This is my first time linking up with Running With Spoons and Thinking Out Loud. The idea is to break out of writers block and free flow write. Brilliant!
Since coming down from my half-iron high I’ve been stuck in a bit of a rut. I haven’t been the most positive person to be around the last couple weeks, actually to clarify I’ve been quite the “B”! Poor people around me.
On Sunday morning’s (outside of tri training) I meet up with a running club for a long run. I love running with this group and have created great friendships but this past weekend I just didn’t want to run with anyone. This may seem weird considering the last few weeks of tri training I was complaining about being lonely with such tailored training. So I chose to sleep in, let my boyfriend go meet the group and I went for my own run.
I left all my running gadgets behind, with the exception of my ipod, and just ran! I had no set distance, pace or tempo pick-ups to cross of my list. So as I was running I was thinking, a lot, about this freeing feeling I was experiencing. I miss training! but this run reminded me of all the reasons I fell in love with running. This run, was humbling. This run, forced me to reconnect with the things I truly enjoy when not training:
- Pacing – sometimes it’s nice to not worry about keeping up, or slowing down to hit a pace. Just run!
- Heart Rate – my heart is ticking…. I’m pretty sure that’s a good thing so who cares what bpm it’s at
- Route – there is no route! I can make a right turn here, a left turn there. I can get lost and have an adventure. I can explore a new trail even if it’s not as long as I expected
- Distance – I don’t have to stress about hitting 11.5km exactly before I turn around
- Sit – if the light is just right, the path is quiet and I spot an oak bench that overlooks the city skyline…. I can take a seat, breath and be thankful
The problem behind my “B-ness” lies in the fact that I’ve been so caught up with training(in a good way) that I don’t know what to do with myself without it (omg I sound like an addict)! My purpose has been driven by the will to cross a finish line. Now I need to focus on letting my body and mind recover and just enjoy a happy pace.
This weekend I’m going to Vancouver for a girls weekend with my childhood friend. She’s running her first half marathon and I’m so excited to run with her as her personal cheerleader! SeaWheeze here we come.
It’s the last week of apricot season and I received a beautiful bag of fresh BC Apricots in my SPUD delivery. I had never given apricots much thought until my dad introduced me to apricot pancakes a few years back. Now I look forward to apricot season when I can get the fresh, local ones to enjoy many different ways!
Apricots are in season in North America from May – August. They are a good source of fibre, vitamin C and A!
Apricot Flaxseed Pancakes
Makes 8-10 pancakes
1 cup flour (whole wheat, gluten free or all purpose)
¼ cup ground flaxseed
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 large egg
1 ½ cups almond milk
2 apricots skinned and diced
1. Whisk dry ingredients together in a medium size bowl
2. In a separate bowl whisk milk and egg together. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and whisk together just until incorporated. Add diced apricots into the mixture and stir just enough to incorporate into batter.
3. Brush large nonstick skillet with vegetable oil and heat over medium. When pan is hot add desired amount of batter to pan. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes and the edges started to lift from the pan (about 2 min). Flip pancakes and cook until the bottom is golden brown. Repeat until batter is gone.
4. Top pancakes with a spoonful of almond butter and drizzle with maple syrup!
And remember, if you’d like to try SPUD and their amazingly fresh produce use my promotion code for $20 of free groceries (promo code LINDSAYG). Seriously having produced delivered to my house is the best thing since sliced bread!
I’m going to be very transparent, I’ve been given nomination in the past for other “blogger awards” and they’ve always fallen off my radar because they just don’t inspire me. That being said the wonderful Pretty Little Grub nominated me for this one and how could I ignore it? She writes a great blog about traveling, running and food – my favourite things! So here we go.
(This is probably another reason why I’ve never responded to a blogger awards, I dislike rules)
- Thank and link to the person who nominated you.
- List the rules and display the award.
- Share seven facts about yourself.
- Nominate 15 other blogs you enjoy, then comment on their posts to let them know that you have nominated them
7 #SuperGreat Interesting Facts About Me
1. I have a strong dislike for bagels. As in I won’t eat them.
2. My profession is in communications but I’m a horrible speller. I remember failing plenty of weekly spelling tests in elementary school, I particularly struggled with the word “beautiful”. Thank goodness for spellcheck!
3. I have a ridiculously long range of toe motion (double jointed). I can spread my toes at least an inch apart from one another. I didn’t think this was abnormal until my boyfriend pointed it out.
4. I’m horrible when it comes to laundry. I let it pile up to the point where when I finally drag it downstairs it sounds like I’m moving a dead body. I’ve been know for turning white things into colourful things.
5. Message in a Bottle is my ‘go-to for a little cry’ movie – because every now and then I want to sit on the couch, wrapped up in a blanket with a glass of red wine and shed a few tears.
6. I’m fairly good with tools. I built my own log bed frame and recently changed out our garburator (aka garbage disposal). Both of my dads (step-dad and biological) are very handy and taught me how to use tool early.
7. I hate being cold. I’ll run in -30 degree weather with little hottie feet warmers stuck to my butt cheeks. My mini-heater at work is on every day (including summer).
Now for my nominations. 15 is a lot! So following the rule breaker (Pretty Little Grub) I’m going to nominate a few bloggers that have been inspiring me through summer triathlon season!
Sue just finished her first Ultra Marathon (51K) in Vegas, in the middle of the night! Her witty humour and drive makes for the perfect running blog.
