My journey to a healthier me

Tales of my life

Lessons learned from training for and completing my first half-marathon

It’s been 2 weeks since I completed my first half marathon.  Through 4 months of training and the race itself, I learned a lot.  And as they say, hindsight is 20/20.  Looking back, there are things I wish I had done, and some I’m glad did.  You can never really be completely prepared, but the more prepared you are, the better.

With that in mind, here are some of the things I learned:

If you think you’ve done enough training on hills, you haven’t. Do more.  And do a variety of sizes.  There is an art form to running up AND down hills.

Do your training on a variety of surfaces. Roads, sidewalks, trails, gravel, dirt, etc.

Double, triple, quadruple check the race details, rules, etc. Never be afraid to ask questions or for clarification.

Do your best not to let unexpected things throw you off your race plan.

If you need help with something, ASK!  Runners are a friendly group.  Most love helping other runners.  Just remember that what works for one person may not necessarily work for you.

If you can, have someone you can talk to, text or call to help calm you down if you start to freak out, especially at the start line.  If all else fails, find a random person and strike up a conversation.

If you can, check out the race route beforehand.  Knowing the terrain may help on race day.

If possible, do some of your training with a friend or a running group.  They may be able to help you correct any issues you might be having (i.e. pace, form, etc)

Remember that the only person you are really competing against is yourself.  Run your own race.  Don’t worry what everyone else is doing.

Don’t skimp on cross training and strength training. Both are very helpful.

Don’t forget about the stretching. Even a little bit will help.

Pay attention to the weather, even during training. You don’t want to dress too lightly or too heavily.  And learn to run in less than ideal conditions, like when it’s raining.  It goes back to being prepared.

Remember that it’s okay to walk, just as long as you keep moving forward.

Most importantly …

Remember your WHY and let that help you get to the finish line.

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The County Half-Marathon (2015) – race recap

Fair warning, this will be a long post.

Sorry it has taken me so long to post this.  I definitely needed some downtime after the race just to recharge, both physically and mentally.

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I woke up Sunday morning with the typical pre-race nerves.  I’ve done enough races now that I knew I’d have them.  Truth be told, I’d been feeling them for a few days.  Although this time, the nerves were much stronger than they had ever been before.  I shouldn’t have been surprised, considering this would be the biggest race I had ever done before.

I was up earlier than would normally be for a race day, but I had to be.  It was going to take about an hour to get to the location, and they close the roads, so we had to be out there before that.  I showered and dressed, and then made my way downstairs for breakfast and coffee.  I added a few last minute things into the bag I was taking to the race.  And I made sure I had everything I needed in my race vest.  I took the time to do some stretching as well.  I like to do some stretching before a race because it helps calm me a bit.

Soon enough Karen arrived to pick me up.  We stopped on the way to race for coffee (for me) and tea (for her).  We made sure we had plenty of time to get there, just in case there was traffic.  As it turned out, there really wasn’t any, which meant we got to the location pretty early.  The way this race works is everyone parks where the finish line is and then you are transported by bus to your start line.  This race is a full marathon, half-marathon, and relay race.  Karen and I were both doing the half, and several other people we know were too.  One friend was supposed to do the full, but he injured himself and had to pull out.

The full marathon and relay start 2 hours before the half, which I think is a little weird.  If you think you will take over a certain amount of time for the full, there is an early start option.  There is no option for the half.

After waiting for what seemed like forever, it was finally time for us to board our bus.  As we were getting ready to get on the bus, I realized I left my belt bottle in Karen’s van.  I decided not to go back for it, thinking I’d be okay since there would be a water station about every 2 kms on the course.  We took the first one going to our start line.  Karen told me to go ahead of her, and we joked that she was going to block me from trying to run away LOL.  So we get to the start line, and we have over an hour wait until we run.  It seems like a ridiculous amount of time to wait! And all it did was give me more time to freak out.  I talked to other runners and paced around trying to keep calm, but it didn’t help that much.  I really was freaking out.  More and more runners were arriving and all that did was freak me out more!

As I was pacing around, I saw Tyler.  I didn’t know he had planned to run.  It was actually a great comfort to see him there.  We chatted for a few, and then he left to do his warm-up.  Finally it was getting closer to the time.  I checked my bag, as all the other runners were doing.  The first runners in the marathon were passing by, and everyone cheered.

