Sunday, October 22, 2017

Valley Harvest Half Marathon





This was my first year running at the Valley Harvest Marathon event, and I ran the half-marathon on the Sunday of the Thanksgiving weekend. It is held in the beautiful town of Wolfville, which is just over an hour away from Halifax.  Since my Mom was going to be here for her annual visit, I decided that we would travel up on Saturday and stay over night.  It was worth it to not have to drive so far the morning before the race.  Though I did have to pack our toaster so that I could have my regular pre-run breakfast of toast and peanut butter.

It was great to have Mom there with me; to see me off at the start line and to be the first one to hug me after I finished the line.




The course was beautiful, winding through the country side.  The weather was warmer than I would have liked, and the hills longer and steeper than I was ready for.  I also felt less trained than I had wanted to be.  I did well and was going strong for the first 11 km.  Around km 12 I hit one of the bigger hills and a head wind that started to take it's toll.  I kept going with my planned intervals until around km 17.  I was slower than my planned pace, but I tried to stick with my regular running plan: 1) don't die, 2) finish, 3) have fun.

Runners are some of the most supportive people I have ever met.  As I struggled with a hill towards the end of the race, walking slower and slower as I trudged along, a runner doing the full marathon came up behind me.  He slowed down, put a hand on my shoulder and started talking to me.  He told me what to expect from the rest of the route, gave me some strategies to help me finish and stayed with me till we crested the hill. Without him (I learned later that his name was Sean) I would have probably just given up on that hill; sat down and cried till a sweeper car came to pick me up.  Instead I finished the race.





Sunday, September 24, 2017

MEC Race 4

After the last MEC race, I have to admit that I was a little worried about how I would fare today.  But the weather was perfect and the trail was flat.  Today's race was a 15 km out and back along a beautiful trail in Musquodoboit Harbour.

As always with life, my training has fallen off a bit and I haven't done a long run in 3 weeks. Today is the last long run before the Valley Harvest Half Marathon, and the schedule called for 20 km. At one point this week we had entertained the idea of finishing the 15 km and heading back out to do another 5 to get in the full training run.  Once the reality of today set in however, there was no way that was going to happen.  At the 13 km mark I was ready to call it quits and sit on one of the nice benches that were along the route and have a good cry. I wasn't hurt, or even sore from running, I was simply convinced that I couldn't do it.   I worked hard to get out of my head and to keep just putting one foot in front of the other. The next 1.5 km were some of the hardest I have ever run.

The last .5 km was one of the best times I've had running, even though I couldn't breath and had to use my asthma inhaler.  2 friends - Jeannette and Teresa - who had already finished their races, walked back out onto the course to meet me.  I'm pretty sure if they hadn't I would have given up and walked the rest of the way.  The only problem was that I got all emotional seeing them and started to tear up, which triggered an asthma attack.  Teresa talked me through some calming, breathing exercises and I got things under control enough to run the rest of the way to the finish line, with friends on either side of me.


I finished the race with a time of 02:38:30, which is right on par for where my pace is these days, so I'm now feeling better about my ability to finish a half marathon in just 14 days!


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Weeks 8-13 Training

Well, these updates fell off the radar pretty quickly!  Luckily it doesn't mean that my training did too, though I really haven't followed my training plan as well as I had hoped!  Life really does get in the way.

Week 8 started out well.  I ran the MacPass miles for the first time and pushed my 12k long run out to the Monday. I didn't miss any other training that week till Saturday when we were in a mostly minor car accident.  The car ended up being a write off, but nobody was seriously hurt and I was only stiff and sore for a few days.

Week 9 was car accident recovery and vacation. I did run 3.5 kms on my birthday, but that was it.

Week 10 was the rest of vacation, but I managed to get in 2 runs (6k and 8k) after I got home.

Week 11 only had 2 runs - a 16k long run and a 6k run mid week.  No really good reason for skipping the rest.

Week 12 started to look better with a 17k long run, a 5k run and a night of hill repeats.

Week 13 fell of the rails again.  I skipped my 18km long run and only made it out for one clinic night with a 6k run. Then we travelled to BC for the weekend.  With 20+ hours of travel over 4 days and a 4 hour time zone difference, I didn't even bother packing running gear.

You'll notice during all of these updates that there is no mention of going to the gym. I haven't been to boot camp since August 10th, but fully intend to get back at it this week.

I only have 3 weeks left until the Valley Harvest Half Marathon.  That gives me a total of 13 training runs, so I really can't skip/miss any of them!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

MacPass Mile recap & Week 7 training

Running the MacPass Mile has been on my bucket for a few years now.  Unfortunately due to construction on the McDonald bridge, they haven't held the race for the past 2 years.  It's a free race that fills up quickly - it's capped to 200 participants per run -Women's, Men's, Boys and Girls, so I signed up as soon as I heard that it was opening up again.


