that never quits made some spots snowy.  But all the farms and the covered bridge made for nice scenery during our run, and a kiss on the kissing bridge was an added bonus.  Can't complain about that.

Post 20 miles in our new ride.  Forgot to take a picture outside, and too tired to climb back out!
We had to stop for gas on the way home so we grabbed some chocolate milk so we could be like Chris.

Refuel, Replenish and Recharge
Since Oma is awesome, she stayed a little bit longer, giving us a chance to stretch, foam roll, and shower without the boys clamouring for attention.

1 down, 1 more 20 and a 22 to go!

Friday, 5 April 2013


On Wednesday evening Oma and Grandpa watched the boys so Leigh and I could go here...
To participate in a focus group about this...
We had the opportunity to meet some of the folks behind the Sears Great Canadian Run, and several other participants to spend some time discussing different aspects of the race.  The organizers are looking for ways to increase visibility and participation, as well as assisting registered teams in their fundraising efforts.  We really enjoyed the meeting.  There was a lot of great discussion and participation.  Leigh and I were the only first time participants in the race, and we could feel the passion and excitement that the others had from participating in the run before.  It made us even more excited for race day!  Here are a few things we learned...

1)  The first 50km of the route are hillier then the second.  Leigh and I decided that we are going to each run our full 50km back to back rather then split it up into shorter legs.  With all the generous donations we have received we felt it better to approach it in the most epic way possible.  We have to give you your money's worth right??  We have been debating who will run first, and who will have to sit and wait in the van for several hours for their turn to run.  We both wanted to go first...Until Wednesday.  The hills helped Leigh decide to give up the debate and let me go first.  Nice right??

2) This is the third year of the race (I thought it was the second).  The first year (2011) there were 69 teams and 3 solo runners.  They raised $500 000.  In 2012 there were 97 teams and 8 solo runners, and they raised $750 000.  This year the goal is to raise 1 million dollars!!  We are so grateful to all of you who have already contributed.  Since out last fundraising update Victor has added to our total, and brought us to 64% of our goal.  Attending this meeting made us realize even more how important this initiative is.  We want to earn as much as we can for this cause.  If you would like to donate you can click the link in the side bar, or go here.

3)  They are looking for volunteers to help the race run smoothly.  There are a variety of volunteer roles, including set up and tear down, start and finish line crew, exchange point crew, and packet distribution.  A race of this distance and size requires a lot of people to make it a success.  If you are interested in participating as a volunteer go here to sign up.  This is a great way to be involved in an amazing cause.  As a runner, I am always so grateful to race volunteers.  Without them the races I enjoy so much would not be possible.

4)  Some of the exchange points are conducive to spectators, so if you'd like to come out, cheer us on, and maybe jump in and pace us for a km or two we would love to see you.  I am sure we will get more details on this as we get closer to race day.

5)  As I said the organizers are trying to increase participation in the race.  The more people they can get to run the more money will be raised, which is ultimately the goal of the race.  But, they want it to stay small enough that it has a family or community feel.  I can say that they are definitely accomplishing this.  They knew us by name, what team we are, and what our story is.  It was great to feel a part of this community united by the same goal.

6)  We met the dad of a little boy who had cancer.  We have a glimpse of the fear, anxiety, and helplessness involved in having a child with a serious illness, but I truly can not imagine what this family has endured. They have been participating in the run since the inaugural year.  The first year he was in treatment at the time of the run.  He had a treatment at Sick Kids in the morning, his mom then drove him to Blue Mountain so he could cross the finish line with the team that was running in his honour.  What an inspiring story.  Running 50km will be challenging and demanding, but it does not even compare to the challenges so many children are forced to endure.  Their strength and courage inspires me!


to go until

Off to bed...Our first 20 miler of marathon training on deck for tomorrow!


Monday, 1 April 2013

The Best Running Adventure of all Time, Part 2!

I'm sure there is some kind of writing convention that builds suspense. What that looks like in my head is not writing part 2 of a post until 2+ weeks later. Were you guys dying from the suspense? I figured as much. Blame it on the NCAA tournament, Around the Bay, and my need to prolong the memory of the Great Muskoka Relay as long as possible.

When I left you guys in PART 1 Matt had just left on the first leg of the race. It was at this point we decided our general plan while someone was running. It would look something like this: 1. Send the runner off with some cheering 2) Drive ahead of the runner (with much screaming and joy as we passed them) and stop to get out to cheer them and high five them and offer them treats. 3) repeat step 2 several times (sometimes offering a pacer for the runner in between stops) 4) Get to the next transition area with enough time for the next runner to get ready for the high five and go. 5) After the next runner left we would give the runner that just finished time to change, get some food, stretch, etc.

