The Season Ain't Over

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The Season Ain't Over

It's been a week now since the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon and I think everything is starting to sink in. Phew! What an amazing weekend for Canadian running eh? This week has been a bit of a blur, and I was not really sure how to put it all down in writing. So, sticking to the format I used post Moscow, I'll give you all a lil' play by play of things.

Of course it had been in the back of my mind since Worlds that I wanted to do a Fall marathon, but it's one thing to have a quick thoughts about something... it's a whole different ball game when that "something" is running another marathon. I had been in contact with Alan Brookes off and on about the idea of running Toronto, but did not want to make any decisions until I was certain my body (and mind) were ready to conquer the distance. Thankfully, Alan was more than accommodating and let me wait until the last minute to make up my mind. I think he, and probably a lot of those that are close to me knew what my decision was going to be, I just needed to be sure of it.

http://runningmagazine.ca/lanni-marchant-to-run-stwm/#comments 

Once I was officially announced as part of the elite field, then things started to move quickly. My travel was booked, I answered a few questions for interviews, and I attended the race expo and media event.

 Practicing our stare down

Practicing our stare down

Here are some links to the interviews:

http://o.canada.com/sports/lanni-marchant-and-krista-duchene-part-of-canadian-marathoning-boom/

http://runningmagazine.ca/10-questions-lanni-marchant/

I arrived in Toronto the Thursday before the race, went for a short shake out run and then met up with my friend Lyndsay for dinner. It was just what I needed, a relaxed, hilarious conversation and a good beer.  The perfect reminder that I was there to have fun. I got back to my hotel room and got to catch up with my roommate for the weekend, Natasha. I was able to again see Ron O'Hare for some treatment on my quad and calves and got to hang out with another top notch physio Chris Napier as we drove around to check out the course.

The rest of the weekend leading up to the race was pretty standard, lots of carbs, lots of water, lots of laying around. Maybe a little bit of scaring Natasha with all of our marathon horror stories at dinner. Natasha and I did our best to keep ourselves entertained, which included decorating our bottles forthe aid stations. I must give credit where credit is due and thank Rejean Chiasson for his tips on how to make grabbing our bottles easier. He uses pipe-cleaners, but since we weren't near any craft stores Natasha and I went with flexible drinking straws.

  Ok, so we may have taken Rejean's concept and upped the girly quality a tad

Ok, so we may have taken Rejean's concept and upped the girly quality a tad

  My standard lunch box bottles a lil' jazzed up

My standard lunch box bottles a lil' jazzed up

Krista and I had chatted during the weekend about what pace we were looking for, and we were lucky to have Rejean back to pace the event (Last year he helped pace Krista to her awesome finish in tough conditions). We also were fortunate to have a second pacer, Josephat Ongeri, added to the mix the night before. I was pretty low key with my expectations for the race and pace, telling both Krista and Rejean that I'd be evaluating how I felt each 10k and that my feelings wouldn't be hurt if Krista decided to make a move that was quicker than I felt I was ready for.

And now the fun part... RACE DAY!

Pre Race:
I felt a little full when I woke up, but really relaxed. Natasha and I did our usual putzing around as we got ready and kept our spirits up.  It was a bit brisk outside, but we all knew it was going to be some pretty amazepants race weather. We got to the race venue, dropped off our junk and a group of us headed out for a short warm up. We went down to the start line with the last of our warm ups on and started our stride outs and other pre-race routines that are likely more to control our nerves than anything. I saw my sisters and Mom on the side of the start line, danced a little bit to the music while standing beside Krista and Rejean... Man, I hope I can always feel that relaxed at the start line.

The first 10k:
Off the start, I still felt like my stomach was off but I did my best not to let it worry me. I made a point to grab both my bottles and drink the fluids that were in them. We were a bit quick through our first 10k split (hoping for 35 min even and coming through just under that), but I felt strong and relaxed. I had a few panicked moments where my left quad was feeling a little sore and tight, but reminded myself that it had felt like that in workouts and at the 10k champs and I was able to manage it then.
Much like Rotterdam, we had a good sized group of guys... running behind us... and it got a little congested coming in for our aid tables, but it was so early in the race it wasn't worth getting worked up about and our pacers did an excellent job of keeping the other runners aware of our moves.

  When you're "thissss big" please look out for smaller "Lanni sized" beings

When you're "thissss big" please look out for smaller "Lanni sized" beings

10k - 20k:
My quad had settled down by this point, but my hamstring had started to pull right under my butt bone on my left side. Whew... marathons are interesting. Again, it's not something that hadn't flared up in previous training runs, so I just focused my attention on staying relaxed and behind Rejean and Krista. The half marathoners split off during this portion which helped reduce some of the traffic.  I saw my Mom and sisters right around 18 or 19k and they were cheering like crazy which put a huge smile on my face. That's right Lanni, this is supposed to be fun.

My guts still were feeling quite gross, and I was starting to have to spit up a bit during the run... and then of course, I suck at spitting and running so I'd start to choke a little... pretty I know. I was still grabbing my bottles, but was not as concerned with getting it all in. Something is better than nothing... at least that's what I was telling myself.

We were still a bit quick through this 10k portion, but as everyone knows the first half of the course runs a bit quick, and I aside from a few niggles I was feeling very relaxed effort wise. 

20k - 30k:
This part of the race was mostly uneventful. Rejean and Josephat Ongeri brought us through the half way point in 1:13, quick, but as mentioned not anything I was worried about. My legs were feeling great, and my guts had started to settle. I was still grabbing my bottles, but started passing them up to Josephat to drink since Rejean was not available to share his bottles. I'm pretty sure it was just the three of us through most of this portion. We had caught a few of the other ladies who had gone out ahead of us, and were still maintaining sub 35 min 10k pace pretty easily.

