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Track Drills and Beet Juice

Welcome to the first week of August, friends! It was an awesome weekend for me that was a perfect balance of relaxation and hard work! Friday night was kicked off with a nice hard long run, fuelled by beet juice.

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I saw my naturopath last weekend and she suggested that in between my hard cycle and long run, I try a glass of beet juice to load up on nitrate, which helps the blood use oxygen more efficiently. This should work for athletes who have digestive issues as well as making the endurance work seem more effortless. I am going to continue playing with it and keep you posted.

Another thing I switched up this time was instead of chocolate pudding (Ugh), I used Clif shot blocks and instead of chewing them, began letting them dissolve in my mouth after an hour and continued this for the rest of my long run. I am going to experiment with gels next week, but I am thinking this may be the way I chose to go.

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Although this was the tail end of my highest milage week before my marathon, I was able to pull a negative split. Around 15 KM, my legs felt better and I was able to open up and push a bit harder. I always work tempo portions into my long runs and this weekend, I did a 5 KM and a 6 KM at sub marathon goal pace.

I had an awesome sleep in and made a big purchase on Saturday morning (more later), but then I headed to Toronto for Track & Roll. 

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I met up with some of my good runner friends from Toronto, including the Night Terrors run crew. My team was racing as a part of their crew and it was a fabulous day.

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Unfortunately, our fourth team member was delayed and wasn’t able to make it, so I ran two laps of the relay. It was a fun experience and I can’t wait to try it next year!

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We may have crashed a beer mile in the city afterwards. I chose to be the photographer because I have gut issues with running with pizza and pudding – I can’t imagine beer. My team mates were champs though and it was amazing to do so many events that were just about FUN and running.

As a distance runner, I still keep track a regular part of my training and considering I did so many track events this weekend, I’ll leave you with some of my favourite track warm ups for a competition.

High Knees: Stand in place with your feet hip-width apart. Drive your right knee toward your chest and quickly place it back on the ground. Follow immediately by driving your left knee toward your chest. Continue to alternate knees as quickly as you can.

A-Skips: This drill is great for sprint mechanics and to prime your system to be explosive. As one leg skips, the other leg will bring the knee up to a 90-degree angle with the foot dorsiflexed. You will bring that bent leg down quickly and drive with the ball of your foot to the ground. Your upper body is straight and your arms move in a running motion.

Strides: In your best running form, run across the field at at a moderate to high effort.

For additional drills, check out this article. 

What did you do this weekend?

What are your favourite warm up drills?

 

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Canada Running Series Weekend

Happy Monday everyone!

After a solid 9 mile run on the treadmill (Yes, you read that correctly – I have moved my training indoors for a while to keep injuries at bay), Angela and I headed to Toronto for a weekend of food, friends and fun. Training has been a bit interrupted with injuries as a result of pushing too hard, too fast and not being smart about my training  surfaces. I am focusing on completing solid training blocks, even if they are indoors in order to be ready for a solid season.

Our first stop in Toronto was Fresh at Eglington to meet up with Christina, Robyn and Annie. It was fabulous to catch up with some out of town friends and tuck into the Picnic burger. I love me some avocado.

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There may or may not have been a Lululemon visit thrown into the mix.

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We met up with a few friends for afternoon tea and finished the night at a birthday party in the city. After crashing at my dear Lindsay‘s apartment, we were up before the sun to head to the Yonge Street Running Room to meet the Canada Running Series crew for a training run.

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I am a digital champion for the series and it was a lot of fun to connect with other champions in the series as well as well as 2 time Olympian, Eric Gillis. The group I was running with ended up going a couple extra kilometres than the intended 10 km route, so we arrived back hungry and ready for some brunch!

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We did brunch with the group at Pickle Barrel, which is super close to the Running Room.

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There is very few things in life as satisfying as stuffing your face with delicious food post-run. What can I say? It doesn’t take much to make me happy!