2. Terry Runs
I met Terry through the Calgary Marathon Ambassador program. She’s a speedy little mommy and writes a great blog following her running journey. I love reading about the programs she’s using for training. She’s training for a 3:45 marathon, which I’ve gone after a few times so I feel like I’m living through her right now. I think she’s going to crush the 3:45!
Leanna has been an inspiration to me through triathlon training. She’s from Calgary and has been training her butt off for Ironman Boulder. She seems like such a strong individual and I really love following her training and races. She’s one of those people you just really want to be friends with.
Leigh is another local blogger I met through the Calgary Marathon. She writes about life in general and posts some kick-ass crossfit workouts. I was lucky enough to bike with her during training this summer. She’s such a bright ball of positivity!
I’ve only started following Gabi for a couple months but love, love, love getting an email with her new posts. She’s training for her first Ironman and recently competed her first 70.3. Every time I read her Ironwomen Wednesday posts I want to sign up for one! She’s been very honest about her training and I feel like I can relate to so many of her personality traits.
I’m half of an Ironwoman
It’s taken me 11 days to come down from the iron-high and, if I wasn’t already, I’m definitely iron-struck! The journey to this half-iron has been beyond amazing and I truly feel like I’ve gone from dreaming of being a triathlete, to living the dream. That my friends is winning!
Ironman Calgary 70.3
16 weeks ago I looked at a calendar and had a panic attack once I realized I had signed up for a half-iron and had no idea what I was doing. By that afternoon I had hired a coach and was on my way to completing a goal that seemed like nothing more than a dream. When I got home that night I remember my boyfriend saying “oh, you’re serious about this”. Duh! I take pride in knowing that one of my most defined personality traits is ambition and I’m usually pretty determined to accomplish something once I’ve
paid a registration fee set my mind to it.
Calgary’s 70.3 takes place at the end of July when it’s finally summer in the city and the water temperature isn’t ass-icle cold (with the exception of Ghost Lake). This race sold out early into registration this year and I’m not surprised. The course is beautiful and the organization is near flawless.
A 70.3 consists of:
Swim – 1.9km
Bike – 90km
Run – 21.1km (half marathon)
Race Day Morning
I had a great sleep and woke up with little anxiety. I got my things together and hopped into the car. The boyfriend ran through and check-list, essentially drilling to see if I forgot something. I was getting slightly annoyed reassuring him I had thought of everything! The nerves started to build throughout the silent 6am ride. Slowly but surely I was having to shift my thoughts and focus on the task ahead. “Trust your training!”
The swim was held at the beautiful new community of Aubourn Bay. I really like that the community allowed athletes into the lake for a practice swim at their leisure during the week of the event. I went for my practise swim with a co-worker on the Thursday and we practically had the entire lake to ourselves. The beach is large and clean, the water was the perfect temperature (20 degrees) and clear as can be!
The boyfriend dropped me off and went to find parking. I entered T1 and started setting up my space. I quickly realized I had forgotten something… my bike shoes (palm to face)! NO! I was standing by my bike shocked, looking from my Birkenstocks to my bike pedals. Nope, Birkenstocks would not work!
I left my cell phone at home and had no idea where my boyfriend was (he was trying to find coffee). I desperately needed him to hightail it back home to get my shoes or this race was going to end before it started. There was a couple standing just outside of the gate (there to support their daughter) and I asked to borrow their cell phone. The lady pointed out that I seemed surprisingly calm considering the situation, I replied with “I’m freaking out on the inside”. My boyfriend thankfully answered the call and without hesitation went back for my shoes. We planned to meet by the strippers before I had to enter T1. I put the shoe dilemma into the ‘fuckit bucket’ and carried on.
I made my way down to the lake just in time to see the elite wave start. I found someone to help
stuff zip me into my wetsuit and made my way into the water for a few strokes. I strolled to the start line with the rest of the newbies and waited our turn. I was so uncontrollably nervous; I was shaking like a leaf! A heard a lot of athletes around me voicing their nerves which made me feel slightly better. A couple guys actually commented about how they didn’t want to go first, so I walked past them and gave a thumbs up! I’m so happy I chose to go out with the newbies. Everyone was just happy to be there!
I found a happy pace almost immediately, spotted my first buoy and settled in. My mind was fairly calm and I only had to pull out the singing technique once or twice to quiet my thoughts. I was confident around the bouys which allowed me to stay in rhythm. There were a few points where the sun was directly in my eyes and I couldn’t tell where the next buoy was. I could see people on either side of me so I decided the best strategy was to stay between them. As soon as I rounded the corner facing the opposite direction I was fine.
Home stretch, I was on line for the finish. I remember the water being really shallow for a good stretch leading up to the beach. I saw people standing up and fighting the water so I stayed down and swam in as far as I could.
I stripped, waved to Tina who was volunteering and grabbed my shoes from the boyfriend.
The swim went SO smoothly and I was shocked by my time! I thought I was going to be 40-45min but ended up with 38:07!
T1 Time: 4:16
The bike is quite scenic with quite a few rolling hills in the first half. It heads out on hwy 22x to Bragg Creek, over to hwy 8 and back into Calgary.
I think I was most worried about the bike going into the race. During training I’d gone further than the swim distance and I’m very familiar with the running distance but I’ve never biked 90k! The longest ride I had during training was 76km.