30k - 40k:
This is where the race began. Josephat brought us through 30k right around 1:44, and then at 31k said "Ok, I stop now". And just like that, it was just Krista and I, and Dan Way on the lead bike. This is where I started to look at my watch a bit more and noticed that our 1km splits were starting to slow a little bit. I had evaluated my body at each 10k portion and never felt like I was working beyond my capacity, so I figured I could afford to put in a bit of effort and get those 1km splits back down to 3:29/3:30. I also knew that for each kilometer that clicked by with Krista and I running side by side, it was one less kilometer I had available to try and put in a gap and protect myself if my left calf decided it was done.
Talk about running scared. I had pulled away from Krista over the next few kilometers, but it wasn't like I dropped her like a bad habit. I knew she was there and moving along quite quick still. I just kept my focus on enjoying the experience. When I'd see some of the other elites on an out and back portion I'd cheer and I'd let myself get excited when I'd pass through a large crowd of spectators. My guts were feeling pretty good by now and I was still grabbing my bottles, but would just swish my mouth and then toss them. 
The strangest thing about this portion of the race and through until the finish was that my left forearm started to cramp on me. Oh, hello marathon... you are one crazy ride. It was about 35km when my arm started to contort into the claw, and about 37km when my left calf finally decided it had had enough.
My mantra the entire weekend was to stay relaxed and enjoy the race... yah, ok, that's all fine and dandy until your left side starts to cramp and contort Lanni. I did my best not to panic. I knew that I had a really great race going and that I just had to keep moving forward. I relaxed and instead of focusing on my calf, focused on keeping my forearm in check.
I hit the 40k split and knew that I was going to make it... it was just a matter of keeping my legs moving forward.

The Final 2.2 km:

Talk about a distinct difference from the last 2.2km in Moscow. I hit the 41km marker and that's when I finally knew that I had it. The crowds were amazing and all I could do was start to smile. I saw the 800m countdown and really started to get excited. I came around the final bend and could see the race clock and felt like I was going to lose my mind. I realized I could potentially break 2:28 and I tried... having one awkward step right before the finish because of my stupid calf. Some have me at 2:27:59... others at 2:28. Maybe someday I'll try to sort out the difference... but right now I am still riding the high of the entire weekend.

  Just a small portion of my amazing support system

Just a small portion of my amazing support system

I hope to never forget how excited and amazing crossing that finish line was. My family was there, Krista came in soon after me... it was amazing. It has taken a full week for my brain to catch up. A huge PB, a new Canadian Record, and yes, a nice hefty chunk of change that helps with that pesky law school debt.  
I have definitely taken this week to reflect and celebrate... so very happy that Moscow wasn't the end of my season!

 Post race burger

Post race burger

 Making my mother proud with my beer drinking

Making my mother proud with my beer drinking

 Recovery week never tasted so good!

Recovery week never tasted so good!

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It's a Celebration

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It's a Celebration

  It took 2 races in Ottawa, and returning to the Toronto Zoo 4x (2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013), but I finally did it! I finally got to break the tape as the Canadian 10k Champion

It took 2 races in Ottawa, and returning to the Toronto Zoo 4x (2010, 2011, 2012, & 2013), but I finally did it! I finally got to break the tape as the Canadian 10k Champion

First thing on the Calendar after Worlds was the Canadian 10k Championships. I had come back to training after Moscow feeling pretty strong. I did a little Cross-Country race in Nashville for fun, and ran the marathon portion of a Rev3 in Ohio as a solid training run. Then, like the fool I sometimes am, I decided that I did not need any help moving some items from Georgia up to Chattanooga, and tweaked my left quad the weekend before the Championships. I will admit that I was a bit concerned, but was able to get in touch with Ron O'Hare, one of our top notch Canadian physios in the Toronto area and had him work on it the Thursday before the race.

It was a rainy and grey day for the 10k race, but true to form the Canadian Running Series crew had everything under control. I knew it was going to be a tough race with KristaNatasha and Loudmilla all lining up to join in the fun. My plan was simple, get out and get a gap on the more straight part of the course and hope to maintain it until the end. I was pleased with how my quad felt during the race, and was quite surprised when I realized that I had actually extended my gap over the second half of the course.  After finishing everywhere from 2nd to 5th, I finally pulled off the title, and my Mom was there to see it! 

The weekend was capped off with some celebrating down here in Tennessee at the Titans Football game followed immediately by a Nashville Predators game... the perfect "man day" as my brother put it.

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"Don't worry about the competition. Just focus on making it to the finish line"

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"Don't worry about the competition. Just focus on making it to the finish line"

So my mind has cleared, my legs are healing and I’m starting to feel hungry to train again. Guess that means it’s about time I write this entry.

Ok, ladies and gents! Where to begin? Obviously the end is not what I had ever even thought as a possibility, but it is what happened… and, well,  $h*t happens.
 

The last few weeks of my build up were pretty uneventful. I was logging some good mileage, hitting some pretty good numbers in my workouts, and was sleeping pretty well.  I did have a few moments during those last few weeks where I was starting to doubt that I was in any form of good shape. It took a lot of reviewing my training log; comparing it to my Rotterdam training log, to convince myself that I was in good shape.  Of course I still had a lil’ bit of a niggle of pain in my left hamstring and hip, but that sucker has been a literal pain in the a$$ since November, and aside from a few modified runs here and there, it wasn’t something that I was going to let play on my mind.

I arrived in Germany with my elephant sized ankles and made it to the Canadian training centre without anything too spectacular happening. I chatted with Krista briefly, and we decided to run later that afternoon. Perfect! 2 hours to prop my legs up and try to deflate my elephant feet. I shudder to think what my ankles would do without compression socks.
 

Krista and I did most of our runs together. I still had a few doubles, but nothing about my mileage was crazy. I was getting regular treatment by the great team of massage therapists and physiotherapists at the camp and was starting to feel like my bum and hip were going to get with the program and help me run that marathon thing in a few days.  I did one last track workout in Germany, took the day off to travel on Wednesday, and then started my carb loading and major taper.

