Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time to get back on track

It's time for me to get back on track. I feel like my life has been in complete ciaos the last couple of weeks with gearing up for my trip and run in Chicago, to coming home to a crazy work week and getting sick on top of things.

Since returning home from Fitness Ridge on August 15th I have put a lot of effort into planning my weeks and being prepared. Ensuring I have healthly foods in the house so I can pack healthy lunches and snacks when I know I have to work late or have to run after work. I've felt amazing and so happy with the progress I've been able to make. The last 2 weeks however I feel like everything has I've worked so hard for has gone out with window. I've found myself falling back into old routines.

The week leading up to my marathon I was carb loading. I enjoyed every minute of it as I was eating lots of yummy food but as the week went on I stopped tracking my food. I know I needed to carb load to be prepared for my run but I wished I would have tracked what I was still putting into my body. I continued not to track as I travelled to Chicago. It was such an amazing weekend filled with a lot of eating out and not so healthy food choices. I was treating myself for all the hard work I had put into my running but my body was craving healthy choices.

Once home I was faced with a very busy work week and I was not prepared for it at all. We had not food in the house and since I was so busy I found myself skipping meals and eating late at night when I got home from an event. Those late night choices as well were not healthy choices. I ended up getting sick and frankly just worn out. I spent the past weekend resting and trying to get better. I didn't exercise at all last week because I needed to rest my body after running my marathon.

My plan for this week was not to beat myself up for my actions last week but to focus on today and get back on track. I've stocked my fridge with healthy foods and have made sure I'm tracking what I'm consuming and what I'm burning. I feel so much better when I'm getting the fuel my body requires and exercising regularly. My next running clinic doesn't start until January so until then I'm going to have to be accountable to myself to get out there and get my runs in on my own.

We all fall off track sometimes but we can't dwell on the past but focus on what we are going to do today to keep moving forward. For me I need to have some goals set so I've already got some new running races planed for 2011 that I can look forward to.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

I'm a Marathoner Once Again - Chicago Marathon

One week ago today I was in Chicago running in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. When I woke up this morning and remembered what I was doing last week at this time it still seem surreal that I ran in the Chicago Marathon.

Last year at this time I got back into running. I had taken about a year off of not running at all because life got in the way and I had lost my running partner Alicia because she had gotten a new job working nights. I realized last October I needed to get moving again as I wasn't doing any form of physical activity. Alicia was still working nights but I new this was something I needed to do. I signed up for the 10km running clinic at the running room since I was starting from square one again. My husband's friends wife Catherine had just returned home from her time at Fitness Ridge and at one of our husband's hockey games I ran into her and she shared all the wonderful stories about her time at FR. I told her I was joining the 10km running clinic and that she should join with me. The rest is history really. Catherine and I completed the 10km clinic and continued on with the 1/2 marathon clinic along with Alicia since she got a new job and wasn't working nights anymore. After the 1/2 we all moved on to the marathon clinic.

I have spent the last year running and training for 3 1/2 marathons and 1 full marathon. The Chicago marathon was our main goal and after a year of training and 2 weeks at Fitness Ridge I new I was ready for this race. The run took place on 10-10-10.....this was also Alicia's birthday so it was going to be an extra fun weekend. The four of us (me, my husband Jamie, Alicia and her husband Conor) drove down to Chicago on the Friday morning. We left London around 7:00 a.m. because we wanted to arrive in Chicago in the early afternoon so we could hit up the expo. Catherine was traveling down with her husband Lennie and her mom. They had family in Chicago so they were staying with them for the weekend. Once we arrived in Chicago we checked into our hotel room and grab some food at Subway. We headed over to Nike town to find our name on the giant wall they put up with all the names of the participants who have registered for the race. I wasn't able to find my name as it was too high up on the wall to see. There was a free shuttle to the expo from Nike town so we all hooped on.

The wall at Nike with all the names of the participants of the 2010 Chicago Marathon

We took lots of pictures at the expo with the wonderful 10-10-10 signage. They also had another wall with all of our names on it and this time I was able to find my name.

Me at the entrance of the expo

Happy I found my name

The expo was ok but nothing great. We spent a couple hours there checking out all the vendors but we spent most of our time trying to find clothes at the Nike booth since there were very slim pickings on the women's clothing in sizes once we arrived. I ended up buying a men's long sleeve shirt and a hat that say Chicago Marathon 10-10-10.

On Saturday we wanted to make sure we didn't do too much walking around so we decided to do one of the boat tours that take you down the river and out into Lake Michigan. The weather was amazing......nice and sunny and hot for a boat tour. It was great to learn more about the city and get to see all the beautiful buildings.

Jamie, me, Conor & Lish on our boat tour

After the tour we did some more shopping and then it was time to have our carb loading dinner. Alicia had made us reservations at a restaurant one of her friends recommended for great pasta. Catherine and her family joined us and we ate, ate and ate lots of pasta. After dinner we headed back to our room and got our outfits ready since we were only hours away from the big race.

All of us at dinner

My race outfit....most important thing

Race Day
I knew right away that it was going to be a warm run. When I didn't need a throw away sweater to wear because it was warm at 6:00 a.m. I was a little worried.

Jamie and me right before I left for the race

Catherine, Lish and I got dropped off down by the start line. We arrived with enough time to check everything out, get in line to use washroom one last time and then find our spots and wait for the race to start. Once the race started it took me 20 minutes from where I was standing to cross the start line. Once I crossed that start line I was off. It was crazy the amount of people I was running with and the number of people who were on the street cheering us on. I had a really good first half of the race. I really wanted to run this marathon in 4:45 minutes so I had a pace band that I was wearing so I could make sure I was staying on pace throughout the race. At the half way mark I was ahead by 2 minutes and was feeling great.