During the first 30km of the bike all I could think about was finding a place to pee! When I hit the 30km aid station I jumped off my bike and headed for the bushes. A lovely volunteer held my bike for me! From 30k-60k the ride rolled through some very scenic areas. When I hit Bragg Creek I settled into a steady pace and took advantage of the flat stretch to recover. I turned onto hwy 8 at the traffic circle and was able to visualize the final stage; I strategically rode this section the week before to have it fresh in mind. It wasn’t until the last 15km that I started getting antsy to get off the bike. My neck was getting really sore from the angle but my legs felt good. I managed to put the pain into the ‘fuckit bucket’ and forget about.
As I made my way onto Glenmore Trail a few riders were starting to get vocal. I passed on lady who shouted “I’m so done with this!”, I laughed and said “we’re almost there!”.
Again, I was surprised my time was faster than expected which made for a nice surprise going into T2.
T2 Time: 3:32
The run portion of this race starts in North Glenmore Park and dips into Weasel Head which wraps around the reservoir. It’s one of my favourite spots to run in the city!
I was happy to get off my bike and start the run. My legs were heavy (as expected) and I was trying to slow my legs. As the first section of the run is also the last section of the race, it was great to see all the speedy guys and gals finishing their last kms. An older gentleman to my left was hacking and passing gas like crazy. I had to get away from this guy so I sped up slightly to create a ‘fresh air gap’. Right before heading into Weasel Head I saw my boyfriend and he ran beside me taking photos and sharing some encouraging words.
When running races I usually listen to music so this was a completely different experience. I’m not going to lie, I had many moments of boredom. I knew my co-worker would be in front of me to I focused on trying to spot him, we eventually crossed paths and shared a high-five! I love that everyone’s age is written on their calf because it makes for added motivation. If you’re in my age group I want to pass you. If you’re older than me, good for you! I still want to beat you.
By the back half my stomach was getting irritated and the heat was taking it’s toll. The path has lots of trees but the sun was directly overhead and HOT! I grabbed a cup of ice from the aid station and dumped it in my bra. Took a cool sponge from a volunteer and squeezed it over my head!
I completely underestimated the run! This was supposed to be my strength but it proved to be the biggest challenge of the day! I walked up Weasel Head hill (horrible hill) to conserve energy and keep my heart rate under control. My friends Ashely and Mac, my Dad and of course boyfriend were waiting at the top of the hill to cheer me on! That was the last kick of motivation I needed to finish. I kept a slow jog and was onto the final stretch. I had a tiny bit of kick in me for the final 200m and finished with a smile!
My goal was a conservative (for me) 2:00 half marathon but I ended with 2:12:25. The run kicked my ass, however (not trying to make excuses) I really do think I could have hit my goal if it wasn’t so bloody hot.
I finished in 6:10:50! A whole 20 minutes faster than I was expecting. A medal was immediately placed around my neck, I found my cheering squad and celebrated with some hugs!
The finishers medal and t-shirts are awesome! The medal doubles as a belt buckle – perfect for Stampede. Probably my favourite swag!
Surprisingly my body felt pretty good, tired, but good. Actually I would say completing a marathon hurts more than a 70.3 but I’m sure it’s dependant on the person and the training. My neck was really stiff from the bike but I had a massage the next day which did wonders!
Overall a great experience and I think it’s fair to say that I’m hooked. I love, love, love the training for triathlon and will be back for more!
A huge thank you and hug goes out to Coach Richelle for getting me to the finish line! I’m so happy she was part of my journey and look forward to working with her again… if she’ll have me :)
Thank you to the amazing volunteers and race organizers. Seriously the most motivating and positive volunteers I’ve ever encountered in a race. Race organizers, thank you for putting your hearts into this course and event. It was such a great first time experience.
Thank you to my friends and family for supporting me. Training left little to no time for a social life so thank you for understanding.
The biggest thank you goes to my wonderful boyfriend for supporting me through the entire journey. He encouraged me to get to pool when I didn’t want to, he offered advise, took me for my first lake swim, joined me for training rides and most importantly believed in me!
I’m so lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life.
My urban garden is finally starting to look full and ready for its first summer harvest. I started everything from seed this year as an experiment knowing that some plants may not flourish the way I’d like them to. I have three planter boxes on my patio off of the loft, which means I have to carry liters of water up three flights of stairs… that’s dedication!
I’ve been all about the salads lately and especially like running up to my garden to grab a few fresh veggies for it. A friend at work was raving about an Asian slaw her husband made so naturally I asked for the recipe. I immediately put in a SPUD order for fresh, organic vegetables to make the slaw. This salad is full of flavours and colours. It’s great with seafood and next time I need something for a potluck this will be my dish of choice.
This recipe is created by the amazing Jen Segal at Once Upon A Chef with a few minor adjustments based on what I had in my kitchen. I highly recommend checking out her blog but warn you, you’ll be drooling over her food shots and recipes.
Asian Slaw with Ginger-Peanut Butter Dressing
Makes 6 portions
¼ cup honey
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup unseasoned rice vinegar
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
1 tbsp peanut butter
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp Sriracha sauce (Thai hot sauce – optional)
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 cups shredded green cabbage
2 cups shredded purple cabbage
2 cups shredded carrots
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced into bite-sized pieces
1 cup cooked and shelled edamame
2 medium scallions, finely sliced
¾ cup chopped peanuts
½ cup loosely packed chopped fresh cilantro
I am a triathlete!
