The New Run Club

I joined a new run club. It’s kind of exclusive. Please don’t be jealous…seriously…don’t be. It isn’t  great.

I ran yesterday for the first time in 2 weeks. I finally felt better. After strapping on my shoes, I noticed my cleats, I am thankful I don’t have to wear those…yet. Soon enough I imagine.

It was cool but sunny and spectacular yesterday. Blue sky and the colours of Autumn. I headed out on my trusty trail behind my house. For some reason it is my fall and winter running trail, it felt right. I didn’t set a distance goal. My goal was to head out and see how I felt.

I made it past the creek and decided to turn right. I had never run that way before. I was struggling with consistency so I decided to run 30sec, walk 15 sec. It sounds slow, when actually it is fast. I ran faster than I expected. This is the Jeff Galloway method. He is trying to quality for Boston doing this, he will do it too. I kept my pace under 10 min/km You can laugh – people do miles with that pace, I can’t yet. But for a kilometer, that is a race pace time for me. Pretty decent considering I had been off for 2 weeks. I made it to the pond and that is where I got my initiation into the new club. The Hurl Club. That’s right – I lost my breakfast. My team mates welcomed me into the fold. One even said “Welcome, we have cup cakes…or at least we did.” HA! True true…

I know Jeff Galloway frowns upon hurling. Quite frankly, I do too. There are apparent reasons for this. It could be lack of hydration. I packed water, but never once drank – that is a real possibility. The other is pushing too hard and fast, I didn’t feel like I pushed, but running 30:15 sec intervals really feels fast. OR it could be a combination of both.

At any rate, I don’t recommend it.

But I think it makes me an official runner at this point.

Happy Running!

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Shake up the training for round 2

finishersMedalThis weekend I will run the 5k Saturday and the Half marathon Sunday here in Edmonton. Last week I ran 22k on Sunday and pretty much decided to rest on my laurels. HA! Meaning – Robyn felt lazy.

This week, I am in taper mode…HA! what does it mean when you run zero miles and then run less than you did two weeks ago but more than the previous week in preparation for a race? I have no idea. I have a feeling it isn’t trying my hardest or preparing properly. But it is what it is.

My nutrition training has been a lot of cake and wine. With two weddings and a birthday in recent days, I think I have failed in the proper nutrition routine, however, they were delicious calories. So basically, I have failed in my execution of my training plan.

I am pretty much okay with that. 

I can knock off a 10k without too much effort. When I say “not too much effort” I mean, I am still slow, but it doesn’t wipe me out. It has become a baseline run effort for me. As I prepare for my WDW weekend in January, I want to keep that level of endurance up and build on it.

I have been researching 2 very different schools of thought. One says start the training from scratch and rebuild the base. The other says maintain the 10k base and build on that. However, every now and then it is good to start from the beginning because that helps you increase your speed.

I have decided that building my speed will come when its ready. I have logged some of my fastest times in recent weeks without trying, just sticking with my plan. I really want to build my endurance at this point. I want to continue feeling great after a half marathon so I can run a marathon distance in under 6 hours without crying. I do not want to be THAT girl who cries because it hurts – so far so good. I am not that girl. BUT I have never run farther than 22k.

I plan to sit down in the coming weeks and map out my plan for training. Since I am running the 5k, 10k, and 21.1k consecutively, I will add Friday to my training day and take Thursday as my rest day. Currently, I run Saturday & Sunday, Monday rest, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday with Friday rest.

Both Bart Yasso and Jeff Galloway talk about the 3 day training for WDW Marathon weekend. The both suggest the first of the 3 day run – in my case that is Friday, should be worked up to 5k. No problem – that is a light run for me. Then the next day, work up to 10k. Okay – I can do that. The key will be the Sunday workout. running the third day with tired legs and building to a marathon distance.

I think my first 3 day consecutive plan will be 5k, 6k and 10k. I will increase it by 10% a week. Until I reach 5 and 10k. those I will maintain and increase my Sunday Long. I think I need a bit more research on this. But I have a general idea how to go about it. I will use the Dumbo Double Dare Training plan as a guide. The other two days during the week will be a recovery run and hill training/speed work. I am pleased with my hill training this year. I look at the hills at WDW and consider them speed bumps, so I should be ready for those, but hills will make me faster AND they are important because around here, if I run the river valley – the hills are my steady diet. They are the ONLY way out of the valley.

