CIM Training – Week 4 & 5

Weeks 4 & 5: August 29th – September 11th

Monday – Grind with my Aunt who was in-town from San Diego.

Tuesday – Back to the track! It’s always so hard to drag myself up there (especially the first time) but feels so great after. We did 2x800m ‘warm-ups’ as we waited for stragglers to arrive and then i did a modified work-out of 1200, 1600, 1200 (as the rest of them – speedy as they are did 1600, 2000, 1600) Overall it was a 17km day including the cool-down laps and running to and from the track. My paces got progressively slower as the evening went on but i was just happy to be running ‘fast’ again.

Wed – Amelia was in-town and we did an easy 10km science world seawall run. Great to see her and catch-up over beers after!

Thursday – Track work with the clinic, we ran to Hamber and did 4×1000 as expected my times were faster on Thursday than on Tuesday as it helps having people around the same speed as i am to give me the extra push!

Friday – Another Double Grind. 1st: 54 minutes, 2nd: 51 minutes.

Saturday – Winery touring in Osoyoos.

Sunday – Sitting by the lake in Osoyoos.

Monday – Make-up long run after three days of eating and drinking = disaster! I went out intending to do the route the clinic did on Sunday but not even 10 minutes into the run my shin was on fire and later my foot was numb (weird). I was heading home over the burard bridge when the pain subsided. I ended up clocking 19km for the day.

Tuesday – First day of work in Calgary (this was the news i eluded to in my last post!) i’m working on a project in Calgary and will be there a fair bit in the next few months. any tips on winter running is appreciated! ah!

Wed – I went to the Eau Claire running room and did some fartlekking with the marathon group there. It was 5×500 (a bit weird I thought but happy to have some peeps to run with). 14km total

Friday – attempted to do some speed work along the seawall which ended as just some running around the seawall! 13km

Sunday – Hot run to Burnaby Sportscomplex and back. I opted to sleep-in rather than start at 7:30am. 29km in 2 hours and 42 minutes.

Total Kilometres in week 4 & 5: 113km

Total Grinds: 3


* Any cold weather running tips to help me survive the Calgary winter would be much appreciated!


Filed under Marathon Training, Running

CIM Training – Week 3

Week 3

The weeks are flying by here! It seems every time I turn around I’m writing a blog post.

I had one loyal reader say she was glad i resurrected my blog so i’ll continue!! Maybe she’ll resurrect hers too :)

Monday – Well deserved rest day after the 29km run to West Van and the Grind the day before!

Tuesday – unscheduled rest day. I decided at the last minute to join my Mum and Grandma who were vacationing in Penticton. By the time I arrived in Penticton it was time for a glass of wine ;)

Wed – 10km run by the canal in Penticton, followed by a lovely afternoon of winery touring and tasting and a dip in the lake. Lovely. Not sure how Ironmen/women run a marathon in the heat after swimming and biking  as i was hot on my 8am run!

Thursday – 6km run in the morning by the canal in Penticton. Grind on my own (52 mins) followed by BCMC trail with my co-workers (1hr4)

Friday – rest

Saturday – 10km seawall run

Sunday – 24km modified route that the marathon clinic was doing. My sister was in-town and I wanted to run with her. She hadn’t run further than 21.1 km prior to this run and she did great in the heat! After our run we enjoyed a well-deserved dim sum feast followed by lazing around  kits pool in the afternoon and Ben Harper at the Malkin bowl in the evening!

Total Km: 50km
Total Grinds: 2 (counting BCMC)

Grind for Kids  – 10/20 and $687.50 raised.


*I need to make it a priority to get five runs in a week (mileage seems a bit low right now) and my schedule does have five runs. And the one i sacrificed this week was the longer 16km one (Bad Andrea). I blame the last-minute trip to Penticton.

*I have a bit of a life change coming up though so we’ll see how my training adjusts to that. stay tuned.

*Also i said i was going to go to yoga this training cycle?! Help, yoga buddy required.


Filed under Marathon Training, Running, Sister, Vacation

CIM Training – Week 2

Week 2

Monday – rest day

Tuesday – 6km recovery run

Wednesday – 2km warm-up to the RR plus 10.5km easy run in preparation for 10 hills on Thursday. We did the science world seawall route, a classic favorite. Highlight of the day, pirate paks for adults at Whitespot!

Thursday – 10 hills at 29th ave, going easy the day before still didn’t seem to help me out here. Hills, why are you so hard these days?

