Wednesday, May 14, 2014

1/2 Marathon, 10,000m, and Boston... 2014 You're Looking Good

Spending my week sitting in continued learning classes… so naturally this seems like the perfect time to write a blog. Hey, check it out! I actually wrote a blog before Boston… so technically I am still keeping my New Year’s resolution to blog more frequently.

I actually had drafted this blog several times – after the Tom King Half Marathon, after Stanford 10,000, and obviously after Boston. I was mostly prepared to post something a few weeks ago, but then felt like a "grade A" jerkface to post about how well my season was going and my post-boston recovery when Krista had just ran until her leg gave out. I have been injured (a lot) and know how hard it can be, especially mentally, to recover from. From the lil’ fb message chats I have had with Krista it seems that she is on the mend and is as hungry as ever to come back. I have no doubts that she’ll be back on the roads chasing down the Rio standard in the near future.

Ok, so my 2014 season so far. I have raced three times and have been pretty pleased with how everything went. I opened up my season with a local half marathon down here in Tennessee. It was nice to sneak one under the radar ;)  I knew that my Kenyan training had gone really well, but wanted to test my fitness without digging too deep. I entered the Tom King Half with a broad goal of anything from 1:10-1:12. I managed a comfortable 1:10:47 with 100 miles (about 160km) in my legs for the week.

Here’s an interview I did with Alex Flint while running in a snow storm the week after the ½:

Next up was the Stanford Invite… my return to the track for a 10,000m. Talk about stepping outside my comfort zone… I have grown accustomed to just having to line up in time for a race gun to go off, not checking in, getting hip numbers, and having to line up in any set order. Anyways, it was a lot of fun to head out to Cali and race in an event I had not done since University. It was also fun to debut my first race as an Asics Canada athlete (more on that later). Looking at the start lists a week or so out from the race it was apparent that getting pulled along to a Common Wealth Games qualifying time (31:45 A or 32:10 B) was not likely and that I was going to have to do a lot of work to try and run a fast time. I switched out the lead with the Dutch Giant… no lie, that girl was crazy tall and crazy talented (I think this is her first year not racing as a Junior)… and ended up finishing 3rd with a 32:29. I locked into pace and like the marathoner that I am kept that pace the whole race. I was pretty pleased with my time and the fact that I felt fully recovered within a few steps of crossing the finish line. The only hint that I had raced was a tight tricep… yes, apparently I like to race track races with my left tricep primarily. I finished up my weekend in California with a trail run with the Boise State track team. I ran with the boys and we got lost on an out-and-back course... oops.
Return to the Track
All smiles after the race!
The final race of my “Spring” season was Boston! I had a blast at the pre-race events and taking in the atmosphere of the city. I am pleased with how the race went... ecstatic? Not so much... running 32k solo is not exactly how I envisioned racing in the Boston Marathon... but I am really with my effort and mostly with how my body has recovered post race.
I really did not know what to expect on race day. Looking at the start list I figured a top 15 would be possible, and maybe something in the 2:30 range depending on how the race played out. I knew Flanagan was looking for a win but had no idea if that meant taking it out hard or running a slow tactical race for the first few miles. Well, the gun went and within a few steps it was clear that I was not going to be running with any pack… holy heck that race went out crazy stupid fast! I did my best to settle in with Des Linden and then, when I realized Des was moving a bit too quick for me, I did my best to run as controlled as possible. My hip started to misbehave slightly before mile 30… but that’s the Boston course; it’ll find your weak link and beat up on it. I finished 14th and in 2:30:34. It was a pretty good day. I was mostly pleased with how good my body felt over the next few days. I took 5 days completely off and started back with easy runs for 8 days after that.

