Category Archives: running

Race Weekend Snapshots

Our fall mountain and race weekend getaway did not go as planned thanks to Mother Nature but we made the best of it – but I am ready for some warm fall sun now!

Friday we headed to the mountains for the weekend, despite a bad forecast I hoped for the best! Our trip there was rocky – Chloe is a less than stellar road trip companion πŸ˜‰

I took no photos that day – it was gloomy, we picked up our race package and had supper with our friends before calling it a night.

Saturday was race day! I ran Melissa’s Road Race years ago and it was 28 degrees – this year snow and 0! I layered up and was confident it would stay dry for the run – HA.

Before the run- so much snow!

Of course it started to snow – and by snow I mean ice pellet right before the race. Despite this the first 8km ro so was not bad, My pace was good, the snow stopped and I was warm. I jinxed it saying this as well. Around that time the ice started again and got harder and harder for the rest of the race. This also made the roads slushy and slippery!

I thinkΒ  for the first time ever I was not a happy camper in a race- even at the finish line! Even the post race photo was rough – our faces were too frozen!

Despite all this I ran a 1:47 race! How? I have no idea! I walked a few times, the slush, mud and more… Smiling after I un-thawed slightly:

After the race we headed to our friend’s house for pizza and a hot tub!

Our last stop before heading home was the candy store!

I wish I had taken more photos of the weekend or the scenery but it was so gloomy none of us felt up for it!

Sunday was spent at home, playing in the snow! The upside of snow in September? It is warm out still and perfect snowman making snow!

And visits with my Grandma::

And now I am ready for bed! The race kicked my butt – but at the same time made me feel mentally strong so now I want to sign up for another full! Ahhh!


Weekend Snapshots

A day late that is! I was darn tired Sunday night and opted to delay this post and to be honest almost did another day but then it would have never been done.

Saturday we had a long walk to visit a couple parks, we are lucky to live close to the trails and these parks but don’t get out to them enough! Despite the clouds we only had about 5 minutes of rain πŸ™‚

Slightly tired after πŸ˜‰

Sunday morning I was up bright and early to head to the Edmonton Lululemon 10km race! The race itself was great, Lululemon put on an awesome race – just like Sea Wheeze and I cannot wait to go back next summer. I was in the first corral so dealt with minimal congestion which was an added bonus.

The course lived up to what I read it was, fast and flat, with only one small hill. It was an out and back course – my favourite for a few reasons with some straight away that allowed me to keep a decent pace.

I was pretty even with my splits, 30 seconds slower the first half, probably due to the start congestion. It is amazing how fast a 10km course goes, and I barely remember most of the race! I finished at 46:26 – a new 10km PR for me by 2 minutes!

Finish line, sadly all my finish line photos look to have a flare πŸ™

Sadly, all my finish line photos look to have a flare πŸ™

Afterwards, I grabbed some food, checked out the vendors etc before meeting other friends running the race! There was post run yoga but since I had a busy day ahead I hit the road early to get home.

Post race photo with Leigh:

That afternoon we went to the fair – a summer highlight for us! The girls loved the rides, and it made our day that they can now go on rides together!

Avery fell in love with this little guy at the petting zoo:

Our family photo attempts:

I cannot believe it is heading into the end of July already – how!? I think I am in denial!


Recap: Calgary Stampede Half Marathon

I have to admit race recaps are hard for me! I am fairly certain I blank out in races and most times barely remember where I all ran, but also enjoy sharing my thoughts on the race afterwards.

Going into this race I did not have a PR goal, but rather a range (1:43-1:48), I knew there was some hills so that is why I was not hoping to PR as that was from a flat course.

I opted to stay in Calgary the night before with a friend to catch extra zzz’s the morning of. We were up at 5am, at the course for 6am to pick up our packages, we had to arrange prior to for out of town package pick up. However, when we got there they were not ready and we waited 15 minutes to get our packages. The race start/finish area itself was good, at the Glenmore Athletic Park and parking was easy to find and close by. I would say it was on a medium race for attendance, maybe 300 people in the half marathon. I like this size as you are not dodging people for the first 2-3kms but large races also add to the whole experience!