By the time Friday night rolled around I was feeling confident and prepared.  My hip wasn’t perfect, but I was certain it was going to cooperate for at least the majority of the race.  I figured getting to the finish line was going to be a challenge, but not anything I couldn’t handle… haha… yeah right.
 

Saturday… RACE DAY… finally!  We knew it was supposed to be a warm day. I had prepared in my mind to try and keep with Krista and Mary Davies, but had also formulated the backup plan to not ever press the pace if it slowed. I had my goals in mind and figured it wasn’t going to be a PR day… that’s fine, go to plan B… top 20.

THE FIRST 5K
 

Alright, they struggled to line us up for the start in any order… with about 30 seconds to go they finally just had us line up however we could fit, and then we were off.  It wasn’t until we hit about 150m on the track that I got that “Oh my, this is really happening” feeling. I kept my effort feeling easy and tucked in behind Krista and Mary.  We split the first 1k pretty much on pace for our original time goal (3:28).  The effort felt easy and though we were near the front of the race, I could tell we had a huge pack and wasn’t too concerned with where I was running. Our first 5k was a few seconds quicker than our planned pace (17:16). I was still behind Krista and Mary and was quite content to hang out there. I got my aid bottle, downed it, and kept running. It felt like the liquid was sitting pretty high in my stomach, but that’s how my guts always seem to feel during these things.

5K to 10K
 

Here’s where things started to get interesting.  Krista had tucked behind me at the turn around. No biggie, we traded out a bit like that in Rotterdam.  Deena Kastor had surged up and was separated from our pack a little bit.  I felt like the second aid station was a little too close from the first one, but decided to go ahead and drink all the fluid.  “Better get it in early, I’m gonna need this to fuel me later”… um yah… huge understatement.  Trent had packed lunch bags of ice for us to grab on course.  I made use of one of the bags, ripped it open to put some of the ice in my sports bra and asked Krista if she needed it.  We must have run near Krista’s coach &/or hubs, because she was asking where Mary was. We hit the turn around and came through 10k in 34:54 (17:40 5k split). Obviously a much slower pace, but I had anticipated the entire field would slow down.  My guts felt full, but otherwise I was feeling more than comfortable.

10k to 15k
 

Over the next 5k I tucked in with a few girls, and kept my head down. I thought Krista was still with me (there was a shadow of a girl behind me with a hat on), but I soon realized her breathing didn’t sound like Krista. (Krista had actually collapsed at the third aid station… she’s one of the most tough runners I know, so I knew that if she was out of the race it was because she physically could not keep running).  This portion of the race was pretty uneventful. I stayed with the group of 3 or so ladies I was running with, including Madai Perez (legend!) and we had made gains on Kastor (legend!).  I was making use of the water tables in addition to my own bottles, and was feeling great.  We went through 15k in 52:42 (17:47 5k).

15k to 20k

So it was hot, but comparative to the Tennessee heat and humidity, I felt ok. My guts felt full, but I never feel great when I run and drink. Our pace during this 5k portion was a bit slower, 20k in 1:11:11 (18:28 5k split), but we were running into some wind and we had a nice little group going.  I felt good. My bum and hip were behaving and I had been running in the top 15ish places. Well within my top 20 goal… then, that little jerk of a left calf kinda cramped. It wasn’t a huge cramp, but my stride gave out and I lost a few paces on the group.  Frick! I had been so worried about my hip, the weather, my guts… I had totally forgotten about my stupid calf and it’s stupid tendency to cramp up in these longer races.  Kastor gestured for me to close up on the group, and so I put my head down and focused on doing just that. It seemed my lil left calf was just saying hello because it seemed to settle over the next few km.
 

20-25k

This wasn’t a super eventful part of the race. I had worked back up to the group and was still feeling pretty ok.  We hit the turnaround point and my calf again started to say hello. Poop.  This is a bit early for it to crap out on me, usually it happens between 25-30k.  I kept my mind focused on the group, which worked for the most part. I tried to run as normal as possible… Rotterdam had showed me that altering my stride too much causes everything else to cramp.  I split 25k in 1:29:44 (18:34 5k). 
 

25-30k

So things started to go a little bit more south here. My perfect little group had started to pull away from me and it seemed like the rest of my body was starting to RSVP to “Cramp Fest 2013”.  I was still holding in about 15th place and still was thinking that I could have a respectable finish. I had cramped really badly at this point in both Ottawa and Chicago, and managed to finish those ones… this couldn’t be any worse than that… right?  I hit 30k in 1:49:43 (19:58 5k split).  20 min 5k splits suck, but they will still get me to the finish line ladies and gents.

 Self Acupuncture doesn't work

Self Acupuncture doesn't work

35-40k

Remember how I was swinging my entire left side forward? Yah, that doesn’t work too well.  I had just started to feel like I could finish with this ugly running form when I cramped so bad it was all I could do not to fall over. My left foot pigeon toed inward and was cramping so bad that I thought it was going to turn a full 360 on me. I was in trouble. Girls were passing me like I was standing still… well ok, I was standing still. But this was pathetic. One of the runners ran by and handed me a safety pin… “What is this for?!” I yelled at her… she made a stabbing motion to her leg. “Ok,” I thought, and I stabbed the sucker into my contracting quad. Yah, that DOES NOT work. 
 

Trent found me on the course and I was “moving” forward… then I wasn’t… then I was again. Every time I stopped I kept telling myself that the cramp couldn’t last forever.  Like a cramp you get in the middle of the night, it hurts like hell, but it does eventually stop. How’s that for keeping positive?!

It felt like the dang medics were circling me like vultures… “come on little girl… come to the aid station… you’ll feel so much better”… I politely waved, told them that I wasn’t going to stop… and in my head told them to “piss off and leave me alone”. 
 

40k split 2:50:45 (36:53 5k).

