dream. train. run. repeat.

“We fail all the time, and we learn from it and we get better. I think that’s amazing. You fail your way to success. That’s how it happens, and I’m super comfortable with that. I have no problem pointing out a bunch of failures in my career. But I don’t define myself or my career as a failure.” —Des Linden

This is about running so bear with me if it’s not your thing… It’s spring which means the running season is in full swing.Next weekend is Bluenose Marathon weekend and I think it’s my 7th time running the Bluenose half. David and Mike are doing the 5km and I’m going to add a bit of volunteering and a lot of cheering to the mix.

The following weekend is the Cabot Trail Relay – year: five; leg: 12; starting time: 12:35 am: distance: 15:78 km; running with a team: priceless. 

and other than the Rum Runner’s Relay at the end of September, I have no big plans…

Except for… The Berlin (freaking) Marathon! Whoa! Jenna, Kristin and I are running one of the World Marathon Majors with +40,000 of our friends.Call us crazy for flying to Europe to run and call us crazier for bringing the families. Yes, that’s right, we have a lovely Airbnb booked for 6 = adults, 1 = nine-year-old, 2 = four-year-olds and 2 = 1-year-olds.Don’t worry, it’s going to be amazing… there will be beer and pretzels and If all goes as planned, this will be marathon seven for me and the third of the World Marathon Majors. (Chicago recap, New York City recap, Berlin, London, Tokyo and Boston).We’re 18 weeks out, and training starts now! After spending the last month obsessing over Des’ Boston win and the past five months obsessing about my last marathon I decided to start dreaming big and putting it out there for all to hear. I want this:

Okay, so I don’t need to win Boston… I just want to qualify. For those who are not familiar with what that means, Boston is one of the only races that you need to qualify for entry. Most races simply follow the “you pay, you’re in” method and the big ones (like the other WMM) have a lottery. Boston qualification is a tricky thing, based on your age, gender and speed. Currently, I am in the Female 35-39 age group so I need a 3:40 marathon finish. My personal best is 3:45:45… but here’s where it gets exciting. Berlin is after the 2019 Boston entry cut-off (early September) so no matter what my time is, it will be used for Boston 2020… which means in 2020 I will be 40 and need a 3:45. Now at first glance, you’re probably thinking “girl, you just need to shave 45 seconds of your personal best…” but sadly that’s not the case. Qualifying for Boston is not just my goal… it’s every runner’s goal and when they BQ, they apply. Because registration is so high, not everyone who qualified in their category will actually get accepted to run Boston. Based on previous years, I actually need to run a 3:40-3:42 to hopefully secure a spot…Are you still with me? Great.It will mostly be Jenna and me suffering through the long runs together because Kristin is in Ottawa but, we signed on with a running coach and are starting to get serious!

When it comes to training, I always do my best to put in the miles but there’s never been anyone holding me accountable for how well I am actually running. There’s something to be said about following a plan and knowing your being tracked. Data is being exposed, and all of my Strava followers are watching (for the record, I have three Strava followers: one is Jenna and the other one is our coach). Even though we just started, the feedback has me excited to see the progress as the weeks tick away. My big goals for training are: learn to run by feeling and pay attention to my pace (easy on easy days to save energy for the hard days) + better hydration and fueling and a bit more strength training.  So cross your fingers that training goes well. Even though I want a BQ, I know a large race like Berlin may not be the perfect place to get it. I am prepared to keep plugging away, even if it takes another 10 years and a few more World Marathon Majors.

Regardless of the outcome in September… it’s BERLIN BABY! It’s fun to have two friends training for the same race and exciting to imagine running around Berlin.Oh, and if you are still reading and want to hear more from my good friend Des, there’s a really great podcast episode. It’s before her Boston win and she talks about the importance of setting a big goal, failing and putting in the time. Check it out: Ali on the Run – Des Linden

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(all gifs are from Giphy)

random thoughts during the marathon taper

Do you ever wonder what an amateur marathon runner is thinking about during the days leading up to the race?

