Work, Run, Shop, Repeat

With Christmas fast approaching, I’m feeling like I’m not ready for it yet but don’t worry I’m still getting in my running! Priorities….priorities.

Just kidding….well, I’m kinda not. With two birthdays at the beginning of December in our house, it’s hard to think past those and to Christmas sometimes. Weekends are packed with basketball games times two and soon to be ski trips to the hill. We have Christmas parties (hosting) and basketball jamborees this coming weekend – at least we got our tree up last weekend. I’m ready for Christmas break just to do nothing, ha!

As for gifts, I’m mostly done shopping but feeling like I don’t have “enough”. Not that my kids/husband need all kinds of stuff but I just don’t feel ready. Baking hasn’t even been planned though I’m pinning a tone of vegan cookie recipes lately. 

Work is still in full speed which isn’t normal this time of year for us. The good news is that I’m still running, playing soccer and hitting up yoga class when my work schedule permits. I’m really loving yoga after running early in the morning. It’s a nice change mid day!

I seem to be getting into a pattern of early morning runs on Tuesday’s. I’m not sure why. It could be the fact that my husband works that day and if he’s getting up at 5:30….I’m awake too (just can’t sleep thorough it). It’s also the best time for me to get up and walk our dog before he leaves for work. And well, since we have a retired sled dog…..he kinda loves to run! 

Carmacks and I have been running 1-2 times a week and sometimes my husband takes him on his runs. Carmacks is racking up the mileage right now. Clearly, the picture below is not in the early morning hours but after one of our muddy runs a few weeks back.

I’ve even managed one run recently with my running buddy Krystol!!!!! We can just never seem to get our schedules to align but last weekend we did. It was bitterly cold…like -11c but felt like -18c. The plan was 7-8k and I called it at 5k. You win some you lose some but at least we got out together!

Anyone else feeling not “ready” for Christmas?

COLD weather runner or not?

Any early morning runners here? Raise your hand!

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The Book Gift Guide (from a non-reader runner)

Let me preface this post with the fact that I’m not a big reader. I enjoy reading but it’s not something I usually make time for. I value reading and appreciated it but I don’t always love it. Unbeknownst to me, this past year I’ve read more books then ever.

I thought I would share with you some of the books I read as they all are great books (and great gift ideas for the holidays). This is not a sponsored post, nor was I asked to promote these books. I either bought the book or went to my local library and loaned it out. Most of these books I saw through social media shares from people I follow as recommendations. You know what they say about like minded people? Well, you tend to like the same things.

Fitness Junkie: I’ve seen this book time and time again on social media and figured I’d give it a go. My local library didn’t have it in stock so they ordered it and I was the first one to read it. Nothing like cracking open a book from the library for the first time. It’s a funny read about the fitness world and all the crazy (yeah, crazy) trends out there and the length people will go to obtain “the look”. It’s a fun and easy read that I think anyone would enjoy. 

Strong – Kara Goucher. This is one book I will use and reuse year after year. I’m only half way through it but I can see how it can be used over and over again. It’s a very goal-oriented, motivational tool you can have in your back pocket as a runner. But also, not just as a runner. I think any sport / athlete could use this book to help you set goals and reach them. 

I highly recommend reading it and taking the time to sit down to write out your goals. When I read it on my car ride to the city last weekend, my mind was popping out goals and ideas for next year with excitement. Since 2019 is approaching fast, now’s a great time to set you goals for next year! I’ve started to set mine because of reading this book. Some are lofty goals but ones I want to reach as a runner.

North – Scott Jurek. I was able to snag the audio book this summer from my local library. Over a period of three weeks, I listened to the book while driving around to meetings. Sometimes, I’d be in my car for 1-2 hours one way, so it was easy to listen to the book and get through the chapters. 

This book is an amazing story to read (listen) to. It’s about Scott finding his way while running along the Appalachian Trail, along with his wife being his support crew. He tells it like it is, honest, funny and engaging. I loved that his wife…Jenny was part of the storytelling. It brought a whole other perspective when hearing a female voice telling her part of their story. To be honest, it was “their” story that was told.  I’d love to buy the actual book and read but really enjoyed listening to the audio book. I’d really recommend the audio book as a nice change and a bonus to hear their actual voices tell their story. 