The sun was mostly shining, which I was happy about, but it was very windy.  The wind made it cold.  Thankfully, I had gloves and a buff on.  I wasn’t sure if I would need to keep the gloves on throughout the race, but I was happy to have them at the start.

It was finally time to line up.  I stayed near the back, as I always do, out of respect for the faster runners.  Finally it was go time.  I was happy to finally going.  I had been going a bit crazy! All that wait time I had been questioning everything from my training to my sanity.

As I crossed the start line, I reminded myself of a few things:  This was my race, not anyone else’s.  Don’t out too fast.  No matter what, I had to cross the finish line.  Don’t worry about the time, worry about finishing.

There were a few people along the road cheering for the runners/walkers as they passed by.  I thought that was pretty cool.  There was a family with their dog, and as I went by, I said hi to them and the dog.  The dog seemed to want to join me in the race.  Everyone laughed.

The first part of the race was relatively flat.  I was totally okay with that.  I slowed to a walk at the first water station, grabbed a drink, and moved on.  The scenery was pretty.  I thought about pausing a couple of times to snap some pictures, but I never did.  As the course moved along the water, the wind really picked up.  I pulled my buff over the back of my head so my hat wouldn’t blow off.  It was mostly a head wind, which kind of sucked, but nothing I could do about it.  Slower marathon runners and relayers passed me.  We shared words of encouragement.  That’s always nice.

I paused at each water station I passed.  I was very happy they were there.  I thanked all the volunteers as I continued on.  I had to stop a couple of times to use the porta potties too.  Happy to see them there too!  I followed the fueling plan I had worked out in training, taking in a gel about every 2 kms. I made sure I had plenty of them with me, in case I needed extra.  Plus I had some chews as well.

Pretty soon, I was alone on the road.  And I knew I would be.  I was okay with that.  By most standards, I’m a slow runner, but I don’t care.  I had my music to keep me company as I was running, as I almost always do.

I continued to thank each group of volunteers I passed, and even the cops that were keeping the roads blocked for the race.  Buses continued passing me as they continued to take relay team members back and forth.

As I was going along, it seemed to me that there weren’t as many water stations as there should have been.  I figured maybe I just wasn’t paying attention to the kms as much.  I didn’t really think about it too much to begin with.  But as I neared the halfway point, 2 large trucks passed me with their backs open.  One I noticed had tables in it, like the ones at the water stations.  As I neared what should have been a water station, I saw the trucks stop.  A guy got out of truck, picked up the KM sign that was ahead and put it in the truck.  I started to freak out!  I pulled out my phone and sent a text to Karen, who I knew had already finished and was waiting at the finish line.  I explained what was happening and she went to  find one of the race people.

I also sent a text to my friend Jeff, who had been sending me texts since the race started.  I told him what was going on and that I was freaking out.  He did his best to calm me down, but it was difficult.  This was my worst nightmare! I was being left alone on the course!!

This was also about the point that the hills started on the course.  I had begun walking because Karen and I were texting back and forth.

A couple of kms later, I finally came across another water station.  It was being manned by a woman and her kids.  They were really nice.  I was so happy to see them!  Two of the kids decided to walk to the end of the road with me.  I thought that was really nice.  After I had passed them, the woman closed up her water station.  She gave me a bottle of water, which I greatly appreciated.  As I continued on, a cop came by in his car to tell me that the roads had been reopened and to remind me to stay to the side of the road.  I thanked him and continued on.  A little bit farther down the road, there was a guy stacking wood in his yard.  He asked me how I was doing and I said I was fine.  He asked me if I was going to finish, and I said “Hell yeah!” He laughed.

About another km or so, the woman from the water station came by in her car.  She offered me another bottle of water.  She said all the other stations have been closed up and she wanted to make sure I had enough water.  I took the bottle and thanked her.  I told her I was very upset about the water stations, and she said she was too.  I wish I had gotten her name.

I was pretty much only walking at this point.  I was really upset and trying not to completely lose it.  I was on the shoulder of the road, and it was hard to run on the gravel and dirt.  A few times, I wasn’t even sure I was going the right way.  Karen was going her best to keep me calm too, but she knew I was having a hard time out there.

