Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Lessons learned from marathon training

Lesson No. 1
Goo might be good for replacing calories lost while running and giving me energy, but it sure is gross, makes me gag and pull weird faces when consuming. Katie demonstrates this nicely below: 

Lesson No. 2
Many people do not know how far a marathon is or how long it might take a person to run one. A marathon is 26.2 miles or 42km. I hope to run it in 4hrs30. Mainly I just hope to make it to the finish line (my finish is likely to be very similar to the below picture!) 


Lesson No. 3
When it rains I get blisters. Ouch. 

Lesson No. 4 
Overreacting about a swollen foot can be a very costly move. Add to that an over dramatic podiatrist who 5 weeks before the marathon suggests I stop running altogether, makes for a dramatic day. Swelling went down over the next few days and has been fine since (Did I just jinx myself?) 

Lesson No. 5
Having a truly horrible long run is all part of the 'training'. Mine included dehydration, running in the blazing sun, cramps, hitting the 'wall, knee pain and having to walk the last 4 miles of the run.


Lesson No. 6
My Team rocks. I would probably be in no way prepared for this marathon if it were not for Team in Training. My running buddies have got me through each week with entertaining stories, laughs, silence (when things are getting tough) and support when I have been having a hard time. I heart them big time. 

Lesson No. 7
Sundays are a write off (although I heard a rumour I will be getting them back soon) My routine has become: Wake up at 7.15am, prepare for long run with food and filling up my water bottles etc. Go to Granville Island, meet the team and run our run. Come home, sit on couch, move to ice bath, monkey around in ice bath but always feel better for it afterward. Have hot shower and relish the tingly leg feeling, begrudge having to dry my hair as it requires standing up for too long. Head back to couch and sit/ lay around all afternoon. Possibly have a nap but never be sure if I slept or not (I always do though). Eat something but not be majorly hungry. Hit 5pm - eat everything in sight. Sleep.

Lesson No. 8 
People are generous. Really generous. When I signed up to run this marathon with Team in Training I was really worried about being able to hit the fundraising minimum of $4,100. I hit that target before the deadline thanks to my wonderful friends and family and even thanks to some sweet strangers. People are kinder than you know and all you have to do is ask. 

You should also know that I am still taking donations, every penny goes directly to cancer research. I have met my fundraising minimum, but there is no maximum! 

Lesson No. 9 
Marathons really suck you in! I'm not sure I ever thought I would be so excited to run a marathon but that I am. I'm itching for October 17th to arrive, pull on my running gear and get out there with 19,999 others and pound the streets of San Fran. 
I'm so looking forward to running over that finishing line and the sense of achievement that I know is so close now! 

Lesson No. 10
My body is capable of some amazing things. Yours probably is too, you just have to set it a challenge!


Sunday, August 22, 2010

Like Mother Like Daughter

When your mother has run 13 marathons and raised over £40,000 ($64,000) for charity, like mine has, then I would say it was inevitable that one day I would want to take on the challenge that has had her hooked for so long. 

My Mum is 57 years old and has run 13 full marathons, many half marathons, and countless 5k and 10k races! She really is a superstar and an inspiration. The very best thing about all these races she has done is the amount of money she has raised for charity along the way. Causes dear to her heart such as Whizz Kidz and Motivation have benefitted from her determination and kindness with huge donations. 
Most recently she took on a challenge to run 100 miles of races in one year to fund a young man from Tanzania through a Wheelchair Technologists Training Course so he could learn how to build and maintain wheelchairs in his community. 

I have travelled to many cool places to see my Mum run the gruelling 26.2 mile race; New York City, Disney World (where she ran a half marathon Saturday and a full marathon Sunday!) and Dublin (all I remember from that trip is gale force winds!) And every time I stand there in the crowd waiting and searching through the runners for that familiar face to whizz by I feel such a sense of pride and a lump in my throat as I recognize once again how very fabulous my mum is! 

I might also add that as well as all these marathons and races she has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro twice. As you do. 

This year spells the end of long distance running for my Mum and she will be running the Great North Run (the world's biggest half marathon) on September 19th, her last hurrah! This race also signifies the passing of the baton, from mother to daughter, her last and my first long distance race and my only hope is that I can be a tiny bit as amazing as her. 

If you have come to this blog following an email or a letter from my Mum please consider sponsoring me for my first marathon, as she finishes her last, and help me follow in her footsteps and raise money for an important charity to our family. 

