Best of 2015 in Running

Though it wasn’t a big year of running but it sure was an adventure that had it’s up’s and downs. Obviously, the hamstring injury was the low point which too over 9 most of the year but I ended with some fun races.

Last year I did a “Best of 2014 Running” and thought I’d do it again. This year it’s hosted by Eat Pray Run DC. I’ve added some “other” pieces to the questions.

Best Race Photo & Best Race Experience: Pacing 10k Valley Harvest

I’ve never used a pace bunny before at a race so I’m not sure what drove me to sign up to be one but I’m sure happy I did. Through White Rabbit Pacing, I paced the 1:10 – 10k finish and managed a 1:09:59 finish time.

I was super nervous going into it as I was just getting my foot back to normal after it’s brief encounter with injury. I did a few practice runs and took some time to figure out pacing with my Garmin which was a life saver.

I love this race photo from me pacing – I had so much fun!

Finish photo at Valley Harvest marathon Pace Bunny

Though the winds was rough, this was the first time I loved running the 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon as I normally dislike one long open section. This year that part of the route was filled with runners around me, high fives and good chats with people I’ve never met before.

I absolutely loved pacing and planning on doing it again in 2016!

Best Volunteering Experience: Maritime Race Weekend

THIS RACE! This race was supposed to be my “come back” race but it was not. Luckily, I was able to volunteer handing out medals to finishers both Friday night (5k) and Saturday (all distances).

This race is one of the best races in Nova Scotia. The excitement around the race year round is vibrant. It’s the race that encourages everyone to participate whether you are a runner or not. It’s the race that gives back to community groups. It’s the race that you don’t want to miss!


I had a lot of fun volunteering, meeting new people, seeing friends finish their races. It an event that your running friends/communities come together. It’s a must do and I’m all ready signed up for September 2016!

Best Run: PEI Half Marathon

This by far was my best run of the year. My 3rd half marathon and one I was super nervous about. I didn’t know how my hamstring would hold up but new to keep moving forward and take it all in.

PEI 3rd Half Marathon 2015

My goal was a 6:30/km pace and I set my Garmin to 6:20 pace. I finished in 2:13:28. Not my best time but not my worst either; it was the exact time that I needed it to be. Though my hamstring was fine running, I’d later be in pain for a week due to not stretching properly – lesson learned.

Best New Piece of Gear: 

I don’t really have a favourite new piece of running gear but I sure did love my pink Asics that my husband picked up from me.


Early morning sweat

Best Piece of Running Advice You Received:

Maintenance and cross training is key for good running. You can run all you want but if you don’t work the muscles the propel you to run – you remain injured. ~from my physiotherapist

Race Experience You’d Repeat in a Heartbeat:

Pacing with White Rabbit Pacing. Hands down, I loved this and hoping to do so again next fall.

where's anna 10k pace bunny 2

Worst Running Moment: Hamstring Injury.

On December 10th 2014, I pulled my hamstring playing soccer and figured it was just a normal minor injury. I took some time off, not enough clearly and waited a full month to seek out treatment – lessened learned: seek treatment ASAP. Just because you’ve pulled muscle many many times before doesn’t always mean it’s the same.

This injury sidelined me until June, though I was running a little I was still in lots of pain until June…until I saw a Sports Physiotherapist and he got me back on track. I was going great until I somehow injured my cuboid bone that took me out of another race.

Injuries suck.

Favourite Medal: PEI Half Marathon & Valley Harvest 10k Pacing.

2015 medals


Your Year in Three Words: Frustrating. Motivating. Driven.

Frustrating – yes because I was in so much pain with my injury and doing everything I was told to do.

Motivating – being supported by family, friends, bloggers, social media friends and at races.

Driven – well, I guess my motto is just never give up.

Though 2015 didn’t start off great it definitely got a lot better!

What were some of your top 2015 running (or other workout) highlights?

Answer some of the questions in the comments?

What was your favourite “thing” of 2015?

PEI Half Marathon RACE RECAP {Part 2}

If you missed Part 1, check it out here!

