Friday, December 29, 2006

Back home and ready for the New Year!

I returned from my vacation well rested and ready to take on 2007 with a bang. 2006 had it's share of ups and downs both personally and professionally and hopefully 2007 will have more ups than downs.

One of the first stops I made today was to the Pickering Running Room or what I affectionately call it my "Mecca." I simply cannot get enough of that place as the staff there are not only friends of mine but very informative and inspirational. I always leave there with a smile on my face. Of course I had to show them my Marathon Medal and tell them about my race.

I will be volunteering this Monday at the Resolution Run in Oshawa and look forward to seeing all the runners/walkers participate in this event. Hopefully many of these athletes will continue to include running/walking into their daily lives and realize how much they are doing to improve their health.

The holidays are coming to an end and I'm sure this will be a busy time for me as people will make their New Years' resolutions which usually includes losing weight. If this is one of your goals then please remember that the best way to lose weight and keep it off is to find a plan that works within your lifestyle not the other way around. My program is geared to making small changes to your lifestyle in order to produce a lifestyle "makeover" which will last you a lifetime. There are NO easy ways to lose weight/inches besides hard work, dedication and a desire to improve. We all possess these qualities you just have to find the right motivation for yourself.
If you are interested in finding out more about my services, please contact me:

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Post-Marathon thoughts

OK, Christmas is over and New Years' is just around the corner. This is the time that many people make goals/resolutions for the upcoming year. Some are personal while others are professional. Whatever your goals are, make sure they are meaningful and attainable. If it helps to use "mini" goals to get you to your ultimate goal then use them.
For example, if you want to lose 50 pounds by the Summer then you may want to set weekly goals of 2-3 pounds per week until you reach your final goal. You may also want to focus on inches lost instead of weight loss as this is better indication of your overall health.

Many runners, myself included, use races as goals to keep us motivated. After completing a Marathon your body needs plenty of rest before attempting another long race. However, you can use 5 or 10K races to keep you motivated. I already have my running goals set for the new year. They include doing a 50 Mile race in May, competing in the OUS trail racing series and finishing a marathon in 3:20 minutes by this time next year. I will begin preparations for my 50 Mile race in January and there will be plenty of "mini" goals along the way to not only keep me motivated but also to improve my performance. I have yet to complete a FULL training plan and I'm excited about the prospect of doing this. I will probably have to slow myself down which will be a chore itself.

I started to run last week, 3 days after my marathon but it was difficult to keep myself motivated throughout the runs. My body has been through plenty of pounding over the last year and was probably telling me that I needed to rest. After taking the last 2 days off, I went out again this morning (13K) and felt great. I will run again on Wednesday and Thursday, take Friday off and then meet up with my running friends on the weekend. I am anxiously awaiting my return so I can share my marathon story with them.

Saturday, December 23, 2006


My 3rd Marathon of the year (well one was a 50K but who's counting) is in the books and I managed to take off almost 25 minutes from my last Marathon in May (4:03). I can't believe how strong I felt throughout the race and I can only thank Theresa, Nancy, Miriam and Ken for giving me the guidance and inspiration to finish this Marathon in good shape.

The weather was a little chilly to start (for those who know me NO I didn't have to wear gloves, tights or my much beloved balaclava). This was one of the few races I've done where I didn't know anyone else in the race. I had my mp3 player ready to go with new batteries, 5 gels, my 3:45 pace band and 1 small water bottle (Ken, I needed this as I'll explain later). The race started at just past 7AM with just under 1000 runners. I decided to stay close to the front but not too close.

As the race started I kept hearing the voices of Theresa, Ken and Nancy saying "don't go out too fast." I actually felt a little pain in my right knee and was worried about it lingering throughout the race. I chalked it up to not having run for the past 3 days, a rarity for me and kept on going.
Eventually the pain went away after the first mile . I kept a pretty even pace for me as I needed an 8:30/Mile pace to reach my goal of 3:45. I was feeling so good, though, that I found it hard to run that slow and pushed myself ever so slightly. I decided to try something that Theresa does so well and that is run by "feel." My breathing was good and I never felt out of breath so I ran this way for most of the race. From time to time I would glance at my Garmin and/or pace band and before I knew it I was 4:00 minutes ahead of my schedule. This was about 10 miles into the race. I was faced with a hard decision. Should I keep pushing myself and risk the chance of "bonking" near the end or try to keep the pace up for as long as I could. I decided to keep going as I felt very strong and wanted to see how well I could do.

Once I made this decision, the only thing left was to keep my motivation up. I called upon all the words of wisdom from my training friends. Nancy had lent me a great book on mental imagery which I read on the plane and I kept visualizing the finish line and how it would look. I would also pick out a few runners which were ahead of me and tried to catch them. Mostly, though, I used my music and the thoughts of beating my last Marathon as motivation.

I had a good plan going into the race with regards to hydration and fuel. There were water/gatorade stations approximately every 2 miles so I alternated between drinking water and gatorade. I walked through the water stations for roughly 30 seconds. I took a gel every 3rd station which came at roughly 50 minutes and this really helped to keep my energy up. There was only one stretch where there was no water station to be found and with the temperature starting to climb I was thankful that I had brought along a small water bottle.

