Thursday, June 30, 2011

Week 2/17 HM Training - Run #3 12K

12K @1:26:24
Avg. Pace 7:13/km
Moving Pace 7:06/km

Boo yah! I'll substitute my usual Woo hoo! for a Boo yah! just to add a bit of variety. :)

I am using my jumping with joy cartoon girl because I ran 12K solid and steadily this morning, including my nemesis Riverside Drive hill ... this after the last three days worth of runs and fitness classes so not only am I happy, but somewhat surprised! :)

I slept solidly last night. I headed to bed extra early because I was so exhausted. :( It felt good to wake up this morning and realize that my sleep was so deep. I felt rested and better prepared for this run, and fortunately, my muscles weren't as sore as I expected them to be, but just a little stiff.

I was scheduled for 7 miles/11.5K. Wallace, Angus and I headed out together in the cooler, early morning weather. I really noticed today how perfectly in sync the three of us run together now. The dogs have learned very well how to run with me, and it's not uncommon for me to even forget that they are even there because the leashes are slack / not tugging at my waist (I'm still using my old water belt as part of this doggie ensemble) and they are at heel instead of running ahead excitedly. They have become better at ignoring other dogs along the way, too. :)

I held my speed back a bit and tried my best to keep this an eas"ier" workout because of my desire to run the full 12K (rounding up these darn .5s!), and after my success making it up the full hill last Thursday, I felt somewhat pressured to do it again today. :)

Today the bottom of the hill started at the end of my 10th km and the top was partially through my 11th km. Check this out:

10 km - 7:25/km (includes a stop and walk at the traffic lights)

11 km - 7:06

Smiles, everyone, smiles! This is great!

And then to finish this achievement, it makes me happy to see that I just completed 12K as a training, regular every day run, and not as an LSD.

And I have to add this - it did not feel half as long as that 15K from last Sunday felt!

No fitness club today. I'm taking a break. Just the run. :)

Tomorrow I have a rest day. We are having a BBQ/guests Saturday night so I may switch my Sunday 15K with my Saturday 7K instead to make sure that, in case we have a very good time :), I will be minimally affected. :)

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Week 2/17 HM Training - Run #2 8K

8 km @57:02
Avg. Pace 7:08/km
Moving Pace 6:59/km

I'm feeling good today because my morning run turned into a "Part II" following yesterday's ... this post may have a deja vu feel to it. :)

Last night, I went to the fitness club for that "Rock Bottom" class, the one I missed last week. It was taught by a substitute instructor, who was amazing. She made the class a lot of fun, made us do an incredible amount of leg work, and boy! did she have us sweating! Jane Fonda helped to make "feel the burn" famous and that's all I kept thinking about - can I ever feel the burn! I definitely have to incorporate this Tuesday evening class into my schedule because it was such a good glute/quad/everything south of the waist workout!

Classes like this can sometimes make me feel like I am completely and utterly out of shape when I can't do all the repetitions, or when I can't keep up to the faster pace set by the instructor ... but I'm not the only one. I smile when I see the instructor stop her exercising to watch the class because it makes me think, how much do you want to bet that she needed a break from this at that moment? :) These classes are just like running - you can either feel completely self-conscious and "think" that other people are watching you, or you can just focus on yourself, challenging your own body to do the best that it can, and celebrating your own milestones. I may wish that I could have done every single repetition in keeping with the instructor's pace, but instead, I was focusing on how great it is to see my knees lift so high, on the number of repetitions that I am able to do, how much more flexible I am since committing to yoga twice weekly, and pleased that I can do this class as my second workout of the day after a 10K run earlier. :) :)

But I also have to admit, it's sobering to realize how much work it takes getting back into healthy shape after being so out-of-healthy-shape for so long. It really does take a lot of hard work, commitment, perseverance and chutzpah!

Needless to say, I was moving very slowly around the house between the end of class and bedtime. I also took it very slow walking down the staircase first thing this morning. :) I was still determined to do my run, but my mantra was to tell myself repeatedly, this 8K is just for mileage ... not for speed ... it doesn't matter how slow you run it, just run 8K this morning.

With Wallace and Angus on either side of me, my first 5K were tougher than usual, but not as bad as I assumed it would be. When I checked my pace later, it was in the 7:10-7:25/km zone, which is a bit faster than I expected ... but once I hit 5K, my muscles didn't feel as sore any more and I could feel my pace pick up. I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I actually felt stronger. I was happy to see my pace for that last 3 km:

6K - 6:43
7K - 6:47
8K - 6:46

Not bad after all the thumping, jumping, stretching, lifting and weight bearing exercises I have put my legs through in the last three days. :)

There is another "Body Sculpt" class tonight just before Kundalini Yoga that I may check out because it has a different instructor, and this is my week for trying them out and comparing.

I also have an 11.5K/7 mile run scheduled for tomorrow morning. :)

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

WEEK 2/17 HM Training - Run #1 10K

10.04 km @1:12:59
Avg Pace 7:17/km
Avg. Moving Pace 7:05/km

For me, today's run ended up being a very interesting one. :)

Angus, Wallace and I headed out extra early in an effort to avoid the heat and humidity predicted for the day. It still ended up being very muggy, and I was wet from sweating when I arrived home (it truly is summer now!). Today was my last 6 mile/10K on a Tuesday. As of next week, my training schedule turns all Tuesday runs into 7 mile/11.5K - it is the one day on my schedule that will remain consistently the same distance until the end of October/my training schedule.

Today is also "Thrill Hill Tuesday." I committed myself to running up a hill I have usually avoided so I forced myself (yes, literally forced myself!) to head toward it at the end of my run today.

Initially, I was expecting my run to be sluggish, not only because of the weather/mugginess, but because of the fitness class I attended last night. I tried a "Body Sculpt" class for the first time at my fitness club. I am really going to try to make it to these type of classes more often in an effort to boost my metabolism/strength/fitness for the next seven weeks. By doing this, I am sure that my runs may suffer somewhat in the short term (sluggish legs, a little more tired). However, in the long term, I think this will benefit my running (more muscle, less fat = go faster!), and that this is the time to do it ... when my training program is focused solely on road work/mileage.

This class caught me a little off guard because I have never had to line up in a long line before. When I walked into the club early, there was already a line-up of women waiting for the instructor to arrive. Wow! Clearly a very popular class, and I soon learned why. It was 45 minutes of excellent arm work and leg work with a barbell, free weights, and tension rope. I really enjoyed it. I purposely kept my selection of weights lighter and ended up thankful that I did because the instructor makes us do quite a few repetitions! There was plenty of squats and lunges, and this is why I am discussing this class more in depth than usual - I knew that I would be feeling it the next morning!