Immediately after Boston I focused on eating pretty clean. Yes, I had my adult beverages and a burger, but after carb-loading my body was ready for some good clean food and I think it really helped speed up my recovery.
Celebrating Boston & a delayed "I'm 30" party

I have the best friends ever
I am now a few weeks back into regular running and 2 weeks back doing workouts. I am going to have a pretty busy next few weeks with racing and traveling; it’s weird to have a marathon be “part” of my season and not the be-all end-all of it. I have made my return to intense strength training sessions with Dameian, where he makes me want to vomit twice a week... all in the hopes of building a stronger, fitter, and faster Lanni.
Had a blast meeting all of the Canadians at the pre-race Canadians at Boston Brunch
Here are some interview links:



Friday, January 31, 2014

Back to Where it All Started

At the start of 2012 I was a 2:44:XX marathoner and made my way over to Kenya for a 6 week training stint. I really was not certain what the heck I was doing, and definitely felt like the odd man out when I realized the amount of talent that surrounded me… not only those that stayed here at the High Altitude Training Camp (HATC), but the raw talent of the hundreds of Kenyans I’d see running up and down the paths around town. At the end of that training block, I was ready to run Rotterdam and hopefully throw down a PB. By the Spring of 2012 I was a 2:31:51 marathoner. I had hoped to lower that mark again before the end of the year, but my body had other ideas.

I started out 2013 still as a 2:31:51 marathoner. On a bit of a whim I rebooked myself in at the HATC and headed back over to the altitude, hills, ugali, and red dirt for a 3 week training camp. Holy heck, it felt a lot harder than my first trip over. I had forgotten how much the adjustment period could hurt. Since I felt so poorly during most of my training sessions, I had very few expectations for what my Spring season would look like… but that was fine. The end goal was Worlds. I ended 2013 with my best year of running yet (with the small black mark of my body having its own plan for Worlds), and a 2:28 marathoner.

So here I am again. It’s the start of 2014 and I find myself back here in Kenya. This year I’m back for another 6 week stint, and I have the added bonus of training with Desiree Davila – Linden. I made it through my first 10 days of training and finally, (albeit slowly) my lungs came around. I hit around 85 miles my first week week and have completed four workouts so far.

The first was scheduled to be 12x400 w 200m jog rest… but after the first few intervals I could tell that I was going to have to do something different. I ended up modifying the workout into 2 sets of 5x400 w 200 rest, 2x 200 w 200 rest. It took me a while to find my stride, but I felt pretty good by the end of the workout. I followed up that workout with a Fartlek on Thursday (25*1 min on/1 min off) with about 300 other Kenyans. It is intense, but it is a lot of fun to run that sort of mayhem. I capped off the week with a 15 mile long run (about 24-25 ish km) averaging 6:34 per mile (with a 7:45 first mile to ease into it), giving me 90 miles for the week.

After the long run, I headed to Eldoret with a group including some of our Canadian guys and Desi to watch the Discovery Cross-Country meet. I promise when I have a better internet connection to put up some pics. Anyways, talk about a huge depth of talent… hundreds of runners all running faster than I could even imagine. There was however, a slight disappointment when watching the senior women’s race, as it was probably less than a 1/3 the size of the men’s races. Here in Kenya, you have to really “be making it” as an elite runner to be a female and train full-time. It is crazy to think of how many girls are here that are significantly faster than me, and yet, like most senior women's races back home the field is quite small.

This week’s workouts consisted of hills and track intervals on Tuesday… nothing too fancy, and then 3*(5*400m) Thursday. The 400s felt a lot better than they did ten days ago. I will again cap off my week with a long run on Sunday… looking for about 18 miles (30k) of solid running.

Things are the exact same here as my previous two visits… aside from a much slower internet connection (sorry, looks like my blogs are going to be picture free for now). Run, eat, read/nap, eat, read/nap, run, eat… it is a pretty easy routine to fall into. I have a bit of work to do while I’m here, and I have already read most of my books… oops. So far I have stayed upright, but it’s early into the trip so far. I have a few doosie workouts planned for my training here… have to get ready for my return to the 10,000m on the track in early April… and oh yeah… keep my mileage up for BOSTON on April 21. I turn 30 ten days before the marathon…. It seems like the perfect lil’ birthday gift to myself. All birthday beers can be consumed with me post race ;)

Monday, October 28, 2013

The Season Ain't Over

It's been a week now since the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and I think everything is starting to sink in. Phew! What an amazing weekend for Canadian running eh? This week has been a bit of a blur, and I was not really sure how to put it all down in writing. So, sticking to the format I used post Moscow, I'll give you all a lil' play by play of things.