A couple of times Karen texted me to ask where I was at.  I didn’t always know, which of course freaked me out too.  I told her at one point that there was a large hill just ahead of me.  I was beginning to wonder if the road ever ended.  I was pretty angry at the race people.  I did my best to use that to keep moving.

The lady from the water station came by one more time, just to make sure I was okay.  I thanked her again.  Another lady drove by, asked if I was okay and if I wanted a ride to the finish.  I told her I was okay, and no, I needed to finish.

I had to go up another hill and the road was curving, so I hoped that meant I was getting close to the final turn onto Main Street.  As I was heading up the hill, I saw Karen walking towards me.  I was so glad to see her! At least I knew I getting closer to the finish.  At least I hoped so.

My back was feeling a little sore.  And I thought I could feel a blister on my foot.  But I wasn’t going to give up.  I knew I had slowed down quite a bit, but I didn’t care.  I was determined to finish the race.

As Karen and I walked, we talked about how the race had left me out there alone.  What really made the both of us mad was that we had talked to them the day before at packet pick up.  The guy we spoke to guaranteed me that they would not shut down the water stations as long as someone was still out there.  But that’s exactly what happened.

As we got closer to the finish, a guy came up to us.  He was from the race.  He said that they had shut everything down at the finish line, and that they would contact me about getting me my finisher medal.  I became even angrier! I asked about my backpack that I had checked.  They said they had it.  I told him I needed it, that it had my glasses in it.  He called the lady who had it.  After a couple of minutes, he came back to us.  He said that he will go meet her to get it and my medal and meet us at the finish line.  Then he left.  I swear, I could have spit nails at that point!!

Thankfully, it wasn’t too much farther to the end.  As we finally neared where the finish line should have been, a man stepped out and started clapping.  I didn’t know who he was.  Once I crossed, he came up to me.  He said he was one of the bus drivers and had been watching me all day.  He said he stayed there waiting for me.  He said “everyone deserves to have someone cheering for them at the finish line.”  I was crying.  I thanked him repeatedly.  I told him he has no idea how much that means to me.  I wish I had gotten his name.

Finally, the other guy arrived.  He gave me my backpack and my medal.  Karen took a picture of me.  The guy asked me what my finishing time was.  I told him what my running app said, and he wrote it down.  He said it would be entered into the stats.  And he once again said that one of the race directors would be in contact with me.  Karen ran to the get the car,  I slowly got in, and we drove home.  I repeatedly thanked her for coming to my rescue and helping me finish.

It was the hardest thing I have ever done — both mentally and physically.  It was not the way I had hoped the race would go.  It was not the finish I had pictured.  I missed out on the post-race food, beer, and celebrations.  I missed getting an official race photo.  I’m angry that I was lied to and abandoned on the race course.  I had plenty of chances to give up, but I didn’t.

I crossed the finish line.  And had someone there to cheer for me as I did.  And that’s what matters.

 

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Half-Marathon training – Week 14 – The end.

Well that’s it. Training is over. Tomorrow is Race Day.

Seems like it was just last week that I was just beginning my training, and now it’s done.

I’m as prepared as I possibly can be.

What a ride it has been.

Here’s how the final week went:

MONDAY:  Rest day.

TUESDAY:  My schedule had me doing an easy run today, but I took another rest day instead.

WEDNESDAY:  Today was supposed to be a rest day, but I opted for a 3k power walk instead.

THURSDAY:  I opted for another 3k power walk again today.

FRIDAY:  With race day fast approaching, my nerves started to kick in, so I went walking, covering 6k.

SATURDAY:  Last day, another easy one, logging 2k.

My schedule had me doing 14.75k, and I logged 14k. I’m good with that.

So how did training go overall? 

I’m pretty pleased with how I did for the most part. 

Could I have done better?

In some areas, yes.

I didn’t do as much strength training as I should have.  It’s something I’ve been struggling with doing on my own.  When I belonged to a gym and had a workout partner, I did better with it.  But that’s another story.

I did pretty good with cross-training, but some weeks could have been better.