Still looking good & happy to see my cheering squad

It was really warm out but since the first half of the race was mostly downtown it was shady and there was bit of a breeze. The 2nd half of the race was not as covered and at this point it was getting very hot out. I couldn't believe how much water and Gatorade I was drinking. At every aid station I was filling up like crazy. At about mile 14 I developed really bad stomach cramps. I took some extra time on my walk break to try and make it go away but when I started to run again the pain was too much. I was forced to walk for about 10 minutes and then tired running again. The pain was still there. At this point I had my first melt down......I was in tears because I new I could do this as I had done it many times in training already and was so frustrated because my goal time of 4:45 was slipping away. I had my little pity party for a couple of minutes and then pulled myself together. I decided that I would do what I could. I started to run for 5 minutes and then walk for 5 minutes or what ever combination work for me. I was over heating and thank goodness for the hoses at every aid station because I would just go and stand in front of them and cool myself down. I struggled from mile 14-17 with my cramps but they finally went away. Then I developed a really bad sharp pain in my left shoulder that caused so much pain when I ran. At this point I had my second pity party for myself. I was in complete tears on again on the course. My 2nd goal of completing this race in under 5 hours was slipping away as well. I pulled myself together agin and decided it doesn't matter what my time is I'm going to finish this race. It was around this point as well that I noticed that they changed the caution alert system for the race low to a high. Temperatures at this point were above 90 degrees.

Before I new it I was approaching the 25 mile marker. With only 1.2 miles to go I was almost there. I finished strong and crossed that finish line at 5:20:03 a PB for me since my first marathon I completed in 5:39 back in 2007.

We did it once again
Catherine is now a marathoner proud of these ladies

Although I didn't get the results I wanted with this race it still was such a wonderful experience. I still can't believe the number of people who cheer you on throughout the whole race. People offering you food, drinks, hooking their garden hoses up to cool you name it there were doing it. I want to thank Jamie, Conor, Lennie and Catherine's mom for being our cheering squad. It as so wonderful to see all of you through the race.

We all finished the race and can't wait to run Chicago again. We have already booked our hotel rooms for the 30km Around the Bay race in March and the Flying Pig 1/2 marathon in May. We all plan on running another marathon in the spring as well. This running thing really does become addicting when you get to run with such amazing people.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

One week until 10-10-10

I can't believe that in 5 more sleeps I will be heading to Chicago to run the Chicago Marathon on 10-10-10. I signed up for this race back in February (9 months ago) when my friends (Alicia & Catherine) and I decided that we wanted to run in a big race. I remember staying up until midnight the night when registration opened for this race. We were told this race always sells out early so we wanted to make sure that we all got registered. We are now 3 individuals who will be making up the over 40,000 runners that will be participating in this run.

After 21 weeks of training, 2 amazing weeks at Fitness Ridge I know I'm ready for this run. I ran my first marathon in 2007 and even having completing one previously I know that this race will be a challenge but I know I can do this. I've improved so much since 2007 and I can't wait to so what I'm able to accomplish. I set some goals for myself with this run both a time I want to achieve and a weight goal I wanted to reach by the time this race arrived. I'be been home from FR for almost 2 months and I'm so happy to say that I'm only 2 pounds away from my goal I set out for myself for Chicago. In total I've lost 15 pounds since August 1, 2010 and I'm so proud of what I have been able to accomplish in this short period of time.
Last weekend I ran the Scotiabank Waterfront 1/2 marathon in Toronto. This was the goal race for my marathon group and since the majority of the people I have trained with over the past 21 weeks were running in this race I wanted to make sure I was there to cheer everyone on. I was scheduled to run 23km that day anyways so the 1/2 worked right into the schedule. I had a great run and it was so nice to be relaxed and just enjoy the race. I made sure I slowed it down because this was still a training run which was suppose to be long and slow. Once I finished I found at spot at the 100m mark to the finish line and cheered all my friends on. I'm so proud of every........they all completed the race and did an amazing job.

Megan, Catherine and me at the start line

Catherine, Lish and I also found our shirts we are going to wear in Chicago a the expo in Toronto. We really wanted to represent our country and wear Canada gear but was having trouble finding anything we liked and in the right sizing for all of us. Catherine found these amazing shirts at One More Mile and they had all the right sizing for all of us. Yesterday, we did some minor modifications to the shirts and ironed on our names and a nice little slogan on the back. We've been told our bib numbers don't have our names printed on them so we wanted to make sure we had a way for people to cheer us on. I'm so happy with how they turned out and I know all of us are going to look amazing on race day.

The past two days the weather has been horrible with lots of ran in much colder temperatures. Yesterday morning I was scheduled to run 16km. When I woke up and saw the rain and felt how cold it was I really was tempted not to run but I need once I got out there it would be that bad. I put my gear on and headed out to get my last longer run done before the big day. I printed off a pace band for my marathon race pace and followed it and was able to stick to it throughout my run. This morning I participated in the CIBC Run for the was a fun 5km run in yet again very wet cold weather. I was part of team In It For ING! Our team did such an amazing job raising over $20,000 for the cause and it was so wonderful to see everyone out their supporting our good friend Ingrid who is living with this disease.

Myself, Ingrid and Rita

I have a busy week of work ahead of my with our new Win A Million Lottery program launching on Thursday. I need to make sure I stay hydrated, carb load and get lots of sleep.