Of course it had been in the back of my mind since Worlds that I wanted to do a Fall marathon, but it's one thing to have a quick thoughts about something... it's a whole different ball game when that "something" is running another marathon. I had been in contact with Alan Brookes off and on about the idea of running Toronto, but did not want to make any decisions until I was certain my body (and mind) were ready to conquer the distance. Thankfully, Alan was more than accommodating and let me wait until the last minute to make up my mind. I think he, and probably a lot of those that are close to me knew what my decision was going to be, I just needed to be sure of it.

Once I was officially announced as part of the elite field, then things started to move quickly. My travel was booked, I answered a few questions for interviews, and I attended the race expo and media event.
Practicing our stare down
Here are some links to the interviews:

I arrived in Toronto the Thursday before the race, went for a short shake out run and then met up with my friend Lyndsay for dinner. It was just what I needed, a relaxed, hilarious conversation and a good beer.  The perfect reminder that I was there to have fun. I got back to my hotel room and got to catch up with my roommate for the weekend, Natasha. I was able to again see Ron O'Hare for some treatment on my quad and calves and got to hang out with another top notch physio Chris Napier as we drove around to check out the course.

The rest of the weekend leading up to the race was pretty standard, lots of carbs, lots of water, lots of laying around. Maybe a little bit of scaring Natasha with all of our marathon horror stories at dinner. Natasha and I did our best to keep ourselves entertained, which included decorating our bottles for  the aid stations. I must give credit where credit is due and thank Rejean Chiasson for his tips on how to make grabbing our bottles easier. He uses pipe-cleaners, but since we weren't near any craft stores Natasha and I went with flexible drinking straws.
Ok, so we may have taken Rejean's concept and upped the girly quality a tad

My standard lunch box bottles a lil' jazzed up
Krista and I had chatted during the weekend about what pace we were looking for, and we were lucky to have Rejean back to pace the event (Last year he helped pace Krista to her awesome finish in tough conditions). We also were fortunate to have a second pacer, Josephat Ongeri, added to the mix the night before. I was pretty low key with my expectations for the race and pace, telling both Krista and Rejean that I'd be evaluating how I felt each 10k and that my feelings wouldn't be hurt if Krista decided to make a move that was quicker than I felt I was ready for.

And now the fun part... RACE DAY!

Pre Race:
I felt a little full when I woke up, but really relaxed. Natasha and I did our usual putzing around as we got ready and kept our spirits up.  It was a bit brisk outside, but we all knew it was going to be some pretty amazepants race weather. We got to the race venue, dropped off our junk and a group of us headed out for a short warm up. We went down to the start line with the last of our warm ups on and started our stride outs and other pre-race routines that are likely more to control our nerves than anything. I saw my sisters and Mom on the side of the start line, danced a little bit to the music while standing beside Krista and Rejean... Man, I hope I can always feel that relaxed at the start line.

The first 10k:
Off the start, I still felt like my stomach was off but I did my best not to let it worry me. I made a point to grab both my bottles and drink the fluids that were in them. We were a bit quick through our first 10k split (hoping for 35 min even and coming through just under that), but I felt strong and relaxed. I had a few panicked moments where my left quad was feeling a little sore and tight, but reminded myself that it had felt like that in workouts and at the 10k champs and I was able to manage it then.
Much like Rotterdam, we had a good sized group of guys... running behind us... and it got a little congested coming in for our aid tables, but it was so early in the race it wasn't worth getting worked up about and our pacers did an excellent job of keeping the other runners aware of our moves.
When you're "thissss big" please look out for smaller "Lanni sized" beings
10k - 20k:
My quad had settled down by this point, but my hamstring had started to pull right under my butt bone on my left side. Whew... marathons are interesting. Again, it's not something that hadn't flared up in previous training runs, so I just focused my attention on staying relaxed and behind Rejean and Krista. The half marathoners split off during this portion which helped reduce some of the traffic.  I saw my Mom and sisters right around 18 or 19k and they were cheering like crazy which put a huge smile on my face. That's right Lanni, this is supposed to be fun.
My guts still were feeling quite gross, and I was starting to have to spit up a bit during the run... and then of course, I suck at spitting and running so I'd start to choke a little... pretty I know. I was still grabbing my bottles, but was not as concerned with getting it all in. Something is better than nothing... at least that's what I was telling myself.
We were still a bit quick through this 10k portion, but as everyone knows the first half of the course runs a bit quick, and I aside from a few niggles I was feeling very relaxed effort wise.

