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Marathon training underway

Posted by sparks37 Jul 10, 2008


I will be running the Royal Victoria Marathon (RVM). I've registered and my partner has registered for the half. It seems so far away now that I'm in the warm sunny days of summer. However, when I look at my training schedule every day of training seems so important.



Initially I started using the RVM's training schedule, but I found I was so many weeks behind that I felt I was losing out on the benefits of how that program is set up so I went back to the Runner's World smart coach to use as a guideline and that fits me well and I feel like it's a bit easier to shuffle the schedule if need be.



Overall I'm feeling pretty good. I've been commuter cycling a lot more since I don't own a car and the weather has been so nice.  I have noticed a bit of a calf problem in my right leg. Whenever I pick my pace up a little my calf tightens up. Depending on the day it is either mild or severe. I've had to stop running several times to stretch and walk and try and release the pain. For the most part it isn't too bad and I can keep running. This is worrying though and I better get some massage work done soon so it doesn't affect my speedwork too much.



Other than that everything else if feeling good and I've been running for time rather than distance. This has given me different types of goals when I go out for a run. I can check my pace running out the first half compared to the latter half. I don't worry so much about where I run, but rather just turn around at my halfway time and head back. Also, now that Dino is training again on my long run days I can meet him half way through and run the rest of his route with him.



So we'll see how the training goes. Today I'm just biking (hmm "just") to and from work which is 11 k each way. It's fairly gusty out there today so I'm going to take my time and not fight the wind too much. I've been watching the tour de France daily and am in awe of the endurance and strength required for such a task.




Tomorrow is speedwork day so I'll skip the bike tomorrow and just watch the tour.






565 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: and, goals, biking, aches, pains

The season's just begun.

Posted by sparks37 May 13, 2008


Okay, I'm pretty certain I'll be training for the Royal Victoria marathon in the fall. I was looking at Portland, but there's no half marathon for my spouse. I'd prefer to go to a race where we can both participate. I asked if he'd consider the full marathon, but it's not for him. So, I think the Royal Victoria marathon will be a good one. The bonus is that I once lived there so I have a pretty good idea of what the course will be like.



Now? I'm just trying to decide on which training plan to follow.









503 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: training, marathon

A personal best!

Posted by sparks37 May 4, 2008

The weather was perfect: cool, sunny, barely any wind. Rushing to the start line was not the way I wanted to begin my 2008 Vancouver half marathon, but the marathon and half marathon runners were all in the narrow passage towards each start line (the marathon starts a half hour later than the half). The announcer was telling people to hurry towards the start. I ran when the pack opened up and tried to find a comfortable starting point about a third of the way back.


It took me a while to settle and realize what I was in the midst of: all of these runners each with her or his own goal, running together. Like I’ve said before I like the group run. I didn’t feel as relaxed as I usually do and by that I mean that I was more focused and driven on this run. I didn’t look around as much or let my thoughts wander too far from the task at hand. I checked in with myself after 10 minutes and asked: am I having fun? (Yes) Do I believe in myself? (Yes) Am I going for it? (Yes). Easy enough to say 10 minutes in though isn’t it.


Along Cordova St. I saw my support and better half and that would be our one meeting point until the finish. I stopped, dropped off my long sleeves and kissed db before taking off again. I felt pretty good, but was nervous because I felt I was having trouble finding my rhythm.


Stanley Park was next and I was really looking forward to running in the park, big hill and all. I kept looking for that 10k mark and I’d already hit my 52 minutes. This concerned me, but I reached the 10 k mark at 55 minutes. Three minutes off my pace and a big hill ahead looked like a big challenge. I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to run up the hill, but the hill looked worse than it actually was. Once again I asked: am I having fun? (Yes) Do I believe in myself? (Um…I wavered and then, Yes!) Am I going for it? (Definitely). I switched gears and was about 50 meters from the peak before it was time for my walk break. This push up the hill seemed like a risk, but I had to keep running and stick to my plan (10:1). Then just like last year I went for it on the downhill because I knew this was a perfect opportunity to make up some time. After we exited the park I really didn’t know how I was doing because the markers along the route were so few I could only go by my memory of last year’s race.


I kept focused and pushed on. Then it came…the 1 mile to go sign. I checked my watch and I knew I’d make it under 2 hours and beat my time from last year AND could run a personal best if I kept doing what I was doing. Then I could see the spectators lining the fences towards the finish. Then I was in the chute. I heard my name be called out. D was there and there was the finish ahead. I sprinted and crossed at…

I’m still waiting for the official time results, but I stopped my watch at 1:54:55. A personal best! I’m elated. 



