Debuts all around!

Looks like some of you were right! It was in fact the 10,000m on the track where I made my debut in last weekend! I’m not quite sure exactly where the idea came from, but as I created my racing schedule this winter I thought yeah why not, let’s give it a try. I made my way through my season and before I knew it I was only a few weeks away from the Athletics Ontario 10,000m Championships. I originally had it in my head that it would be 2weeks after my race in Mississauga (recap here). However, only a few weeks before, I realized that it was the very next weekend and I hadn’t run on a track for 6years.  Once I realized this, I targeted a few track workouts to get used to it again – 15×200, and 7x1k. Continue reading

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The Art of Pacing

How fast should I aim for? Always the big question before a race. We don’t want to go out 32411221_10156358986412334_4101271241682321408_ntoo hard and die but, we also don’t want to go out too slow and have more left to give at the finish line. This is where the art of pacing comes in. I have to admit, this is something I was HORRIBLE at. Until the last year or so, I’d say I was stuck in the Rob Watson #FFTF (fade from the front) style of racing. Every time I raced I was worried about not hitting my goal time so I would go out on that pace (most of the time a bit faster) and then pay the consequences when I started to fade hard later in the race and lose much more time than I “banked.” This was such a common occurrence that 2 years ago during CRS Waterfront 10k John Lofranco told me he was going to pace off of me but someone told him beforehand that I always go out too hard and he just stayed back and waited for me to blow up – he told me this as he caught me and went by me. Bye bye John! Now, obviously this is not something I was proud of. But, I have always found it hard to pinpoint exactly where my fitness is at.   Continue reading

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Mississauga 10k Recap

Life stress. It’s an important factor in racing performance that is often overlooked. Since December I have been working on my application for physiotherapy school which included having to retake a course because mine didn’t “count.” After a few stressful weeks in December emailing and calling multiple schools trying to find the correct course I ended up with my back up option of taking one through athabasca, twice as long, twice as much. This meant that now I got to spend my spring cramming a full  year course into 5 months. Well this week I realized I was supposed to have it done for end of April… and I will have it done end of May. Oops. Big oversight. Whether this will be a factor, I will know by May 18th. Until then, this meant all of last week and the next 3 weeks will be spent cramming trying to finish my course work so I can book my final test to show I have completed the course.  Continue reading

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Thank you Krista!

History has been made today at the Boston Marathon! I like to think of this as the year where the grinders won! Desi Linden won the Marathon so amazing! She is always the runner-up so it’s great to see her stick it out all these years to finally come out on top!

Even bigger than that is Krista Duchene from Brantford’s run today! At age 41, Krista just placed 3rd at one of the premier marathon events in the world! I was watching the marathon while training and client and I was explaining to them how huge it was that Desi was in the lead. I told her that the Kenyans/Ethopians always win and she replied, “why even race then if they always win.” I replied, this is why. Days like this where the more “talented” runners are put on a level playing field with the rest. Take the speed out of their legs and it puts a lot of other runners in contention. Krista’s performance is why we stick it out.

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This hits home for me, I’ve always felt less talented than others and had to work really hard to even get this far, with still much work left to be done. I’m proud of being a grinder because I know that some day the opportunity will come for me to come out on top, the window of opportunity. Every once in a while something happens to those who are faster or more talented and that window opens, allowing a “slower” or “less talented” runner to shine. The grinders, who are out there working hard with little to show for it. Well, Krista just took this window and flung it wide open! 3rd place at the Boston marathon, going in with a respectable goal of sub 2:40, not many would have put her in contention. Even I was very excited watching the race when I seen that she was in 10th place, but 3rd place, who would have dreamed of it! What an amazing run for her.

This is why I continue to gut it out. Not being the most talented, but working with my own strengths and weaknesses to get the most out of myself. She has just inspired a nation to throw out preconceived notions about how “good” Canadians can be! She has inspired runners of every ability level and age! At age 41, a latecomer to the sport, Krista has really worked hard to see this day come to fruition.