I will keep up with yoga, core work and ride DangerBike because apparently she will help me be faster. I will test that in earnest for the next round. We shall see.

A good shake up will help me out of the boredom with routine I am currently in. AND I am back at recording all my food – I need to watch the protein levels. I have been neglectful of that lately. I need more protein in my life.

So…6k today. It feels almost too easy and worth the effort. Too bad so sad for me – need to strap those shoes on. I have a half marathon to run next week.

Happy Running!

You think you are fast? You are just a plodder like the rest of us Julia Given.

I woke up crabby today. Actually, that is not true. I woke up rested and feeling great, ready to tackle the tip of a home I live in because it was a week of being locked in my office obsessing about my project.

I reached for my phone, in the old days it was the paper, now I read my smartphone in bed while I wake up. Being Saturday with no plans until 9:50PM when my Night Race starts, I felt entitled to indulge in some laziness for a while.

I read about Putin and how he is behaving like a Nazi. (For the record, I am boycotting the Olympics unless they get moved to a country that doesn’t require the LGBT community to be slaughtered. It is the 21st Century and by my accounts, humans should have learned plenty about genocide by now.). I read about Penticton and what a drunken party town it is in the summer. Then I read this:

Plodders have a place, but is it a marathon

This is what made me crabby. A few weeks ago, my Fierce Friday had Karen London wrote about this issue, well, this is the same issue/different spin.


I was immediately transported to the 7th grade playground during gym class where Collin would shout obscenities at me while Mr. Gym Teacher (If I could recall his name, I would print it here) about me and my lard ass. How I should just curl up and die because I was so fat. Seriously, people are assholes. What is it about people who excel at something think it is okay for them to judge others? Based on ability, no I wasn’t athletic, based on effort, I worked harder than Collin. That should count for something, sadly it doesn’t.

I went through life hating jocks but wanting to be one.

That plodders article has Adrienne Wald saying this,bilde

‘It’s a joke to run a marathon by walking every other mile or by finishing in six, seven, eight hours,’ said Adrienne Wald, 54, the women’s cross-country coach at the College of New Rochelle, who ran her first marathon in 1984. ‘It used to be that running a marathon was worth something there used to be a pride saying that you ran a marathon, but not anymore. Now it’s, ‘How low is the bar?’


Apparently, Wald has no idea AT ALL how the bar is set so people can meet their goals – not her expectation of what goals are. I find it ironic that her areas of expertise are Primary Prevention, Health Behavior, Physical Activity, Public Health Advocacy and Policy, Health Promotion, Weight Management, Tobacco Control, Wellness Programs, Chronic Disease Prevention. Sure she knows how to be healthy, she understands the secret. Sure there is a simple formula involved but I am willing to wager she hasn’t a clue how difficult it is.

Then there is Julia Given, a 46-year-old marketing director from Charlottesville, Va who says,

‘If you’re wearing a marathon T-shirt, that doesn’t mean much anymore,’ Given said on the eve of this month’s Baltimore Marathon, where vendors were selling products that celebrate slower runners. One sticker said: ‘I’m slow. I know. Get over it.’

‘I always ask those people, ‘What was your time?’ If it’s six hours or more, I say, ‘Oh great, that’s fine, but you didn’t really run it,’ ‘ said Givens, who finished the Baltimore race in 4:05:52. ‘The mystique of the marathon still exists. It’s the mystique of the fast marathon.’


Julia, it is fantastic that you are running a 4 hour marathon. BUT a marathon is measured in DISTANCE not TIME. When you run 26.2 miles and my pals run 26.2 miles, EVERYONE IS RUNNING 26.2 miles! How fast you get there is considered an individual goal. I know you scoff at the run/walk/run movement by Jeff Galloway (an Olympic Marathoner) and the Slow waddle movement by John Bingham, but seriously, 4 hours? If I wasn’t in the race you would be last because Elite Runners are running it in 2 hours. That’s right TWO HOURS and I suspect the sub 2 hour marathon is not far off. Julia, that makes YOU a PLODDER by those standards.