Sick kid update – thank goodness for Advil, Tylenol and snuggles. As I put Hilary to bed last night, she said stay a little longer. So I did, I stayed a little longer with her in my arms in the glider, I sang a little longer and I just enjoyed her being under the snuggles….you never want to see your child sick but the snuggles aren’t going to last forever. I soaked it in as long as I could.

21.1 km continued….

I took my first Chocolate GU around 42 minutes, roughly 6k and kept running with the package in my hand as I wanted to find a garbage bin to put it in. Eventually, we crossed the highway and were on the Confederation Trail – beautiful crusher dust and fall colours everywhere!

I instantly had a pebble in my left shoe and was annoyed as it bounced under my toes like it was in a pillow fight, floating back and forth. That’s all I could focus on for a long time. It eventually made its way to my heel and started to feel more like a rock. The level of annoyance was getting up there but I kept running even when it felt like the stupid rock jumped out of my left shoe and into my right shoe in an instant. Seriously! I don’t know how that happened or if I just wasn’t paying attention but the pebble was now in the right shoe! *face palm* WTF!

Around 57 minutes in, I figured I’d finish my first 10k around 1:03 and then did some math. If I kept at this comfortable pace, I could do 20k in 2:06 and or maybe, just maybe push the last 2-3k to finish under 2:10. I hate doing math when I run but this got me excited.

My motto for the run was “stay comfortable” and when I saw “behind pace” on my Garmin, I would say “that’s okay” and smile. Because, really…it was okay. It was okay that I was behind my 6:20/km pace as I felt comfortable and was really enjoying my run. Now, I wasn’t that far off my pace but within reach, right where I wanted to be.

I took out my other GU around 10.5k to warm it up in my hand {really, it’s a nice stress reliever to squish between your hands when running} and it’s easier to swallow when warmed up. As we left the trail and onto the road my legs felt like they were in heaven! Happy legs, happy runner….right!

PEI Finish

Again, I felt so comfortable running. “Ahead of pace” flashed on my Garmin – awesome. This is such a great run…no, don’t say that…it’s such a good run, I thought. The last time I said “great run” when running, I hurt my foot. We ran through a cemetery and I was not prepared for that at all. It was short and sweet but I couldn’t help but think about the people who were buried there. I started to read the names and then got refocused on my run.

Roughly 15-16k

I was feeling good at this point and just kept running at my comfortable pace. We came out onto a street and I floated down the hill. It was rolling massive hills from here on in. I ran up every single hill and kept a comfortable pace for each. I struggled a few times towards the last two hills but didn’t stop. I remember looking at my watch around 17k and was feeling really good still but knew I had more hills to come.

As marathon runners passed me – actually whipped passed me – with what looked like fresh legs, I felt like I was moving at a snail’s pace. A few times I’d yell out “great job” but most of them were focus on their run to reply back. I heard music pumping out of a stereo and the song reminded me of my girls; that made me feel good.

I was hoping to really push it between 18-21 km but I just couldn’t. I did maintain my “pace” and then managed to push it a little more during the last 2km. I knew my husband would be at the finish line so I kept my eye out for his jacket. I noticed him instantly and the smile on my face grew bigger. I was happily finishing my 3rd half marathon with enough juice in my legs to finish strong.

As I high-fived a bear, I knew I had accomplished my goal of running another half marathon. I push those last few steps as the MC called out my name my hands went into the air in celebration. The last few steps I ran with my eyes closed for some reason….maybe I was taking it all in, maybe it was in relief to be finishing, maybe I was overwhelmed with joy. I’m sure my race finish photo’s will tell the story on my face and I can’t wait to see them.

PEI 3rd Half Marathon 2015

I made my way through the finish shoot, grabbed some food and water and found my husband. I gave him a hug but told me not to squeeze him too tightly….as he had an egg/gouda/bacon sandwich inside his coat waiting for me! SCORE!!!! It was still warm as he ordered it from Starbucks just minutes before I finished my race.

