The Calgary 50th Marathon or What was I thinking?

June 1st is a day that will live in infamy…at least in my mind.

I ran the Calgary half marathon and didn’t really train for it. Everything I could have done wrong I did and yet I never felt better completing a half marathon in all my life…true story.

IMG_6822

I knew after I completed the Calgary 10k last year that I was going to run the half. How could I not? It was the 50th year for the Calgary Marathon, the oldest Marathon in Canada. (not to be confused with the oldest race because I think that may be the run around the lake in Hamilton…but I could be wrong, in fact DO NOT USE THIS AS A FACT FINDING MISSION.

Calgary has a lot going for it, great speaker series, great course – it is NOT AN OUT AND BACK! Terrific crowd support and beautiful weather. I know they didn’t have anything to do with that, but they should still take credit! And ELVIS!

IMG_6807

He called me Darlin’. There was a ton of entertainment on the course. I love you for that Calgary!

I was really looking forward to the Speaker Series at Expo. I wanted to meet Bart Yasso and Dean Karnazes. I saw the both speak but waiting in lines is not my thing, so I just waited to meet Yasso. He signed my bib. I rubbed it LOTS on race day for luck and inspiration. I made the most shocking comment ever. I tell everyone who will listen that a Half Marathon isn’t ‘just a half’ it is HALF of nothing, it is far! Be proud! Yet when I sat next to Bart Yasso, the first words out of my mouth were, I’m only doing the half, I am not ready for a full yet.

IMG_6793

Being the Amazing Bart Yasso, he replied with, a Half is FAR. You are like me,I am a halfer. do not apologize for your distance, be proud.

IMG_6789 IMG_6802

You are right Mr. Yasso….I am very disappointed in myself for saying that, and worse…THINKING IT!

The next morning I walked to the Stampede Grounds and waited with the Trusty Steed, Amy, Rachel, Tiffany, Greg, Brent, Natalia, and a bazillion others that I knew in passing from Edmonton and those who were strangers but became friends that morning.

IMG_6806

(Did I mention I was in corral B? I didn’t?? CORRAL B PEOPLE! That is the closest I have ever been to the front of the line. )

We all got caught up in the hype of the morning and took off like the Kenyans we are not. Once our hearts exploded we then found our pace and ran. I knew the first 10k of the course because I ran it last year. This year the Halfers had to cross the 10k track and merge over into the other lane. That was tricky. If I was faster than I would have beat the 10ers, but that was not to be my fate. No one died or was harmed in the merging but I really had to sprint. I hate sprinting, but I can now do it. There is something you never would have heard me say a year ago.

I learned a lot about myself. I am that person who will stop and help people on the course. I am NOT that person that runs past someone and thinks “sucka…I am passing you!!!” On the contrary, I am the person who will hold your hair while you puke, give you my last GU if you look like you need it, Wait with you until the first aiders arrive because you are delirious. Conversely, Karma was just as kind to me, I had spectators jump on the course with me a run a bit, they asked my story and seemed concerned that I wasn’t doing well. I have news for you – that expression on my face is a problem I have had all my life. It is called “Bitchy Resting Face” It makes me look like I am in pain, or tired or having problems when in fact, I had the best best run of my life.

I crossed the finish line and fist pumped the air because HAHA I DID IT! I had a massage, because for $20 it is stupid NOT to get one. And I walked back to my hotel. Now, this halfer was the first time I didn’t need crutches or friend support to hold on to me. I walked home with a spring in my step and felt fab. The only thing I wish I had was flip-flops. I didn’t want to endure bag check and really, I was fine. I still have all my toenails.

IMG_6810

Me and Aimbo (can you see the size of that Full Medal?? It is a belt buckle with a bottle opener. Amy just finished the Blackfoot 100k the weekend before and paced a group to finish 2 minutes under 4 hours for this one. She is a BEAST. This summer she is running the Sinister Seven and Death Race SOLO back to back. She is my hero.)

I broke the cardinal rule in Running and wore BRAND NEW OUT OF THE BOX Shoes. That was stupid, but Brooks Ghost is MY SHOE. They felt like home putting them on and I don’t regret it. I don’t advise this of you. I walked away blister and injury free. So it worked for me.

IMG_6803

Flat Robyn and her shiny new shoes!

I ate a steak sandwich because I was thinking about a burger at the 17km mark. GU just doesn’t cut hunger. I drank a beer because it tastes the best after a half marathon and I stole cupcakes because that is how I roll.

I stayed at the Fairmont Palliser and there was a reception in the lobby. Cupcakes were everywhere. I took one on the way up to my room. Sugar was good. On the way back down for lunch, I stole another one. Hunger is a problem for me after that many miles. I can only imagine when I run a full what I will need to eat.

Will I run this course again? YES! I really want the belt buckle that is also a bottle opener. It is the size of my head. Big in the way only Calgary can do. But I won’t be running it next year, I have new races to face.

IMG_6823 IMG_6815 IMG_6820

Happy Running!

My Olympic Training: Calgary 2014

As a kid I use to dream about being an Olympian. Not the kind of dream where I was an athlete and worked hard to advance so I could make the team. I was not THAT kid. I was the kid who would slide down a hill on my toboggan or Crazy Carpet and pretend that I was in Bobsled or Luge. I would skate at the local rink, flooded Tennis courts for non-hockey skaters and Hockey rink for those with a stick and puck. I would skate on either ice depending how I felt that night. My brother was always goalie and sometimes I was Karen Magneson – my Women’s Singles Figure Skating hero. I was never a good enough skier to fantasize about winning, I was too busy trying not to fall, but before bed every night, I would play out the role of winning a medal.

The closest I have ever come to playing out that fantasy is through running. It isn’t because I am a fast runner who wins my age division, don’t make me laugh. It is because of the participation factor and the opportunity to earn a medal at the finish.

If you have never had the chance to run/walk across the finish and have a medal placed around your neck, I recommend you give it a try. There is something very satisfying about training and the then completing an event. Lots of people I know, don’t care about the hardware. I have mine strung up on my office wall. It isn’t about winning, it is about the hard work and effort it takes to EARN them.

I had a conversation not that long ago with an employee. She had asked my opinion as a former educator about creating an even field where everyone gets a “good job” or everyone gets a valentine. Those two questions for me were separate, but not for her.

Everyone receiving a Valentine is important in life. Why? Social skills are how you navigate through life. If you cannot be kind to people for the sake of being kind, then your future home/career life will be very hard indeed. You don’t have to like everyone, but being kind and polite will get you far in this world. It’s about effort.