To my surprise, my legs and arms felt great this morning - just a little stiff when I was expecting to be a little sore:

1 km - 7:10

But this is what surprised me when I looked at my results later:

2 km - 6:35

Wow! I ran this during my warm-up when I usually feel a little sluggish? :) And then, look! It shows up again:

3 km - 7:12
4 km - 6:31

Sweet! And then this is when I am running up the hill behind Storybook Gardens:

5 km - 7:07
6 km - 6:53

And then, woo hoo! Three times the charm!

7 km - 6:39

But by now, I am feeling my tiredness and the mugginess ...

8 km - 6:42

And this is when I stop to walk a steep incline from the path up to Wonderland Road, and for a short distance along the bridge ... and then I am stopped at the traffic lights at Riverside Drive ...

9 km - 9:18

Finally, this is when I can start running again and I run 3/4 of the way up my nemesis Riverside hill before needing to stop to walk to the crest, and slowly running to my 10K finish:

10 km - 8:28

So! A nice surprise for me to see some faster times, especially when it didn't "feel" like I running a 6:30-ish pace. I am not expecting the same results tomorrow because right now I can really feel the after-effects of last night's class combined with a 10K run! :( And even though I want to excuse myself, I am heading back to the gym with Ben tonight to try another class, "Rock Bottom," so I can determine which one will suit my goals best. :)

An 8K is schedule for tomorrow. Expect a slow and sluggish run report! :)

Monday, June 27, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan

PART I - What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #3 - Avoid food products containing ingredients that no ordinary human would keep in the pantry.

Ethoxylated diglycerides? Cellulose? Xanthan gum? Calcium propionate? Ammonium sulfate? If you wouldn't cook with them yourself, why let others use these ingredients to cook for you? The food scientists' chemistry set is designed to extend shelf life, make old food look fresher and more appetizing than it really is, and get you to eat more. Whether or not any of these additives pose a proven hazard to your health, many of them haven't been eaten by humans for very long, so they are best avoided.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Sunday, June 26, 2011

WEEK 1/17 HM Training - Run #5 LSD 15K

Pace 7:24/km

My first 15K run from start to finish without stopping to walk. Woo hoo! I should be feeling very pleased with it ...

... but I admit that I was a little disappointed to see my pace average upon downloading my watch. :( I knew that it would be slower, but I was hoping for it to be just shy of 7:00/km. I am running this distance again next Sunday so I'm crossing my fingers for a better time. :)

Today I mainly ran on the Thames Valley trail system, starting at the Children's Museum, east and then north along the river through Gibbons Park, through the university, around the loop at Richmond St. and back again, past the Children's Museum toward the sewage plant and back again. The trail was filled with people on this truly beautiful, sunny morning. There were a significant number of running groups out together - it almost felt odd to be a lone runner because there were so many! There were a lot of cyclists and walkers as well so it kept me on my toes navigating Wallace and myself around other dogs, little children, etc. Close to the end of my run, I watched as a large group wearing backpacks walked en-masse from a parking lot to the path, and then organize themselves into a marching formation. They were about 30 people strong and quite intimidating! Fortunately, this was right at my turning point so I made a U-turn in front of them, bypassing them altogether. :)

Although my run was steady and consistent, I had challenges with my conception of distance. Almost every time I checked my Garmin for distance, I was disappointed in how much further I had to go. :( My run today just felt super long and it dragged on. I felt this especially during the the last 5K so I am assuming that I just need to acclimatize myself to longer distances. I am running this same distance next week, and 16K will soon become a mainstay on my schedule so given some time, this, too, shall pass.

Rest day tomorrow. :)

Week 1/17 HM Training - Mileage Total

M = rest
T = 10K
W = 8K
Th = 10K
F = rest
S = 7K
Sun = 15K


This is my greatest weekly mileage to date, ever, including both 2010 and in 2011.

2010 - 47.6K in November
2011 - 43K in April

IF all goes according to plan, I should be posting the same comment every Sunday for the next seven weeks, because mileage will continue to steadily increase each week until Week #9 of my training plan when I enter Phase II: Strength Training.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

WEEK 1/17 HM Training - Run #4 7K

There is not too much to report on today's run. It was originally a 6.5K, but I turned it into a 7K (I'm a little tired of the .5 runs, when translated from imperial measurement into metric; therefore, I am just going to round them up from now on).

In spite of it being a less-than-stellar week of running, I have stuck to the plan and ran all the mileage I was scheduled to run for Week One of my HR training plan.

William Wallace and I ran in the misty rain from our place along the paths to downtown London, and along the river through Gibbons Park/UWO and back to walking bridge and home again. It was a nice and easy run. :) I have a 14.5K (15K) scheduled for tomorrow and I am aiming to run it from beginning to end without walking for the first time so I purposely kept today's slower and easier than usual.

Today is Wallace's birthday. :) Three years ago, I was fostering dogs for two different animal rescue groups, and I was sent a dog, Angel, from Ohio who surprised us all by swelling with pregnancy while she was here! On June 25th, she delivered eight puppies. I was with her and helped to deliver puppy #2 (Wallace) as he made his entry into the world. He ended up being the Alpha dog of the litter, and quite the character! He also proved early on that he was not going to leave our house! He gravitated toward me once his eyes opened and as soon as he could move. For the next eight weeks, he seemed more attached to me than his own mother. He also preferred to play with our then 6-month old puppy, Angus, more often than his own siblings. We had Frasier, my beloved, mature hound dog and Ben's dream-come-true lab puppy so we had no intention of extending our family at the time. But William Wallace a.k.a. Wally a.k.a. Wallage a.k.a Licky a.k.a Wallabean did an excellent job of endearing himself to all of us so that by the time the adoption interviews were being conducted and processed, he was no longer available. :)

I was looking at him today, running perfectly and happily by my side. I still miss Kim's beautiful cadence and joy while running with me, but I am very fortunate by how well Wallace has filled this void. He runs with glee and joy ... so many people smile when they see him running with me because he clearly loves it and wears an incredibly happy face. He is extremely loyal and will stay by my side, keeping pace, for as long as I run. He is the perfect running companion for me while I train for my half marathons in the fall. :)

Happy 3rd Birthday, William Wallace! :) (He is 28 years old in dog years, according to my vet's wall chart, for his size).

Friday, June 24, 2011


from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan

PART I - What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

RULE #2 - Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food.

