Rounding off 2016 – A Year in Review

With the last few days of 2016, I thought I would take a look back at the year. There were a lot of great things, sad things, nagging injuries, goals accomplished and still to be accomplished.

January

Over the last few years I started a new tradition with my daughters where I run my first kilometre of the year with them. We don’t go fast, we run in any weather and we do it together – one kilometre. Though my hamstring was still “unhappy”;  Lilly, Hilary and I went out to run together one kilometre together.

1st run of 2015 with girls

I eventually set my goals for 2016  a week or so into January, which seems to be a tradition as well. I decided that since I wasn’t training for a race, I wanted to build my base for a spring race and get my fussy hamstring in order. This would be my focus for the next ten weeks.

snow shoe Jan 30th

I joined Team Nuun and became a Nuun Ambassador which has been one of my favourite go-to’s for my runs. Fingers crossed I’m involved again this year. We got in lots of skiing, snowshoeing and I got to review Meals on the Run (which I’m still loving).

February

I kept building my base and signed up for a few races; Bluenose 10k and Johnny Miles. Johnny Miles was my goal race, it was my race away from home, my come back race from dealing with my injury. If you’ve been reading this blog since last June, you’ll know the outcome of that race!

I got back to doing yoga once a week and still love it. We did a little skating, more skiing AND my husband started working close to home – NO MORE TRAVELING AND BEING AWAY! Life changing event in our house folks….no more part time single parenting and no more 5 hours of driving one way/being away from us for him. Life changing!!!!

skating feb 14th

March

March was the month of wrapping up “building my base” and I started my training for Johnny Miles Half Marathon, I became a 261 Fearless Ambassador and we went away on March break to ski as a family. Lilly learned to ski on her own and Hilary did awesome skiing with us.

March Break ski trip PR

April

Though I started training for Johnny Miles in March, April was the month that it really kicked in. I added in IronStrength workouts which killed me every week and weekly yoga. Saï and I started working out at nights once the girls went to bed. He started running and cycling more since he was home often and that motivated meI was in the thick of half marathon training and loving it.

May

In May, I ran the Bluenose Marathon 10k and it was horrible! Not the event but my run was horrible. I struggled a lot on that run but tried to enjoy the people and bands playing…and running with my brother at the beginning. The girls ran their 2k race as well, despite the intense heat wave we had that morning.

Kids Bluenose Run 2016

June

June is a birthday month in our house, which saw Lilly turn six! It’s unreal how fast they grow up. June was supposed to be my goal race at Johnny Miles Half, a run I’ve wanted to do for years. Unfortunately, our dog Maclean passed away two days before my race and we were all just devastated..

Maclean 2002 2016

I ran Johnny Miles half anyway but it was horrible. It was my goal race, my best training to date, yet I was just completely broken inside. I loved the course and the race environment but it was just mentally and physically hard. I ended up taking two weeks off running as I just couldn’t bring myself to run. I lost a lot of motivation/joy this month – in all aspects of my life.

July

We celebrated Canada Day by picking strawberries and hanging out with friends at a local event. Shortly after that it was my birthday but I still had felt broken…all of us did and would for a few months to be honest. Telling your little kids that their dog dies wasn’t easy so we had many conversations about this and lots of tears.

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I started playing soccer again and became a Sport Chek Ambassador for the summer. I also started training for my 5th half marathon – or what would have been! Yup, keep reading 🙂  Even though my heart wasn’t in it, I started training for the Maritime Race Weekend half marathon and had some awesome long runs and stomach problems too.

We went on vacation to PEI  again; enjoyed the beach, ran by the ocean, saw friends and family. It was a vacation that we all needed.

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Both Saï and I got in some early morning runs along the oceanside before the heat of the day would start.

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August

I signed up last minute for the Heart of the Valley 5k and was loving playing soccer again, until…I injured my ankle during a game. Essentially, I jammed my ankle and was in severe pain for 4-5 days. I couldn’t run. Since training went out the door, I managed to do more yoga, go swimming with the girls and a cycle. I’m a wannabe cyclist who might someday get brave enough to ride her bike next to cars!