Redefining Realistic – Heather Moyse. Nothing better then reading a motivational book from a “local” Olympian. By local, I mean from the Maritimes, not Nova Scotia.

Heather is an extremely inspiring Olympian (bobsled) but successful in other sports: rugby and track cycling. Her book dives into redefining your realistic perspective, your potential and how to own your story. It’s the kind of book you feel like your just having a conversation with her and learning about her life experiences and how they brought her to where she is now – in a realistic kinda of way. I liked hearing about the impact people made on her life – whether is was good or bad. It’s not just for the athlete, her knowledge can apply to anyone.

Sweet Ride by Ann Barry. Now this is local! It’s a really cute book about these four women who ride their bikes from the South Shore in Nova Scotia to Prince Edward Island and back again through the Annapolis Valley back in the 1943 (World War II). Not an easy trek by any means. 

It shares their story along with some adventures and challenges they faced. I enjoyed reading about their adventures but also knowing the routes they took and the communities they road through and places they stopped. If you are from Nova Scotia, are a cyclist or just enjoy local authors, this is a great little book to read. 

If you are like me and don’t always love to read but kinda enjoy it and want to read more, give one of these books a try. I’m hoping my new interest in reading this past year will continue to grow and I may actually love it one day. I’m always looking for book suggestions so feel free to leave me one of your favourite books in the comments. 

What are you reading right now?

What’s the number one book you’d recommend right now?

Any favourite local books you want to share?

Merry Mill Time of Year

Oh December, I can’t believe you are here already! Snow storms (4 days and counting), birthday’s to celebrate (6 year old and 40+ year old), basketball games, soccer games, Christmas concerts and then Christmas! Oh, and we are getting a new roof – happy Christmas to us! 

I broke down and got on my treadmill last week but before I ran on it I decided it was time to decorate it. We don’t decorate for Christmas until after our two family members birthdays  – mainly to keep them separate and hopefully make their birthdays FEEL like a birthday. I needed a little boost for my treadmill run that day and figured the lights would be great.

This is my third year decorating my treadmill…also known as the “merry mill” until I take them down. I didn’t start this trend but another mother runner I follow on Instagram did @mittenrunner.

I’m thinking I might need a few more lights or some garland but we’ll see. My daughter’s think it’s hilarious that I’ve decorated it and want the lights on all the time. It sure makes running inside in December that much better. 

I missed the two local Santa runs on the weekend as my girls had basketball and we had a twelve 6 year olds celebrating our daughters birthday. I’m hoping to get out with a few friends and do our own Santa run!

Any motivational tricks you do for treadmill running in December? 

What’s your favourite way to run and celebrate the holidays?

What’s your least favourite thing about December?

Umm Hello! Is this thing on?

Knock, knock….Hello! Is anyone there? 

I’m still here…kinda running, kinda not. Playing soccer. Busy with my kids in basketball and swimming, bike riding with my girls (crazy cold) oh and working full time. I’m not going to lie, I’m on the running-struggle-bus these last few weeks. I’ve done the odd run here and there but haven’t found my grove post half marathon…..Oct 14th (a month ago). 

Maybe my body (and mind) needed the break? Maybe I just wanted to be lazy for a while? Maybe I just want to watch TV at the end of the day once my kids are in bed and the cozy wood stove is blasting out the heat! Maybe life is just so busy that I just want to relax a bit more – hence watching TV. It certainly isn’t because I’m sleeping in or don’t have the support to be running/active.

I’ve run a few early morning run and by early I’m talking out the door before 6 am. Sometimes it’s 5:59 sometimes it’s earlier. It doesn’t really matter what time I run as I still love that post run feeling once I get home. Energized and ready for the day! My girls are just getting up and I usually have 15-20 minutes before my husband leaves for work.

I had a fun-ish trial run on Sunday nearby my house. It was only going to be a 5k run but that turned into six when I realised my Garmin would have me finishing just around the 5.7 km mark when I hit home so I kept running. Sadly, my Garmin died on me! Only because it wasn’t charged, not literally died (that surely would have resulted in an immediate blog post. “Garmin dies while runners finishes trail run”.

It was cold, muddy, windy and part of the trail was covered in horse shit…yeah, fresh stuff too! It was clearly a run that you had to really watch your footing and not because of the roots or trees…but the squishy stuff.