There are now thousands of foodish products in the supermarket that our ancestors simply wouldn't recognize as food. The reasons to avoid eating such complicated food products are many, and go beyond the various chemical additives and corn and soy derivatives they contain, or the plastics in which they are typically packaged, some of which are probably toxic. Today foods are processed in ways specifically designed to get us to buy and eat more by pushing our evolutionary buttons - our inborn preferences for sweetness and fat and salt. These tastes are difficult to find in nature but cheap and easy for the food scientist to deploy, with the result that food processing induces us to consume much more of these rarities than is good for us. The great-grandma rule will help keep most of these items out of your cart.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Thursday, June 23, 2011

WEEK 1/17 HM Training - Run #3 10K

Woo hoo! Success! My mojo somewhat came back to me today! :)

I admit that a photo of a person on top of a mountain is perhaps a little excessive ... Riverside Hill is not a mountain by any stretch of the imagination. However, it has been a nemesis hill to me for a very, very long time so my story about it today elicits "top of the mountain celebration" -type feelings!

When I started my run, I had no plans for hill running. I was heading down the hill, as I usually do, on my way to the running paths. The first few km of my run went well - extremely well, when compared to my runs of the last few days - so by the 4km mark, I decided that since my run was comfortably stronger than anticipated, why not try Riverside Hill again? Attempt again what I had not succeeded at on Tuesday?

I ran up the hill behind Storybook Gardens. I was not pleased about needing to walk it Tuesday because I never walk this particular hill. Only ice slows me down on it ... walking up it the other day did not sit well with me at all. I ran up it from beginning to end today, albeit more slowly than usual, but I didn't walk it and I'll take that. :)

It was hot and humid. I was sweating. But it just wasn't as bad as yesterday or the day before so it still felt like some relief while running. My pace is slower than usual, but at least it was steady and I didn't feel too sluggish.

Angus was doing better today, too. :)

My nemesis hill was at the 9km mark today. As I approached the base, I was stopped by a stop light, giving me a slight rest before tackling the hill. I planned to run at least as far as Braemar Cres. - the upper entrance. I established this in my blog post on Tuesday.

By the time I reached this the upper entrance (woo hoo!), my pace was slow and steady, but I wasn't aching or huffing. I decided to aim for the next subdivision entrance. I have made it as far as it before so I felt better about possibly re-establishing this as my next level. Well, as soon as I reached this street, my pace was still steady and I still wasn't dying (woo hoo!) so I decided to just keep chugging up. And voila! 1/2 km of hill later, I actually reached the top. :)

Now, I have to admit, I feel a little stunned. Two days ago, I shared this new goal in a blog post, but I actually thought it was going to several weeks of Tuesday runs before I reached the top without stopping. I can't believe it I did it on the second try and after running 9km beforehand in heat and humidity! Let's throw in yet another woo hoo! to this!

And as a result, I now have to set the bar higher. :) For the rest of my Phase I: Road Work runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays, I am going to run up this nemesis hill on the way home. Welcome to "Thrill-Hill Tuesdays" and "Thrill-Hill Thursdays" !! :)

That which doesn't kill us makes us stronger?!?! :)

I went to an "Innovative Interval" class this evening. It is similar to what I see personal trainers doing with their clients, but in a fitness class setting with one instructor. Cardio, weights, cardio, weights, cardio, weights ... I was sweaty (again) by the end of it, although I think some credit is due to the warm workout room we were in. It was okay; the regular instructor was not there and I have had her before (thumb's up) whereas I was not as thrilled with the fill-in instructor today. I am thinking about doing this every Thursday as a way to improve upon my core. A double workout on a Thursday, the day before a run rest day on Friday, makes good sense to me. :)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WEEK 1/17 HM Training - Run #2 8K

Another tough run day. :(

I have been reading the posts from other runners on DailyMile and it looks like it's been a tougher week for runs for a lot of people so I'm not alone in having a frustrating week of training.

Angus has been dragging behind by the end of the run so the heat and humidity are getting to him. He is a pure bred American Labrador Retriever, which means he was bred for cold weather/cold water swimming. His down coat under his top coat is no doubt overheating him in this weather. As much as he loves to go, I have to start judging the weather for him ... "whether" he is going with me on a particular run or not because of the humidity.

William Wallace, on the other hand, is part Beagle and part Basenji, an African breed. He freezes in the winter, but summer is his time. That dog can run half marathons in this heat and still be running circles afterward!

So not much to report today. I ran. It was okay. I sweated buckets. I had to walk my last hill. I was glad when it was over. :(

Last night, I ended up skipping my intended "Rock Bottom" class at the gym because we had a neighbour/friend over for dinner. She has been rocked by some bad news so I didn't want her to be alone for the evening.

I did make it to Kundalini Yoga this evening and as always, enjoyed it. Have I ever had a bad class? :) My instructor told me that she can see significant improvement in my flexibility and breathing. I can feel it, too. :) I rarely miss a class unless something comes up. Love it!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

WEEK 1/17 HM Training - Run #1 10K

The first day of summer ... the first day of official PR half marathon training ... and it was my worst run of 2011. I am not bothering with posting my time. I'd rather forget it. :(

Before this became my worst run of the year, I had decided to make a slight change to my training program. Tuesdays are no longer going to be "Tuneless Tuesdays." Instead, every Tuesday's run (soon to be 6 miles/11.5K on a regular basis) will be about running up Riverside Hill ... from the difficult side. :) With my last training program, I did hill workouts for three weeks during Phase II: Strength Training. At the time, it made me think about how I always avoid going up this hill. I usually run down it at the 1.5-2K mark of my runs, and then take the flatter route home, thus avoiding the incline back. I don't have scheduled hill workouts for the next 8 weeks, but I am thinking that it would be ego-boosting if, by the time I reach this training point, if I were able to run up Riverside Hill without walking/stopping. Therefore, I plan to attempt it every Tuesday for the next 8 weeks.

And this is probably why I feel even more disappointed in my run today ... because I wanted to start with a bang. I could start to list all the possible reasons why today's run went so poorly, but instead, I am just going to say, "it is what it is." Not every run is going to be great, and I'm lucky that most of my runs go well. I have had some stellar training weeks and I have also established several new PRs in the last 5 months so I am not going to beat myself up too much for needing to walk/run a 10K today.

How ironic to say in this particular post that it can only go "up" from here. :)

To finish, I did manage to run from the base of the hill to the lower entrance of Braemar Crescent before stopping to walk up the hill the rest of the way. Next week, my minimum goal is to run up the hill as far as the upper entrance to Braemar Crescent.

A new-to-me "Rock Bottom" class at the gym focusing on the glutes and leg muscles is on the agenda for tonight and an 8K is scheduled for tomorrow.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Half Marathon Training Begins! Phase I: Road Work

"How to Run a Personal Record: Cover the Ground in Front of You Faster Than Ever Before," by Dave Kuehls, pg. 9 - 13.