Effort in social skills and accomplishments is important. That old adage, Do your Best, isn’t just words, its meaning full.

I don’t think you should get a medal or a gold star for just breathing. I think effort needs to be applied. What do I mean by effort? That person needs to do their best work/job/attempt. There needs to show movement towards achieving more than they achieved yesterday. For example: I have set goals to achieve a faster km/min time with my running. I am doing the cadence and stair work recommended by my coach. I will still not be the fast group in the Calgary Marathon, so does that mean I am not deserving of a medal if I am able to cross the finish line? It isn’t like I am not trying, get swept and still expect a medal at the end. Cross the line one goal, Cross the line with a PR is another goal and being able to walk normally the next day is another goal.

To achieve this, I am doing speed work and distance work. I am also doing wall sits, planks, push ups and various other work to make my core strong. I also am focusing on nutrition.

I am realistic in my goals and know I will not win the first place age division. So does that mean I am not worthy of a “great job Robyn!”? The gal I was talking to said, ‘the world sets up for false expectations.” Does it really?

I think the world is a tough place and things need to be earned. There are consequences to actions. Great Effort = Great Rewards. Some people argue not always, but I disagree. You just may not see or acknowledge the reward.

1898213_10152252017356337_237280688_n

I ran three sets of stairs every time I passed a set on my run yesterday. I ran up and down each step except the last step, those led me to the top and yet I was still at the bottom of a hill, so I ran the hill too. My backside and hamstrings are feeling it today, but I was rewarded with a feeling of accomplishment. I celebrated with my coach and gave Hoff a big hug when I saw him. Did I win? No, of course not. My chapter 2 is not Ting’s Chapter 37. Ting is an amazing runner and is faster than I will likely ever be. He is also 20 years younger than I and has been running years longer than I. However, My Chapter 2 of my story is better than my Chapter 1. I am progressing and I am pretty happy about that. I try not to measure my success against others. Perhaps being 46 years old is the reason I don’t need to. I am secure in myself and focused on my own goals, I don’t need to worry about anyone else. I am competitive enough with myself, so beating my old time or distance is enough of a win for me.

1901576_10152240120136337_2123876532_n

I was taught to do my best, and my best I did.

Calgary will be my Olympics and I am pretty excited about it.

image

Edmonton Marathon Weekend V2.2: Is it fair to compare it to Calgary?

For as long as Edmonton and Calgary have been around, there has been a rivalry between the two cities. Both are comparable in size, both have major league sports teams, both have easy access to the Rocky Mountains and both have great summer festivals. For an Edmontonian (Me) to travel to Calgary and declare my civic pride, I risk ridicule and good-natured teasing. It is a lot like sibling rivalry. However, when the going gets tough, Calgary and Edmonton stand together. Great examples are when the tornado smashed through Edmonton and Calgary experienced devastating flooding. We stand together like family.

We are similar enough that I don’t think it is unreasonable to compare Calgary’s Marathon Weekend to Edmonton’s Marathon weekend. Since I attended Calgary’s big weekend May 25 & 26 and I also attended Edmonton’s big weekend August 24 & 25, I think I can do a reasonable job. However, this of course is subject to my opinion. There were great things about both weekends and terrible things about both, but all in all they were great events.

So let’s get started, shall we?

Let’s start with Expo.

Calgary Package Pick up

Calgary Package Pickup

 

Edmonton Vendors

Edmonton Vendors

Event Calgary Expo Edmonton Expo
Package Pick up Located at the Big 4, a huge venue with lots of room. Calgary had lots of space very little waiting and the volunteer spent time telling you what to expect. No longer located at the Expo Center, the venue was changed to The Chateau Lacombe. Package pick up was tight and the lines were confusing, the volunteers were rushed but excellent.
Chip Check Did not have Chip Check One guy was checking chips, so even though you had very little wait time for package pick up the line for chip check was insane. 1 guy???
Parking $15 unless you had your bib number, then it was free. Free in the hotel parkade to expo goers
Vendors There were several vendors who offered product for sale and had excellent variety and mediocre deals. Only a couple of vendors offered a few items but I found a gal who made custom compression sleeves for my calves SCORE!
Charities Team Diabetes and Team in Training were well represented and so was Right to Play with Martin Parnell signing books. Team Diabetes and Team in Training were well represented and Team in Training talked to about the Women Nike’s Marathon in San Fran, I am in! Kid Sport was well represented.
Other Races Calgary is a mecca for fun runs and longer distant races. They had reps from all over Alberta, Western Canada and California. New York City Marathon and Vancouver Marathon were promoting their races as well as a couple of cycling races.
Speakers Several speakers from Canadian Medalists to book authors were scheduled. None

Best Expo? Calgary had more variety, Edmonton answered more of my questions and was WAY swankier.

Transportation and Parking

Item Calgary Edmonton
Parking Very limited on race day and $15 Tons of parking at Edmonton Expo Grounds. $5 prepaid pass available at the Expo, $12 on site.
City Transportation The C Train was easily accessible and most people used it. Wouldn’t let you purchase a special event ticket for the return. Station was walking distance from the start line. The ticket line on the return trip was insane. LRT is fairly accessible and plenty of people used it, although most people drove. Public transit tends to be less popular than people self-driving. Why? Wow-let’s just say the city is working on it. LRT offers a special event ticket and can pre-purchase a return ticket which means fewer lines when it is time to go home.
Road Blocks Calgary Police is an awesome job blocking roads and directing traffic. Not very chatty. One confusing intersection had us running into oncoming traffic, it was scary. No one was paying attention. Edmonton Police did an awesome job blocking roads and directing traffic and had the added bonus of being chatty and friendly. One car pulled out of a parking lot and nearly ran me over. The Police Office took a piece out of him and fixed the situation.
Road Conditions Calgary had a lot of potholes and ankle turners. It was spring and winter plays havoc on the roads. The bad sections of the roads were spray painted in neon as warning.

Edmonton wins best parking and Calgary wins best public transit.

Race Course

126

 

Calgary Start – Where are the pace bunnies?

IMG_4572

 

Edmonton Start, Lots of bunnies every where!