As far as the running went, I’m really happy with how I did. I covered a lot of kilometres. I mean A LOT! It got a little hard when my long runs got over 10k, but I kept pushing myself and refusing to give up. I had a few tough runs where part of me wanted to give up, but thankfully the bigger part of me just wouldn’t.  

I tried different fueling options throughout my training.  I actually enjoyed trying different gel flavours.  Speaking with runners on Twitter, I’ve found that gels are very polarizing, for the most part — people either love them or hate them. Very rarely is there anyone in between. Personally, I love them. They are easy to carry and easy to take. They provide much needed energy to keep me going.  There are several different brands, but I prefer the GU brand the best.  They have a wide variety of flavours, which I like.  I purchased several different flavours to use during the race.  I also tried some different chews during training.  There are not as many different flavours of those though.  I did pick up some for the race just in case.

I also trained with either plain water or Gatorade G2 red (fruit punch).  I prefer the Gatorade, and will use it during the race.  I will also take advantage of the water stations along the course.

During training, I purchased a few new pieces of gear.  First I bought running socks.  After running in them a few times, I concluded that they weren’t any better than my sport socks.  I’ll be wearing my normal sport socks during the race.  Next, I bought a belt bottle holder.  It wore it for a lot of training runs, and even a couple short races.  I really liked it.  It was easy to wear and the bottle easy to access.  I’ll be wearing it tomorrow too.  Lastly, I bought a vest.  I knew I would need something to carry my gels and things in during the race, and a vest seemed the best option.  The one I bought is actually a fishing vest, but it works perfectly.  I wore it on several training runs, even in the rain. It does exactly what I need it to, and will be wearing it tomorrow. 

As my training runs got longer, I had to get creative with my route. I wanted to make sure I stayed in areas I was pretty familiar with, that were well travelled in case of emergency, that had bathrooms nearby, and where I could get something to eat or drink if needed.  I saw a lot of the same people on my long runs.  And most of them were kind enough to share encouraging words.  They might not have any idea how much that meant to me.  It really helped when I was struggling.

I was reminded several times just how important it is to stretch.  More than once, I either didn’t do it, or didn’t do it enough, and paid for it.  Once on a long run, I felt my back tighten up.  It was a struggle to finish, but I did.  Once I did some stretching, I felt much better.  I need to remember to do it more often.

One of the things that really helped me through my training was the support I got from my family and friends.  Moments when I was struggling or was unsure if I could really do what I was trying to do, they were there to help pick me up and remind me that I could do it and how well I was doing.  That really meant a lot to me.

To finish, there are some numbers for you:

Weeks of training:  14

Number of kilometres ran/walked during training:  431.92k

Number of kilometres scheduled in my training plan:  356.5k

I ran/walked 75.42k more than I had to.  I’m pretty proud of that.  

And those numbers don’t include the month I did what I called my pre-training.  That’s another 124.89k.

So that’s it.

Nothing left to do but get a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is Race Day.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 13

This was the second to last week of training and that means it’s taper time!  I’ve never gone through a taper before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Up until now, I’ve done mostly 5k races, with one 10k race in the mix, so there was. I need to taper.  But I knew with this race, the taper would be necessary.  And frankly, I was looking forward to it. Life has been throwing me some curve balls lately, so I was happy to take it a little easier. I did have to move some stuff around this week, but that’s okay.

Here’s how the week went: 

MONDAY – Rest day. I did a bit of walking around and going up and down stairs at work, but that was it.

TUESDAY – I did an easy 6.5k, mostly a power walk. 

WEDNESDAY – I had to move Thursday’s workout to today. Another 6.5k, again mainly power walk. 

THURSDAY – Had to take today as a rest day because my husband had minor surgery. I did manage a few flights of stairs while waiting for him.

FRIDAY – It was a beautiful day, so I did an easy 5k.

SATURDAY – The last big run before race day.  My plan called for 10k, but I planned on pushing it to 11k. I finished at 11.25k. And it felt really good. Then did an easy 1.5k walk home.

SUNDAY – Since I did some kms on Friday, I took today as a rest day. Although I didn’t really rest because I did stuff around the house.

In total, I did 30.75k this week. Much of it was walking or power walking, but I’m okay with that. 

