Monday, December 22, 2014

My First 20 Miler of Goofy Challenge Training

Time for the final push to the Goofy Challenge!  Ideally coach Angie wants me to get in two 20 mile runs before the race.  I’ve had several weeks of big training in a row so to give my body a break this week I only had one run to do midweek before a large weekend of running.  My midweek run was an easily paced 1 hour with 10 x 1:00 hills thrown in at the 30 minute mark.

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The weather was phenomenal and luckily my friend Kelly was willing to tag along and do my workout with me.  We ran the curling club hill because it seemed to fit the bill of a steep hill where I could focus on my toe push and knee lift.  Thanks to the nice weather we’ve been having lately the path up the hill was clear of snow and ice so I didn’t have to worry about slipping and hurting myself.  Having Kelly on the hill with me was a great motivator and I had a great run.

On Saturday my friend Tara joined me for my run.  I had 2 hours to run with the first hour at a nice slow pace, then the second hour at my goal marathon pace.  When we started off on our run I felt a bit rough and thought running at goal marathon race pace might be hard.  Luckily my legs came around and I was able to nail my pacing on the second hour.  I need to remember that my legs need a good 20 minutes to warm up.  I ran 11.35 miles in my 2 hours so it was a solid pre-20 miler Goofy Challenge training effort.

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As soon as I got home the focus on recovery started.  I drank some chocolate milk, showered and pulled on compression socks.  The cheese fondue I ate for lunch may not have been the most ideal recovery meal but it sure tasted delicious.

On Sunday it was time to tackle 20 miles.  I loaded up my Camelbak hydration pack with Skratch (the matcha with lemons flavour is amazing), gels and my iPhone full of tunes.  Thankfully the weather was still on my side as it was just above freezing and there was minimal wind.

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Considering some of the arctic weather we had this fall I felt really lucky to be running in conditions this amazing on December 21st.  

My goal for the run was to break it into two out and backs, with the first out and back getting me farther than half way.  This would give me a chance to run home to refill my Camelbak and it would be easier to mentally break my long run up into chunks.  Rather than staying on the flat river pathway the whole time I took a detour and ran up the big hill at 10th street so I could be rewarded with some great city views from McHugh Bluff.

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I then ran toward the YMCA at Eau Claire so I could make a quick pitstop and I spotted these lovely Christmas decorations!

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After my pitstop at the Y I ran back the way I came.  Up the bridge at Centre Street, across McHugh Bluff, down 10th Street.  Some dark clouds were off in the horizon and the sun went in hiding at this point unfortunately!

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The hills made my knees feel a little tired and achy and miles 10 - 13 were a real struggle mentally even though my pace was in great shape.  It just goes to show that you can keep running well even when you think you are tuckering out…just keep moving forward and keep your form!  Don’t give in to the shuffle!

I popped by home about 14.5 miles in to my run.  I knew I didn’t have that much left to conquer so I wasn’t hit with the feeling that I should just call it a day and spend the remainder lying in bed watching Christmas movies.  That is generally my worry of stopping by home in the middle of a long run!  My previously tired and achy knees felt great and my run was ending on a high note.  When miles 18 and 19 clicked off on my Garmin I even gave a little fist pump because they went that well.  I gave the final push to mile 20 and then it was done.  20 miles in 3:46:05 (an 11:18/mile pace).  Two years ago when I ran 20 miles it took me 4:05:20 (a 12:11/mile pace).  This was a nice improvement…and I had more than 11 miles in my legs from Saturday’s run.

I meant to take some kind of “yay, I just ran 20 miles” victory photo but I was too tired and forgot.  Instead I hobbled home, made myself some hot chocolate and promptly got in to a warm bath (which is what I’m pretty sure you aren’t supposed to do).  My legs continued to feel tired, restless and achy Sunday afternoon so I determined an easy recovery spin may be best to help flush them out.

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Indeed the short spin helped do the trick.

I’m a bit nervous that I still have one 20 miler left on the calendar…  Fingers crossed this great weather holds!

If you are training for Disney was this your final long run before the big race?  How did it go?

Friday, December 19, 2014

Canadian Blogger Christmas Swap 2014

Leigh and Lindsey have been hosting a Canadian Blogger Christmas Swap for a few years now.  It has been a great way to discover new blogs and I think everyone likes to get something small in the mail at this time of year.

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This year I was paired with Heidi who lives in Nova Scotia.  I’ve never read her blog before and it has been fun reading about her cute little boy Tate.  Heidi sent me this rather appropriate ornament for here in Canada.

