Runners Rut: I’ve been cheating.

trico-centre-sumo-deadliftsMarathon training did not go as planned.

Despite acquiring a shiny new plan from Eastern Shore Training, I found myself in a rut. It wasn’t that I didn’t see results or that I wasn’t getting faster (I took an entire minute off my pace!) but I just wasn’t motivated. Let me tell you, this is an awful feeling when you have a goal like a marathon.

About two months after I started the running program with EST, I decided I needed to get back into strength training. I thought it would help to boost my motivation (and confidence.) So, I solicited the help of Roni Davis, former NPC Figure Champion and award winning personal trainer. I love Roni’s style – she doesn’t bullshit, doesn’t accept excuses but she’s also realistic and understands the demands of a busy life. Because 5000km separates us, Roni put together a virtual training plan for me. Truth-be-told, I was intimidated by the first month of workouts. I hadn’t been to the Trico Centre in months and all-of-a-sudden, I had to use machines that seemed pretty darn scary.

The very first morning I got to the gym, I had no idea what the hell I was doing so I enlisted the help of Tyra, the fitness monitor. She took time to show me exactly what I needed to do on each machine and how to do it safely but within the program designed by Roni. Slowly, my confidence grew. The quad muscles that had dust on them started to appear again, my running got stronger and my muscles ached a little less.

So how does it work?

Each month, I get a new plan. There’s really only one thing I can be sure of and that’s that there will be a ton of squats. Other than that, I have found a love for strength training & weight lifting that I didn’t know I had.

I kind of feel like I’m cheating on running. But I believe I need this break to remember why I loved to run in the first place. And even though I’m not following a strict training plan right now, I still get out 3x a week for an easy run, long run & hills. The rest of the week is devoted to weights. Today someone asked me if I notice a difference in my body since I started training with Roni. There are subtle hints here and there, but I’d say the biggest difference is in my confidence. I love how strong I feel!

Right now, marathon training is on the back burner. But if you’re interested in hearing tales from a #fatgirllifting, follow along!

Canada Day @Spruce_Meadows ‘Heroes behind the heroes’ obstacle course

“A lot of people run a race to see who’s the fastest.  I run to see who has the most guts.” 

On Canheroes behind the heroes obstacle course at spruce meadowsada Day I started the day with an obstacle course at Spruce Meadows (it’s part of their running series to celebrate forty years.) I have to say it was a very-well organized event (kudos to organizers.) They had Up!97.7 broadcasting (Grant Buchanan), the military were present, they had a pancake breakfast, kit pick up was easy, there were lots of port-a-potties (yay!) and everything was well-marked.

Kat Macaulay Running while Pregnant Race Results heroes behind heroesThe race started on time (which is fantastic because I was feeling nauseous and wasn’t sure how long I would make it.) The had military personnel at every obstacle and had them yelling at everyone which was entertaining. They sent people who were participating in the obstacle course out in waves of 20 and I was in the third wave. I met our MLA for the first time (Dave Rodney) who was there with his wife and two boys (as it turns out we have some mutual friends that I didn’t realize – small world!)

The obstacle course itself was not bad at all (See legend). The only obstacle I would not do was the wall – I am too scared of slipping and falling on my belly; everything else was great. The very last obstacle was the “polar bear dunk” whereby you had to submerge yourself in freezing cold water. It was cold. And uncomfortable. After having lost my Cakat macaulay running while pregnant calgary at heroes for heroes at spruce meadowsmelBak at the Spartan Race in Edmonton, I handed off my brand-new bag to one of the military guys who graciously held it for me as I gingerly eased myself into the tank (despite them yelling at me to do a canon ball… I told them to ‘get real’.) The only bummer was that I didn’t bring a towel, so I had to use our reusable grocery bags on the seat of the car so I wouldn’t soak right through.

I didn’t stay long after the race to enjoy the pancake breakfast (despite the MC making a comment that I would be eating for two and ‘there goes their budget’) All-in-all, I would recommend the race to anyone who doesn’t mind pavement. For me, I enjoy trails so it wasn’t my favourite race but next year I plan to bring Felix because I know he will love it!

And then you’re running for two.

“Run when you can, walk if you have to, crawl if you must – just never give up!”

runningkattales_runningfortwoIt’s been quite some time since I spilled my guts here. Is anyone still out there?

Much has happened since I wrote last. For one, I’m now running for two. Yep. You read that right. Our family is expecting a new addition some time in November.

