And the training continues…

5 races down and 3 races to go. I have to admit, I’m feeling a bit burnt out these days. After Seawheeze I took a one week break from running and getting back into it has been hard. I had planned on going for a 6k yesterday morning, but I was so tired from the weekend and ended up sleeping in. I paid the price with a hot, sticky, humid night run around 8pm. I hate running at night because it takes me at least 2 hours to relax afterwards.

Despite feeling a bit run down, I also feel like I have turned a corner in my running career. Running isn’t easy anymore – it’s not a get out of bed, down a glass of water, put on shoes, and go thing anymore. It’s more of a wake up an hour early, eat a proper breakfast, check training schedule, grab gels and water, and then head out the door kind of thing. Sure, it’s more work, but it’s also more rewarding!

I have also come to understand that to become a better runner, you need to do more than just run. As I’ve said before, yoga and strength training have made a huge difference in my performance, and I plan to keep them as a regular part of my routine. My eating has become more structured as I try to take in the perfect balance of carbohydrates and protein. I’ll admit that I used to restrict my eating a bit, in an effort to keep my weight down, but thanks to all the extra training I really don’t have to do that anymore. I also wouldn’t be able to bust out a 15k on Saturday morning if I wasn’t eating properly, so it’s not really a choice anymore. I have to eat well. To help with my eating, I’ve started seeing a dietician. So far the consensus is I eat too many avocados. Don’t tell her, but I don’t plan on cutting back my avocado intake.

TO Women's Jen and Azy

I plan on taking a break after my last race of the season, Road2Hope Half-marathon in Hamilton. Not a “no running” break, but a break that includes running without a strict schedule, running just for fun, and running to maintain fitness. I’ll start my marathon training in January so I’m definitely going to maintain a good base for that. I just found out I’m invited to a wedding the night before Road2Hope so that should be fun. Definitely won’t be drinking or eating a HUGE slice of wedding cake the night before, which will be hard for me because cake is one of my favourite foods. I’m excited because I’m running Road2Hope with my sister and her boyfriend. My sister Adriana is my original running partner and it’s always so special when we get to run together.

Up next is a 35k weekend with my friend Linda. We’re going to do the Zoo Run on September 21st and the RBC Run 4 Kids 25k on September 22nd. I’ve never done back to back races like this, but we agreed we’re running this one for endurance, not speed. I’m meeting up with Linda tonight to go over our game plan for the weekend. Can’t wait!

Have you ever been in a running funk? Feeling burnt out or tired? How did you get out of it?

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Seawheeze Half Marathon Race Review

I’m back from vacation, back to work, and finally ready to sit down and write my Seawheeze Half-marathon race review. Seawheeze was the best race I have ever run, from training to race day. Not everything about the race was perfect (packet pick-up was horrendous!), but the personal goals I set for myself were met and I crossed that finish line feeling very happy.

I trained for Seawheeze following their 10-week Tackle Box Training Program. As I wrote in an earlier blog, this was my first time following a formal training plan and it made a world of difference to me! With 4 runs, 2 yoga sessions, and 1 day of strength training per week, I was able to go into this race pain and injury free, and most importantly, I was able to finish this race the same way! I have no doubt that the amazing Seawheeze yoga practice was largely responsible for keeping my legs strong and limber. Finish Line Seawheeze

Arriving in Vancouver a few days before the race, you could see the energy for this event building. It was easy to spot the Seawheeze runners decked out in full Lululemon gear, night and day, wandering the streets of Vancouver in search of a healthy meal, yoga class, or good cup of coffee.

Packet pickup was Friday and we arrived at the Vancouver Convention Centre around 10am to find a huge line-up stretched all the way around the building. Unfortunately, the people at Lululemon decided that runners should wait in the same line-up as thousands of shoppers who were waiting to get into the special Seawheeze showcase store. It took us 2 hours to pick-up our kits and by the time we (the runners) got into the showcase store, it was a zoo! There was hardly anything left in my size because shoppers (mostly non-runners) had bought out the entire place! The worst thing to see was women sitting on the floor of the Convention Centre hoarding items, waiting for their friends. We later found out that a lot of this stuff ended up on eBay at 2-3 times the original selling price. Not cool, Lululemon.Ā  Next year, let runners have first dibs on the items AND please don’t make us wait 2 hours to pick up our kits. No one wants sore legs the day before a race.Yoga Seawheeze

Friday night was better. We made our way to Kitsilano Beach for sunset yoga. It was BYOM (Bring Your Own Mat), and I didn’t pack one, but that did not stop us from getting our yoga on right in the sand. It was so beautiful to see so many bodies moving in unison on the beach, with the mountains as a backdrop. Post-yoga, the Seawheeze volunteers gave out s’mores as a bedtime treat!

The morning of the run was relaxed and quiet. We woke up early, ate some oatmeal and bananas, and walked down to the start line. My goal for this race was 2:15 or less so I lined up in my corral and waited for the race to start. We got off around 7:20 and my first kilometre was my slowest of the race. I was trying to find my groove and move away from people a bit as it was really crowded. After that I settled into a 6:10-6:30 pace and kept that for the whole run. The course was lined with amazing spectators and volunteers. My favourite race sign was “You Go seawheeze sceneryGlen Coco” from the BMO Vancouver Marathon group. Tried to get a pic, but couldn’t get to my phone fast enough! The time just flew by as there was always something new and exciting to see, including some gorgeous scenery. Sure beats running city streets in Toronto!

As I was running through the last few kilometres, I started to tear up. Running always makes me emotional because it’s a representation for me of struggle and perseverance. I don’t think I’ve ever run a race and not cried. I got it together by 20k and raced my heart out that last kilometre. I was so fortunate to have my mom and sister waiting for me at the finish line and I have them a big wave as I came in. I finished Seawheeze just under my goal time in 2:14:45. A minute off my PB, but I’ll take it!

Post-race, we were treated very well. Our runner’s brunch was a huge muffin, a Belgian waffle with blueberry compote, mini quiches, and tons of watermelon! Daniela Sign SeawheezeIn addition to our finisher’s medals we also got Skullcandy headphones and some natural wellness treats from Saje. If there’s one thing Lululemon knows how to do, it’s treat runners well!

Last, but not least was the Sunset Festival at the Brockton Oval in Stanley Park. The evening began with an incredible yoga class led by super yogi Ryan Leier. The hour long practice was just what our run-weary legs needed and it felt so good to be in the sun with thousands of other runners who had all experienced the same amazing day. Luckily, we even got VIP tickets into the fancy BFD (Big F-ing Deal) Lounge and enjoyed some free drinks and food. The night’s entertainment was Australian musician Xavier Rudd. I had never heard him before, but was blown away by his awesome talent.J and J Seawheeze

All in all, the Seawheeze race weekend was a fantastic experience. This was definitely more than a run, it was a celebration of the active-living philosophy that Lululemon has built it’s brand on. If you’re looking for a race experience that’s more than just a run, I highly recommend the Seawheeze half-marathon. Not sure if I’ll be back next year, but I will certainly run this race again.