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I have been lucky enough to train with Krista a few times during this build and have gotten to know her a lot better over the last few years at races. This winter, being one of the worst ones in Ontario to date, we both shared experiences of tough training days. Today, as I strided through the left overs of yesterdays freezing rain debacle on the same streets that Krista trains on as well (as we are both from Brantford), I couldn’t help but feel immense pride. Thank you Krista for inspiring me to never set limits for myself. You have made your country very proud in what was great tribute to the Humboldt victims!

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Spring Run-Off Race Recap

I’m going to keep this week short and just recap last week’s race!

Last week I ran the Spring Run-off 8k at High Park in Toronto. Being a Canadian Running Series event, I was especially looking forward to this one. CRS events are the best organized and bring out the best competition! I really appreciate all the work Alan Brookes, Ian Cater, and all of the CRS staff do to make these races top notch!

Now coming off of a so-so race at Around the Bay I was excited to do something much much shorter, 22km shorter to be exact. This was the third time racing this course so I had a really good idea where to go hard and where to back off. Josh, Rob, Adam, Walt and I did a 4km warm-up around the course and tried to stay warm on this cold “spring” day. It was about -1 at race start but I still managed shorts on the day. Luckily it was sunny which made it feel quite a bit warmer.  Continue reading

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The Story of T

Where does resilience come from? Is it a part of who we are at birth? Is it something we learn that is shaped by our experiences in life? It’s hard to say for certain, but here’s a short story of my life and where I believe my passion has come from.

Growing up, I had a burning desire to be the best I could be and was always willing to put in the hard work. As a gymnast, I was taken out of recreational and put into competitive when the coaches noticed my work ethic and my strength (especially doing chin-ups). From that point on, I spent 20 plus hours a week in the gym until I was about 12yrs old. Every school night, weekend, summer I was training trying to better myself. It took falling over and over again to finally master a skill. This was beyond rewarding when I finally stuck that landing and not many things these days give me the same level of satisfaction. I enjoyed going to competitions, although they made me really nervous! I always remember going to meets on the weekends and the following monday bringing in all my medals to show my teachers and friends – I was so proud! I really appreciated these early life lessons – keep trying until you get it (perseverance), you need to keep working on a  skill consistently (consistency), and don’t get frustrated when things don’t go your way just keep trying (determination). It’s been many years since I’ve practiced gymnastics (though I still go to adult rec when I get the chance!), these experiences have lasted with me all this time. Once a gymnast, always a gymnast.

^This December’s adult rec

In elementary school I did cross country and track & field. From my years competing in gymnastics, I had powerful legs and a great aerobic base! I was never super serious about running back then though I did make the regional final DEAA; no idea how I placed but I do remember running up giant ski hills and going to track meets. I still had that burning desire to be the best. I soon applied that to my schooling (once I got much needed glasses – I was basically blind and told no one – sounds like me!) and by the end of grade 8 I was valedictorian. Near the end of elementary school is when I stopped competing in gymnastics, it wasn’t working for me any more and was time to move on. It took me until Grade 10 in high school to really find my passion in running. This included a hilarious bout on the volleyball team in grade 9 where I was a good ol’ bench warmer. I remember one game I finally got to play and I completely screwed everything up! Hand-eye is NOT my forte.

I competed for the cross country and track & field teams in grade 9 and my new track coach noticed my talent. She said I should join a club team, which at the time I had no 1928333_14655875410_1908_nidea such a thing even existed. I joined the Durham Dragons in the summer of 2006 and took off running, literally. I saw quick improvement over the summer going into grade 10 and really started to take running seriously. We had practices two nights a week and a long run on the weekends where we had our traditional work-out days and my coaches taught me everything I know today about running. I was lucky enough to make it to Ofsaa for cross country and for 800m on the track that year. I did not place well but I ran as hard as I could and took in the experience. Unfortunately, the next year I developed patella-femoral syndrome and my knee was out of commission for almost a full year. In grade 12 I was back racing and competing. I worked my butt off in training and really enjoyed it. My mileage was about 50k a week I believe, that’s nothing to me these days!