How to Train for a PR
There is no completely right or wrong way to train - there are training philosophies that work for some, and different training philosophies that work for others. For example, many successful distance runners train at altitude. Many successful distance runners do not train at altitude. There's no one way.

That said, the training philosophy behind this book is based on a solid three-pronged approach that has been used for decades by many runners - elite athletes as well as every day joggers. The guiding principle is that in order to run fast, to run a PR during a race, you must work through three stages of training: Road Work, Strength Work, and Track Work, which includes a secret workout.

Road Work (8 weeks)
Road Work (a.k.a. distance work) is often given short shrift - sometimes even overlooked altogether - when a runner is concentrating on running a PR. Training manuals paraphrase the weeks and months of boring distance work a runner needs to do in preparation to race, and this has a tendency to belittle the phase, as though you can get by without it (or at least some of it), causing many runners to try just that. For example, they will be instructed to put in six weeks of Road Work prior to hitting the track, but they cut that down to perhaps three or four and then jump right in.

This is a mistake. Traditionally this phase has been known by other names, like the Endurance Phase, but for this book, I have renamed it Road Work for a singular reason: "Road Work" is a boxing term. It refers to the long, slow miles a boxer will put in (often behind a car driven by his trainer), and as any boxer knows, Road Work is vital to his success. It literally gives him the legs to stand on when he is in the ring, particularly in later rounds. Without Road Work, a boxer cannot compete with another in the ring. And without Road Work, a runner cannot compete with himself (or herself!) during a race.

What is it?
Road Work consists of the long, slow runs you do exclusively in the first half of your training program. It also encompasses the runs you do once or twice a week later in your program., during Strength and Track Work.

What does it do for you?
Road Work builds up a well of endurance that enables you to "race" the distance. It also provides a base upon which you can add strength and speed without breaking down or becoming exhausted.

What workouts does it include?
In this training program, the weekly long run, the midweek medium run, and the short, slow recovery runs in between make up Road Work.

How do I do it?
You should start slow (at a conversational pace, a pace during which you can carry on a conversation) and finish slow. Run on a relatively flat surface (distance, not hills, should be your challenge), and build up the distance of your runs every week or two weeks. This is done by targeting a long run once a week but also by upping the mileage of some of your other runs during the week. The end result is that you gradually cover more miles in your long run and also run more total miles during the week.

What mental approach should I take to Road Work?
After a few weeks, Road Work can become boring - you are running slow miles every day - and the temptation is to pick it up on some runs and sooner or later you are no longer running long and slow but short and fast, and your eight weeks of Road Work has been cut in half. Therefore, it is helpful to remind yourself of your goal each day during the Road Work phase: to complete the distance at a slow pace. That's because endurance comes from one thing: time spent running.

What distances for Road Work should I expect?
For a long run, expect to run up to 8 miles while training for a 5K, 10 miles whiles training for a 10K, 16 miles while training for a half marathon, and 23 miles while training for a marathon. For weekly mileage, expect to work up to a 30-plus miles a week for a 5K, 35-plus miles a week for a 10K, 40-plus miles a week for a half marathon, and 50-plus for a marathon.


The Long Run:
THe long run is the cornerstone workout in the Road Work phase. The long run preferably occurs on Saturday so Sunday can be spent in recovery, and should take place on a flat, soft surface ... (edited) ... Loop courses might be preferable to train on if you are prepping for a half marathon or marathon, because more half marathons and marathons are not out-and-back and you want to simulate the nature of the course. Overall pace is conversational, and the run can be divided into psychological chunks to help you get through it. For example, if a 16-mile long run is thought of in its entirety, it will make the run seem interminable. But if you can mentally divide the distance into two 8-mile chunks or four segments of 4 miles, this will lighten the load.

Also, the longer the long run, the more helpful it will be to run it with a training partner.

The Midweek Medium Run:
The midweek medium run is a supplemental run in the Road Work phase. This run usually occurs on Wednesday (Note: Thursday in my shifted program), after you have had adequate time to recover from the last long run and have enough time ahead of you to prepare for the next long run on Saturday (Note: Sunday in my shifted program). Preferably run on a soft, flat surface, if you are training for a marathon and race day is coming up, the midweek medium run might be a good time to "hit the road" to simulate the surface conditions of race day. Run at a conversational pace or slightly faster (this is simply the nature of going less distance), yet monitor the run so as not to become too fast. Distances vary depending on your race distance.

The Recovery Runs:
Recovery runs are the short-distance workouts you run on days when you are not engaged in a long run or a medium distance run. Recovery runs should be done on a soft, flat surface (to promote recovery) and run at conversational pace or slower. There is a big temptation to run recovery runs fast (since they are so short)and this should be avoided at all costs. Without true recovery during your recovery runs, the Road Work phase will break you down in a matter of weeks. In that respect, slow recovery runs are most important run during Road Work. If you choose to run them too fast, you will not be able to go on.

Days Off:
The day, usually Sunday (Note: Monday in my shifted program), following the long run is a day off, a day of rest. This is part of the training process, which can be boiled down to this principle: You stress the body during a long run, then you let the body rest and recover so that it grow stronger. The Sunday day off is the first day in a three-day rest cycle, which is as follows: Rest day, recovery run, recovery run. It is also the most crucial. The day following your long run is the day when muscle tissue is at its most sore, tendons are their most tender, and the body is most fatigued. You need to rest. Without it, you will be too fatigued to continue training, and eventually break down, becoming injured or ill or both.

A few weeks into the Road Work phase, you will do striders following select recovery runs. Striders are short, 80-100 meter runs on a flat, soft surface. They are not sprints, but "pick-ups" run at a fresh pace. They serve two purposes. They let the legs run faster, after weeks of long, slow running. And they prepare the body for faster work in the Strength Work phase, when you will be running hills and tempo runs.

***NEW*** Good Health Series on Mondays & Fridays - FOOD RULES - RULE #1

from "Food Rules: An Eater's Manual," by Michael Pollan

PART I - What Should I Eat?
(Eat food.)

The rules in this section will help you to distinguish real foods - the plants, animals, and fungi people have been eating for generations - from the highly processed products of modern food science that, increasingly, have come to dominate the American (blog note: and Canadian!) food marketplace and diet. Each rule proposes a different filter for separating the one from the other, but they all share a common aim, which is to help you keep the unhealthy stuff out of your shopping cart.

RULE #1 - Eat food.