I kept a steady 4:40km/min pace for the first 5km where we went over a pedestrian overpass (a good climb), through some residential with a couple more hills and eventually along the river. Being an out and back everytime I went down a hill I reminded myself I would be going back up it! I want to say there was 4 decent climbs (so 8 total) but again – foggy memory! Once along the river it was fairly flat and I regained some speed for the mid-section of the race, either keeping with the 1:45 pacer (who was a very inconsistent runner!) or just ahead of her. Between 14-16kms I slowed a bit to over a 5:10min/km pace as my legs felt heavy but after the last climb/hill after that I was able to get under that 5min/km pace again.

Route wise is was a really pretty course – by Heritage Park, through trails, residential, and along the river and being that I am not from Calgary I had plenty to look around at!

I won’t even complain about the hills either! As I did not find them bad – who I am?! I felt really strong on them, passing most people on the hills!

I finished at 1:45:28 and the 5min/km pace and felt great. Now truth time! I signed up for this race for the end – the pancake breakfast! And it did not disappoint. Even with an intimidating line-up it went fast, they had David’s Tea, Cobb;s scones, pancakes, sausages, juice and Stoked Oats! We enjoyed our post race eats before hitting the road.

Other things to note – they had a kids race – added bonus! And the medal’s are unique:

Oh and they put first names on the bibs:

Post race photo with my friend Heather!

There was no free race photos which I am okay with – while they are nice, it is not a must have for me.

Recovery has left me confused. After last month’s 10km (48 minutes & a PR) I was sore and I would say the courses were similar for hills etc. So I thoughts I would be sore after this one but was not. So I did something right! This also makes me doubt that I gave the race my all though.

Overall, it was a great race, I had fun and was really happy with my time.


Marathon Training Tips

I have no idea how but it is almost been a month since my race!Β I have had a lot of time to think about the race, and my training now that I can walk again so wanted to share my thoughts and tips for anyone thinking of running a full marathon.

1 – Cross train, cross train and cross train.

My favourite place to cross-train, at My Rev!

So if I told you getting into a regular cross-training routine is what made me decide to run another full marathon would you believe me? Well that was how I bit the bullet to run my second full marathon after 6.5 years. For me, running 5-6 days a week was too hard mentally and physically but regular cross- training added the needed variety to my training schedule. This prevented burnout, again mentally and physically, and allowed me to enjoy my runs more.

Because spin is a low impact activity it also helped to prevent injuries from too much time running, in particular spin can strengthen related muscle groups which also helps to prevent injuries.

I noticed a huge difference in my cardio as well from spin classes. Even harder runs felt easier and during my race my cardio was noticeably better to thee point I never felt exhausted in the 42km.

2 – REST

I had 1-2 rest days a week. Two once my long runs got over 25km. These rest days were SO needed. During this training cycle I never really got burnt out and if I started to feel like I was, I would take a rest day. Before my mindset was this would hurt my overall training and race time but did it? Nope, I shaved 9 minutes off my marathon time. I read somewhere a great quote that said ” train smarter, not harder” which was my mentality while training.

3 – Don’t forget about your core

Again, before I focused all my training efforts on running which meant little to no time for anything else. I believe a good runner is also a balanced runner which is why I added in cross training as well as other workouts, specially core focused ones. I went to weekly yoga core classes as well as spin classes include core workouts. A strong core helps with stability and posture while running, this can go a long way and prevent common running injuries as there will be less strain on your muscles.

4 – Proper Nutrition

I will be the first to admit this was not perfect for me but I did give it attention during my 12 weeks of training. I made small changes, but all together they helped. What I did: added protein shakes after long runs/hard workouts, added collagen into my diet, increased my water intake, avoided alcohol (last 6 weeks of training), ate consistently – every 2-3 hours, and increased carbs the night before a long run.

We also kept our long run/race day fuels the same the entire training cycle so we knew what worked for us and did not set our bodies up for any surprises on race day!

I can honestly say that I had a great training cycle and fully intend to run more full marathons – no six year gap this time! But without really sitting down and thinking about what type of training was right for me I don’t think I would have had the same outcome. Again, “train smarter, not harder”.

Finish line!


Phoenix Marathon Recap

It has been four days since I completed my second full marathon at the Phoenix Marathon! I have so much to share but will try and not to bore everyone here!