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Mittens!  How cute are they?  She also included some rather delicious looking hot chocolate and a lovely card.

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Did you participate in the ornament swap?  What ornament did you get?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Thinking Out Loud: Liebster Award

Today is Thursday which means it is time for Thinking Out Loud with Running With Spoons….

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That makes today the perfect day to share 15 things that you may not know about me!  The lovely Angela at Cowgirl Runs nominated me for a Liebster Award so here goes…


1) What is your current health related goal?

To have an absolutely amazing marathon at the Goofy Race and a Half Challenge in Disney World next month!  (Nope, still not voicing exactly what that goal is yet because coach and I need to see how my next few weeks of workouts go…)

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2) What is your biggest irrational fear?

That my teeth will start falling out.  I regularly have dreams where my teeth start to feel loose and then I wind up spitting out a mouthful of teeth.

3) Do you enjoy wrapping presents?

I sure do!  I especially love the wrapping paper that has a grid on the back so I can make sure my presents are wrapped as perfectly as possible.

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4) What’s your favourite cross training activity?

Does swimming and biking count as cross training if you are a triathlete?  If so I’d probably pick biking.  I also love getting out to the mountains to hike!

5) If I came to visit you, what would we do?

I think we’d head out to Banff and hike, followed by a pizza and a Caesar from the Bear Street Tavern.


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6) You have two weeks off work and two plane tickets to ANYWHERE. Where would you go and who would you bring?

Two weeks off of work?  I’d say we should go to Australia!  Maybe we’d go to Perth and on to Margaret River or maybe we’d go drink a bunch of Shiraz in the Barossa.  Since all of my travels down to Australia have been without Neil he’s my pick to travel with!

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Running in the Barossa!


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7) What’s the most embarrassing thing to happen to you during a run or race?

I was running with a new group of ladies and was wearing a brand new running skirt.  Somehow or other the skirt started to ride up and get caught up in my hydration waist pack, exposing undershort clad behind to the lady running behind me.

8) The three best days of your life? Or the top three that come to mind?

The day Neil and I got married.

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Ironman Boulder.

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Every anniversary with Neil.

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9) You HAVE to eat a fast food meal. What restaurant do you choose and what do you order?

If we are anywhere near a Shake Shack then that is where we are going.  I still dream about the burger I had there at Christmas in New York last year.  I’m getting a single SmokeShack (cheeseburger topped with bacon and chopped cherry pepper ShackSauce) with a Concrete on the side (frozen custard blended with mix ins).  Plus a beer to wash everything down.  Yum.

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10) Have you ever met a celebrity?

I met Michael J. Fox when I was probably around 8 or 9?  This would have been back when he was still on Family Ties.  My family and I were dining in a restaurant in New Westminster, BC and he happened to be there too.  I got his autograph on a kids menu and I was incredibly shy.

I also “met” Chris Nunez of Miami Ink.  I was at a club in San Antonio and as I walked passed him I blurted out, “Oh my gosh, I’m such a fan of your work!”  Yeah…way to play it cool Leana…  That was a long time ago!

11) Share a pic of yourself in non-workout clothes.

Here’s one…in Vancouver in May!

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12) If you could choose to have a “do over” and switch careers, what would you do and why?

I’m somewhat fascinated with wine.  I’d really love to start taking wine education classes and it would be pretty amazing to become a Master of Wine.


13) If you won an Olympic medal, how would you react?

No doubt by waking up from the dream just as the IOC official is about to place the medal around my neck.

14) What do you want for Christmas?

A trip to Disney World???


15) What skill do you lack?

The ability to be on time.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goofy Challenge Training: Ups and Downs

In the spirit of randomly talking about running for this week’s link up for Tuesdays on the run with MCM Mama, My No Guilt Life and Run the Great Wide Somewhere let’s chat about my week of highs and lows of Goofy Challenge training.

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Wow…less than 4 weeks left to go until the Goofy Challenge!  I had some ups and downs this past week.  The weather was fairly nice and I was able to get in several runs in capris.  This felt a little unusual for December and if the weather keeps up we’ll have a green Christmas.  This is Calgary however and the weather the not a constant!

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My headspace was in a rough spot last week.  It had absolutely nothing to do with running and training, I just let some life stress get the better of me.  I did have a pretty amazing 4 x 10:00 zone build run where I was supposed to get faster every 2:00 of the 10:00 build on Thursday.  That was a nice confidence booster in the midst of a grey period.

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The nice weather seemed almost too good to last and I woke up on a mixture of rain and snow on Saturday morning.  I had a 3 hour run planned and luckily I had some company from my friend Tara for 2 hours of it.