That was the loneliest 2k of my life.  Most of the crowd was gone. I was getting pity claps. And I still was barely able to trot.  One of the guards told me they were waiting on me to close the stadium.  “Good. I’m still out here. They’d can wait all day as far as I’m concerned”. I made my way into the stadium, hoping I could will myself to at least break 3 hrs. No such luck. I did my pathetic lil’ 300m on the track and came across the finish line… I had to ask some random dude if I was in fact done… not at all how I pictured the finish of my World Championships debut.  
 

Final time 3:01:54.

In these last couple of days I have had a lot of time to think, and here are my takeaways:
 

I am more than capable of running with the top women. I was comfortable with the pace and have no doubt that if my “wheels” had stayed on I would have been in the battle to crack the top 12;

My left calf is evil and I WILL figure out why it is always the first to raise the white flag;

My training environment is working for me… I just need a better physio/treatment setup;
 

No marathon can ever hurt more than that one ;D

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Fitness Friday: Gettin' er Done

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Fitness Friday: Gettin' er Done

I have decided to try my hand at the Canadian Championship 10k next week held at the Toronto Zoo Run.  I was debating whether or not I wanted to race in anything big between now and the Scotia Bank Toronto Waterfront Marathon next month, but decided that I want to give the race a go.  I have had some pretty good experiences racing in this CRS event... last year my sister Shannon made the trip with me and warmed up with me and Natasha... and it gives me a chance to head back home to Canada.
I'm not quite sure how my fitness will compare with the rest of the field, but I am looking forward to testing the waters.
This week's FITNESS FRIDAY brought me back to the pool with Kim and Ryan for an early AM interval session.  Those of you that remember my university training will remember that I used to spend a lot of time in the pool cross-training and rehabbing.  Those workouts involved a lot of aqua jogging and a lot of holding my breath.  While those workouts definitely benefited me back then, I now believe that full-on swimming workouts fit better into my training plan.
I started swimming with Kim and Ryan in July and feel like I now have a pretty good handle on how to pace myself through the workout.  What I love about swimming is that I can get my heart rate up and feel a completely different fatigue than that which I feel during running intervals.
Kim is hardcore... she usually swims 3000m for her workouts, while Ryan and I stick to 2000m (Hey! We started out at a mile in July... so I'm happy with our progress).  This morning however, Kim, Ryan and I all did the 2000m workout... and though I'm sure neither Kim nor I would admit this to each other... we were totally racing!
We start all our swim workouts with 200m easy, 200m pull, and 100m flutter kicking.
Then we move into the actual session.
Our intervals usually include several sets of 100s, some 50s even harder, and then some 200s keeping the pace steady.  Today there were a lot of 100s.
Finally, the cool down is 200m easy... but Ryan and I usually end up pulling the first 100 to make it go by quicker.

For those of you who want to look into some swim workouts... here is a pretty easy website to start out:

http://www.swimmingworldmagazine.com/swim-cgi/

Nothing like that rubber feeling after a hard swim session!

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 Fitness Friday: Beach Ready

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Fitness Friday: Beach Ready

This week I am heading to the beach with "double down" and a few of his friends. To try and make my weekend a bit easier running wise I did a hard track session earlier this afternoon (3x(5x400m) and then heading back to the basement to do some stretching and strength work.  Now I'll just have an easy run tomorrow and a long run Sunday. I'm anticipating it being pretty hot when I get down there, but am looking forward to a few days to lay out in the sun!
My general running fitness seems like it is coming along fairly well... I'm sure I have Ryan and Kim, and the C.O.W.S to thank for keeping me fit while rehabbing my ankle all summer.

First I started out with some work on my foam roller:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RoHBDim_fzk

Then I went back to work on my ab ball and made use of the laminated card that I was given and is now in the hands of other athletes in Chattanooga:

First I did some general planking balancing on my ab ball (3x 60s), then I switched to some arm and leg extensions while balancing on the ball (3x15s per side).

rom there I did a side plank then rotate to bring elbow under the shoulder of my supporting arm (12 per side).

Finally, starting in a push-up plank position with my feet balancing on the ab ball, I then engaged my core to pull the ball in towards me, bending at the knee (3x15 reps).

Not a crazy long core session, but enough to stretch out and engage my core after a pretty solid track session.

Now to pack for the Beach! 

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Fitness Friday: A Model Athlete?

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Fitness Friday: A Model Athlete?

Earlier this summer, while I was still on crutches I was asked if I would like to demonstrate core exercises with an ab ball. At the time I thought sure, why not? I regularly use an ab ball during my core sessions and wouldn't mind showing a few exercises... let's just say it was more than a "few" exercises.

A few weeks later I received an email with the sketches of the exercises I was going to have to demonstrate and decided to test them out. It wasn't long before I became painfully aware that my core is not what I thought or want it to be. Sure, I can blame some of the balancing issues on my still slightly bum ankle (as I choose to do with my less than stellar performance at the Crim 10 miler last weekend)... but deep down I knew it was my core stability at fault.

I have always done core work, but I guess it's easy to stick to the same old exercises and in a way cheat my way through stabilizing exercises.  After going through the sketches a few times I was terribly exhausted.  Instantly I began to worry about demonstrating these positions, holding them for camera shots, and not making a fool out of myself. 

After about a week of practicing, I showed up at the YMCA as ready as I could be... hoping that I had at least trained my core a little bit to make it through the photo session.  The afternoon of core was not nearly as easy as I had thought it would be back in July... but I made it through it, have some amazing photos I can now share, and have a better understanding of the weaknesses I need to start addressing in order to get back into proper marathon form!

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Fitness Friday - err... pre-race recovery

Ok, so tomorrow I make my return to racing at the Crim 10 miler here in Flint, Michigan. I made the road trip up here yesterday and have been chilling in my hotel room with my Colorado running buddy Deanna Ardrey.
Yes, I opted to drive up to the race. Yes, there was a lot of car dancing. Yes, I still hate Ohio. No, I'm not crazy.
I'm actually going to jump up to Canada after the race tomorrow to visit the fam, and so that I can then cross back over the border to have my paperwork processed. Fun... eh? eh? Let's hope that border patrol do not find me "too hot to cross" again, and I get through in a timely manner.