The leukemia and lymphoma society is a cause very close to our hearts, my Grandpa, her Father passed away from non-hodgkins lymphoma in 2000 and for every marathon my Mum has ever done we wish he could have been in the crowd, with his camera and his foot stool, snapping pictures of his daughter and being the proud father he always was. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Keep Calm and Love Running

Check out my cool new print - I love it!

Well it's been a fantastic week in my world of running and fundraising. After sending out a an email update, harassing people on facebook and tweeting about my cause I raised $728 in a 24 hour period! I love my friends and family, so very generous :) 

As great as that $728 is, there is still a way to go until I meet my fundraising minimum and you might be wondering what I plan to do about that. I still have at LEAST $1,477 to raise and have a few ideas up my sleeve to be able to reach that. 

The first is a garage sale this weekend! You can't underestimate the value of your junk to someone else, so John, his family and I are doing some serious de-cluttering and laying it all out for the public to come and rummage through. To make the shopping experience fun there will be cookies and pop and our friendly faces to enjoy - I hope lots of generous people come out! 

I also have a stall at a farmers market in September where I will be asking for donations from passers-by as they shop for yummy local produce.

Thirdly I am in the planning stages of a pub fundraiser night, I will keep you posted with the details and if anyone has any prizes that could be donated for the night please let me know! :D 

The fundraising is just one side of the coin for this challenge, there is also the small matter of running a marathon! As I sit here and write this with an achy knee and a huge blister on my toe, I am well aware of that! 

Last Sunday I broke a personal record, by running further than I have ever ran before, 14.5 miles ... in the pouring rain! Last week was also the start of hill training, an important aspect of preparing for a marathon in San Francisco i'm sure you'll agree. Check out the elevation gains! 

On Sunday we had to run about 6 miles to the hill up to UBC, which was about 1km long, run all the way up, wondering if it would ever end, then run back down, only to run right on up again! There were certainly times I wanted to walk, in fact I just wanted to lay down on the ground and curl up into a ball at times, but I powered on and did it! I'm stronger than I know, amazing things the body can do I tell you. Then it was a 6 mile run back to Granville Island - still in the rain! I was soaked - but I was proud!

I had my reservations about joining Team in Training, more specifically I had my reservations about raising over $4,000! I could have trained by myself and gone to San Francisco to run this race all by myself, I could be free of the pressure to raise that huge amount of money.
However at this stage in the training, as we conquer longer, harder distances each week I constantly think to myself how glad I am I signed up with TNT, how valuable the support of my fellow runners is. I certainly couldn't have made it up that hill without them ... twice. To be honest I would probably be skipping my long runs on a regular basis because I'm pretty good at coming up with excuses for things like that. Team in Training keeps me accountable, it gives me a reason to run and my fellow runners support me - I would honestly recommend it to anyone. GO TEAM!

As always I'm looking for donations and if you have anything to give, no matter how big all small, mosey on over to my fundraising page to put some money down and bring my target closer and closer. CLICK HERE TO SPONSOR ME

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Training in numbers

Days I have been training for the 2010 Nike Women's Marathon:  67

Days to race day:  73

Kilometres run on Sunday mornings:  95

Total kilometres run in training so far: 293

Donations received:  25

Current donation total:  $1,920

% of total fundraising goal:  46 (and nothing says we have to stop at 100%)

Donut's burned off through running: 138

Ice baths:  3

Times nearly fallen while running: 1 (it was a good recovery!)

Canadians diagnosed with blood cancers since my training began:  2,756

Canadians who will lose their lives to blood cancers between today and race day:  1,440

Survival rate for leukemia in 1960:  10%

Survival rate for leukemia in 2009:  51%

One way to make a difference: Click  HERE

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Time for a cold bath

The long runs are getting longer, which makes sense I suppose. It's the name that gives it away. Today I ran 10 miles with Team in Training. It was a hot day (but thank you cloud cover for saving me a little!) and the run felt really very hard in some places. But its not meant to be easy, otherwise we'd all be doing it.

Training is going well, I never thought I'd be able to run these long distances week after week and every time I surprise myself with what I can do! It's a weekly feeling of accomplishment, and  between you and me it feels pretty awesome.

My hardcore level went up a notch today as I had my first ice bath. I say ice bath but I was too chicken to put any actual ice cubes in. The cold tap was enough for this time. As recommended I filled it up enough to just cover my legs, threw on a hoody,  grabbed a hot drink and jumped in. Well - I didn't jump in, I very slowly got in, made some weird monkey noises and then had a sip of the hot drink. After about 30 seconds it started to feel good as my tired legs were numbed. Not so good when I moved and sloshed the cold water up my back though. 

I made it through about 15 mins of cold therapy and got into a hot shower! I swear my legs have felt better for it today. 