 

Items Calgary Edmonton
5km Morning Race- same time as the other races, no opportunity to run 2 different races. Evening Race – this race was the night before the bigger events. It gave you an opportunity to run 2 events. The Evening race perfectly showcases longer summer days in Edmonton
10km Morning Race same time as the other races, no opportunity to run 2 different races. Evening Race – this race was the night before the bigger events. It gave you an opportunity to run 2 events. The Evening race perfectly showcases longer summer days in Edmonton
21.1km Morning Race In the spring 4C Morning Race in the summer 16C
42.2km Morning Race In the spring 4C Morning Race in the summer 16C
hills Yes – each race had hills but the marathon distance had a significant hill about the half way mark. No – fast and flat
location Along the Bow River and downtown Along the North Saskatchewan River and into residential
views Running beside the Bow is nice Running beside the NSask is spectacular
Crowds A very well promoted race. All of Calgary knew about it and came out to cheer or run it. 15 000 participants over 4 races. The streets were practically empty. Not well promoted. Hardly anyone heard about it. Over 2500 participants for all the races

Calgary was a circular race, Edmonton was an out and back. I liked being able to register for multiple races. There were other runners who like it too. Calgary’s race morning was pretty exciting with everyone there. It was a cluster F*** at race start. They were big enough to have corrals. The evening race was fun, the kids race 1k was first then the 5k and the 10k left at the same time. An evening race during sunset is lovely and the view was spectacular in Edmonton. I am giving the win to Edmonton.

Course Amenities

Amenities Calgary Edmonton
Food The post-race refuel food was located downstairs in the grandstands. It wasn’t advertised well and you heard about it through word of mouth. After running 42.2km who wants to walk stairs? Lots of chips and granola bars. They would only give me one bottle of water and wanted me to take juice. Right after medal and water pickup, the food tent was part of the exit. Lots of variety and even had wraps! Gave me two bottles of water was cool with me not choosing juice.
Water Stations They had a water station about every 3k-5k. Gave a choice of Water or Gatorade and gel 3 stations on the way out and 3 on the way back (about every 3-5k) – same stations. Offered GU Brew or Water and gel.
Port-a-potties There were easily 50 at the start line and two at each water station Zero at the start line and 2-4 at each water station. Northlands provided facilities – but not enough for the volume of people at the start.
Massage Therapists Pre-purchased post-race massage $15, race day purchase $20 Post-race massage $20
Pancake Breakfast The Stampede association provided a pancake breakfast – not sure if there was a cost. None, but Tim Hortons provided coffee
Booths/vendors Lots was going on, a real party atmosphere but couldn’t see what was in the tents because of the volume of people in a small space.

Nowhere to sit

A few vendors were lined up on the way out of the Race Park. Lots of room to move around, Sofa and Chairs were set up for runners to eat their post-race food.
Massage Tent Could not find it. Well marked, easily found inside next to the casino. Long wait 30-60min. Well worth it.

Stairs post marathon are just stupid. Be kind to rookie athletes Calgary! Edmonton wins the post-food category because of location, quantity and sandwiches.

Calgary wins for party atmosphere. Calgary Stampede association knows how to throw a party – hands down winner.

Medals

Calgary had a new medal for every race although I am not sure why they didn’t wait until next year to have the big reveal for the 50th anniversary. These medals had a cool factor and so did the shirts. The 42.2km was a belt buckle. Usually you need to complete an Ultra-marathon for a belt buckle. This was cool and at the Stampede, if you were caught wearing it, you won swag from the Calgary Marathon Association. Way to market yourselves Calgary Marathon!!114

Edmonton had a new medal this year. It no longer had the Canadian Derby theme attached to it. I think it should go back to the old Festival Marathon theme since we are Festival City. The detail on the medal was exquisite. I like di-cuts and detail. The Alberta Legislature is the prominent feature except you don’t really see it on the course. The different distance medals were differentiated by the ribbon. Interesting how in Edmonton the half is red and in Calgary the half is blue, while the full in Edmonton is blue and the full in Calgary is red. Coincidence?

1119835_10151832986381337_603419077_o

I didn’t put volunteers into the equation because quite frankly, Alberta is second to none when it comes to people stepping up to help out. These two events were no different. Lots of help, everyone was smiling, kind and supportive. I love volunteers!! As a runner, I always make sure I thank them as I run by “Thanks for volunteering!” People like hearing thanks and knowing they are appreciated. Without their support, there would be zero road races for me. I pay it back by volunteering one race for every race I run. You get groovy swag for helping out, and its fun.

The winner? Tough call, it might be preference. I am giving it to Calgary for size and variety but Edmonton wins for detail.

Looking at both events, I am thinking carefully about where to spend my race dollar. I really want to be a part of the 50th anniversary in Calgary because they do throw a great party. Which distance? Hmmm, I am leaning towards the Marathon but I am not sure yet. I will see how I improve in January. How about Edmonton? I don’t think I will do the half or full in Edmonton. It is just too lonely out there to go that far, but I will do the 10k because Saturday night was a lot of fun! Now, I would love to see Edmonton Marathon weekend become a massive success, so I think I will see if I can help out with organization. I am a big believer in put up or shut up, and Edmonton made huge gains this year, maybe they could use some more help.

Happy Running!

 

 

 

Edmonton Marathon Weekend V2.1: The Edmonton Tourist Chronicles

002

Yesterday I mentioned that I was pretty nervous and not feeling very confident about my half marathon, nor was I excited. I never did get that “RACE DAY IS EXCITING!” feeling. Why? I have thought about that, so I made a list.

  1. None of my friends were in it. Not that I run with them, but the camaraderie is a big part of the fun for race. I was feeling lonely.
  2. 21.1km is far. I had done it two weeks prior and the thought of doing it again made me tired.
  3. Edmonton Marathon is a boring race. Sure it is flat but no one comes out to cheer, there is zero entertainment and did I mention boring except for a very important point – The River valley views are spectacular as always. It is my favorite part about living in Edmonton. The North Saskatchewan River Valley is Stunning!!!

Race morning I got up after sleeping reasonably well from 10:30 pm – midnight. Then it was hit and miss all night long. The alarm went off at 5:30 and I begrudgingly hauled myself out of bed. I was not feeling it. I felt sluggish, un-enthused and dreading the distance.

I ate my usual long run breakfast – pancakes and banana, no coffee and a huge glass of water. I gathered my running gear and jumped into my car, the Trusty Steed was taking his own car because he had post celebratory plans with his friends. I was taking my own car because my great friend had just announced the previous day that she was going to meet me at the finish line. I cannot tell you what that meant to me. I was prepared to go it alone, unsupported. Knowing there was a friendly face waiting for me at the finish was a massive thrill for me. It was the reason I stood at the start line.

The morning was cool 16C/60F perfect for me. Way warmer than Calgary’s marathon morning at 4C/39F, and I still found that a perfect running morning. I like it cool so this was a plus. I was tired and just couldn’t find the enthusiasm for the race as everyone around had. I knew quite a few people who were racing that morning, only because I know about a million people. We exchanged polite hellos and talked about running stuff. Then I heard the bugle. The Marathon is held at Northlands Racetrack – the Horses and Slots. The bugle was a cool way for the runners to get into the gate. There are no corrals in Edmonton because there are only about 2000 runners/walkers for both the half and full courses. 