Valley Yoga Fest 2

September

September hit and I got really impatient for my PT appointment so I taped my ankle and ran on it a few times. It felt pretty secure and good. Lilly started back to school and was so happy about it! I got into my PT (which I’m almost done with, thankfully) and he gave me a plan to get stronger.

I didn’t get to run my half marathon but I sure did enjoy running the Tartan Twosome: 5k Sunset and 5k Sunrise at Maritime Race Weekend. I had a great weekend and my husband ran his 2nd half marathon and did awesome!

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We also picked apples (a fall tradition) and the girls and I ran the Terry Fox run!

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October

I was in the thick of Physiotherapy and was allowed to run the Valley Harvest 10k which wasn’t near a personal best for me but was such a big win for the year in running. Struggling with injury after injury, I was just happy to be running. The girls both ran in the kids races at the VHM too. They had a great time.

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We celebrated Thanksgiving with family, the girls started swimming and gymnastics and I started going to Barre classes. I even started back at soccer too!! Why you ask? Well, I was given approval to do so and I love the sport. I realize I can get injured again but it’s a risk I’m taking.

November

My husband and I celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary. We managed to sneak away for a night in the city and go out for dinner…and not get interrupted or witness any tantrums. It was kinda nice 😉

The blog was a little quiet this month as I was lacking motivation. We went to a Santa Parade and I forgot my sports bra far too many times which resulted in many failed runches. C’est la vie! 

December

Another big birthday month in our house: Hilary turned four and Saï had a birthday too.

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We slowly got ready for Christmas and I shared a few of my favourite running items. I managed to get in a few runs outside in the snow and decorated my treadmill (#merrymill) for the season!

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Our Christmas was different this year as Saï had to work all weekend so we celebrated when we could. Christmas dinner four days early, traditions of new pj’s and seeing the lights on houses Christmas eve without Saï. However, Christmas morning when Saï should have been sleeping we spent an hour and a half opening presents and having breakfast together. It was short and sweet before he needed more sleep followed by another shift but it was great.

That’s been my year in review! If you want to read last year’s you can find it here.  And if you are still reading at this point – thank you 🙂 I’ve enjoyed blogging this past year, reading your comments, connecting with other bloggers and learning so much. I’ll be back in the new year with some 2017 goals, my mileage wrap up for 2016 (so close to last year’s #’s) and review of my 2016 goals!

Happy New Year!

How was your 2016 year?

Did you have a favourite month or “thing” you did?

What are you looking forward to the most in 2017?

T’was The Friday Before Christmas

And all through the house, not a kid was whining not even…

Just kidding. I don’t have any rhymes for this.

I’m so happy Christmas is finally here as it seems like we’ve been gearing up for it for a while now. Christmas will be different this year but we are trying to make the most of it.

Tree Decorating

We decorated our tree Monday night – kinda late but a lot of fun looking and talking about all the ornaments we put on the tree.

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Winter Solstice

Wednesday night my running buddy, Krystol and I got in a slippery 6k and enjoyed some of the decorated houses. We were scoping them out for evening trips for our kids. I was actually participating in the RunAtCan Winter Solstices run. We were running for Mental Health awareness as were 75 others across Canada (and a few US peeps).

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Early Christmas Dinner

I spent most of yesterday cooking and baking treats for my family as it’s the only day we have together until Boxing day! My husband, who is a Paramedic works all weekend (crappy, we know) but that’s just life and how his scheduled fell. We’ll have 2-3 hours at the most tomorrow and Sunday so Christmas dinner was enjoyed early. AND, leftovers today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Running

Since my husband is working this weekend, I snuck out for a quick yet slow 5k this morning. It was slow going as there were some slippery spots under the snow, so I wore my old yaktraxs which always twist on my right foot. Meh, it was better then falling on my ass. I did my PT exercises for my ankle – yes, that’s still an issue but I’m working on it.

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The best part now is to just sit back and relax with our girls. I’ve watched a few Christmas movies this week but looking forward to watching a few more bundled up beside our fireplace. The girls are excited for a Christmas Eve gathering at their friends house, seeing the lights on houses in their new pj’s and leaving cookies out for Santa. And of course Santa’s arrival.

It’s going to be a very different Christmas for us at a time when everything is so magical for the girls. Again, it’s life and we’re making the best of it.

Merry Christmas! 