Even so, there were times when I didn’t believe in myself. I remember clearly one track workout when I pretended to hyperventilate just to get out of the workout. Even more memorable was during XC area finals LOSSA. Coming off that knee injury took a long time. I had raced very well at multiple XC meets already the season but the week before my grade 12 LOSSA I had a pretty bad cold. I tried every remedy to get rid of it but I couldn’t. I knew that I had to be in the top 3 to move on to OFSAA and I wanted so badly to qualify. Our course was 2 loops of the grass field behind Pineridge Elementary School in Pickering, ON. I started out well near the front, the leaders were well ahead of me but I was holding 3rd position for most of the race. Nearing the last half of the race a girl 228760_6702132333_1844_nunexpectedly came running by me pushing me out of the qualifying spot. I was crushed. Instead of finishing the race and trying my best, I dropped out. This is so memorable to this day because I remember how badly I felt and even worse how disappointed my coaches were in me. Obviously looking back I know being sick likely played a role, but definitely this was a time where my mental sabotaged me. Ever since this day I have tried hard not to let my inner voices tell me I can’t do it. It’s something that I work on every day.

In the next chapter of my life I left home to go to the University of Windsor to pursue a Kinesiology degree. Again, I used my early life lessons to push myself to pursue academic excellence. Going in to university I had a scholarship based on my high grades, but as is the case for most students, I couldn’t quite keep them high enough to keep that scholarship. This was a big blow to my ego because I always had thought of myself as

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Uwindsor

“smart.” Even so, I pushed myself and studied long hours to get that scholarship and get it back I did after only a semester or two. Now the Windsor Lancers (the UWindsor team) was one of the best in the country, so coming in I was on no athletic scholarship by any means. I still came out to the team and ran my heart out and put all my miles in. The first year I didn’t run well switching coaches (as most athletes find). I couldn’t even hit the qualifying standards to be allowed to actually compete for the track team. This was pretty hard on me. I gave it everything only to come up short, again. In my second year I developed a metatarsal stress fracture. I came in very fit over the summer, only to perform poorly for the XC team. I took well over a month off over Christmas that year seriously contemplating quitting the sport. I decided that NO this is what I’ve worked so hard for I’m going to get back to it! Not having the knowledge that I have now, I jumped back into intense training much too quickly only to give myself a stress fracture, great. That took over 6 months to heal and that summer I cross-trained like crazy to be ready for the next season.

My third year I found myself in great shape coming in to the season. I was one of the top girls leading most workouts. I thought, this is going to be my year. Then… I couldn’t even make the top 7 women to be allowed to compete at OUAs for our team. I wasn’t even

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UWindsor Lancer

named the alternate because the coaches never believed in me. That hurt a lot. Again I contemplated quitting the sport. I had a meeting with one of the coaches to try to figure out why my races went so poorly compared to training.

I didn’t realize it at the time but one area of your life, can really hold you back in all others. At the time I was in an awful relationship that I had been in since high school. We went to Windsor together and it wasn’t working for either of us. Misogynistic, is not on my list of highly sought out traits in and man and here I was with someone who didn’t respect me, believe in me or make me feel safe. As I contemplated quitting running, I decided not to run indoor track that year and just focus on running higher mileage. A very good friend had suggested this to me, since they too weren’t finding the Windsor program was working for them. He also helped me find my strength and self-confidence too. Photo on 12-12-13 at 9.59 PM #4As we spent more time together, I felt more and more confident in myself. After a few months, I found myself a new place to live and moved out of that relationship, even though it meant having my parents drive 5 hours just to move me and paying for two places at the same time. I knew that if I didn’t make the decision then, I would be stuck there, it had already been 5 unhappy years. If you haven’t already guessed it, that very good friend, that’s my now husband Josh. He showed me that I could be great, I just needed a different approach and someone to believe in me.

As I trained more on my own outside of the team and ran more mileage, I started to 100_1578improve. There were still days where I wasn’t the most confident but that started to become less and less. That summer I ran a personal best in the 5k, 18:30. My previous personal best was 20minutes and the last few years I had been running 22minutes under Windsor’s program. This was a breakthrough. After all that time it had been confidence that I was missing. That summer, I decided I would stick to road racing and haven’t turned back since.

I have still had many ups and downs in the meantime, but am glad that I’ve continued to grind and try to get the most out of myself. I might not be the most gifted but I am one of the hardest working people you will find. If I decide something is achievable then I will see it through until the end.

