Sunday, 22 March 2015

Stay Obsessed. Set Goals. Work. Dream.

A chapter of my childhood closed when Steve Nash announced his official retirement on March 21, 2015.

When major events happen in your life for some reason those memories stick no matter how long ago they may be. The memory of how I learnt about Steve Nash is one of those memories I never forgot. In the second grade in 2002 we were assigned to make a mobile of a Canadian Olympian. My mom recommended I do it Steve Nash. The rest was history.

Shortly thereafter I also demanded she sign me up to play basketball. So I played competitively from when I was a wee little girl till grade 12. During this time I also stood by my reasoning to never wear the  number 13 or #7 because I was always worried the one game or practice I didn't work hard enough or play smart enough it would make Steve Nash's number look bad. Kind of silly but I stuck with it.

So how does this all relate to my present day goals in running? It's no longer my dream to play basketball for Team Canada or get a division 1 scholarship.  But it is still my goal to chase those scary dreams that keep me up at night, that make me second guess my dreams.

This year my goal is to run a sub 4 hour marathon - it scares me to even think about it. When I read Steve Nash's retirement letter it provoked feelings and thought. Why should I be scared of this challenge? The odds were stacked even higher and harder against Steve Nash.

This was my favourite excerpt from the post.

Stay obsessed. Set Goals. Work. Dream. Scheme and push yourself beyond what is normal or expected. Simply put, work your butt off and anything can happen. There are a lot of runners I look up to, most of them are teammates or friends. It's a nice reminder to think, why can't I be as good or fast as them in a few years if I work hard. 

This is a lesson all athletes or anyone with a dream can take away. 

Steve Nash did pretty good for a kid no one knew. 

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Running into the New Year

Welcome back...if you're back. My blog has been a ghost town...mostly because I didn't have anything to write about when I wasn't training and was just exercising just so I could fit in my jeans. Also I just renewed my domain and thought what a waste if I don't use it!

A quick recap of 2014.

May 2014 - Blew the Vancouver marathon, didn't even come close to my goal time. I came back to Toronto and really thought about never racing for PBs again and perhaps pick up a new hobby? I took 3 months off of running to do whatever. Also to let my poor sad foot get better. You can read more about that race in a pervious post. It was not pretty, my race nor the weather that day!

June 2014 - Biked my first 90k on a relay team at the Mount Tremblant Half Ironman. Before this date I had never ridden more thank 35K non stop, yep I had my work cut out for me on those rolling hills. I also changed two flat tires for the first time! I also experienced what is sounds like when a tire tube blows up very close to your ear.

Fast forward to August 2014 - I don't remember how or why I decided from not wanting to run for PBs to join a team so I could smash my running goals. I always knew if I was going to join a team it was going to be with Pace and Mind. Once I got over that fear of group running and knowing I'd be always just chasing teammate's heels I started to see results. I guess the only way to get fast is to chase the fast.

I ended up running 2 half marathons 2 weeks apart and PBing each of them!
1) Toronto Waterfront Half Marathon October 19th
2) Angus Glen Half Marathon November 2nd - I took full two weeks off between races and only had 2 goals for this race: not look at my watch and not walk. Completed both those goals AND PBed on a tough hilly course.

Fast forward to January 23, 2015. I took a break after that just continued my long runs to maintain fitness through the holidays.

January 18 I made the executive decision to get back to healthy eating and healthy habits. Paleo I go back to, I did a strict paleo diet in 2013 for about 5 months and the results and my health were amazing. So i know it works for me! Back to writing down every single thing that I eat and drink to keep me honest.

My 2015 Goals 

C) Complete my first triathlon
D) PB my half marathon time

My main goal for 2015 is to run a sub 4 hour marathon, everything else is just going to be gravy. I have a bunch of races lined up to help me reach that sub 4 hour goal. With hard work, focus, great teammates and coaching from Pace and Mind it will make this challenge possible.

Monday, 17 November 2014

Discovering the Marathon Through YouTube Star Shay Carl

March 20, 2012 I was 17 years old and I experienced what running a marathon would be like...through my computer screen.

October 18, 2014 running with Shay Carl.
As I watched a 25 minute YouTube video of my favourite YouTuber Shay Carl completing his first marathon after losing over 100lbs. It was one of the most inspiring and motivating things I have ever seen. Shay Carl is  a daily vlogger so I got to see the entire process from when he first started training to when he crossed that finish line at the LA Marathon.

I grew up hating cross country and track so I even thought I was crazy when I told myself I was going to run a marathon. I didn't know how or when I was going to complete a marathon but I knew I was.

I started running because I really had no excuse not to. When I started running I could barely run 800m without walk breaks. But on October 20, 2013 after 10 months of training I ran my first marathon and Shay Carl was right...I am addicted to the marathon. It was the most life changing experience.