When are you having Christmas dinner? 

Anyone else sneaking in runs before you travel?

What’s your favourite Christmas ornament?

I’m joining for the first time this link up with Running on Happy & Fairytales and Fitness for the Friday Five 2.0 linkup.

Friday Five Linkup 2.0

Happy Holidays!

How to Run During Winter in Canada

Winter running has lots of challenges. What do you wear? How do you layer? What should you wear on your feet? How long should you run in the cold? Why do your lungs BURN?!?!

Yes, all those thoughts go through my mind when winter temperatures start gracing us in Nova Scotia. It usually only takes one run to (rudely) remind me of what piece of gear I was missing in order to make it a good run. I was recently asked what I wear on my runs to stay warm/safe. These are only my opinions, please share your tips in the comments.

Running in Winter in Eastern Canada

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Keep Your Feet Happy

We can have lots of snow in the winter but our conditions are always changing. If the roads are clear (sidewalks included), I usually just wear my normal running sneakers. However, don’t expect them to last after the winter months as the salt from the roads can take a toll on them.

I also have a pair of “gator” liners that you wear like socks. They keep your feet extremely warm and dry if you have to run through slush. I feel like I’m putting on a wet suit for my feet.

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Last year (or the year before), I invested in a really good pair of Yak Tracks for running on the snow and ice. Yes, sometimes we run on ice folks! You need some kind of traction under your sneakers for snow and ice, otherwise you’ll end up on your butt and/or injured. I’ve yet to try spikes in my sneakers but I plan to get a set to try out soon.

Warm Legs

It’s never fun running with cold legs. I wear anything from running tights to thermal running tights. If it is extremely cold, I wear a wicking base layer  (merino wool long underwear) under my thermal tights. My thighs get really cold in the winter and stay cold for hours after a run so I’ve got to layer up.

Keep Your Core Warm

I also have two options for my core. Right now (0c to -15c) I usually wear three layers. A thank top, a long sleeve base layer and then, a jacket. Any colder (think adding on windchill to those temps), I wear a long sleeved base layer, VEST for my core, then a jacket. I want to keep my core warm when I run.

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Neck Up

I wear anything from a Buff to ski/neck warmer that covers up to my nose. Honestly, if I have to cover my face that badly during a run, I’m really pushing it and I should just get on my treadmill. I also wear my sunglasses as I find the when the sun hits the snow it can be blinding.

I wear a running hat and reflective gear. I have a pair of running gloves that I wear however, on really cold days I double up and wear a pair of mittens over top.

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Some Tips & Tricks to a Good Winter Run

  • Pee before you run. Your body tries to keep your urine warm, therefore heat is being taking away from your extremities (hands, feet). An empty bladder means warmer extremities. This is a winter camping trick that I use all the time.
  • The first few km/miles of your run are going to be cold while you warm up. Keep running, it will get better. If it doesn’t, call it a day.
  • Dress in enough layers but not too many – this can be tricky.
  • Test out your run. Take your first kilometre close to home or where you park your car. That way, if you are still cold after 5-6 minutes, you can add on another layer.
  • Cut your run short if you have to. No shame.
  • Don’t worry about your pace, focus on just running.

So, here’s to lots of great winter runs, warm hands and feet and good km/miles in your running shoes!

What’s your best winter tip you have?

What’s your favourite piece of WINTER running gear?

What’s the coldest temps you’ll run in?

Quick conversions: +5C = 41F  /   0C = 32 F  /  -5C = 23F   / -10C =  32F   /   -15C =  5F

 

Chilly Temps & Lots of Excitement!

December sure is winding down here! With all the shopping, decorating and trying to stay active, we’ve come down with yet another head cold. I sure hope 2017 brings our family good health 🙂

Late last week we had some bitterly cold temps. I’m talking -15c with a windchill of -31c (5F to -24F). I’m pretty sure all of Nova Scotia stayed inside Friday. The drive to work was insane and they had to close down the highways because of blowing snow.

The cold temps rolled into Saturday when I had a soccer game. However, we all got to play a little soccer. Saï and the girls watched my game (when I scored a goal!) and then there was open play for families. Of course, the girls played a little one on one soccer, we ran around, played with ribbons and a parachute!