They played “O Canada” and then John Stanton did the countdown. We were off!

I am somewhere in there

Again I felt swept up in the crowd, running too fast but able to keep it down to 9:30/km instead of the previous nights time of 7:45/km. I ran to the first water station at about the 3k mark, grabbed water and spit it out because it tasted like mouthwash. GU Brew has a mouthwash minty flavour? No thanks, just plain water please because I packed my own Nuun. I didn’t pack water because I knew I could get it on the course.

I followed my plan.

Rule #1: Bring your own gels and hydration formulas because testing new stuff during a race is never a good idea. 

I had been practicing hydrating while running and made good progress this summer, so no stopping this time!

I kept running and followed the next step in my plan.

Rule #2: Run a 10:22/km pace for a 5 minute interval with a 1 minute walk for the entire race.

When I was on one of my walks, a couple of ladies walked up on either side of me and tapped my shoulders. On gal smiled at me and asked if I run in Mill Creek? I replied yes, and she said, I see you running there all the time, we often high-five! I got all excited and replied”you yell GO GIRL!” She smiled and told me how proud she was of me.  – Wow…a stranger proud of me? I will be honest, this is weird to me but I said thank you and she yelled GO GIRL and High-Fived me again. She and her mom passed me while I walked. I would soon over-take them and cross the finish line 3km in front of them. This was in accordance with my next plan.

Rule #3: Pass people by working for it.

In Calgary I would avoid people, slow down or change lanes. I didn’t want to run past anybody. The NightRace changed that. Passing people now Rocks my World. I passed quite a few people and some we played a back and forth tag. It gave me something to focus on in the quiet Edmonton morning streets.

After the 7k mark, people were begining to run back towards the finish line. This was an out and back half marathon, and the full marathon runners also ran this part of the course. I saw the Kenyan Sprinters, WOW they are fast! I saw a gal running in a Gorilla Suit. I see her a lot, she high-fived me. I saw lots of people give me a thumbs up or yell YOU GO GIRL! I have to admit, I didn’t understand why I got this kind of attention when they are doing the same thing as me. No one else around me got that kind of attention – so I found it odd…until the end and I will get to that in a bit.

1234018_433581800083975_1003352038_n

I figured I was very near the end of the pack. The Bike Sweeper Guys would stop to talk to me, so it seemed obvious to me I was almost last because I passed a few runners.

My Biker Sweeper guy is in the Yellow and Brown shirt

The Bike sweeper guy said “nope, you are even close to being last” Whaaaaaaat? He told me I was doing AWESOME! I thanked him and told him how much it meant to hear that. That meant the next part of my plan was working.

Rule #4: Run faster than the To Complete Pace Bunny.

I did not want her talking to me and distracting me like she did the last time I was in this race. Because I was so happy about hearing I was not last or close to last, this made me run faster, not on purpose just pure adrenaline. I had reached the 5km mark at a record time of 50 min. (I had run 6km in 60 minutes – 10 minutes faster than the previous Tuesday!) When I reached the 10km mark, I was at 1:40 min. Seven minutes faster than my Epic Calgary 10k! This was the highlight for me. I was working hard and feeling great, meeting goals and breaking old time records. My ego was PUMPED! At this rate I was going to complete in under 3:30. This was where I broke with the plan.

Rule #5: Do not look too far ahead. Set small goals to get to the finish.

Suddenly I was celebrating my EPIC finish and I still had over half a race to go. Not good.

At the turn around point I kept up with my fast pace but I was getting really tired. I was wishing this was only a 10k race. I kept going sticking to my 5:1 ratio for run/walk intervals.

By the time I made it to the bridge that crosses over Groat Road, I had a flash of giving myself a stress fracture like the first time I walked across this bridge. I needed to change that pattern for my mental status, so I stayed off the sidewalk. The Bridge is a metal grate and difficult to run on, my shoe could easily fit into the holes of the grate and trip me up, so I walked across – breaking my stride and causing me to walk for 2 minutes. Walking that long felt good, so I did it a bit longer. Breaking RULE #2 in a big way. I walked for another 5 minutes until my watch evened out and I ran again. But after that 5min interval, my hamstrings were locking up, I think it was from all that walking, so I pulled over and did pigeon pose on someone’s lawn. This made a huge difference and had a police officer run over to me to check the state of my health. I assured him I was fine, I stood up into Downward Dog to stretch again and then I walked for one minute. This was tough. I could only run for 3 minutes but then I was at the water station at RailTown. I drank 3 cups of water. This did a lot for me. Re-hydrating makes a big difference. I kept running. I passed more people and an old guy in a wheelchair was cheering for me. He held his hand out to high-five me and asked me to run for him. How could I refuse? So I said “My Pleasure!” Off I went again. 

Somewhere around the 17km mark I had a bit of a melt down. My thoughts were beginning to overwhelm me. There was a lot of pity partying going on, I was comparing the support I give to friends verses the support I  got in return. I thought about people not being here when the said they would. I thought about that guy in the wheel chair and thinking I was going to quit. I thought about how much my toes hurt and how tight my hams were. I thought about how things are never going to be the way I want to be so I need to just get over it and suck it up. Then I took a big breath and remembered the next part of my plan.

Rule #6: Remember why you run.

Why do I run? I run because of the look on my girls face when she saw me cross the finish line. I run because it makes me strong physically and mentally. I run because most days its fun. I run because it makes me leaner than I have ever been in 20 years. I run because my friend is waiting for me at the finish line when I didn’t think anyone else would. I am crying now writing this, so you can imagine what kind of mess I was at 17km – all tired and unreasonable. It was the image of my friend waiting for me that made me start running again. I credit her as the reason I crossed the finish line. I couldn’t let her down.

Which lead me to the last part of my plan.

Rule #7: No matter how tired you are PUSH yourself to run the last kilometer through the chute and finish strong. 

I remembered the importance of finishing strong. I wanted my muscles to remember the strength and speed of a great finish. After several kilometers of running an 11:30 pace, I somehow found the strength to run 10:22 just like I wrote on my arm. I crossed the finish line strong and heard John Stanton announce my name as FINISHER. 

I saw my friend and was thrilled to see her smiling and cheering for me! The medal was placed around my neck and I helped myself to 2 bottles of water.

