What a soggy day it has been, but a great day nonetheless! This weekend was BUSY, but fun, and the days leading up to the weekend were jam-packed too!
So, what have I been up to?
Workout-wise I have had a great week. Food wise, not so bad either. I am really trying to make an effort to eliminate as much JUNK as possible. I mean, during this time of year it is pretty easy to snack on every holiday treat in sight, but for me I am trying my best to truly practice moderation and only eat things that I really want to – NOT for hell of it. Workout recap at the bottom of the post!
I had started a new job a little over a month ago, and things have been great. I have also started getting into the Christmas spirit (okay, I’ve been counting down since August but I digress), and I am happy to say I am almost done my Christmas shopping! Yep, almost done and there’s still 36 days until the actual day. I wanted to be ahead of the game since December is shaping up to be a busy month with holiday gatherings, Ryan’s birthday, and other activities going on. I mean, as much as I love the hustle and bustle of the holidays, I much prefer watching Christmas movies in my Christmas jammies as opposed to trying to battle the crowds of shoppers!
Anyway, back to this last week. Since Monday was Remembrance Day, I had the day off of work. Ryan and I replaced the floor in our basement suite bedroom, I ran some errands and purchased his stocking stuffers, and we had a bomb-ass slow cooker chilli for dinner. It was a pretty relaxing day, but productive at the same time! On Tuesday & Wednesday I think we just made dinner and watched a movie at home, but it was the rest of the week that was the BUSIEST! Thursday we went to Ryan’s mom’s house for his brother’s 30th birthday party. There were tons of friends & family, and we enjoyed good food and tasty wine. Friday I went to an Epicure party at my cousin’s house, Saturday morning I went to a birthday brunch, then to the salon to get my hair done (pictures to come!), and then to Victoria for Mike’s birthday celebrations round 2. We got back home around 1am this morning, so I slept in today which was much needed! After doing a couple loads of laundry & tidying up around the house, Ryan and I went to a craft fair in town called Christmas Chaos. I found a cute snowman decoration that will be up in a post later on in the week, and some delicious chocolate pecan popcorn. Yes, it IS as good as it sounds!
Now, let’s move on to this week’s WORKOUTS! I am pretty darn happy with how the week went, as the week before was NOT good whatsoever. I was in a serious workout funk and even took to Instagram to ask people what they did when they hit workout funks. I mean, as much as I love running, I kind of lost my mojo for a bit there despite having some decent runs. A lot of people have experienced the same thing post-marathon, and as much as I have loved the extra sleep, I almost felt a bit lost not having a big race or event to train for. So silly, right? Ryan said that having a break is a GOOD thing because my body had been training SO much for the marathon, but in my mind I needed to keep going, going, going. You know what happens when I just go, go, go, though? I burn out. I get stressed. I feel like I have too much on my plate. So, I am taking a bit of time to BREATHE and just run for the fun of it. And mix things up, too!
Monday: 10km run. This was my first run after taking four days off during my little funk. I mentally and physically felt amazing during this run, and it was a BIG confidence booster going into the week.
Tuesday: 4 miles (6.43 km) after work, played with speed after a slow warm up. Averaged 9:24/mile (5:50/km)
Wednesday: 30 minutes strength training & ab work in the morning.
Thursday: Quick 2 mile run before a birthday dinner. Around 5:48/km (9:21-ish per mile)
Friday: Early morning run of 10km. Kept pace slower and steady around 9:41/mile (6:02km)
Saturday: 7 miles (11.26 km), pace was nice and easy (could maintain a conversation) at 9:50/mile (6:05/km)
Sunday: Rest day!
Our weather this week has been terribly raining, and a lot of my runs took place while it was pitch black out. I am not comfortable running by myself in the dark, especially in the early morning, so all of my runs have been on the treadmill. However, as you guys know, I quite enjoy running on my treadmill, so it did not bother me at all. I have some rainy/cold-weather appropriate gear on my Christmas list this year, like toques and gloves and a headlamp, so hopefully I will find those under the tree (or in my stocking!) and be able to get out there safely in the mornings. Until then, I will continue to enjoy my treadmill runs and be THANKFUL that I have my treadmill! It truly is one of the best gifts I have ever received (THANK YOU mom & dad – Christmas a couple years ago), and I use it tonnnnns, as you can probably guess!