Needless to say, this has been an interesting ride so far, as I totally forgot what it was like to be pregnant. At my first appointment, my doc asked if I was as nauseous with my son. I couldn’t remember. But I suspect that I must have been, hence why we waited so long to have another! Aside from the incredible sickness that comes in the first trimester, I was also lazy-as-heck. I beat myself up a lot for not pushing myself to get out and run (something I had been doing 3-4x a week at that point) but I literally could not make myself run (and we know how stubborn I am…) I got out walking instead, which was good but not the same when you’re a runner. It took almost the entire first trimester of pushing myself to get back out there – but I’m glad I did!

Now I’m closing in on the half-way mark and I’m feeling great. I’ve been doing longer runs on the weekend and short runs (one or two) through the week. The only complaint I really have is that I need to pee every few kilometres, which makes it a little challenging out on the trails. However, I’m really not minding it for the most part. I take my camel bak, fill it with water and ice, make sure my iPhone is fully charged and off I go. Today I wore my tank top that says “I’m not slow, I’m pregnant” for the first time… there was a lot of laughing and support on the trail. I especially want to thank the woman who yelled out: ‘That is a great shirt! Good job!” and another man who yelled at me from his bike saying: “You go girl!”  Oh and can’t forget the old lady who was trying to read it: “I’m … not… slow…. I’m…. what does that say? I can’t see.. What does that?” and her husband awkwardly jumped in with: “I’m pregnant.”

I think the worst part about being pregnant at this point in the season is that it’s race season and I’m envious of those people who get to do all the fun trail runs and obstacle courses. I so wish I could participate in Spartan, Mud Hero and Tough Mudder this year, but I guess I’ll have to skip a season as I’ve been told it would be reckless to do so. However, I want to keep going as long as I can… even if I have to crawl!

Oh and the one real issue I feel I could possibly have in the future is tights. I love wearing my capri running tights but the bands are really starting to irritate me. Friends: if you have been pregnant and ran OR know someone who was pregnant and ran, can you give me some recommendations? Also – wondering about the belt that is supposed to support your belly? Apparently it supports your belly so your bladder doesn’t take quite the beating. As much as I LOVED my sisters suggestion of just throwing on a depends… I’d like to investigate this further.

But that’s it for now. Tomorrow is another long run and I’m quite looking forward to it!

 

 

@Oprah “Running is the greatest metaphor for life, because you get out of it what you put into it. ”

What I think she also meant is that running is the greatest metaphor for hill training: because you get out of it what you put into it.

I have been pushing myself pretty hard to make sure I put in the kind of training I need just to cross the dang finish line at the Cabot Trail Relay Race (let’s not get carried away with trying to get a decent time.) But…

Today I ran an 8km at lunchtime; all hills. (Pictures below)

It was definitely one of the toughest runs I’ve had in a while and I am definitely taking it easy tonight but I am so happy with the results.

My splits were pretty incredible for me, especially after the winter we’ve just had and how my runs have been going. They ranged from a 5:34 to a 6:35 – ironically, the 6:35 was on the downhill while I was trying to catch my breath. Seeing as the cut-off for the CTRR is a 6:00/km, I am pretty happy I am close to it, though I don’t know how this will pan out on the actual race day.

Overall, the run was really good as far as I’m concerned. I finished it with about a 6:08/km average and I’m happy with that.

Here are some shots from google maps:

calgary-centre-street-bridge-hill-training-running-x2

calgary-centre-street-bridge-hill-training-running

When you fall off, you really fall off! #CabotTrailRelay #MacKenzie

Yikes! It has been some time since I’ve written, but rest assured that I have actually been training.

So I know that I’ve shared that I’ll be running the Cabot Trail Relay with a team called “Alberta Energized” in May, but I don’t think I filled you in on the leg I picked… Leg #10. Here are the descriptions:

cabot-trail-relay-race-leg-descriptions-cape-breton-alberta-energized

Originally I planned to do Leg #2, but after we lost a significant number of runners and we had to recruit quickly I didn’t think it would be fair to say: “Hey, want to come run a relay last minute? Oh and by the way, you have a jerk of a mountain. Thanks!” 

The amusing part is that I have run the CTRR several times myself: Leg #3, Leg #8 a few times, Leg #11 and Leg #15 (pregnant; awful, awful run.) But I don’t remember how awful Leg #10 looks, which is probably a blessing anyway! So here I am, 5000km and 60 days away from the race, running blissfully unaware of the magnitude of my decision.