Friday – After some feedback as to the number of Grinds completed for Grind for Kids. I thought I’d better get at it and decided to do my first double Grind (back to back Grinds.) I purposely tried to slow myself down on the first one, to save energy for the second. The 1st i completed in 55 minutes. The second I just went at whatever pace felt good and that ended up being 1hour and 1 minute.  For a split second I contemplated a third.

Saturday – rest. beach. drinks! (schedule had me doing 6km recovery run)

Sunday – 29km long run to Dundarave. We always seem to do this run on the hottest day of the year! I started out running with the 3:30 pace group but I was trailing behind up to Prospect Point and thought if I continued on with them i was going to hate every minute of the run. I blame my double grinds ;)

I waited for the 345 pace group to arrive at Prospect Point so I could join them.  I was waiting for quite awhile as apparently Greg got them lost down in the trails? It was a hot one but made doable by the pace and the 10 and 1s.  It was also lovely to run with some new people! I had  committed to doing the Grind with a friend later that night. She told me she wanted to ‘get a good workout’ . Yikes. My legs were having none of that but luckily of the four of us, two wanted to take it easy and the other two went ahead.

All in all a decent week, but I think I have to get some speed back in my legs for the upcoming Bellingham Bay Half!

Total kms: 63km

Total Grinds: 3

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Filed under Marathon Training, Running

CIM Training – Week 1

Training for Marathon #4 (California International Marathon) officially begins!! And out goes my excuses for missing runs! Yes, you heard it here first.

With training also comes weekly blog posts!

Monday –  So to begin the week I made up my missed Sunday run and did an easy 20km run around the seawall.

Tuesday was a rest day and more importantly Adele in concert! Definitely worth skipping track work for…not that i felt like i was skipping since the Point Grey track hasn’t seen me in months.

Wednesday – I am loosely following a schedule from Advanced Marathoning that had 13km on the schedule with 6km at Half Marathon pace (HMP). I ran to the store to warm-up. We were running out to second beach pool and back, as opposed to trying to run just 6km at HMP I thought I’d try to keep up with Kristine et al. I was successful until about 8km in when they pulled ahead. It was 10km with an average pace of 4:48 and we’ll count the last push to the store as the cool down ;) Not bad. Not quite target  HMP but I felt like  a decent showing for my first ‘real’ run back. I  ran home to clock 14km for the day. I also registered for the Bellingham Bay half on Wednesday!

Thursday – We ran the infamous Boot Camp Run, in actuality i would rather do this run than hill repeats but man it felt hot. Maybe pushing it Wednesday wasn’t such a great idea as i sure felt like i had legs of lead coming up those hills. Oh well, as Alan said, boot-camp run in week 1 is pretty good! Pat self on back :) Total 16km

Friday – Grind with my Dad.  Shout out to my Dad for completing his first Grouse Grind! And on that note please support me as i Grind for Kids! And thanks if you already have :)

Saturday – The Advanced Marathoning schedule had a 6km recovery run. Is that worth putting on running clothes for?!

Sunday – My first long run with the group in over a month (yikes). So i thought I’d see what the 3:30 pace group was running and attempt to run with them. We agreed on 20 and 1s and keeping the running pace to 5:30. This didn’t really happen as we seemed to have some ppl better suited for the 3:15 group with us! I clocked 22.3 km in 2 hours for an average pace of 5:23. It was tough up some hills but I’m glad I slogged it out with that group.

Total for the week

Distance: 78 km (a bit misleading due to the 20km make-up run on Monday)


Filed under Marathon Training, Running, Uncategorized

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.

Boston 2011, two weeks later

Where do I begin…. the beginning I suppose?

I spent most of 2011 preparing for Boston, talking about it, training, avoiding “dangerous” activities (snowboarding, ultimate) only to be struck with some odd foot pain two weeks before the race. I was definitely more devastated than I probably let on. It was the evening after our 23km run out to UBC and back along the beach that it started.

The morning run felt great. Christina and I flew down northwest marine drive. Our average pace was 5:05 for the whole run. I was ready! Then later that evening, I felt a weird pain in the bottom of my foot. I thought/hoped/prayed it was a phantom taper pain. I wrote notes to myself and posted them around my apartment. My mum found this one yesterday.

Two weeks out, I cut back my intensity (mileage was already dwindling due to the taper) and sought physio help. My regular physio was booked until April 14th (I flew to Boston on the 15th) so I got in to the only physio I could. He said it was an inflammation of my post-tibia insertion. I was happy it wasn’t Plantar Fasciatis. He stuck some needles in my foot, calves, IT band. Using a procedure known as IMS.  Although it seemed to feel better, I always question these ‘miracle’ type cures. What is the root of the problem?