Overall, it was a solid week in running and in socializing! Usually Ryan and I are such hermits (grandma for life over here), but it’s nice to get out with friends and family, especially as the holidays approach. Next week is going to be another busy one, and then Ryan’s birthday weekend, and then all of the holiday celebrations. I can’t wait! My house is already decorated, shopping is pretty much done, Christmas mugs are out, Christmas Spirit essential oil is going in my diffuser… Yeah, you could say I am excited! : )
I hope you all had a great weekend! I will catch you on Wednesday with a new post with a sneak peek at the holiday decor I have going on. Spreading that Christmas cheer, you know?
Chat to ya soon!
It has officially been (just over) a week since the Victoria Marathon. Incase you missed it, you can view my expo recap & pre-marathon thoughts here and the race day review, too. That should bring you up to speed!
I wanted to share a (dorky) video I made last week about my thoughts on the marathon and what’s next to come.
So, to say I am a bit undecided as to what’s next would absolutely be true. Truth be told, I am looking forward to trying new workouts and finding a happy medium between running and everything else. We recently purchased a spin bike, so it will be nice to add that to the routine. Actually, here’s some of the thoughts mulling around in my head.
Any exercise is great exercise, but at this point I am trying to be mindful of the workouts that will make me a faster, stronger runner. Getting stronger is never a bad thing, and there’s something to be said about a quality, balanced workout routine. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t like the word balanced as much as the next person, but it is the only word that fit what I was trying to say. Nevertheless, I think switching things up will be good both physically and mentally. Running is great, but it definitely takes a toll on your body if you are not taking preventative measures to ward off injury. Fortunately, I have been quite diligent about things like stretching, foam rolling, massage therapy, athletic therapy, Epsom salt and ice baths – things like that. However, I do admit that I miss strength training and feeling physically strong. I mean, running makes me feel strong, too, but in a different way if that makes sense. I gotta say, I am looking forward to a bit more muscle definition and challenging myself with weights again! Lots of good things to come, but first I have to get through this marathon recovery.
Speaking of marathon recovery, I am feeling mostly recovered. Last week I took things easy. I’m-going-to-go-crazy kind of easy. I so desperately wanted to get outside for a run, but I knew that I would be prolonging my recovery. So, I took Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday off completely. Lots of icing, Epsom salt baths, and gentle walking around the house/grocery store. Does that even count? LOL. At least I got out of the house, I suppose. Thursday was my first “workout” and that was an upper body weight workout. Friday I took Nala for a half hour walk on the trail, and my legs felt good. My quads and hamstrings were super sore from the hills during the marathon, but I’m happy to say that most of those aches have worked themselves out : ) Soon enough I will be running again, but I am taking things nice and easy before I start any hardcore training plans again!
Be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel to watch more of my awkward videos! I’m no expert, but it is kind of fun to play around and make these videos. Have a great day everyone!
Alright, we are back for part TWO of the marathon weekend! Yep, this brings us to race day.
Yesterday I chatted about the zip up jacket the marathoners got, and this is it! I love it so much. It is warm and cozy, and I of course had to represent on marathon morning! Ryan and I took tons of pictures before the race started, and yes, that meant me posing in front of the Parliament buildings. The start line was to the right of the building, so we had a bit of fun during the walk to the start.
And then Ryan suggested one pose in particular…
How embarrassing, ha! Do it for the blog though, right?
Pre-race I ate oatmeal, half a banana and a small scoop of almond butter. I tried this out during training as my pre-long run breakfast and it digested well and did not give me any tummy troubles, so I decided to stick with what works! I also filled my water bottle with some citrus flavoured Nuun and sipped on that, then brought my water bottle with me on the drive to Victoria. I try not to have TOO much water pre-run so liquid isn’t sloshing around in my stomach, but I did a TON of hydrating in the three days leading up to the race to make sure I was adequately hydrated. This meant that I just needed to top up on Sunday morning! About half an hour before the race started I took a HoneyStinger gel, a few sips of water, then headed to the port-a-potty line up for one last bathroom stop before the race started!
Of course, we had to take a few selfies, too. All about documenting the day!
Then, it was time for me to find my place in the crowd and start getting in the zone! Ryan made me tear up before I started and yep, there’s a picture for that, too!
All red-nosed and smiling. Happy tears, people. Happy tears! The crowd sung the Canadian anthem and counted down from 10. “Holy crap,” I thought. “I’m running a marathon!” I had thought quite a few times during the run because it was just one of those awe-inspiring moments. I put my headphones in and had my music ready to go for when I felt like listening to it, then made sure my sunglasses were on and clean and before I knew it we were crossing the start line.
Ryan and I had made a plan for him to make a few stops along the route to cheer me along, so I knew that soon enough I would see him. The first time was just before the 1km mark on one of the main roads, and then it was time for him to move to the next spot.