Springbank-Hill-Training-calgary-runningDon’t get me wrong, I am training my little heart out. I’ve been doing a couple runs a week, mixed in with some cross training & weight training; I do hill intervals and my long runs ARE hill runs. Right now I’ve worked myself up to 14.4km; by the time I run the relay my goal is to be around the 21.6km mark with about 8x hill repeats on this a-hole of a hill; the hill is steep and about 900m long. I am supposed to be training for a 8% grade (I have no idea what this hill is, all I know is that it is awful.) This photo doesn’t even do it justice.  From the point I took the picture, there was probably about 2.5km of “rolling hills” before the steep part. So at the end of my training for Cabot Trail, My goal is to be able to run 21.6km and repeat the steep part of this hill 8x. Yuck. (But I love the challenge!)

Here are some other pictures from various runs out there, pretty spectacular scenery! Yesterday there were loads of horses to watch; it was fun to see them running around, took my mind off of the gruelling ups and downs. OH and there was a dang coyote. Holy crap those things are creepy. He and I both realized that the other was in the vicinity at around at the same time…mid-step. He literally had one foot up when he cranked his head to see me. We kept our eye on one-another but I took my eye off him for a minute, and there he was sitting by the road, watching me run by as if to say, “Oh, this should be good…” Creepy.

Gu-Energy-Hill-training-calgaryAnd alas, I have turned to Gu despite getting terrible heartburn from it. I wasn’t really sure if it would make a big difference because I am not yet at the half distance. It does. Especially on hills. My enjoyment level during the harder runs and my recovery after them seems to be much better than last year. They taste horrendous and within several hours I have the worst heartburn from it, but I feel they’re doing what they’re supposed to do. I typically take one about 35-45 minutes into a long run. And that’s it. I then just take the mio sport drink and water; I don’t know if I’ll try any other combinations but I am happy that I have a plan at least.

Trigger-point-quad-rollerFinally, I bought one of my own quad rollers. OW, OW, OW. It hurts so much whilst doing it, but then feels amazing afterward. I want to get a foam roller to do IT bands. But for now I’ll settle with the one from the gym. I guess.

 

At the end of the day (and training), look how beautiful Leg #10 is from a motorcycle (doing down, instead of up):

Oh and that’s the other great thing: this run is at night, so I figure, if I can’t really see that I am running up a mountain than it won’t be as bad. HAH! Yes. I do realize I sound delusional.

That’s it for now.

Hope everyone is happy & healthy.

Happy Trails!

 

Week 3: first #running blister out of the way…

winter its time for you to leaveThis week was pretty good for running – the temperatures have been super mild (thankfully) however, that means there is a lot of ice (because the temps drop below “0” at night)… therefore, I have been spending quite a bit of time on the dreadmill. I feel like it’s the “easy” way out, but my husband reassures me that it’s much better than breaking bones. He’s usually right.

Jan 13 – 20.56 km bike ride. As usual, didn’t particularly enjoy the bike but made it through. Was happy when it was finished. I have no idea how people stay on the bike for 1+ hours…I would need intravenous wine.

Jan 14- 5.61 km – I don’t remember this run but I’m sure it was good! I have been doing some speed work to make sure I can hit the 9:30 min/mile max we are allowed for the Cabot Trail Relay. I don’t know why I’m so slow this year, I blame Stephen Harper.

Jan 16 – This was a short run which I was eternally grateful for (only 2 miles)… and I completed it on the treadmill which wasn’t too bad. I then hopped off and matched it with a 2 mile bike ride, which wasn’t bad at all because it was quick.

Jan 18 – 5.6 km Run – this was the run for #MegsMiles. I was super disappointed when I got home and my tights are too worn out that I need to replace them – does anyone have recommendations for cropped tights? Must be flattering. Seriously.

Jan 19 – 8.07 km Run – ran Eau Claire this morning with one of the Alberta Energized teammates. Bless his heart as he slowed down for me, but it was still a pretty quick pace. The temperature was really enjoyable, there was only a little bit of ice and I got the first training blister out of the way (crappy running socks!)

That’s it for this week! Hope everyone is happy & healthy out there…!!!!

A run in honour of Meg Menzies

“I run because I can. When I get tired, I remember those who can’t run, what they’d give to have this simple gift I take for granted, and I run harder for them. I know they would do the same for me.”

Today was a tough run, but a great one. #MegsMiles