I did my best to not push myself too hard this week. I also have been trying to keep myself busy so the nerves won’t get to me too much. 

Slowly I’ve been gathering things for my race bag.  I’ve never put one together before, so I’m not totally sure what I need to put in there.  But with advice from my running tweeps on Twitter, I have some good ideas of what I need.

That’s really it for this week. Short and sweet. 

Race day is one week away.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 12

Another week of training is complete.  And it was a pretty good week for the most part.  My husband and I were supposed to go away on Thursday for the weekend, but ended up not being able to go.  I was very disappointed.  But at least I didn’t need to shift my training runs around.

So this is how the week went: 

MONDAY – It was a beautiful day, so I opted for a short walk to start the day, logging about 1k.

TUESDAY – Work has picked up with the start of the school year, so instead of running in the morning as I had been all summer, I did my run in the afternoon. Not used to running later in the day. I struggled a little, but still logged my 6.5k for the day.

WEDNESDAY – Once again, I opted to go for a walk for my cross training. This week I logged 3k.

THURSDAY – Again, I moved my run to the afternoon. I decided to try the treadmill for a change. It had been about a year since I’d been on one, and I forgot how hard it is! It didn’t help that the workout studio was a little warm. In the end, I managed 4k on it. Then I immediately went over to the indoor track to finish the last 2.5k I needed. Thankfully it was MUCH cooler in there! In total, I logged 6.62k for the day.

FRIDAY – Rest day.

SATURDAY – Long run day. This was my last long run before race day. My plan called for 18k, but I wanted to push that distance a little bit. It was a little hard, but at least it wasn’t raining. I finally stopped at 18.77k. It got a little slow near the end, but I was still happy with it.

SUNDAY – My schedule had me doing a short run, so I decided to do a local 5k race. (My running app actually logged it as 5.26k). It was a good solid run. I was happy with how well I did. Look for a race recap post very soon!

My plan called for 36k, and I logged just over 41k for the week.

With fall approaching, it’s getting lighter later so it’s not easy to go running first thing in the morning. I don’t yet own anything reflective so I’m not comfortable with running in low light.  Hopefully that will change soon. 

I’ve been chatting with more experienced runners lately about my upcoming half marathon. They have been giving me some really good advice.  As race day gets closer and closer, I’m getting more nervous.  It helps to talk to runners who have done the race before.

Only 7 more runs until race day. Until then, my runs will be short to mid range, with the longest one just half the race distance.

I need to remember to do several stretch sessions between now and race day. Stretching is so important. I need to do it more often.  I would love to take a yoga class some time. Maybe I’ll get a chance over the winter. 

I also need to remember to keep myself hydrated. I’m not always good about drinking enough water. But I need to be better at it, especially for this race. I need to be able to keep going. I need to cross that finish line.  I’m going to try keeping a log of how much I drink throughout the day.

I will be going to the running store soon to pick up more fuel. Whatever I decide to get is what I will be using for the race. I’ve rather enjoyed trying different things during my training. 

I’m also starting to think about what to put in my race bag. I’m sure I will get lots of advice from my more experienced runner friends as to what to include.  At least I hope I will. 

Anyway, I think that’s about it for this week.

Race day is just 2 weeks away.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 11

Wow. Week 11 is done. This was an interesting week. Life decided to throw a little curve ball at me. But I still got through it.

Here’s how the week played out: 

MONDAY – Rest day. Definitely needed it. 

TUESDAY – I opted to do my run inside today. I like that I have an indoor track nearby. Although I’ll admit it gets a little boring after a while. Logged 6.51k

WEDNESDAY – Cross training day. It also happened to be my birthday. I did a power walk of 2.54k, followed by several sets of stairs. I was going to do more in the afternoon, but here’s where life got in the way.  I had to go with my husband to have a specialist look at one of his eyes.

THURSDAY – It’s starting to get lighter later now. It makes it a little hard to go running extra early. I don’t  yet have anything reflective. I’m working on that. Anyway, I had to go out a bit later than I would have liked, but still got 7.3k for the day before heading to work.

FRIDAY – I considered moving my long run to today, but ultimately decided to take it as a rest day as usual.

