It was the luck of the Irish… IRELAND TRIP 2015

So June 18th Josh and I took off on a plane set for Dublin, Ireland. This was my first time 2015-06-18 13.49.31travelling so I was very excited. I made sure to grab a window seat to watch our ascent and arrival into Dublin. Gotta be honest, I was a bit nervous on the take-off, such a strange feeling. I just pretended that I was on a roller coaster and embraced it. 6 and a half hour flight was tough, we did sleep for some of it but with how active we both are it hurttt to sit that long.

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Bread and Honey 15k

Onto race recap #2

Bread and Honey 15k

This was it, the goal race post-injury. I looked back at my plans for the season and figured that Bread and Honey would be a realistic time frame. I put in the strength work, built up mileage and hammered the hardest workouts I’ve ever done to get ready. Josh had me working at 3:35/k pace for workouts to develop my speed which was crazy to me but somehow my legs managed.

2015-06-06 21.51.48Race day came and I was super nervous. I had no idea what pace to run as I was unsure of my fitness level. I decided no slower than 3:50/k. I got my race kit on – my Skechers singlet, GoRun 4’s, and Skechers shorts. 

I got the nerves a bit controlled and lined up. The gun went off and I was off a bit too fast like always. I looked around and saw that no other girls came with me. Soon the biker found me and said she “you’re mine to follow” which was so exciting for me – a first. 

I stayed decently consistent throughout the race. I felt great in the first few k, and when we looped around a parking lot I took a look back and saw no girls within a minute of me so I knew it would be a push from the front.  

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5 Peaks Trail 8k

Okay so I’ve been slacking, not literally but in the blogging sense. I guess that’s what happens when your brain is on work mode. It’s crazy how fast time flies, you say oh I’ll do this tomorrow and then a month has passed. Luckily, I would never let myself do that with my training! 

I had a very smooth comeback post-injury. A lot of regenerative strength training to regain the muscle mass that I lost during my non-weight bearing injury. I was quite conservative. I ran hard workouts but kept my mileage lower. Coach Josh and I decided that I’d save the big mileage for the final build into the fall which worked well for my body. I stayed quite fresh for my races and had less time committed to mileage so I had more time for weight training.

Now onto race recaps!

5 Peaks Trail Race – Heart Lake

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Training update

Hey so I’m back! Realized that I haven’t blogged in a bit. Been back training strong real consistently since my injury and Brantford Classic. Time flies when your focus is set like a laser. As for training, I’ve kept my mileage in check only 90k max so far and have been focusing on quality workouts. It’s nice right now.

Quality hurts like a bitch… Josh has me running 3:30 pace for a lot of workouts which is crazy. It motivates me for the future…thinking this will one day be my half race pace. It’s awesome because I had no idea that I could go that fast. When you reach that pace and excell at it it’s pretty damn cool.

I’ve been focusing on weight training too, which I know has helped my speed and technique.  I’ll be starting my race season soon which means it’s time to start fine tuning my mental game. I’m on track right now,  a few weeks back I hit a new level of effort- almost blacked out during a workout.  Basically, I have been pushing past the fatigue and leg pain to a point where all of my effort is there. It’s amazing. If I can keep this going during races the sky’s the limit.

Looking forward to testing out my race legs. More to come soon!
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Post-Injury & Brantford Classic 10k

So the last month has had its ups and downs. On the plus side, I was so so happy to be

Pre-race shakeout

Pre-race shakeout

training again, but the problem was pacing myself. I was doing a good job not running too much but always thinking about it was just as bad as the stress of actually running those miles. It’s been over 2 years since I’ve had an injury serious enough to take me out for an entire month and I forgot what that felt like coming back – a lot of aches and phantom pains. Always in the back of my head for the last month I was thinking – is it healed? I took it real easy for 3 weeks starting at 30% of my pre-injury mileage. My weeks were 30km, 40km, 50k, and finally 60k this week with a race.

SKECHERS race kit

SKECHERS race kit

I knew Brantford Classic was a nice, small local meet that I could place well at. Josh and I decided that I have been overthinking my injury and I needed to race just to see how it feels. This was exactly what I needed. The day before I did an easy 7k shakeout and the nerves were prevalent.

I lined up in my Skechers singlet for the first time, which was exciting along with my new Skechers gear. I was super nervous as I added up the months it’d been since I raced – 5. I decided a few days before that my goal pace was no faster than 3:50’s (because I really didn’t want to go out too hard and blow up).