20k - 30k:
This part of the race was mostly uneventful. Rejean and Josephat Ongeri brought us through the half way point in 1:13, quick, but as mentioned not anything I was worried about. My legs were feeling great, and my guts had started to settle. I was still grabbing my bottles, but started passing them up to Josephat to drink since Rejean was not available to share his bottles. I'm pretty sure it was just the three of us through most of this portion. We had caught a few of the other ladies who had gone out ahead of us, and were still maintaining sub 35 min 10k pace pretty easily.
30k - 40k:
This is where the race began. Josephat brought us through 30k right around 1:44, and then at 31k said "Ok, I stop now". And just like that, it was just Krista and I, and Dan Way on the lead bike. This is where I started to look at my watch a bit more and noticed that our 1km splits were starting to slow a little bit. I had evaluated my body at each 10k portion and never felt like I was working beyond my capacity, so I figured I could afford to put in a bit of effort and get those 1km splits back down to 3:29/3:30. I also knew that for each kilometer that clicked by with Krista and I running side by side, it was one less kilometer I had available to try and put in a gap and protect myself if my left calf decided it was done.
Talk about running scared. I had pulled away from Krista over the next few kilometers, but it wasn't like I dropped her like a bad habit. I knew she was there and moving along quite quick still. I just kept my focus on enjoying the experience. When I'd see some of the other elites on an out and back portion I'd cheer and I'd let myself get excited when I'd pass through a large crowd of spectators. My guts were feeling pretty good by now and I was still grabbing my bottles, but would just swish my mouth and then toss them.
The strangest thing about this portion of the race and through until the finish was that my left forearm started to cramp on me. Oh, hello marathon... you are one crazy ride. It was about 35km when my arm started to contort into the claw, and about 37km when my left calf finally decided it had had enough.
My mantra the entire weekend was to stay relaxed and enjoy the race... yah, ok, that's all fine and dandy until your left side starts to cramp and contort Lanni. I did my best not to panic. I knew that I had a really great race going and that I just had to keep moving forward. I relaxed and instead of focusing on my calf, focused on keeping my forearm in check.
I hit the 40k split and knew that I was going to make it... it was just a matter of keeping my legs moving forward.

The Final 2.2 km:

Talk about a distinct difference from the last 2.2km in Moscow. I hit the 41km marker and that's when I finally knew that I had it. The crowds were amazing and all I could do was start to smile. I saw the 800m countdown and really started to get excited. I came around the final bend and could see the race clock and felt like I was going to lose my mind. I realized I could potentially break 2:28 and I tried... having one awkward step right before the finish because of my stupid calf. Some have me at 2:27:59... others at 2:28. Maybe someday I'll try to sort out the difference... but right now I am still riding the high of the entire weekend.
Just a small portion of my amazing support system

 I hope to never forget how excited and amazing crossing that finish line was. My family was there, Krista came in soon after me... it was amazing. It has taken a full week for my brain to catch up. A huge PB, a new Canadian Record, and yes, a nice hefty chunk of change that helps with that pesky law school debt. 
I have definitely taken this week to reflect and celebrate... so very happy that Moscow wasn't the end of my season!
Post race burger

Making my mother proud with my beer drinking

Recovery week never tasted so good!
Here are some articles and links:

My Take Aways:

Natasha is an animal! 2:35 marathon debut?! Holy heck! All of our Canadian ladies are doing big things.
Rob Watson and Eric Gillis know how to get work done!
My left calf is a jerk
Having the "quote of the day" on let's run is totally rad
We have some of the most talented physios in Canada... no matter what province I'm in or how mangled I've made my body, they are always able to put me back together
Alan Brookes and the CRS crew are machines.
I have a very fond relationship with IPAs

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's a Celebration

It took 2 races in Ottawa, and returning to the Toronto Zoo 4x (2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013), but I finally did it! I finally got to break the tape as the Canadian 10k Champion
First thing on the Calendar after Worlds was the Canadian 10k Championships. I had come back to training after Moscow feeling pretty strong. I did a little Cross-Country race in Nashville for fun, and ran the marathon portion of a Rev3 in Ohio as a solid training run. Then, like the fool I sometimes am, I decided that I did not need any help moving some items from Georgia up to Chattanooga, and tweaked my left quad the weekend before the Championships. I will admit that I was a bit concerned, but was able to get in touch with Ron O'Hare, one of our top notch Canadian physios in the Toronto area and had him work on it the Thursday before the race.