SATURDAY – Long run day. It started raining overnight, and it was still raining when I got up. But I got dressed and laced up my shoes anyway. I’ve never actually run in the rain before. It wasn’t thundering or lightning, so I figured it was safe. I did a little stretching before I left too. I didn’t want a repeat of last weekend.  I was soaked to the bone when I finally got to the coffee shop, but it was a good solid run of 17.23k so I didn’t really care that I was wet. 

SUNDAY – more rain, but this time with thunder and lightning, so I chose to skip my short run and do a light workout at home.

Even with one less run, I still logged 35k this week, which is what my plan called for.

More about Wednesday – my husband has mild glaucoma. He had a regular check up with his doctor in the afternoon. He mentioned he was having an issue with one of his eyes. They advised him to go to Kingston to see a specialist, which is an hour away. So he picked me up from work and off we went. They were expecting him so we didn’t have to wait very long. By the time he got it taken care of and we got back home, it was like 8:30p. Not exactly a fun way to spend my birthday.

More about Saturday – I had been watching the weather all week, so I knew it was going to rain. I could have gone running on Friday instead, but chose not to. I figured that I need to learn to run in the rain. If it’s raining on race day, I still need to run, so why not train in the rain. I wore light clothes so I wouldn’t get weighed down. I bought a rain jacket it too long ago for just this purpose. I took it slow and steady. I tried to wear the hood of my jacket, but it kept flying  off, so I didn’t bother after a few tries. I was wearing a hat, so I figured that would be okay. It wasn’t a heavy rain, but it was enough. I was pretty wet by the time I made my first bathroom stop at about 5k. I was sort of laughing at myself out there running. Almost no one else was out and about. By the time I stopped again at about 10k, I thought I couldn’t get any wetter. At one point I remember looking down and seeing soap suds on my pants. Soap suds! I broke out laughing! It was just absurd. Either I didn’t rinse well enough in the shower, or my washing machine didn’t rinse my clothes well enough. It was just hysterical. But I kept on running.  My right hip started feeling a little sore around 13k. I slowed down a little, but kept going. I hit 17k a little bit before the coffee shop. I was really proud of myself, so in addition to my coffee, I bought a triple chocolate buttertart. When I got home, I peeled off my wet clothes, took a warm shower, did some light stretching and took a nap. After my nap, I did more stretching and felt much better. 

I need to stretch more. I need to remind myself to stretch more. I always feel better when I do it. And as race day approaches, I need to keep loose. 

My long run this week was once again my farthest run to date. But interestingly, it was not my longest in time. This week I ran a kilometre longer than I did last week, but in less time. Pretty proud of that. I don’t focus on my time, I just run. I run until I hit whatever distance I need to do that day. But it’s always nice when I do it in a good time.

With fall temps arriving, it’s not essential for me to get up at the crack of dawn to go running to beat the heat and humidity. I like that because I’m really not a morning person. I might even do some afternoon runs in the next couple of weeks. 

Well that’s about it for this week. Come back next week for another update.

Race Day is in 3 weeks.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 10

Another training week in the books. The humidity has been up and down lately, which makes it hard some days. I’m hoping the humidity will break soon so I can finish these last weeks strong.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY – Rest Day. Took care of stuff around the house.

TUESDAY – I pushed my distance a little farther than I needed to, ending with 7.2k

WEDNESDAY – I opted to take a walk for cross training this week. It was a nice day out, and not too humid. I even worked in a couple of hills on my 3k walk.

THURSDAY – brutally humid today, so I decided to run around the indoor track. It gets a little boring going around in circles, but I managed to hang in there for 6.7k

FRIDAY – I’ve been feeling a little sore lately, so I decided to do some stretching on my rest day. I also went up and down the stairs quite a bit while cleaning my house.

SATURDAY – Long run day. I had company from out of town, so instead of ending my long run at my favourite local coffee shop, I just looped back to my house. I think that made it a little tougher near the end (haha).  Once again, my longest run to date – 16.23k. 

SUNDAY – I woke up very sore from my long run on Saturday. My left foot in particular was pretty sore. I opted for another rest day. I don’t want to risk getting hurt.

My plan called for 34k this week, and I ended the week with 33.13k. Not too bad considering I took an extra rest day.