I was still nervous. I did the last 10 miler a week before the race. Pace was good. Foot didn’t hurt but felt “different” but it did hurt later the day. I decided to do an extreme taper  and didn’t run the 7 days before the race.

THE HAY IS IN THE BARN. That was this week’s mantra. I didn’t put it on a post-it though.

But still it was there nagging a bit, having me worry…I had been really lucky in my first two marathons and showed up at the starting line feeling ready, injury free. Boston wasn’t going to be like that.

Race weekend flew by in a blur:

red socks game

race package pick-up

photo ops

BRC represents, pre-race pasta dinner

But I just wasn’t excited the way I  usually would be or should have been. I was in Boston. I was running the freaking Boston marathon….I was more nervous about whether my foot would crap out on me. Running a marathon is painful enough without having to worry about a real injury.

Race morning came and Aly and I rose bright and early to catch our bus to the Athletes Village.



athlete's village

The first half of the race was going super, according to plan. No foot pain. I kept it in check in the first 10km downhill, clocking a split of 50:07, honestly it was easy to go slow as there were a fair number of people around me. I had to laugh at the fools running on the side of the road trying to get ‘ahead’. It looked like a lot of work! I did notice that it was hot. I was happy I’d put on sunscreen and was carrying my own water but shocked at the heat. I hit the half at 1:46:05 and thought, I was on my way to a 3:30 marathon time. I was hoping to excise the 3:40:xx marathon demons.

Then at km 23/24,  I got a sharp shooting pain in my foot. It was unbearable; I could not  run. I thought I was going to have to sell my Boston 2011 jacket on eBay and show up at dinner that evening medal-less. I was devastated. I stopped and removed my orthotic. Maybe that would help? No, that felt really weird. I stopped and put it back in. Somehow the pain lessened. Running on the side of the foot helped. I decided I was going to cross that line if I crawled over it or if it took me six hours. Luckily neither of these things happened.

I tried to break the race down from there. My family was at mile 17, get there. Then get over the hills to mile 21 and then it’s almost over. The problem with training in kms and racing in miles is that you don’t really have a sense of how bloody long a mile is.

marathon support team in Newton

I tried to soak up the atmosphere as I had to slow my pace. I saw a Santa Claus, a drag queen, kids jumping on trampolines, crazy college kids. I also loved the large adidas signs that lined each town.

hopkinton with excitement

ashland with stride

framingham with confidence

natick with nerve

wellesley with screams

newton with grit

brookline with determination

brookline with ambition

boston with swagger

boston with love

The runners in costume, the children, the families, the ridiculous crowd support. I wished that my ‘babe patrol’ logo was readable and next time I will sew my name on shirt. Yes, there will be a next time.

The second half was truly a blur. I would look at my watch and think okay, if you finish the last 7 km at race pace you can get ‘this’ time . I would then speed up only to have to slow down due to the pain in my foot. I ended up finishing in 3:47:17. Which is a personal worst but also a time i’ve since become quite proud of.

one day, i will look good in race photos, one day

it seemed like it took FOREVER to get our blankets, medals, food, bags and the only thing on my mind was finding my family. I did. We took tons of photos. It was great having them there.

At the hotel I looked at my foot. The bottom was black and blue. I had an ice bath.

Then Alan started messaging me. He couldn’t find Brian. I assumed when we didn’t get a finish time for him it was because his chip malfunctioned. We later found out he was in the hospital. Alan went on a search for him and finally found out what hospital he was at. We were all relieved to hear he was okay.

The next day, I was extremely slow walking. I had to walk on the side of my foot so it wouldn’t hurt but that hurt as my leg was effed up from too much side running/walking. We noticed there was a free injury clinic for runners out in Newton. It was conveniently located right at the subway stop my sister and family had watched the race at. I got the best care ever. I was in within 10 minutes and saw a physiotherapist followed by an orthopaedic surgeon. He determined that the shooting pain in my foot was my plantar fascia tearing. They set me up with a free air cast/boot thing and crutches, with a 4-6 week recovery time.

walking wounded

I was pretty emotional after this.  This certainly wasn’t the way I’d envisioned my Boston experience to unfold. I’d never been on crutches and didn’t realize how you can’t do anything for yourself. Luckily I had my sister to take care of me in Boston, and my parents/sister in Chicago (where we vacationed after Boston). My Mum has hung around Vancouver a bit longer to shuttle me to physio etc. My family rules.

