@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 4 & Week 5: it was warm, it was cold, it was icy.

winter its time for you to leaveNowhere in the world has bizarre winters like Calgary. Holy mackerel. Over the last two weeks temperatures have dipped as low as -22 to +12 (and forgive me if that’s wrong!) But there was almost always 100% chance of ice and slush.

The last two weeks I have taken a few extra rest days. A lot of it has to do with terrible scheduling on my part and the other part has to do with an awful blister I have on my ankle that I can’t seem to heal. At any rate, I have been taking it slowly and gradually building my mileage.

This morning I woke up and didn’t really think I’d have a great run, in fact I tweeted just that… “Long Run Sunday: don’t you hate it when you just know before a long run that it isn’t going to be a good one? #runnerprobs” But it wasn’t a bad run at all and today I did my first 10km in I don’t know how long – it felt awesome! The reservoir was absolutely freezing but it was nice that there was hardly any ice.

For the dog owners out there: don’t take this the wrong way but it would be dandy if you could haul in your dog when you meet other runners on the trail. I am sure your dogs are kind and gentle but to be honest, it’s absolutely terrifying to stare an alpha-male Rottweiler-German-Shephard-Boxer mix in the face as he is barreling toward me. Lil intimidating. Even the little dogs are annoying, almost even more annoying to be brutally honest.

At any rate, it felt terrific to finish today despite my phone dying before I finished! I ran the last 1.5km with no music and it was pretty peaceful.

Here’s my last two weeks of training (some days were good, some were bad… hanging in there!)

Jan 20: 11.2km Bike

Jan 21: 6.75km Run

Jan 22: REST

Jan 23: 3.0 km Walk (Cross train day)

Jan 24: 4.42m Run

Jan 25: REST

Jan 26: 8.03km Run

Jan 27: REST

Jan 28: 7.02 km run

Jan 29: REST

Jan 30: 3.39km Run

Jan 31: 6.47km Run

Feb 1: REST

Feb 2: 10km Run

 

PS:

THANK YOU to the lady who said “GOOD WORK!!” to me when I was only 4km in, but not really feeling my run today. I really need that encouragement – thanks!

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…!!!!

Day 197, Day 198, Day 199 and Day 200! Holy Crap!

funny comic girl on treadmillOkay, I am seriously falling behind in my blogging and I apologize. It’s hard to juggle everything these days! But here is a super quick rundown of everything, with a few highlights.

Day 197:  Speed Training

I enjoyed speed training on the treadmill last Wednesday (not.) I completed 4.8 km in 30 minutes. I was really tired and quite honestly not “feeling” the treadmill. I was extremely happy when it was over.

Day 198:  9.61km on the treadmill

As much as I hated speed training, I didn’t mind my longer run on Thursday. I do believe this was for two reasons, (1) I didn’t wear the wrong shorts like I did the day before and (2) I ran a lot of it on a decline (LOL) sorry… it was the only thing that kept me motivated. I will say that I do tend to go much faster on a decline (for obvious reasons…) I completed that in 56:40.

Day 199:  18km through Fish Creek Park

What an incredible day! The run was a little bit tough as I jumped from 15’ish km to 18km but I did pretty well. I had to stop a few times to get a drink because it was somewhat warm out (not to bad though.) There were two hills that were incredibly hateful right in the middle of it. I think the run would have been better if I could have just started and run all the way downtown, but perhaps I’ll do that next week when I attempt 12.5 miles. I saw an Airedale Terrier when running, that was neat. Lots of bikers and runners out as well. Oh yeah, and I bought awesome new running sneakers that make ALL the difference in the world. And guess what, they aren’t ASICS! (they’re brookes…) Looking forward to next weeks long run.

Day 200:  16km on the bike

First of all, I can’t believe it’s been 200 days of this already? I started this journey August 21, 2012 (which was really 286 days ago, so apparently I’ve had a lot of rest days…) But it’s been an awesome journey and I’m excited for the next 200 which will hopefully include me finally running a half marathon; training for the Mud Hero; and a bunch of other challenges.

Anyway, the bike was it’s usual old self: boring. I completed 16 km and then did a bunch of weights. I don’t think I pushed hard enough because I’m not a bit sore today. Tonight I have YOGA. Woowhoo!

Hope everyone is happy and healthy out there!

 

Day 190 & Day 191: Cross-training and 5km of exploding pain in shins

If you’re going through hell, keep going.

Yesterday was a cross training day at the gym. I did thirty minutes on the AMT and then I did what I will describe as “hell-for-abs.” I bought this app called iBootcamp and it kicked my arse (well, my abs.) As I am still paying for it today (ouch!) The workout really did feel great though and I enjoyed the gym more than usual (I always like people-watching; except for the cocky teenage boys who smell bad, I could do without them.)

shin splintsThis evening I had planned on an 8km this evening, but I only did 5km. Now, in my head, that is a bit of a fail. However, after the first 250m, I almost turned around. But I pushed myself to do another 250m, and then another and then another. Finally, I told myself if I did at least 5km I could call it a night. I didn’t want to quit because I didn’t have the energy, or the weather or not the right kind of music on my iPhone, I wanted to throw in the towel because I had the absolute worst pains in my shins. They were EXPLODING with pain. My right leg is still throbbing!

Despite being an absolutely beautiful evening, the entire run was awful. Just awful. The mosquitos are out already and I have bloody legs and arms. At any rate, I guess I will have to make up for missing the 8km but I am pretty proud of myself that I kept going even though every bit of me wanted to quit!

Day 183: running mid-day, with a stroller and 30 lbs kid!

Today we got a later start than we expected for our run. We headed out really close to noon (dumb) when I had actually planned to hit the trail for 10 am, when it was much cooler. At any rate, we put our sunblock on, packed our water, treats and toys and off we went.

wow I was scheduled to run an easy 4 miles and I was thankful for that. The trail was pretty easy with just a few short hills. It was busy though! Lots of people out during their lunch hour (I assume) and making the best of an incredibly gorgeous day. Felix was awesome. Pointing things out, reading his book, eating treats and just enjoying the sunshine. I had lots of support on the trail. One lady was resting on roller blades and said “You go girl!” and I met a man further on who said, “It’s a good day mom. Way to go.” These little words of encouragement mean the absolute world when you are hitting the wall.

So I calculated the distance so that we would finish right by the park (about 1km from our truck) so that on our way back, we could stop and play for a bit. Well, that was a terrible mistake. After 30 minutes and well-passed lunch I tried to get my toddler out of there. He was not having it. I negotiated as best I could, but in the end I pulled the old football-under-arm trick and off we went. He screamed and screamed (fantastic). People stopped walking and running to comment (thank you) “Oh, someone isn’t enjoying the walk” … “oh yes, it’s hot out for everyone.” No. Ladies. He is pissed because he wasn’t finished on the slide. And I got a sunburn.

At any rate, he forgave me by the time we got back to the truck. Just before he asked if he could “nap.”  It was a good day. We ran. Together. Love this kid.

Here are our stats:

running kat tales