The first “official” place I saw Ryan was at the 5km mark. We were running into Beacon Hill park where we would then loop around and head towards Dallas Rd to run along the water. He took a lot of these pictures throughout all his stops along the route!
I probably went out a bit too fast, but I was feeling good at this point and decided to stick with one of the pacing groups to see how far I could go with them. I made a decision earlier on that it wasn’t about TIME for my first marathon, but for the experience. I wanted to enjoy myself as much as possible, and the first marathon is always a PR time!
Despite running with others during races, I am not a chatty person as I run. Don’t let the headphones in my ears fool you, either. I didn’t turn my music on until about the 15km mark as I wanted to soak in as much as the crowd as I could. Even in the residential areas people would come out of their house to cheer us on, and there were tons of great signs along the way!
Speaking of signs, my fam jam made some awesome ones that surely were a hit! Especially that WINE one ; ) We will get to that in a moment. First though, I saw Ryan again around the 27km mark, not long after the turn around.
My mantra for the marathon, which I had written on my hand, was “I can and I will.” I would look down at my hand whenever I started to feel tired and I knew that I was DOING it. I was following through on the plan I committed to and the big, audacious goal that I had dreamed of accomplishing for years. If not now, when? Running a marathon is scary, exciting, FUN, painful, and so fulfilling I can’t even begin to put it into words. I don’t think there are words that accurately describe how the whole journey felt, but it certainly was an experience I will never forget.
Now to the fun signs!
I saw my parents, sister, and Ryan around the 31km mark and I loved their signs. My mom had pom poms and I could hear them screaming my name as I got closer and closer. There was a mild incline at this point as we ran through Oak Bay, but their cheers were music to my ears. My mom pretended to run alongside me as she cheered my name, and my dad, sister, and Ryan were all cheering along.
At the 37km mark I saw Ryan again, which is what I needed to help propel me forward. If you have run this route before, you’ll know that there is a long, gradual hill along this waterfront section, so knowing that he would be there helped motivate me up that hill. My body was definitely tired at this point, but I pushed on and knew that there were only 5km to go before the finish line. 5km seemed like nothing compared to the distance I had already covered!
To fuel me along the way I took three HoneyStinger gels (I finished my last one around the 38 ish km mark) and also had my water belt with me. I did have water and Ultima from a few of the hydration stations which was great, too.
Waving and putting on a happy face! I made a conscious effort to SMILE and relax my shoulders. This may seem easy, but when you are 40km deep into a marathon it can be tempting to tense up and power through. I’m all for powering through, but I did it with a SMILE because as hard as it was, I was truly enjoying the moment and soaking it all up. The crowds on the sidelines got thicker as we got closer and closer to the finish line, and with 500m to go, I ran my little hiney off. Ryan caught this finish line shot of me just STEPS before I became a marathoner.
I remembered to raise my arms and SMILE as I crossed the finish line, then immediately shut off my Garmin as all runners do. I high-fived the race directors that were waiting for all the finishers, then grabbed one of those space blankets (I think that’s what they were called) so my body temperature wouldn’t drop too drastically, and heard Ryan and my family calling my name from the side. They got the perfect spot in the finishers area! I headed over and gave them HUGE hugs (or as big as I could) over the fence, then told them “I need to keep moving!” and headed towards a more open spot in the finisher chute where they could meet me. As soon as I saw them I gave all of them BIG BIG hugs now, then carried on to the FOOD!
They always have a great selection of food at the finish line. Granola bars, TONS of cookies (I’m an oatmeal raisin girl at heart, so I grabbed one of those), oranges, bananas, hydration drinks, water, juice, etc. I grabbed pretty much one of everything, ate my orange right away and chugged water, but my appetite wasn’t quite there yet. My body needed to cool down a bit and my heart rate needed to slow before I could even think about eating more!
We found a quiet(er) spot to take pictures and chat about the race. Then, I ate some of my cookie and banana, and my mom snapped a bunch more pictures as moms do. I secretly wanted ALL the pictures because I needed to document this amazing moment!
I felt tired but so damn accomplished after the race! 16 weeks of training, early wake up calls, putting one foot in front of the other despite feeling tired, unmotivated, or downright exhausted. I always knew that I wanted to run a marathon, but I never knew WHEN that moment would come. When I signed up for this marathon December of 2016, race day felt so far away. However, it doesn’t matter how FAR away your race is or your target date is, because no matter what you do, the time will pass anyway. I thought about what I would be doing if I didn’t sign up for the marathon and how much I would kick myself and wish that I had signed up. If you would’ve told me two years ago that I would be a marathoner in 2017, I probably would’ve laughed, but I would be curious to know if I could do it. However, there is no wondering. There is no guessing. I accomplished what I set out to do, and I am damn proud of myself.