So, since I am racing tomorrow my "fitness friday" hasn't been to "fit" feeling.  Dee and I went for a shake out run and will hit up the pasta dinner tonight... that's about the extent of today.
I'm not looking for much out of my race tomorrow... Just a solid effort to see how my body is coming back from this dang ankle injury.  I have been able to maintain some form of fitness swimming and rollerblading... but man, I now understand why people complain about running. It's hard! I didn't remember it hurting this much to get back in shape.
Anyways, enough sounding like a wimp for me.
Next week I'll be "fit" again, I promise!

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Fitness Friday

Alright... I have found a new Ap for my iPhone and am in love with it! The Nike Training Club.  This thing is great... there are tons of workouts to pick from and you can hammer out a great core and strength workout in 15 min when you are pressed for time or choose one of the longer ones (30 -45 min) depending on what you are wanting to accomplish.
This week I did the "Core Crunch":

Each exercise lasts a minute:
1. V-ups
2. Full Extensions: Extend your legs out straight and arms above your head holding a med ball and then bring your legs in and the med ball to your feet. (I didn't have a med ball, but substituted using a weight)

3. Suitcases: Squeezing the ball with your inner thighs, bring knees and elbows toward each other until your shoulder blades are off the ground. (Again, I had to get creative and used my roller to hold between my knees).

4. Side Plank Crunches (30 seconds each side)
5. Frogger with Swivel: Start in pushup position with hands close together; Jump your feet to the outside of your hands; Jump back to start position; Twist through the hips to bring one knee up to the opposite elbow; Bring the knee back and swivel the opposite knee up.

Repeat 1 -5
Then:
6. Plank
7. Side plank (1 minute per side)
8. Opposite arm/leg supermans
9. Kick downs: Lie on your back with legs straight up int he air, 90 degrees from your body; Keeping your legs straight, lower them as far as you can.

Great little session to finish out my training day!

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Fitness Friday: Fitness on the Go pt 2

Just when I thought I was going to start to settle down and have some routine to my life... girls weekend parked itself on my calendar and Ellen and I found ourselves road-tripping it up from White, Georgia through Knoxville to pick up Shannon, and then up to Johnson City.

Time to get creative again.

So, what does a girl do when she's staying with friends and needs to squeeze a workout in during a chatty girls weekend? She does WATTS:

First you start with 100 crunches
Then you roll over immediately and do 10 push-ups
Roll back over and do 10 crunches
Roll over again and do 11 push-ups

You repeat this adding 10 crunches and 1 push-up each set until you have worked your way back up to 100 crunches and finish off with 20 push-ups.

I generally like to switch up the crunches and do different variations to keep things interesting and to focus on different areas of my core muscles. I'm not gonna lie, by the end I struggle to get through 20 push-ups... but it does eventually get easier.

Not a bad quick fix for a workout... now time to visit with the gang and the new baby!

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Fitness Friday: Fitness on the Go pt 1

It's Friday! Time to go to work!

 

This week, as some may know, I was house-sitting for a friend in Chattanooga. It definitely made my life a bit easier not having to commute from Georgia, but it also meant I had to get more creative with my core training this week... did I mention there was a 17 year old lil' dog involved in my house-sitting?

 

This week I totally stole my workout from my lil' big sis. She had just recently traveled for a convention and posted a workout about training in a hotel room. Granted I wasn't in a hotel, but working with a smaller space than usual and perhaps, lacking a little motivation sent me scanning my sister's blog for inspiration.

 

http://www.cupcakedujour.ca/2012/07/work-out-wednesday_19.html

 

Not a bad little work out at all eh?

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Fitness Friday

Ok, so another week has come and gone and it is again time to focus on my core strength and flexibility. This week I took part of my workout outside on my sweet blades

and then finished it up inside with my trainer friend Dameian from STAT Fitness down here in Chattanooga.


Those of you who are from my figure skating past will remember the good old days of rollerblading around the parking lot at the arena doing one legged pulls and snowmen with our feet.  Since I am still in the process of upping my mileage I decided it would benefit me to start doing "interval work" on my blades.

First I rollerbladed a few miles down the river-walk, then I started into it:

First I did 1 min of sculling (also known as making snowman with your feet) with 30 sec normal rollerblading. I repeated this 5x.

Next, I did one legged pushes on each leg. 30 sec each leg x5 with a minute recovery blading in between.

I then returned to standard rollerblading for 5 minutes before repeating the above sets of intervals 2 more times.

After I was done my interval session I headed over to STAT Fitness to have Dameian help me work on my calf strength and get full mobility back in my hips and ankles.

Not a bad little Friday if you ask me ;D

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Fitness Friday

http://runningtimes.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=16625

Ok, so it's again time for some core, strength, and stability work! This week I chose to reacquaint myself with the strength routine from Coach Jay Johnson. During law school I was usually pretty good about coming in from a run and jumping right into these exercises. Maybe it was because my laptop was usually already out from homework, or it served as a good distraction while I waited for my dinner to finish cooking... but since I have been living my new double life, I have fallen off the wagon.
Rollerblading has shown me how weak my hips, bum, and lower back have become, so I opted to do "Part 1" of the general strength exercises.