I stretched a little (not enough) and ate my sandwich and YES, I had a moment of ugly crying with my husband as the last 10 months came crushing down on me. It couldn’t have been a more comfortable run, I loved every second of it.

Pace Breakdown

1 – 10km pace: 6:06 | 6:18 | 6:23 | 6:16 | 6:21 | 6:17 | 6:26 | 6:16 | 6:21| 6:29 |

11-21.1 km pace: 6:30 | 6:30 | 6:07 | 6:16 | 6:04 | 6:29 | 6:13 | 6:28 | 6:28 | 6:08 | 6:08 | 0:58 |

Average: 6:18/km (goal 6:20/km)

Chip Time: 2:13:28

Garmin Time: 2:13:30

After I ran, we waited around for another RunATCan member to finish his first half marathon and it was great to see him finish. Great job Andrew and congrats! I ran into an old soccer friend, Jenna who was running the corporate distance with some friends.

Later that afternoon we went to The Gahan House for beer, mussels and calamari…I’m pretty sure I made my vegan husband ill with my food choices but it was so good!

Post Run Beer Food

I hurt all over! My hamstring isn’t good but my calf muscles hurt too. I’m taking the week off running since it’s a crazy work week and trying to get my hamstring happy again. The road to recovery after an injury is NEVER over – that’s what I’ve learned this year.

Thanks for reading about my journey to my 3rd half marathon. I’m excited for a 5k Santa Shuffle in December and just enjoying working out and getting stronger. I’m not ready to give up my long runs or half marathon training so expect to read more about that in the new year!

Congratulations to the PEI Marathon for an awesome event! The course is beautiful in so many ways. The vibe at the finish line is energetic. Great job….I will be back!

Again, thanks for your comments, your support and encouragement along the way.

What’s your favourite post race meal or drink?

Do you have any upcoming races?

How do you finish your races?

PEI Half Marathon RACE RECAP! {Part 1}

Whoop, whoop…I finally ran a race for me and didn’t get hurt! Ba, ha ha ha!

Seriously, though…I probably had one of the best races one could have after 10 months of physio (Massage & Osteopath), 4 missed races, lots of volunteering and 2 FRIGGIN’ injuries. Thank you for all your comments on the blog, on twitter, on Facebook and the text messages and phone calls I got from family and friends this past weekend. I’m surrounded by amazing and supportive people and I greatly appreciated ALL of your comments.

I’m going to try and capture it all but will do it in two posts…I know, I know….but I have a sick little girl on my hand and need to get ready for a rough night ahead of us.


It took me a while to get over the guilt of leaving my girls for four days. Crazy, I know! I just had this guilt over me for a few weeks thinking I should bring them with me so we could all be together for a weekend. This would have meant Lilly missing two days of school {which I’m fine with} but it also meant all four of us would sleep in the same room. Recipe for disaster for a mother runner!

My parents came to our house to take care of the girls and I left Friday for Prince Edward Island. It was about a 4.5 hour drive. Thanks Mom & Dad!

Once in PEI, Sai and I decided to go out to a British pub called “The Churchill Arms”. The food was awesome! The guilt went away and I was able to enjoy time with my husband and actually relax – like feet up on the couch relax for hours! Gasp!!!

The Expo {Friday}

This was pretty neat for someone from out of Province. It was held at the Confederation Center for the Arts in Charlottetown {Ch’town}. I had no idea where I was going once we got inside but figured it out after I saw a few other runners in front of me. The expo is small but just right. They didn’t give you a swag bag but you could get a bag if you wanted on along with any printed material along the way. There were probably 10 booths set up: Running Room, Fusion belts and a few others but I didn’t stop. I kept walking to find out where to pick up my bib and tried to convince Sai to sign up for the 5k. He wasn’t budging 😉 I got my bib and shirt and was good to go!