It was a rainy and grey day for the 10k race, but true to form the Canadian Running Series crew had everything under control. I knew it was going to be a tough race with Krista, Natasha and Loudmilla all lining up to join in the fun. My plan was simple, get out and get a gap on the more straight part of the course and hope to maintain it until the end. I was pleased with how my quad felt during the race, and was quite surprised when I realized that I had actually extended my gap over the second half of the course.  After finishing everywhere from 2nd to 5th, I finally pulled off the title, and my Mom was there to see it!

The weekend was capped off with some celebrating down here in Tennessee at the Titans Football game followed immediately by a Nashville Predators game... the perfect "man day" as my brother put it.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

"Don't worry about the competition. Just focus on making it to the finish line"

So my mind has cleared, my legs are healing and I’m starting to feel hungry to train again. Guess that means it’s about time I write this entry.
Ok, ladies and gents! Where to begin? Obviously the end is not what I had ever even thought as a possibility, but it is what happened… and, well,  $h*t happens.

The last few weeks of my build up were pretty uneventful. I was logging some good mileage, hitting some pretty good numbers in my workouts, and was sleeping pretty well.  I did have a few moments during those last few weeks where I was starting to doubt that I was in any form of good shape. It took a lot of reviewing my training log; comparing it to my Rotterdam training log, to convince myself that I was in good shape.  Of course I still had a lil’ bit of a niggle of pain in my left hamstring and hip, but that sucker has been a literal pain in the a$$ since November, and aside from a few modified runs here and there, it wasn’t something that I was going to let play on my mind.
I arrived in Germany with my elephant sized ankles and made it to the Canadian training centre without anything too spectacular happening. I chatted with Krista briefly, and we decided to run later that afternoon. Perfect! 2 hours to prop my legs up and try to deflate my elephant feet. I shudder to think what my ankles would do without compression socks.

Krista and I did most of our runs together. I still had a few doubles, but nothing about my mileage was crazy. I was getting regular treatment by the great team of massage therapists and physiotherapists at the camp and was starting to feel like my bum and hip were going to get with the program and help me run that marathon thing in a few days.  I did one last track workout in Germany, took the day off to travel on Wednesday, and then started my carb loading and major taper.
By the time Friday night rolled around I was feeling confident and prepared.  My hip wasn’t perfect, but I was certain it was going to cooperate for at least the majority of the race.  I figured getting to the finish line was going to be a challenge, but not anything I couldn’t handle… haha… yeah right.

Saturday… RACE DAY… finally!  We knew it was supposed to be a warm day. I had prepared in my mind to try and keep with Krista and Mary Davies, but had also formulated the backup plan to not ever press the pace if it slowed. I had my goals in mind and figured it wasn’t going to be a PR day… that’s fine, go to plan B… top 20.

Alright, they struggled to line us up for the start in any order… with about 30 seconds to go they finally just had us line up however we could fit, and then we were off.  It wasn’t until we hit about 150m on the track that I got that “Oh my, this is really happening” feeling. I kept my effort feeling easy and tucked in behind Krista and Mary.  We split the first 1k pretty much on pace for our original time goal (3:28).  The effort felt easy and though we were near the front of the race, I could tell we had a huge pack and wasn’t too concerned with where I was running. Our first 5k was a few seconds quicker than our planned pace (17:16). I was still behind Krista and Mary and was quite content to hang out there. I got my aid bottle, downed it, and kept running. It felt like the liquid was sitting pretty high in my stomach, but that’s how my guts always seem to feel during these things.
5K to 10K