First, of course, I foam rolled:

Then I set into the exercises:

Plank, Side Plank, Supine, Side Plank - x20 seconds each

Clams - x10 each side

Lateral Leg raise - Neutral x4, Toe Out x4, Toe In x4 - switch sides

Donkey Kicks - x10 each side

Donkey Whip - x5 each side

Fire Hydrant - x10 each side

Knee Circles - Forward x10, Backwards x10 - switch sides

Hurdle Trailing Forward - x10 each side

Hurdle Trailing Backward - x10 each side

Lateral Leg Swing - x10 each side

Linear Leg Swing - Straight knee x10, bent leg x10 - switch sides

I did this workout after rollerblading along the Silver Comet Trail, so my hips were pretty tired by the end of it... the goal will be to work up to going through it 2-3x after several of my easy evening runs each week.
I finished up my core strength by throwing on the Ab Ripper X video from P90x and called it a day!


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Fitness Friday: Fitness on the Mend

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Fitness Friday: Fitness on the Mend

http://www.cupcakedujour.ca/2012_06_01_archive.html
Ok, So I am officially back to training and... BACK WORKING! Yah me! I have been able to pick up some part-time work at Speek & Webb (https://www.facebook.com/pages/Speek-and-Webb-PLLC/263925700298864), a law firm based in Chattanooga, TN. As I continue to focus my attention on getting my ankle back to 100% and my body back ready to run a fast marathon in October, I decided I need to return to my roots and pay attention to cross-training. Yes folks, this means I'm back rollerblading, swimming/aqua-jogging, and hitting up the core, drills, and stretching. As you can imagine, the whirl-wind of a trip my life has been on for the last 12 or so weeks caused me to let things fall to the way-side, causing my body to remind me that it's doing the small things that keep me healthy... lesson learned the hard way. So, in my attempt to keep myself on track, I am going to start posting my cross-training/strength building workouts on here! This week, I did the Core Synergistics workout from P90x. I love doing this workout... though Tony Horton can be a bit much at times. It switches things up enough that I don't lose interest part way through, and it helps me focus on my hip strength and flexibility... my trouble spots. I last did this workout with my lil' big sis when I was in Vancouver, BC. I had to modify it then because of my foot, but was still able to get a lot of benefit from it. I've shared the link to her workout blog... as you can see, it took matching outfits to motivate us to get going ;D.

"Fitness on the Mend"
Sometimes, our bodies don't behave. Despite our best intentions, and most ardent care, we get tired, we break down, we get injured. This post is about working out through injury. Or more specifically what to do, when you can't do what you usually do. My sister was in town this week to race in a half marathon. On her first day here she ran 15 miles. On day 2 she did a 8/6 double. Day 3 brought 400 repeats. And then, something went wrong... She began noticing a tightness in her ankle. Hopeful it would settle down by race day, she tapered her training, did the old RICE standby, and bought some Advil. On race day, we were awaiting her triumphant appearance at the finish line, when my phone rang. She had pulled out at 4 km. The medical team suspected a sprained ankle, or perhaps worse.

  How does a runner keep their fitness level up when they can't run? They get creative.

How does a runner keep their fitness level up when they can't run? They get creative.

 We put matching outfits. We threw on p90x. We improvised.

We put matching outfits. We threw on p90x. We improvised.

Low Lateral Skaters:

Bow to Boat:

Squat X-Press:

Reach High and Under Push-ups:

Fitness waits for no man.

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Back to the Basics

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Back to the Basics

 


Now that I am back settled down here in the South it is time to plan what I am going to do for the near future, and well, the next few years as I put running on the front burner for the first time in my life. Let me just say that this would be a lot easier to do if I was not mending an injury, and carrying the weight of my legal education on my shoulders.
For now, it is simple... maintain my fitness and figure out the best plan of action... luckily I have just picked up a sponsor (www.marathonguide.com) and I am chatting with a law firm later this week.
Maintaining my fitness while I rehab my foot brought me back to my college days... the days of crutching to the pool and aqua-jogging in circles were not things of my past I ever wished to re-visit... but here I am.
When I was still in Vancouver, B.C., with my sis I was able to get in a few pool workouts and was able to have her join me for one... of course, she insisted on matching outfits ;D (I posted the link to her workout blog above).
Getting back to my cross-training roots has also linked me back up with the C.O.W.S (Chattanooga Open Water Swimmers), which I am not only excited about for fitness and training purposes but also because they are some of the most amazing people I have met!
 

                                                           First swim back with the COWS

                                                          First swim back with the COWS


I first started swimming with the COWS in 2010 when I was down in Chattanooga for an internship... I met up with them a few times last summer, but never really got into the routine of going every week as studying for the bar and then starting a new job proved to be too much to juggle.
Luckily, this year it seems like I can pick up where I left off in 2010 and start hitting the TN river for some swims... and plan on doing so even during my marathon build up.

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They Said No

After the smoke of our blazing fast Rotterdam races cleared and we submitted our petition to be named to the 2012 Canadian Olympic Team, we received our first "No". Are we surprised? Not really. Are we frustrated? Very. Are we going to walk away? Never.

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Birthday Surprises: Post Rotterdam wrap-up

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Birthday Surprises: Post Rotterdam wrap-up

Well... I guess my trip to Kenya was a successful venture eh?! 2:31:50 for 5th place at the Rotterdam Marathon! I must say I am very happy with that and will call it my birthday treat to myself.
I must say that leading into the race, knowing that Krista DuChene was in amazing shape after her Around the Bay finish, I really thought we'd have two women under the Olympic A standard for Canada... well, we were close... fingers crossed we were close enough for it to count.
http://runningmagazine.ca/2012/04/sections/news/crm-podcast-10-rotterdam-success/
What a trip these last few days has been! Definitely has had its highs, and well... some pretty World shattering lows for me.
I flew out for Rotterdam on April 11th... my birthday! I figured my trip to Rotterdam would be the start of an awesome adventure, and well, maybe set my life on a brand new path... boy, did I get that second part right. Just as I was finishing packing and getting ready to start my journey I received an email. No need to go into the details of it, other than to say that it caught me completely off guard and still has my head spinning. Ladies and gentleman, I am returning to Chattanooga as one of the fastest Canadian female marathoners ever... and joining the ranks of the unemployed. And for those of you doing a double take... yes, it happened in an email.
So now, whether by choice or by default... I am a runner. I must give myself a little pat on the back for putting my lawyer related woes on the shelf while lining up to race... heck, if I'm going to be told I'm distracted by running, I'd better be able to shut out the rest of the World and RUN!
Though I'm a little freaked out about what these next few steps in life are going to be and where they are going to take me, I am excited to start on a new journey. Those of you who know me well know that I have always had a plan; a path that I set out on and stuck to until my 28th birthday... we all know how bumpy that path has been this last year... I'm thinking it's time to enjoy the ride and see where I end up.
Luckily, I have some great friends... in the South, in East Lansing, and back home that I know have my back and are ready to help me make those first few steps into the unknown.