These days this is easier said than done, especially when 17,000 new products show up in the supermarket each year, all vying for your food dollar. But most of these items do not deserve to be called food - I call them edible foodlike substances. They're highly processed concoctions designed by food scientists, consisting mostly of ingredients derived from corn and soy that no normal person keeps in the pantry, and they contain chemical additives with which the human body has not been long acquainted. Today much of the challenge of eating well comes down to choosing real food and avoiding these industrial novelties.

"Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."

Saturday, June 18, 2011

GO THE DISTANCE RUN 8K - London Honda Series #3

BIB GAME: 19 + 1 = 20
20 is divisible by "5", my favourite number. :)

91 - 1 = 90
90 is divisible by "5", my favourite number. :)


In 2009, I participated in the 3K Fun Run. This is when the Go the Distance event was still held downtown London on a Sunday morning race before it was changed to an evening race.

3K was pretty much all I could handle at that time!! :) :) My results?

June 2009
Pace 7:17/km

Last year, I participated again in this event, but it was my first 8K race. I was very proud of myself at the time for being able to run in the 8K instead of the 3K. It didn't matter that I ended up not enjoying this race at all because of the hot and humid weather and because I had not run it wisely - I still did it!

Out of the two 8K races I ran last year, this race was my fastest/PR, which is not a fair comparison with one being a road race and the other, a hilly trail race. I do not have a blog record, but this was my result:

June 6, 2010
8K @57:47
Pace 7:04/km

So how am I doing one year later? :)


Official Time
8K @54:46
Pace 6:51/km
Gun start / Chip Finish

Garmin Time
8K @53:40
Pace 6:43/km

SOCKS were the swag this year, and IMO, they are very, very cool! I love my race tech shirts collection, but these socks receive two thumbs up from me! :) Sorry about my cheap camera pics ... or is it the photographer's lack of skills? :(

Sorry this post is late, but the gorgeous weather here enticed me to spend my day outside for most of it instead of being inside in front of a computer. I think (hope) you understand. :)

I achieved my goal of running under 55 minutes with 14 seconds to spare, according to the chip time. When I saw the weather forecast, I knew that the humdity, combined with a late day run, was not to my benefit. I'm an early morning run gal, and I love running in cooler weather. Therefore, I set my goal conservatively, and as you will see, I kept my run conservative, too.

Ben dropped me off on campus. I told him not to come to this event, and that bringing me to campus was all I needed from him this time. I could have walked, but I didn't want to arrive hot and sweaty ... I was going to be this way throughout my run so I wanted a little more time staying fresh. :) I picked up my chip and sat in the shade with other runners, waiting for the 3K to end and the 8K to start. I found my old running partner again so we sat in the shade together, discussing our Bayfield race last week, reminiscing about this same event last year, catching up on each other's news, and then deciding to pace each other in this race. I usually warm up before a race, but I decided not to bother for this one. I was feeling very casual about it and I decided that using the first 2K of this race as my warm-up was good enough for me.

Similar to last year, it's hard not to run faster in the TD Waterhouse Stadium. Check out my first km:

1 km - 6:35

So much for "warm-up," eh? Well, it felt good. I didn't feel like I was overdoing it and it was nice to keep pace with a solid group of people around the track before we exited and headed out onto the University of Western Ontario campus. At the 1 km marker, we were following a runner who decided that she would "jump" over the 1 km sign ... only she missed and ran into it, making a huge noise and nearly tripping herself. She looked sheepishly back at us as she continued to run. As dumb of a move as I think this was, I actually felt very bad for her because I knew we would be running past her soon and that it would be tougher for her to run the remaining 7K after embarrassing (and possibly injuring) herself this way.

2 km - 6:37

I discussed with my running partner before the starting gun to be patient, that we would start passing a lot of runners in the first 2K because they would run out too fast to keep up with the others. She told me after the race how she kept thinking about this, and then how delighted she was when, as we had our cadence synced for several km, we passed multiple runners. I didn't count, but we did "well" with our passing. :)

3 km - 6:43

There were several things I truly enjoyed about this race. One was knowing the course ahead of time so we knew exactly where all the inclines and downhills were. Another was having someone to pace with, which clearly was pushing me in a good way. I also felt relaxed and back to my 'norm' of just having fun being in a race, knowing that I was going to PR regardless so just go with the flow. :) I too k the time to thank race marshals/volunteers as I ran passed and even joked with some of them who were putting extra effort into cheering all of us on.

4 km - 6:48

I was trying to slow down somewhat because I didn't trust the 6:30-ish pace, not on a hot and humid night, so I felt better taking the speed down a notch. We were running well and enjoying the park scenery so there was no need to push it ...

5 km - 6:31

Sweet downhill section of the run. :)

6 km - 6:55

This is when I lost my running partner and the heat started getting to me a little. My partner wanted to run faster at the 6K mark, and I told her to go for it. Later, she told me that she had made an error, that she had meant to run faster at the 7K mark, and that her pace had significantly slowed in the homestretch when she was spent. I knew she had wanted to push it, but after my 5K race/PR last week and taking the time off this week to enjoy a break between training sessions, I really, really just wanted to coast at an easy pace.

I had the energy to pass a number of walking runners on a steeper incline. I literally ran up it past several people. One of the race marshals yelled out, "Number 191 !! GOOD GAME !!" I smiled and gave her the thumbs up.

7 km - 6:53

This is when I passed a runner I had been catching up to for a few km. She was slowing down and as you can see from my pace, so was I ... but not enough so that I couldn't pass her. Just after the 7km mark, she came up from behind me and passed me. I could hear her breathing and could see she was struggling, but I was still smiling and thanking volunteers, and after checking my Garmin again, I decided to coast it in because I was clearly under time from last year.

I saw this same runner start walking again and I was going to run past her a second time, but in the spirit of my Donnybrook Dash run, I slowed beside her and asked if she would like to pace it in with me. She picked up her pace and we started to run together. I knew she didn't have the energy to chat so I said a few encouraging words ... "we are almost there ... maybe 200m tops." We approached another runner who was walking so I turned to her and said, "we're pacing in together - join us!" So she did. :) I swear I felt a little like a Mother Hen with a runner under each 'wing' as we closed in on the stadium. The second runner said she had started walking because she really needed to pee! I laughed and told her that the faster she ran in, the faster she could go pee! She then decided to run faster. :)

8 km - 6:43

As my original "chick" and I approached the stadium entrance, she asked me wearily if we had to run around the track again, I told her, no, that the finish line was literally straight ahead, less than a minute to go. As soon as we were in the stadium and on the homestretch , I said, "Let's go! We can do it! We are there!" And we ran in together as I waved and smiled at a few people I know who were cheering us in. :) After we crossed the finish line together, I turned to this runner, shook her hand, and congratulated her on a great run. She thanked me genuinely for running with her.