676 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: fun, races, half-marathons

Almost there!

Posted by sparks37 May 3, 2008

Tomorrow morning is my BMO Vancouver half marathon race day! I'm so excited. My plans are to: have fun, believe in myself and go for it!

743 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: races

The Countdown

Posted by sparks37 Apr 29, 2008


After work I squeezed in a short run to keep my taper week on schedule. Even with the hilly route I felt pretty good just to get out there and run it. Lately, I've just been more grateful than ever to be healthy and having the opportunity to run. It must be some kind of runner's high. 



Now it's just days until the race (5 days to be exact) and I'm feeling pretty good. No aches or pains (touch wood), my pace has improved with the training and I'm excited about the big group run.  Plus I really love the half marathon distance. I have to remember to enjoy every minute of it because the two hours always seems to fly by so quickly.




I also enjoy the running expo and picking up my kit. The anticipation in the air is palatable. A friend of mine will be working at the expo, so I'll get to catch up with her as well.









580 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: races

short run

Posted by sparks37 Apr 22, 2008


The warming weather was reason enough to motivate me to run tonight after work. It's tough finding the strength to go out and run when I'm on my feet all day at work. The day definitely warmed up and tonight it was almost, yes almost, balmy. It felt great to go out and start my run without gloves or a hat.



There were lots of runners out as well. I thought after the Sun Run on the weekend that everyone would be laying low, but I guess, like me, not everyone chose to participate in the Sun Run and have other events in sight. 



514 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: motivation

race jitters?

Posted by sparks37 Apr 18, 2008

I had a great 14 k run today. It was very breezy and cool, but at about the 10 k mark the clouds broke and I started to see some sunshine. The weather news has been threatening snow in higher elevations, but I haven't seen any yet and it doesn't feel that cold.


I started out at a reasonable pace (I don't have a way to keep track of my actual pace, I just like to achieve a certain distance by a certain time) and then needed a bathroom break only 2 k in. Grrr. At my park pit-stop I took the opportunity to do a little gentle stretching before continuing. I felt nervous about the distance. Was I starting out too slow? Too fast? Has it really been that long since I've run 14 k? Yes. The Okanagan marathon in October would be the last time I ran anything near 14 (oh and last weeks run that ran over my 12 k distance).




The park hill felt pretty good for the first time in a long time even with the wind blowing across me. By the time I hit the downhill slope I found my groove and wanted to sustain this pace as long as possible. In order to do this I found I had to focus on the road ahead a little more and stop looking around at the trees and creeks. I didn't feel fatigued until the last two k and even then I was just feeling a little tight and not really fatigued at all.




Needless to say I am thrilled with today's run. 




Two days ago I finally registered for the BMO half marathon. This is unlike me. Typically I register early and keep that goal in mind. However, with so much going on and being nervous about my health, injuries etc etc, I left registration to what I think is the last minute.  Well, I discovered that the race day is a week earlier than I thought! My training schedule, the day I booked from work, now what?




I shuffled the schedule and was glad that last weeks long run went longer than it was supposed to. Work wasn't affected in the end and all seemed to be going well except...




Except I suddenly felt as if race day was here. I started to second guess myself (can I go the distance?) and I became nervous about the race. I haven't felt that since...well...since the last race.  Bottom line this is normal for me. At some point I always feel a little anxiety about the event. After todays long run I felt great and my pace is better than ever. Of course I still feel a little bit of anxiety, but it's mostly excitement about the event. I love the big group run. 



675 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: registration, good, races, long, distance, feeling

race ready?

Posted by sparks37 Apr 14, 2008


I can't even believe that the half marathon is just around the corner. I feel so disorganized and ill prepared for it. Can I do the distance and feel good? Can I beat my time from last year? Should I register now? Yeah, I guess I should probably register since I do plan on running it. Past experience told me to wait longer since you never know if an injury is going to stop the training.



My pace has been getting better which has surprised me and I am really starting to think about beating my excellent time last year. I've still never beaten my 1:59 in Toronto on that very hilly course and on a very chilly day. I think I can do it this year though. This could be the race. 



Step one: register



Step two: keep training



Step three: have fun



545 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: race, pace


It was a gorgeous day today. I completed my long run for the week. Ideally I want to do my long run on Fridays and this week it worked. I rarely work Fridays and I like to have Sunday for some more free time to spend with my partner. Hopefully we'll be biking or hiking trails soon. Anyway, I had a good run today. I was slower as I usually am when I run later in the day, but I had a new route and it turned out to be an excellent route that cuts through Coquitlam River Park. I really enjoyed it and it's relatively flat which was nice.