My cousin Jennifer works at the library so we went to visit her. You know, it’s ALWAYS great seeing your family when you are away. We chatted for a while and she suggested going to The Gahan House for drinks post race….we kept that in mind.

pei bib shirt


We had no obligations Saturday, other then to find a pair of throw-away shirt. We hit up the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market, were unsuccessful at finding a throw-away shirt and couldn’t find “the right poncho” anywhere. We made my favourite vegan avocado pesto pasta for dinner and went out one last time to find “the right” poncho for my run. Fun fact: I had two of these poncho’s in my running container at home, oops!

My poor husband! I’m pretty sure he was ready to kill me Saturday…or loose me shopping. I couldn’t decided what to wear for my run as it was calling for +5C with rain but feels like 0C. WTF  – oh, and I may swear a lot in this post {sorry Mom!}. All day I’d change my mind about what I was going to wear.

I started off with this….


…and ended up in this….


The Poncho look.

Okay, I didn’t run in the sweat pants or the fleece sweater but I rocked the yellow poncho! Thankfully after dinner, Sai recommended we head out one more time to find a poncho, hair dryer since I forgot mine and sweat pants. Gotta love Wally world for some super warm and comfy pants – they were a life saver!

Pre Race {Sunday}

5:27 am I woke up but tried desperately to keep my eyes closed as I just wanted to sleep a little longer. That didn’t work, hence knowing the time I was awake. I got up around 6:10 and started my day. When Sai met me for breakfast I was super nervous. I sat there eating a cold piece of bagel with coconut peanut butter and OJ. My right leg was resting on a chair and my left leg was trembling up and down under the table. Every so often, I’d tried to control the trembling but my leg just wanted to shake. Nerves were totally settling in and I could only eat half  of my bagel. I’d later eat a banana in the car.

We arrived at the start around 8am {note – way too early for a 9am start in the rain}. The Full Marathon started in a different location at 8am and would finish with the half, 10k and 5k runners downtown Ch’town. I am SO thankful we found a poncho the night before as it was piss pouring rain when I met Charlotte, a #RunATCan friend who was running the 5k.


I was wearing my shorts under my sweatpants but decided last-minute to switch out and put on my winter…YES, WINTER running pants as it was wet AND cold at this point. I’m not sure how it happened but the rain went from piss pouring down to a light shower to nothing within 10 minutes of the race starting. As I started to walk towards the start area I ran into another twitter friend, Erin – she was running the 5k. After a quick photo, I went up to the START area and waited patiently as my Garmin caught the satellite. I was super nervous!

21.1 km

There was a little announcement and we were off running…no gun warning. I knew nobody around me, though I made sure to keep an eye on the 2:10 and 2:30 pace bunnies. I started running in my yellow poncho as it was still raining and I was cold. I didn’t want to be wet AND cold starting off so I thought I would keep the poncho on as long as I could.

As I ran with the crowd dodging puddles, pot holes and cracks on the street, I just ran at my pace not those running past me. It took a while but I managed to get into a comfortable groove. My plan was a 6:20 pace, to run comfortably and then push the last 2-5k as I could. Seemed like a good plan to me!

We ran around Victoria Park and I took in the view of the ocean and land off in the distance as the sun was starting to peek out from behind the clouds. I looked around and thought…man, I’m lucky! My poncho was starting to piss me off but I wasn’t ready to part ways with it. As we entered my Aunt/Uncles subdivision, I felt comfortable and like I was in my old neighbourhood. I’ve run these streets many times on vacation and while visiting Sai and family. {Newbies – my husband works in PEI as a Paramedic}.

I ran most of these roads and knew what hills to expect or at least I thought I did. I saw a soccer field near the ocean and all I could think about was if a ball went in the water, they’d be screwed! Around 4k, I took off my poncho and stuck it in my belt….that felt awkward but I kept running. Around 5.5k I saw a water station and decided to ditch the poncho.

I felt comfortable and was really enjoying my run. At times, I thought about all my physio (and other) appointments. I thought about all the frigging pain in my hamstring I had but kept running. I ran up hills I didn’t know about and passed people – I felt really strong!