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New Year... New View

Confidence: belief in own abilities: self assurance or a belief in your ability to succeed

NOT TO BE CONFUSED WITH:

Conceited: (1) too proud: having or showing an excessively high opinion of your own qualities or abilities (2) creatively witty: imaginative, fanciful, witty, or ingenious ( archaic )
Synonyms: self-important, proud, vain, smug, arrogant, high and mighty, superior, stuck-up, snobbish, self-satisfied, big-headed, narcissistic
Antonyms: modest

So a year has gone by since I started this blog, and it would seem that "New Beginnings" was more than an appropriate title for my first entry. I have started and re-started several times in the last 12 months... now I think it's time to hit the re-set button altogether.

I am happy to report that my hip has finally decided to let me run again, which means the training trip to Kenya is still on! I am very excited to see what I can accomplish putting my running on the top of my list for the first time ever! I am also ready to see if I can shake the 130-140lb monkey I've had on my back this year... hmm... I'm starting to sense a trend... or maybe I just have an affinity for monkeys? Monkeys, hobbits, frogs... oh my!

2011 was definitely an interesting year for me as I finished up law school, moved to the south, studied for and passed the bar, started work in the real world... and oh yeah... decided to run a marathon... twice! I really just thought I'd knock out that whole marathon thing to say I had done one before entering the real world.... now I'm going off to Kenya to see if I can actually become a marathoner... weird.

Needless to say, I am uncertain of where this year will take me... but I'm excited to start it off with such a huge adventure. 

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Running Through Injury

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Running Through Injury

From the elite Olympians to the weekend warrior, we all have had to do it at some point.  We all have downed some Advil, wrapped our knees and ankles in tape; heck some of us have even used crutches up to the start line of our race, all just to make it to the end of our season.  We all arise each morning, waiting for that day when those first few steps out of bed will be pain free.

There is one injury that cannot be masked by pain killers and ice packs.  There is one injury that we cannot predict how long it will take to heal… A broken heart.  It’s funny how we runners are all totally game to talk about our injured past, but our throats close up and our words run dry when it comes to the topic of love and running. 

There’s a quiet hush that spreads over a dinner table of runners when the end of a relationship is brought up.  It’s like we all know that silent, lonely pain.  That unlike the hobbling we all do after a hard workout, or during those first few steps in the morning, a bruised, battered, and broken heart is sometimes enough to keep us from running that hard workout, or make getting out of bed in the morning nearly impossible.

Falling in love is like running in the snow.  You can get swept up off your feet… which puts you in the perfect position to fall flat on your bum. Only the bruise on your bottom will likely heal quicker than the bruise on your heart.

There are some runners who use their broken heart to fuel their fire.  They commit to putting their head down and running hard mile after hard mile, until life feels normal… livable… again.  There are those of us that run away to training camps… pack up our running lives and bring the shell of ourselves to a new place to train.  Sometimes tricking ourselves into thinking that the open wound in our chest has scabbed over and we are once again whole.

Everyone deals with a broken heart at some point in their life, and it’s not that I’m trying to say that we runners are special or that the “common” person’s pain doesn’t measure up against what we feel when a relationship ends.  It’s just that it is different for a runner.  Everything we do is pre-planned and calculated.  We learn over the years how to read our bodies.  We know what workouts will make us stronger, and what we need to do in order to avoid injury.  And when injury happens, we can snap into healing mode to try and fix it.  We know what doctors to go see, what exercises to do… we know how to come back from an injury smarter… stronger… with the ability to prevent that pain again.  You cannot apply the same prescription to a crushed heart.

Healing a broken heart is foreign to us.  There is no cast or walking boot that we can put our heart in for six weeks and come out healed, ready to slowly start tacking on the miles again.  Instead we are forced to run through this injury.

We runners are different.  We willingly push our bodies to the limit and then line up the next day to do it all over again.  We like structure.  We like being in control of our body, so that we can feel somewhat in control of our destiny.  We are used to the battle with our mind when the miles get tough and our muscles start to fatigue.  No amount of training can prepare us for the battle with our heart. 

There is no training program for us to follow that will help us get to the finish line in love, no plan to help us recover from love gone wrong.

Unlike non-runners, when a relationship ends we are immediately stuck straddling two worlds.  We’d like to stay in bed for days or drink beer after beer after beer or heck, even go out dancing just to prove we are still hot to trot.  But we can’t.  No matter how much our heart hurts or how heavy our chest feels, those miles aren’t going to run themselves… we don’t get to crawl into a dark hole, our running logs must be complete.  Sure, if we could time our break-ups we’d all pick them to happen at the end of our season, after that big race when you are on a runner’s high and when you’ve probably pre-planned a little beer drinking.  Unfortunately, like any injury you can’t predict when this one will strike.

Relationships for runners are an investment.  Our personalities are such that we don’t enter into anything lightly, so when it ends it stings that much more.  We are left with hundreds and thousands of miles where our brains have nothing to do but dwell and remember. 

We are runners.  We are strong and often admired for our perseverance.  Unfortunately this means that our competitive drive, our desire to conquer, our refusal to admit defeat will get the better of us, and we will pick at the scab of our wounded heart longer than others.  We will spend a few extra miles trying to understand how we could possibly be seen as cold or lacking compassion?