Along with the limited running, I’m clearly blogging yes and reading blogs less. Is this a trend? Maybe, maybe not. I still like blogging and reading blogs, so much so that I’ve renewed this blog for another year! I mean, it’s kinda fun writing about running, my struggles and successes with running, and being a mother runner. On top of that WordPress has rolled out a new format of “blocks” which I’m struggling to figure out as I write this post. (Let’s hope when I hit publish, it all works out right). 

Though I’m not running much, I am getting out to soccer once a week and getting ready to get my bike on it’s indoor trainer. Indoor soccer season has started and goes until April!!! I’ve mentioned this before on my blog but soccer is my favourite sport. I can just get lost out on the field and not think about anything but that moment. It’s kinda my mind-full time vs running. Running can be a mind-full practice but it can also give me a time to think about everything and nothing all at once.  Maybe that’s why I’m missing my “scheduled” runs – to get back that routine of mind-full times. 

As I sit here and wrap up this post, I had no clue that I would end it with talking about mindfulness. I think that’s what I like most about blogging or my blog in particular. I can start writing one thing and then it takes on a completely different approach by the end. 

Are you an avid blog reader?

What’s your best way to motivate yourself to run (or workout)?

Since I’m not always blogging, you can follow me over on Instagram for my struggles with running 🙂

Do you use running or another sport/activity as mindfulness?

PEI Half Marathon Recap ’18

Two weeks later and I’ve barely run the distance of a half marathon!  I haven’t run very much since my 7th half marathon on Oct 14th and I’m totally okay with that. Sometimes you have to listen to your body and rest….and rest some more.

PEI Half Marathon Recap

This race weekend all started with a conversation with my husband, Saï. He asked me back in July if I wanted to run the PEI half marathon and I, of course said yes! (Thanks love).

Going into this race weekend, I really had no clue what my pace would be or how fast I could run for twenty-one point one kilometres. I sure felt physically great going into it; no injuries (knock on wood), limited back pain (thank you Chiropractor), fresh legs (lack of runs the last week of training) and we were child free (thank you grandparents!).  Yup, my husband and I took a race weekend away without the kids.

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We spent Saturday driving over to PEI, about a 4.5 hour trip for us. Of course at the race kit pick up, we both ran into people we knew. You can’t drive 4.5 hours to a race and not – not run into someone you know. My friend Tracy was running her first full and she nailed it! After getting our kits, chatting with friends we tried to find some throw away clothing as it was going to be 2C (35F) at the start of the race. F….F…Freezing!

We grabbed dinner at the Gahan House in Charlottetown (so good) and made it back to the hotel which was right at the start/end of the race. With our flat runners ready, we hit the hay early but I didn’t sleep well. This seems to be my new normal the day before a race. Oh well, life goes on – maybe those sleepless nights with our babies prepared us for shit like this. Running races (long races) on no sleep. Thanks kids 😉

I woke before my alarm went off at 7:30 am – late eh!!!! The race started at 9 am and we literally could walk out the hotel doors to the start line in 30 seconds. With no need to rush out the door, we ate breakfast, got dressed and waited in our warm hotel room rather then freeze outside like some of the runners we could see from our window.

Around 8:40 we met up with a friend of ours, still waiting inside the hotel with many others. Eventually we all were drawn outside in the bitterly cold winds and stood at the start line listening to “Oh Canada”. So great to hear that at the start of our run. My husband went way ahead as his goal was much faster then mind.

I started off with the 2:20 pace bunny who was running a 10/1’s so I eventually lost her as I was running continuous.  I was freezing cold but I kept my throw away sweater on until about 3 km in, gloves, long sleeved shirt, thick headband, shorts and my Tiux compression socks on. The first 7 km flew by and I felt great!!! I knew the hills at the end might be a challenge but I wasn’t focusing on that right now.

I caught up to the 2:15 pace bunny who was doing 10/1’s as well but I just kept running my continuous pace as it felt good. It’s how I trained so it’s how I wanted to run the race. At the 10 km mark I was at 1:04:xx and thought sweet…I could go for a 2:08 finish. The 2:15 pace bunny would be ahead of me and then behind me (10/1’s) off and on. Ideally, I was hoping for a 2:15 finish and felt that it was close to happening.