IMG_4565

I was surprised to see The Trusty Steed at the finish line, I expected him to have left already because he had an amazing time of 3:00 for WALKING. He walks fast. His team was there and swooped in on me to congratulate me. Then I found my friend. I hugged her and told her she was why I finished. Pictures were taken.

I look like crap

Me after running 21.1km. I look like like crap but Kathy kept me from dying

I saw a video of me running across the finish line and I have to tell you I am shocked. I felt stronger than I looked. I feel thinner than I look. I have a pretty good idea why I am now singled out in the crowd and why so many runners high five me, give me thumbs up and yell GO GIRL! I watched myself and wow, it looks like tremendous effort to drag my body into a run. I am pretty sure people look at me and are shocked that I can do what I can. No wonder I am slow.

But you know what? I am faster than I was when I started – 8 months ago I ran a 16min/km pace. Sunday I mostly ran a 10min/km pace. Overall my pace was 11min/km. I will take that happily thank you. I set 3 personal bests on Sunday, fastest 5k time, fastest 10k time and fastest official half marathon time – 40 minutes faster than 2011. I finished at 3:50. I wanted 3:40 but I think going too fast in the beginning screwed that up. I was consistent and stuck with my plan for the most part – except for the mental brake down. I think that is normal for so many people when they are reaching maximum output. I left it all out on the course. I did my best and gave more than I had. How can you be disappointed with that? I did all the right recovery things and today I am fine – except my shoulders hurt where the massage therapist beat the crap out of me, but that is a story for tomorrow. 

Meanwhile, I am glad I did it and am left feeling a little smug this morning because it’s not just anyone who can run a half marathon.

Rule #8: Be proud of your accomplishments

1004858_10151861976281337_785410836_n

Happy Running!

Was it Something I said?

133Remember way back when, sometime in January when I declared that the Edmonton Marathon weekend’s 10k race was going to be my big race of the year? Ya…well… Things rarely workout for me as planned.

My sister decided that she was getting married on the 10k race day. Since my Dadeo was going to run it with me, I knew he wouldn’t want to miss her wedding – not that she is his favourite or anything, but he does try to be fair. So we then decided to run the 10k in Calgary for THEIR marathon weekend. I felt like i pushed myself a little hard to be able to run the 10k so soon. I had no base to start from. Yes, it was hard. However, I find anything worthwhile IS hard. I am super proud of that 10k. I even bought a 10k spinner pendant to wear because 10k was such a huge deal for me.

272L_2

 

Well, that was May. I learned a long time ago that having future goals to shoot for are important because I went through the Marathon Blues after my very first half marathon in 2011. I didn’t have anything else planned. I thought a one and done kind of deal was all I was in for…HA!

After rearranging the 10k date, Edmonton Marathon decided to move marathon weekend to the weekend AFTER my sister’s wedding. So, now I had to make a decision. Do I run the 10k and build on becoming faster? OR do I go big and run the half marathon. Well, because I don’t think things through very well, I tend to GO BIG or GO HOME. So I registered for the half marathon along with 2500 other people who run at the speed of light.

734173_366866946755461_645697048_n

I knew the worse case scenario was I could walk this race if things got to tough for me. I have walked it before – with a stress fracture (I don’t recommend that) and I finished. This time, my goal for training was to have a better recovery time. I wanted to feel great the same day – not a week later.

After the 10k in Calgary, I felt good but the drive home sapped my energy and I was a mess for the rest of the week. I was tired. I talked to my dietician and we worked out a plan for the longer distances. I know I need protein within 30 minutes of ending my workout. Without it, my legs HURT. I also know I need a big glass of electrolyte replacement – or start drinking it at around 14-16k depending on the length of the long run. AND don’t forget to stretch. By the time I made it to my first half marathon of the year (that’s right I planned on TWO half marathons – remember the whole “GO BIG or GO HOME” mantra I have?) I had an excellent afternoon, felt great, slept great, bla bla bla…

But what I really wanted for the Edmonton Marathon Weekend was Companionship.

033

I know I prefer not to talk when I run and I get quite rude about it. I say things like “SHHH you are talking too much” or I grunt. I am not the most charming runner. I have participated in enough races to know the training and racing are different. I like the camaraderie of a team around me. I like goofing around with friends before and after the race.

 

So I started to invite people to come do the Half with me. One friend – a new runner – tore his hamstring and was told NO RUNNING – so he bailed, how can you blame him? Then there was another friend who would have to fly here. I never invited him, he said he might come do it…well…that didn’t work out either. Then there is my former coach, she has a major injury and won’t be in this race, and a new friend I made WHO RUNS AT MY PACE – now has to work and I am totally BUMMED!

Seriously, was it something I said?

Obviously, I need to take this as a sign. I am meant to achieve this independently. So I need a plan – because who are we kidding – I am a planner at heart.

My plan is to head to the grounds for 7:15 with the Trusty Steed. He is walking it with his walking team. They are faster than me. I know, hilarious… but they have been at this for a long time with several marathons and half marathons under their belt. I will be mentally focused. I have visualized the course during all my training. I look at my distance and I know where I am on the half course. I know where the water stops are and I know where the hot parts of the course are. I have new socks already to go for this day and I decided on my grey running shirt because I run best in that one.

I don’t need the support of friends along the way because I am mentally strong enough to do it alone and I have – two weeks ago. Yet…I would have been nice.

After the race I have a massage booked because I love those and then I will join The Trusty Steed’s team for breakfast somewhere. They have invited me to join them for other races too, which is lovely of them. So you may see me in Vancouver in the spring. Especially because – well…lets just say you can only support people long enough before your efforts are not wanted then you need to cut them loose and do your own thing.

Meanwhile, I will rock my new pendant and Ryders, wear my new Tiffany coloured Injinjis

187L_2

 

and run my own race at my own pace with a desperate attempt to stay ahead of the very last pace bunny who talks too much. I am not as excited about this race as I should be. Perhaps the lack of friends joining in is a factor. Maybe it WAS something I said.

At any rate, I am as ready as I will ever be. My mental fierceness will be called upon once again to get me through.

Happy Running my friends!

 

Goal Achieved! Calgary Marathon Weekend was fantastic! Well done Calgary, well done.

099Remember when the wheels fell off my training and I went into panic mode on Friday? I was scared and really I was actually a little terrified, but then I went for a run and Jess my girl crush at Scoot a Doot gave me some solid advice and calmed me down.  I was scared about these things:

 

  • What if I can’t find parking?
  • What if I injure myself and get pulled?
  • What if I feel crappy race morning and can’t pull myself together?
  • What if I run out of fuel/water/water and water?
  • What if I don’t push myself?