I also wanted to give a huge shout out to Ryan for being the best boyfriend of all time. He has been at every finish line in our almost four years together, and was such a trooper throughout my 16 weeks of training. He is never afraid to jump in when I need help, and he always encourages me to go for my big crazy dreams. I am so damn thankful to have him in my life as he is such a big part of my support system and never fails to make me feel loved and cared for. Okay, sappy part over!
Also, another shout out to my sister for coming along this crazy journey with me too! She came to the expo with me, made kick ass signs for the race, and was always there to encourage me. Plus, she has such a good sense of humour that kept me laughing throughout training when the runs were getting longer and harder, so I am thankful for her positivity!
Andddd of course a shout out to my mom & dad for being there throughout it all and especially being part of my race day! I am completely overwhelmed by all the love and support I have around me and couldn’t be more grateful for the family and friends that I have.
To anyone who has “liked” an Instagram post about my training, given me well wishes on my training journey, congratulated me, reached out, wished me good luck, texted me, called me, supported me throughout this journey. Hell, for all of those who said I was crazy for doing this… THANK YOU. I am forever grateful!
There are NO LIMITS to what you can do if you set your mind to it. You are amazing and incredible and strong and you can do anything you dream of. What happens from here? Well, I am still basking in the post-marathon moment and it is all settling in for me. Believe it or not, the day went by in such a flash that it is taking some time to process the fact that I actually ran 42.2km/26.2 miles this weekend and it’s all over. I am feeling a little bittersweet, but I know that there are more finish lines and milestone moments ahead for me, and I can’t wait to share more with you all!
On Sunday, October 8th, 2017 I became a marathoner. I will forever remember this milestone moment!
Good morning, party people!
Man, this weekend was incredible. I mean, I love Thanksgiving already enough as it is, but couple that with race weekend and you have one happy Canadian girl.
I wanted to break this marathon recap up into two parts. This post, Part One, will be all about the expo and what I did leading up to race day. So, let’s get into it!
Friday afternoon my sister and I drove to Victoria to pick up my number at the race expo. The expo was held at the Victoria Convention Centre in the Empress hotel, and they always have a good selection of clothes and (most importantly) samples. That being said, a few more vendors would be nice, but the ones that were there definitely had a lot to offer, whether it was compression socks, race pacing tips, books, other race events, etc.
I picked up my number and race jacket (the female marathoners got a black zip up jacket with the marathon logo – you will see this in tomorrow’s post!), then it was time to check things out!
As we worked our way through the expo, we found a huge poster that had all of the names of the runners on it. I immediately went to find my name – can you spot it!?
It didn’t take us long to work our way through all the vendors. Before we left though, I had to get a Boomerang, of course!
We stopped by Lululemon while we were in the area, and I am proud to report that I didn’t even buy ONE THING! Granted, I saw a TON of stuff that I liked, but when I just spent $80 on two things at the expo, I couldn’t justify spending that much or more on one thing. Sigh. It’s hard being pratical, ha ha!
At this point it was around 2:30pm and I was getting HUNGRY! I did a shake out run on Friday morning of 5km, had a good breakfast, but I needed to start carb loading and get more fuel into my system. So, we went to the Spaghetti Factory where we had fresh bread, salad, and spaghetti with meatballs. It was perfect and left me feeling full almost all afternoon!
It’s funny because up until Saturday I was not feeling nervous about the marathon whatsoever. I was calm, cool, collected, and just excited. However, I had a moment on Saturday night while Ryan and I were sitting on the couch watching TV where I was like. Holy crap. I am running a marathon tomorrow! The nerves started to settle in, but I began to think about my positive affirmations. I can do this. I am strong. I have put in the work. I believe in myself. Repeat those over and over again. Plus, I made a list of everything I could possibly need during race day and had started checking things off said list starting Friday night, so I knew I was prepared. Happy tears were shed and Ryan assured me that “you got this! You have worked so hard these last few months!” and I knew that he was right. All that was left to do was to go to bed and do the damn thing!
My marathon race outfit: Under Armour running capris, Lululemon run swiftly shirt, Adidas sports bra, Asics running socks, my trusty Mizuno runners, and SUNGLASSES because I knew it would be sunny during the run. Garmin and race number? Check, check.
Alright, folks. Here goes nothing!
Stay tuned for the RACE RECAP tomorrow! It is a long one with lots of pictures, so more to come : )