I remember running up Sherwood Road that lasted forever and I desperately needed a drink. I took out my Nuun and took a swig and felt like I drank and ice burg. It was SO COLD on my teeth I almost spit it out.

My pace had slowed down and I was struggling a bit. Part of me wish I didn’t wear my fuel belt but part of me was thankful I had my Nuun when I wanted it. I knew the hills were going to be rough but I thought they wouldn’t get to me this time. They did. My friend, Sarah caught up to me but I just didn’t have anything left in the tank to keep up with her.

I did managed to pick up the pace for the last 2 km, where the course became flat again and into the finish line. That finish line! It’s so far away yet so close. I ended up finishing in 2:16:21 with an average 6:28/km! I cut off 9 minutes from my half marathon in May, so I was happy! I was still a good 10-11 minutes off my PB but that was never the focus on this race.

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My husband finished in 1:46:05 – his goal was 1:45. As I walked through the finish line/food area with my space blanket wrapped around me, I felt relieved that it was over and I finished another half marathon (injury free). I felt great!

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We celebrated with some good food (fish and chips for me and a veggie burger for him) and beers. We walked around Charlottetown for a bit, cheered in some amazing full marathoners finishing their races. We followed all that up by taking an afternoon nap.

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We then snuck in a visit a visit with my Aunt and Uncle that evening and crashed hard that night. We stayed Sunday night in Charlottetown and headed back home to our girls on Monday (smart decision staying an extra day). Thanks PEI Marathon for a great race – we’ll be back again!

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As I mentioned above, I haven’t done much running since this half but have been out twice and it felt great. Yoga is my friend and I’m back at indoor soccer as of last night – sure feeling it today (still hate sprinting and recovering, ha ha). We’ve been busy with both girls playing basketball, swim lessons, and biking (yes, are girls are loving biking still).  Happy Fall!

How’s your fall running going?

What’s your favourite race moment from this fall?

Anyone else taking a semi-break from running post race?

 I don’t blog daily anymore but you can follow me over on Instagram.

 

Pace Bunny VHM 10k Recap

Over the past four years (minus 2016), I’ve paced the Valley Harvest Marathon 10k – 1:10 finish time. Pacing a race is an experience that is hard to explain to others.

I was really hoping to pace VHM this year but there was no pacing group organizing pace bunnies. Less then two weeks prior to race day, former pace bunnies received an email saying that True North Pacing (new group) was looking for bunnies, so I quickly replied YES PLEASE!  I wasn’t really sure I wanted to run the 10 k on my own since I was really supposed to be doing a 18 km long run as part of my half training. So when the opportunity came up to pace, I jumped at it.

I was lucky enough to be the 1:10 pace bunny for the 10 k. Knowing that this coming weekend I have my half marathon I’ve been training for, pacing a 10 k would be enough for my body. It was also Thanksgiving weekend (in Canada), so I planned to cook a turkey and roasted butternut squash for my vegan husband.

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Race Day!

I hardly slept and this seems to be a night-before-race-day-theme along with dealing with a head cold. The head cold was easy to deal with but lack of sleep just isn’t fun. Pushing both of those things aside, I got up and out the door and off to Acadia University. There were multiple events: wheelchair, ultra, full, half, 10 k and 5 k. As each race started, the crowds grew a little bigger. It was a little on the chilly side, around 7 C (44 F).

As the bunnies lined up, I met a few people that wanted to run with me, exciting!!! The gun went off and we moved forward a little, only to be stopped before the start line. As I passed over the starting line, I turned on my Green Garmin (Forerunner 10) and then my 230. Yes, I use two Garmin’s! I like how easy it is to set up my Forerunner 10 to keep me on pace but I wanted to have my 230 on to track my current pace.

My plan was to run between 6:55 and 7 minute per km to keep us on track for a 1:10 finish time. We went out a little fast but I managed to slow it down and have the first km in 6:58. I chatted with runners, warned them of pot holes and upcoming water stations, along with hills either up or down. Most know the route though.

The wind picked up as we crossed over the Dyke Road/358 hwy and my bunny ears moved slowly backwards but never fell off. I’d see each bunny that was ahead of me with their pack of runners pass by. I also saw friends running their race which is always exciting and motivating. There is magic in the motivation of seeing other pace bunnies that just paints a permanent smile on your face. At least, that’s how I felt running as a True North Pace Bunny.