Everyone gets introduced to a marathon a different way, whether it was passed on from their parents or from their friends. I was introduced to the marathon by Shay Carl, prior to his videos the only marathon I knew was a Simpsons marathon. So how did you discover the marathon?

Monday, 5 May 2014

My Defining Moment at the Vancouver Marathon

SPOILER!! To my surprise I did PB my marathon time!!

Passing kilometre 37 of the Vancouver Marathon, the rain not letting up once the entire race, wind blowing harder and colder. I can nearly see the end of Stanley Park. I felt so defeated and demoralized, the marathon was laughing at me.  I came all the way to Vancouver to run this marathon I was not leaving without a medal.

My legs and body were betraying me. I replayed the last 2 days and back to the last few months of my training, where did I go wrong, did I not fuel properly, maybe I'm really not  made for the marathon.

The final 5k of the race were the most agonizing and painful 5k I have ever run, taking nearly an hour to complete.

By the time I could see the finish line 250 metres away, the longest 250 metres I have ever witnessed. I was numb, unaware of my surroundings, I no longer felt the pain I just kept reminding my legs to keep going.

As soon as I crossed that finish line and left the finishing chute I bent over with my hands on my knees gasping for air. Eyes welled with tears asking myself, what am I doing, promising myself to never put myself through this type of physical and mental anguish.

I had been training for a 4 hour marathon but had a very rough winter training from weather to injury. I reassessed and believed a 4:15-4:25 marathon time was attainable. I was on track, I had gas left in my tank, I was feeling strong and confident but so quickly all that came crumbling down.

Running is suppose to be fun, suppose to keep us fit and healthy. After this experience I think running is actually hurting me. I'm sitting here typing and every muscle in my body hurts, walking up or down stairs hurts even more. Running should leave us feeling good, so why doesn't it?

Perhaps I'm pushing too hard, setting expectations too high. I know I'm never going to win a race or even come close to ever making money from running. I run because I love it, yet after many races I curse racing and say never again yet 1 month later sign up for another race.

When I first started running I never obsessed about my pace or time I just ran because it felt right and I enjoyed it. Now my eyes are glued to my watch, checking my pace deciding if I can push a little harder without pushing over the edge.

Running shouldn't be something I stress about, my friend Catherine always reminds me "running is a gift". It really is, we are very lucky we are able to lace on our shoes and run, whether it's for 10 minutes or 5 hours.

I want to go back to enjoying running, I don't want to feel defeated or left feeling like I got hit by a truck after a race. Running my first marathon last fall, not worrying about a time just going out there and having fun, I want to go back to that. I was really having fun, smiling and laughing after 42.2km run.

Every good tale has a defining moment, the Vancouver marathon was my defining moment. Perhaps pushing my body to the ultimate edge is not what I want. I no longer want to race marathons but I will certainly run more marathons.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Every Running Shoe Has a Tale to Tell

Since I began running I've gone through 2 pairs of shoes and onto my third. When my mom told me to donate the old ones that I no longer wear not even as "running to the store" shoes I realized I've become quite attached to these shoes. They all have a story to tell.

Nimbus 14

The very first pair of running shoes I bought to begin "training" for my first 10K race and half marathon. Didn't know anything about shoes just knew I liked the colour and they were pretty comfy.

These shoes will tell you it sat for weeks on end and whenever the sun came out we went on stupidly long runs without ever building up the distance.

These shoes ran through snow and discovered the Waterfront and Don Valley trails with me for the first time. These shoes experienced the excitement of being at the start line of a race with me for the first time too.

They've now become my winter/running on ice and snow shoes. Put some Ice Spikes in the bottom and they're rediscovering the snowy icy trails of the Lower Don.

Shoes that helped me run my first race can never be thrown out.

Nimbus 15

I bought these shoes just before I began training for my first marathon. I fell in love with the Nimbus and stuck with the same model when the time came to buy new shoes.

I hit many new milestones with these shoes, longest distances, running through wind, rain and mud. These shoes sat many days with newspaper stuffed in it absorbing all the water from wet rainy runs. It's heard many conversations between my friends and running partners Liz & Llorene on those long runs lasting 4+ hours.

These shoes helped me complete my very first marathon on October 20th, 2013. My very first 42.2. They certainly aren't going anywhere!

Nimbus 15

Another pair of Nimbus 15, I guess when you find something that works for you, you stick with it.

These were the first pair of shoes that experienced running 4 days a week, track days and -20C temperatures. It might have been November but I was training for my second half marathon in these shoes. My first out of town race, a half marathon in San Diego California.

I PBed my half marathon time in these shoes. They aren't going anywhere.

1 hour after completing that race these shoes walked 6 miles on the Boardwalk from Pacific Beach to Mission Beach and back. Good day, good weather and even better friends.

Through winter 2014 I have been doing all my outdoor training runs in these shoes. I have another pair that currently do indoor runs and are itching for nicer road conditions to come out.