After years of dreaming about becoming a triathlete I’ve finally earned the title! Years ago, (way) before I started running, I remember turning on the TV and being consumed by the coverage of the Kona Ironman. I was in awe of these athletes and it sparked a tiny little triathlon fire within. In a way running was easy to embrace, I’ve been walking and running since I was a toddler, and it’s taken up the better part of my life for the past 4 years. For some reason swimming and cycling seemed beyond my skill set. I would say fear is what kept me from jumping into triathlons earlier. I’ve been stepping outside of my comfort zone almost every day for the past 3 months of training. It’s been scary, overwhelming and emotional at times but I’m so glad I decided to start this journey.
First triathlon is complete and Ironman Calgary 70.3 is approaching quickly (2 days)!
Great White North Triathlon
This race takes place in Stony Plain, Alberta and is traditionally a 70.3 long course triathlon, however this year they added a “Olympic ++” distance. I give it a ++ because it’s actually slightly longer:
Olympic Distance → 1500m swim | 40km bike | 10km run
GWN Olympic Distance → 1500m swim | 50km bike | 10.6km run
GWN Day Before
The boyfriend and I woke up early Saturday morning to meet Coach Richelle and her other athletes at a nearby lake for a practice swim. The lake being used for the race is private and was only open to participants mid afternoon for a couple hours. Luckily coach was on the ball and arranged for us to meet her at a neighboring lake earlier in the day. The sun was shinning and the lake was calling to us. Coach went over a few tips about sighting while we suited up. We got into the water and floated around a bit while our bodies got used to the temperature then headed out to work on sighting. We discussed techniques to tackle the turns around the buoys… but lets be honest I was only worried about making the turn without drowning! We chatted a bit about exiting the water and moving into T1 and I was feeling comfortable with the task ahead. I must say, this was the perfect start to the day!
Around 2 o’clock we headed for package pick-up and I was surprised to see a huge line! My patience was tested and I was incredibly relieved when my race package was in hand! The volunteers working the package pick-up were great. They explained everything in the package in detail and took time to answer silly newbie questions. We drove out to Hubble Lake to drop off the bikes and get a look at the lake. This was the moment that it felt real! Banners were set up, hundreds of bikes were racked and if you looked hard enough you could see the first buoy. There wasn’t a ton of information about the Olympic distance details (swim route, bus schedules, etc.) which had me a bit nervous but Coach Richelle talked me through it and I was quickly feeling much better about it.
We headed off for dinner at the Olive Garden and were home early to get organized for the race. We had fancy race number tattoos in lieu of being body marked with a sharpie. This seemed very cool until the tattoo started rubbing off within minutes. Good thing we bought a sharpie at Wal-Mart earlier that day.
GWN Race Day
I surprisingly had a really good sleep and woke up feeling ready to go. Transition 1 and 2 are in different locations for this race so we had to catch the bus to Hubbles Lake. The 70.3 was scheduled to start 90 minutes before the Olympic so I had plenty of time to get organized in T1. I didn’t think about how long I would be waiting before the start and that it would be a little chilly at 7am. I had to wrap my towel around my legs to stay warm (rookie mistake).
Besides being uncomfortably cold I was excited to watch the 70.3 swim. I couldn’t believe how quickly the leaders rounded the buoy’s and made their way back to the beach. It was inspirational watching the athletes complete their swim and transition to the bike.
Finally it was time to get into my wetsuit and dip into the lake to get used to the temperature. Before I knew it we were being herded out of the lake, over the timing mat and onto the beach for the start. I remember feeling surprisingly calm considering I have never done anything like this. I gave the boyfriend a quick kiss, wished him luck and took a couple more deep breaths before the gun went off! 300 meters in I started to feel very uncomfortable. My wetsuit felt tight against my neck and I felt like I couldn’t breath. My mind started racing:
“I don’t want to do this anymore”
“Maybe I can just grab onto a kayak and be done with this”
“You need to calm the F down!”
“You’ve trained for this”
“Try singing. You are my sunshine, my only sunshine…”
That’s right, I started signing and kept repeating the same verse over and over (at least 50 times). I calmed down right away as it gave me something else to focus on. I cleared the first buoy without changing my stroke but after rounding the second buoy I received a swift kick in the ribs. I remembered Coach Richelle’s advice “we’d all be friends if we were on the beach”, very true! I put it in the “fuckit bucket” (better known as the mental “box”) and carried on my way. I was so excited to see the shore approaching and put a tad more power into my stroke!
I was so happy to have survived the swim and anxious to get onto my bike. The lovely strippers had my wetsuit off in a flash. My transition went smoothly and before you knew it I was on the bike.
Luckily Richelle warned me about the hill you have to climb right out of T1, my bike was in a low gear and pushing to the top was a piece of cake.
My plan was to start fueling right away. I went to take a drink of my carbo-pro and electrolyte mix and was stunned to taste only water. Nooooo! The boyfriend and I have similar water bottles and I took his instead of mine. At this point I had a minor freak out as I know how important it is to keep calories up in order to have enough in the tank to get through the race. I calmed myself, put it in the “fuckit bucket” and reminded myself that I had a back-up gel in pocket and I would figure something out at the aid station. I hit the first aid station around 11km and luckily volunteers were holding out gels and bananas. Thank goodness! I didn’t anticipate how difficult it would be to grab a gel while cycling but caught one on the third try.