Yesterday I did my tempo training at the track. This is one of the reasons why I wanted a flat route for the long distance today. Around here it's not that easy to complete a long distance staying relatively flat. The tempo training went great and my pace was faster than expected. When I arrived at the track so did a high school boys gym class who were being "motivated" by their coach. As I warmed up I heard him say "if you cheat you are only cheating yourself." Are those kids really going to buy that? I dunno. It doesn't really matter. Anyway so here I am on the track probably as old as most of these boys moms and I'm lapping them. It felt great. I know they're at a disadvantage because they rarely run, but still it felt good. There were a couple of athletic guys who were running with such ease. They all finished before I did which meant I had the track to myself along with the few walkers who were moving at a good clip.



I had a nice easy jog home. 



617 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: routes, gym, tracks, class

Once around the park

Posted by sparks37 Mar 27, 2008


I had a good run today. Short and sweet. 



I ran around the park (which is looking less like a park all the time as they cut away at the greenery to expand the track) and just took it nice and easy. It's an easy training week for me so I'm feeling good about the break. I haven't been training hard because of my setback but it does give me a little more time to ease back into the regular training schedule.



It was fairly cold today. We're experiencing some cool spring weather and everyone is complaining about how unspring like it is around here. I'm just happy because my tulips and aliums are really coming along. 



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One little setback

Posted by sparks37 Mar 23, 2008


Recently I've made some changes. On the advice on my Naturopathic Doctor I decided to try an elimination diet to see if I have any food allergies. Of course I worried about how this might affect my running, but I see it as a necessary step to better overall health that will only help me in the long run (so to speak). 



Last Friday I started the new diet and the first effect was caffeine withdrawal. Having to give up coffee was not easy. I only have one espresso or americano in the morning and that's all for the day. I wouldn't have thought that I was that addicted, but I was and I spent three pretty awful days dragging myself around and not feeling fully alert. How did that affect my running? It's not hard to figure out is it?



That Friday I headed out for my run, even though I had a pounding headache because I believed that the running would make my headache go away, and could barely make it up the tiniest of slopes. My hamstrings were struggling and pained and my whole body felt like a dead weight. I ran what I could and took walk breaks, shortening my loop into half the distance I would have done. I was pretty upset at the lousy run and wondered if this detox diet was going to disrupt my training. 



Sunday I headed out again and I noticed that I had a strange tingling or ticklish kind of pain in my glutes that I felt even moreso going down hills. Several times I had to stop and eventually I gave up and walked home because I couldn't run with the pain.  This was really starting to concern me.



Monday I went out with the desire to get a quick run, hoping I wouldn't have the same pain again. Three steps into the run I knew it was still there. I muscled through, taking it easy on the particularly steep hills. My energy level was still fairly low as my body adjusted to the detox diet. I got through the run but it wasn't easy.



Thursday I tried the treadmill. It wasn't much better. I didn't have a lot of time before work so it was a brief quick run. On my way to work I had to stop by the ND for my B12 shot and mentioned what was going on with my running. She was surprised, but suspected that the detox diet was affecting me and that perhaps it was lactic acid. I don't know why this didn't occur to me before, but it didn't. I was convinced it was one of the herbal remedies I'm taking that was affecting me.



This past Good Friday I went out for a run and it was much better and I found I could go further than I anticipated. My fear of not being able to run for a long stretch went away and I started to enjoy my running again. I had a short run today and felt fine even in the rain. So this was just a temporary setback. I have to remember to not worry so much when these things happen.



Now I'm feeling strong enough to start biking again. As for the coffee? I won't be going back on it or any caffeine because I don't ever want to experience the withdrawal again. 



526 Views 1 Comments Permalink Tags: diet, pain, sluggish, setbacks, coffee

long run on a Saturday

Posted by sparks37 Mar 9, 2008


After three full days of work I decided that I could postpone my long run a day until Saturday. Even with the inviting mild weather Friday night I knew I needed the rest after being on my feet for three days of work.



I ran after breakfast Saturday so I was out there midday and it was beautiful out. I just realized that I logged it as a cloudy day but it wasn't. It was sunny and clear. I saw two eagles near the inlet and stopped momentarily to watch them circle overhead.