Nimbus 15

Same shoe different colour. These shoes are destained to help me PB my full marathon time at BMO Vancouver Marathon in May, 2014.

They've ran many mile repeats, fartleks and sprints on treadmills and indoor tracks. When the road conditions get better they'll be out on more runs. For now they're quite comfortable indoors.

This story isn't complete yet, not until it sees the view of beautiful Vancouver BC and crosses the finish line of my second marathon.

They're also in my favourite shade of blue! :)

Nimbus 15

This story is still unwritten. As a runner when you see your favourite running shoe for more than 50% off you buy it. As you can probably tell, I have a favourite running shoe.

These shoes have big hopes and dreams. These shoes are going to train all summer and do what it takes to help me try to achieve my Boston Qualifier of 03:35 at a fall marathon.

They've got a big job to do but I know they're up for the challenge.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Train. Race. Friendship.

There is no doubt that the running community is special. We can all agree we are an odd breed of people, many of us by our freedom of choice choose to run in negative 30 degree temperatures and call it FUN!

Through running I have made countless friendships, through run meet ups or running teams. It was incredible meeting so many inspiring, amazing and incredible athletes. Whenever I tried explaining this feeling of the community to "non-running" friends (which there aren't many of these days). They just don't get it.

So what do I do? I recruit those friends to become "running friends" as well!

One of my really close friends Andrew always told me, "one day I will run a 5K with you".

One day was finally going to happen, not just a 5K but a 10K at this years Yonge Street 10K on Sunday April 13th!

Literally 25 minutes from the start of our conversation my friend Andrew was signed up for his VERY FIRST RACE! Yonge St. 10k quickly became the race I was most excited for this year. Having the chance to share the race experience with a close friend made it that much  more special.

Andrew is one of the nicest and most inspiring people I know and I am very grateful to call him my friend. When he sets out to do something his determination and drive will get him there, there is no doubt in my mind that he will succeed.

10:15pm and by 10:34pm Andrew was
registered for his first race!
We have been keeping each other motivated thus far with training. Updating each other on new milestones and setbacks. We are both very excited to be racing TOGETHER April 13th, 2014.

I told him, "this is your first race but certainly not going to be your last" I am almost certain he will be running marathons in no time!

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Effective GRID Foam Rolling for Runners

**This post is done with the assistance of SMRT Core Certified trainer Quintin V. With his guidance we have put together a short outline of all the areas you should target when foam rolling before & after running. Have a questions Tweet @KOP7777!**

As a runner soreness and injuries are inevitable and it’s not a coincidence that you see runners swearing by their foam rollers.
So how does it work and better question is why does it work so well?
You know that tight sore feeling you get pre run, feeling like your muscles are still tight and not warmed up, or after one too many kilometers? It might not have anything to do with your muscles; it is probably your fascia.
Fascia is a collagen-based layer of fibrous tissue; it surrounds muscles, muscle groups, blood vessels and nerves, bringing together structures within the body. Imagine it as a layer of cushioning throughout your entire body. Fascia also allows other structures in your body to move and slide smoothly over atop each other. Fasciae are very flexible structures with the innate ability to resist unidirectional tension forces.

Lack of activity can cement these fibers into place causing the stiff tight feeling. Constant stress to the fibers can cause them to thicken as a defence to your underlying muscles.
The good news, any damage done to the fascia is 100% reversible with rest!
SMRT Core Roller - The Grid
SMRT Core rolling techniques works with the theory that through sustained posture, injury, or repetitive movement, adhesions within the myofascial network are created.  These adhesions are thought to inhibit normal movement and therefore negatively impact muscular performance.  The use of SMRT Core Roller brings about localized muscular stretching, pressure, friction and temperature change.  It is believed that these changes help “break up” adhesive scar tissue and improve muscle extensibility and function.

The GRID Foam Roller isn’t just for post workout, it is actually a great way to warm up your muscles pre workout!

Before a Run 
  • Long rolls to get the muscles moving, imagine rolling out like taking the hand brake off your car before driving.

After Run
  • Require short rolls to release the adhesions created through running.
** If before or after is not indicated the technique can be used for both **

Calves & Gastrocnemius
Long rolls over calves.
Short rolls over both gasrocs, one leg at a time.
Long rolls over quadriceps.

Short rolls with your knee bent at 90 degrees.
With quad static on roller bend knee to 90 degrees
and straighten out slowly.

Slow long rolls over the peroneal on each of your legs.

IT Band

Find 90 degrees then pivot pelvis 15 degrees to the ground.


Sitting on your roller, cross your right leg over your left knee and lean towards your right glute. Small rolls over your glute. Switch sides and keep your hands on the floor for support. 

Tibialis Anterior

Roll back and fourth while trying to keep most of your weight over your shins and not in your hands.

It will take no longer than 10 minutes to go through all of these and your body will thank you for it!