Jess suggested I write on my arms, so I did. I bowed to her wisdom and she was right. It worked for me.

110

 

I wrote my pace that I needed to finish with a Personal Best, I wrote PUSH because I can get lazy and NO FEAR so the wheels didn’t fall off and I don’t go a bit crazy with an anxiety attack. All of these worked. Push was a big one that I needed and so was the 10:30 pace because there were moments when I was too fast. I know that sounds crazy but being too fast would deplete my energy stores and I would have to walk the last bit of the race. I was not ok with that. I want to have a steady race pace that would have me running the last 2 kilometers. AND I DID THAT! In Fact, my walk breaks were my fuel breaks because I cannot run and eat/drink/slurp gel. It think it stems from childhood and hearing “Robyn, don’t run with your food! YOU WILL CHOKE!” Well, no one wants to choke, either physically or mentally so don’t worry mom, I walked while I ate. THat slowed me down but not as much as not being able to throw garbage on the ground. I just can’t do it. Finding the garbage can was really important and it slowed me down or had me stop. That is not going to change, I am not so competitive that I have to become a  litter bug, therefor I need to improve my regular pace. I am cool with that.

The trip started with me (Robyn 45), Dadeo (my dad – 65) and The Boy (my son – 17) driving the 3 hours to Calgary in the pouring rain. We were prepared to run in the rain. It is better than snow. THere has been snow for past Calgary Marathons, so you just never know what kind of weather you will have.

We arrived at the Stampede Grounds and went to the Big Four for the Expo. It is small by other city standards but huge compared to Edmonton’s Marathon Expo.

111

 

The Road Carpet was cool. It was a tribute to the Calgary Road Runners.

 

112

 

That is Dadeo picking up his race package. There was a lot of stuff in there, power bar, noise sticks, magazine, coaster – you know…stuff and junk and coupons.

We went around the exhibitors and my fellas left me to go sit at the end while I explored the booths.

I met Martin Parnell, he took at year off at the age 55 and ran 250 marathons. He was amazing and interesting. We chatted for awhile and he signed his book for me.

481628_10151678850231337_1931318870_n

 

I learned more about the Nike San Francisco Women’s run. Did you know they have Fire Fighters in Tuxedos handing out these little gems while giving you a hug? Who doesn’t want to run THAT race? I am putting that on the bucket list. Because I love Tiffany jewelry, I am a medal whore especially if it comes with a blue box and white ribbon and I love hugging firefighters….sigh….can’t wait until I am ready for that one!

115

 

I then caught up with the fellas and we went to explore Calgary for a while. The next morning we were up at 5:30am (or stupid o’clock) and got ready to catch to the 6:30 C Train. WHICH WAS PACKED! Apparently there were 15 000 runners headed to the Stampede grounds. Edmonton has 1500 runners this race was massive compared to what I am use to.

We arrived at the Start Line and discovered there were no corrals which is ironic because we were steps away from The Corral where the Flames use to play. We just lined up with thousands of runners.

126

 

Dadeo and I were ready. He made me fist bump and the we elbowed each other like we do – hockey style – for luck. He hugged and kissed me then we agreed this was an awesome way to spend a 65th birthday and wasn’t it nice of Calgary to throw him this fabulous party?

129

 

Then we were off. We started 30 minutes after the Full and the Half runners. We were doing the 10k with 2500 others. Dad took off like a rocket and about a billion people passed me but I kept running. It wasn’t until I reached the first bridge that I settled into my run and my breathing eased. Why is that? Why does it take about 3k for me to feel like I shouldn’t quit?

By the time I reached the first water table, I needed to stop to drink because I slop and miss my mouth. Soon I was off again. I had ran up the bridge at Memorial Drive and ran past the zoo. By the time I was on 1 ave NW Random walker Steve caught up to me. He stalked to be and said, “I have been trying to catch for 5k. You are amazing.” I said so are you but he said – “no you are unbelievable, don’t forget to smile at the finish because they take video.” I replied with thanks and said see you at the finish. It didn’t really registered why he thought I was unbelievable until people were calling my name and shouting how amazing I am. OHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I had a lightbulb moment. They meant that because I was a fat girl running I was amazing! AND the fat girl running has a ton of 10k -ers behind her unable to catch up! I am halfway to my weight goal, so I feel less amazing than when I began. It was harder to run 20lbs ago, now I am 90lbs down and running is much easier. I can only imagine what it will feel like when I reach goal weight.

This is me, the fat girl running in Blue with all those people behind me. That felt AWESOME! The purple bibs are the 10kms and the blue bibs are the 21.1kms

Cal2

 

When I reached the 6k mark, I was directed into traffic and was nearly killed. I figured out I was on the wrong side of the road and the water table people saved me. THANK VOLUNTEERS! ALL 1000 of you were AMAZING!

At the 7k mark I was the victim of a water fight with sponges. Only in Canada is it considered hot at 8C with the sun shining. Therefore we needed to be drenched with water sponges. It felt great, I had more water…so I needed to walk…then I was off again past more dancers, DJs, crowds and cheering. The fan turnout was unreal. Well Done Calgary, Well done!

I ran to the last mile marker and this it was I saw:

131

 

Alberta Blue Sky, the Calgary Tower and runners ahead of me. People were shouting “LAST MILE!” so we ran. we ran back to Stampede Grounds and into the shoot. People kept yelling my name and congratulating me on being amazing. 2 more corners and I was done. Thanks random stranger for tell me I had 2 corners, I hate it when people say “You are almost done!” they are liars. Last corner and a hill/ramp/mountain combination to get to the top.

The grandstand was full and I was the only one in the shoot because I sprinted the last km and pulled away from the pack. I ran sub 10, my tempo time of 9:30 for the final km. I fist pumped as I crossed the finish line and yelled YES!

I was given a groovy 10k purple medal for my efforts and heard my daughter calling me. WHAT??? There she was at the finish holding a present for me. My Trusty Steed brought her down from Edmonton so she could be there. They got up at 4am to make the trip. It really meant a lot to me to have my whole family at the finish line. I was given this because I am a medal whore

Give_a_girl_the_right_pair_of_shoes_30_x_1 (1)

 

Then she took my picture with my Dadeo who was also at the finish (15 minutes before me)

133

 

Cal1

 

On the trip back to Edmonton, my Dadeo announced that he has retired from racing but not from running. He gave me a big hug and kiss and thanked me for the fabulous birthday weekend. He told me he was proud of the way I am working hard to be fit and lose weight the right way. Slow and steady. Then I had to promise to run a 10k on my 65th birthday.