Probably not, but I’ll share with you anyway…

  • Why did I sign up for this?
  • Maybe I should just skip it
  • I’m so excited!!!
  • Should I invest in real arm warmers?
  • No, I’ll just cut out some old nylons
  • No, I should get arm warmers, it’s November
  • Should I wear throw away gloves?
  • Yes
  • No, it’s November wear your good gloves
  • I hope I see my family on the course
  • Shorts, leggings, short leggings, short short leggings?
  • Tank top, long sleeve, t-shirt?
  • Should I put my name on my shirt?
  • Hat, no hat, visor, sunglasses?
  • I just want to start running
  • Next year I am doing an October marathon
  • I am never doing this again
  • Maybe I should stick to half marathons?
  • I want to run in a smaller race next year
  • I want to run London
  • I want to get a PB
  • It’s New York, it will be hard to PB
  • I can totally PB
  • Should I run with my phone?
  • Blistex, don’t forget the Blistex
  • Spring ahead fall back!
  • Central Park is not really that big is it?
  • New York is flat, right?
  • Bridges, whatever. I live in hilly Halifax
  • I hate hills
  • The biggest hill is in the first two miles
  • I may never love New York again
  • I am running in the F$#King NYC MARATHON!
  • I hope I finish
  • What if I win?
  • What would Kara do?
  • I just want one nice race photo
  • Who are these people who take good race photos?
  • Avoid wide turns, remember Chicago? you ran 42.9km!
  • Remember to start my watch
  • Remember to stop my watch
  • Carb-load starts now
  • DRINK WATER
  • Should I raise my arms at the finish?
  • I can’t wait to finish
  • Where is the closest veggie burger to the finish?
  • Run so hard it hurts to run for the rest of the year
  • Should I stock up on Halloween candy and save it for after the marathon?
  • Wine or beer to celebrate?
  • Remind myself to remind Mike to have a chocolate milk for me
  • I am most excited about the poncho
  • I hope I see a famous person
  • Maybe I will make it on TV
  • Who even has cable?
  • There’s a reason they call it the BIG CITY
  • Mile markers, ugh. KMs are so much better
  • Why do I always pick American races?
  • 50,000 people, that’s a lot
  • Believe in the teff
  • Believe in the taper
  • How do others run so fast?
  • It’s going to be an AWESOME RUN
  • I hate wind, it better not be windy
  • I hope it’s warmish – like 12-15
  • Not too hot, not too cold
  • Sneakers – which pair? The ones I trained all summer in – they make me feel fast
  • OR the ones that are newer – I haven’t bonded with them as much
  • WHICH ONES???
  • Pack both
  • The new ones right?
  • Embrace the bridges, take it the view
  • I should of made a playlist
  • My relay playlists are pretty good, thanks team
  • Where will I be when Chariots of Fire plays?
  • Remember to remove my earbuds near the finish
  • PACE YOURSELF
  • 24200… all my favourite numbers… that’s a good sign
  • I want people to track me so I will feel the motivation
  • I don’t want people to track me in case it all falls apart
  • People must hate marathoners – they never shut up, ever
  • My friends and family will be more excited when this is over than me
  • I should run a spring marathon?
  • Pack the peanut butter
  • Eat in the morning. Drink in the morning
  • Why does it start so late?
  • HYDRATE ON COURSE
  • I hope I don’t get cramps
  • I hate everyone who can eat those gels
  • Waiting around at the start will suck
  • Bring a magazine for the long wait
  • Remember all the good training runs
  • It’s totally a phantom pain
  • The biggest hill is in the first mile
  • Visualize the finish
  • Smile

If you want to see how the hot mess plays out on November 6, download the app and track me 24200… please. Actually, don’t. No, do.TCSNYCM16 CourseMap v3_web

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four for four

The problem with marathon training (now tapering) is it consumes you. You invest a lot of time and energy in the +16 weeks before a race so it is not surprising you want to talk about  it all.the.time.

Like being pregnant or having a new baby – It is all you think about, talk about, and think everyone else wants to talk about but really, they don’t. Not that they don’t love you and your baby, it’s just not always on their mind. So please bare with me because I have two weeks to go and Chicago will be my fourth baby marathon (knock on wood). In anticipation, I have four things to talk about today:

1. The plan: I am ready to get going. Mike, David and my parents will be in the crowd and I am truly excited to take it all in. That being said, I am not setting a goal. I’ve run big races before (Philadelphia and San Francisco) so I am okay with large crowds and corrals at the start but I think Chicago is a league of their own. I would love to finish under four hours, and it’s possible, but I also want to have fun and experience the atmosphere. I think my only expectation is to try and pace myself at the beginning so I can enjoy the end. In PEI I went out way too fast in the first half and found the last 8 km to be dreadful. I know Chicago is flat and fast so I have to pay attention to my pace and attempt to run (for the first time ever) a negative split. Okay, forget what I said before. That’s my goal. (Read my PEI marathon recap here)

2. Long runs: Not gonna lie… I found this summer’s long runs hard. Maybe it was the humidity, but I am feeling a lot slower then last year. I also wish I did another half marathon this summer for practice and speed but despite the heat, I got out and did all the miles. It is was it is. I started listening to audiobooks (The Girl on the Train and All the Light We Cannot See) as an alternative to music (see below) but I am wondering if the slow narration is an anti-motivator. I’ll listen to music and the crowd it Chicago. Sorry Audible.com… you are not as energetic as Taylor.

miles

3. Rum Runners: So this happened. It’s one of the local events that has been on my radar. A few years ago I was invited on a team but I couldn’t make it but this year, my former Cabot Trail Relay Captain Extraordinaire, Robyn, formed a team and invited me. Yah! The timing worked well because I wanted to do five races this summer and this would be the finale – plus, with two weeks until Chicago, it was a great practice race.

IMG_3534

The best part about a relay is running with a team. When you run, you have a crew of cheerleaders lining the road and when it’s not your turn, you get to be a cheerleader… which is a workout too. I ran leg 1 (13.4 km) at 6:30 am. It wasn’t the most scenic leg but that didn’t matter because it was dark. I was relieved to run in the early morning despite the chilly temperatures and finished in 1:04. Our rookie team did great and we cheered our hearts out. It’s a beautiful course from Halifax to Lunenburg and there were bean burritos and homemade salad at the end. Yes.IMG_3554 IMG_3557 IMG_3560 IMG_3564 IMG_3567 IMG_3576 IMG_3577 IMG_3596

4. Music: I need some new music. I have been running with the same mix for almost two years. Although it keeps growing I need to edit out a lot of the songs that are starting to annoy me (Blurred Lines, Happy, etc.). I am open to great suggestions and as you can see, I will listen to just about anything. My most recent download is Ryan Adam’s 1989 but I am not sure he’s much of a pick-me-up. The plan is to listen to music all the way to kilometre 41. I already have Kayne West’s Gold Digger on my list. Help.

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 7.49.47 PM

That’s it. I will take a bunch of pics in Chicago and recap but then that will be it about running for a long time. I need to get back to bathroom re-dos, calendars and holiday cards.

If you too are running a fall race, good luck!

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chi town

I’m at the point in marathon training where I need to spend less time thinking about the training and more time actually training… The long runs are creeping in and it’s starting to get serious.

I am so excited for this race… It’s the CHICAGO MARATHON!

giphy

A (hopefully) sub-4-hour sightseeing tour of the city should give me a nice peak at what Chicago has to offer but my list of other things to see and do is growing.

14 CM Course Map

We are arriving on the Thursday before the race and staying until the following Wednesday – David is coming, which means less nightlife and more chicken-finger-friendly establishments but I think it will be an awesome adventure for all of us – including my parent’s too! With the race on Sunday, I plan to squeeze in most of the sightseeing afterwards to avoid fatigue and blisters prior to the run, making for a lot of things to see in a small amount of time however, not to worry, planning is what I do best. The number one item on my list is the CAF River Cruise  so I already booked our tickets for the morning after the race – I think an architectural boat tour will be all my aching legs can handle. Other items on the list include:

Let me know if you have any recommendations – I have never been to the Windy City!

Chicago

A. Silver Bean necklace / B. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off / C. Catstudio Chicago Pillow / D. Ork Chicago Poster / E. Chicago Flag bowles / F. Chicago Cubs patch / G. Chitown Chicago T-Shirt / H. Chicago Skyline Socks / I. Chicago Blackhawks hat / J. Chicago Style Hotdogs / K. Deep dish pizza / L. Chicago Art Print by Rifle Paper Co. / M. Chicago Bulls Sunglasses / N. Chitown Chicago Beer Koozie / O. Garrett Popcorn / P. Chicago is Always a Good Idea Print

psst. If you like what you’re reading, please subscribe and share. xomeg