It is because of slow runners like me and my running mates that marathons,, halfers and 10ks are becoming a huge trend. I think this is a positive thing. People are moving more. The bottom line is, if I am willing to pay the crazy race fees, travel, spend my money on running shoes, tech shirts, special socks and fitness belts, why can’t I run the race too? Oh and by the way, it IS running. When I ran 1.5 hours without stopping, that was RUNNING – I just didn’t get very far because I am new to this sport. Most people are not born with super human ability, they have to work at it.

Oh, and Julia, you will never qualify for Boston. Why? Because you are a middle of the packer, by your standards, you are not a runner. However, you can add that to your list of goals, work hard and perhaps one day you will qualify. It’s good to have goals. It means the human race is progressing and evolving.

My goal? To run a marathon. A marathon is 26.2 miles. There is nothing in the rules about 26.2 at a 4:05 pace. However, some rules are 16:00 pace. That’s fine, it makes it doable and you know something else? It makes it harder for me than you. You want to know why? I expend more energy, therefore I am working harder than you therefore I am fierce and you are just ordinary.

Nothing wrong with ordinary, but try empathy, it will change your world for the better.


There is no crying in Baseball or Running. Period.


I think I found my mojo again. It frustrates me how it ebbs and flows but it is understandable. I am thankful it came back just in time for my first half marathon of the season. August 11 is my Doctor Who 50th anniversary half marathon. It isn’t an official race, but it is a virtual one with proceeds going to the One Boston Fund. I signed up for it right after the Boston Bombing. I had wondered at the time how this might pan out. I am confident it will be awesome. What to know why? Planning, simple as that. Now the trick will be sticking with the plan. That is the hard part.

August 11 is the last long run before my Edmonton Half Marathon. After August 11, I begin the taper. Quite frankly, I am looking forward to the taper. Taper doesn’t mean less frequency, it means less mileage. The week before the Edmonton Half, my long run is 6k. That is a good thing because my sister gets married the night before and if I have learned anything about training this year, I do better with a good sleep the night before a long run. How do I know? You mean other than common sense? I was at a wedding weekend over the past few days. It was likely the most fun I had in a very long time. 3 fun-filled glorious days all ending with drinks and food. One night was a live concert at a private home. Ah  MAZE  ING Period.

Then the night after THAT party I got up early to run 18k. I did alright considering the amount of scotch, beer and champagne I had the night before, not to mention the amount of beef and shrimp and chocolate and peanut butter trifle and goat cheese and and and…7lbs extra. Ya….I gained a lot of weight, that might explain the struggle the next morning.

However, I did something radical that has improved my overall time.

I did the Galloway.

This past week I have been struggling with getting the mojo back from a total failure standpoint. I had been listening to Jeff Galloway and Bart Yasso on some podcasts and decided to give the Galloway an honest try.

I started with 5 and 1s. Meaning I ran 5 minutes and walked 1 minute for the entire mileage duration. I was shocked to see my overall pace increase over the 8km on Tuesday. The horrible thing about Tuesday was I never paused my watch while I stopped to stretch and strip. An extra 10 minutes was added to my overall time. Experiment #1 fail.

Thursday I did 5 and 1s again over 8k. This time I was careful about my watch. My pace increased over the 8k run with an overall pace of 10:40. That is faster than my race pace time of 10:41 at Calgary. I had never equaled or bettered that pace since. Thursday I beat it and I felt refreshed like I could keep going. Except I ran out of light. The sun set before 10:00pm so I headed home.

Sunday I was in Regina, Saskatchewan for a wedding. I drank and ate to excess like most people do, yet I still got up to run. 18k around Wascana Park.


It was lovely and flat, like a good prairie town. I continued with the 5 and 1’s and was slower. Part of that was by 16k I was feeling sluggish and had to start and stop for traffic. Stopping to walk is one thing, stopping to wait for a traffic light is a whole other ballgame. Rigor Mortis set in, but I kept going. It was sitting on my bed stretching before I remembered to turn off the Garmin…OH MAN!