It just goes to show you, that yes, I may be performing well now, but that was not always the case. If there’s one thing that rings true again and again in running is put the time in and you will get the results you want. It won’t happen overnight but if you want to be the best, or at the very least be your best, you need to keep showing up. Do the work, every day, and see where it takes you. It is after all, the journey that is important. And the little things you learn about yourself along the way.

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As always – Grind ON!

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Spring Race Recap

I hope everyone is recovering well from ATB 30k this weekend! I don’t know what hurts more my calves or my ego but I will get over both of those ;).

I haven’t done any race recaps yet this year so I’ll post about my last 4 races for this post.

Continue reading

Posted in Achilles 5k, Around the Bay, Chilly Half, Engagement, race recap, Refridgee-Eighter, Robbie Burns 8k, running | 4 Comments

The Grind: How to Get Through Tough Workouts

I’m known for my grind. I often get complements after races about how much grit I showed during a tough race. I myself think of grinding on a bigger picture. This goes 1929812_17507466773_8950_nback to my years of running in high school, working my ass off, wanting so badly to be up at the front and yet always falling short. I told myself that I would not quit, I would continue to work harder until I was fast enough to run the times that I knew I could in my heart. To that, I say thank you little T. That story in itself is for another day, another blog. This blog I wanted to go through some tips and tricks that can help YOU push your body to get the most out of yourself!

Whether you are lifting weights in the gym or running hard intervals on the road, you need to be able to focus yourself when things get tough and you start to become tired. I have several tricks that I use to keep myself focused and I try to add to these constantly to improve my mental game.  Continue reading

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Shoe Review Skechers Performance 2018

Hey Everyone! Happy St. Patty’s Day!

For today’s post I have some exciting news! I have decided to commit to weekly posts so check back every Friday or Saturday and check them out! I’ve switched things up a bit today – a gear review. Check it out below- 5 SHOES IN 4MINUTES!

*Disclaimer: These shoes are provided to me free by Skechers Performance Canada, though these opinions are truly my own.

Click Play on this video below:

THE STATS:

  • GORUN 6: 4-8mm drop (removable insert to “pick your fit”, 5.3oz W/ 6.7oz M
  • GOMEB SPEED 5 [1:24-2:12]: 4mm drop, 4.5oz W/ 5.8oz M
  • GO MEB RAZOR 2 [2:13-3:00]: 4-8mm drop (insert or not), 5.2oz W/ 6.8oz M
  • GORUN ULTRA ROAD 2 [3:01-3:48]:  4mm drop, 2″ heel, 6.4oz W/8oz M (will be the Ultra Max later this year):
  • GORUN Ride 7 [3:48-4:27]: 6mm drop, 7.3oz W/9.3oz M

 

  • NOT PICTURED >> GORUN FORZA 3 – Creating it’s own category as a lightweight stability shoe. Kara Goucher’s go to shoe! This is for all you PRONATORS out there! If you need more support this is your shoe. 6mm drop, 7.3oz W/9.2oz M
  • NOT PICTURED >> GOTRAIL ULTRA 4 – Ultra-style shoe very similar to the GORUN ULTRA ROAD but with a more aggressive grip on the sole of the shoe. 4mm drop, 8.4oz W/ 10.7oz M

WHERE TO BUY:

Fit is true to size aka same as most other brands. *You’re looking for their “Performance Line”

Online:

https://www.skechers.com/en-ca/styles/shoes/performance

*Right now they are a bit low in stock so keep checking back to find your shoe!

In person:

*Best to call ahead

Expos:

Catch you at Achilles 5k this weekend in Toronto! Happy St. Patty’s day everyone!

Be sure to hit subscribe at the bottom of the page so you don’t miss next week’s blog!

 

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Be Present

IMG_vwrr5xIn my last blog I spoke about my learnings from Peak Performance, more specifically about living with purpose. I wanted to come back to another important aspect of life that I’ve been inspired to work on (because of that book as well). Mindfulness. Have you noticed the “trend” lately from many of the top athletes of practicing meditation? I was like you, “yeah yeah meditation, yeah I know it’s good for you, but I don’t know if I’d like it,” I thought. I read it over and over in many tweets and blogs and still didn’t give it much real thought. Now, I am science-based. I need to see things scientifically proven before I’ll fully get behind them. Cue Peak Performance.  Continue reading

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