We hit the turn around point and it was mainly flat until a big long hill before a gas station. I had to keep my pace no matter what so I kept trekking along up that hill and passed a few people all while encouraging them and telling them I’d see them at the top.

Hennigar’s Hill was next…down then up. This can be a hard point in the race for many, it has been for me before. Down we went, me keeping the same pace and runners taking advantage of doing down a little faster. I caught up to some people and pushed up Hennigar’s Hill feeling pretty good.

As we neared the 2k mark, two women looked back and me and in shock let out a “oh no” and sped up – it made me laugh quite a bit as I knew they wanted to finish before me. I also had a man say that he was following me for a while, lost me and found me again. He then went far ahead of me and finished strong. I had one gentleman running with me for most of the run and he was great company. I hope to run with him again with a local running group.

We climbed the last incline and into the stadium and I thought I was 2 minutes under (but wasn’t) so I slowed my pace down a bit more while running around the soft track. As I encourage my group of runners to go for it and they all did. I crossed the finish line in 1:10:06.

Though I was over by six seconds, I was pretty proud and happy that I accomplished what I committed to doing.  I high-fived a few runners, grabbed some water, dropped off my medal into my bag and ate a banana. After that, I headed back out tackle Hennigar’s Hill again.

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A number of pace bunnies went back out to help other runner’s up Hennigar’s Hill – the last BIG hill. I think I ran up it 7-8 times before I felt too cold to run anymore and ran back with a group of women. They were running fast and were super motivating! It felt good to run with a small group of fierce women. I didn’t want to intrude on their run but also wanted to encourage them along the way as I ran back. As they circled the track, I ran directly to the finish line and finished 7 k for a total of 17 k for the day.

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I still don’t know how to explain how it feels to be a pace bunny, other then it’s hugely motivating, inspiring and awesome experience for me. I hope to pace a few more races next year with True North Pacing. And yes, then went home, cooked a turkey dinner, filled my belly with WAY to much food and desert and enjoyed the evening with my family. Full heart, happy body and my soul filled immensely on Thanksgiving weekend.

Have you ever ran with a pace bunny?

Anyone else race last weekend or this weekend coming?

Past pacing 1:10 – 10k: 

  • 2015: 1:09:59
  • 2017: 1:09:37
  • 2018: 1:10:06

Thanks True North Pacing and Valley Harvest for another great event! I don’t blog daily but you can follow me over on Instagram. I’ll be running the PEI Half Marathon this Sunday!!!

 

 

Half Marathon Update & Pacing VRM!

Though I haven’t been blogging about my half marathon training – I’m now 2 weeks out from my 7th half marathon in PEI!! Also, I literally had to go through my blog to figure out how many half marathon’s I’ve run to date.

Training

My training has been going really well. I’ve managed to log almost all my miles and surprisingly in September, most of those miles had me running at 5 or 6 am before my family was even up. September was the month of morning miles and I loved it! It’s starting to get a little colder and my early morning motivation is starting to dwindle.

October is off to a slow start with no running as of yet. I played three games of soccer over the weekend (we won the tournament and I scored a goal!!) so I took Monday off to rest. And rest I did. I was in bed last night at 8:49 pm – lights out! I’m coming down with a head cold which really sucks timing wise. I just feel lousy and have an 8 k run on tap for today. I’m really unsure if I’ll run at all today. Any tips on getting better quickly?

From runners to cleats!

Runner Soccer

Pacing!

On a more exciting note…….. I’m pacing the 1:10 – 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon again!!!!! I’m a wee bit excited as this is my favourite distance/time to pace! This will be my third time pacing this distance and race. I’ll be running with “True North Pacing”. They are the pacing group the came together recently to provide pacers for this race. Can’t wait!

Also – I’m looking forward to Thanksgiving dinner this weekend (Canadian Thanksgiving). After I pace my 10 k and help out a bit more I’ll be heading home to cook up a turkey and a roasted butternut squash for the vegan husband.

Anyone running Valley Harvest this weekend?

Favourite Thanksgiving dish?

Best advice to get rid of a head/throat cold? (Vit C, honey, garlic, sleep – what else). 

Don’t forget, you can follow me over on Instagram – I post there almost daily.