Here’s where things started to get interesting.  Krista had tucked behind me at the turn around. No biggie, we traded out a bit like that in Rotterdam.  Deena Kastor had surged up and was separated from our pack a little bit.  I felt like the second aid station was a little too close from the first one, but decided to go ahead and drink all the fluid.  “Better get it in early, I’m gonna need this to fuel me later”… um yah… huge understatement.  Trent had packed lunch bags of ice for us to grab on course.  I made use of one of the bags, ripped it open to put some of the ice in my sports bra and asked Krista if she needed it.  We must have run near Krista’s coach &/or hubs, because she was asking where Mary was. We hit the turn around and came through 10k in 34:54 (17:40 5k split). Obviously a much slower pace, but I had anticipated the entire field would slow down.  My guts felt full, but otherwise I was feeling more than comfortable.
10k to 15k

Over the next 5k I tucked in with a few girls, and kept my head down. I thought Krista was still with me (there was a shadow of a girl behind me with a hat on), but I soon realized her breathing didn’t sound like Krista. (Krista had actually collapsed at the third aid station… she’s one of the most tough runners I know, so I knew that if she was out of the race it was because she physically could not keep running).  This portion of the race was pretty uneventful. I stayed with the group of 3 or so ladies I was running with, including Madai Perez (legend!) and we had made gains on Kastor (legend!).  I was making use of the water tables in addition to my own bottles, and was feeling great.  We went through 15k in 52:42 (17:47 5k).
15k to 20k

So it was hot, but comparative to the Tennessee heat and humidity, I felt ok. My guts felt full, but I never feel great when I run and drink. Our pace during this 5k portion was a bit slower, 20k in 1:11:11 (18:28 5k split), but we were running into some wind and we had a nice little group going.  I felt good. My bum and hip were behaving and I had been running in the top 15ish places. Well within my top 20 goal… then, that little jerk of a left calf kinda cramped. It wasn’t a huge cramp, but my stride gave out and I lost a few paces on the group.  Frick! I had been so worried about my hip, the weather, my guts… I had totally forgotten about my stupid calf and it’s stupid tendency to cramp up in these longer races.  Kastor gestured for me to close up on the group, and so I put my head down and focused on doing just that. It seemed my lil left calf was just saying hello because it seemed to settle over the next few km.

This wasn’t a super eventful part of the race. I had worked back up to the group and was still feeling pretty ok.  We hit the turnaround point and my calf again started to say hello. Poop.  This is a bit early for it to crap out on me, usually it happens between 25-30k.  I kept my mind focused on the group, which worked for the most part. I tried to run as normal as possible… Rotterdam had showed me that altering my stride too much causes everything else to cramp.  I split 25k in 1:29:44 (18:34 5k).

So things started to go a little bit more south here. My perfect little group had started to pull away from me and it seemed like the rest of my body was starting to RSVP to “Cramp Fest 2013”.  I was still holding in about 15th place and still was thinking that I could have a respectable finish. I had cramped really badly at this point in both Ottawa and Chicago, and managed to finish those ones… this couldn’t be any worse than that… right?  I hit 30k in 1:49:43 (19:58 5k split).  20 min 5k splits suck, but they will still get me to the finish line ladies and gents.

Self accupuncture does not work
I made it through the next 5k moving slowly, but still moving. My left hip, that had been so cooperative the first part of the race was now pitching a fit. I felt like I was throwing my entire left side around just to get my foot out in front of me. My goal of a 20 min 5k was lost, 35k split of 2:13:50 (24:08 5k), but again… be positive Lanni, you’re still moving forward. Famous last words.

Remember how I was swinging my entire left side forward? Yah, that doesn’t work too well.  I had just started to feel like I could finish with this ugly running form when I cramped so bad it was all I could do not to fall over. My left foot pigeon toed inward and was cramping so bad that I thought it was going to turn a full 360 on me. I was in trouble. Girls were passing me like I was standing still… well ok, I was standing still. But this was pathetic. One of the runners ran by and handed me a safety pin… “What is this for?!” I yelled at her… she made a stabbing motion to her leg. “Ok,” I thought, and I stabbed the sucker into my contracting quad. Yah, that DOES NOT work.

Trent found me on the course and I was “moving” forward… then I wasn’t… then I was again. Every time I stopped I kept telling myself that the cramp couldn’t last forever.  Like a cramp you get in the middle of the night, it hurts like hell, but it does eventually stop. How’s that for keeping positive?!
It felt like the dang medics were circling me like vultures… “come on little girl… come to the aid station… you’ll feel so much better”… I politely waved, told them that I wasn’t going to stop… and in my head told them to “piss off and leave me alone”.