The course itself was fast and flat with no hills that I could remember. It went along back roads and there weren't many people around but the ones that were there had great signs and plenty of smiles which helped. This race was also marked in miles and this seemed to help. For those of you who have run a marathon, you know that there comes a time in the race when you hit the "wall." This usually comes around the 30K mark. Ken had told me that the marathon is a long walk until the 30K mark and then it's "on." Well, because the marathon was marked in miles I had to remember where the 30K mark was (LOL). I soon realized that I had past it at the 20 Mile mark. As soon as I had less than 6 miles to go (10 K) I realized that I was going to beat my predicted time of 3:45. I was on pace to be around 3:40 which was fine with me. I kept trying to push myself a little bit but mentally I was satisfied knowing that I would beat the 3:45 mark so I let up a little. We finished the race at a local high school and had to run around the track to reach the finish line (the worst part of the race). I could see the giant clock as I turned the corner and knew then that I would be under 3:40. I picked it up a little at the end to ensure this and as I saw my 2 sons near the finish line I finished just under 3:40 (3:39:35). I finished 26th in my age category (35-39) and 200th out of 898 overall.

I am writing this almost a week after the race and still am on an emotional high. I was able to check my email from Florida and have received so many congratulations that I can't wait to come home to see all my running friends. Runners are truly a remarkable bunch and I'm fortunate to be part of this great community. I was VERY sore for the first few days after the race but started running again on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. As I ran today, though, I realized that I need to take more time off as it was a challenge to run 16K this morning.

I can't thank all my friend enough for their support and I wish everyone a safe and happy holiday!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Happy Holidays (and eating) to all of you!

This will be my last post until I return from holidays on the 28th. When I first started my website I felt like an overnight DJ asking the eternal question "Is anybody actually listening to me?" In my case it's more like "Is anybody actually reading what I write?"

I have been reminded by some truly amazing people that they do indeed read my posts and a few have actually asked me why I don't post more. This has been truly a humbling experience and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all. Rest assured I will resume my posts in the New Year and even have a few surprises I'm working on as well.

This week I ran on Tuesday, 9K and Wednesday 7K (thanks Ken and Theresa). Thanks to you both, Nancy, Miriam, Susie, Jane and others, I have learned so much about both myself and running and I'm ready to tackle the Marathon this weekend. I am so fortunate to be surrounded by such a great group of friends and they mean the world to me. I will be thinking about you all during the Marathon when I need a boost of inspiration. I'm sure I will call upon Theresa's' inspirational words, Nancy's grit and determination, Miriam's' strength and emotion and Ken's bio mechanical advice, during different points of the race. I hope I can make you all proud.

I will NOT run (I have to keep saying this to myself) until Sunday now which is the longest I've ever gone without running. I'm already starting to feel the need to run but realize finally how important this week of rest will be come Sunday.

One final note about Christmas. We all want to enjoy the holidays and this usually includes food and drink. However, you don 't have to destroy all the hard work you have done just for the sake of a few parties. Try to eat in moderation, drink water frequently and remember to exercise. Food doesn't have to be the center of the festivities. Remember that you are with family and friends and that should be the main focus. Keep your short and long-term goals in focus during the holidays and you will be amazed at your results. Be a LEADER and not a follower.

Have a very Merry Holiday Season and thank you for all your support this year!

Sunday, December 10, 2006

T-Minus 7 days.........

OK, my official countdown thread starts in earnest today. This weekend I completed my last long run (18K on Saturday) and slow run (10K on Sunday) and I'm ready to begin my taper week.

If I feel crabby, listless, bored etc. etc., you can blame it on an excess of carbohydrates and a lack of running. That will be the name of the game this week. I will take tomorrow off from running but may do some light biking at home. This will be followed by an 8K run on Tuesday and a 6K run on Wednesday (Thanks Ken and Theresa). After that there will be no running whatsoever until Sunday morning.

I was looking over the temperatures for Jacksonville and they are calling for temperatures in the low teens for Sunday. The race starts at 7AM so I can feel safe wearing shorts and a light shirt (yeah). A friend of mine who has done this race before said that it is quite flat and fast so I'm hoping for a race time of 3:45 to 3:50. However, plenty will depend on how much rest I can get when I get to Florida on Thursday to Saturday. As most of you who know me can testify, I am a creature of habit. This race will test my patience as I won't have the normal comforts that I'm used to. I have been reminded that I am on vacation and yet I really do want to do well at this race.

I have received so much support from my friends in the running community and I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for your help.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Final preparations begin now!

With just over 1 week to go before my Marathon I'm winding down my running schedule. I ran on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday (total of 35KM's) and will take Friday off. I have a 16K run on Saturday and then I may do a light 10K on Sunday at a VERY slow pace. After that it will be taper time.

This is the point in my training where I usually don't slow down as much as I should but I promised myself I will do it this time.
What that means is a run on Tuesday and Wednesday of no more than 5-6 K each day. After that there will be no running until the race on Sunday the 17th.

Tapering is so important yet it will challenge me mentally as I love running. Not only will I not run, I will really try not to do any type of working out after Wednesday. This will give my body a chance to prepare for the race on Sunday. I will also increase my intake of carbohydrates each day up until Saturday night. My water intake will hover around 3Ltr's per day so I should be well hydrated come Sunday morning.

Running a race away from home will be something that will be new for me. I will have to contend with sleeping in a different bed, eating different food then I'm used to and the weather change. I leave for Florida on the Thursday and my race is Sunday so hopefully I'll be acclimated to the weather by then.

Tonight I did a talk at the Running Room in Pickering for the 1/2 Marathon clinic. It was great seeing so many excited runners. This was a great time to do this talk as I was doing lots of research on carbo loading/glycogen to prepare and it made me even more conscious about my own diet for next week. I really want this to be the best race for me so I'm going to really focus hard for next week.
Thanks Cheryl and Paul for allowing me to speak tonight and good luck with your group!