With my long runs getting longer each week, I’ve noticed I’m getting pretty sore. I’m trying to incorporate new stretches, but I’m not sure how much difference it’s really making.  I did some searching on google and Pinterest for stretches and strengthening moves for feet and ankles.  I’ll be trying them this week so hopefully that helps.

This week’s long run was particularly hard near the end. It felt like my back seized up a bit. The last 4 kms were particularly hard and very slow.  When I got back home, I laid on the floor on a yoga mat and did some stretching. It helped my back a bit, which was good. My feet really hurt though, and they were still a bit sore on Sunday.

A couple of interesting things happened on my long run this week …

1) I had run about 3k when I noticed a truck driving rather fast coming up the street.  As I neared and then passed me, the passenger leaned out the window and yelled something not very nice at me. It caught me off guard. On instinct, I yelled something back. Instead of getting upset about it, as the old me would most certainly have done, I got mad. I mean really mad! How dare they! I’m out there trying to better myself and they have the nerve to drive by and shout mean things. Cowards! I have more courage than they will ever have or even hope to have! I was angry about it for awhile. Well, until the next thing happened …

2) I had gone about another kilometre or so when I had to make a bathroom stop. I was near the local YMCA, as I knew I would be, so I stopped in. I’ve been there before, and they are always nice about letting me use the bathroom. As I was leaving, I stopped to thank the ladies again. They started asking me some questions about my running and my journey. I was happy to talk about it, as I almost always am.  They had some really nice things to say and made me feel so awesome. 

Several other people said nice, positive, encouraging things to me as I continued along on my run. They easily cancelled out the meanness from the incident early on my run.

Also on my long run, I was taking in an energy gel about every 2k. It really seemed to work well. I also made sure to drink often. I went through 2 large bottles of Gatorade and about a half of one of those bottles of water. I probably should have finished the water, but overall, I’m feeling pretty good about my fueling and hydrating as I’m running.

I think other than probably needing to do more stretching, my training is coming along quite well. 

I have 2 more long runs before I start tapering down my kms. 

Race Day is less than a month away. And I’m trying not to freak out about that.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 9

Another week done. And let me tell you, it was a bit tough. It’s not easy training in the summer. I can hardly wait for cooler temperatures and less humidity.

We were still away at the beginning of the week, but I managed to get all my runs in when we got back.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – Normally a rest day, but we were still visiting family. We decided to spend the day in NYC. We had a great time, but it was a very long day.  We did a bus tour, but still managed to walk about 10k.

TUESDAY – We left early in the morning to head home, so it became a sort of rest day.

WEDNESDAY – Needed to get back on schedule, so opted to run instead of doing cross training.  Had a good solid run of 7.34k.

THURSDAY – I was up early to run again.  Seemed a little harder than it should have, but managed 7k. I also went walking in the afternoon, logging another 3.87k.

FRIDAY – Rest day. And did I ever need it! 

SATURDAY – Long run day. I was up early to get my run in, which I almost always do these days. Today called for 14.5k, but I stretched it out to an even 15k. Not gonna lie, it hurt a bit near the end. I struggled with the last couple of kms. After having coffee at my favourite shop, I walked the 1.5k home.

SUNDAY – I’m kind of used to getting up extra early to go running on Sundays. After my long run the day before, Sunday’s run was a little slower than I would have liked.  But I got it done, logging 6.86k to end the week.  And took a nice long nap too.

This week, the plan called for 34k.  My running totaled 36.2k, and walking totaled 15.37k, for a total of 51.57k for the week.

While visiting my family, I managed to find the vest I was looking for.  It’s technically a fishing vest, but it’s what I wanted.  It’s lightweight mesh with a dozen pockets of varying sizes.  I wore it running all this week and really liked it.  Now I want to find some reflective tape or fabric to add to it for safety.

I also found a couple new gel flavours to try, which I did this week as well.  I also bought some jelly beans, but haven’t tried them out yet.  They are just like chews, just in jelly bean form.

I also tested out some protein bars, but wasn’t really happy with them. I mean they tasted good, but a little hard to eat while running. I cut them into small pieces the second time, which worked a little better, but still not super happy with them.  