The bike course was scenic, had fairly tame hills and the perfect amount of aid stations and volunteers. As this is a double loop course for the 70.3 it got a bit congested in areas which made it nearly impossible not to draft. I liked the loop
because I only had to do it once because it gave me an opportunity to see all the athletes which was extreamly motivating.
Nearing the last 10km of the bike I started playing cat and mouse with a couple people. One of whom, I’m convinced, didn’t like being passed by a girl. No problem, go ahead… I’ll catch you on the run. I was getting a bit tired of the ride and was ready to run! I focused on being deliberate with my actions through T2 but I couple things I need to remember for Ironman 70.3 Calgary:
- Untie shoes before
- Transfer Garmin from Bike to wrist in the last 10k of the bike
I was so happy to be off my bike and onto familiar ground. The run is my strength and I felt ready to race this section. I had a couple people in sight that I wanted to reel in but listened to my plan and backed off the pace a bit, allowing my body to adjust. My legs felt a little wobbly for about 5 min as I made my way through streets and alleys to a lovely path system. I neared the 4km and felt great so I picked up the pace and started fishing. With a mile to go I opened up my stride and went for it, crossing the line at 3:20:10.
My only goals were:
- Survive the race
- Have fun
- Stay in the moment
I definitely feel like I accomplished all three!
I was presented a very awesome finisher medal and t-shirt and strolled over to cheer people in. The boyfriend came through shortly after and I was happy to see him finish strong.
Overall the day was perfect, well organized and perfect for newbies. If anything, this race eased my anxiety and proved that my training was on track for the Ironman 70.3… in 2 days!
Summer is here and it is hot! During the summer as the temperature increases my appetite decreases. I have to constantly remind myself to eat something, especially during training. I’m 9 days away from Ironman Calgary (70.3) and eating healthy nutrient filled food is a priority. I noticed myself low on energy last week and think this was due to a large deficit in calories. Going from work, to home, to working out doesn’t always leave a lot of time to focus on eating but this week I’m back on track and feeling less like napping and more myself.
SPUD delivers fresh, local, organic produce to my door every two weeks and lately I’ve been getting some stellar beets… and beets are perfect for buddha bowls! I was first introduced to this salad by my friend (and Naturopath) Susan. It’s so quick, easy and utterly delicious.
If anyone wants to try SPUD (which I highly recommend) I have a coupon code for $20 of free groceries. Just leave me a message below.
Makes 2 hefty portions
1 beet grated
1 carrot grated
½ zucchini grated
3 handfuls of spinach
½ avocado cubed
1 tbsp hemp seeds
2 tbsp of slivered almonds
½ cup of brown rice or quinoa
Chicken breast (optional)
Cooked tofu cubs (optional)
1 cup oil
¼ apple cider vinegar
2 tbsp tahini
2 garlic cloves
dash of cayenne
1.Cook rice or quinoa as indicated on the package.
2. Simply wash, grate and cut veggies
3. Cook tofu or chicken if desired. If grilling tofu add a touch of Tamari to add some flavour.
4. Combine dressing ingredients into a food processor or blender. Blen until well combined and smooth.
5. Assemble into a big bowl and enjoy! I like to prepare all the veggies and let the boyfriend build his own. This is also great for dinner parties.
Where the heck has June gone? I can’t believe it’s been over three weeks since the ultra and in less than a week I’ll be trying my first tri!
So what have I been up to for the past few weeks? I’ve been focusing on recovery, building my triathlon training and spending time with some of my lovely girlfriends. I feel like I’ve been working really hard and am starting to notice a difference :)
I’m pleasantly surprised by how quickly I recovered from the ultra marathon. I was expecting to be in more than after my usual marathon but I think slowing down the pace for this race save my legs! I did have to walk down stairs backwards for a couple days but I managed to wear heels to a work event 24-hours after the race. I thought this was a pretty impressive accomplishment until I went to walk down 2 flights of stairs with our chefs – glad I could provide a bit of comic relief.
For 6 days post ultra marathon I wasn’t allowed to run. I walked quite a bit, made it to the pool for float and jumped on the bike for some easy spinning. My legs were definitely tired but felt pretty good and I was more than happy to take extra rest days!
The Tuesday after the run I went for a massage. I’m usually on runvactions and don’t plan for massages (seems so silly now that I’ve had one). What a great way to flush the lactic acid and get everything moving again! I’ll be adding this to my routine for sure.
One of the things coach Richelle stressed for speedy recovery was healthy eating! I know this sounds like an obvious choice for athletes but it’s very easy to make exceptions after races. ” I just burned over 3,000 calories, I deserve a donut for breakfast, poutine for lunch and obviously a whole pizza for dinner”, okay over exaggeration but you get the point. I will admit I had a very tasty Smash Burger and fries for dinner the night of the race but have been eating lots of fruit, veggies, protein… the good stuff! Honestly, I think this has made a huge difference in recovering quickly.
It’s funny that the swim was the thing I dreaded the most before starting training but it’s now a workout I look forward to. Once you get into a rhythm it’s quite relaxing. A few months ago I could only swim 700m (with lots of breaks) and now I’m swimming 2000m! My swim workouts are always broken up into drills with some speed, some strength and of course endurance. This past week I swam my first 1500m straight which makes me feel less nervous about the upcoming olympic tri. The boyfriend gave me a very nice compliment last week (at least I’m taking it as a compliment) “I used to be able to lap you but now we’re pretty much doing the same pace”.
