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It's a Celebration


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.


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


"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.


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.


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). 


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


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


Fitness Friday: Gettin' er Done


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:

Nothing like that rubber feeling after a hard swim session!