The race starts on the Halifax side and cross the 1 mile bridge and finishes on the Dartmouth side.


We had a great time even thought it was pouring rain.



The incline of the bridge wasn't nearly as bad to run up as I had thought it would be.  Maybe my hill training really is paying off!


Overall training for the Valley Harvest Half-Marathon is going well.  I continue to be injury free and feel myself getting stronger (and a wee bit faster) with every run. Unfortunately I missed quite a few runs this week due to family obligations, but I'm not letting it get me down.


  • Mon - Rest day
  • Tues - 4k run
  • Wed - 4x400 Hill training
  • Thurs -rest day instead of 5k run
  • Fri -  Rest day
  • Sat - rest day instead of 4k run
  • Sun -1.6k run instead of 12k run
Total: 11.6k

60 day to go!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Week 6 - Half Marathon Training


As part of the running room half-marathon training this week, we started hill training.  The theory behind running up and down a hill is to build your strength and endurance, as well as to help mentally prepare you for the hills you'll encounter during your race.  Hill training was Wednesday night at 6:00 and it was 28C out.  Way too hot by my standards.  But we did it anyway.  The problem (in my mind) with the hill that the RR uses for training is that it's 1.5 km away - and all UPHILL to get there.  By the time I got to the hill, I was done! I ran up that hill all 3 times though, with only a few walk breaks along the way.  By the end of the program we will be running up the hill 9 times in a row.  I can't wait.........

I also changed my running plan from 4 and 1s to 5 and 1s this week with no major setbacks.  My pace is slightly slower as I work on the longer endurance, but I felt good after the runs, including the 10k on Sunday.  If I can handle 5 and 1s for the next week I'll work on bumping it up again, with the ultimate goal of getting to 10 and 1s before the race.
  • Mon - Boot Camp instead of rest day
  • Tues - 4k run
  • Wed - 3x400 Hill training
  • Thurs - Boot Camp instead of 5k run
  • Fri -  rest day
  • Sat - rest day instead of 4k run
  • Sun -10k run
Total: 19k

67 day to go!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Week 5 Half-Marathon training



This has been my best training week so far.  Not only do I feel myself getting stronger, I'm seeing an improvement in my pace. On Tuesday, I ran with the Running Room Clinic, and Ken, one of the instructors ran with me.  He has suggested that I go back to running 4 and 1s, as that seems to be where I find my best stride right now.  Over the next few weeks I'll work on increasing my running time.  Between the 4 and 1s and Ken's encouragement, I had my second fastest 5k time of the year, and it was a full 3 minutes faster than the last few 5k races that I've done.  I kept using the 4 and 1s for the rest of the week and continued to see gains in my time.

On Sunday my friend Teresa ran with me for my 10k long run. She normally runs at a faster pace than I do, but she stuck with me the whole time, which I really needed!  It started out cool and shady and flat, but around the 5k mark it became hot and sunny and hilly.  Having Teresa there helped me get through it all.  When I felt that I couldn't finish a 4 minute section, she would encourage me to just keep going.  When I couldn't make it up a part of the hill, she came beside me, held my hand and we got up it together.

Image result for running friends

While running can be a solitary sport, for me it is very much improved by the people I run with.
  • Mon - rest day
  • Tues - 5k run
  • Wed - Work dinner out instead of 4k run
  • Thurs - 5k run and Boot Camp instead of 4k run
  • Fri -  rest day
  • Sat - 3k run
  • Sun -10k run
Total: 23k - my most weekly distance so far

76 day to go!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Week 4 - 1/2 Marathon Training

This week was pretty much a right off.  Instead of running/exercising 5-6 times, I only got in 3. I had planned on missing one run on Tuesday as we were celebrating Liam's birthday.  What I hadn't counted on was not sleeping Tuesday night and feeling like crap all day Wednesday, so I skipped that run too.  I made up one of the runs on Thursday by doubling up by running in the morning and going to the gym in the evening. But then I had self-induced intestinal issues Friday and Saturday night that kept me from running Sat/Sun.  One day I will remember/accept that I am lactose intolerant and eat accordingly. Though to be fair, this was the worst reaction I have ever had.  I'm not too worried about losing this week of training as it's still early on and I have time to catch up.


  • Mon - Boot Camp instead of rest day
  • Tues - Birthday Celebration instead of 3k run
  • Wed - Not feeling well instead of 4k run
  • Thurs - 3k run and Boot Camp instead of 4k run
  • Fri -  rest day
  • Sat - Not feeling well instead of  4k run
  • Sun -Not feeling well instead of 9k run
Total: 3k - WAY down from last week

83 days to go.