My wetsuit arrive last week and was a lot of work to get into. I’ve been reassured this means it fits correctly – snug as a bug! I’m excited (and not) to try the wetsuit in a lake this weekend. I hate being cold and I have a feeling Lake Bonavista is going to be freezing!
Rides have been going fairly well. I’ve had to move a couple indoors due to rain but that’s Calgary for you. I had a minor melt down a couple weeks ago when I had to do a solo ride on a Saturday. I’ve been on the highways a number of times over the past couple years but never by myself. I found it extremely intimidating to look up a bike route online, plan out a place to park and ride solo on a semi busy highway for a couple hours. I almost cried and definitely pouted but sucked it up and faced my fears. As soon as I was on my bike, surrounded by beautiful scenery I felt happy. Other cyclists waved or nodded as they passed and I didn’t feel completely alone.
Last weekend Leigh joined me for half of my ride and it was a windy one! There were points where I didn’t know if I was even moving forward. This was great mental training ride as I had focus on being comfortable with the uncomfortable. I’m so glad Leigh was there to suffer with me! Not to mention we had a great chat with the wind at our backs after we turned.
I’m so happy that I’ve dropped my run mileage and can focus on half marathon training! I was getting really sick of the distance during ultra training and am really enjoying the intervals. This is risky to put out there but I’ve been really enjoying the brick workouts. I’ve heard from other athletes that the transition from biking to running is the worst and I’ll admit that it feels a little awkward and heavy but it’s not that bad. Knock on wood.
June 2 – 8
6 hours 40 min
June 9 – 15
8 hours 14 min
June 16 – 22
15 hours 4 min
A girlfriend I grew up with is getting married next month so we’ve been getting together quite a bit this month to celebrate :) We took a girls trip/stagette to Scottsdale and soaked up
booze the 40 degree weather. It was so nice to spend quality time with this group of friends and I even managed to squeeze in some solid workouts including a 6am 40 degree run – no break for this lady!
10 days until my triathlon debut and taste of what to expect for Ironman 70.3 Calgary – I’m feeling strong and oh so excited!
I am an ultramarathoner!
God that feels good to say. I’ve been enjoying recovery mode while basking in the ultimate runners high (yes, it truly exists) for the past week. I know some of you (Crystal) have been waiting for this post but I needed some time to digest and come back down to earth, so here it is! Sit back and relax because I wrote a small novel.
I must start by expressing my overwhelming gratitude towards the people surrounding and supporting me through this amazing journey. My heart is full with love for everyone who made this dream a reality and shared in creating one amazing memory that will last a lifetime. Most of you will be mentioned below but if I forgot (I do have a horrible memory) please forgive me and know how special you are to me.
Race Weekend Festivities
I’ve been so fortunate to be part of the ForeRunner Ambassador family for the Scotiabank Calgary Marathon. I’ve met some amazing local runners/bloggers and have had the insider scoop into all things Calgary Marathon, including invites to some pretty cool events like the Calgary Marathon VIP Event at the Calgary Tower. On Friday night I met up with the ForeRunner ladies (Terry, Michelle, Tina), my date Ang and another local runner/blogger Sue for dinner. We all agreed that it was in our best interest to eat a hearty meal considering we were only days away from the race.
After a lovely dinner on the Milestones patio we headed up 626 feet to the observation deck of the Calgary Tower. What a great spot to host an event! The ladies and I knew Bart Yasso (creator of the Yasso 800’s and an iconic running legend) would be in town for race weekend. We hoped he was going to be at the event but who knew Bart would be hanging with us ladies for a better part of the evening?
The Calgary Marathon introduced some very special guests: Lanni Marchant (Canada’s fastest woman), Dean Karnazes, Ed Whitlock and Bart (yup, first name basis). All four running extraordinaires were bestowed Calgary’s highest honour and officially White Hatted.
Pep Talk + Preparation
I had a great sleep on Friday night and was up early on Saturday morning to meet my coach at the expo before it opened. I had such a busy week at work that I honestly hadn’t had much time to really focus on my race plan. Thank goodness coach Richelle made some time to chat with me. We discussed how I was feeling, what I was planning on doing in certain situations, and above all I promised to sit on the couch with my feet up for the remainder of the day! A few things that I would be focusing on Sunday:
- Stay in the moment – try not to think about what was coming up or what had just happened but live/run in the ‘now’
- Put it in the box – this worked really well! Anytime my mind would veer from the ‘now’ I was to put the thought in an imaginary box
- Fuel – make sure to take in enough ‘food’, water and salt during the race
- Posture – every 5km reset my posture to avoid hunching
Working with coach Richelle has been such a wonderful experience and I am so thankful to her for kicking my butt through ultramarathon training.
As most runners we all have our rituals. Mine is to lay out all my gear the night before so I don’t forget anything.
I was starting to feel a bit nervous about the race in the late afternoon and decided to pull out all my old bibs to remind myself how far I’ve come and what I’ve accomplished. It worked, I felt much more confident and was able to relax for the majority of the evening.