The pathway conditions were pretty yucky.  There was a light covering of slushy, icy snow and it was really slick out.  Heading towards downtown the weather felt okay but when we turned around and headed westward we were hit with wind and were pelted with snow in the face.  It was generally yucky.  I was so grateful to have Tara’s company because without her I probably would have called it a day earlier.  2 hours into the run my legs were getting tired, the pathway conditions were getting worse and it just didn’t really feel like my day.  As I said, thank goodness for Tara’s company and I did manage to get in my 3 hour run.

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I’m smiling…but not on the inside!  When I stopped my watch at 15.8 miles and 3 hours on the clock there was no thought that I could just add on a little bit to round this run up to 16 miles.  3 hours was my breaking point!

Sunday was a completely different story.  The pathways were clear and dry and the sun was out.  I had one of those runs were things just seemed to go right.  After I warmed up through the first mile my pace kept getting faster and faster until I was ahead of my goal marathon race pace.

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I was floored that I could run that fast the day after a three hour run and I was running solo.  I just kept repeating in my head that I believe I can reach my goal at Disney next month.  It wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows because the wind on my way home was tiring, but I was not going to give up.  Two hours at faster than my goal marathon pace on tired legs.  Not bad!

The tough work to get ready for Goofy isn’t over yet though.  I have a 20 miler planned for this weekend and next!  Coach Angie is pushing me but I have no doubt that all of this hard work is going to translate into a great race weekend.

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How do you deal with things when life gets you down?  What helps to pull you out of a funk?  How is your training for Goofy going?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Creating My Perfect Pain Cave

When Neil and I were house hunting one of my key requirements was a space in the house that I could spin and set up a workout room.  In our old house I would spin in the garage.  Our living room was the only place I could do strength and core, but it required moving furniture around and was cramped.  When we found our new home I was thrilled with the basement space because I could set up the perfect pain cave!


There was enough room to set up my bike on the trainer, a mat for doing stretching and core and space for doing weights.

I have my bike set up in the corner of the room.  Thanks to a bulkhead running across the room I’m a bit limited for bike placement as I don’t want to hit my head if I stand on the bike.  Being able to stare at my medals is good motivation.  I have a little table nearby to hold a speaker, my workout, a water bottle or snacks.  Peat also has a bed nearby in case he wants to hang out with me while I’m downstairs.

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Sometimes Peat likes to have a choice of beds to sleep in.

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Comparing the old to the new space.  So much better than squeezing in beside our dirty car in our messy garage.


Behind my bike is a good space for doing weights.  I picked up three MINDE mirrors from IKEA for only $14.99 each here in Canada.

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Peat got a kick out of the mirrors when we were installing them.  He was wondering who that handsome guy was!

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I found a rack to hold my dumbbells from Canadian Tire for $48.99.  I picked up the dumbbells themselves from Walmart and Target.  I had to visit several different stores because not one store had all of the weights I was looking for.  The medicine ball came from Walmart.

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I purchased my BOSU used from a friend, however I have seen them at Costco from time to time and kijiji is another good option if you don’t want to pay full price.  My step is from an old workout program I used to have on VHS called The Firm.  I think they called it the Fanny Lifter?

I have a mat from lululemon that I use for my core work, along with a collection of torture implements from Trigger Point Therapy.

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I love my Grid foam roller and I find the FootBaller works really great for problem areas if my calves are really tight.

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On the wall is a signed poster from Jesse Thomas, Lauren Fleshman and Stephanie Rothstein Bruce, the founders of Picky Bars.  I backed their Runner’s High fundraising project on Indigogo and got a signed poster as part of the deal.  Runner’s High now retails as Blueberry Boomdizzle…and it is delicious!

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I also have two SPONTAN magnetic boards from IKEA to display my race bibs.  I haven’t managed to find all of my old race bibs yet though.  I think I stuffed them in a book that got packed into a box that hasn’t been unpacked yet.  Hopefully they will show up!

And finally, to keep the ideas for exercises flowing during core work I’ve got a chalkboard wall with a bunch of my favourite exercises written on it.

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I can’t take too much credit for the chalkboard wall as the previous owners painted it.  I like to do an exercise for a minute, then move on to a different exercise until I’ve completed 10 minutes of core work.  This gives me plenty of ideas for exercises.

Do you have a pain cave in your house?  What is your favourite thing about it?  And as you can see, I still have tons of room on the chalkboard wall to write more core exercise ideas down so please share your favourite core burning exercise!