I met up with my old running partner, and we found leftover water and watermelon together. We then had a good time discussing the race in detail. :)

And guess what? I won a door prize! #188 was called, but this runner was no longer there so they asked for the nearest number ... which was me. :) I now have a red and black London Honda Series gym bag. :) And the sweetest, sweetest part about it was that, as I was heading back to my spot after picking up my door prize, the runner I had run in with ran up to me and said, "Way to go, Coach! You deserve it." Doesn't that make you do, "awwwwwww." What a sweetheart!

I forgot to include in my blog post for Bayfield last week that I won a door prize there, too! I was happy to receive something special on the day I became a member of the "5K in <30" club. I won a cosmetic bag filled with Crabtree and Evelyn hand cream, lotion and shower gel. :)

As for POINTS ... they have not been officially posted yet, but I strongly suspect that I just jumped from 17th place to 6th place, if my figuring is correct. :) I was last in my age and gender group - 12th out 12 women. However this still earns me 9 points and it is a double points event. Therefore, 18 points added to my current 18 points knocks me into the top 10. :) I just might be a contender this year. :)

Half Marathon training begins tomorrow ... and Mondays are now officially OFF/REST DAYS so how's that for starting training! :) :)

Race Prediction - Go the Distance 8K

25 degrees Celsius with humidity is predicted for my race this evening.

Last year's results:
Pace 7:04/km

Best regular 8K run this year:
Pace 6:54/km

My pace in my PR 10K:

So I predict this ... I can't help but to PB in this race because my regular 8K runs this year are faster. However, this 8K PR was established in hot, humid weather. It was a tough race then for everyone, and it is looking that way again tonight. :(

I will be happy with a time of 55 minutes (my favourite number doubled) or under. This means a 6:52/km pace. A cross between 6:54 and 6:41, which I think is a little too conservative, but if I am huffing and puffing and completely parched like I was last year, then this is completely realistic!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Token Week Off from Official Training - 6.5K

6.56 @46:02
Avg. Pace 7:05/km

A nice easy run. Half the run was sub-7:00/km and half was in the 7:00/km zone. This is good! It shows that I truly kept it easy today. Wallace and Angus ran with me. It was a nice running group session. :)

This is my last run before I participate in an evening 8K race on Saturday night.

I didn't have my blog then so there is no post about last year's race to link, but there are a few memories about this race to share ...

1. I ran the first km way too fast. I got caught up in the speed atmosphere of being on a track in TD Waterhouse Stadium at the university so I ended up running around the track waaaaay faster than intended with all the other runners. I paid the price for the rest of the race, running in the stifling heat and humidity, making it very tough to maintain pace without struggling.

2. There was one runner who made a big impression on me and taught me a valuable lesson. I noticed her before the race because she was dressed a little "kookily" and didn't look like a serious runner at all. She started near the end of the running pack. However, this runner passed me after ~2 km and I had a great view of her as she steadily passed a significant number of people in front of me. She had very consistent pace, she stuck to it, and she did an outstanding job of passing the rest of us who had run out too fast at the beginning or who were struggling in the humidity. I think of her every time I am in 10K and running near the end. I think I channeled her when I ran in the Dairy Capital Run when I steadily passed other eight other runners after starting in last place! :)

3. There was this one runner whom I passed at the 6K mark. Her body language told me that she did not like being passed by me, and we spent the remaining 2K yo-yoing with each other. I was irritated because I was trying my best to maintain a steady (but slow!) running pace whereas she kept burst-running than walking, burst-running then walking, always starting to run again as soon as I passed her while she was in one of her walking phases. I tried to ignore her, but she seriously made my teeth grind! :( I, too, make runners ahead of me my "targets" as well, but I am not overt about it. I took her reaction to me personally. :( As it turns out, she found her last burst of speed and adrenaline at the end, and passed me for good near the finish line.

4. This is the local series in which participating runners collect points within their age group based on their placement in the races.

I earned 18 points in the Really Chilly Road Race 5K for being in 7th place for women in my age group (woo hoo!) and earned ZERO points in the McFarlan Rowland's 5K (didn't even place - bummer!). I looked up last year's results for the Go the Distance 8K, found a runner in my age group in my guess-timated running range, and saw that she placed 16th. This means I have the potential of earning 5 points this Saturday (all things being equal). This event is also a 'double points' event so this could translate into 10 points. All I care about is being in the top 20 as there are no points awarded for 21st and after. No participation points are awarded, but there are extra points available at the end of the series for those who participated in most or all of the races. I am currently #17 out of 38. Prizes are awarded to the top five only. Runners are eligible after running in four events so there is still time for runners to enter the series with this Saturday's race (like I did last year); however, they are ineligible to collect the bonus 10 points for five events or bonus 30 points for six events (which I am aiming for this year). Make sense? Ha!


Kundalini Yoga - awesome session last night. "Taking Care of the Breasts - Working on the Lymph Nodes." Love this style of yoga! :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Token Week Off from Official Training - 8K

8.25 km @ 56:55
Avg. Pace 6:53/km
Moving Pace 6:49/km

FOUR SECONDS off from achieving a personal milestone!

All 8 km+ were sub-7:00/min except the 3rd km ... when I stopped to let Wallace expel and took my time picking it up and dropping it in a garbage can. :) A dog poop made me miss my personal milestone of running a regular, every day run at a sub-7:00/km pace in all splits. If I wasn't so happy about my results, I'd call that shitty! :)

I took yesterday off as a rest day ... as I always do after a race. Today I checked my June-November schedule (posted here) and decided it was best for me to stick with my original plan for this week being a 'token week off from training' (reduced running), and to start my half marathon training officially next week. I scheduled myself for an 8K today.

I also decided that I had had enough of the Garmin for awhile. I switched the display panels to "1" only - Distance. For the next nine weeks (1 week "token" + 8 weeks "Road Work"), I will run without checking time, pace, average pace, etc. I will record it; I just won't know my results until I download them later.

I ran with Wallace and Angus today, and they were happy to be out with me for a run. They have not gone out with me running as frequently in the last little while due to races that replace long runs, hill work, tempo runs, and track work, but that will change for the next nine weeks. Welcome back to running all the time with your mama, boys!

My run went very well. It was a beautiful day and perfect for running. I was happy and smiling at everyone who passed me on the path. I felt a little sluggish and honestly felt like I running a little slower than usual, which I half expected so I didn't think anything of it.