Backing up to pre-race. Going into this race my confidence was all over the place.One day I would be sure I could BQ (3:35), the next I would just think to run a sub 3;50 to PR – my first full I ran in 3:51. I kept reminding myself I was well trained, prepared and the course was a “easy” full course. So I guess you could say I had these two goals going into the race.

I went back and forth what to wear for the race, it started at 6am, so I knew we’d be done by 10am BUT the temperatures for that time was anywhere from 2-9 degrees. I will take a cooler race day over hot but 2 degrees was cold! I wore shorts, a tank with a cotton throw away long-sleeve.

The night before the race we stayed with friends, had our go to meal of spaghetti, sauce and garlic toast and a lot of water! With a 3:15am wake- we all were in bed by 9pm.

Race morning went smoothly. I like running races more than once for this reason, you know what to expect, the processes etc. Since it is a point to point race they bus you from the finish line to the starts – each race (full, half and 10km) has a different start line.

We hopped on the full bus and took a long bus ride up a mountain in a park area. The full course is known to be a fast course since it has an overall elevation loss of 800ft. Once off the bus we made our way over to the fires and heaters they had out. I was not too cold but it was chilly for sure! After a bathroom stop it was time to line up. We went in around the 3:40 pace bunny. One cool thing about larger US races is that they have fireworks at the start!

The first bit of the race is downhill – but in the pitch black. It was weird to run in the dark with so many people. Since I could not see my watch I had no idea of a pace so settled into a comfortable pace and did not worry about it. The first 4 miles flew by, the sun came up, we had some great cheer stations and I was staying under a 5min/km pace – and felt great. The next 2 miles was a gradual and long incline with a chilly wind. I knew it was the only incline so just took it in stride.

After the hill – mile 8 or so I started to feel my quad. It was not painful but it was a sensation I had never felt before so instantly set off alert sirens in my head. A few more great cheer stations and good music pulled us through the next 6 miles or so. I was shocked when we hit the half way point, the first half flew by! But the now so great news? My quads were mad now. I had intense pressure in both making it hard to keep the pace I wanted. I soon slowed to a 5:15min/km and Chad took off in front of me.

I had fully expected my legs to get tired and heavy but expected it to happen a lot later in the race – not at half way!

I took it mile by mile the whole second half of the race. I knew stopping was not an option and walking would only make matters worse. I tried to focus on my music and just move my legs. Over the next 6 miles my pace slowly dropped more and more.

It was at mile 19 that I fell behind for a Boston qualifying time. While I was bummed at this, I also knew that that goal was ambitious with it being my second full marathon. So goal #2 it was!

All of a sudden around mile 20 I found Chad! He had stopped at a water station and I caught up to him πŸ™‚ We had both slowed to a 5:45mins/km pace and the next few miles were ran silently just both wanting to be done.

Lucky for us our friends were there to take photos!

The finish line came up and unlike my halfs there was no sprinting across the line – I actually doubted that my legs could stand once I stopped running!

My final results – a 8 minute PR!

I had previously thought my second half of the race might be 5 minutes slower, it was double that, but taking into account my legs I am darn proud to have kept under a 6min/km pace that last 10kms!

Ringing that PR bell!

I love the finish line of this race, unlimited french toast, ice cream bars, Clif bars, chocolate milk – just to name some goodies! We had a bite to eat then made our way back to the car. I am not one to stick around after races, usually I just want to shower and try to feel human again!

Recovery… HA. I don’t really remember my last full recovery but wholly.Β  I still cannot walk normally, bending over is almost a no-go and getting up and down is rough. So yeah it has been a fun few days πŸ˜‰ I have walked as much as I can, gone for light bikes rides and swam. Maybe later this week I can try and run but my legs need a lot of rest right now so that is what they are getting.

Final thoughts –Β  I think my angry quads were/are from a combination of the pavement running I was not used to (treadmill downside) and the downhill race. The frustrating part of that was my cardio and everything else could have ran much faster. I finished the race not feeling physically tired – a good and bad thing I guess! Mentally I had a darn good race, with my legs yelling at me I pushed hard to keep a good pace knowing that was the only way to finish the race, believe me there were a few times I wanted to just quit! I have been asked if I will run another full, and of course I will I have a loose plan right now that involves some time working on a new half PR, more longer runs, and a couple more fulls in the next two years. I am a firm believer in having time off in between races, and for me I need a good break after a full to be ready to run another.