However, 18k is 3.1k shy of a half marathon. So completely doable for me right now. So much so, I am  really looking forward to Sunday to see what I am made of. According to my training schedule it is supposed to be a 20k run, I am adding 1.1k to make it a half so I can fulfill the virtual run requirements. I have added a 5k Night Race the night before so I can simulate the conditions happening before the Edmonton Half Marathon. I run the 5k the night before that. Why back to back races? Well, In January I am running the 5k, the 10k and the 21.1k in WDW. All are back to back races. I often run back to back days, but a race feels different. I will work up to maintaining a 5k on Friday’s, 10k on Saturday’s and slowly increase my distance over the months so I can do the half marathon on the third day without crying.

Because there is no crying in Baseball! Running!

So tell me, what are your training plans for the fall race season?

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?


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…


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.


Lucky for me I have a vivid imagination Mo!

I had a craptasitc run on Friday. I wasn’t smart about it, I didn’t dress warm enough and I went out to fast for too far.My last blog post I spoke to the problem of negative self talk. On Facebook my friend commented on that blog post, it was the only good thing that came out of Friday’s run. She is known as ‘The Friday Fun and Freedom Gal’ and she wrote this on my facebook wall:

I’m going to start running beside you because I will fill your ears with positive talk about how amazing you are! And how much you are admired. I can do that for you! Except for the whole running part. I can’t run. So I’ll just text you as you run.


Those words meant a lot to me. So as I ran my craptasitc run on Friday, I felt her sitting on my shoulder texting me goofy stuff to keep me going. I could actually visualize her there. I thanked that night when I saw her at Book Club. She laughed, but the support is insurmountable to me.

My run was crappy enough that I sat down yesterday, pulled up my Google calendar and plotted my mileage for the next 3 months. May 26th is my big day with my Dadeo. We will run 10k on his 65th birthday. He is the running man. This guy is fantastically fit for a grandpa and is my inspiration for this race. I have always dreamed of running with my dad and now I am going to make that happen. Only thing is, I am worried.

I am worried I won’t finish in Under 1.5 hours.

I am worried I won’t be able to keep up with my dad.

I am worried about crossing the Bow river 6 times – that mean 6 bridge inclines.

I am worried about being able to run that far.

I am a new runner. I ran last summer, stopped because of illness and didn’t start again until January. In Dog years, I am a puppy sans the ADHD energy.

I pulled up my Dailymile training log and studied it. Since January 1st I have walk/run 57km. That impressed me. My first week I walk/ran 6km. My past week I RAN 16km. This week I am adding another 2km to my totals – or at least plan too.

Then I was thinking back to when I walked my first half marathon. I was 65lbs heavier, 2 years younger and not fit AT ALL. I remember showing up for my first class being the heaviest person there. I was always last. Our first walk was 7km and it was all I could do to keep moving forward. I had to visualize me walking over the finish line and having the medal placed around my neck. That summer I could walk a 10k in 2 hours – full out. That was my race pace. Everything I did was about distance. I would walk the miles and it would take hours. I need to celebrate a small success, I am faster, thinner, healthier than that girl.

As I was plotting out my training, I scheduled in Fartleks, Tempos, Hill repeats and LSD (Long Slow Distance)s. My plan is to improve substantially, not just try. There is nothing wrong with trying, that is how I got here. This time I am going to improve. My motivation? My worries and the medal and my Dad. At the point I was most tired (for some weird reason it is always within the first 6 minutes – then I am fine) I kept visualizing my Dadeo and me posing for a picture together holding up our medals. That got me through the rough patch. Visualization works wonders for me.

Today was my first scheduled LDS. I did a Run/Walk of 10 and 1s. Can I just say that 10 and 1s are awesome? I bet I would go for MILES AND MILES doing 10 and 1’s Jeff Galloway is a smart dude. That single minute of walking refreshed my legs to such an extent, I felt like I had new legs each time I ran again. 10 and 1s are going to be my back up plan for the 10k. I can always run/walk and likely get there fast than straight running, because who are we kidding, as much as I say I am a runner – I am not a gazelle…yet.

Spring is coming as evidence of the snow/sidewalk/ice road combination seen on my street. I can’t WAIT to run without cleats and long pants. Since it is only February, I think I a few months left, but the clothing layers will start to resemble spring layers rather than winter layers. For THAT I am happy!

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So here is to celebrating small successes and for friends who support me along the way.

Happy Running!