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By Sunday the temps were up to +12c and RAIN – kinda nuts,eh! It was my only day to finish Christmas shopping and I got soaked.

Treadmill Running

I ran last night and did a little reflecting on all the races I did this year. All those medals were earned but all came with lessons learned as well.

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CHRISTMAS!

Our girls are beyond excited for Christmas and I think the fact that we FINALLY decorated our tree last night made it even more exiting. We only got our three Saturday afternoon and it was snow covered and frozen! It took a little time to thaw and made for quite the mess.

We tired to get a family picture last night and this was the best we could get. PJ’s, Santa hats and bright eyes!

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I planning to run the #BLTRxmas42 between December 24th & 30th. You are to run the distance of a marathon over the Christmas holidays. I ran it last year and it was a fun challenge to keep running when all you want to do is eat bad food and relax. Anyone can join in… use the hashtag #BLTRxmas42

What’s the one last thing you need to do before Christmas?

Are you having warm weather or extremely cold weather?

What’s one thing you want to see under the Christmas tree?

Year of Running {2016}

Well, my year of running in 2016 is summed up in a few races out of a handful that I did last year. I had a rough year with three different injuries (2 minor and 1 major) so running was a roller coaster of good and bad.

I wanted to share with you some of my best running of 2016, especially for those newer followers to Piper’s Run. Last year’s recap can be found here: 2015.

Best Race Experience: Maritime Race Weekend was simply the best. The weather was perfect, the hype was awesome and the atmosphere both days was energetic and motivating. Though I went into MRW with a fresh ankle injury and dropped down from the half to the 5k race, I had a blast.

Best run:  Back in August was my last long run during training and it was my favourite! It was week six of training for MRW and I ran it early in the morning from my parents house. I paced myself well, saw many runners on the trail, ran out of Nuun, stopped at a grocery store to refuel and even managed to pick up my pace for the last 2 km. It was just great…then I injured my ankle at soccer the following week….whomp, whomp!

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Best new piece of running gear: It’s not necessarily “running gear” but I love my Qalo rings. My husband and I both got two rings each. He wears his all the time and I wear mine when  I run/workout. They are silicone rings that move with your finger if you are picking up weights (or other objects) and won’t catch on anything like a stretcher (my husband is a Paramedic).

Best running advice you’ve received this year: Best to not run and take time to heal.

Best Advice I Can Give: Just because you are injured now, will not mean you are injured later. Take time to rest, heal and get stronger.

Most inspirational runner: I was pretty excited to see Kyla from Early Bird Runner, run her first Boston Marathon. She trained well and finished solid. I also got to meet her last year when she was visiting home visiting family which was fun.

Favorite picture from a run or race this year: Maritime Race Weekend 5k. After a disappointing soccer injury, I was just happy to be running.

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Race experience you would repeat in a heartbeat: I’ve already registered for Maritime Race Weekend 5k & Half Marathon (Tartan Twosome) for next September.

Worst Running Moment & Favourite Medal: Johnny Miles Half Marathon. This is only for personal reason, the event itself was wonderful and I want to do it again. This was my goal race.

It was to be my comeback race from my hamstring injury from the previous year. It was a weekend away with my running buddy. However, it was such a struggle – mentally and physically. Looking back, even though I felt I failed myself miserably, I ran at a time when I was grieving the lost of our dog. This might sound silly to some but I was more devastated about MacLean’s death the I ever thought I would be. It happened suddenly on Friday morning and I ran the half on Sunday morning.

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It was extremely hot (that’s fine) but I struggled through every single step. I wanted to give up after 5k and quit but I kept running….and walked a lot. I almost ran a personal worst and I STILL don’t know my exact finish time. I cried at the finish. It was rough.

It’s taken a few months but I can say now that I am proud this finish and love this medal. Definitely, my favourite medal for 2016.

If you could sum up your year in a couple of words what would they be? Disappointing, challenging and determined.

Eat Pray Run DC Year of Running 2016

The “Year of Running”is hosted by Courtney from Eat Pray Run. 

What’s your “Best” of 2016 in Running?

Who is your most inspirational runner?

Best running gear?

Treadmill Runs and Snowy Winter Runs

Though it’s not officially winter, we are now in winter running mode in Nova Scotia. We only have a little snow on the ground but the temps sure have dropped a lot recently. I was rudely reminded of how unprepared I was to run in these temps.