Here are my splits:

I was pretty happy with the first few splits and then at about 3km in I got the worst stomach cramp. I could tell it was from my shallow breathing due to lack of workouts. Unfortunately, that did not go away anytime soon as I saw my splits slow down from 3:50 to 4:00/k. I just told myself to keep pushing, I had been in 4th overall for most of the race now and knew no one would be challenging me for top female, so I took comfort in that. After nearly 5km with a cramp it finally eased up just after 3km to go and I started to pick it back up. Luckily I found my 11198787_10153609282282334_463521098_nlegs because the last part of the course was tough including a steep uphill with a 90 degree right hand turn followed by running over a bridge and a slight incline all the way to the finish.

I came across the line 1st female & 4th overall. The race director got me to take a photo with him and the plaque right at the finish, as I tried to catch my breath …I don’t want to see THAT picture.

That was not the easiest effort for a sub 40 10k that I’ve ever ran but it was gutsy. I had that cramp but I fought it and didn’t let it slow me much. Keep pushing no matter what always, make the race something even if it isn’t time or placing.

On that note, here’s my fortune from Sunday – Run on!

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Here’s a few post-race celebration pics

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Back to the pavement!

I’m so excited to be running again! It was a torturous month off especially every day that got closer to ATB knowing I couldn’t race it more and more with each day that passed. But the universe allowed me to run finally the night after watching all the ATB runners.

Now for the hard part… easing back into training.  I’ve been doing well so far not pushing it – running every other day for now. With how driven I am and my big goals it’s hard not to jump back into the grind. It hasn’t been quite that comfortable either. I realize I have a lot of work to doThis is me right now –> 

Pain everywhere! All these weird aches and pains that I know I can contribute to one thing: muscle atrophy. All those weeks of limping around and only swimming caused me to lose some muscle mass which I’ll need to build back now. I don’t mind working hard, I’m just happy to be back on my feet again! feet

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First Big Article & Around the Bay Thoughts

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BIG excitement this week! I found my article that I wrote for HoneyMaxx on their website and it makes me so excited to see my hard work up there for the world to see! If you haven’t seen it yet, you can read it here (there is also a copy on one of my past blog posts as well). If you’re wondering how did I get an article published/why – as part of Team HoneyMaxx, they ask that we each contribute 5 or so articles throughout the year. I chose strength training because of my knowledge from Kinesiology and personal training.

Photo Credit: CartoonStock.com

Photo Credit: CartoonStock.com

It was so fun writing it…. well my boyfriend might disagree as I was spending all my free time that weekend working on it – that damn Type A gets me every time – everything has to be perfect. I did a bit of background research on runner specific weaknesses (most of which I was already quite familiar with) and decided what type of writer I wanted to be. I wanted it to be professional yet some personality in it as well. I was quite pleased with the end result. I got Josh to help me take pictures for each exercise… another thing I was very picky with… and then decided the easiest way to describe each one. After reading it a million times (in Uni I always missed grammar errors), I sent it in and was excited that they didn’t want me to change anything and were ready to post it.

I love the idea of writing about running and physiology. My hopes with getting practice writing these articles is that maybe one day I can use them and apply for Canadian Running or another magazine. That’s how people end up in those “out of the box” jobs. What a dream to eat, sleep, and breathe running! And as for my Type A, I wouldn’t change that for anything! That’s the reason why I’m so ambitious and can push myself so hard.


As for Around the Bay….

As most of you know, I will not be racing ATB 30k this year. It’s sad, but no choice really. I have been training the last 6 months with ATB as my focus, but a freak injury at work took me out for the last month (and counting). I was hoping that I’d be fine after a few days to a week, but no go. I have a feeling that I need just a few more days to get back running. I’ve been taking the last 4 days as complete rest, no exercise at all because I go all out in anything I do so I figured maybe the pool running was irritating the injury. I will be at ATB supporting my awesome GRE teammates and reppin’ HoneyMaxx and Skechers.

Here’s a throwback to ATB 2 years ago – another year I couldn’t run (that time I had a concussion! – ATB curse? Let’s hope not!). I’ll be able relax, watch and take in the amazing race atmosphere that ATB is known for. The coolest finish ever! Running into Copps with everyone watching! So good luck to all my fellow competitors – you will do great! I will look forward to watching all the fast times and seeing everyone’s hard work pay off. Until then… run on!