On my long run this week, I tried fueling about every 2k, and that seemed to work really well.  I also need to remember to drink regularly, which I’m not always good at. I have 3 more long runs before I start backing down the kms for race day.

I think that covers it for this week.  Check back next week for another update.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 8

Well this was an interesting week.  My husband and I headed to Delaware early Thursday morning for a long weekend that included a family wedding.  I didn’t get in as much running in as I should have, but I did get some walking in to almost make up for it.  Honestly it was nice to have a little break.  But I’m also a bit anxious to get home and back on schedule.

So this is how the week went:

MONDAY – Rest day. I’m really beginning to like having Monday as a rest day.

TUESDAY – Long run. Because I had planned to be out of town on the weekend, I needed to get my long run in early. The plan called for 13k, and I finished with 13.4k plus another 1.42k of walking. My farthest run to date.  Pretty proud of that. 

WEDNESDAY – I had planned to run on Wednesday, but when I woke up my left ankle felt sore, so I opted for a rest day instead.

THURSDAY – Travelling day. It took about 10 hours to get to my oldest brother’s house in Delaware. It made for a looooong day.

FRIDAY – I spent part of the day walking around with my niece Sydney. We managed to cover about 5k.  My other brother and his wife arrived in the evening.

SATURDAY – Our dad got married. It was a nice day. I still managed to get a short walk in, about 2k.

SUNDAY – My brother Jerry, his wife Julie, my niece Sydney, my husband and I went into Philadelphia for a few hours to play tourist. It was nice.  Managed to walk about 4k throughout the day.

The plan called for 31k this week. I managed to cover 25.85k with running and walking.  This was the first week that I didn’t meet or exceed the kilometres in my plan. But I’m actually okay with that.

On my long run this week, I was using my gels about every 3k, which I don’t think was often enough. I think I need to use them about every 2k.  I’ll try that out and see how well it works.  

That’s about it for this week.  Check back next week for another update.

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Half-Marathon training – Week 7

HALFWAY POINT.

Wait! What? 

Halfway done? Really?? 

OMG! That means Race Day is only 7 weeks away!

Ok, can’t think about that right now. So much training still to be done.

This is how the week went:

MONDAY – My leg muscles were feeling pretty tight, so I decided to do a stretching session today.  And I combined it with a short upper body workout.  Felt pretty good.

TUESDAY – Today’s run was 6.64k, with another 1.4k of walking after that. Once again the humid had me out running early. Also did another stretching session and short upper body workout in the afternoon.

WEDNESDAY – Cross training on the elliptical again this week. 

THURSDAY – I pushed my run just a little bit farther today, finishing with 7.01k. Then walked another 1.42k.

FRIDAY – Rest Day. Thank goodness. 

SATURDAY – Long run day. The plan called for 11.25k. I managed to push a little farther and ended with 12.24k. My longest run to date. And it was hard. After some rest, I walked another 1.42k.

SUNDAY – Thankfully, the plan had me doing a short run today. Another 5.35k in the books.

Total for the week – 35.5k. My training plan called for 29.25k.

The humidity was a factor all week.  I was up early all week to avoid it as much as I could.  Most days, it was already a little humid when I headed out.

Monday night, I only slept about 4 1/2 hours, which is why I didn’t push my run in Tuesday too much.  I actually surprised myself a little by going out at all. 

The elliptical is my favourite way to do my cross training.  Sometimes I wish I had one in my house.

My long run this week was hard. It was already a bit humid when I headed out. But the temperature was still a little cool, so I didn’t feel it that much. I took 2 bottles of Gatorade with me, because I was pretty sure I would need it.  And I was right.  But that also meant I had to make a couple of bathroom stops.  I took chews with me for my fueling choice.  They seemed to work fine, but I didn’t have enough of them with me.  I was starving by the time I ended my run at the coffee shop.  I also had to stop twice to loosen my shoes. I think I tied them too tight before I left the house.  In the end, it was the longest in time and farthest in distance I had ever run. I was pretty proud of that. 

Sunday’s short run was a little slow than I would have liked. And I didn’t push the distance much farther than I needed to.  My long run really took a lot out of me.

Well that was my week.  Check back next week for another update.

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