I promise Dadeo, but YOU have to be at the finish line.

I am scared, so the dream must be big enough

Checking out my countdown clock I am told I have 2 days to go until the Calgary Jugo Juice 10km race.

I feel sick.

Why you ask? Good question.

I can run 10km, I have done it before and quite recently in fact…last Sunday, the Sunday before, the Sunday before that…

But nerves are attracting the butterflies and the butterflies are scared off because my belly is filled with bats.

Can I do it? Absolutely.

So what is the problem?

Well…

I am afraid I will not push myself. If I go at a relaxed pace that will have me finish the 10k like I do on my LSD days, I will reach a time of 1:55:00 for 10km. For those of you who don’t run, that is super slow-mo speed. Most people will finish the race at about an hour to an hour and a half. If I push myself to my limit, I will finish in 1:40:00. I dream of finishing in 1:30:00. My body isn’t ready for that. I think I could push it but I’d be puking and Jeff Galloway frowns on puking during a race, that means I am over exerting.

There is nothing wrong with pushing yourself to the limits of what you can do. I know for a fact that my body can do more than I anticipate it will, but by how much? There is the question that no one ever gets to know the answer to. We can always do more than we think we can.

My support team is all happy and sunshiney, saying things like “It doesn’t matter if you come in last” – well, I fully expect to come in last…I just don’t want too. They say things like, “The medal is the same for first and last place finishers” I know, that is why I am doing it. My medal will be made of sweat and tenacity. THey say things like “You’ll do fine.” Sure I will, I have trained for this, my muscles know what to do – it’s the brain that scares me.

A whole bunch of ‘What if’s’ are rolling through my head.

  1. What if I can’t find parking?
  2. What if I injure myself and get pulled?
  3. What if I feel crappy race morning and can’t pull myself together?
  4. What if I run out of fuel/water/water and water?

That is the problem with race day. You plan and train for the best, but nothing ever happens as planned. You hope for a personal best but race day is like the Mickey Mouse Club equivalent to ‘Anything Can Happen Day!’  I can mull over all possible scenarios but the reality is I am nervous. My first running race…with my Dad…on his birthday…in a City that isn’t mine…on a course I don’t know…filled with Calgarians who taunt Edmontonians…

44

My coach says “If your dreams aren’t scary they aren’t big enough”. I didn’t think 10km was big enough. I am scared. It is big enough. I need this to take me to the next level. To calm my nerves I think I will go for a run in the rain – at race pace. I need to remind myself I am ready.

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           

 

In addition to running the 10k in Calgary with my Dad, my other goal is to raise money for the Dream Team Make-A-Wish Project. I chose to run for the Dream Team project for several reasons, the team, the support, the coaching but the most important reason is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Project. I have family and friends who have benefited from this amazing charity and it is time to give back. Our Team slogan is Because you can’t smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. 

Please consider donating on my behalf, Robyn Engel Couture here DONATEYou enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.

 

Hills are stupid but I am glad they were invented

This time next week I will be finished the 10k in Calgary. My Dad and I joke around about who is going to trip who, and who will sprint to the finish and elbow the other person into the boards for the finish.

Obviously it is going to be me. I will take no prisoners, just leave a bloody mess in my wake.

I will elbow my dad into the boards and sprint pass him so he has to buy breakfast.

We all know nothing ever goes as planned. The likelihood of me beating the crap out of my dad for the win is slim to none. However, a girl has to have dreams…

Today was my last long run before Calgary. I am officially on a taper. It’s not much of a taper seeing I am running 10k again next week, but I have a weekly total of 16k to get through this week instead of last weeks 23k before the weekend.

My run today through Millcreek ravine was fabulous. I had a decent pace for my LSD, kept it slow ran straight through to Connor’s Hill. This hill is becoming a thorn in my side. I am DETERMINED to run up the whole thing by the Edmonton Half Marathon if it KILLS me! Two weeks in a row, the halfway point does me in. I end up walking the rest. This is my new challenge. I WILL RUN UP THAT HILL BY MY BIRTHDAY or DIE TRYING.

Since I began hill training, the rolling coaster hills that use to scare me, now are barely noticed. It’s those steep mountain esc trails that really annoy me and have me sucking wind as if I am not very capable. Of course, that just isn’t true. When I first began running hills, I just couldn’t do it. I would plan my route to avoid hills. Now I plan my route for distance and scenery. Hills are apart of that. photo (21)

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian b...

Dudley B. Menzies Bridge (LRT and pedestrian bridge) over North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

9k into my run today found me on the LRT Bridge Dudley B. Menzies crossing south towards the U of A over the North Saskatchewan River. This was the first time I felt scared. I was heading towards some dark forest and unknown trails. I stopped to ask some cyclers the best route to 109th Street. With all the detours and changes to the river loop, people were a little confused. I had a pretty good idea which way I should go, but it appeared to be straight up. I thanked the couple before I continued on my way and told them if they see me on the news because I was dead, my name was Robyn. Being able to identify my last known whereabouts seemed important at the time.

It was dark because the tree canopy had fully leafed out. It was  empty and lonely on that trail because no one uses it for good reason.

The reason no one uses that trail is because it goes STRAIGHT UP! The last time I climbed something that steep, I was mountain climbing in Jasper and had expected the steepness because I was ON A MOUNTAIN, not the prairies. JEEEZE!  The good news? My ass is going to look AWESOME by summer! The bad news? My pace dropped to 16min/km. Near the end I needed to stop and suck some wind into my lungs, finished off my water and took a deep breath while I mentally prepared for the stairs. I told myself at the top of these stairs I was home free. I would be 2 FLAT blocks from my finish line and car.

HA!

At the top of the stairs was another FREAKING HILL! OH COME ON! I was out of water and was fantasizing about eggs. I know, weird food cravings at 9.7 km.  But I wanted protein and lots of it at that point. My thighs were very disappointed in my choice of route and my calves were just plain ol’ angry.

As I reached my destination, I realized I had mentally conquered the most difficult ending to any trail I have ever taken. This will carry me far next week.

In Calgary should I come across some difficult parts of the route, I just need to think back to my past two weeks of training. Last week I ran 13km. This week I climbed hills from hell. Next week should be easy in comparison.

I am ready.

Roll on Calgary, I can’t wait!

 

Learning from Hard Lessons Improves Performance

I learned some hard lessons this week about running.

  1. Mental Strength gets you to the finish when your body won’t.
  2. The body is capable of things you weren’t prepared for.
  3. Fuel quality is as important as hydration.