I'm running the LSD (long slow distance)  way with one minute walk breaks after 10 minutes of running. I really couldn't wait for my walk breaks. My body was so slow to respond and I felt like I was just chugging along dragging myself on what I think is a fairly challenging stretch of road that really has no flat straight surfaces. I like this route because it is challenging and I can run out as far as I like and turn back with the option of taking the bike path home or vice versa. I took the path home because it's a little flatter and I desperately needed a break. It was enough to just try and get through the run.



In the end I ran almost a km further than intended and my pace was a bit faster than I thought I was going as well. I completed a 5:40 km for my long slow distance. I sure didn't feel that fast. 



381 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: sluggish, lsd

task completed

Posted by sparks37 Mar 4, 2008


I felt great on the run today. It was a bit cool out, but I wore my capris anyway. People wear their shorts all year round here, but I'm just not that tough. I took a nice easy jog to the track to warm up. My right foot was bothering me a bit, but I'm not sure if my sock wasn't sitting flush or there's something about the right shoe that was bugging me? I don't know. Anyway, I was glad to see that the track wasn't being used by the nearby high school and there were just a few walkers out enjoying the sun. I went for it and tried to keep an even pace for 11 laps and I think i managed quite well. I checked my watch and could tell that I was running faster than my training guidelines, but it felt good so I kept at it. I thought 11 laps would seem an eternity but it didn't. It actually went by quite fast.



I jogged home to cool down and walked up the last stretch of the hill to our place. bike tomorrow or not to bike? That is the question. 



552 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: the, at, track, laps, tempo, feeling, good.

new plan

Posted by sparks37 Mar 4, 2008

I've started a new training schedule. Up until now I've just been getting out there and running. After having some health problems, I had to slow down and just try and get healthy so running wasn't really a priority at that time.

Now that I'm feeling better I'm ready to attack. I've made up a new training schedule using the Runner's World smart coach option as a guideline. Now I'm ready to train.






Tempo run with a total distance of 8 k.



2 k warm up and 2 k cool down which leaves me with 4 k at a faster pace.



I'm hoping to do this on the track since it's a 2 k run to the track.






It's also time to get the bike out so I can start biking to and from work as part of my cross training.  This area isn't really biking friendly but i've got my route that meanders a little, but it get me there. I just hope I can handle those  mountain hills as I try and ease into it. 



601 Views 2 Comments Permalink Tags: train, biking, tempo, commuter

stay positive

Posted by sparks37 Feb 27, 2008


I managed to get in a run Sunday. The weather was so balmy and beautiful I couldn't wait to get outside. Now, what was holding me back? I've been experiencing some loss of balance as of late and wasn't sure if I'd be "stable" enough to run. Dino and I went out to run the inlet and we did the whole thing and it felt great.



Sunday morning I included yoga in my morning routine and that felt wonderful. I tested out my balance and how I was feeling. Taking it slow and gently seemed to work. Can I apply this to my running? Something to think about.



Tuesday I got in another short run in the evening and that was tougher. I felt so heavy and sluggish. Ugh. Sometimes there is just runs that you can't ever feel comfortable doing. I kept hoping I'd warm up or find my groove and rhythm. it never came. C'est la vie. 



I feel very under-trained and out of shape as if I'm starting from scratch again and have lost all of my running "memory." I guess I have. There is no way I can do the full marathon in May because I simply won't be prepared, but I can do the half. Physically on Tuesday my hamstrings were a little sore, most likely from not being properly stretched on Sunday or perhaps it was simply the constant change in terrain on that route that stressed my legs a little more.  



Maybe you can tell that I'm feeling frustrated by these setbacks. I'm trying to be positive and not worry about races, but I also like those goals.  Once again it's always about finding a balance. So how can I stay positive? Think about what I love about running.


  • Simply being able to go out and have time to myself where I'm moving forward and breathing hard is a wonderful feeling.

  • I love it when I find my rhythm and can just cruise, adjusting my pace as I feel I need to.

  • I love the challenge of a hill.

  • Seeing new scenery and running new routes where I can get out of my usual routes and routines.

  • Knowing that a race is down the road where I can be in the biggest group runs and the streets are closed to drivers and runners rule the pavement.

  • Feeling physically strong and in shape.

  • Finding out how strong my mind truly is when I have to overcome the difficulties faced in running (a tough hill or pace, inclement weather, feeling sluggish or tired)


513 Views 0 Comments Permalink Tags: motivation, health, goals, positive, thinking
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Member since: Dec 14, 2007

A personal account of my training and progress and all the ups and downs that go with the pursuit of achieving my athletic goals.

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