After enough running with a heavy heart we all slowly learn how to deal with this injury.  Our mileage runs return to their usual mindless wander, and we start to feel that lift again under our soles when we line up to race.  We come back stronger;  maybe not all that smarter (some of us still have a few frogs left to date), but back to our true form… of course always remembering that our truest significant other was there the entire time … running with us through our injury.

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My Zoolander Appearance

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My Zoolander Appearance

So I’m only a few weeks away from Chicago and things seem like they are going pretty well… training wise anyways.  Last weekend I raced in the Canadian 10k Road Race Championships and took fourth behind Megan, Dayna, and Malindi.  No complaints here!

I felt like it had been forever since I had raced, and it felt great to get the cobwebs out.  I had a bit of tummy turmoil to deal with the two weeks leading into the race, but was able to take care of it before lining up to race on Saturday.  Not quite the best prep for a race I have had mentally, but some things just end up being out of our control eh?

I was pretty happy with how the race went out, aside from having to dodge a pack of men who decided to position themselves between the lead three women and Natasha and myself.  We went through 5k fairly quick, and then things got a little bit more hilly and quite full of turns. Needless to say that I felt a lot like Zoolander in the second half of the race… “I can’t turn left.”  I do think my training these last few months has made me pretty strong but I am definitely lacking that pep in my legs to take off and go on a course that zig-zags through the zoo. 

I did have a lot of fun rooming with my Chiba roommate again, Natasha, and got to meet a lot of the B.C. team.  They were a great bunch to do my shake out run with.  Si Si was able to make it for my race, and warmed up with Natasha and me, mouth full of chocolate and all! What a riot!

After the race, Si Si and I headed back down to London to see the fam for a bit… Holy geeze is my nephew Madden getting big!  Then we headed on to Michigan so I could see some law school buddies and she could go hang out with the boy (side note… if you have to pick between the puppy and the boy… always pick the puppy).  It was nice to throw back some beers and be done with the stresses that were weighing on me these last few weeks.  Now to just keep pressing forward until Chicago! “Just keep swimming” … err… I mean running ;).

I think I am adjusting to my double life as a runner and lawyer.  To be perfectly frank, life here in Chattanooga isn't exactly how I pictured it during my last year of school, and it certainly isn't always how I want it.  But unlike some, I'm not going to dwell on it with stubborn anger.  Time to dig in and run!

As a side note, I received a lot of feedback on my last blog about my on again off again relationship with my boyfriend, Mr. Running.  I’m glad that so many of you understood where I was coming from! If we can’t laugh about our twisted relationship with running, then why even bother doing it?

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The Perfect Imperfect Boyfriend

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The Perfect Imperfect Boyfriend

Ok, so this is my return to blogging after a long hiatus. I really did mean to blog after the Ottawa Marathon, and then again after the Bar exam, and well, there is not a good excuse. Yes, I have been pretty busy, and those of you who know me well know that I basically live out my car right now, so I will rely on the excuse of pure exhaustion. Perhaps exhaustion and the total upheaval of moving down here, paired with not having things go quite as expected on all fronts… Right, Lanni Lesson – things never turn out as expected.

Anyways, since my marathon debut and writing the Bar, I have started working full time at Davis & Hoss, and kicked up my training again for the Chicago Marathon in October… eek… The 4:30am wake up to drive into town for my interval workouts and long runs was pretty painful to start, but I think I am slowly adjusting.

This morning I set out on top of Signal Mountain for another long long run, and by mile 15 parts of my body started to remind me that it was not the biggest fan of today’s activities. This kinda got my mind wandering, and I questioned “what keeps bringing me back to running”? After all of the hurt, the frustrations, the questioning of whether I should start dating rollerblading, I keep coming back for more. Am I a masochist? Do I like playing the victim? NO! I have come to the conclusion that my relationship with running is not at all like casual dating… running and I are in a very committed long term relationship.

Many of you have heard me previously refer to running as my boyfriend (http://www.ottawasun.com/2011/05/29/marchant-off-and-running ), and like any relationship, it has had some ups and downs. There have been times where I am so frustrated with running that I feel like hot venom is running through my veins. I have cussed running out. I have told running to hit the road and never come back. But, he never really takes my anger and frustration to heart. He knows that deep down I really do love running, that I have put my heart and soul into making things work between us, and most importantly, he understands me.  Yes… there is definitely love in our relationship… and it works both ways.

Running does not judge me or my family for how we grew up, and he does not question my morals or values. He has never turned his nose up at me (hmm… maybe when I forget to air out my shoes).

Running did not give me silent treatment because I allowed myself to get angry with the World for a day. Instead, running sat back and let me vent. I got out all my frustrations without being questioned on them or being told that my feelings were invalid. After a good venting, running was still there, asking if I was up for another 8 mile date the next day. Running will not stand by and let me just sit there and lick my wounds either.

Running lets me burp.

Running has never disappeared on me or ignored me after I have called him out for hurting my feelings. He never forgets me or overbooks his schedule. Yes, we sometimes need our space from each other… but I never have to go hunting him down, and I am not always the first to extend an olive branch after we have a fight.

Running like most boys, does not always get it. We have our differences... I admit that I have my days where I am just a pill to deal with. And man, do I give running huge props for putting up with me during those “off” days.

Running has never given up on me. He accepts my apologies when I make a mistake and get frustrated over something small. By no means is running my “biotch”; He barks back at me when necessary. But never any hits below the belt. I pull my own weight in our relationship. I listen to running when he tells me that he’s frustrated or mad at me. I let him vent (aka, take out his frustration on my shins, my pelvis, and my hip) and then come back and see if he still wants to chill later.

 Running understands that I have a mad crush on dancing.

Do not get me wrong. Running is not always the perfect boyfriend. But none of us are perfect. And I’ll be damned… running accepts that. I pity the fool who doesn’t.

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