I went out for an ‘easy’ 8k on Tuesday. Easy…who would have thought I would have ever found an 8k easy? After my 13k run on Sunday the plan was an easy 8 for Tuesday and an 8k Temp for Wednesday. Tuesday was not easy by any stretch of the imagination.

Someone had poured lead into my shoes and then stapled my feet to the ground. My legs were heavy and I was sore. It was the first time I felt pain in my hips. It wasn’t muscle pain from too much on Sunday – it was the kind of pain that was beyond fatigue. I knew I had to loosen it up of I may cause injury to myself. I took the first k slow to warm up the muscles then I found myself needing some yoga to stretch out or I wasn’t going anywhere. After pigeon pose, triangle pose and some various runners stretches I was able to move a bit more freely, so I resumed the run.

2km later and I was ready for a cab ride. I felt worse than I could ever recall since I had began running in January. It was days like that where I needed verbal support – yet I was running alone.

I knew I had not eaten enough protein the day before, nor had I drank enough water prior to the run. I was in the middle of my cycle and from reading on women’s run boards I knew that this feeling was common. We have lower iron levels, we are needing increased hydration and vitamin B levels are low. By ignoring my needs days prior to Tuesday’s run, I inadvertently sabotage my run. What was to be an easy 8km, turned into a nightmare of epic proportions.

017

By the time I had reached My favorite part of the trail, I was DONE. I pushed farther but circled back and sat on the grass. I did some more yoga and texted my coach asking for him to pick me up and drive me home. He was a jerk and said no. Actually, I had hoped he would cheer me on but he was hard nosed about my plight. So I sat there feeling sorry for myself.

I figured I could walk back but I couldn’t find the mental strength to stand up, so I sat.

The trails downtown in the river valley are packed at noon by people running/walking/cycling on their lunch breaks.  A pack of moms and strollers were coming up on my right. I didn’t want to be behind them so up I got. I was stiff and achy and needed to walk to the path. Slowly I made my way into a run.

I didn’t even get into 10 minutes before I found myself walking. I took  in some water and tried again. This time I made it to the Low Level Bridge and climbed up to it. I ran across and got into a groove that allowed me to make it back to my car to finish off my 8k for the day.

All I could think about was how long it took me to  finish, how disgusting I felt and how was I ever going to finish my 10k road race in 2 weeks?

One thing I knew, I couldn’t let that bad run finish me off. I went home and hydrated, ate protein and had an ice bath. All the things that help with recovery. The next day was my first Tempo and I was nervous because my easy 8 was a bad experience.

The next day my daughter decided to go with me. We went to Laurier Heights to run along the river. She took off like a rocket. I ran my damndest to keep up with her but I had no chance. Although my pace on the Garmin indicated that I was running 2 minutes faster than I ever had before. I was able to maintain that pace for 1km. WOW! That did a number on my ego!

3km in and I was altering my pace from fast to medium and changing it up every km. My medium pace was also faster than what I normally do but it felt slow. I couldn’t believe it.

By the time I had finished my 8k, I looked at my average pace and I had knocked off 27 seconds per km off my previous fasted time AND I maintained it over 8km. It made the previous run feel like a bad dream.

I was pumped! I went home and repeated the same recovery method, hydrated, ate protein and an ice bath.  Now, do I think I maintain that pace over 10k in Calgary? Maybe? The plan is to start of at my medium pace so I have some kick for the end and go fast and pass my dad at the finish for the win. At least that is the fantasy.

The learning curve may have been painful but there is something important about failure that teaches valuable lessons.

  1. Recovery routine is as important and prepping.
  2. Learn from mistakes and don’t repeat them.
  3. Lean on people when you need to and you won’t be disappointed.

Happy Running!

In addition to running the 10k in Calgary with my Dad, my other goal is to raise money for the Dream Team Make-A-Wish Project. I chose to run for the Dream Team project for several reasons, the team, the support, the coaching but the most important reason is to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Project. I have family and friends who have benefited from this amazing charity and it is time to give back. Our Team slogan is Because you can’t smile on the outside without feeling better on the inside. 

Please consider donating on my behalf, Robyn Engel Couture here DONATEYou enter any amount from $1 – infinity and beyond

I thank you, my team thanks you and some little kid who’s wish came true thanks you.

For more information about the Dream Team Project, please visit here.

I am not slow, I am Bionic

Sunday was the longest run I have ever done. I have walked that far, I have cycled that far, but I have never run 13 km. It is an empowering feeling.

13km

Last week when I was talking to my former coach, I told her which program I am using to train for Calgary‘s Jugo Juice 10km road race. On that web site there was a link to John Stanton’s 10k for beginners and intermediates. Clearly I am not an intermediate. I wouldn’t even call myself a beginner, is there a name for before beginner? Pre-beginner? At any rate, I followed the program when I wasn’t even ready to run 6km at the beginning of training. Yet here I am 3 months later and put in 13 km. I had asked her the logic in running 13k while training for a 10k race. She said it is mental training. That makes sense. That way when I am in Calgary and I find it tough because I went out too fast because the adrenaline kicks in, I can look back and think “I did 13k, this is only 10k – I’ve got this!”

YAY ME! I did it!

I stopped and walked twice – mostly because I cannot refuel and run. I am just not coordinated enough. It is hard enough to sip water and run, never mind ingest food.

I realize something. I often compare my chapter 2 story to other people’s chapter 26.1. I need to stop doing that. I’ll  explain what I mean.

I ran 13k through Edmonton‘s River Valley from Millcreek Ravine at Argyll Park to Hawrelak Park. I had only 1 stop light at Walterdale Bridge. It took me 2:29 at a pace per km 11:26. Apparently I am not slow, I am Bionic. Remember how the Bionic Woman would run in super slow-mo speed? Ya…that is me.

Only I have better music in the background.

My 13k time is my dream time for the Edmonton Half Marathon.  Obviously I need to lose more weight and keep up with speed work. I have decided not to stress about progress. It will happen for me as I keep up with my scheduled effort.

My goal of faster recovery time was achieved! I didn’t need a nap and feel fantastic this morning as I am moving around. I could run today but it is a scheduled day off, so I am honoring that and doing some yoga later.  Tomorrow I run 8k steady pace and I run 8k Wednesday at a tempo. I have never truly run a tempo before, so we shall see how that goes for 8k. I do not expect a miracle, however, I will try my best. Then Thursday is an easy 5k. It’s weird to think of 5k as easy when I struggled for so long to be able to complete a 5k. 12 days until my 10km race with my dad. I am super excited! I hope the view is half as nice as my 13km run was. Here is to 2 more weeks of productive training!

Happy Running!