Every so often my watch would beep “behind pace” and all I could think of was “that’s okay” with a smile on my face. I literally said that every single time I saw “behind pace”. As the crowds of runners thinned out, I still felt comfortable. “On pace” would appear on my Garmin and I’d smile more….I was right were I wanted to be! I aimed for a 6:20/km pace but hoping to keep it under 6:30/km.

Okay…..sick kid needs my attention…..I’ll leave you hanging for a day now……………….

Hope you all had a great weekend?

Anyone race? PEI? STWM ? Others?

Have any snow this weekend? We did!

Last Long Run Before Two Races

Two weeks to go before I get to run my first half marathon this year….feels kinda surreal. Yesterday I did my last long training run on my own.

Normally I would follow my Hal Higdon plan for everyone long run which would have had me running 19k next weekend. However, I’m pacing the 10k at Valley Harvest Marathon next Sunday, I thought I would just add-on another 6-8k after pacing the race. I decided my body would probably benefit from a little taper and I’d stick with just pacing the 10k at 7 minutes/km or an hour and 10 minute finish.

Let me tell you about my long run yesterday…..

First I have to tell you about Friday night as it will come in handy later on! Actually, it started with lunch. Saï met me at my work and we went for lunch: Thai Food…delish! Hours later, I made pasta for the girls and baked sweet potatoes with cut up veggies, kidney beans and cheese on top (vegan cheese for Saï). I also had a kale salad for us. Once the girls went to bed we started to watch “McFarland”. After 45 minutes we cooked up a box of spring rolls and I shoved 2 pieces of left-over pizza in my mouth…apparently I was hungry. Oh …. we also had some wine; sangria to be exact.

Early in the morning my alarm sounded and I was up by 5:30 am. I did the bathroom thing, got dressed and ate a 1/2 a bagel with peanut butter. I was out the door at 6:04 and ready to run 17-18k on my own. It was extremely dark and felt a little dodgy. I had on my Night Runner 270 lights and my vest so I was seen by vehicles – most of my run was on the side of the road or on the sidewalk.

nightrunner270 lights

Around 25 minutes into the run there was a man on the other side of the road who noticed my lights {remember, it’s still extremely dark}.  As I came closer he walked across the street, didn’t even look to see if any cars were approaching and said something to me. I said good morning and kept running. After a little while my stomach started to rumble but went away just as fast…I thought nothing of it.

I took my “outrageous chocolate” GU around 7.5k and dropped the package in a garbage bin, took my vest off and turned might lights off. I kept running and decided to run up this hill and figured I turn around half way up it but I just kept running. It was a kicker, that’s for sure. My stomach rumbled a few more times but I just kept running.

Between 13-14k, I heard the honk of a car beside me but couldn’t figure out who it was. It was my friend Jolene in her husband’s car. Once I recognized her, the look of horror was washed off my face with what I hope was a friendly/surprised smile. It’s always fun to see people on your run when you don’t expect it.

oct 3 run

As I got closer to home my stomach got worse but I thought I could wait until I got home. I crossed the street when there was a lull in traffic instead of waiting for the cross walk signs to change. I was so close to home…. about 1.2km to be exact. I had to walk. Not sure why, but I did for a few steps and then figured it was a silly choice so close to being done.

I had to climb up one more hill and it killed me but I managed to keep running at the top to recover. I finished 18k about two streets out from my house and walked back for a little cool down. My stomach was feeling fine at this point. As I entered the house and went up stairs I was greeted by the girls and Sai. I sat down to stretch with Hilary and after one stretch I ran fast for the bathroom. Well……..let’s just say I’m so glad I was home! No more wine or tones of food the night before a long run or my upcoming races!

I’m getting excited and nervous for PEI Half Marathon 🙂 Now I’m just going to enjoying my few runs/workouts this week, look forward to pacing next Sunday and celebrating {Canadian} Thanksgiving dinner too.

Ever have stomach issues when running?

Garmin (or other GPS users) – do you look at your splits after your run?

What’s your favourite feature on your GPS unit?