ATB 2013

ATB 2013

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Recovery and staying sane

Here it is, week 4 of no running and trying to stay sane. A few weeks back I injured myself at work lifting too heavy of a weight and pulled my groin. Bit of a frustrating injury.  I thought it was slight so I pushed too hard and ran on it after a week off and needless to say I couldn’t walk the next day and had to find myself a pair of crutches.

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Every thing in life can be used as a learning curve. As soon as I realized it wasn’t just an ache but a real injury I jumped into the pool. Pool running has been my salvation; Try it! Just grab a water belt and jump into the pool for 1-1.5 hrs and get a great workout with minimal pressure on the injury. I’ve been using a great workout guide http://kemibe.com/distancecoach/labreports/water.shtml which has a 9 week progressive plan to stay in shape during injury time.

swimming-pool-504780_640What hit me is the memory of last time I was in the pool telling myself “I am going to keep this up so I don’t get injured – as prevention. ” But I didn’t – my own fault. Since hitting a more elite status of running, I’m realizing more and more that running over 100km weeks requires a lot more focus on recovery.  My body doesn’t bounce back like it would at 80k weeks.

I’m using this recovery to do research and learn more about running. Here is my new plan post injury (hey at least if I write it down I’m more likely to do it)
– pool running 1hr minimum 1x/wk
– additional weight training exercises on top of my core exercises
– yoga 1-2x/wk
– foam roll every night (instead of netflix)
– pay attention to aches and pains

It’s easy to get busy and say I can’t but saying “oh I could have been better but I’ll never know….” that’s not an option.  If I want to be the best I can be I need to look after myself and push my limits in more ways than just mileage.

Hopefully this helps you think twice about your routines so you can stay out of forced recovery.

Run on!

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Strength Training for Runners – HoneyMaxx Article

Strength Training for Runners 

How to Run a New Personal Best and Stay Injury Free (…without simply running more)

 by Tanis Smith, Road-racer, B.H.K., B.Ed., CanFit Pro PTS

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We’ve all heard it before, “you’re only as strong as your weakest link,” yet somehow the message gets lost in translation. We become obsessed with running mileage and forget about doing the little things your running coach told you about all those years ago. Now, I’m not saying I haven’t fallen into this trap myself trying to fit in 120km weeks into a busy schedule, everyone has, but, what if running faster and staying injury free is as simple as doing a few simple exercises? Why overlook it? As it turns out, those “little things” are really BIG when it comes to the big picture in terms of long term progression and since every runner cringes at the thought of being injured, what can 30 minutes a few times a week hurt?

 One of the easiest times to focus on weaker areas and building strength is during these cold winter months, when you really don’t want to go outside anyways. The next step is to determine what areas to focus on. On average, most runners have one main issue: core weakness. For our purposes, core refers to all of the muscles of the lower trunk and pelvis: abs, back, hip flexors, glutes, abductors, and adductors. Many running injuries can stem from weakness in any of these areas including IT band pain, patella tendonitis (runner’s knee), piriformis issues, and sciatica.

Below are some of my favourite exercises to strengthen the entire core that I use as part of my own running routine and for my own personal training clients. Ideally, perform these exercises 2-3 times per week post-workouts in order to achieve maximum muscle recovery. Do each exercise 12-15 repetitions, 3 sets with progressing each week to make them harder (add more reps or sets). I personally enjoy doing timed sets e.g. each exercise 30 seconds to start then adding 15 seconds each time after that, still 2-3 sets; this is always an option as well. They can be performed on recovery days as well but, it is important to remember that a recovery day is designed to allow your muscles to recover from the intensity of workout and long run days; which is why it is ideal to perform resistance training on your effort days.

 The “glutes” (gluteus maximus, minimus, and medius) are one of the most important components to focus on. The gluteus medius is the main hip abductor and external rotator, and is implicated in hip abduction weakness. This will be our main focus to strengthen.

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Talk at Running Room & Reflections

This week I did a talk to a group of runners who are a part of Josie Wadja‘s Running Room running clinic. The program is for novice runners who are looking to gain knowledge about running and racing, or for those looking for a training group. You can check out Running Room’s programs here.

Running Room is great for bringing running to the masses and helping people who have maybe never put on a pair of running shoes in their life. Fun fact: Running Room is a family run business started by John Stanton in 1984 because he wanted to purchase quality running shoes from someone knowledgeable about the sport.

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A small group gutted out the -30 degree weather to come out to the talk. The group normally runs afterwards but not Thursday night with that windchill, which brought the typical numbers down.

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