40k split 2:50:45 (36:53 5k).

That was the loneliest 2k of my life.  Most of the crowd was gone. I was getting pity claps. And I still was barely able to trot.  One of the guards told me they were waiting on me to close the stadium.  “Good. I’m still out here. They’d can wait all day as far as I’m concerned”. I made my way into the stadium, hoping I could will myself to at least break 3 hrs. No such luck. I did my pathetic lil’ 300m on the track and came across the finish line… I had to ask some random dude if I was in fact done… not at all how I pictured the finish of my World Championships debut. 

Final time 3:01:54.
In these last couple of days I have had a lot of time to think, and here are my takeaways:

I am more than capable of running with the top women. I was comfortable with the pace and have no doubt that if my “wheels” had stayed on I would have been in the battle to crack the top 12;
My left calf is evil and I WILL figure out why it is always the first to raise the white flag;

My training environment is working for me… I just need a better physio/treatment setup;

No marathon can ever hurt more than that one ;D

Friday, September 14, 2012

Fitness Friday: Gettin' er done

I have decided to try my hand at the Canadian Championship 10k next week held at the Toronto Zoo Run.  I was debating whether or not I wanted to race in anything big between now and the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon next month, but decided that I want to give the race a go.  I have had some pretty good experiences racing in this CRS event... last year my sister Shannon made the trip with me and warmed up with me and Natasha... and it gives me a chance to head back home to Canada.
I'm not quite sure how my fitness will compare with the rest of the field, but I am looking forward to testing the waters.
This week's FITNESS FRIDAY brought me back to the pool with Kim and Ryan for an early AM interval session.  Those of you that remember my university training will remember that I used to spend a lot of time in the pool cross-training and rehabbing.  Those workouts involved a lot of aqua jogging and a lot of holding my breath.  While those workouts definitely benefited me back then, I now believe that full-on swimming workouts fit better into my training plan.
I started swimming with Kim and Ryan in July and feel like I now have a pretty good handle on how to pace myself through the workout.  What I love about swimming is that I can get my heart rate up and feel a completely different fatigue than that which I feel during running intervals.
Kim is hardcore... she usually swims 3000m for her workouts, while Ryan and I stick to 2000m (Hey! We started out at a mile in July... so I'm happy with our progress).  This morning however, Kim, Ryan and I all did the 2000m workout... and though I'm sure neither Kim nor I would admit this to each other... we were totally racing!
We start all our swim workouts with 200m easy, 200m pull, and 100m flutter kicking.
Then we move into the actual session.
Our intervals usually include several sets of 100s, some 50s even harder, and then some 200s keeping the pace steady.  Today there were a lot of 100s.
Finally, the cool down is 200m easy... but Ryan and I usually end up pulling the first 100 to make it go by quicker.

For those of you who want to look into some swim workouts... here is a pretty easy website to start out:

Nothing like that rubber feeling after a hard swim session!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Fitness Friday ... Beach Ready

This week I am heading to the beach with "double down" and a few of his friends. To try and make my weekend a bit easier running wise I did a hard track session earlier this afternoon (3x(5x400m) and then heading back to the basement to do some stretching and strength work.  Now I'll just have an easy run tomorrow and a long run Sunday. I'm anticipating it being pretty hot when I get down there, but am looking forward to a few days to lay out in the sun!
My general running fitness seems like it is coming along fairly well... I'm sure I have Ryan and Kim, and the C.O.W.S to thank for keeping me fit while rehabbing my ankle all summer.

First I started out with some work on my foam roller:

Then I went back to work on my ab ball and made use of the laminated card that I was given and is now in the hands of other athletes in Chattanooga:

First I did some general planking balancing on my ab ball (3x 60s), then I switched to some arm and leg extensions while balancing on the ball (3x15s per side).

From there I did a side plank then rotate to bring elbow under the shoulder of my supporting arm (12 per side).

Finally, starting in a push-up plank position with my feet balancing on the ab ball, I then engaged my core to pull the ball in towards me, bending at the knee (3x15 reps).

Not a crazy long core session, but enough to stretch out and engage my core after a pretty solid track session.

Now to pack for the Beach!