I woke up at 5am, slowly got myself ready and ate a
disgusting bowl of oatmeal. I’m not one who likes eating early in the morning and with race jitters it was tough just to swallow my breakfast. The boyfriend and I drove down to the beltline to park and I was surprised to see so much parking was available considering the Calgary Marathon sold out this year. We dropped our bag and made our way over to the start corrals. Luckily I have a very strong bladder and never have to worry about the potty lines, however they didn’t look to be too bad. I was supposed to meet my running buddies Carole and Don but couldn’t find them in the hordes of people.
The corrals were a bit of a disaster with so many wonderful runners that I decided to be patient and stand outside of them as I wasn’t planning on breaking any time records. A couple minutes out and I spotted Don and Carole, what are the chances?! I was so happy to find them. We had a plan – we were going to stick to a conservative (for us) 6:00min/km pace to preserve energy for the last 7.8km.
We did a fairly good job sticking to pace as we weaved our way through the crowds. It’s so easy to get caught up in the excitement and energy of other runners.
Here’s what km 1-10 looked like:
At the 9km mark we waved goodbye to the half marathoners (including the boyfriend) and ventured through the beautiful communities of Elbow Park and Altadore. We were marveling a hippie costume when Terry ran up from behind. I’m so glad I ran into her and her running partner Lori on the course. Both ladies have had a great training season for the Marathon and looked very strong! I ran up to snap a selfie with Terry before she took off.
The boyfriend’s sister lives close to 50th Ave and brought the family out to cheer me on. It was so nice to see friendly faces and of course a smiling 1 year-old clapping her hands for all the runners :)
Through the Mount Royal campus I started chatting with a fellow from Ontario who was running his first marathon. I get so excited for people running their first as I know the feeling awaiting them at the finish! I was impressed that he chose Calgary and told him he picked the best year to do it.
Here’s what km 11-20 looked like:
By the 23rd km marker Carole was telling me who she was dedicating each km to when I recognized a bystander – my Dad! I immediately veered off course to give him a big hug! My Dad came out to my very first marathon and promised that we wouldn’t miss seeing me complete by first ultramarathon! He rode the course so I was able see him a few times.
My good friend (who I met through running) Cat was on the side lines. She was cheering on her father and jumped on course for a couple hundred meters with me. Cat will make another appearance in the story.
As we continued on our way I noticed another runner I know. I sped up to give Crystal a tap on the bum. She was experiencing some hip issues which was forcing her to slow down but we chatted for awhile and I deemed her strong and able! It was a pleasure to run with her for a bit and I couldn’t leave without a selfie!
We neared the 25th marker and all three of us cheered and high-fived! Half way there! I was feeling good and very upbeat. My dear friend Sue found me next! She too was on her bike and like my Dad was there to support me through my first marathon. Sue is a gem and radiated a boat load of enthusiasm as she peddled beside me for about 500m.
I was headed towards Kensigton and was enjoying the slight downhill after running through the hilliest section of the course. I knew Kensigton and Memorial Drive was going to be the perfect place to stack my friends as we (50kers) had to run through this section three times. First I saw Kristen and Meghan, both looked so stylish with their lattes but that wasn’t going to last long as I gave them a big sweaty hug! I then turned the corner onto Memorial and saw my friends Leah, Krystal and Alyssa. I grew up with these girls and am so fortunate to have them in my life. Group hug, high-fives and they even made signs – my favourite!
Here’s what km 21-30 looked like:
By the 34th km I was starting to feel the heat. It was such a beautiful day for a race but it was a little toasty. I had to slow down for an extra walk break and told Carole to keep going. She’s so strong (and more than double my age I might add). I was so happy to see the 50k turn around, even though this wouldn’t be the last time I saw it. I had to put my head down and focus, my stomach was starting to hurt so I made sure to grab extra water at the stations. Side note: the water & aid stations were beyond amazing! The volunteers were so happy and encouraging.
At 36k I saw my Dad and Sue! This was perfectly timed. I really needed a pick-me-up and they did just that (after I complained about my tummy hurting). They said I looked pretty good….I wasn’t feeling so good but it was nice of them to say it. At this point I knew I was nearing Kensigton and turn around for the last loop of memorial. At this turn I would received my slap bracelet that proved I ran the 50k and ensured I was through the cutoff. I never doubted getting through the cutoff in time but what a feeling it was to have a total stranger slap me with a orange piece of plastic! Thank you random stranger. At the same moment my friends were cheering me on! I almost started crying (put it in the box). Seriously the best friends ever!
Here’s what 31-40km looked like:
Cat and Ashley jumped on course with me for the final
death loop. We’ve been a running trio for years and when they offered to run with me I knew exactly where I wanted them. Cat and Ashley are some of the most positive and supportive girls I know and they lived up to my expectations. Both were bursting with energy which lifted my spirits right back up. We got back on pace and they chatted and joked and cheered. We celebrated every km marker and time flew by. At the 42 mark (marathon distance) the girls turned into my personal paparazzi.
We continued on and they started chatting while I started listening. My Dad and Sue waved one more time before heading off to the finish. This was the final stretch! I’ve ran this route so many times that I had a really good sense of the distance remaining.
Ashley and Cat decided to stick with me. Ashley running and Cat on her baby blue cruiser bike. About 6km out I apologized and told them it was double-headphone time. They continued to chat and keep me going. I saw my friend Adam walking on the route as he tried to find another friend of his. Adam said hello and asked if he could hug me. I was happy to fulfill this request and started crying when he told me how proud he was (in the box). That was it, I was doing it! I was running an ultramarathon. My stomach was still upset so I handed my HR monitor and hydration pack to the girls and told them that I needed to finish the rest by myself. I took off toward East Village.