Things were put in perspective though when i found out a close university friend passed away unexpectedly the Wednesday evening after the race. So what if i can’t run for 6 weeks? I just ran the freaking Boston marathon. I am lucky.

race mantra, which my sis cleverly put on a sign, runners loved it.


Filed under boston, Running

The End of the Road

Wow the Road to Boston blog fell off the rails…ooops…the truth is around Christmas time Alyson asked me if I was going to be blogging much and I said that I thought I should run more and blog less. I took that to heart!

My training for the past three months has been my strongest and most consistent yet. I reached my first 100km week and have ran 887 km since January 1st, in 77 hours burning 50,000 calories.

I also ran my first double a few weeks ago. My body actually really took to the high mileage and I wished that I introduced it earlier.

What else have I been doing since the First Half?

Well…..I turned 30 and to commeroate this milestone, I had several parties that culminated with a bull ride. I was worried that the bull riding  fell into the “dangerous” sport category (which I was avoiding while training for Boston) but the the liquor convinced me otherwise.

Injury free ride

I ran the St Patrick’s day 5km race! Fun, even with the hot (fashionably and temperature-wise) hats.

We're so Irish

I ran 364 km in March.

And now, I am on the ‘taper’ road to Boston and so excited!

P.S. I’ve also been wondering if I need to change my blog name after April 18th?


Filed under Uncategorized

The First Half, My Second Half

First off, thanks to the weather gods for the dry weather! I hadn’t ran a dry race since the Sun Run last year. It was much appreciated.

Also, thank-you to Greg for educating me on how to use my Garmin. Can you believe I ran two marathons manually hitting lap when the Garmin could have done that for me? As a result, I now have a km by km breakdown of the First half!

Next, thank-you to the cheering and support section – Michael (even if I had to shout out to him when i ran by him near the start, his cheering at mile 12 made up for it!), Alan and Heather.  Thanks to Carolyn and Evelyn for coming down after their long run.

Now that my acceptance speech is over, on to the race deets:

I felt a bit anxious leading up to this race and wasn’t feeling super mentally prepared. My training had been going okay. I was getting to the track once a week and running at least four times. After the fall though, i basically eliminated all cross-training/strength training and my fifth weekly run. I was on more of a maintenance training schedule trying to let the knee heal.

I  ignored any post race rules that i usually have such as not drinking a few days leading up to the race and eating only familiar foods. I was a bit worried after a meal of chorizo and seafood at La Bodega the evening before the race but luckily i was fine. I think ignoring superstitions, especially for a tune-up race like this, can be a good exercise in not taking everything so seriously all the time!

Prior to the race, people were asking me what my goal was and I  kept saying to beat my PB although I was actually thinking that my goal was to REALLY beat my PB. I hadn’t raced a half in a year. I’d ran multiple training runs over the 21km mark, of course and two marathons but no halfs in the books.

So, similar to the approach I take when making marathon goals. I made three goals:

Amazing: sub 1:37

Great: sub 1:40

I can live with that: sub 1:46 (previous PB)

I ran the first half in 0:48:21, and sloooowed down (story of my life) in the second half running it in 50:28 which is a positive split of 2:08 (yikes). I did PB on my 10km in the race as well (woo) 45:44.

Finishing in 1:38:49.

Once the race was over I was happy with my time but wondered why I hadn’t pushed just a little harder (typical behaviour of an a-type personality) to get that NYQ. I had some bouts of negative self talk through the mid kilometres. You know, “if I slow by xxx seconds/km I’ll still get a PB”. I really need to create some good mantras (that I won’t put on my shoes) to repeat and hopefully eliminate this in the future.

This race showed me  that  a New York qualifying time in the half is definitely within reach.  And now, an official (not secret) goal for 2011 is to do just that so that I can run it in 2012! You heard it hear first (if you didn’t already know ;)

This race also reminded me  how much i love running races at home. It’s so nice to see so many familiar faces on the course and the sidelines. Although given the layout of the race, i didn’t see too many fellow runners. It was also great to hang-around the finish area forever (two hours) basking in everyone’s post-race PB highs and enjoying the great spread put on by the First Half. Ethical Bean coffee may be my new recovery drink of choice. I think I only spoke to one person who didn’t PB. I even ran into a girl i met when i was teaching English in China in 2003 (small world!)


Filed under Running