Here is what Runners World has to say about why its a good idea to subject your legs to coldness after a long run:
"Cryotherapy ("cold therapy") constricts blood vessels and decreases metabolic activity, which reduces swelling and tissue breakdown. Once the skin is no longer in contact with the cold source, the underlying tissues warm up, causing a return of faster blood flow, which helps return the byproducts of cellular breakdown to the lymph system for efficient recycling by the body"

Next week I will be running 11.25 miles and will be indulging in another ice bath no doubt. As I push myself into the depths of hardcoreness and dare to throw a few ice cubes in, think of me, be glad you aren't doing the same thing on your Sunday morning and sponsor me! I've raised $1600 so far which is awesome but I need more!! More ice baths, more long runs, more money ... a long run and a cold bath is nothing compared to cancer...

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Oh hey there!

Thanks for stopping by!

You might have recently received an email from me asking you to sponsor me. And you might be checking out my blog to see what this is all about and maybe (hopefully) to pay some of your hard earned cash onto my sponsorship page to help find a cure for blood cancer. Thank you if you are on your way over to do that, I appreciate it so very much.

As of today it is 109 days until marathon day! Training is going well and I have already clocked up 11 miles this week. I'm noticing improvements in my speed, endurance and energy levels. It has been great running with Team in Training (I do my long run with them every Sunday), having a group of people with the same goal as me is really motivating and having others to gossip with during our long runs makes them that much easier!

Now training is in full swing and I am constantly thinking about all things running I will begin updating here more often so come on back and see how I'm doing ... in the mean time please head over to my fundraising page and sponsor me, it will be your good deed for the day :)

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Dreadmill

The treadmill is not my friend
I feel that we have a hate hate relationship. I hate the dreadmill and it hates me right back . 

Today, after failing to get up at 6am and go out running (it was so dark! and raining! it was impossible.) I decided to hit up the gym after work and get my run in on the treadmill. I had 3.75 miles on the agenda. 

Mile 1 was pretty good, I had a decent pace and ran it in about 9mins30. I get so hot in the gym though, I get hot when I workout anyway and always enjoy a beetroot face for a while after working out. 

Mile 2 kicks in and I'm sweating, I'm thinking about how hot I am, thinking am I running too fast, thinking I'd like to just get this over with. Remembering why I hate the treadmill.

Then I got a stitch, I hate stitches!  I tried to run through it, doing the breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth thing which seems to just make me more out of breath, so I slowed down and walked to try and stretch it out. 

Then I got running again, and then ANOTHER stitch! This time on the other side, again I walk and stretch it out. I'm feeling really frustrated now and ridiculously hot. 

After getting running again I got yet another stitch, this time underneath my ribs, what is this! Then my arm starts aching, the dreadmill is out to get me, it's evil. This takes me up to around 3 miles, but the goal is to finish at 3.75miles. At this point I actually stopped the treadmill and was about to give up and go and shower. BUT (and this is a turning point for me I think!) I told myself NO, I have to finish this distance! 

So away I went again on, 0.75mile to go! Arghhh just let this be over, I walked some and then my Nike+ told me there was just 400 metres to go so I hit the speed button, and ran my little heart out. In my head chanting 'You are stronger than you know' Ahhh love the mantras. 

I did it, I'm pleased I did it, but anytime I think its a good idea to run on the treadmill I need to remember todays torture and re-read this. Regardless of the weather it is always better to run outside. 

Running lesson #17 learnt. The dreadmill is evil. 

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Go big or go home - Training has begun!

The time has come, in 21 weeks I will be in San Francisco (flight booked yesterday!) and will probably be feeling some excited and nervous butterflies about running my first marathon!

This will be me! 

I begun official marathon training this week, I'm trying to post my plan to my 'training' page but as yet am not clever enough to figure out how to do that! It will come ...

 This week I had a word with myself, I plan to be getting up around 6am before work to complete weekday training runs. I often tell myself 'I will TRY to get up and run tomorrow', by thinking about it this way I am giving myself a way out ... "I tried, but I couldn't wake up".
This kind of thinking does not run a marathon.
So now my thoughts go along the lines of "I WILL" - I am committed to this, committed to raising the money for the Leukaemia and Lymphoma society and committed to succeeding in running a good race time! GO BIG OR GO HOME!

Based on this new train of thought, I got up at 6am on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and ran 3 miles each morning. It felt good and get my day off to an awesome start and meant that by the time I got to work I was fully awake! I also appreciated the lie in till 7am on Friday morning!