Well, my eyes nearly *bugged* out of my head when I downloaded my results and saw what I really ran. :) And when I realized it was the dog poop pick-up during the 3rd km that "ruined" my personal, milestone achievement, I had a good laugh because I distinctly recall myself taking the time to clean up the doggie doo-doo while thinking, it doesn't matter today how quickly I pick this up because this is just an easy run. :) :) Can you believe that?!?! :)

Not bad for a birthday run, eh? :) :)

Day off tomorrow, but I have Kundalini yoga in the evening. A run is scheduled for Thursday and I have Friday off.


Sunday, June 12, 2011


Last year, I participated in this 5K race. It was my 4th 5K race of 2010. It also was the race in which I established my fastest 5K time since I started running again in 2009. I have no blog record of running this race, but I have my results:

June 12, 2010
5K @33:54
Pace 6:39/km

Back in 2003, I achieved the following time in a 5K race, my PR back when I was younger and somewhat lighter - LOL!:


This is the race that I chose back in February to spend 14 weeks training for in order to achieve my goal of running a '5K in under 30 minutes.'

So how did I do?

Official Posted time
Pace 5:58/km
Blow horn start / bib slip collection

Garmin time
5 km @29.21
Pace 5:52/km

a.k.a. "The Monkey Off My Back" Run!
(I say this jokingly ... if I were truly bothered by running 5K races in over 30 minutes, I would tried much harder before running so many of them!)

a.k.a. "The 5K under 30 Club Membership" Run!

Well, I did it, folks. :) I finally earned my membership into that club of people who can run a 5K distance in under half an hour. :)

Since returning to running, I've just been showing up to races to see how I do 'this time.' Today, I was both nervous and excited because this was the race I have actually focused on for the last 14 weeks. I have run 14 - 5K races, almost always for fun, but this is the first time since I have trained for one with time goal. I did this as a way of getting myself back into running shape after the winter and to increase my mileage to the level where I can start training for my rematch and new PR in the Niagara Falls half marathon this fall.

Usually when I blog about a race, I can describe it in detail. I am usually very aware of what is going on around me, making observations, watching other runners, checking out the scenery of where I am at, learning something new, etc. Not so much today! I have to admit that this race was more of a blur. I truly ran with focus, running full speed ahead with my eyes on the road ahead of me, trying to find my pace! I really can't say much about the actual race except that I recognized the route while running it, and unlike most of my recent races, I was always surrounded by a lot of people running a similar pace (it was VERY nice not to be a lone runner in a race for a change!).

After a tough personal week of wondering if my injured achilles tendon was going to be okay, and having trouble sleeping the night before, the signs this morning leading up to this race were all in my favour:

1. The weather channel predicted unseasonably coolish weather. It was just awesome! Ideal for me for running. Most people were complaining about the drop in temperatures, but I was rejoicing!

2. Morning prep and breakfast ran on schedule. There was no "I can feel the breakfast heavy in my stomach" for me today!

3. I took a hot shower in order to feel 'clean' and awake. Most race days I just go and then shower when I get back, but I wanted that super fresh feeling before leaving.

4. I wore my favourite tech running shirt, the black Grand Bend tech shirt from last fall's Pinery Provincial Park race (I am wearing it in the Niagara Falls half marathon pic at the bottom of my blog). I also wore my newest Saucony running shoes.

5. My Garmin was properly set, my iPod has my special 'Bayfield' playlist, and I have practiced using my new black Sprint Palm holder so I do not have to stop at any water stations. :)

6. The drive up there through farmlands is beautiful and relaxing.

7. There is just under 400 runners participating in either the 2K or the 5K so the event is a nice, 'fuller' community race without being too large.

8. My bib number is great (9 - 4 = 5 my favourite number!)

9. Warm-up goes well. Although I think it feels a little sluggish after some striders, my pace is actually quite good.

10. I have Ben with me. I owe Ben a lot for being there for me when this environment is really not his ideal (he hates any type of crowd with a passion), but he held my hand and then my gear while I warmed up. He kept me smiling with quips and encouragement, and was the partner I needed him to be before the race started.

I knew going in that I had selected a race with an ideal running course (all flat - literally no hills or inclines), but I also knew that this would not be chip timed. This meant that I had to run that much faster to ensure my official time was under 30 minutes. My official time was going to be negatively affected regardless by where I stood at the start and where I placed in the finishing chute. This is why I didn't want to stop for water anywhere along the way. Can you tell I was taking this very seriously? :)

And at the sound of the air horn, 293 runners took off in the 5K. My training program suggested that I stand back from the start line where all the racers are jumping out and running full tilt so I wouldn't be forced to run with them. No worries there as I usually take middle back position! But I did move up closer than usual to the front because this race was not chip timed, and I really did not want to miss my PR by a few seconds as a result of my starting position. My training program also suggested that this placement in the pack would slow me down a little (ideal) while I warmed up and would keep me from swoosh!-ing out too fast. This was good advice and it worked - my start was slower and built up as a result:

1 km - 5:56 (best pace 5:01)

However, I started running too fast in the 2nd km and I knew it:

2 km - 5:40 (best pace 4:27)

I kept telling myself to slow down and follow the plan, but it was really tough to do! It was as if I hit a certain pace (5:30/km) and felt very comfortable there so I didn't want to leave it, yet I knew I couldn't keep that pace up and I was hurting myself in the long run if I didn't bring it down. Maybe this is why I don't remember the race as much as I was struggling with myself to run the the logical pace and not the 'adrenaline-fuelled feels good' pace.

3 km - 5:58 (best pace 5:12)

And this is when I started to feel it. There was no hill to blame or change in course ... I started to feel tired and you can see this in the next km split. After 3km at a speed much faster than what I should have been running ideally, it's not a surprise:

4 km - 6:04 (best pace 5:01)

It was at around this point of the race when something unique to me happened, and whether you call it 'Providence' or fate, this is what occurred next. As I am tiring, I turned to my left and saw someone I knew - my running partner from last spring! We had run this same race together last year and she had returned to Bayfield to run it as well. I reached over with my hand and lightly touched her on the shoulder to get her attention, and we then had a mini reunion on the course while running. We had lost touch with each other by choice so to have something like this take place in the middle of my 'important' race was surreal! I have to give her credit where credit is due because when I told her I was trying to break 30 minutes today, she johnny-on-the-spot said okay! I'm in! It was a small miracle for me because what are the odds of finding an old running partner while trying to PR and pacing each other to the end? We chatted but I can't remember what was said because I was not zoned into the conversation while trying to maintain my pace and because I was feeling anxious about making it to the finish line in time. The race is a bit of a blur except for when I finally saw the finish line ...