Living on the east coast of Canada, we can get a lot of snow. I love snow as it means I can ski (downhill and cross country), snowshoe and play outside with my kids.I don’t always love shoveling the snow and am thankful I have a snowblower.

Saturday

After a busy day with the girls, I jumped on the #merrymill after 8pm for a quick 5k as I missed a few days of runs and workouts. It was a struggle but I also challenged myself a little more on the speed so it’s my own fault. I was warm, watched “This Is Us” and tried to hold back the tears at the end, ran upstairs mid run for my water since I forgot it and didn’t have to layer up with clothing.

Bonus: Christmas lights on my treadmill, oh yeah!

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Sunday

I managed to get out for a longer run. I was really hoping to run over 10km but was limited on time as my husband had to go to work. It was bloody cold out but I felt like I had enough on: base later was a tank, then long sleeve smart wool shirt and my jacket; buff around my neck, thermal running pants, long socks, toque and gloves.

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The first few minutes I was freezing but I warmed up quickly and had the wind at my back. I knew this would come back to be unforgiving when I had to run against it on my way home. I ran out 4.5 km and turned around and felt completely done.

My stride was off due to the snow and ice underneath. I didn’t care about my pace but just wanted that distance. The wind was whipping through my running pants and my thighs were significantly cold – this is normal for me. However, I could have put another pair of pants underneath – lesson learned.

In the end, I managed 9k completed and was physically drained. I don’t want to come off as complaining about my run but it was a good challenge and I’m glad I completed what I did.

I love running outside but sure am thankful I have a treadmill to run on when my husband is away/working. Plus I love the advantage of staying warm in the winter when I run on the treadmill. However, there is nothing more satisfying then running in the cold temps, feeling the burn on your lungs and getting any distance completed. Okay, maybe there is…but I’ll take a treadmill run or run in the snow any day.

Snow Storm!

We are about to get a dumping of snow today: 15-20 cm of the white stuff so, I’m pretty sure I’ll be out doing the driveway at some point with my husband. Nothing says “date night” like shoveling your driveway, eh! Don’t be jealous! Check out my Instagram for snow storm updates!

Anyone have a snowy run? 

Favourite trick for keeping warm on longer runs?

Would you prefer to shovel the snow, use a snowblower or pay someone else to do it?

Double Workout  Day

It’s not it too often I pull off a double workout day, especially if I didn’t plan it or do it during training for a race. However, I managed to do so yesterday.

At lunch time, I quickly ran over to the yoga studio thinking I’d was late as a meeting I had went a little longer than expected. I was right on time, phew! There were only three of us in the class which was fun.

As I went through the warm up, I started to forget everything from the morning and I quickly settled into the class. I was feeling stiff from sitting most of Monday in a meeting and traveling to and from the city.  If felt good to stretch so I’d hold the pose just a little longer than normal.

Towards the end of the class I noticed my left big toe looked dirty…kinda odd I thought. So I looked at my right toe and wondered why it was so clean looking. Did I wear dirty flip flops recently and my toe strap was dirty? Nope, I’m all about warm socks these days (and clean feet). So, I poked it and it hurt. It was a bruise. A bruise from last week’s soccer game when someone stepped on my foot by accident. Apparently, I forgot all about it but it didn’t bother me until I saw it.

I got through the rest of my yoga class and an afternoon at work. Then I picked up the girls, got home and made dinner. I wanted to run, but I had already worked out. Should I run or just relax? And by relax I mean do house chores.  After doing dishes, getting the girls to bed and starting some laundry, I jumped on my treadmill at 8:10 PM.

I was motivated to decorate my treadmill with some Christmas lights from @mittenrunner on Instagram. My girls are going to laugh at the lights tomorrow and I’m sure my husband is just going to shake his head at me. Either way it was a fun way to run.

I managed to get in a 5k but happy to have accomplished that distance. I’m slow getting in some running this month mainly due to the busy weekend and being lazy Monday night. However, I managed an unplanned double workout day. I am taking that as a win!

Do you do double workout days often?  

Ever forget about a minor injury like a painful?

Decorate your treadmill or not?