Thursday was the kick off party for Team in Training who I will be training and running the marathon with! It was great to meet all the other people who had signed up for this challenge and hear about why they chose to support the charity. The excitement and motivation from TNT is going to be invaluable! It is so good to be around people who are as passionate about something as you are! I love talking about running (not sure I ever thought I would say that!)

Sunday is our first group training run and I can't wait to get stuck in....

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BMO Vancouver half marathon recap

On Sunday 2nd May I completed my first half marathon, it was a great experience and I was really proud of what I achieved and what my body did for me. 

The day before the race I was at a wedding and was quite worried about not being able to eat properly, drink enough, get to bed early enough etc etc. On the contrary though I ended up chugging ton of water which I think really aided me during the race, fully hydrated it the way you want to be! I ended up going to bed at about midnight and had to wake up at 5.15am, I set my alarm to Ke$ha 'Tik Tok' and woke up feelin' like P-Diddy and raring to go!

After brushing my teeth with a bottle of Jack I pulled on my running gear (carefully laid out the day before) and had a bit of breakfast. I was planning on having the breakfast of champions, oatmeal, but I was feeling kind of nauseous and nervous and didn't think it would be the best idea! A piece of toast and banana worked out pretty well. 

I went and met my parents (my Dad ran the race too and my Mum was supporter extraordinaire) and headed to the start! Dad and me managed to get our way pretty close to the front of the start line so we could get over the line almost as soon as the gun went off and just as the gun went off the rain began, Dad sped off leaving me in his dust and away we went!

First thoughts going through my mind were, "Here we go, I hope this isn't too awful, my pants are falling down" Yes I made the rookie mistake of purchasing a new outfit (gotta look the part right!?) from lululemon but didn't test it out beforehand. The pants just kept falling down and I couldn't get them tight enough and it was extremely irritating. Eventually after fiddling around with them for a while I got them tight and could concentrate on running this race! 

First 3 or 4 miles felt hard, it was raining, progressively harder, but then I saw my mum in Gastown, waving and cheering me on and I had a big smile on my face, I felt proud as I ran past her! 

After this point I started to get into a nice groove, I was feeling good, had some energy gel and I was starting to think "I've got this" - the power of positive thinking seriously does wonders! I was shocked at how good I was feeling and how few times I had to walk. 

As we entered Stanley Park I knew there was a hill coming up to take us up to Prospect Point. My game plan was to walk up the hill (I had not done any hill training - something I definitely need to work on for a marathon in San Francisco!!) I got to the top of the hill in decent time (helped by the fact we had done a test run up the hill a couple of days before so we knew what we were in for) and then there was the fun bit of running down the hill! Wheeeeee! 

Once we were out of Stanley Park I knew we were on the home stretch and I was getting to the point where I was running further than I had ever run before. This is where it started to get difficult, out of the shelter of the park it was cold and the rain was really coming down. I turned my music up and dug my heels in, I knew soon enough I could be in a hot bath with a medal round my neck.

Finally the finish line came to me - my time was 2 hours 20 minutes. I grabbed my medal, high fived someone, got a plastic blanket and my photo taken! 

I hobbled home with my legs screaming at me and wondering why I put them through such a distance and jumped in a nice hot bath. It felt good, and what made it even better was munching on my favourite Marks and Spencer's crisps my mum had brought from home for me while in there. BLISS! :D 

My legs were achy for about 3 days and my knees were really sore right after the race. I could have stretched better to combat this, but I kind of felt like the achy legs were almost like a badge of honour, ever heard the phrase "Pain is weakness leaving the body" 

There are a few things I think worked for me for this 1/2 marathon:
  • Properly hydrating the day before the race
  • Being in a good mental place, positive thoughts really pushed me through
  • Taking on energy gels during the race. Risky move for me as I had not had energy gels before but they agreed with me and I felt like they gave me that extra push when I needed it
I felt really proud my myself and completely surprised myself in my ability, it gave me the confidence that with the right training a marathon is a fully achievable goal. 

When is the next race!? :D

Saturday, April 24, 2010

I'm in!

It has always been a goal of mine to run a marathon before the age of 30 and after hearing about the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco I thought to myself that THIS race is made for me.

Why would a 26.2 mile race be made for me?

Thats right, a Tiffany & Co. finisher necklace.

Apparently handed to you by hunky firefighters once you have completed the course - and as a girl who loves Tiffany that is motivation enough for me! Other motivation includes the desire to complete a mental and physical challenge and raise money for a fantastic charity - the leukaemia and lymphoma society, oh the Ghirardelli chocolate mile sounds pretty sweet too

So I'm in, it's on! The race is October 17th and training starts right now ... what have I got myself into.....