I’m looking forward to increasing my training over the next month and completing a solid race on April 13. The Yonge Street 10 KM is my next race and I am looking forward to another weekend of playing in Toronto!

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If you are interested in running the race, you can sign up here. They have some pretty cool swag this year including a bonus shirt and some crazy sunglasses. The race is known for being FAST because it is mostly downhill, so if you are looking to PR your 10 KM or you just want to burst onto the racing scene, this is a great season opener.

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Never raced a 10 KM before? Check out these resources:

10 Tips for Yours First 10 KM 

10 KM Plan and Training Schedule

The Perfect 10 KM 

What did you do this weekend?
What is your favourite racing distance?

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Aka My Happy Place

Last night was a revolutionary one for Jesse.

We were finishing up his birthday dinner and he mentioned he had gotten a few texts re: his birthday post. I hauled out my laptop and let him read what I wrote.

At first, he was touched.

He quickly moved on to…”Wait…how much do you write about me on your blog?”

I looked at him for a moment and then said, “Jesse…your mother and sister are some of the most reliable readers of my blog. Many of your relatives subscribe to my updates. You think they are doing it because I only write about myself?”

Thankfully he is not overly tech savvy, bless him.

Anyways, I am eternally grateful to his sister who provided proof that he has been mastering the “tuck and roll” from an early age.

And he’s still got it.

I digress.

I want to update you on my latest race, The Starbucks Run for Women (chosen for obvious reasons). It happened last Saturday in the quaint little city of Unionville. I can only describe it as that little town at the beginning of Beauty and the Beast where all the townspeople are bursting out of their windows and doors and shouting out “Good morning!”

Anyways, I awoke at a ridiculous hour of the morning, sped down the 401 and arrived in Unionville in time to grab my race pack, do a quick warm up and head to the starting line.

There was a 5 km or 10km option. I chose the 10 km because it was bound to be less people and if I am driving a distance, I want to run a distance!

This was a woman’s only race, so I gauged the runners and went to the front. I was standing behind two (what I can only assume to be) Kenyans and a woman who looked like she ate nails for breakfast and was wearing the tights that looked like this:

I tried to ignore the feeling I would be miserably passed, possibly lapped and tried to occupy my mind with the Starbucks coffee and oatmeal at the end of the race.

The gun went off and I started way too quickly and was in second for about the first km. Obviously I started getting passed but I was feeling great and running strong. I quickly altered my  goal to finish in the top ten.

I kept a strong pace for most of the race. It was beautiful! We ran through the town and it seemed as if all of Unionville was outside to cheer us on. When we were not running near people, we were in wooded areas and by large bodies of water. Gorgeous. It was a mixture of a trail race and a road race (aka, my happy place). I kept hammering on, slowly edging past runners and moving up.

I had a good sprint to the finish line and I finished in 47:10. I had just crossed the finish line when I bumped into an athletic woman and as I started to apologize, I realized it was Catriona Le May Doan. We swapped race stories and then I turned incredibly awkward as I started gushing on about how proud Canada was to have an athlete like her, etc. I managed to pull it together for her to sign my race bib and take a quick photo.

I went to check the times board and was shocked to see I came in fourth and first in my age group.

How can this happen? Well, this is the second year of the race, so there were only 334 people in the 10 km. It also was an all woman’s race so I am not competing against males who by nature are stronger and faster runners. Most ladies were making this a fun run with the girls as well. So this will probably never ever happen again, but it felt good to have my name this close to the top for at least one race. (Check out the ages of the ladies who won! They were amazing!)

Anyways, if you are interested, race photos can be seen here. (aka, there you go, mom).

I picked up my prize and collected my race bracelet that all runner get instead of medals (girls race, I told you!) and revelled in the high “estrogenness” of the race.

To cap off the “girl power” theme of the day, I ended up at the Lululemon outlet and of course found another piece to add to my obsessive collection.