5 km - 5:46 (best pace 5:11)

For the first time in a long time, I had nothing extra to offer at the end. I was very tired, breathing more heavily than usual, and running my heart out to reach the end in under 30 minutes. We passed several people, but then we were passed by others. The crowd laughed as a woman wearing a cape sprinted past most of us to the finish. There was no way I could catch up to her even if I wanted to as I was just fighting to maintain my pace at that point. :)

0.09 km - 6:22 (best pace 4:58)

This is when it's a little funny ... both in the funny 'ha ha' and the funny 'peculiar' meanings. Ben took a photo of me walking after my finish with the clock in the foreground reading "29:45." I was expecting an "official" time of 29:40 range so I was a little shocked to see "29:51" as my official time. And my running partner was listed as two seconds slower than me when in fact we crossed the finish together. :( Again, I should not be surprised by this because of the laidback timing method used for this race. However, once again, I am really pleased that I didn't make any water pit stops and that I pushed it when I did.

So! In conclusion ... my learnings from this race ...

1. I see now how cutting two weeks of my 'track work' had a negative impact because I struggled to find my pace throughout this race. I am sure that if I had had another two weeks of track work, I probably would have had proper pacing. Lesson learned. :)

2. I may sound like I am 'out to lunch' saying this, but I really like the 5:30/km pace. It feels comfortable to me, and I struggled with slowing myself down to the 5:50 - 6:00/km pace range, which did not feel as comfortable to me. I find this very odd because I really do not have the fitness level to run a 5K at 5:30/km! However, this is not the first time that I have noticed my gravitation to this particular speed. It seems to be my default fast speed. I'm not trying to run at this speed - I just find myself going to it first and then having to force myself to slow it down because I can't maintain it.

3. Having a pacing partner really works! I know this already from my experiences with running with others, but because it has been so long since I paced with someone, it was a nice reminder. :) I am unsure if I would have achieved today's goal if I didn't have someone with me to help maintain the pace.

4. It doesn't matter if someone has run 3 races or 31 races (like me!), there is a huge difference between running a race casually for fun and running a race for a specific time! Now I need to learn how to find the right balance between the two. :)

5. This was! I felt sooooo low in February after 10 weeks of not running. When I started this training program, it still felt like a big letdown to me. After running a half marathon last fall and then starting to train for a '10K in under 60 minutes' for the spring, followed by a planned spring half marathon, instead I was going to focus on a dinky 5K?!?! But as I have progressed through this training, and learned so much more about running, I realized that it had actually been a blessing (for me). I have a new appreciation for 5K races :) and focusing on the improvement of my speed will clearly benefit me in the next 17-19 weeks as I train for a half marathon in the fall. Hindsight is 20/20 - I did not think this way at the beginning - but I truly believe it now. I am feeling very jazzed after my race (and my 2 hour afternoon nap!). I am enthusiastic about my plans moving forward, and much, much better prepared at this point to start training for another half marathon than I was a year ago. Pretty pretty cool! :) :)

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Last Training Run - Race Week Taper

3.41 km / 2+ miles @ 24:26
Pace 7:10/km

Week #14 has come to an end, and this is it. No more "5K in 30 minutes" training. It's done. Tomorrow we drive to Bayfield and I will do my best to run my first 5K in under half an hour.

This will be my 14th 5K race. It makes me laugh to think, you haven't run a 5K in under 30 minutes in any of these previous races? But the fact is, I have never cared and so I have never tried.

This is my 5K history:


I ran two 5K races.

At the time, I didn't know anything at all about training or PRs, intervals and hill training, or much about anything else! I was in a Learn-to-Run program, and my first-ever 5K was in July, the "goal" race in my LTR program. Because I enjoyed running the race, I signed up for another 5K in August. This is when I set my current PR of 31:32.

Back then, I didn't pay much attention to 5K races because my head was in the clouds, thinking about running in future half marathons and marathons. I say "head in the clouds" because it truly was "la la" thinking at the time because I essentially quit running after this, even though I absolutely loved it and swore it was my new passion. :( :(


Three 5K races.

I returned to running after a year of non-stop dog walking. This commitment to walking elevated me from my "unhealthiest health level ever" status to LTR status again. This time, I start with a fun 3K run and I am thrilled to be running in 5K races again during the summer. I am paying better attention to my 5K race times as a sign of improvement, but my true goal for the year is just trying to work my way up the mileage ladder so I can run my first-ever 10K. Speed is not a priority nor is it a care; I just want to run 10K. And I did! :)


Seven 5K races.

I am repeating my same pattern from 2009. Sure, these are fun 5K races all over SW Ontario and in London to run, but I am not serious about them. I still don't care about speed. All I want to do is to be able to run more 10K races. I care about my "PR" in these races and I care about mileage once again because I am focused on running a half marathon. All I want is to be able to say that I ran a 10K by the end of 'last' year, but I ran a "full" half marathon by the end of 'this' year. I just wanted to run a half marathon. And I did! :)

Running this half marathon had an impact on me. For the first time, I no longer wanted to 'progress' up the mileage ladder; I wanted to run a half marathon faster before running a 'full' marathon. For the first time, my focus as of last November turned to pace and speed.

But ... I am still 10K-centric - LOL! Speed to me meant being able to run a '10K in under 60 minutes' so I start a specific training program to accomplish this ... and I make it as far as Week #4 before my injured achilles tendon and Snowmageddon have a very wicked smackdown on me. :(


So now it's March and I am feeling really crappy. 10+ weeks of no running and all my spring goals for running are in the toilet ...

So long, goal '10K in under 60 minutes' at the Forest City Road Races in May (note: I did run a 10K PR in this event, just not in under 60). :(

So long goal half marathon at the Toronto Women's Half Marathon in May, too (note: I was planning to walk/run it, similar to my Niagara Falls half, but with improved speed). :(

When I revisit my '10K in 60 minutes' training program from the fall, the mileage is too much - too soon. Quite the bummer, and frankly, it was very depressing. :(

The Program That Helped Me Tremendously

This is when I decided to start a "5K in under 30 minutes" training program. And it was the best thing I could have done. :) :) The last 14 weeks have been just terrific. I have conservatively worked my mileage back up to a level where I can start training for a half marathon (or two) in the fall. My speed has significantly improved. By experiencing a full cycle of training, I have learned all about hill training, intervals, striders, various track workouts, runs in the morning, runs in the afternoon, what works for me, what doesn't work for me ... 14 weeks of learning and 'aha' moments (thanks, Oprah!), and "finally get-it's." I also learned that, personally, my desire to run a full marathon someday is all about the journey in getting there, and not necessarily about the station/arrival itself. There have been numerous bumps in this road already, and no doubt there are going to be quite a few more.