Tag: marathoner

Fitness Swellness: Setting my 2019 race goals

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A better title for this post would be re-setting my 2019 race goals. Because I had spring 2019 goals, that I’ve had to adjust.

I kicked off the year thinking I’d run Around the Bay (I haven’t run it in several years, not since 2014) and the spring Goodlife Toronto Marathon (which I last ran in 2015). And so I ran regularly. Having trained for 12 marathons thus far, I didn’t look at a particular race schedule but rather worked on slowing increasing my distance and mixing in speed work or hills, along with some steady easy runs, and I was more or less on track in terms of total mileage more towards the beginning of the year.

But the winter weather wasn’t very motivating. Add the fact that I seem to continuing my streak of coming down with colds way too often. I also have a persistent pinched nerve in my neck that has me not feeling much like myself for the past five weeks. (I haven’t yet seen a physio yet; the plan was to go this week, and then I came down with a cold!).

I called off running Around the Bay when a couple of weeks ago, I was at the start of my long run of the week and realized my fitness is nowhere near where I’d need it to be to PB in the marathon in May. Since it was highly unlikely I’d run a PB, I didn’t see the point of training for a spring marathon. You have to really want to run a marathon, and with my heart not in it, well, the truth of it is, I know I can complete a marathon…so I don’t want to just finish another 42.2k race. It won’t be significant to me to just complete it or much fun.

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I knew calling off doing Around the Bay and a spring marathon was the right move when the idea solidified in my head to not race them and all I felt was a rush of relief. Not having to plod through long runs through the grey and (then) slushy streets. I felt a hundred times lighter by just deciding to delete them from my calendar.

But today I realized my secondary goal is now out of reach as well. I had thought I’d try to turn my fastest half-marathon. which I have not focused on since moving up to the marathon distance. But I’ve procrastinated (or been out of commission thanks to colds or my silly pinched nerve problem) too long and now the Goodlife race weekend is just four weeks away. I haven’t slashed this from my schedule yet. But if I run it, it’ll be to just run it for fun, because I have not focused on improving my speed so I am not in shape to PB. A half I think can be fun, for me, a marathon is too long and grueling to be fun, no matter how slow and easy you take it.

What this means now is that fall is the focus. Which means a summer of training in the heat. I think I commit to training best when I’ve got a race I am registered for (not just tentative race goals). The easiest would be to just keep it local and run the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon (I last ran the half was in 2016)…but I’m thinking I should do a destination race.

One fitness goal that I did accomplish so far this year? Making it through all eight weeks of working out with Nike on Thursday mornings (I may have been late almost every week, but this non-morning person got her butt there!). With my scattered schedule for the past several years finally settling into a much less stressful routine, I’m really happy that I was able to attend all eight weeks of this program. It’s funny the things you come to appreciate. I still adore traveling and am itching to get away but it’s also incredibly comforting to be home and follow through on things like this.

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Photographer, Hanna Kim-Yoo for Nike Toronto.

2 Comments April 4, 2019

Fitness Swellness: Just Do It – Nike Chicago Marathon featuring ME!

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A few weeks ago, I was invited by Nike to Chicago to preview their Chicago Marathon gear. Or so I thought.

Once I arrived at Just Do It HQ, I did get to check out the gear and I noticed the hair and makeup setup and photo shoot set up but didn’t think twice about it (they often have braid bars and photographers at their pop-ups) but then I was whisked into a chair for hair and makeup. “Do you normally wear your hair back when you run?” the hair person asked. Then I was asked to remove my lipstick. And she asked my level of running experience, whether I was a beginner, intermediate or pro runner. I paused, unsure how to answer. “You’re pro. Anyone who is hesitating is pro,” she said. I laughed and explained that pro makes it sound like I think I’m an elite, which I’m obviously not, but this will be my 12th marathon, I added so I guess that makes me an experienced runner.

And asked what this photo shoot was for.

And I never really got a straight answer. Something about celebrating women’s achievements as runners and to inspire women to chase their crazy dreams. Sounds great and yet I never understood precisely where and what this photo would be part of, but I just went with the flow. I was soon in front of the camera and the photographer was telling me the goal is to capture all the different emotions you feel as you run a marathon. All sorts of emotions came to mind: exhaustion, happiness, relief, anger, sadness.

Fast forward to today, when I’m getting prepared to run the Chicago Marathon on Sunday and there I am on a billboard on Michigan Avenue. Me! The girl who took a Learn to Run clinic in 2007 and now will be racing her 12th marathon. With too many other races to name and a pile of medals at home. I’m one of 100 women training for the Chicago Marathon featured in these ads across the city. I’m still a bit stunned as a type this.

I would’ve told you that marathons were insane and there was no way I’d be able to run for hours to complete a ridiculously long distance of 42.2k back in 2007.

And yet, here we are! Excited for Sunday! If you’re on Michigan Ave. look for my billboard!

 

1 Comment October 5, 2018

Fitness Swellness: Nike Women’s 15k Toronto

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You heard right, ladies! Nike is adding the 6 to its awesome women’s race series: the Nike Women’s 15k Toronto taking place on June 14, 2015! There have been murmurs about Nike having a race in Toronto for awhile and finally, the official announcement came this week. It’ll be a whole weekend of activities, the race takes place on Toronto Island, and there’ll be waves at the start as Nike expects a huge turnout for the race. As for the medal bling at the end, that’s still a secret.

Entry for the lottery to be able to snag a registration spot in the race (which will be randomly drawn) opens March 9, 2015. Mark it in your calendars!  Three are now a total of 20 races in the Nike Women’s run series, for more information on them, click here.

Why a 15k? Well, the idea is that it’s a distance that’ll challenge you to run faster or run farther. Perhaps you’ve only run 5k or 10k — here’s a distance that’ll give you a longer distance goal, without it being as long and perhaps as daunting as a half-marathon (which is 21.1k). For seasoned long-distance runners, 15k is a solid distance to push yourself to run a faster pace.

With Olympic athlete Sheila Reid

At the announcement of the race was none other than Olympic track and field athlete Sheila Reid. She is super stoked and will be running the race. I chatted with her and was relieved to learn she dislikes treadmill running as much as I do (for speedwork, she likes the loop around Queen’s Park). “Running is so awesome because the job is never done. There’s always a new distance, a new time, a new course, and I’m so excited to get to share some of my training because it’s totally doable over the next few months to get that in before the race.”

To help us all run more efficiently when training, the Nike store in the Toronto Eaton Centre now offers a free run assessment (no appointment necessary). “This analysis is elite level, just the tiniest inefficiencies that you would never notice to the naked  eye that can add up to so much over 15k,” says Reid. You run for two minutes on the treadmill and then your gait is analyzed. I had mine studied by Nike Running’s Kristen Kuzemko and Dave Christiani, running coach from Central Athletic Training Centre. Check out my analysis here (this is the cool video you’ll get if you go to the Eaton Centre to have your assessment done!):

It turns out I over-pronate (ie. my feet roll inward) but I am wearing the right shoe for that (currently, the Nike Air Zoom Structure 18 — I knew I preferred these and now I know why!). I also am a  heel striker (which I knew), and need to work on striking more at the mid-foot than the heel. Both Kris and Dave were quite impressed with my relaxed arms and upper body, which means I’m efficient in that respect and not burning up energy with too much arm swinging, for one. They also both recommended a heavy focus on doing speedwork on a track or even just incorporating about 100 metres of running at a fast stride at the end of a long run to activate my fast-twitch muscles.

 

run analysis at Nike "The Loft"

 

Photos: @amillionminds

 

 

 

 

1 Comment January 23, 2015


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