I was at the last water station and all the sudden these youngsters breezed past me. What the? The 5k had just started and the leading pack was passing me. How heartbreaking! I was on km 48. I continued on and had a laugh with every distance runner I passed while stating the obvious “this just isn’t fair”. Apparently Cat and Ashley hadn’t left me, but instead were following me. They found a way to double on Cat’s cruiser and rode beside me with words of encouragement and laughter. I really wish I had a picture of them, it was priceless.
1 mile left and that last bit of energy kicked in! “I can do anything for 1 mile” was my mantra. As soon as I entered the Stampede Park I was on cloud nine. I was really doing it and the emotions where brewing. My boss was at the 500m mark and jumped out on the course to grab a photo and give me a high-five! She ran her first (and swears it will be her only) marathon in Chicago last year and kicked ass.
I turned the final corner and started to kick (my version of “sprinting” after 49.7km). The grandstand was roaring and I was flying. I crossed the finish line at 5:22 (4th in my age/gender category!). I hunched over with a grin from ear-to-ear and let the water works pour! I forgot what that feeling was like. The overwhelming emotion that comes from completing something you’ve been dreaming about – a true runner high!
I was given my medal, beer stein and started walking through the corral. Carole stopped me and gave me big hug! She finished in 5:09 and was the first in her age and gender category. My Dad and Sue spotted me and gave me a big hug through the gates and insisted on capturing the moment.
Here’s what the home stretch looked like:
I continued through the food area and found my boyfriend, parents, aunt and friends waiting for me! This was the first time some of them have seen me finish. Again the water works came but I couldn’t stop smiling. We found a nice shady spot where I took off my runners and slipped on my Birkenstocks, what a lovely moment! My Mom and Sue are healing wizards, they sat on either side of me and did their Reiki magic. My Dad (stepdad, it can get confusing with 2 fathers) brought me a little lunch box with his famous pulled pork – how sweet! My parents didn’t want me to worry about dinner that night. I didn’t have the heart to tell them that pulled pork was the last thing I wanted to eat at the moment, lol. It was delicious the next day though :)
I usually travel for races so it was a luxury to be in my own home for recovery! I drew myself an epsom salt bath, blended a protein smoothie (served in my beer stein), mixed up some Vega Recovery Accelerator and enjoyed a 2 hour bath complete with Netflix. Yes, I ate in the bath and brought my laptop into the bathroom with me.
Overall, the Calgary Marathon 50th Anniversary 50k was one of the most gratifying and wonderful races to date. I don’t think there’s a photo of me without a huge grin on my face. I had the most fun I’ve ever had racing. Thank you to all the race organizers and volunteers that made it possible. Thank you to my friends and family for believing in and supporting me. Thank you to my body for meeting the crazy demands. Most of all, thank you to my wonderful boyfriend who stands (and runs!) beside me day in and out!
If you haven’t done the Calgary Marathon put it on your list! YaHoo!
I’ve noticed over the past couple months a significant change in my recovery time and am positive that it’s from my nutrition changes. I’ve been discussing this with a few people over the last week and thought I would share what my routine is for a long training day.
When I first started my ultramarathon training journey I asked a lot of questions about the best way to train my body for the extra 8k. Many resources indicated that training was no different for a 50k than a 42.4k which just didn’t sit right with me. I had the opportunity to chat with a local distance junkie, Martin Pernell, who’s advice was to focus on nutrition. He explained that you can train your body to endure the distance but without the proper fuel you won’t be able to sustain the energy required to push the last 8k.
This advice made a lot of sense to me. During marathons I notice a pattern, I’m able to take in fuel (gels) up to 30k but am so sugared out and suffer from stomach pains/bloating that I stop taking them. Through training at slower distances I usually don’t notice an uneasiness however when I’m maintaining and pushing race pace I find my body rejects gels. I can get through with the nutrition taken up to the 30k mark when running a marathon but highly doubt I’ll be able to finish 50k without replenishing calories. Martin suggested that I try Carbo-Pro.
Carbo-pro is amazing! I love that it has no taste, it doesn’t upset my stomach and it forces me to drink more water. Overall and based on my personal experience my body is getting enough calories that my muscles are able to recover very quickly. This month has been filled with very long, very tough runs and my body has never felt better at this stage. I’m a bit stiff and walking a little awkwardly immeditly after the run, however within 3 hours my legs loosen up and I’m walking normally. By the next day I’m able to throw on my gear and jog into work, fatigued yes but not sore.
I had to swap my trusty Nathan Belt for Camelbak due to the amount of liquid I’ll be carrying for 5-5:30 hours of running for the ultramarathon. I’m not in love with the pack I bought as it’s slightly too big when I don’t have a jacket on. I should have bought a women’s specific hydration pack.
Here’s a look at what my long training nutrition looks like:
Oatmeal or Banana
Carbo-Pro – 100 calories per hour
Vega Electrolyte – 1/2 a package
Vega Recovery Accelerator – 1 scoop
Vega Protein – 2 scoops + almond milk + frozen banana
Eggs + 1/2 english muffin + turkey bacon
1/2 english muffin + peanut butter + honey