Leg 1 - Matt - 10.8km

We repeated that process in the middle of almost every leg, starting with leg 1. Here is us cheering Matt as well as some random guy with swim trunks that Matt left in his dust at some point. Matt and Swim Trunks were all excited because they saw a baby bear. I assume they did, given how fast Matt ran his leg. Unfortunately, none of the rest of us had the opportunity to see a bear during the run. We did see some very handsome cows though.

Swim Trunks!

Another thing we did during Matt's leg was decorate our van. We were hoping there was some sort of award for most awesome van so we took a lot of time decorating our van with some window markers Lexie had brought along. I still have them in my school backpack as a souvenir. Here are a few pictures of our handy work.

Get it? 

Our team name: 'One Relay Awesome Team' so funny!
The rear. Superman!
Leg 2 - Jonelle - 6.8km

The next leg was the hilliest of the bunch, run by none other than Jonelle. This leg had 2-3 massive hills including a hill that was much larger than the "killer hill" on the Around the Bay course. Jonelle rocked it. This was the first leg we used a 'Pacer' when Lexie got out to help pace Jonelle. This leg finished in the beautiful town of Rosseau (it had real bathrooms!)
Jonelle rocking on of the gross hills

Jonelle finishing a tough leg
Leg 3 - Laura - 11.7km

Laura untangling her headphones and running at the same time
 Laura had the 3rd leg which was the longest of all the legs and it was on what was one of the busiest roads we had to run on. It was during this leg that it warmed up a bit (this didn't last very long). We took advantage of the sun to take a picture with some of Muskoka's finest cattle.

The Boys with Bovine!
We stopped a few times to cheer Laura on. She did great and left a lot of people in the dust. Including some ladies that were trash talking her. Okay, I made the last part up.

Great Form!

After cheering on Laura and visiting some cows we headed to the next exchange point so Lexie could get ready for her leg.

Ready to Run
Leg 4 - Lexie - 10km

Lexie had leg four. During this leg she 1) invited the rain 2) Chicked 2 dudes and 3) put us in a position to realized we actually had a chance to win this thing! Lexie's leg was also on a busy roadway so we stopped a few times to cheer her on veeeeeery carefully. Laura got out at one point to pace her a bit. It was also during this leg that I started to get scared for my leg. Everyone had done so well and we were now had a chance to win, so it got real at this point. Here is an action shot of what a transition looked like.

Go Go Go
Leg 5 - Leigh - 10km

There has been some question in our house as to how legs were assigned. But I certainly didn't do myself any favours with this leg. We found out the morning of the relay that there would be a outdoor type challenge at the halfway point of this leg. Had I known this when I assigned the legs, I probably would have given this leg to Lexie. The choices were set up a tent, eat 5 pieces of bacon, or swim out to buoy in the water. Swimming was out because Matt, Victor and I were all swam out. So we discussed it as a team we decided to try to set up the tent, mostly because the team that did it the fastest would get a gift certificate. However, as I left on my leg and realized we were either in 3rd or 4th place I decided on the bacon. It would be the fastest (and the warmest) and who doesn't love bacon? My leg start off great. A nice downhill that allowed me to run a nice pace. That didn't last long as the route took a left off the nice wide paved shoulder onto a rolling dirt road. Up, down, up, down repeat x1000. The team finally caught up to me near the halfway point where I informed them I would be doing the bacon challenge. I arrived at the halfway point, yelled "bacon! bacon! bacon!" until someone directed me to the bacon guy. He handed me 5 pieces of cold bacon, I shoved them all in my mouth and started running again. This was apparently not anticipated by the organizers because they were losing it. Matt ran with me for a few steps to give me some water to wash down the bacon treat and I was back on my way. Someone (probably Lexie) suggested I just spit the bacon out when I was out of site of the race organizers. I didn't feel right about that and I was hungry, so I didn't. It turns out it was a good move as the bacon really paid off for me (more on that later). At some point I also got some pacing from Victor, which was nice. I couldn't really talk, but it was nice to have another human near me. My leg was an out and back so I saw lots of other teams on my way back. It was then I realized were we one of the leading teams. Yikes! The race had us all really jacked up, so I ran this 10k in one of my fastest times ever. Maybe I should eat more bacon on my runs!

Bacon isn't ALWAYS good. 
The end of this leg marked the halfway point of the race. We realized we were in 2nd place not long after this. This made the van ride for the rest of the race much more exciting. We cheered louder, were more excited, and we all ran faster. I guess that's what happens when you put a bunch of Phys. Ed. teachers into a race.

This has gone on for longer than I thought it would, so let's go for three parts. Part 3 will be the last 5 legs, and after race banquet, and the day after the race.

Check back soon for part 3!